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Fort Mifflin Photowalk


Commissioned in 1771 on Mud Island with the principle architect being Pierre Charles L’enfant.   Originally called Fort Island Battery until the fort was taken over by Colonial forces during the Revolutionary war.  400 colonial soldiers manned the fort with one directive – delay General William Howe and his fleet for as long as humanly possible giving General Washington and his troops breathing space.  There was no expectation that the men at the  fort were going to defeat Howe –  just slow him down. In the end, the fort was massively outgunned by the British fleet and was subsequently recaptured by British forces.

A British officer was said to have remarked, “the behavior of the enemy…did them honor, nor did they quit the place ‘till their defenses were ruined, and the works rendered to rubbish, setting the works in a blaze when they could defend it no longer.”

Due to the brave actions of the colonials at Fort Mifflin, General Washington was able to get his forces to Valley Forge for the winter.

Ft. Mifflin Cannon

Ft Mifflin remained an active military site till the 1960′s.  Today it is a fascinating tourist attraction that has garnered attention as being historical and haunted. Ghost stories abound on this site. I would have liked to have known that before I began exploring the dark casement with only the light of my iPhone flashlight. In truth, when I went to explore a large casement, I simply stopped at the doorway and did not enter. There was an inky darkness in this room and the light from my iPhone barely illuminated the back wall. I had a queasy thought that if I had stepped into the room the door would close, trapping me in the darkness. Turns out it was one of the most haunted casements in Fort Mifflin.  I still get chills thinking back to that dark casement.

Interesting yellow coloration of the brick buildings of Ft. Mifflin. These buildings contained the living quarters of the soldiers stationed at the fort. You can can walk around the defense perimeter and look down at the buildings that comprise the fort.

Ft. Mifflin

I can barely make out this marker, but it looks like John Adams visited the fort. Not sure when or why at this point. I’ll have to do more research on the history of Ft. Mifflin to find out the reason for this plaque.

John Adams visited Ft. Mifflin?

The fort came equipped with its own blacksmith shop with all the tools one would need for that task. The tools look quite intimidating to me, but then again, I didn’t sleep over at a Holiday Inn.
Blacksmith Tools at Ft. Mifflin

Surprisingly, the prices for blacksmith tools seems to have evaded inflation over the centuries.

Prices haven't changed much since 1775

The fort affords great views and photo opportunities of the Delaware River. This decaying pier was a delight to discover and photograph. It conjures up all kinds of questions about who may have used this pier over the course of centuries.  Also, is it haunted? It sure looks like it might be.  No, I had no interest in scaling the fence and walking around the pier.

Decaying Pier - Hog Island

If you find yourself in Philadelphia looking for something to do;  Fort Mifflin is a great destination to spend an hour or two and gain some new insights into the actions of the Revolutionary War.  All photos were taken with a Canon EOS Rebel T1i with a 50mm f1/4 lens.

View all my photos from Fort Mifflin in this slideshow from Flickr.

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2 responses to “Fort Mifflin Photowalk

  1. Trevor Hilton

    My wife and I once visited Old Fort Smith in Arkansas. We saw where Judge Isaac Parker, the “Hanging Judge” held court. We saw the ruins of the original old fort overlooking the Arkansas River.

    We’ve also visited old Fort Gibson in the town of Fort Gibson, OK. It’s very well preserved. At certain times of the year re-enactments are held there. I want to see that sometime.

    We once visited Fort Sill in the city of Lawton, OK. It’s still and active US Army fort, where artillery is taught. The great Indian chiefs Geronimo and Quanah Parker are buried there.

    I still want to visit old Fort El Reno in the town of El Reno, OK. It’s right on Route 66, and is allegedly haunted, too. It was used to house German POWs during WW2.

  2. N

    The Fort offers any number of events throughout the year. Check the Fort Mifflin website for regular calendar updates, or the website of one of the reenactment groups, kingdomofLucerne.com (not for profit historical group)
    The Fort is open to the public with plenty of parking and bathroom facilities on site. The reenactment events allow for your continued self-guided tour, or for visitors to join in demonstrations and classes. Some events even host overnights, with meals included for a small fee.
    This fort has it all whether you’re looking for a leisurely self-guided tour, or interacting in a reenactment from an era with historical interpreters in historical garb, demonstrations, and tools of the time.
    Events include family-friendly activities, and both the military and civilian track of interest. Check out these websites for more calendar updates and additional photos from events.

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