The Union Prison at Fort Delaware
A Perfect Hell on Earth
About the Book
Located on Pea Patch Island at the entrance to the Delaware River, Fort Delaware was built to protect Wilmington and Philadelphia in case of an attack by sea. When the Civil War broke out, Fort Delaware’s purpose changed dramatically—it became a prisoner of war camp. By the fall of 1863, about 12,000 soldiers, officers, and political prisoners were being held in an area designed to hold only 4,000—and known as the “Andersonville of the North,” a place where terrible sickness and deprivation were a way of life despite the commanding general’s efforts to keep the prison clean and the prisoners fed.
Many books have been written about the Confederacy’s Andersonville and its terrible conditions, but comparatively little has been written about its counterparts in the North. The conditions at Fort Delaware are fully explored, contemplating what life was like for prisoners and guards alike.
About the Author(s)
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Bibliographic Info: 12 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012 
Table of Contents
1. Construction of Fort Delaware 3
2. From One Extreme to Another 10
3. Exchanges and the Writ of Habeas Corpus 19
4. The Growth of the Prison Population 28
5. Life on the Devil’s Half Acre 39
6. Hope and Survival on the Devil’s Half Acre 51
7. Difference of Opinion—The Other Side of the Dead 71
8. Outside Influences 95
9. The End of the Line 133
Appendix: Regulations for Union War Prisons 149
Book Reviews & Awards
“an interesting regional history…useful…recommended”—Choice; “does a good job in explaining how the suspension of habeas corpus compounded by the breakdown of the prison exchange cartel resulted in the overcrowding”—Civil War Courier; “a great job…excellent descriptions…worth putting on…bookshelves”—The Civil War News; “exhaustive”—Colorado Libraries; “balanced and objective…a good introduction”—North & South.