University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department


Exhibition at the Hugh M. Morris Library
University of Delaware Libraries
August 25 - December 17, 1993

for reference assistance email Special Collections


The years 1991 through 1995 mark the fiftieth anniversary of the events surrounding the Second World War, and the University of Delaware Library commemorates the occasion with the exhibition "Delaware in Wartime," highlighting the effects of war on Delaware and the roles Delawareans have played in time of war from the American Revolution to World War II.

Materials on display include books, newspapers, periodicals, manuscripts, letters, documents, photographs, artwork, posters, broadsides, sheet music, and maps. "Delaware in Wartime" affords an opportunity to explore the contributions Delaware and its citizens made during times of war throughout its history.


Under British colonial rule Delaware and Delawareans were involved in Queen Anne's War (1702-13), King George's War (1744-48), and the French and Indian War (1754-63). On June 15, 1776, the Delaware assembly suspended all royal authority in the three counties and within a month, on the decisive vote of Caesar Rodney, Delaware cast its lot with its sister colonies in the War for American Independence. At home, leadership during the war was provided by seasoned statesmen, such as Caesar Rodney, Thomas McKean, John Dickinson, and George Read. On the battlefront, the Delaware regiment of the Continental Army gained a reputation for excellence, serving under competent Delaware leaders such as John Haslet, David Hall, Joseph Vaughan, and Robert Kirkwood. In the Carolina campaigns, soldiers of this regiment fought so well and with such tenacity that they won the title "Blue Hen's chickens," after the Delaware gamecocks prized for their fighting qualities.

Strategically situated between the Chesapeake and Delaware bays, Delaware was in danger of invasion throughout the war, but the year of its greatest peril was 1777-78. Washington was headquartered at Wilmington in the late summer of 1777 and his troops were positioned on the banks of the Red Clay Creek in the Marshallton-Stanton area. A British/Hessian force invaded Delaware near Glasgow, and the September 3, 1777 Battle of Cooch's Bridge was fought, turning the British north through Newark to meet the American forces once again at the Battle of the Brandywine near Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, on September 11. Here the Americans were defeated, leaving Wilmington open for capture and an occupation that lasted more than a month. The state remained close to war for another six months, because the Delaware Bay and River were infested with enemy ships after the capture of Philadelphia. In June 1778, the British evacuated Philadelphia and their fleet left the river. However, a naval vessel generally remained on guard at Cape Henlopen, and under its protection the Delaware coast was frequently harassed.

A small minority of Delaware loyalists remained active during the war, the most prominent being Thomas Robinson, a wealthy Sussex merchant and member of the state assembly. On several occasions loyalists did gather under arms, but they did not constitute enough of a threat to form an effective resistance. They did, however, keep Delaware militia companies busy, and Continental troops had to be sent to Delaware twice by Congress.

George Herbert Ryden.
Letters to and from Caesar Rodney, 1756-1784. Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Press, 1933.
Gift of J. P. Wright

Signed by the editor. Caesar Rodney (1728-1784), well known for his dramatic overnight ride from Dover to Philadelphia to cast the deciding Delaware vote for independence, served the state in a variety of capacities prior to and during the revolutionary period, including speaker of the Delaware Colonial Assembly; member of the Stamp Act Congress and the First and Second Continental Congresses; signer of the Declaration of Independence; president of the Delaware State; and Major General of the Delaware Militia.

University of Delaware Professor Ryden gathered and edited documents and correspondence relating to this Delaware patriot from a variety of public and private collections, documenting the range of Rodney's activities during the revolutionary period. Displayed are two letters from Rodney to George Washington, who was then headquartered in Wilmington, on the day of and day after the battle at Cooch's Bridge, the only major military engagement of the Revolution fought on Delaware soil. Although encamped nearby at Noxontown, neither Rodney nor the Delaware militia took part in the battle.

Autograph letter, Caesar Rodney to his brother Thomas Rodney, August 21, 1776.
From Ms 321 Rodney Family Papers

Writing from Philadelphia, Delaware delegate and signer Caesar Rodney described to his brother issues before the Continental Congress. In the last paragraph of the letter, Rodney wrote that "the present convention is solely for the purpose of framing Government" but his letter also emphasizes the pressing financial needs of soldiers of the "Flying Camp" regiment of Delaware.

Lynn Perry.
Some Letters of and Concerning Major William Peery. Strasburg, Va.: Shenandoah Publishing House, 1935.
Gift of Lynn Perry

Limited edition of 150 signed by the author. William Peery (1743-1800), a Sussex County patriot and politician, was in command of the militia company at Lewes, Delaware, during the Revolution. Besides guarding the coastline and shipping ways, Peery was also responsible for containing Loyalist activities in the county. Peery also served in the Delaware House, was the first treasurer of Sussex County, and was elected to the Second Continental Congress. Lynn Perry brings together a variety of documents and correspondence documenting Peery's career and activities in southern Delaware during the Revolution.

Document appointing Dr. Henry Latimer a Physician and Surgeon of the Hospitals of the United States, signed by Thomas W. Kean, President of the Congress of the United States of America, October 9, 1781.
From Ms 117 Latimer Family Papers

Henry Latimer, son of James Latimer of Newport, Delaware, was born in 1752. He studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the University at Edinburgh, Scotland, before establishing a practice in Wilmington. He joined the Continental Army as a surgeon in 1777, and following the Battle of Yorktown in 1781, Dr. Latimer was named Surgeon General of the Northern Division of the Continental Army.

Christopher L.Ward.
The Delaware Continentals, 1776-1783. Wilmington, Delaware: The Historical Society of Delaware, 1941.
Gift of C. Porter Schutt

Limited edition signed by the author. Delaware historian, lawyer, and author Christopher Ward wrote this detailed history of the Delaware Regiment of the Continental Army. Troops from this regiment fought at Long Island, White Plains, Mamaroneck, Trenton, Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, Camden, Cowpens, Guilford, Hobkirk's Hill, Ninety-Six, and Eutaw. The Delaware Regiment distinguished itself. Colonel Henry Lee of Virginia wrote that "the State of Delaware furnished one regiment only; and certainly no regiment in the army surpassed it in soldiership."

Baron von Steuben.
For the Use of the Militia of the Delaware State. An Abstract of the Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States. Philadelphia: Charles Cist, 1782.

Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin, Baron von Steuben (1730-1794) was a Prussian military officer. In 1777, he was invited by the American revolutionary government to introduce Prussian methods of military efficiency and discipline to the American army, and to give American authorities much needed advice on military training, organization, and administration. Steuben's efforts were extremely successful and he was made Major General and Inspector General of the Armies of the United States. In the winter of 1778-79 he prepared his Regulations, a manual of drill and field service regulations containing the essentials of military instruction and procedure adapted to the needs of the American citizen soldier.

John Dickinson, after being elected president of the Supreme Executive Council of Delaware in the autumn of 1781, had an abstract of Steuben's Regulations printed and distributed to the troops of the Delaware Militia. Problems of discipline and consistency plagued the state's militia, which were commented upon more than once by General Washington. In his introduction to the Regulations, Dickinson wrote, "I have employed some Time to render it as complete as I could, and have had five hundred Copies printed, in Order to be distributed among you--A trouble and Expense I should not have incurred, if I had not been fully convinced, that the Work might be exceedingly useful. To render it so, is your Part.... Several Circumstances have heretofore prevented the Establishment of such an exact Discipline among Us, as was to be wished for. Those Circumstances are favorably changed.... whatever may be the Duration of this War, your Honor and Happiness are deeply interested in your being perfectly prepared on the shortest Notice, and in the best Manner, to exert the whole Force of the State."

Edward W. Cooch.
The Battle of Cooch's Bridge Delaware September 3, 1777 [Wilmington, Del.: William N Cann] 1940.
From the library of Christopher L. Ward, Gift of Mrs.Christopher L. Ward

The Battle of Cooch's Bridge was the only major Revolutionary War engagement to be fought on Delaware soil. The skirmish, fought between British and Hessian troops under the command of General William Howe and regular American troops under Brigadier General William Maxwell, is remembered particularly as the battle immediately preceding the Battle of the Brandywine, and for its tradition as one of the first battles to use the Stars and Stripes.

Howe had landed on the Elk Neck peninsula and proceeded through Elkton, Maryland, with the intention of marching across Delaware to capture Philadelphia. Being checked at Cooch's Bridge, however, Howe's troops moved northward through Newark toward Kennett Square, and met Washington's army at the Brandywine near Chadds Ford, Pa., on September 11, 1777. The Americans were outmaneuvered and turned back. After the battle, some British troops captured Wilmington, seized Delaware President John McKinly, as well as the state treasury and many public records, and occupied the city for more than a month.

"The Affair at Cooch's Bridge," original pen and ink drawing by Andrew Wyeth, published in Delaware Tercentenary Almanack & Historical Repository, 1938, by Christopher L. Ward.
From Ms 107 Papers of Christopher L. Ward, Gift of Mrs. Christopher L. Ward

Receipt from Alexander Rutherford, October 21, 1778.
From Ms 98 Miscellaneous Delaware Literary and Historical Manuscripts Collection

Acknowledges receipt of seven coats from Thomas Rodney, Clothier General for Delaware State, for soldiers of the Delaware Regiment working in Newark.

George Herbert Ryden.
Delaware Troops in the Revolution. S.l.: The Delaware Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, 1941.

Signed by the author. Emphasizes the pressing financial needs of soldiers of the "Flying Camp" regiment of Delaware.

John P. Neilds.
Washington's Army in Delaware in the Summer of 1777 s.l.:s.n., 1927.
From the library of Christopher L. Ward, Gift of Mrs. Christopher L. Ward

Harold B. Hancock.
The Loyalists of Revolutionary Delaware. Newark, Del.: University of Delaware Press, 1977.

As in many of the other colonies, Delaware had a core of citizens who remained loyal or sympathetic to the British crown and government. Drawing on inventories, tax records, assessment lists, and other archival records, Dr. Harold B. Hancock wrote the first history of Delaware loyalists during the Revolution.

The Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of the American Loyalists 1783 to 1785.... Oxford: The Roxburghe Club, 1915.
Gift of Robert H. Richards

This volume published selected portions of the notes of Daniel Parker Coke, one of the commissioners of the Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of the American Loyalists, on the claims made by American loyalists to the commission. Among the Delawareans included here are Dr. John Watson of New Castle and Thomas Robinson of Sussex County, a member of the Delaware assembly and Delaware's most prominent loyalist.


Between the Revolution and the Civil War, the United States became embroiled in a number of armed conflicts, including wars with France (1798-99), Tripoli (1801-05), and Mexico (1846-48), and in all of these Delawareans served courageously. It was the war with Great Britain, however, declared on June 18, 1812, that had the most direct impact on Delaware and its citizens. The safety of the state was threatened during the war by a series of raids by the British navy on the Atlantic coast. In April 1813 a British squadron began a twenty-two-hour bombardment of Lewes because of the town's refusal to supply provisions. Local militia, however, effectively defended the town without a single loss of life. The British naval patrol off Cape Henlopen was much more effective at enforcing a blockade of American commerce, and occasional British forays inland resulted in successful attacks off Reedy Island, on the Mispillion, and up the Indian River. British attacks in the Chesapeake and on the Eastern shore led Delawareans to fear a sudden invasion to seize mills on the Brandywine, particularly the du Pont powder works. Du Pont, anticipating this possibility, had raised its own private militia, which was reputedly the most well-trained fighting organization in the state. The British turned their attention to Washington, however, which they successfully sacked, but were repulsed when they attacked Baltimore.

A number of Delawareans won distinction in this war, including Dr. James Tilton, a Revolutionary veteran who became surgeon-general of the army, Jacob Jones, physician and naval officer, who captured the British vessel Frolic, and Thomas Macdonough, commander of the American flotilla on Lake Champlain that won one of the strategic battles of the war by halting a British invasion in 1814.

The War of 1812, which ended in 1815, and the embargo acts that preceded it proved a great stimulus to manufacturing in Delaware. Old enterprises were enlarged and many new ones, particularly for textiles, were begun in order to supply the domestic market when it was cut offfrom European trade. The du Pont Company, which had established its gunpowder mills on the Brandywine in 1802, fared particularly well, and continued to do so in the war's aftermath with the expansion of the American transportation system.

Bessie Gardner du Pont.
Life of Eleuthere Irenee du Pont from Contemporary Correspondence, 1811-1814 Volume Nine. Newark, Delaware: University of Delaware Press, 1925.
Gift of Pierre S. du Pont

On January 28, 1811, in order to encourage the establishment of manufacturing industries in the state, the Delaware General Assembly passed an act exempting certain manufacturers, including gunpowder producers, from state militia duties. With the outbreak of hostilities between Britain and the United States in 1812, Victor and E. I. du Pont formed a private volunteer militia, known as the Brandywine Rangers, to protect the interests of their company from enemy attack. The militia's discipline and preparedness apparently surpassed that of the state's militia. On January 17, 1814, however, the act exempting manufacturers was repealed, forcing the du Ponts to disband their militia and allow their members to be absorbed by local state militia companies.

Shown here are two documents: an address by Victor and E. I. du Pont to the companies of the Brandywine Rangers informing them of the state's January 17 repeal, along with a response from militia representatives; and a letter dated February 7, 1814 from E. I. du Pont to Callender Irvine, superintendent of military stores in Philadelphia, informing Irvine of the state's action and expressing du Pont's trepidations about the fate of industries in northern Delaware if New Castle County were to be attacked. The war ended on December 24, 1814, however, with New Castle County surviving unscathed and the du Pont endeavors prospering from the wartime economy.

Address Delivered to the two companies Brandywine Rangers by their captains Victor and E. I. Du Pont.:

         Fellow Soldiers--

              We have assembled you on this occasion,  not for the
          performance of your usual militia exercise, but for the purpose of
          communicating to you, that the Legislature of this State has
          thought proper to repeal the law exempting manufacturers from
          militia duty, and that in consequence thereof  you have become
          incorporated with the militia of your respective districts.
          By the law passed on the 26th of January 1811, you, in common
          with the other manufacturers of the State, were exempted from
          military  duty with a view, as appears from the preamble, to the
          encouragement and prosperity of our infant manufactures.  In the
          spring of 1813, you voluntarily waived an exemption which you
          regarded as a dishonor when danger hovered over us.When the foe
          threatened our shores, you armed and equipped yourselves and
          tendered your services for the common defense.  Is the zeal you
          displayed on that occasion an offense?  Had you ignominiously
          sheltered yourselves under the law and viewed the threatening dan-         
          ger with indifference, would it have been repealed?  These are
          questions we shall not determine.  But although the favors
          bestowed on you have been withdrawn, you have the consolation to
          reflect that those favors were not unmerited by you and of having
          proved by your conduct how much dearer to your feelings were the
          claims of your country than your personal convenience or interest.
          If the repealing law be intended as a chastisement for your
          patriotism-singular chastisement indeed! which deprives the state of
          our services and relieves us from trouble, expense and loss of time
          from duties infinitely more laborious and dangerous than the
          insignificant military service.
          The zeal and alacrity with which you rallied round our colors when
          the country was in danger, affords us an ample pledge that you
          would, if required, cheerfully consent to perform double duty in so
          honorable a cause and comply with the district duties without
          abandoning our present association.  The act of the Legislature
          could thus be easily evaded--for there is no law prohibiting men to
          exercise with arms on their own premises, or from defending their
          property in case of an attack.  But as it must be apparent to all that
          the principal aim was to disband these companies, we had better
          submit at once.  Let those who have intentionally diminished the
          actual military force of New Castle County, who, at one blow, have
          annihilated an efficient corps of two hundred and thirty able-bodied
          men, well armed, equipped and disciplined, have the gratification of
          beholding their plans accomplished and let them be responsible for
          the consequences.
          We will then, fellow soldiers, deposit our arms-we are saved the
          necessity of exposing our lives for the defense of those who have
          labored so anxiously to destroy an association aimed against the
          enemies of their country; and when the day of danger shall arrive, it
          will no doubt bring with it the regret of having by their own
          conduct deprived themselves of the aid of the Brandy wine
          You will please to return your muskets and military 
          accoutrements to our respective factories-but if in the course 
          of the ensuing spring and summer, we
          are threatened with a serious attack on the banks of the Brandy
          wine, you will remember that you have here 300 muskets and
          abundance of ammunition, in short more than is requisite in such
          hands, among the natural entrenchments of the Brandy wine, to
          repulse five times your number; and if you think proper to pay your
          militia fines on that day and join your former standard, you will
          always find leaders proud of your choice and confiding in your
          courage, ready to tread with you the path of honor and glory.
To which the following answer was returned:

              In the names of our respective companies we beg leave to
          express our sincere regret at the necessity which obliges us to
          relinquish an association we had so cheerfully entered.  To incor-
          porate us, now so well instructed and disciplined, in military
          companies unorganized, without arms or anything calculated to
          inspire confidence and insure success will be, as you justly observe,
          to annihilate a force that was respectable and would have made
          itself respected.  The motives of such a step are best known to
          those who have recommended and sanctioned it--if more fines and
          forfeitures will be collected under this measure, fewer bayonets and
          bullets will be levelled at the enemy and whether the evil does not
          counterbalance the good we leave others to determine.
             We shall always hold in grateful recollection the zeal you
          displayed and the trouble and expense you incurred in forming these
          companies.  Your friendly and officer-like conduct claims our
          warmest thanks-and when you give the word, it will be our pride
          and pleasure to follow you wherever our country's service may
                   Committee on behalf of the Brandywine Rangers.

"An ACT to encourage the establishment of certain manufactories within this State," in Laws of the State of Delaware... From the Seventh Day of January, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Six, to the Third Day of February, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirteen. Wilmington: M. Bradford and R. Porter, 1816, pp. 397-400.

"An ACT to repeal an act, entitled, 'An act to encourage the establishment of certain manufactories within this State,"' in Laws of the State of Delaware Begun on the fourth day of January, and ended on the sixteenth day of February One Thousand Eight Hundred and Fourteen. Dover: Augustus M. Schee, 1814, p. 25.

George Read II.
Eulogium on Capt. James Lawrence and Lieut. A. C. Ludlow. Wilmington: R. Porter, 1813.

Author's presentation copy. George Read II (1765-1836) of New Castle, a lawyer and U. S. district attorney for Delaware, whose father was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, delivered this eulogy as grand master of the Grand Masonic Lodge of Delaware in memory of two fallen brethren and naval officers, Captain James Lawrence and Lieutenant Augustus C. Ludlow, who were killed June 1, 1813 in a brief naval engagement between the Chesapeake, commanded by Lawrence, and the British frigate Shannon. The words, "Don't give up the ship," reportedly uttered by the mortally wounded Lawrence as be was carried below, became a popular rallying cry of the navy.

The War. New York: S. Woodworth & Co., 1812-1817.

Samuel Woodworth (1784-1842) began his long journalistic career with the publication of The War, a weekly chronicle "being a faithful record of the transactions of the war between the United States of America and their territories, and the United Kingdom and Ireland and the dependencies thereof; declared on the eighteenth day of June, 1812." The journal ran from July 1812 to September 1814, and was revived for three issues in February 1817.

The April 13, 1813 issue (Vol. 1, No. 43) includes news of the bombardment of Lewistown (i. e., Lewes, Delaware), the Delaware blockading squadron, and the construction of Fort Union near Wilmington.

Delaware. s. l.: s. n., ca 1815.

This map was made soon after the close of the War of 1812. Because of its strategic location at the entrance to the Delaware Bay and River and the approaches to Philadelphia, and because of its many defense-related industries, Delaware has always been a potential target for enemy attack. Since shoals near Cape May effectively barred traffic from entering the bay on the New Jersey side, Cape Henlopen and the town of Lewes became the logical first line of defense for this waterway. Lewes was bombarded and raided during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, and during the Second World War the shores of Cape Henlopen became home to the heavily fortified federal installation of Fort Miles. In the midst of the War of 1812 it was determined that a second line of defense was required for the Delaware River and the cities of Wilmington and Philadelphia. Pea Patch Island was therefore acquired by the federal Government from Delaware in 1813 as a site for fortification. As this map depicts, the island at the time was not much more than a small patch of reeds that remained submerged below river level most of the time. It would not be until the eve of the Civil War that the island would be built up enough to support the foundations of Fort Delaware.

Rodney Macdonough.
Life of Commodore Thomas Macdonough U. S. Navy. Boston.: The Fort Mill Press, 1909.

This biography of Navy Commodore Thomas Macdonough (1783-1825) follows his life from his birth and upbringing in Trap (now Macdonough), Delaware, through his naval career beginning in 1800, to his death at sea. Macdonough participated in the wars with France and Tripoli, and during the War of 1812 he commanded the fleet on Lake Champlain. It was during this latter war that he commanded a victory at the Battle of Plattsburg, one of the most decisive engagements ever fought by the American navy.

Rodney Macdonough prepared this biography of his ancestor from family papers and government records. Included in this volume is the autobiography of Commodore Macdonough, which covers the period from 1800-- when he entered the navy--through 1822, and is published in full.

John E. Latta.
A Sermon Preached at New-Castle, (Del.) on the Thirteenth Day of April, 1815. A Day Recommended by the President of the United States, to be Observed as a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Praise to God for the Restoration of Peace. Wilmington: Robert Porter, 1815.
Gift of Henry F. du Pont

Although the Treaty of Ghent ending the War of 1812 was signed on December 24, 1814, the final engagement of the war took place on January 8, 1815, when Andrew Jackson defeated the British at New Orleans. The Rev. John E. Latta, pastor of the Presbyterian Church of New Castle, 1800-24, delivered this sermon on April 13, 1815, in thanksgiving of the restoration of peace after two and a half years of hostilities. Among the other works by Latta bound in this volume is A Sermon Preached on the Twelfth of January, 1815. A Day Recommended by the President of the United States, to be Observed as a Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer.


In the years leading up to the Civil War, Delaware, in many ways, represented a microcosm of the country as a whole. As a slaveholding border state, Delaware's citizenry was sharply divided between the Northern and Southern causes; however, the overwhelming number of its citizens remained loyal to the Union. An astonishing proportion of the most prominent Delawareans were sympathetic to the South as the war opened--including Governor William Burton, Secretary of State Edward Ridgely, and the whole congressional delegation: senators James A. Bayard and Willard Saulsbury and Congressman William Whiteley.

While there were strong southern sympathies in Delaware, and a few extremists fled to the Confederacy, thousands more joined the armed forces of the Union. Delaware raised nine regiments of infantry during the war, as well as several companies of cavalry and artillery. Numerous Delawareans played prominent military roles during the Civil War, including Brigadier Generals Thomas A. Smyth, A.T.A. Torbert, and Henry Lockwood; Henry du Pont, whom Governor Burton appointed commander of all military affairs within the state; and his cousin, Samuel F. Du Pont, a naval officer who employed a variant spelling of the family name and who played an important role in devising the decisive naval strategy of the war, the Southern blockade.

Delaware aided the Northern war effort by the produce of its industries. From one-third to one- half of the gunpowder production of the North came from du Pont kneels in Delaware. Leather and textile factories, and Delaware shipbuilders were also kept busy with government contracts.

The chief fortification in the area was Fort Delaware, which guarded access to the ports and shipyards of Wilmington and Philadelphia by its location on Pea Patch Island in the Delaware River. It soon served as a prisoner-of-war camp for Confederate Soldiers, rivaling its Confederate counterpart at Andersonville Prison, Georgia, for its high mortality rate.

D. W. Maull.
The Life and Military Services of the Late Brigadier General Thomas A. Smyth. Wilmington: H & E. F. James, 1870.
From the library of the Delta Phi Literary Society of Delaware College

Presentation copy from the Delaware Historical Society to the Delta Phi Society of Delaware College. Thomas A. Smyth (1832-1865) was an Irish immigrant who settled in the United States in 1854, moving to Wilmington in 1858. At the beginning of the war, Smyth raised his own volunteer company and by his valor and ability rose gradually to the rank of brigadier general until he was killed on April 7, 1865. Smyth's troops were in pursuit of Lee, who was fleeing toward Appomattox, and Smyth was the last general officer killed in the war. In 1866 the Delaware Historical Society invited Dr. D. W. Maull, former Surgeon in Chief, 2nd Division, 2nd Army Corps, to write this memoir of Smyth and present it before a meeting of the Society. Maull later published his address for the friends of General Smyth.

H. A. Du Pont.
Rear-Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont, United States Navy, A Biography. New York: National Americana Society, 1926.

At the beginning of the Civil War, Samuel Francis Du Pont was a captain and his first service in the war was as senior member of the Commission of Conference in Washington, appointed by the Secretary of the Navy to prepare plans for naval operations and to devise methods for rendering the North's blockade effective. Du Pont favored Port Royal, South Carolina, as a base for the Union's naval operations in the South. He was given command of the South Atlantic blockading squadron for the attack on Port Royal, and captured the port on November 7, 1861. This was a critical victory, and for his success he was made rear admiral.

Over the next year, Du Pont's command was highly successful--securing much of the Georgia coast for the North, taking Jacksonville and St. Augustine, and enforcing an effective blockade. On April 7, 1863, however, his failure to take Fort Sumter resulted in the worst naval defeat of the Civil War. Investigation and research has failed to lay definitive blame for the defeat on either Du Pont or the Department of the Navy. The defeat did, however, effectively ended Du Pont's active military career, and he retired to his home at Louviers, on the Brandywine River, near Wilmington. This biography of Du Pont was written by his nephew Henry Algernon Du Pont (1838-1926), Civil War soldier, du Pont Company executive, and United States Senator from Delaware.

Samuel Francis Du Pont.
Official Dispatches and Letters of Rear Admiral Du Pont, U.S. Navy, 1846-48, 1861-63. Wilmington: Ferris Brothers, 1883.

Du Pont's official correspondence was published by his widow, Sophie Madeleine du Pont, for friends and family. Sophie du Pont was Samuel Du Pont's first cousin, and used the alternate spelling of the family name.

John D. Hayes.
Samuel Francis Du Pont A Selection from His Civil War Letters. Ithaca, N. Y.: Cornell University Press, 1969. 3 Volumes.

After ten years of research and editing, retired Rear Admiral John D. Hayes published this selection of Samuel F. Du Pont's Civil War correspondence housed in the archives of the Hagley Museum Library.

Samuel Francis Du Pont.
Extracts from Private Journal-Letters of Captain S. E Du Pont, While in Command of the Cyane, Duting the War with Mexico, 1846-1848. Wilmington: Ferris Bros., 1885.
From the library of Evelina Du Pont de Nemours

Naval officer Samuel Francis Du Pont (1803-1865) is among the most celebrated military leaders from Delaware. He began his career with an appointment from President Madison as midshipman in 1815, and by the time of the Mexican War in 1846 he was a commander. In command of the sloop-of-war Cyane from 1846-48, Du Pont led a series of highly successful attacks and rescues on the Pacific coast of Mexico. These extracts from Du Pont's journals were published for the edification of his nieces and nephews.

W. Emerson Wilson.
Fort Delaware in the Civil War. s.l. Fort Delaware Society, [1961].

Fort Delaware, on Pea Patch Island in the Delaware River, just northeast of Delaware City, had a featured role in the history of the Civil War. Although its history as a United States military installation dates back to 1813 when Delaware ceded title and jurisdiction over the island (then not much more than a small patch of reeds barely above water at high tide) to the federal government, engineering and construction of facilities was not completed until 1860, with the first troops for its garrison arriving in February 1861. In April 1862, the fort and island were converted into a detention camp for Confederate prisoners of war. The first group of prisoners were Virginians captured from Stonewall Jackson's army after the Battle of Kernstown. More soon followed, and in August 1862 most of the 6,000 prisoners were exchanged. New arrivals continued, however, and the population grew to its peak of 12,500 prisoners by August 1863, nearly the population of Wilmington at the time. Life at the fort was harsh for prisoners, with more than 2,400 dying from unhealthful conditions. Many Southern sympathizers were also held at the fort without trial, following Lincoln's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, including members of the Delaware State Legislature and ministers of churches. General Grant ordered the release of all Confederate prisoners in July 1865. By the beginning of the next year Pea Patch Island was deserted and the wooden prison barracks were torn down. Only a small garrison remained in the Fort.

Copy of a photograph of the casements and artillery at Fort Delaware, ca. 1863.

Max Neugas.
Photograph of a sketched view of Pea Patch Island and the Delaware River, showing Fort Delaware and the military prison installations, November 1, 1864.

Harry A. Lemmon.
Photograph of Fort Delaware from the southwest corner, 1945.

Harry A. Lemmon.
Photograph of the front entrance to Fort Delaware, 1945.

Kevin Fleming.
Delaware Discovered. [Annapolis] Portfolio Press, 1992.
Photograph of Pea Patch Island and Fort Delaware.

[John J. Dunkle].
Prison Life During the Rebellion. Being a Brief Narrative of the Miseries and Sufferings of Six Hundred Confederate Prisoners Sent from Fort Delaware to Morris' Island to be Punished. Singer's Glen, Va: Joseph Funk's Sons, 1869.

The stated purpose of this narrative was to report the extreme ill treatment of Confederate prisoners by the North. The story of 600 prisoners being used in a cruel plan of retaliation for Confederate mistreatment of Union soldiers begins and ends at Fort Delaware. In the end, after suffering months of abuse and deprivation, the prisoners were to be exchanged at Charleston. The author writes, "We now regaled our credulous minds with the happy thought that next morning we would go to Dixie, but imagine our pain and dejection, mortification and misery, to see the boat turn her head and steam off towards the ocean, and as we passed the picket boat the cry was, who are you, what is your freight, where are you bound? The answer was, The Illinois, loaded with prisoners, bound to Fort Delaware. Oh! the misery, the horror, wretchedness, despair, agony and woe depicted in every countenance on the reception of this startling and appalling information.... But alas, we were doomed, for many long months, to enjoy the abuse and meanness of Yankees, and all the horrid torments of prison. The stroke was too great for some of the weakest prisoners, who immediately expired upon reception of the news."

Isaac W. K. Handy.
United States Bonds; or Duress by Federal Authority: A Journal of Current Events During an Imprisonment of Fifteen Months, at Fort Delaware. Baltimore: Turnbull Brothers, 1874.
From the library of the Delta Phi Literary Society of Delaware College

Isaac W. K. Handy was a Presbyterian minister who married into the prominent Dilworth family of Delaware and served a number of Delaware congregations from the 1830s to the 1850s. Rev. Handy was minister of the First Presbyterian Church in Portsmouth, Virginia, and was on a vacation visiting with in-laws in Sussex County when he was arrested on suspicion of being a chaplain in the Confederate Army. He was sent to Fort Delaware where he was held prisoner for fifteen months.

Copy of a photograph of "Confederate Prisoners Confined at Fort Delaware During the Civil War," ca. 1863-64.

This photograph was reproduced in an engraving in Isaac W. K. Handy's United States Bonds; or Duress by Federal Authority, Handy's account of his imprisonment at Fort Delaware, 1863-64. The Rev. Handy is seated in the center of the group and is misidentified as the Rev. T. M. Handy. Several others are also misidentified, including General R. B. Vance, identified here as Zebulon B. Vance, who was governor of North Carolina at the time.

W. Emerson Wilson (ed.).
A Fort Delaware Journal: The Diary of a Yankee Private A. J. Hamilton, 1862-65. Wilmington: Fort Delaware Society, 1981.

The diary of Alexander James Hamilton (1835-1897), a member of Independent Battery G, Pittsburgh Heavy Artillery, provides a vivid and valuable picture of the daily life of a Union soldier at Fort Delaware from August 1862 to mid-June 1865. The diary, the original owned by the Historical Society of Delaware, was edited by W. Emerson Wilson, former editor of the Wilmington Morning News and a founder of the Fort Delaware Society.

Autograph letter, Thomas M. Reynolds to his fiancee, Lou Seward, July 10, 1862.
From Ms 295 Thomas M. Reynolds Papers

Captain Thomas M. Reynolds served in the 4th Regiment of the Delaware Volunteers and died in the Battle of the Wilderness near Richmond in 1864. On patriotic Union stationery, Capt. Reynolds wrote to his fiancee from Camden, Delaware, in 1862. He described a journey to Philadelphia and Camp Brandywine, located five miles from Wilmington. In spite of his duties, he was inspired by the scenery, and wrote to Lou,

          I thought as I rode along that if I could have had you with me, or
          that the scenery in Caroline was as beautiful as it was, that the
          many rides we have taken together, would certainly have called
          forth from me many nobler remarks, many higher sentiments, that
          everfound utterance in your presence.

Autograph letter, A. J. Wright to Mr. I. Seward, June 22, 1864.
From Ms 295 Thomas M. Reynolds Papers

"... the sad intelligence of the death of Captain Thomas M. Reynolds."

W. Emerson Wilson.
Delaware in the Civil War. Dover: Civil War Centennial Commission, 1964.

Officers of the Fourth Delaware. Captain Thomas M. Reynolds is seated on the front row, left.

Autograph letter, David Lilley to his sister, [1861].
From Ms 219 David Lilley Letters

Letter posted from Camp Brandywine to Newark, Delaware, expressing Lilley's sad disappointment at delayed marching orders. A resident of Newark and employee of the Dean Woolen Mills, David Lilley was 19 when he enlisted in Company "C," 2d Regiment, Delaware Volunteers of the Union Army. He served 1861-1864, and the letters he wrote to his sister during that time waiver in spirit from youthful enthusiasm to warweariness. At one point, Lilley described camp life as "a nice life" and said he is "as happy as a lark in the morning of May." Later, after an 1862 battle near the James River in Virginia where 20,000 soldiers were killed or wounded, he cautioned Annie Lilley to tell their younger brother Alfred "that I say for him never to enlist while the world stands." David Lilley was discharged in 1864, returned to Newark, and many years later was tragically killed in a railroad accident.

Norman B. Wilkinson.
The Brandywine Home Front During the Civil War 1861-1865. Wilmington: Kaumagraph Company, 1966.
Gift of W. W. Laird

Grant and His Generals.... New York: John Durand &Company, 1865.

Heavily interspersed with commercial advertisements, this piece containing "portraits and biographical sketches of ... Grant and his generals and illustrious military officers, together with the portraits and biographical sketches of celebrated naval heroes, statesmen and civilians," was "intended as a great national advertising medium for free circulation in hotels, on board steamers, in libraries and public places generally . . . ." It includes a biographical sketch of Rear-Admiral Samuel F. Du Pont (spelled alternatively here as Dupont), a hero of both the Mexican and Civil Wars, and one of the most celebrated military leaders from Delaware.

James A. Bayard.
Executive Usurpation: Speech of Hon. James A. Bayard, of Delaware, in the Senate of the United States, July 19, 1861.s.l.: s.n., n.d.

James Asheton Bayard (1799-1880) was a United States Senator from Delaware, 1851-64 and 1867-69. During the Civil War he was a Republican by party, but a Jacksonian Democrat in his politics, adhering to his unpopular conservative traditions throughout the war. A supporter of the Union, he nevertheless preferred acceptance of the Confederacy to civil war, and took a firm stand on this issue in the Senate. He opposed most of the anti-slavery measures enacted between 1861 and 1864, mainly on the principle that they were an invasion of property rights and might incite disloyalty in border states such as Delaware.

In this speech before the Senate in the early months of the war, Bayard expressed his opposition to civil war and to a congressional resolution approving a number of presidential acts aimed at suppressing insurrection and rebellion, especially the act suspending the writ of habeas corpus. By passing the resolution, Bayard reasoned, Congress assured that "a single man becomes a despot; he has the power of the purse and the sword, and you give him the absolute control over the liberty of every citizen in the United States.... If Congress mean to affirm that this power is in the President of the United States, I want it to go forth to this nation that they have virtually suspended the writ of habeas corpus, not by law, but by affirmation--an affirmation declaring that the President, in this country, can trespass upon the liberty of the citizen in a manner which would have cost any king of England his crown ... if he had dared to exercise such a power." Even as he spoke, however, he knew his words were in vain. In his closing remarks, he stated, "I suppose I must give up the faint hope I entertained, that this resolution ... can or will be defeated. It will pass; but, in my judgement, when you pass it, you prostrate the liberties of this country and destroy the rights of citizens as free citizens."

James A. Bayard.
Speech of the Hon. James A. Bayard of Delaware, Delivered in the Senate of the United States, January 19th, 1864, against the Validity of the Test-Oath. Philadelphia: s.n., 1864.

In 1864 Senator James A. Bayard, recently reelected to his third term, grew angry at Senate passage of a resolution requiring all members to take a so-called ironclad oath of loyalty to the Lincoln administration. He regarded the resolution as specifically aimed at him because he had challenged the constitutionality of this 1862 oath and was the only senator who had not yet signed it. In this speech of January 19, 1864, he once again challenged the constitutional validity of the oath, stating that "the oath prescribed in that act [of 1862] has been frequently designated as the 'oath of loyalty;' and doubtless there are those who may consider my declining to take that oath as evidence of disloyalty. Loyalty and disloyalty ... have become familiar terms during the progress of this disastrous civil war.... Accepting the term as applicable, I define loyalty in a Government such as ours . . to mean a steadfast adherence to the Constitution .... I have sworn to support that Constitution; ... I call upon the tribunal ... to decide judicially whether the act is constitutional, and give to it its proper legal construction. If it be disloyal to support the Constitution of my country, then I cheerfully accept the imputation of disloyalty."

To establish his loyalty and show up his enemies, he did sign the oath on January 26, 1864, after the Senate successfully passed the resolution for requiring the oath, but then immediately resigned rather than serve in a Senate imposing such a requirement. "Standing, therefore, almost alone in this body, I have lost the hope that I can longer be of service to my country or my State.... I have lived to see the elective franchise trodden under foot in my native State by the iron heel of the soldier .... I have lived to see her citizens torn from their homes and separated from their families . . . Without any charge expressed ... and without any known accuser."

The Messenger. Georgetown, Del.: D. Dodd, April 24, 1861.

Fort Sumter was captured by the Confederacy on April 14, 1861, sparking the beginning of the Civil War. The Georgetown Messenger immediately made its Unionist position plain, apparently much to the outrage of several readers. The Messenger responded, "We are sorry to learn that our editorial of last week, on the war, gave offense to some of our friends. This we did not intend.... We were not aware that there were any secessionists in our midst. We knew that there were many persons with Southern feelings . . . but we also had a right to expect that in a matter of Union or disunion, every man would be found under the stars and stripes.... But as we never act from pecuniary motives, we shall not swerve from our Union sentiments so long as we can find a single man to read the Messenger." In the editorial that follows, headlined "Shall the Government be Overthrown," the editor urged, "Citizens and freemen of the State of Delaware, look to your interests.... Don't forsake this glorious Union. Stand by the star spangled banner, and all yet will be well." The newspaper further encouraged Sussex farmers to plant more corn for the war effort, and labelled as traitors those in Seaford who celebrated the fall of Fort Sumter. This issue also includes news of Union sentiment in West Virginia, the reaction of Philadelphia to the capture of Fort Sumter, the mob riot against federal troops in Baltimore, as well as an advertisement from the Wilmington bookshop of J. T. Heald for four manuals on military tactics intended for "the Volunteers and Militia of the United States."

The Messenger. Georgetown, Del.: D. Dodd, July 3, 1861.

While many in Sussex County held sympathies for the Confederacy, the Georgetown Messenger was a decidedly Unionist newspaper. This issue reports on the June 27, 1861 "Peace Convention" held on Dover Green. Presided over by Governor William Temple, the convention was clearly in opposition to the Lincoln administration. Former congressman William Whiteley, Secretary of State Edward Ridgely, and Thomas F. Bayard, son of the senior senator from Delaware, James A. Bayard, made speeches generally interpreted as pro-Confederacy. They did not advocate secession as a practical course for Delaware, but they urged that the Southern states be allowed to go their way in peace, calling for an end to what they deemed an unconstitutional, as well as fratricidal, war. The Messenger's editorial on the convention declares "How Can it Be?" -- questioning how erstwhile Unionists could advocate disunion: "Men who declare themselves good Union men . . , yet go in for dividing the States of this Republic, had better look at their dictionaries and see if the definitions of the words Union and disunion don't differ a little." Other news of civil war around the nation dominates the rest of the issue.

The Messenger. Georgetown, Del.: D. Dodd, August 21, 1861.

The editorials in this issue of the Georgetown Messenger include a defense of the government's direct tax ("The man who would object to paying a few dallars [sic] to preserve such a government as this, is not worthy to enjoy its free institutions"), a warning against those who issue "The Cry for Peace" ("there never would be rest for the border States"), and a criticism of those opposed to the war ("They ... rejoice to hear of the shooting of Government troops by the Southern Rebels who are trying to destroy this happy Republic and rear a monarchy in its stead").

Other Civil War news in this issue includes the return of the First Delaware Regiment and a call for new volunteers, the battle at Springfield, Missouri, a naval engagement at Matthias Point, and a report of a possible Confederate attempt to invade southern California.

Friend after friend departs;        
 Who has not lost a friend?
        There is no union here of hearts,
That finds not here an end;
        here this frail world our final rest,
Living or dying now were blest

From the notebook of James Maxwell, 1862.
From Ms 170 James R. Maxwell Papers, Gift of Homer Riddle Lee

Newark resident and student of Delaware College, James Maxwell copied this somber verse in the cover of his Industrial Physics notebook. The bitter play on the word "union" probably reflected the not uncommon tragic loss for many of loved ones to the great cause of the Nation's union.

Autograph letter, James Maxwell to his sister, October 27, 1864.
From Ms 170 James R. Maxwell Papers, Gift of Homer Riddle Lee

In response to a letter from his sister devoted to politics, Maxwell forgave his sister for her poor logic, citing her ignorance of politics, in an argument about the 1864 election. She apparently posed that if rebels preferred McClellan to Lincoln, McClellan must be a rebel and therefore, Lincoln must be elected at all costs. Maxwell countered that "I will give my vote for the one that makes the Union the one condition of Peace, and not for him that says you must liberate all your slaves before I will talk of terms."

William Cannon.
Upon Taking the Oath of Office as Governor of the State of Delaware, January 20, 1863. Wilmington: Henry Eckel, 1863.

William Cannon (1809-1865), a prosperous Sussex County merchant-farmer and a former Democrat, won the 1862 gubernatorial election on the pro-Lincoln Union Party ticket. In this inaugural address, Cannon made clear his Lincolnist position on the Civil War and slavery in Delaware. Cannon's address attracted considerable attention throughout the North , as he announced that vigorous measures would be undertaken by his administration to support the federal government, and his record as governor bore out his promises. The Delaware legislature, however, formed a committee controlled by Democrats to investigate the charges that Cannon had won the governorship by intimidating Democrats with federal troops at the polls. In its lengthy report, the committee singled out Cannon, his secretary of state National B. Slithers, and former U. S. representative George P. Fisher as mainly responsible for the presence of the troops.

Draft notice, 1st District, State of Delaware, to Edmund A. Lewis, August 18, 1863.
From Ms 130 Lewis Family Papers
Receipt of William Curtis, a substitute for Edmund A. Lewis, 1863.
From Ms 130 Lewis Family Papers

Edward A. Lewis of White Clay Creek Hundred was drafted into the service of the United States in accordance with an act of Congress passed in 1863. However, Lewis secured a substitute and was exempted from service, as reflected in the document of receipt. The handwritten note attached to the draft notice describes William Curtis, who was hired by Lewis for $275.

The Regimental Flag. Camp Wilkes, Va.: Second Regiment, Delaware Volunteers, January 23, 1862.

This weekly camp newspaper was published by and for the Second Regiment of Delaware Volunteers, and was edited by Captain J. M. Barr. The Second Regiment, recruited in the summer of 1861, left Camp Brandywine on September 17, 1861 and went to Cambridge, Maryland. It was sent down the eastern shore to drive out the 3,000 Confederates in Accomac County, Va, and establish Camp Wilkes. This regiment afterwards fought at Gaines Mill, Malvern Hill, and Antietam, where they lost 404 in wounded or dead. The regiment was later present for the attack on Round Top at Gettysburg.

Willard Saulsbury.
Speech of Hon. Willard Saulsbury, of Delaware, on the Resolution Proposing to Expel the Hon. Jesse D. Bright. Washington City: Henry Polkinhorn, 1862.

Willard Saulsbury (1820-1892) was a United States Senator from Delaware, 1859-73, and in his politics he well-represented the sentiments of a border state. He strongly defended the institution of slavery, but was as equally opposed to secession. He was exceedingly critical of arrests in Delaware for alleged disloyalty to the Union and opposed military and naval interference in elections and the President's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. On January 29, 1862, he gave this speech in the Senate against the resolution to expel Senator Jesse Bright of Indiana for alleged treason. Bright was accused of treason for having written a letter of introduction to Jefferson Davis in 1861. The debate over his expulsion lasted twenty days, but he was ultimately expelled on February 5, 1862 by a vote of 32 to 14.

Willard Saulsbury.
Military Interference with Elections: Speech of Hon. Willard Saulsbury of Delaware, Delivered in the Senate of the United States, March 24 and 25, 1864. Washington, D.C.: Office of the "Constitutional Union", 1864.

In the general election of 1862, out of a desire to preserve order in a state that had much strong feeling on both sides of the secession issue, and where many accusations of disloyalty were raised and arrests made, federal troops were ordered to Delaware, where some were stationed at the polls. Democrats decried the use of the military at the polls as coercion and Willard complained that "Peaceable, quiet citizens, saying not a word, on their way to the polls and before they had got to the election ground, were arrested and dragged out of their wagons [and] carried away, " and that others were "assaulted at the polls." In the presidential election year of 1864, in which Saulsbury himself was facing reelection, he delivered this speech opposing military interference with elections and supporting a bill to prevent the army and navy from doing so.

Report of the Committee of the General Assembly of the State of Delaware, Together with the Journal of the Committee, and the Testimony Taken Before Them, in Regard to the Interference by United States Troops with the General Election, Held in the State on the Fourth Day of November, 1862. Dover, Delaware: James Kirk, 1863.
Gift of the Delaware State Library

George Alfred Townsend.
Campaigns of a Non-Combatant, and His Romaunt Abroad During the War. New York: Blelock & Company, 1866.

Journalist and author George Alfred Townsend (1841-1914) was born in Georgetown, Delaware, and attended Newark Academy. He began his career in 1860 at the Philadelphia Inquirer, and became a war correspondent for the New York Herald and the New York World. His accounts of the war's final battles and of Lincoln's assassination won him nationwide recognition. He continued to become one of the most important journalists of the reconstruction period. Campaigns of a Non-Combatant, published immediately after the close of the Civil War, is a collection of personal accounts of life as a war correspondent during the war.

Autograph letter, George Alfred Townsend to Henry Bacon, September 29, 1896.
Autograph letter, Henry Bacon to George Alfred Townsend, October 16, 1896.
"Signal Station on the Potomac," lithograph from original by Henry Bacon, 1862.
From Ms 99 Miscellaneous Literary and Historical Collections

His experience as a war correspondent was most significant in the career of journalist and author George Alfred Townsend. Like many whose lives were affected by the Civil War, Townsend was active in veterans and memorial groups. As secretary of the Site of Army Correspondents' Memorial in Hagerstown, Maryland, he wrote to Henry Bacon to confirm his name for addition to the thirty six artists whose names appeared on the memorial tablet.

Illustrator Henry Bacon, who had served as a corporal in the 13th Massachusetts Volunteers, responded that his first drawing ever published in an illustrated newspaper, New York Illustrated News, was of the camp of the 13th Massachusetts Volunteers in Williamsport in the winter of 1862. Bacon appreciated Townsend's contact and recognition, and sent a copy of "Signal Station on the Potomac" as evidence of his work. He also sent a "five dollar green back" for the memorial.

William P. Seville.
History of the First Regiment, Delaware Volunteers.... Wilmington: Historical Society of Delaware, 1884. (Papers of the Historical Society of Delaware V).

Another history of the First Delaware Regiment prepared for the Historical Society of Delaware by William P. Seville, Captain of the Regiment's Company E.

James H. Wilson.
Captain Charles Corbit's Charge at Westminister with a Squadron of the First Delaware Cavalry June 29, 1863 an Episode of the Gettysburg Campaign. Wilmington: Historical Society of Delaware, 1913. (Papers of the Historical Society of Delaware LXII).

The First Delaware Cavalry was organized in January, February, and May, 1862, and was mustered into service under Colonel George P. Fisher, the former congressman from Delaware. The First Delaware Cavalry served throughout the war. Company C was commanded by Captain Charles Corbit. This account relates the details of Corbit's cavalry engagement at Westminster, Maryland, about thirty miles southeast of Gettysburg. Although Corbit himself was captured, the fight sufficiently slowed Confederate General J. E. B. Stuart from meeting up with Lee's troops at Gettysburg to give effective support.

Thomas G. Murphy.
Four Years in the War. The History of the First Regiment of Delaware Veteran Volunteers. Philadelphia: James S. Clayton, 1866.

News of the firing on Fort Sumter in April 1861 electrified Delawareans. Guards were placed in Wilmington, Home Guards were called, and rallies were held throughout the state. By May 1, 1861, 750 men had enlisted in Wilmington. These became the First Delaware Regiment under the command of Colonel Henry H. Lockwood. Its soldiers had volunteered for only three months; reorganized under Colonel John W. Andrew, this regiment was mustered into the service again in October and served through the war. It suffered t.he loss of almost one-third of its troops by death or injury at the battle of Antietam alone. The First Delaware was involved in twenty-four engagements including Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Appomattox. Throughout the war, eight other Delaware infantry regiments were formed, as was one regiment of cavalry, two battery units, and an independent artillery company. This memoir of the First Delaware Regiment was written by Thomas G. Murphy, its chaplain.

Robert G. Smith.
A Brief Account of the Services Rendered by the Second Regiment Delaware Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion. Wilmington: Historical Society of Delaware, 1909. (Papers of the Historical Society of Delaware III).

This history of the Second Delaware Infantry was written by Robert G. Smith, Second Lieutenant of the Regiment's Company A.

The Muster Roll. Vol. VII, No. 22, Christmas Edition. Wilmington: Charles A. Foster, 1895.

This semi-monthly veterans' periodical was published in Wilmington and "devoted to the interest of the Grand Army of the Republic, Union Veteran Legion, Union Veteran Union, Sons of Veterans, Woman's Relief Corps, Ladies of the G. A. R., and interesting columns for the Camp Fire and Fireside." This issue includes a reminiscence of "the noble Blue Hen's Chickens and the Maryland boys" at the Battle of Antietam.

F. O. C. Darley.
A Selection of War Lyrics. New York: James G. Gregory, 1864.

Felix Octavius Carr Darley (1822-1888) was a popular American illustrator who, on the eve of the Civil War, settled in Claymont, Delaware. He established his reputation in the 1850s and was a much sought-after illustrator for books and periodicals. "Illustrated by Darley" became a potent phrase in new-book advertisements. He made numerous images of civil war scenes, including those in this collection of verse on civil war themes.

A. J. Davis.
Delaware Militia Grand March. New York: Spear & Dehnhoff, 1884.

A military march for the Delaware militia scored for piano.


The Spanish-American War (1898) had a relatively small effect on the life of the state. Fortifications at forts Delaware and Du Pont were expanded, Delaware troops guarded powder works and railroads in the state, others were stationed at Fort George Meade in Pennsylvania, and a few saw service in the Philippines. In 1916, trouble on the Mexican border led President Wilson to federalize two battalions of Delaware National Guard and send them to New Mexico, where they remained until February 1917. The United States entered the First World War in April 1917, and troops that had served on the Mexican border became the First Delaware Regiment of Infantry, which eventually constituted the major part of the 59th Pioneer Infantry, which sailed to France at the end of August 1918 and was rushed into the front lines the next month. More than 9,000 Delawareans served during World War I.

Delaware's industries, which were so important to the Union cause during the Civil War, now played an even more significant role. The state's shipyards, powder mills, and other industries operated at full capacity on behalf of the war effort. More than forty percent of the gunpowder used by Allied troops was supplied by the du Pont Company whose diversified research and development efforts during the war helped transform it from a manufacturer of explosives to the largest chemical company in the United States.

Delaware State Council of Defense.
Win the War. s.l.: State Council of Defense, 1918-1919.

When the United States entered World War I in April 1917, a National Council of Defense was established to coordinate domestic wartime activities. The National Council called for the formation of regional coordinating bodies at the state and local levels. On July 10, 1918, Delaware held a defense council conference in Wilmington, at which a number of local defense committees were established, including the State, Wilmington, New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County councils, and the Woman's Committee. Everett C. Johnson--Governor John G. Townsend's secretary of state, and the subsequent founder of the Newark-based Press of Kells- became the State Council's director general.

Win the War, "A Journal of Patriotism wherein are reflected the thought and activities of the citizens of Delaware in winning the war," was the official publication of the Delaware State Council of Defense. Its purpose was for official communication "of the various activities in this and other states, suggestions and requests from the national organization and any proposed plans or campaign for Defense work in the State," and as "the forum for all those citizens and organizations devoting time, thought, and energy to winning the war." Articles included reports of the activities of various groups and organizations and essays on legal, health, education, child welfare, industry, and Americanization issues. The last issue, published after the war ended, was the "Reconstruction Number" devoted to post-war recommendations and planning.

Esther Everett Lape.
Americanization in Delaware: A State Policy initiated by the Delaware State Council of Defense. [s. l.: Delaware State Council of Defense, ca. 1918].

Americanization was an issue of great concern to the Delaware State Council of Defense, being presented at great length in several issues of their journal Win the War. With the large influx of immigrants to Delaware at the time, a structured and sustained program of Americanization was viewed as essential to quickly and fully integrating foreign-born residents and citizens into the war effort and as a method of instilling loyalty to the United States. This pamphlet details a complete program for Americanization in the state of Delaware.

E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Inc.
Annual Report, 1919. Wilmington: E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, 1919.

The most immediate effects of the First World War on Delaware were economic. Though the period of American military participation in the war was relatively short, the war itself lasted for more than four years, and war orders stimulated the Delaware economy for some time before the United States entered the war. Most remarkable was the effect of the war on three Wilmington- based powder companies: du Pont, Hercules, and Atlas.

This du Pont annual report details the status of company activities immediately after the war's end. After the signing of the Armistice, the U. S. government cancelled its contracts with du Pont, and the company made claims against the government for $27,595,377.18. This report also expresses successful conversion from wartime to peacetime production, and the reallocation of employees accumulated during the war into its expanding chemical business.

Marie A. V. Speakman.
Memories. Wilmington: Greenwood Bookshop, 1937.

This volume constitutes a memoir of Marie A. V. Speakman and her husband Dr. William C. Speakman, a Wilmington dentist, in their volunteer efforts in France and the United States to provide and support medical and dental care for allied combatants in World War I from 1915 to 1919. The memoir documents the work of the Speakmans and many other Delawareans in the war, particularly that of the Wilmington Dental Ambulance in France.

History of the 59th Pioneer Infantry 1918-1919 France. [Toulouse: Lemaire, ca. 1919].

The United States was a participant in World War I for only eighteen months. About ten thousand Delawareans entered the armed forces, but many of them were called up too late to participate in the fighting. A battalion of Delaware National Guard was called into service in March 1917 to guard bridges, particularly those on the main railroad lines across the Brandywine and the Christina, where it was feared German saboteurs might strike. Eventually, these Delaware troops came to constitute the major part of the 59th Pioneer Infantry, which sailed to France at the end of August 1918 and was rushed into the front lines the next month. Several of the officers who led Delaware National Guard outfits in the Second World War gained their first combat experience with the 59th Infantry in France at this time.

Georg and S. G. Von Bosse.
Three Open Letters to President Wilson, the American Clergy, and the American Press. Wilmington: Graf & Breuninger, n.d.

This pamphlet constitutes three open letters by Rev. S. G. Bosse of Wilmington strongly supportive of the German position in World War I, and a pro-Germany essay by Rev. Georg von Boss, Pastor of St. Paulus Lutheran Church, Philadelphia, Pa., entitled "Germany in Her Battle for Existence."

"Honorable Discharge from the Army of the United States," Carl John Rees, November 28, 1918.
From the Carl J. Rees Papers

Carl Rees, a graduate of Delaware College and later a University faculty member, served in the Army for only four months before he was honorably discharged. His occupation was recorded as teacher when he enlisted at Fort Du Pont in July 1918. Rees also served in the Air Force during World War II.

Broadside, ". . . Delaware Troops to Serve in Mexico," ca. 1916.

Prior to U.S. entry into World War I, a part of the National Guard was called out to confront trouble on the Mexican border. President Wilson federalized two battalions of Delaware troops in June 1916 and ordered them to Deming, New Mexico. This broadside promised a "good chance to see the world and serve your country" and called for more Delaware troops to report to the recruiting office at the Armory in Dover.


During World War II, Delaware's industries were again major contributors to the Allied cause. Shipbuilding became the state's largest industry and shipyards in Wilmington and downstate built hundreds of naval vessels. The Dravo Corporation alone launched 187 ships out of its Wilmington yard. Delaware's explosives and chemical industries, notably its three largest, du Pont, Hercules, and Atlas, were extremely active during the war, and the state's iron and steel foundries, textile manufacturers, and other industries produce equipment and products for the Allied cause.

Delawareans who served in positions of prominence in the military during World War II included Lt. General Thomas Holcomb, Commandant of the Marine Corps; Lt. General Eugene Reybold, commander of the Army Engineers; Vice-Admiral William Purnell Blandy, commander of Navy Ordinance, and a host of others. George S. Messersmith, a former Delaware secondary school teacher, held important diplomatic posts in Germany and Austria throughout the 1930s and in the State Department in the early 1940s, and his papers, housed in the University of Delaware Library Special Collections, offer a fascinating look at the events leading up to the war. It has been estimated that more than 30,000 Delawareans, representing one-tenth of the state's population in 1940, served in the armed forces during World War II.

War Department, Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army.
N 3930 - W 7530/30 Grid Zone "A". s. l: U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, April, 1942.

War Department, Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army.
N 3830 - W 7500/30 Grid Zone "A". s. l.: U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, March, 1942.

Delaware State Highway Department.
Official Road Map of the State of Delaware. Chester, Vt.: National Survey Co., 1942.

Three maps, all published in 1942, had distinctly different purposes. The maps, showing a part of New Castle County around Wilmington, and a part of Sussex County around Cape Henlopen, were designed for military usage, while the Delaware road map was intended for travellers and tourists. The road map identifies all the major military installations in the state, while the army maps show only those in New Castle County. Security around the recently garrisoned Fort Miles on Cape Henlopen was extremely tight throughout the war, and the only indication of military usage here on the army map are the two Coast Guard stations and the word "Quarantine." The major military installations in Delaware during World War 11 were:

Fort Delaware: on Pea Patch Island off Delaware City. Its usefulness during WWII was negligible, since Fort Miles became the chief Delaware River defense. In 1942, Battery C of 261st Separate Coast Artillery Battalion (Harbor Defense) operated two batteries of three-inch guns there.

Fort Du Pont: located just south of Delaware City. It was the initial headquarters of the harbor defenses of the Delaware Bay and River until the opening of Fort Miles. Of Civil War origin, the fort was expanded in 1941 and became a center for many activities during the war, including service as a German prisoner-of-war camp.

Fort Saulsbury: located approximately seven miles east of Milford on Cedar Creek. It was established as a Coast Artillery defense unit during WWI. Its purpose during WWII was as a training base for the 261st Battalion, Harbor Defense.

Fort Miles: located on Cape Henlopen, it served as chief of the harbor defenses of the Delaware, opening on August 8, 1941.

Important military air fields in Delaware included New Castle County Air Base, located at Hare's Corner off Route 13; the Dover Army Air Field, near the state capital; and the Georgetown Naval Airfield, near the county seat of Sussex.

Fort Miles, Harbor Defenses of the Delaware. [Fort Miles, Del.: Fort Miles Public Relations Office, 1943]

Since the Revolutionary War, Cape Henlopen has been of strategic military importance as the principal defense point of the Delaware Bay and River. In 1941, a high-security Coast Artillery Post was established on the dunes of Henlopen and named Fort Miles after Lieutenant General Nelson Appleton Miles, Commanding General of the United States Army, 1895-1903. Parts of the 261st Coast Artillery Battalion, a federalized Delaware National Guard unit, provided most of the troops. Huge stationary guns, concrete bunkers, and observation towers were established, the remnants of which can still be observed all along the Delaware Atlantic coast. Fortunately, the guns never had to be used, but a German prisoner-of-war camp was established there, and when the war came to an end, Fort Miles served as a separation center.

The size and strength of the batteries at Fort Miles were closely-guarded secrets, but public relations activities with the people of Delaware were continuous throughout the war, including holiday and social events, local aid activities by Fort Miles troops, and this public relations booklet which includes the "Marching Song of the Harbor Defenses of the Delaware."

Photograph of Grace Lloyd Collins Walsh (1896?-1992).
Armband, American Women's Voluntary Service, 1942.
Application for driver and list of evacuation centers, American Women's Voluntary Service, 1942.
Photograph of volunteers, American Women's Voluntary Service, 1942.
Assorted identification and certificates, 1942-1943
Certificate of appreciation, Women's Army Auxiliary Corps to Green Lantern Studio, June 21, 1943.
From Ms 145 Grace Lloyd Colllins Walsh Papers, Gift of Grace Lloyd Walsh.

A Wilmington businesswoman and advertising designer, Walsh was the owner of the Green Lantern Studio, a store specializing in fine gifts and bridal goods. Her stores were later known as "Grace Lloyd Collins" and after a second marriage, "Lloyd Walsh." During World War II, she was active in the American Women's Voluntary Service (AWVS) as a chauffeur. Like many Americans on the homefront, Walsh took courses and received certificates for programs of preparedness and civil defense. An AWVS chauffeur like Grace Lloyd Collins had to provide her own car, and also know how to maintain and care for it.

Newark Trust Company.
Financing Your Business After Victory. Newark, Del.: Newark Trust Company, ca. 1946.

Throughout the Second World War, Delaware industry, business, financial institutions, and agriculture were continuously planning for a postwar economy. This brochure outlines the financial services offered by the Newark Trust Company for financing Delaware businesses after the war.

Jesse H. Stiller.
George S. Messersmith: Diplomat of Democracy. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1987.

Jesse Stiller, whose primary research on Delawarean and career diplomat George Messersmith was based on the collection of Messersmith's personal papers located at the University of Delaware Library, wrote:

Messersmith's career affords insight into the many personalities and global crises that he encountered. As U.S. consul general in Berlin from 1930 to 1934, he witnessed the Nazis' rise to power, warning from the beginning that Hitler represented a threat to Western civilization. A lonely advocate of cooperation with the Soviet Union against the Fascist menace, he endured ostracism by the Department of State. Later, as assistant secretary of state, he continued to agitate for unpopular causes, meanwhile fulfilling a personal mandate from Roosevelt to promote the democratization of the State Department.

Typed letter, George Messersmith to Mr. Secretary [Cordell Hull], August 20, 1938.
From Ms 109 George S. Messersmith Papers

Messersmith repeatedly wrote government officials to warn of the inevitability of war. Based on confidential intelligence from powerful and well-placed Germans, Messersmith conveyed danger of "the real aims and objectives of the present German Government."

Typed memorandum, George Messersmith to Senator Key Pittman, September 1, 1938.
From Ms 109 George S. Messersmith Papers

In this confidential memorandum to Senator Pittman, George Messersmith warned of the seriousness of the international situation, "the most serious crisis since 1914." He correctly predicted Hitler's intentions in Czechoslovakia, France, England, Belgium, Holland, and Denmark. Messersmith wrote, "Ambitious as this program may seem, even mad as it may seem, my own personal opinion has been for some years, and remains, that there can be no peace in Europe as long as this present Government remains in power in Germany."

Alan T. Schumacher.
Army Specialized Training at the University of Delaware. [Newark, Del.: 1946].

The Second World War gradually brought many changes to the University of Delaware campus. The first year of the war, 1942, did not affect enrollment very much, but by 1943 voluntary enlistments and the draft caused the number of students to dwindle. In that year, however, the army began sending soldiers to the University mainly for engineering, and within ten months approximately 600 soldiers, many of them mature and with some previous college experience, studied at Delaware. In March 1944, however, they were suddenly withdrawn because of the need for troops at the front. In their place came the Army Specialized Training Reserve Program that was comprised of young high school graduates who volunteered for the program in which they received free education at government expense until the end of a term following their eighteenth birthday. The rate of attrition among them was high, however, with few remaining to complete three twelve-week terms and receive a certificate. After the program was concluded in 1946, 1,622 trainees had attended the University.

Civilian defense helmet, ca 1943.
From Ms 119 John P, Ernest Papers

John Reynolds Ernest was a Newark, Delaware, resident who was actively involved with the Civil Defense program in the Newark area during World War II. He was a section warden for Air Raid Zone 7 (and occasionally for number 3) of Newark. Zone 7 included the area bordered by Main Street on the north, West Park Place on the south, South College on the east, and Elkton Road on the west.

"Meet Your Air Raid Warden!" leaflet distributed by F. H. La Guardia, U.S. Director of Civilian Defense, ca. 1943.
From Ms 119 John R. Ernest Papers

Volunteer air raid wardens were integral community members whose ability to provide safety and preparedness advice depended on their knowledge of the community's families, shelters, power supplies, and emergency resources.

"A Job Only a Woman Can Do!" Salvage Division, War Production Board, 1943.
From Ms 119 John R. Ernest Papers

As part of civil defense efforts, American homemakers were encouraged to collect a number of different items, including used cooking fats and greases. By taking fats to their local butcher, women could get additional meat ration stamps. According to the Secretary of Agriculture, glycerin was processed from collected fats and used in the production of gunpowder, explosives, medical supplies, and other goods used by the fighting forces.

Basic Mileage Ration stamps and War Ration Book One, 1942.
From Ms 119 John R. Ernest Papers

In a program administered by the Office of Price Administration, a variety of products including meat, clothing, and gasoline were rationed during World War II.

Report of Chief Observer, Observation Post 10-A Delaware, 1941.
Confidential code name card and U.S. Army Aircraft Warning Service Identification, 1941.
From Ms 119 John R. Ernest Papers

A significant program in homefront defense efforts was civilian participation in the U.S. Army Aircraft Warning Service. Volunteer observers staffed local posts and kept watch for enemy planes. The public had strong fears of the threat of air raids, especially after the great damage suffered by the English in the Blitz of London. The report of Chief Observer F. Allyn Cooch, Jr., lists the civilian volunteers of the Newark observation post. John Ernest's confidential code name, used for reporting observations to the government, was "Eugene Eight Seven."

Return to the Future, typed manuscript, signed and corrected by Sigrid Undset (1882-1949).
Typed letter, signed, Sigrid Undset to the Book and Author War Bond Committee, May 15,1944.
From Ms 276 Delaware Victory Bond Manuscript Collection

A variety of methods were used nationally and locally to sell war bonds and other government securities during World War II. Bond sales served several purposes: they provided a level of psychological participation for Americans and also absorbed some of the money flowing into the economy from the war boom. War loan drives supplemented ongoing bond sales campaigns. A nationally-coordinated Delaware event was the Book and Authors Rally held at the Playhouse in Wilmington on December 10, 1945. Authors donated manuscripts and first editions to a national committee. These were then sent to various localities to be auctioned, and buyers bid in government securities instead of dollars. Also, authors often attended the rallies and individuals could purchase autographs with bonds of certain amounts. The Undset manuscript was sold in Wilmington for $500,000. The purchaser, Universal Credit Company, donated the manuscript to the University. Securities worth $6,248,050 were raised at the Playhouse auction.

E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company.
The Du Pont Company's Part in the National Security Program, 1940-1945. Wilmington: E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Company, 1946.

This booklet summarizes the du Pont Company's contributions to the war effort, including research, development, and production of products and materials, the construction of government manufacturing plants, the atomic energy operation, and the company's capital investment in the government and the war effort. From du Pont's perspective "World War II was a war of science and a war of industries as well as a clash of armies in the field. In the race of laboratories and production lines, the American chemical industry was called upon to take a leading part. Chemical research and manufacture produced not only elements of ordnance that insured military success, but materials which went into strengthening and husbanding the very economy of the nation itself."

E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Inc.
Annual Report, 1941, Annual Report, 1942, Annual Report, 1943, and Annual Report, 1944. Wilmington: E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, 1941, 1943, and 1944.

After the shipyards, the largest local employers in Delaware during World War II were powder and chemical companies, especially du Pont. Although explosives were no longer manufactured in Delaware, the administrative and service departments of the du Pont Company were centered in Delaware and were remarkably active. The emphasis for du Pont was once again on military explosives, and the company turned out three times the amount of explosives that it had manufactured during World War I. Other du Pont contributions to the war included the production of nylon, rayon, synthetic camphor, neoprene, synthetic ammonia, and dyestuffs. Most of the du Pont nylon production at Seaford went to such war products as military parachutes.

Nylon, the First 25 Years. Wilmington: E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, 1963.

On September 21, 1938, The Du Pont Company received a patent for a new textile fiber which they named "nylon." Part of the immense success of the product was its use for a variety of defense applications during World War II.

British and American Ambulance Corps.
Don't Be a Dope and Spread Inside Dope. Loose Talk Can Cost Lives. s. l.: British and American Ambulance Corps, 1942.
Poster by C. C. Ball.

British and American Ambulance Corps.
Loose Talk Can Cost Lives. s. l.: British and American Ambulance Corps, 1942.
Poster by Steven Dehanos.

This national security campaign on the "loose lips sink ships" theme was directed at troops stationed at home and the citizen working for national defense. With its numerous war related industries and military installations, messages of this kind were particularly relevant in Delaware.

United States Treasury Department.
Let 'Em Have It. Buy Extra Bonds. [Washington, D. C.] United States Government Printing Office, 1943.

The language and imagery used in this national campaign poster for the 4th War Loan was repeated at the state and local levels.

"Let 'em have it now!" leaflet promoting 4th War Loan, 1944.
From Ms 119 John P. Ernest Papers

This poster, printed by Knebels Press in Wilmington, adopted in a local program the national campaign for the 4th War Loan and bond drive during World War II. Delaware's goal in the campaign was $43,000,000.

Wilmington and Vicinity Telephone Directory. Wilmington: Diamond State Telephone Company, January 1943.

Among Diamond State Telephone's contributions to local efforts during World War II was to remind its customers to "clear the lines for war calls."

Volunteer's cap, American National Red Cross, 1943.
From Ms 260 Archive of the New Century Club of Newark, Gift of the New Century Club of Newark

The New Century Club of Newark was organized as a reading club in 1893. Eventually, the Club began to take on matters of civic responsibility. By the time of the First World War, the Club became attentive to issues of state, national, and international concern. During both World Wars, the Club House was made available to the Red Cross and to soldiers stationed in Delaware. The members of the Club participated in making bandages and clothes for Belgian troops and American soldiers overseas.

Page from scrapbook, New Century Club of Newark, 1943.
From Ms 260 Archives of the New Century Club of Newark, Gift of the New Century Club of Newark

After the military organized women's branches, recruitment became a project of women's clubs. The strategy of using the club women's support emphasized the respectability of women serving in the military. WAAC recruiters were frequent speakers at club meetings, including the April 1943 meeting of the New Century Club, as documented in this page from their scrapbook.

Canned food label, Isaacs' Farm, Ellendale, Delaware, 1940s.
Gift of Bernard L. Herman

An appeal to patriotism was a popular advertising ploy used by many companies, large and small, during the years of World War II. Every kind of company proclaimed their contribution to the war effort.


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