Civil War Profiles


Civil War Profiles: Commemorating Independence Day during wartime

In April 1861, the outbreak of conflict between the states cast a dark shadow across the land. On July 4 — the 85th anniversary of the American colonies declaring independence from the British realm — a Delawarean ably expressed the fears of the...

Friday, July 3, 2015 - 6:00am

Civil War Profiles: Delaware’s restrained reaction to the Civil War’s conclusion

As cited by Harold Hancock in “Delaware History,” April 1961, Wilmington native Anna Ferris noted in her diary on July 4, 1865, “Now we have ‘Victory & Peace’ & feel thankful & happy but not jubilant as we expected & there are few...

Thursday, June 25, 2015 - 12:37pm

Civil War Profiles: Pardons sought for Underground Railroad conductors

Article IV, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States of America specifically states: “No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation...

Thursday, June 18, 2015 - 8:19am

Civil War Profiles: ‘The Heavens are weeping’ over the Smyrna draft

Antipathy to President Abraham Lincoln’s policies and resistance to serving in the Union army were widespread throughout the Northern states during the Civil War. This was particularly true in the slaveholding border states of Delaware, Maryland...

Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 10:55am

Civil War Profiles: Fort Delaware is open and awaits your arrival

Although the Civil War ended 150 years ago, its memory is kept alive at Fort Delaware every year at this time. From May 31 to Oct. 3, reenactors will be reliving the experiences of Confederate military prisoners and outspoken civilians who...

Thursday, June 4, 2015 - 10:16am

Civil War Profiles: Restoration of 1st Delaware regimental flags now under way

In the spirit of the 150th anniversary of our nation’s most desperate and devastating struggle, the people of Delaware have responded to a call to preserve precious Civil War artifacts. The Delaware Historical Society recently announced that its...

Friday, May 15, 2015 - 9:23am

Civil War Profiles: The capture of Confederate President Davis in Georgia

In early May 1865, Varina Howell Davis reached the state of Georgia after having fled Richmond a month earlier. She was traveling with her four young children, her sister Margaret, two servants and a soldier who was related to the family.

...

Thursday, May 7, 2015 - 6:24am

Civil War Profiles: Davis’ flight and Lincoln’s assassination

Washingtonians first learned on the morning of April 3, 1865, that the Civil War would soon end after four long years, when a telegraph operator in Washington excitedly shouted out a war department window that “Richmond has fallen!” President...

Friday, April 17, 2015 - 4:52am

Civil War Profiles: Lee’s surrender: The beginning of the end

Church bells suddenly began tolling as darkness ended the Sabbath on April 9, 1865. Anna M. Ferris of Wilmington, Del., noted people preparing for bed were startled to learn the bells “were announcing … the surrender of [Gen. Robert E.] Lee...

Thursday, April 9, 2015 - 8:17am

Civil War Profiles: Project to honor Delaware’s Civil War veterans

It may come as a surprise to some that not all Delawareans who fought during the Civil War have grave markers indicating their service. To rectify this situation, Glenn Layton and Dan Cowgill have taken on the immense task of identifying everyone...

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - 6:11pm

Civil War Profiles: Burton Harrison: Fort Delaware’s solitary prisoner

As the Civil War’s dying embers flickered before going out, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was attempting to escape capture in Southern Georgia after having abandoned the capital at Richmond in April 1865. Davis’ objective was to join Lt....

Friday, March 20, 2015 - 10:07am

Civil War Profiles: John Dickinson confronts the slavery issue

Long before the Civil War, slavery became firmly planted in the state of Delaware. The first slave arrived here in 1639, and a steady flow would follow, given the magnet of labor-intensive tobacco crops — especially in Sussex and Kent counties....

Thursday, March 12, 2015 - 8:53am

Civil War Profiles: Lincoln’s gratitude to Delaware during the Civil War

Prior to the onset of civil war in 1861, Delaware decided to remain in the Union, even though it was one of 15 Southern states where the institution of slavery was still practiced. While choosing to side with the North, on the whole, Delaware was...

Friday, February 27, 2015 - 4:19am

Civil War Profiles: A Union general, a female spy and two Delawareans in the Shenandoah Valley

Anyone who held Unionist political leanings while living in Winchester, Va., during the Civil War years had to be particularly circumspect to avoid the wrath of secessionist neighbors. Therefore, when a young schoolteacher named Rebecca Wright...

Thursday, February 19, 2015 - 9:11am

Civil War Profiles: Newspaper partisanship in Civil War Delaware

In pre-Civil War America, the dominant newspapers were based in New York: James Gordon Bennett’s Herald, Horace Greeley’s Tribune and Henry J. Raymond’s Times. However, as Brayton Harris points out in “Newspapers in the Civil War,” the invention...

Tuesday, December 30, 2014 - 4:50pm

Civil War Profiles: Christmas and New Year’s 1864/1865: Yearning for peace

“I beg to present you as a Christmas-gift the city of Savannah...” With these words, Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman announced to President Abraham Lincoln on Dec. 22, 1864, that he had successfully completed his audacious march to the sea...

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 - 4:20pm

Civil War Profiles: Lincoln and the reporters: A cozy relationship

Since the country’s inception, political parties in the United States normally used favored press organs as outlets for news releases and policy pronouncements. When Abraham Lincoln took up residency at the White House following the 1860...

Thursday, December 11, 2014 - 8:43am

Civil War Profiles: They died at Fort Delaware; buried at Finns Point

Of the more than 400,000 Union and Confederate soldiers imprisoned during the four-year Civil War, 1861 to 1965, some 55,000 would die in captivity. These prisoners faced the likelihood of contracting terminal illnesses due to harsh conditions in...

Thursday, December 4, 2014 - 2:14pm

Civil War Profiles: Eastern Shore spy devises a military plan

Anna Ella Carroll is a member of the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame. She earned this recognition because of her political savvy, service to President Abraham Lincoln and work as a spy during the Civil War.

Carroll was born in Kingston Hall...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 2:55pm

Civil War Profiles: The Georgetown connection: ‘Gath’ memorializes Gen. Torbert

When the casket with the general’s body arrived in Milford, having traveled through Jacksonville, Fla., New York and Philadelphia, with solemn ceremonies and high-ranking officials in attendance at each location, members of the Philadelphia City...

Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 8:35am

Civil War Profiles: Winnie Davis: A Civil War ‘Romeo and Juliet’ story

The birth of President Jefferson Davis’s and his wife Varina’s youngest child, Varina Anne “Winnie” Davis, occurred on June 27, 1864. The “War Between the States,” as it was known in the South, was moving inevitably toward its conclusion.

...

Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 7:54am

Civil War Profiles: The general’s wife: Mary Currey Torbert

Alfred T.A. Torbert resigned from the United States army in 1866 after serving with distinction, including the four years of the Civil War. He held the rank of brevet major general of volunteers until the end of the war in 1865. The citizen of...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - 4:17pm

Civil War Profiles: Delaware’s Civil War military statistics

Every soldier who served during the Civil War became a statistic in one respect or another. All states that participated in the conflict, including Delaware, are documented according to their level of involvement and the casualties they suffered...

Thursday, October 30, 2014 - 9:38am

Civil War Profiles: The First Lady of the Confederacy’s Delaware connection

The Howell family, described as impulsive and hard-driving, emigrated from Wales to the Newark, Del., area in the early 18th century. The ambitious Ebenezer and Mary Bond Howell moved across the Delaware River to Shiloh, N.J., where they...

Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 9:29am

Civil War Profiles: Mark Twain during the Civil War era at the Dickens

The actor entered the Dickens Parlour Theater from the side door and described his infatuation with Mark Twain — the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, born in Missouri in 1835. He stepped onto the stage and sat at a period dressing table with...

Thursday, October 9, 2014 - 10:16am

Civil War Profiles: The 1st Delaware’s ‘torn and tattered’ flags

The 152nd anniversary of the bloodiest day of the Civil War took place on Sept. 17. On that date in 1862 at Antietam Creek in Maryland, when the 1st Delaware Regiment charged “Bloody Lane,” a strong Confederate position in a sunken road, the...

Thursday, October 2, 2014 - 2:46pm

Civil War Profiles: Arlington House: A memorial to R.E. Lee

The trauma of the oncoming Civil War caused Southerners in active military service to the United States to make, in many cases, a heart-wrenching decision: To honor their oath of allegiance to their country, or join the rebellion and pledge...

Thursday, September 25, 2014 - 6:21am

Civil War Profiles: Researching Delaware graves at Arlington National Cemetery

The endless rows of white headstones that spill across the rolling hills of Arlington National Cemetery are a startling reminder of the costliest four years in our country’s military history. One of the main areas for interment of Civil War...

Thursday, September 18, 2014 - 9:02am

Civil War Profiles: The Delaware Military Academy controversy

The state legislature approved the creation of a military school for young men in Wilmington in 1859, but its contribution to education in Delaware was short-lived. It could not survive the increasingly confrontational political atmosphere...

Thursday, September 11, 2014 - 6:20am

Civil War Profiles: Burton, Cannon & Saulsbury: Delaware’s wartime governors

During the four tumultuous years of the Civil War, 1861-1865, three men held the reins of government in Delaware. It was William Burton’s fate to be in the office of governor when secession was under consideration at the outset of the war....

Thursday, September 4, 2014 - 8:42am

Civil War Profiles: The education of Quaker brothers in wartime

Albert Smith, treasurer of the Wilmington Savings Fund Society, and his wife, Elizabeth, lived with their six sons in the upper floors above the bank at the corner of Eighth and Market streets. They were Quakers and part of Wilmington’s old-line...

Thursday, August 28, 2014 - 8:08am

Civil War Profiles: The admiral’s wife: Sophie Madeleine DuPont

The strategy, tactics and horror of the Civil War have been thoroughly documented over the nearly 150 years since it came to an end. While most the writings have been about the men who fought the war, the role of women has received attention, as...

Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 9:17am

Civil War Profiles: Townsend’s ‘mysterious estate’ on South Mountain

It is human nature to seek a refuge from life’s daily routine, a place that fulfills our craving for relaxation and privacy. Few, however, can afford a place that is secluded yet a reasonable distance from their work environment. A Delawarean by...

Thursday, August 7, 2014 - 3:03am

Civil War Profiles: Jordan Norris, 48th Georgia: ‘I was never touched by a Yankee bullet!’

Mary Ann Norris Welsh, who lives in Ocean Pines, Md., is interested in genealogy. In 1970, while checking birthdates in the family Bible during a reunion at a relative’s home in Eastover, S.C., she found a brief letter, in the form of a memoir,...

Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 10:27am

Civil War Profiles: Jordan Norris, 48th Georgia: ‘I was never touched by a Yankee bullet!’

Mary Ann Norris Welsh, who lives in Ocean Pines, Md., is interested in genealogy. In 1970, while checking birthdates in the family Bible during a reunion at a relative’s home in Eastover, S.C., she found a brief letter, in the form of a memoir,...

Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 10:27am

Civil War Profiles: ‘Dead heroes’ of the 2nd Delaware

After the outbreak of hostilities between the states in 1861, authorities in Washington soon acknowledged that the war would last longer than originally believed. Consequently, they called for men to join the Union army for a three-year...

Thursday, July 24, 2014 - 9:31am

Civil War Profiles: ‘Dead heroes’ of the 2nd Delaware

After the outbreak of hostilities between the states in 1861, authorities in Washington soon acknowledged that the war would last longer than originally believed. Consequently, they called for men to join the Union army for a three-year...

Thursday, July 24, 2014 - 9:31am

Civil War Profiles: Gettysburg campaign ends anti-climatically

In the words of Carl von Clausewitz, “War is … a continuation of political activity by other means.” Following the defeat of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army at Gettysburg in July 1863, President Abraham Lincoln visualized an end to the rebellion of...

Thursday, July 17, 2014 - 7:54am

Civil War Profiles: Gettysburg campaign ends anti-climatically

In the words of Carl von Clausewitz, “War is … a continuation of political activity by other means.” Following the defeat of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army at Gettysburg in July 1863, President Abraham Lincoln visualized an end to the rebellion of...

Thursday, July 17, 2014 - 7:54am

Civil War Profiles: Post-Gettysburg pursuit of Lee’s army

When the Army of the Potomac, under the command of Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, gained its first victory on the battlefield against Gen. Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg in early July 1863, the people of the North and the authorities in Washington were...

Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 5:16am

Civil War Profiles: Post-Gettysburg pursuit of Lee’s army

When the Army of the Potomac, under the command of Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, gained its first victory on the battlefield against Gen. Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg in early July 1863, the people of the North and the authorities in Washington were...

Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 5:16am

Civil War Profiles: Secret agent provides timely report on Lee’s invasion

In an increasingly apprehensive search for Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army, Union Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, from his headquarters in Fairfax, Va., sent his cavalry to the west and an intelligence agent to the north, to pinpoint the Army of Northern...

Thursday, June 26, 2014 - 10:37am

Civil War Profiles: Secret agent provides timely report on Lee’s invasion

In an increasingly apprehensive search for Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army, Union Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, from his headquarters in Fairfax, Va., sent his cavalry to the west and an intelligence agent to the north, to pinpoint the Army of Northern...

Thursday, June 26, 2014 - 10:37am

Civil War Profiles: Lee’s shadowy invasion through the Shenandoah Valley

Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker’s Army of the Potomac were operating in a cat-and-mouse mode on their march northward away from the Rappahannock River in early June 1863. Hooker was in pursuit of Lee,...

Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 11:02am

Civil War Profiles: Lee’s shadowy invasion through the Shenandoah Valley

Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker’s Army of the Potomac were operating in a cat-and-mouse mode on their march northward away from the Rappahannock River in early June 1863. Hooker was in pursuit of Lee,...

Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 11:02am

Civil War Profiles: ‘Here come the Rebels! — The march to Gettysburg begins

The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia fought and won the battle of Chancellorsville in early May 1863. Gen. Robert E. Lee’s outnumbered army defeated its Union opponent; however, it sustained nearly 13,000 casualties in the process.

...

Thursday, June 12, 2014 - 6:36am

Civil War Profiles: ‘Here come the Rebels! — The march to Gettysburg begins

The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia fought and won the battle of Chancellorsville in early May 1863. Gen. Robert E. Lee’s outnumbered army defeated its Union opponent; however, it sustained nearly 13,000 casualties in the process.

...

Thursday, June 12, 2014 - 6:36am

Civil War Profiles: A post-war lynching in Delaware

The end of the Civil War did not bring a complete halt to the massive loss of life that took place during four years of conflict. Animosity between the races frequently led to unbridled mob rule and lynching of African-Americans, as well as...

Friday, May 23, 2014 - 8:04am

Civil War Profiles: A post-war lynching in Delaware

The end of the Civil War did not bring a complete halt to the massive loss of life that took place during four years of conflict. Animosity between the races frequently led to unbridled mob rule and lynching of African-Americans, as well as...

Friday, May 23, 2014 - 8:04am

Civil War Profiles: A Delaware POW returns from captivity

Survival during the Civil War was not an easy task, especially given that the risk of being killed, wounded or a victim of disease was constantly present. For many soldiers, an even less-desirable fate was incarceration as a prisoner of war....

Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 8:17am