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Fort Delaware State Park
Delaware City, Delaware
Prison Camp Trail
"Quite a number of the older men who required more food to sustain life became very much emaciated, and succumbed to the cold, being found on their bunks in the morning frozen to death. How any survived the ordeal through which we had to pass the winter seems strange to me now. "
Dr. W.H. Moon, Company I, 13th Alabama Regiment, Archer's Brigade
The drafty barracks proved less than adequate, especially during the cold winter months. Some records indicate that each prisoner was given one set of clothes, a "cheap overcoat", and one blanket which did little to ward off the chill of icy winds. Other historical sources quote the availability of additional clothing either through the government, charitable works, or the sutler (civilian peddler). Heat was provided by coal-burning stoves, one stove for every 200 men. Those men who continually crowded the stoves were called stove rats. Organized efforts were sometimes undertaken to forcibly dislodge the stove rats in order to allow other prisoners to benefit from the heat of the stove.
Some could not tolerate the severe conditions. The heat of the summer was oppressive, but the extreme cold and exposure of the winter months, combined with contagious disease and the poor condition many men were in upon their arrival led to the death of over 2,000.