Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Prison Diary: 15 Months at Fort Delaware-- Part 3

Fort delaware was built in the 1850s in the middle of the Delaware River on a marshy island/mud flat called Pea Patch Island. It was a massive granite and brick five-sided fort surrounded by a wide moat built to mount 150 guns. This was essentially reclaimed land and when it rained or flooded it became an unhealthy quagmire. //// It had been adapted for use as a prison. Rooms in the interior barracks housed higher rank Confederate officers and political prisoners. In the spring of 1863, additional wooden barracks to house 10,000 were built along with a 600-bed hospital. Prisoners from Gettysburg and Vicksburg started arriving in July. //// In addition to the Confederate soldiers, Fort Delaware also housed a number of political prisoners, of which Isaac Handy was one. President Lincoln had suspended the writ of habeas corpus for the war, and during the course of it, thousands of mostly Northerners were arrested. //// "Virtually anyone who opposed administration policies in any way was threatened with imprisonment without due process," according to Thomas J. DiLorenzo, author of the book "Lincoln Unmasked." //// And You Thought Confederate Prisons Were Bad. --Old Secesh

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