Civil War Profiles


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

Civil War Profiles: A prayer for the Confederate dead at Gettysburg

In 1920, the Episcopal Diocese elected Philip Cook as the fourth Bishop of Delaware at the Immanuel Church in Wilmington. He was the son of John D.S. Cook who served as an officer in 20th New York state militia (also known as the 80th New York...

Thursday, November 5, 2015 - 9:19am

Civil War Profiles: Family pride in a soldier’s daring accomplishments

While investigating his genealogy, Jim Grear of Long Neck discovered that an ancestor, Archibald Rowand Jr., was a Civil War hero. He also learned that Rowand’s record was documented in the literature of this tumultuous period in the nation’s...

Friday, October 23, 2015 - 10:31am

Civil War Profiles: The duPont family’s service during the Civil War

Prominent names from the Civil War era are often associated with particular states: Lincoln and Davis were natives of Kentucky; Lee and Jackson fought under the banner of Virginia; and Grant and Sherman were Ohio-born. The name most often...

Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 7:40am

Civil War Profiles:

Robert McNamara commented in his essay “Why Were Flags So Important in the Civil War?” that these flags marked the position of the regiment on the battlefield. In the noise and smoke of battle, regiments could become scattered, and vocal commands...

Thursday, September 3, 2015 - 10:00am

Civil War Profiles: Yankee woman plus Rebel man equals inevitable friction

The Civil War brought about disruption and dislocation among family and friends in many ways. The outbreak of the conflict in 1861 forced people to declare allegiance to one side or the other. This often led to surprising and, at times, combative...

Thursday, August 27, 2015 - 8:33am

Civil War Profiles: Shipbuilding in Delaware during the Civil War

When Quaker merchants migrated from Philadelphia to Delaware in the early 18th century, they attracted shipwrights and ship carpenters to the fledgling community that evolved into the city of Wilmington. In 1740, William Shipley, Joshua...

Friday, August 21, 2015 - 1:33am

Civil War Profiles: Max Neugas, Fort Delaware’s resident artist

The Fort Delaware Society’s headquarters and library, located on the grounds of Fort DuPont State Park, not far from Delaware City, has a sketch of Pea Patch Island and Fort Delaware hanging on the wall. This detailed drawing is dated 1864.

...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015 - 7:57pm

Civil War Profiles: Post-war race relations in Delaware

After peace was restored and slavery abolished in the United States in 1865, the desire of Delaware’s African-Americans for a brighter future went mostly unrealized. The Democratic Party’s control over the political process in the First State...

Thursday, July 16, 2015 - 8:35am

Civil War Profiles: Confederate ship threatens Lewes and Fort Delaware

On Nov. 3, 1864, Pvt. Alexander James Hamilton, a member of Independent Battery G, Pittsburgh Heavy Artillery, recorded in his diary that the C.S.S. Tallahassee caused alarm at Fort Delaware when it steamed into the breakwater near Lewes....

Thursday, July 9, 2015 - 5:47am

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