Civil War Profiles


Civil War Profiles — The pre-Civil War plot to assasinate Lincoln

The outcome of the 1860 presidential election was a foregone conclusion before voters went to the polls. The Democrats had split asunder over how to handle the slavery issue, thereby ensuring their candidates would lose to the Republican nominee...

Thursday, April 27, 2017 - 8:34am

Civil War Profiles — President Jefferson Davis’ refusal to surrender

Gen. Robert E. Lee’s capitulation to Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at the Virginia town of Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, is widely regarded as the dramatic event that brought the Civil War to a close. Yet, the president of the Confederacy...

Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 11:02am

Civil War Profiles — April 14: Requiem for a day of ‘horror & grief’

On April 18, 1865, the New York Times reported that abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher had delivered an “eloquent and impressive” oration at Fort Sumter, S.C., on April 14, 1863, in commemoration of the American flag once again flying from its mast...

Thursday, April 13, 2017 - 10:08am

Civil War Profiles — Delawarean Wilson defeats Forrest at Selma

Selma, Ala., is well-known as the starting point of Martin Luther King Jr.’s nonviolent march to the capital at Montgomery in 1965 to gain voting rights for African-Americans. A century earlier, in a precursor of this struggle for freedom, Selma...

Thursday, April 6, 2017 - 10:10am

Civil War Profiles — Back to Gettysburg: A personal memo

Nearly 30 years ago, while attending a course at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., I had the good fortune of participating in a “staff ride” at Gettysburg National Military Park. This was part of a leadership training program that featured...

Friday, March 31, 2017 - 5:40am

Civil War Profiles — When spring arrives, combat is renewed!

Weather conditions played a significant role in the progress and outcome of military operations during the Civil War. This was particularly true in the eastern part of the country, and especially in Virginia, where a number of major battles took...

Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 2:27pm

Civil War Profiles — Out of Ireland, into the Union army

St. Patrick’s Day is an appropriate time to recognize the more than 200,000 men born in Ireland who fought on behalf of the North and South during the Civil War. By far, however, the predominant number of Irish served in the Union army.

...

Friday, March 17, 2017 - 7:52am

Civil War Profiles — The Northwestern secession conspiracy

Stories out of California these days describe a secession movement under way in response to the outcome of the recent presidential election. One group would like to “peaceably, legally transform the West Coast of the United States into a ‘...

Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 8:12am

Civil War Profiles — P.W.A. reports the war for Southern newspapers

Civil War documentation, such as letters, diaries and memoirs, frequently surface after being forgotten over the past 150 years in trunks, attics and official archives. Such is the case for the collection Peter Wellington Alexander produced...

Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 8:43am

Civil War Profiles — The demonization of President Abraham Lincoln

Since the inauguration of Donald John Trump as the 45th president of the United States on Jan. 20, members of the opposition have endeavored to cast him in an unfavorable light. The typical “honeymoon” period for a new president has been short-...

Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 8:37am

Civil War Profiles – African-Americans in 19th-century Delaware

Black History Month prompts a review of significant historical events affecting African-Americans in Delaware during the Civil War era. This includes antebellum years, the North-South conflict of 1861-1865 and Reconstruction.


...

Thursday, February 9, 2017 - 8:19am

Civil War Profiles – Before ‘Glory’: 1st S. Carolina U.S. Colored Troops

The 54th Massachusetts U.S. Colored Troops (USCT) is generally recognized as the first black regiment to serve in the Union army. Free blacks made their way from many different states, including Delaware, to muster into this unit soon after...

Thursday, February 2, 2017 - 8:34am

Civil War Profiles – Chronicling events on the Delaware homefront

Beginning in April 1961, the Delaware Historical Society commemorated the 100th anniversary of the war between the Northern and Southern states. The society commissioned historian Norman B. Wilkinson for this project, titled, “The Brandywine Home...

Thursday, January 26, 2017 - 7:27am

Civil War Profiles – January: The Civil War’s cruelest month

Maj. Gen. Ambrose Everett Burnside commanded the Union Army of the Potomac from late 1862 until early 1863 and presided over the disaster that occurred at Fredericksburg, Va., on Dec. 13, 1862. Formidable Rebel positions on Marye’s Heights...

Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 8:21am

Civil War Profiles – ‘You’re in the Army Now,’ Mr. Locke

Eufaula, Ala., native William Herrod Locke wrote his wife from Fort Barrancus near Pensacola, Fla., on May 10, 1861, that he anticipated combat against Federal troops would soon begin. Locke was a member of a militia unit the Eufaula Minute Men...

Thursday, January 12, 2017 - 8:00am

Civil War Profiles: ‘I heard the Bells on Christmas Day’

The 19th century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow experienced tragedy during his lifetime. His beloved wife Fanny died in a fire, and his son Charles sustained a devastating wound as an officer in the Union army during the Civil War....

Thursday, December 29, 2016 - 8:02am

Civil War Profiles – From hatred and malice do wars begin!

Recent protests against the national anthem, burning the American flag, banning the flag on college campuses and attempts to depress freedom of speech are eerily reminiscent of events prior to outbreak of hostilities between the states in the mid...

Thursday, December 22, 2016 - 7:10am

Civil War Profiles – Centenarian General Bisbee: A national hero

The Arlington National Cemetery website identifies William Henry Bisbee as “Brigadier General, United States Army.” Born in Woonsocket, R.I., in 1840, he followed his trade in retail merchandizing to Philadelphia, Delaware and Ohio while the...

Thursday, December 15, 2016 - 8:07am

Civil War Profiles – Ballooning: ‘Would you like to ride…’

The Union Army of the Potomac had high hopes, so to speak, for a new technology that became available shortly after hostilities between the states erupted in April 1861. As the Northerners faced Confederate troops across the Rappahannock River in...

Thursday, December 8, 2016 - 7:52am

Civil War Profiles – Delawareans who served with distinction

Delaware’s participation in the Civil War has received limited coverage in the annals of history in comparison with other states. Yet, the First State’s sons and daughters played important roles in the outcome of the four-year-long national...

Thursday, December 1, 2016 - 6:50am

Civil War Profiles – A day set aside to thank the Almighty

After two and a half years of sectional conflict, President Abraham Lincoln believed it prudent to “give thanks for the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.”


On Oct. 3, 1863, the president instructed Secretary of State...

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 3:55am

Civil War Profiles – A fateful ‘change’ election in 1860

On the morning of Nov. 9, 2016, millions of people awoke to the news that a man without previous governmental experience, Donald John Trump, was the president-elect of the United States. The ballots counted late into the night determined this...

Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 8:04am

Civil War Profiles - Awaiting election results with trepidation

As Election Day, Nov. 6, loomed ahead, the mood throughout the country in 1860 was one of nervous tension. Despite the fear that a number of Southern states were preparing to secede from the Union if Abraham Lincoln became president, torch-light...

Thursday, November 10, 2016 - 9:15am

Civil War Profiles – Presidential election turmoil

Hostility was at a fever pitch as the presidential election drew near. Irreparable disagreement among candidates in one of the principal political parties tore it asunder. As a result, four candidates running under separate banners contended for...

Friday, October 28, 2016 - 6:07am

Civil War Profiles – Georgetown’s Brick Hotel in Civil War Days

In January 1791, the Delaware General Assembly passed an act authorizing the Sussex County seat of government moved from Lewes to a more centrally located area. George Mitchell and several others received a commission to acquire land to construct...

Thursday, October 13, 2016 - 9:59am

Civil War Profiles – Novels shape our understanding of the Civil War

Instructors at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., led students on a “staff ride” at Gettysburg battlefield to expose them to the strategy, tactics and rigors of warfare. Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about Gettysburg, “The...

Thursday, September 29, 2016 - 10:24am

Civil War Profiles – Protecting the flag was the primary mission

The most precarious role on the battlefield is serving as a member of the color guard. The standard-bearer leads the unit into battle and absorbs the brunt of enemy gunfire.


During the Civil War, it was not uncommon for a half-...

Thursday, September 1, 2016 - 9:01am

Civil War Profiles – Spies, counterspies and Ginnie the quilter

Stories about espionage during the Civil War abound. Documentation, however, is often wanting, while legends of what occurred survive through the generations.


One such tale involves sisters Ginnie and Lottie Moon, natives of Ohio...

Thursday, August 25, 2016 - 9:35am

Civil War Profiles: Reverse Underground Railroad — Texas style

Unlike in the United States, slavery was banned in Mexico in the 19th century. As a result, Mexico became a haven for the enslaved in this country.


The so-called “Underground Railroad” flourished in the upper-South states, such as...

Friday, August 19, 2016 - 8:46am

Civil War Profiles: A confiscated gray mare finds her way home

In the category of “truth is stranger than fiction,” Jeanne Golibart Rogers, who lives in the local community of Bethany West, tells the story of her great grandfather Thomas Randolph Jarboe during the 19th century. Jarboe owned a farm known as “...

Thursday, August 11, 2016 - 9:10am

Civil War Profiles: When love blooms with an enemy soldier

Stories reminiscent of the classic film “Gone with the Wind” were not uncommon during the Civil War. When occupation forces interacted with the local population, both positive and negative relationships developed.


One real-life...

Thursday, August 4, 2016 - 9:36am

Civil War Profiles: The leading ladies of the Civil War were Southern women

Mary Custis of Virginia, Julia Dent of Missouri, Mary Todd of Kentucky and Varina Howell of Mississippi were raised according to traditional Southern custom. These women formed partnerships with men who became the presidents and military...

Thursday, July 21, 2016 - 10:20am

Civil War Profiles — Fort Delaware: A hidden treasure

Ask a friend or neighbor if they have ever been to Fort Delaware, and you will likely receive a blank stare. Surprisingly, this delightful place to visit for children of all ages remains largely undiscovered.


Located on a small...

Thursday, July 14, 2016 - 10:44am

Civil War Profiles – Lee’s escape and Meade’s pursuit after Gettysburg

“I have every reason to believe the enemy is retreating, very much crippled, and hampered with his [wagon] trains.” With these words on July 6, 1863, as recorded in the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Maj. Gen. George G. Meade...

Thursday, July 7, 2016 - 7:40am

Civil War Profiles – Delawarean’s contribution to Union victory at Gettysburg

A series of untimely and dramatic events brought George Sykes to the forefront during the Gettysburg campaign in June and July 1863.


Following the resignation of Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker as commander of the Union Army of the Potomac...

Thursday, June 30, 2016 - 8:55am

Civil War Profiles: If you are planning a trip to Gettysburg…

It is often said that, once you go to the Gettysburg National Military Park in south central Pennsylvania, you are likely to return again and again. The bloodiest battle of the Civil War took place there, and the battlefield radiates an aura that...

Thursday, June 23, 2016 - 7:20am

Civil War Profiles: Texas brigade scout/spy escapes from Fort Delaware

Mike Read’s great-great-grandfather, John J. Haggerty, was a Texan who served under Maj. Gen. John Bell Hood in the famed Texas brigade during the Civil War. A resident of the Salt Pond community in Bethany Beach, Read learned that his ancestor...

Thursday, June 16, 2016 - 10:58am

Civil War Profiles – ‘Gone with the Wind’ and ‘Back with the Tide’

In 1936, Margaret Mitchell published her popular version of aristocratic life in the antebellum South that the Civil War essentially shattered, only to be resurrected in a different guise through true grit and determination.


“Gone...

Thursday, May 19, 2016 - 9:40am

Civil War Profiles: Delaware during the Civil War: A Confederate viewpoint

The May 2016 meeting of the Georgetown Historical Society hosted Jeffrey Plummer, commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Camp #2068, based in Seaford. Plummer updated the audience concerning acknowledgment in Delaware, as well as around...

Thursday, May 12, 2016 - 9:26am

Civil War Profiles: Pioneering airborne reconnaissance during the Civil War

On Monday, June 17, 1861, in Washington, D.C., President Abraham Lincoln observed from a second-floor window of the White House as Thaddeus Lowe ascended in the gondola of the Enterprise from the grounds across the street, along Pennsylvania...

Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 8:45am

Civil War Profiles: Civil War soldiers were not all volunteers

When President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, and Congress passed the Civil War Military Draft Act on March 3, 1863, these combined initiatives caused widespread reaction among opposition groups in the North...

Friday, April 29, 2016 - 5:21am

Civil War Profiles: Winslow Homer sketches the Civil War

Most people would not readily associate the names Alfred Waud, Thomas Nast, Frank Vizetelly, Theodore R. Davis and Alexander Simplot with the Civil War. However, these men played an important role accompanying the armies in the field, employed as...

Friday, April 15, 2016 - 8:37am

Civil War Profiles: George H. Sharpe: A man of intelligence

The Bible tells us that, about 1,300 B.C., Joshua, the successor to Moses, sent spies into Canaan to “view the land” prior to the Israelites’ attack on the city of Jericho (Joshua 2.1). Previously, Joshua had served as a spy for Moses.

“...

Thursday, March 24, 2016 - 6:50am

Civil War Profiles: Harriet Tubman: Union spy

A frail, sickly black woman was the most successful conductor of slaves to freedom along the so-called Underground Railroad. This remarkable person not only freed herself from slavery, but also guided her two children and sister, as well as her...

Thursday, March 3, 2016 - 11:59am

Civil War Profiles: John and Kate: A Civil War love story

Valentine’s Day dates back to the Roman Empire, when people observed a holiday on Feb. 14 to honor Juno, the queen of Roman gods and goddesses, and the goddess of women and marriage. The fertility festival known as the Feast of Lupercalia...

Thursday, February 11, 2016 - 10:01am

Civil War Profiles: The Battle of Cockle Creek near Chincoteague

The Harlan & Hollingsworth Co. of Wilmington built vessels for the Union navy during the Civil War. It was one of the foremost shipbuilding enterprises in the United States at that time.

Prior to the war in 1860, the firm received a...

Thursday, January 28, 2016 - 9:55am

Civil War Profiles: Sons of Confederate Veterans honors Lee and Jackson

At 3:15 in the afternoon on May 10, 1863, Lt. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson deliriously uttered the phrase, “Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees.” “Stonewall” passed away following amputation of his left arm, damaged by...

Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 6:34am

Civil War Profiles: The long post-war road to Civil Rights legislation

“Black codes” was the name given to an attempt in several states to undermine the effects of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution enacted following the Civil War from 1865 to 1870. The amendments guaranteed the freedom,...

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 - 10:04am

Civil War Profiles: Sesquicentennial of Christmas 1865

The first peacetime Christmas in four years was joyful in the state of Delaware. The gunfire had ceased, and the troops had come home.

George Alfred Townsend, a young journalist from Georgetown known for his intrepid reporting during the...

Wednesday, December 23, 2015 - 8:08am

Civil War Profiles: A heartfelt discourse on Thanksgiving Day

In gratitude for recent Union victories on the battlefield, President Abraham Lincoln declared a National Day of Thanksgiving to take place on Thursday, Nov. 27, 1862. The president’s proclamation came as the Civil War raged into its second year...

Wednesday, November 25, 2015 - 8:10am