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Delaware State Parks

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USA Parks
Northern Region
Fort Delaware State Park
Fort Delaware State Park © Frank Marino
Afternoon Hike ©
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P.O. Box 170
Delware City, Delaware   19706

Phone: 302-834-7941
Toll Free: 302-739-9220
Reservations: 877-987-2757
Email: park email button icon
Fort Delaware is one of Delaware's first state parks, created in 1951. On the National Register of Historic Places, the Union fortress dates back to 1859, and once served as a prison for Confederate prisoners of war. It was originally built to protect the ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia. The State of Delaware acquired the Fort from the Federal Government in 1947.

History of the Area
Civil War History

Fort Delaware, the Union fortress dating back to 1859, once housed Confederate prisoners of war. It was originally built to protect the ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia.

Visitors take a ? -mile ferry ride from Delaware City to Pea Patch Island. A jitney provides transport from the island dock to the granite and brick fortress. Here, costumed reenactors take you back to the summer of 1864.

Fill your day with hands-on history. Help the blacksmith hammer out new parts for a cannon or work with the laundress. Be on hand when the 8-inch Columbiad gun fires a live gunpowder charge! See a replica of Pea Patch Island as it appeared in 1864 and artifacts from the Island's past.

Make a day of it - there is a food concession stand on the island. And if you like, you can bring a picnic lunch to enjoy in our picnic area - tables and grills are provided.

Travel on toFort Mott State Parkin New Jersey, and visit Finn's Point National Cemetery, the final resting-place for 2,400 Confederate prisoners who died at Fort Delaware.

Nature Programs
Port Penn Interpretive Center

The Port Penn Interpretive Center is located at the intersection of Routes 9 and 2, about four miles south of Delaware City. The Center offers displays and programs which explain the folk life of the historic wetland communities along the shores of the Delaware. Programs and self-guided walking tours featuring the historic homes of Port Penn and the scenic marshlands surrounding the town are available.
Area Attractions
The Fort Delaware Laundresses

Visit the laundry and meet Julia Gunning, one of the fort's laundresses. Help her wash clothes the 19th-century way! You'll need plenty of elbow grease as you learn the proper use of a scrub board. And it's not all wash tubs and flat irons. You may also find out some interesting tidbits of gossip.Esau, Blacksmith Apprentice and Free Man

Dozens of African Americans helped to build and operate Fort Delaware during the Civil War. This is an intimate look at the history of African Americans in Delaware. It is a story of struggle and triumph over slavery.The Ordnance Sergeant: Keeper of the Guns

Have a chat with Edmund Bryan, the only regular army soldier posted to Fort Delaware in the summer of 1864. Being the Ordnance Sergeant, he is in charge of all the ammunition in the fort. Take a look inside the ordnance store room to see if you can find the sergeant at work.Infantry Drill

Drill for the soldiers took place almost every day, sometimes for hours on end. Officers needed orderly, formations that could react almost instantly to a command. Here's a chance for you to see and learn why drilling was so important.Great Escapes

Hear the stories of escape attempts from the prisoners themselves. From the spectacular escapes, to the unsuccessful attempts, the POWs' methods ran the gamut from daring and ingenious to downright foolish.Dig In - The Food of the Enlisted Men at Fort Delaware

Everyone enjoys a good meal; the soldiers of the Civil War and Fort Delaware were no different. Come to our enlisted men's kitchen to see the cooks hard at work preparing different types of food for their comrades.Guts, No Glory - The Hospital at Fort Delaware

Hear tales of the differences between working here at the hospital and working on the field in the camps of the army. You'll also learn about the difficulties faced by everyone in the hospital, from the highest surgeon, to the lowliest POW patient.

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Delaware State Parks