Philly Landmark Series #1: Holding Strong at Fort Mifflin

Just under ten miles outside Philadelphia’s center city lies Fort Mifflin, one of the most important battlefields of the American Revolutionary War.  In 1777, American soldiers held this vital supply point located on the Delaware River against overwhelming odds for forty-five long days. We visited this impressive fifty-acre National Historic Landmark to better understand a battle that was not won, but fought by men who never surrendered. We wanted to imagine how these men kept their wits about them under staggering opposition.


Men died to keep the Fort Mifflin Tricolor flag flying high to buy time for retreat

Our first stop was to meet Mary, the traditionally garbed docent with a wealth of knowledge and personal anecdotes about Fort Mifflin. She alone opens and closes Fort Mifflin, in the dark, and told us of the many spirits she has encountered lurking in the chain of dark dungeon-like passageways and rooms that comprise the battlement.


Ann and Mary bonding in Warrior Two Pose

What was it like to have one thousand cannonballs raining down per hour on the earthen ceilings above while trying to rest, eat, remain alive?  Here in the Casements Room, Brian imagines the scene on a bed frame that, according to Mary, is still occupied by the spirit of a soldier repairing his uniform.


Brian in Seated Side Bend keeping company with the resident ghost

From the Artillery Shed to the Water Battery and everything in between, we explored this vital green space and experimented with a few movements that are captured here:

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We were humbled to be present in a space of great inner strength and balance.


Looking over the Moat to the Main Gate



Two of my ancestors died here …Andrew & James Makemson. They died within minutes of each other, trying to raise the flag. A third brother, Thomas, started out to raise the flag, but was stopped by Commander who said ” Two brothers are enough.”

The Makemson family had immagrated from Ireland, expressly to fight against the British during Revolutionary War.

Settling 1st in Maryland, thefamily çonsisted of 7 sons & 1 daughter. All the sons fought in the War.

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