Civil War collections

About this collection

This digital collection includes a small but significant selection of letters, photographs, pictorial envelopes, and other primary sources from the Hagley Library connected to the Civil War. Many of the items relate to du Pont family members, soldiers who served with them, or powdermen who worked in the E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company powder yards during the war. Of particular interest is the correspondence of Rear Admiral Samuel Francis du Pont with one of his naval officers, Percival Drayton. The items were digitized in conjunction with Hagley's exhibit, An Oath of Allegiance to the Republic: the du Ponts and the Civil War. Click here to visit Hagley’s companion online exhibit.

    Image: Crew of the USS Wabash, detail. Click to view.

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Percival Drayton to Samuel Francis du Pont
Drayton writes of his uneasiness with the current state of the war, particularly concerning army and political strategy, as well as of his dissatisfaction with iron-clad vessels. He also believes that General Hunter's request to use the Vanderbilt as a ram is a bad idea, as the Vanderbilt 'would only mash herself up and not disable her enemy.' Drayton comments on the 'newspaper wars' being conducted between General Henry Benham and General Isaac Stevens concerning the failed attack at Secessionville.