Fort Delaware is a harbor defense facility, designed by chief engineer Joseph Gilbert Totten and located on Pea Patch Island in the Delaware River. During the American Civil War, the Union used Fort Delaware as a prison for Confederate prisoners of war, political prisoners, federal convicts, and privateer officers. A three-gun concrete battery, later named Battery Torbert, was built inside the fort in the 1890s and designed by Maj. Charles W. Raymond. By 1900, the fort was part of the three point concept, working closely with Fort Mott in Pennsville, N.J. and Fort DuPont in Delaware City, Del. The fort and the island currently belong to the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and encompasses a living history museum, located in Fort Delaware State Park.
In 1794, the French military engineer Pierre Charles L’Enfant was surveying for defensive sites. He identified an island that he called “Pip Ash” as an ideal site for the defense of the prize of American commerce and culture.
The island that L’Enfant called Pip Ash was locally known as Pea Patch Island. This island was mostly unaffected by humanity with one exception. Dr. Henry Gale, a New Jersey resident, used Pea Patch as a private hunting ground.Gale was offered $30,000 for the island by the US military, but he refused. The military was determined to get the island, so they appealed to the state of Delaware, which claimed ownership of the entire Delaware River and all islands therein within a twelve-mile circle around New Castle’s Court House. The state legislature passed an act in May 1813 ceding the island to the United States government, which subsequently seized it from Gale. In 1820, seeking to resolve questions surrounding the ownership of the island, Secretary of War John C. Calhoun requested a legal opinion from Attorney General William Wirt. Wirt’s conclusion, based on a report by George Read, Jr. and former Attorney General Caesar A. Rodney was that the state of Delaware had the valid claim to the island, and so New Jersey could not have properly deeded it to Gale.[Wikipedia]
Below are a few of the photographs I took on this memorable adventure.