Fort DuPont (1)

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Fort DuPont (1) (1864-1945) - An Endicott Period coastal fort established on the site of previous fortifications known as the Battery at Delaware City that were removed in 1897. Named in G.O. 134, 22 Jul 1899, for Rear Admiral Samuel Francis duPont, a U.S. Civil War naval hero. Deactivated 31 Dec 1945.

Fort DuPont 1933 Theater
Fort DuPont Commanding Officers Quarters
Fort DuPont Aerial View 3 Sep 1940

U.S. Civil War

The original fortification was established in 1864 during the U.S. Civil War as a ten gun battery to protect the entrance to the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal. The battery was shaped like a pentagon pointed toward the river with the three land facing sides protected by a moat and a wooden stockade. The river facing sides were earthen parapets also protected by a moat. The internal structures included a central magazine, officer and enlisted quarters, a kitchen, two privies and a guardhouse. The battery was supported from Fort Delaware.

A twenty gun battery was built in the 1870s replacing the earlier fortification. The new battery was rectangular with two flanking parapets. This battery was designed to mount both coastal mortars and large-bore cannon but was never fully armed.

Endicott Period

Part of the Harbor Defense of the Delaware.

Construction on the Endicott Period batteries began in 1897 after the remains of the older fortifications were cleared. There are still some remains of the 1872 mortar battery and the earthworks battery built in 1864. Six Endicott Period reinforced concrete gun batteries were built between 1897 and 1904.

Fort DuPont (1) Endicott Period Battery (edit list)
Click on Battery links below
No. Caliber Type Mount Service Years Battery Cost Notes
Battery Rodney 8 12" Mortar 1897-1899-1900-1941 $ 217,721* 4 Mortars shipped to
Battery White (2), Fort Rosecrans
by Jul 1918
Battery Best 8 12" Mortar 1897-1899-1900-1941 $ 217,721* 4 Mortars shipped to
Honolulu May 1914
Battery Read 2 12" Barbette 1898-1898-1899-1918 $ 80,830 Guns to Fort Hamilton
Battery Doubleday 1918
Battery Gibson 2 8" Disappearing 1898-1898-1899-1917 $ 67,956 Guns to Watervliet 1917
Battery Ritchie 2 5" Pedestal 1900-1900-1900-1917 $ 16,703 Destroyed
Battery Elder 2 3" Pedestal 1903-1904-1904-1942 $ 18,383 Guns Mounted Mar 1910
Relocated to Delaware Beach 1922
Guns moved to Battery Liston 1942
Battery Liston
Battery Elder II
2 3" Pedestal 1942-1942 $ ? Reedy Island
Liston front range light
Source: CDSG

The construction of the fort itself began in ernest after the purchase of an additional 111 acres of land in 1900. The additional purchase brought the size of the reservation to 177 acres, enough for a full scale, open plan, coastal fort. Many of the Colonial Revival buildings were completed in the initial phase between 1899 and 1902. Between 1906 and 1922 additional land was acquired and more support buildings were constructed. The reservation was 321 acres up until 1945.

World War I

During World War I the guns from Battery Read, Battery Gibson and Battery Ritchie were removed for use elsewhere.

Fort Dupont Plan

World War II

German POWs were held at Fort DuPont during World War II. The guns from Battery Elder were moved to Battery Liston in 1942. Fort DuPont was expanded during World War II as an Army Aviation Engineering Base and many temporary buildings were built. The post closed 31 Dec 1945 and was given to the State of Delaware for use as the Governor Bacon Health Center which opened 28 Oct 1948.

Current Status

Fort DuPont Delaware State Park, no period guns or carriages remain.

Location: On Reedy Point just east of Delaware city, New Castle County, Delaware.

Maps & Images

Lat: 39.5705321 Long: -75.5833626


  • Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X, page 130
  • U.S.Army, Supplement to the Harbor Defense Project of The Delaware, (HDDEL-AN-45), 1 Jul 1945, CDSG


Visited: 6 Aug 2010

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