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 reports for ordnance at New York on June 16. He assures du Pont again that the attitude towards him remains favorable despite the reports on Charleston not yet being published. He has noticed a reluctance towards going against the Department or administration in any way, however, over concerns of being disloyal. Drayton has written to Winter Davis asking for information concerning du Pont and gives du Pont other updates as to his movements.
Percival Drayton to Samuel Francis du Pont
Drayton writes that Winter Davis asked him about the propriety of showing du Pont's reports directly to the President. Drayton suggested that Davis might mention the reports but advised against showing them directly, as it would be very unlikely to influence the President against either Welles or Fox. Drayton expresses a lack of confidence in Admiral Foote, who is to relieve du Pont as the head of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Drayton believes the truth about the limitations of the ironclads will be made known eventually, but there is nothing to be done so long as Assistant Secretary Fox supports John Ericsson.
Percival Drayton to Samuel Francis du Pont
Drayton has arrived in Philadelphia to visit his brother. He tells du Pont that a board is to be convened with Farragut as president to consider the advancement of thirty members of the Navy, and he expects that du Pont may be asked to join it. Drayton is worried that Winter Davis is so against Secretary Welles and Assistant Secretary Fox that he may attempt some motion on the subject of Navy reform and may try to bring du Pont in with him.
Samuel Francis du Pont to Percival Drayton
Du Pont tells Drayton that he has yet to hear anything directly from the Department of the Navy concerning the events at Charleston, but John Rodgers has written from Washington to indicate the possibility of 'a hostile action' against du Pont. Du Pont asks that Drayton go and see James Biddle and Davis, asking the latter as to the possibility of bringing a libel suit again Fulton.
Samuel Francis du Pont to Percival Drayton
The Department of the Navy has finally broken its silence towards du Pont with two letters, one acknowledging du Pont's reports and another addressing his letter about Fulton. Du Pont asks Drayton to go and see Mr. Winter Davis.