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peapatch20Fort Delaware – Pea Patch Island – Fort Delaware State Park, , Delaware City, Delaware

Official Website – Fort Delaware State Park
Ferry information – Forts Ferry Crossing

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Directions – You can leave from the pier at Fort Mott State Park in Pennsville, NJ or from the dock at Fort Delaware State Park in Delaware City, Delaware.

Fort Mott State Park (New Jersey side) – 454 Fort Mott Road Pennsville, NJ 08070
Fort Dupot (Delaware Side) – 45 Clinton St, Delaware City, DE 19706

Tickets – Check Forts Ferry Crossing page for current rates.  Can buy tickets at the pier in Delaware City (credit or cash) or on the ferry itself in Pennsville (cash only).  If you don’t have cash in Jersey (we didn’t), they’ll take you all the way across to Delaware City to pay, but it’s tricky with the timing, so better to come prepared!

Fort Delaware State Park, located on Pea Patch Island, was part of a chain of three forts that defended Philadelphia for well over 100 years.  The first fortifications were built at the end of the War of 1812, and the bulk of the present fort was built before the Civil War.  During the war, Confederate prisoners were held on the island in barracks, the biggest influx coming after the Battle of Gettysburg.  The fort continued to be used through WWII, then was given over to the state of Delaware.

This is a GREAT place to visit this summer, and the ferry ride on the river alone in the heat might be worth the price of admission!

Ferry dock (Pennsville)

Ferry dock (Pennsville)

Ferry dock (Delaware City)

Ferry dock (Delaware City)

 

Delaware City.

Delaware City.

Baby's first boat ride.

Baby’s first boat ride.

Once you are off the ferry, you have 2 or 4 or 6 hours to explore (depending on when you get there and which ferry you are trying to make it back on).  We spent four hours there, which included a picnic lunch, a cannon demonstration, and managed everything except the nature trail (seriously, letting the blog down here) and the official walking tour (a certain 3 year old and group walking tours haven’t mixed well of late, so we set off on our own).  Without further ado, Fort Delaware as it looked (for the most part) in 1864…

Getting off the dock at Fort Delaware.

Getting off the dock at Fort Delaware.

From the end of the dock, everyone must take the tram up to the fort.

From the end of the dock, everyone must take the tram up to the fort.

We're here!

We’re here!

Most people come and go from Delaware, so pay attention to the specifically Jersey info.

Most people come and go from Delaware, so pay attention to the specifically Jersey info.

Through the gates.

Through the gates.

And into the interior.

And into the interior.

The buildings inside served as barracks, offices, the mess hall, storage, and everything else in this self-contained fort.

The buildings inside served as barracks, offices, the mess hall, storage, and everything else in this self-contained fort.

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The walls facing New Jersey are studded with cannon.

The walls facing New Jersey are studded with cannon.

They give firing demonstrations, where they let the kids man the cannon. Sadly, The Pres and Tree Rider were too small to participate.

They give firing demonstrations, where they let the kids man the cannon. Sadly, The Pres and Tree Rider were too small to participate.

Time to climb higher in the fort.

Time to climb higher in the fort.

"Up high!"

“Up high!”

The roof was armed too. These look to me like post-civil war weapon emplacements on the roof.

The roof was armed too. These look to me like post-civil war weapon emplacements on the roof.

Which is possible, because the inside of the south wall of the fort is definitely post-Civil War, it looks a lot like the fortifications at Sandy Hook or Fort Mott.

Which is possible, because the inside of the south wall of the fort is definitely post-Civil War, it looks a lot like the fortifications at Sandy Hook or Fort Mott.

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The gun usually fired for the demonstration, but which was silent due to nesting birds.

The gun usually fired for the demonstration, but which was silent due to nesting birds.

Once you’ve explored the fort, there is still the outside to take a look at…peapatch21

Walking down toward the reconstructed barrack.

Walking down toward the reconstructed barrack.



Where prisoners would have been held during the Civil War (reconstruction, of course).

Where prisoners would have been held during the Civil War (reconstruction, of course).  The nature trail starts out here too.

Inside could hold over 100 men.

Inside could hold over 100 men.

What the complex looked like during the Civil War.

What the complex looked like during the Civil War.

Well, it was time to go.

Wash your feet to help keep the bats healthy.

Wash your feet to help keep the bats healthy.

 

Taking the tram back to the ferry. Good day!

Taking the tram back to the ferry. Good day!!

Time for a nap!

The Good

An old fort, a boat ride, reenactors, cannon firing demonstration, osprey...

The Could Be Better

Remember cash for your boat ticket if you are coming from Jersey!

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Overall, this is a GREAT spot to go spend a day.  Fort Delaware State Park also does scheduled nighttime ghost tours and they even had a notice that youth groups can camp out in the reconstructed barracks.  Future Boy Scout trip?  I hope so!

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