The Haunted Fort Delaware
Fort Delaware is an imposing building located along the Delaware Bay in Delaware City, Delaware. Its construction was completed two years before the start of the Civil War. This massive structure covers six acres, has 32 foot high walls, 7 to 30 feet thick in some places, the complex is surrounded by a 30 foot wide moat and it is entered through a medieval looking drawbridge at the entrance.
Though it was not its original intention, Fort Delaware became a prison camp for the Union during the Civil War. Prisoners first arrived here in 1862, most though came from the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. By the end of the Civil War, almost 40,000 men would call Fort Delaware prison home.
Unfortunately the conditions at the prison camp were extremely harsh. Prisoners would live in wooden huts that barely kept out the rain much less the cold. They were giving no extra clothes and according to the war department at that time, it was policy to provide as little clothing as possible. As you can imagine Fort Delaware had the highest mortality rate among Union prison camps with reports of 2500-3000 prisoners dying there.
Finn’s Point National Cemetery located across the river is where most of the confederate soldiers were buried. Unfortunately there is but one marker there that says: Erected By The United States To Mark The Burial Place Of 2436 Confederate Soldiers Who Died At Fort Delaware While Prisoners Of War And Whose Graves Cannot Now Be Individually Identified.
Today, the paranormal activity is still strong at Fort Delaware. So many deaths in such cruel conditions have produced one of the most haunted places in America. Starting in the basement, people have claimed to here moans, chains rattling and voices. Apparitions of Confederate soldiers running under the ramparts have also been seen. It has been suggested that these ghosts are still looking for ways to escape the prison camp.
There is a woman apparition that visits the officer’s kitchen seen by re-enactors. She has yet to be identified but she has been known to call out names and move things around. Maybe she had some form of authority in the kitchen? There have been many pictures taken at the fort and some have unexplained orbs, mists and some even show the presence of soldiers in them.
Some of the other paranormal activity includes one of the buildings having an apparition of a woman and a child attached to it. In the building it is said you can hear children laughing, falling objects, candles moving, a woman cry and even reports of a tugging on clothing. There have also been reports by multiple people about being touched or tugged on all around Fort Delaware. Claims of men swearing and a harmonica playing have been heard as well.
Currently Fort Delaware is a state park only accessible through a ferry ride. The park is closed on Monday and Tuesdays. The park does offer candlelight ghost tours during the summer at 6 and 8 pm. The groups are limited to 70 or fewer people and costs $20 per person.