Fort Delaware State Park

Delaware City, Delaware

Access to Fort Delaware is by ferry.
Call the Park Office for this season's schedule.

Prison Camp Trail

"Nov. 22 - the weather is very cold, everything frozen up tight as a brick, we nearly freeze when in quarters. Just here I must cast some reflection on the administration of affairs. Any quantity of money is spent here in fixing up things for officers, sutlers, (civilian peddlers) and prisoners while the men who are on duty more than half the time are quartered in old shanties with cracks large enough to crawl through."

from the diary of Private A.J. Hamilton, Union garrison, November 1864

The Union Garrison

Yankee private A.J. Hamilton provides us, in the pages of his diary, a close look at an enlisted man's life. He writes about disagreeable guard duty in the stench of the "Rebel Barracks," about "having a good time" with "two or three kegs of lager," about spending off time "in reading and loafing about." He complains about the food, the weather, and the men in charge. He describes parties, minstrel shows and practical jokes. By January 1865, however, Hamilton expresses what was probably a common sentiment among the soldiers of the garrison. He states, "I am getting most heartily sick of soldiering and would do anything not dishonorable to get out of this."

[previous page][next page]