Historic Firing of Fort Saulsbury's Big Guns Rattles Sussex County, Alarming Turkey Farmers

Sussex County, Delaware - In a startling turn of events, the tranquil landscape of northern Sussex County was disrupted as Fort Saulsbury, a relic of World War I, prepared to unleash its mighty artillery. The ensuing shockwaves were poised to resonate throughout the Delaware Bay, leaving local turkey farmers in distress over the fate of their newly laid eggs.

Constructed toward the end of the Great War, Fort Saulsbury stood sentinel over vital industries spanning from Wilmington to Philadelphia. Designed to thwart enemy warships before they reached critical installations, the fort remained dormant after the war's end, its guns never having fired a single hostile shot.

However, on April 4, 1930, the Milford Chronicle announced a significant development. Captain William R. Maris, Commanding Officer of Coast Defense in Delaware, led a contingent of thirty men to Fort Saulsbury. Their mission: to culminate two months of preparations with the proof-firing of the coast defense in mid-May.

The looming test raised concerns among Cedar Neck Hundred's turkey farmers, who anticipated only routine maintenance. They were taken aback to learn that four colossal artillery pieces, measuring 40 feet in length, were slated for action. These behemoths could hurl a one-ton projectile from Slaughter Beach to Cape Henlopen's waters.

To assuage the farmers' fears, Captain Maris convened a meeting in Milford. While he assured that any damages would be duly reported to the government, he refrained from speculating on the potential impact of the guns' rumble on hatching turkey eggs.

As May 15 arrived, floating targets were positioned off Cape Henlopen, signifying the commencement of the historic test. The first shot catapulted a shell 20 miles into the Delaware Bay, near its mouth. Over the ensuing two days, a total of fifteen shots thundered across the bay.

According to the Milford Chronicle, the concrete fort structure emerged unscathed, and the tests yielded satisfactory results in all respects. Remarkably, the turkey eggs weathered the ordeal, laying to rest the farmers' apprehensions.

This extraordinary event at Fort Saulsbury serves as a testament to the enduring legacy of a bygone era, echoing through the annals of Sussex County's history.