Ghosts of Fort Delaware

Not all of the brave souls who have engaged in battle in the past have found their way to a peaceful afterlife. Their spirits have become the legends and ghost tales that haunt battlefields stretching across the United States. In this article, you will learn a bit more about Civil War ghosts who have yet to leave their posts at Fort Delaware.

In 1951, Fort Delaware was established as a state park , a long ways away from its original position as the location slated to protect the ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia during the late 1800s. The fort also served as a Union fortress and Confederate prison at one time with the majority of prisoners hailing from the Battle of Kernstown that took place in 1862. In 1863, the fort held prisoners from the Battle of Gettysburg. Over the years, Fort Delaware saw the comings and goings of 32,000 prisoners.

In 1947, the Fort became the property of the state of Delaware when they obtained it from the United States Federal government. Today, visitors pay a visit to the Fort by taking a ferry ride across the Delaware River. The ½- mile trip takes passengers from Delaware City to Pea Patch Island, where tour guides dressed in historical garb lead visitors throughout the Fort, where they may participate in hands-on activities centered on the life and times of Fort Delaware inhabitants. You’ll get a chance to experience the Fort when it served as a Union fortress and Confederate prison.

Ghost Sightings at Fort Delaware

When the Fort was in operation during the Civil War days, it was referred to as the Fort Delaware Death Pen and was considered one of the most feared Union prisons. For starters, the living conditions were gruesome. The holding area for prisoners was constructed to keep a maximum of 10,000 men, but nearly 13,000 Confederate prisoners were kept. It was rather common to find prisoners escaping, but they were swiftly caught. During the Civil War, more than 2,700 men lost their lives in the Fort. According to an article written by James A. Cox in the Civil War Times, it was stated that the Fort possessed “the highest death rate of any Union prison, and through a combination of dreadful location, official mismanagement, and political malice and vengeance, it managed to develop its own style of shocking, inhuman treatment.”

During tours of the Fort, visitors, tour guides and park officials have reported seeing apparitions on the premises. Some of the paranormal activity associated with the Fort includes loud noises, strange voices, and objects that move on their own. One of the most infamous ghosts of Fort Delaware is a woman who is often sighted in the officer’s kitchen. The ghost has been known to call out names and shift items in the kitchen, which she seems to feel is her own. Other ghost sightings include the restless souls of Confederate soldiers (detected in and around the Fort), moans, falling books, the sobs of a woman, laughing children, and moving candlesticks. Some people claim they have been “touched” by a presence.

Paranormal Investigations at Fort Delaware

All of the odd happenings reported at Fort Delaware have caught the interest of paranormal hunters, such as people affiliated with the Sci-Fi Channel’s TV show called ‘Ghost Hunters.’ In 2008, researchers visited the Fort on two different occasions, where thermal video supposedly caught the presence of an apparition in a tunnel and clear electronic voice recordings.