The National Cemetery, next to Fort Mott State Park in Pennsville, N.J., holds the remains of Confederate prisoners who were held at Fort Delaware, a Civil War prison camp on the Delaware River’s Pea Patch Island.
The 135 Union guards who died during their service at Fort Delaware, most likely from disease, are honored with an 1879 monument that was covered in 1936 with a dome. A dedication at the base of the monument’s front (north) face reads, “Near this stone lie the remains of 135 United States soldiers whose names, so far as known, are hereon inscribed but whose graves cannot be identified. They died for their country.”
The Confederate prisoners are honored with an 85-foot obelisk that was erected in 1910. A dedication plaque on the front (east) face reads, “Erected by the United States to mark the burial place of 2,436 Confederate soldiers who died at Fort Delaware while prisoners of war and whose graves cannot now be individually identified.”
The names and regimental affiliations of the Confederate prisoners are listed on four small plaques in the lower sections of the obelisk, as well as eight larger plaques at the monument’s base.
A Gettysburg Address plaque has been erected in the cemetery, as have seven plaques bearings the “Bivouac of the Dead” poem found in a number of military cemeteries and war monuments.
The cemetery also holds the remains of veterans and family members from later conflicts, and remains available for the burial of cremated remains.
A wayside marker near the cemetery’s entrance explains its history, and a binder in a weather-proof display box lists the locations of marked graves.
Fort Delaware was built in 1847 to help defend the port of Philadelphia, and began to hold Confederate prisoners in 1862. Most of the prisoners and guards who died at the fort were buried on the mainland. After the war, Finn’s Point was established as a national cemetery and the remaining deceased who had been buried at the fort were transferred.