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Fort McHenry has had several guardhouses. This one, built in 1835 and enlarged in 1857, is one of the best-preserved buildings in the fort.
During the Civil War, Fort McHenry served as a transfer point for Confederate prisoners of war, most of whom were kept in buildings and stockades outside the fort. High-security prisoners were locked up here.
Henry Brogden a Confederate prisoner in 1863 stated, "There was no bedstead or chair, there being no room for such luxuries. I was allowed a mattress, which I placed on the damp floor at night, and stood up on end against the wall in the day. I was not allowed bed linen.