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

"A glance at our advertising columns will show that to call our Barracks a miniature world, is not so much of a misnomer as it might seem to be at first to the uninitiated."

Excerpt from Prison Times, Vol. 1, No.1, April 1865

The World in Miniature

Prison life at Fort Delaware was harsh, but the prisoners attempted to make their day-to-day existence reflect the real world as much as possible. Inmates staged debates and held concerts. Some established the "Christian Association" and the "Prisoners' Benevolent Association" to aid "the sick and destitute" among them. Some set up businesses, working as barbers, jewelers, shoe-makers, engravers, machinists, and tailors. The money they earned was used to buy extra food and supplies, or was lost in the diversion of gambling.

A handwritten newspaper, Prison Times, reported on the activities taking place in the prison barracks and included advertisements for the various businesses. An issue in April 1865 had the hopeful statement... "We send forth this our first number hoping that ere we can have time to issue many numbers, our prison times will be discontinued forever... "

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