Saturday, July 31, 2010

TAYLOR- Fort Delaware

Enlisted at Hamburg AR on 10 May 1862. Fought at Prairie Grove where he was injured and spent 3 months in hospital at Cane Ridge. Was present for the Battle of Helena AR where he was captured and sailed on the steamer "Silver Moon" to Alton Illinois. He was transferred to Fort Delaware 4 April 1864 and released 10 March 1865 to a hospital at Richmond VA.

Fort Delaware is a harbor defense facility built in 1859 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.

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 Delaware state legislature, which seized the island from Dr. Gale on May 27, 1813.

Construction of the fort and the Civil War
Construction of a fort on Pea Patch island began sometime before Dec 8, 1817. Chief Engineer Joseph Gardner Swift mentions a fort on the "Pea Patch in Delaware river" among forts that are progressing nicely.[3] A fire destroyed much of the work February 8–9, 1831. Captain Richard Delafield asked for $10,000 to tear down the remaining structure the following year. The structure was torn down in 1833.

Captain Delafield desired to "erect a marvel of military architecture on Pea Patch." The present structure was erected between 1848 and 1859, becoming the largest fort in the United States at the time.

During the Civil War, beginning in 1862, the island became a prison for captured Confederates and local Southern sympathizers. They were housed not in the fort itself but in wooden barracks that soon covered much of the island. Most of the Confederates captured at Gettysburg were imprisoned there. By August 1863, there were 12,500 prisoners on the island; by war’s end, it had held some 40,000 men. The conditions were predictably notorious, and about 2,900 prisoners died at Fort Delaware.

The fort was also used to organize and muster troops from the first state. Ahl's Heavy Artillery Company was organized there for garrison duty and served there during its entire service.


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