Travel back in time aboard the Three Forts Ferry to Fort Delaware and Fort Mott
DELAWARE CITY, Del. — History lovers spend an exciting day in the 19th century when they take round-trip boat excursions to military sites on the Delaware River. Step off the Three Forts Ferry onto Pea Patch Island and be transported to a world where guards, officers and prisoners from the Civil War are living in 19th-century Fort Delaware.
At Fort Mott, embark on a self-guided tour of this pre-Spanish American War garrison complete with fortifications and interpretive signage. The Delaware River and Bay Authority’s Three Forts Ferry service runs between Fort Mott in New Jersey, Fort Delaware State Park on Pea Patch Island and Delaware City, Del.
“The Three Forts Ferry is your time machine, transporting visitors back to a bygone era rich in history,” said Heath Gehrke, director of ferry operations. “Fort Delaware and Fort Mott have so much to offer – it’s a history lesson you’ll never forget. And, you get to enjoy a great ferry ride on the Delaware River aboard the Three Forts Ferry!”
As of June 13, and continuing through Labor Day, the Three Forts Ferry operates 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The cost is $11 for adults and $6 for children 2-12. Children under 2 are free. The cost includes admission to Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island.
Visitors take a half -mile ferry ride from Delaware City to Pea Patch Island. A jitney provides transport from the island dock to the granite and brick fortress.
At Fort Delaware, visitors experience authentic reenactments of Civil War episodes, both civilian and military, as well as demonstrations of how people lived in the 1800s.
To celebrate the sesquicentennial anniversary of the start of the Civil War; a coupon for a free children’s admission to the Fort with paid adult admission is available in Delaware State Parks Summer Guide.
A short ferry ride across the Delaware River is Fort Mott, NJ. Original plans for Fort Mott specified 11 gun emplacements with 20 guns and a mortar battery with six emplacements. Construction was started in 1872; however, only two of the gun emplacements and two magazines in the mortar battery were completed by 1876 when worked was stopped. In 1896, construction of the current fortifications resumed with the newest armament available, the disappearing guns. Two batteries of three gun emplacements each could fire a projectile up to 9 miles down-river while two, 5-inch rapid fire batteries flank the main battery on each side to provide close in defense, as well as protection against any fast moving enemy vessels.
Fort Mott was fully garrisoned until 1922 and was staffed by a detachment of caretakers until the post was abandoned in 1944. Today, the ordnance warehouse holds a small museum with displays on the fort, as well as on the local area. Guided tours are available upon request of the fire control tower that rises 53 feet into the air, keeping a watchful eye on the approaches of the Delaware River.
Following a self-guided tour of the fort, take a short walk to Finn's Point National Cemetery, the final resting-place for 2,400 Confederate prisoners who died at Fort Delaware. Admission to Fort Mott is free.
Located within the park, a nature interpretive trail can be found that is excellent for beginners. Fort Mott State Park also provides educational and fun events that are family-oriented. All events sponsored by the park are free to the public. For more information on programs currently available at the park, call (856) 935-3218.
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