A civil war ghost?

What’s the History of Fort Wadsworth?

Fort Wadsworth is a historic military installation located on Staten Island in New York City. The fort has a long and storied haunted history, with roots dating back to the Revolutionary War. 

The Dutch have left a lasting impact on the history of New York, as they were the first Europeans to establish a permanent settlement in the area. In 1624, the Dutch West India Company founded the colony of New Netherland, which included present-day New York City and parts of the surrounding states. One of the earliest fortifications in the area was a small Dutch fort built in 1663, which passed into English control during the Revolutionary War in 1776.

After the war ended, the city of New York began building three more forts, but with the outbreak of the War of 1812, the city was unable to complete the projects. As a result, the federal government stepped in and replaced the four forts with larger ones: Fort Richmond on the beach and Fort Tompkins, which were completed in 1861, just as the Civil War began.

History of Fort Wadsworth during Civil War

During the Civil War, 1,900 men were stationed at Fort Wadsworth. The war also brought about significant advances in naval weaponry, leading the government to realize that many of its older naval forts, including Fort Wadsworth, were now obsolete. Funding for their construction and maintenance was halted, and Fort Wadsworth was downgraded in 1884, with only 41 men stationed there.

For most of the 20th century, Fort Wadsworth served as a simple army post, a school for the U.S. Army Chaplains, and a naval base before it was decommissioned in 1994. Today, the grounds of Fort Wadsworth are part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, and the fort is recognized as the longest continuously-occupied military base in the United States.

The ruins of Fort Richmond can be found on the beach, and the ruins of Fort Tompkins are located higher up. Rangers occasionally offer guided tours of both the forts. While some parts of the site are still under military control, the areas open to the public offer picnic sites, bird watching opportunities, and even a few campsites further down the beach from Fort Richmond. The site is also the traditional starting line for the New York Marathon each year, showcasing the fort’s enduring significance to the city.

Why is Fort Wadsworth Haunted?

There are a few reasons why some people believe that places like Fort Wadsworth may be haunted:

Historical Events

Fort Wadsworth has a long history of military occupation, and it is possible that some people believe that the spirits of soldiers who died during conflicts or training exercises may still be present on the site. If one were to broaden the scope

It’s difficult to provide a precise death count for wars on American land since the 1600s, as records of casualties have not always been complete or accurate. Additionally, the definition of “American land” has changed over time, as the United States has expanded and its borders have shifted.

However, some of the major wars that have taken place on American soil and resulted in significant loss of life include:

The American Revolutionary War (1775-1783)

  • This war resulted in the independence of the United States from Great Britain. It is estimated that between 4,000 and 8,000 American soldiers and between 8,000 and 12,000 British soldiers died during the war. The total number of civilian deaths is unknown.

The Civil War (1861-1865)

  • This war was fought between the Union (the northern states) and the Confederacy (the southern states). It is estimated that between 600,000 and 850,000 soldiers died during the war, making it one of the deadliest in American history. The total number of civilian deaths is unknown.

World War I (1914-1918)

  • The United States entered World War I in 1917, and it is estimated that around 53,000 American soldiers died during the conflict.

World War II (1939-1945)

  • The United States entered World War II in 1941, and it is estimated that around 291,000 American soldiers died during the conflict.

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Personal experiences

Some people may have had personal experiences at Fort Wadsworth that they interpret as paranormal activity, such as seeing unexplained shadows or hearing strange noises.

Located on the shores of Staten Island, is a popular site for ghost tours conducted by the Brooklyn Paranormal Society. Many people who have gone on these tours claim to have had paranormal experiences while visiting the fort.

Ghost Sightings Reported at Brooklyn Paranormal Society Tours

One tour participant reported seeing the ghost of a soldier in a hallway of the fort. The soldier was reportedly wearing a uniform from the Civil War era and was seen walking through a wall before disappearing.

Another tour participant claimed to have felt a cold sensation and heard strange noises while standing near the fort’s barracks. When the participant turned around, they saw the ghostly figure of a woman standing behind them. The figure reportedly vanished as quickly as it appeared.

On a recent visit to Fort Wadsworth, Mary McGinnis says she had a close encounter with one of the fort’s resident ghosts. “I was just walking through the old battery when I suddenly saw this figure in a Civil War uniform,” McGinnis recalls. “At first, I thought it was just someone in costume, but as I got closer, I realized that the figure was transparent and seemed to be glowing. It was the strangest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Many other people have reported similar experiences while on tours with the Brooklyn Paranormal Society at Fort Wadsworth. While there is no scientific evidence to support the existence of ghosts, these reports offer a glimpse into the intriguing history of the fort and the possibility of paranormal activity on the site.


Fort Wadsworth may have a reputation for being haunted due to stories or rumors that have circulated about the site. This reputation may be reinforced by the site’s history as a military fortification and its association with conflict and death.

Belief in the paranormal

Some people may simply believe in the existence of ghosts or other supernatural entities, and may be more likely to attribute strange occurrences to paranormal activity.

It is difficult to provide a precise death count for wars on American land since the 1600s, as records of casualties have not always been complete or accurate. Additionally, the definition of “American land” has changed over time, as the United States has expanded and its borders have shifted.

Things to do at Fort Wadsworth

Fort Wadsworth, NY, located on Staten Island, is a gem of historical significance and natural beauty, offering visitors a plethora of activities. One of the most engaging ways to explore this area is through its well-organized walking tours, which provide a deep dive into the area’s rich military history and breathtaking scenery.

1. Historical Walking Tours: Fort Wadsworth is steeped in military history, dating back over 200 years. The walking tours here are designed to take visitors through this historical journey. As you walk along the fortifications, knowledgeable guides share tales of the fort’s strategic importance in protecting New York Harbor, especially during the Civil War and World War II. The tour typically includes visits to the Battery Weed and Fort Tompkins, showcasing old cannons and military architecture.

2. Nature Trails: Apart from its historical significance, Fort Wadsworth is also known for its stunning natural trails. These trails offer picturesque views of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and the New York skyline. The Harbor Overlook path and the Fort Wadsworth Overlook provide exceptional vantage points for photography enthusiasts and nature lovers.

3. Self-Guided Tours: For those who prefer a more leisurely pace, self-guided tours are an excellent option. Visitors can download maps and brochures from the National Park Service website, similar to the one found at npplan.com, to explore the fort at their own pace. This allows for more time to absorb the historical context and enjoy the scenic views.

4. Picnic Areas and Bird Watching: The area around Fort Wadsworth is also perfect for picnicking and bird watching. The lush green spaces provide a tranquil setting for a family outing, and the variety of bird species in the area makes it a favorite spot for birdwatchers.

5. Visitor Center and Exhibits: Don’t forget to stop by the Visitor Center, where you can find exhibits on the history of Fort Wadsworth, along with information about the flora and fauna of the region. The center also organizes occasional special events and educational programs, enhancing the visitor experience.

In summary, Fort Wadsworth offers a unique blend of history, nature, and recreation. Whether you are a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or just looking for a scenic spot to relax, Fort Wadsworth’s walking tours and other attractions are sure to provide a memorable experience.

So, is Fort Wadsworth Haunted?

Overall, it seems that Fort Wadsworth has a rich and fascinating history that is sure to pique the interest of paranormal enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Whether or not the fort is truly haunted by the ghosts of Civil War soldiers remains a mystery, but it is clear that the fort has a unique and intriguing past that is worth exploring.

And while we’ve reached our conclusion that Fort Wadsworth is haunted, we encourage you to join a future investigation with the Brooklyn Paranormal Society to come to your own conclusion.

Are you interested in learning more about the haunted history of Fort Wadsworth? Do you have personal experiences or stories to share about the fort? Contact the Brooklyn Paranormal Society today to discuss your interests and learn more about our ghost tours and other paranormal activities at Fort Wadsworth. Our team of experienced paranormal investigators is eager to hear from you and help you explore the mysterious and intriguing history of this famous site. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to delve deeper into the supernatural side of Fort Wadsworth – contact us today!

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