Hampton Roads
New Market
Seven Days Battles

Confederate Army

Fort Delaware

Click for Delaware City, Delaware Forecast

Inner Yard

Re-enactors Fire Cannon

Outside Wall

Fort Delaware 1900

Built on marshy Pea Patch Island in the Delaware River, Fort Delaware was a Union prison especially dreaded by the Confederates. Originally designed to house 2,000, its capacity had been increased to 8,000 by 1863, with officers housed in stone buildings and the men in tents or flimsy wooden barracks sinking in the sodden, malodorous ground.

The commandant of Fort Delaware, Brig.Gen. Albin F. Schoepf, a Hungarian refugee, was nicknamed "General Terror". The inmates were described as "looking like the vanguard of the Resurrection ....Scores seemed to be ill, many were suffering from scurvy, while all bore marks of severe treatment in their faces and wasted forms".

Often, the only way for an inmate to obtain fresh food was from local civilian sympathizers or from Northern "suttlers" who set up shop within prison walls. Those with money would buy the much needed food, while the less fortunate inmates could only barter pieces of their uniforms or prison-made crafts for a few vegetables or pieces of fruit.

Water was another problem, as one prisoner wrote: "The standing rainwater breeds a dense swarm of animalculae and when the interior sediment is stirred up...the whole contents become a turgid, jellified mass of waggle tails, worms, dead leaves, dead fishes, and other putrescent abominations...the smell of it is enough to revolt the stomach...to say nothing of making one's throat a channel for such stuff."

Even an 1863 outbreak of smallpox and calls for improvements from the U.S. surgeon general failed to move Col. William Hoffman, commissary general of Union prisons. Confederate prisoners continued to languish in Fort Delaware until two months after the war had ended.

What are people saying about This site!

" I live in Pennsville NJ and can see Ft. Delaware from my home. Great Job quot;Miranda Marrone--Pennsville ,NJ

"This is a website for the ages!!"Bob Bullerton--Willows,CA.

"I just sit here at my computer,chew on some hardtack and enjoy this site."Tico Carfello--Bronx, NY

Our Address

Gettysburg Battlefield Online
P.O. Box 3984
Gettysburg,PA 17325

E-mail: webmaster@gettysburgbattlefieldonline.com

Copyright © 2001-2005,Gettysburg Battlefield Online