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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Correspondence, Mrs. Samuel Francis (Sophie) Du Pont to Ella Breck, 1861-10-27
Correspondence regarding Sophie's day-to-day life including correspondence with Ella's uncle, visits from Henry, and a cartes-de-visites mishap.
Correspondence, Mrs. Samuel Francis (Sophie) Du Pont to John Syle, 1861-11-22
Correspondence regarding the recent explosion on November 20, 1861 and its destruction. Sophie is taking care of Mr. Syle's children, whom she is very fond of. Sophie mentions two letters she has received from her husband.
Correspondence, Mrs. Samuel Francis (Sophie) Du Pont to Samuel Francis Du Pont, 1861-12-08
Correspondence describing Sophie's everyday life and her affection for her husband. Portions of the letter are written in French.
Correspondence, Mrs. Samuel Francis (Sophie) Du Pont to Mr. Henry Winter Davis, 1861-12-02
Correspondence inquiring about Mr. Davis' late speech in Brooklyn, which Sophie heard about from Mrs. Charles du Pont. Sophie tells Mr. Davis about recent letters she has received from her husband about the war. Sophie also mentions taking care of the Syle boys after the explosion and the various destruction the explosion caused.
Correspondence, Mrs. Samuel Francis (Sophie) Du Pont to Samuel Francis Du Pont, 1861-12-07
Correspondence describing Sophie's busy life and acquaintances and visitors to her home. She ends the letter by asking her husband if he would like her to make him some apple jelly.
Correspondence, Mrs. Samuel Francis (Sophie) Du Pont to Samuel Francis Du Pont, 1861-12-16
Correspondence written from wife to husband regarding his recent letters and her every day life. Sophie comments on the trials of General Sherman and sympathizes with the hardships of her husband in the war. Letter continues onto December 17th with discussion about Captain Gillis and General Sherman.
Correspondence, Mrs. Samuel Francis (Sophie) Du Pont to Samuel Francis Du Pont, 1861-12-23
Correspondence from wife to husband regarding every day life, which she says she condenses on account of bad eyesight. She discusses the visit of Mr. and Mrs. Gerhard and others, and comments on the letters he has sent her. Sophia laments over not being able to see her husband for Christmas Day and wishes him affectionate holidays greetings. Sophie mentions the sword that was presented to her husband in response to his victory at Port Royale, South Carolina.
Correspondence, Mrs. Samuel Francis (Sophie) Du Pont to Samuel Francis Du Pont, 1861-12-29
Correspondence from wife to husband regarding every day life while he is away at war. Sophie mentions Captain Davis, Henry Winter Davis, Mrs. Welsh, General Anderson, and Clementina and Harriet Smith. Parts of the letter are written in French. Sophie also mentions meeting with Charles and young Harrington. She encloses a note to a soldier at Port Royal from a girl in Rockdale living with the Smith family.
Correspondence, Ellen du Pont to her brother, Henry Algernon du Pont, 1860-11-30
Ellen du Pont discussing home life and West Point with her brother, Henry Algernon du Pont
Correspondence, Ellen du Pont to her bother, Henry Algernon du Pont, 1861-01-27
On the death of Victorine du Pont and Delaware politics
Correspondence, Ellen du Pont to her brother, Henry Algernon du Pont, 1861-05-27
Brandywine gossip, mentions Henry Algernon's eye affliction
Correspondence, Ellen du Pont to her brother, Henry Algernon du Pont, 1862-11-09
4th Del. Regiment going to Texas, Ellen discusses Lammot being a lot of talk and a loose cannon, also mentions Mrs. Belin is very sick, likely to die in the Winter
Correspondence, Evelina du Pont to Henry Algernon du Pont, 1862-02-01
Generally about home news, mentions Delaware staying in the Union
Correspondence, Evelina du Pont to H.A. du Pont, 1862-11-07
Delaware election, Brandywine / family news
Correspondence, Henry du Pont to his son, Henry Algernon du Pont, 1863-02-22
Henry relaying to his son news about Aunt Lina, a snowstorm and the Delaware Regiments. The Delaware Cavalry battalion had left for Drummond town, but left one Company in Wilmington in search of deserters. There was a parade of the 5th Del. Regiment, notes the Brandywine Companies were the best drillers
Correspondence, Mrs. Mary Cooper to Mrs. Samuel Francis (Sophie) Du Pont, 1862-06-18
The letter discusses Mrs. Coopers visit with Mrs. Du Pont and church activities
Correspondence, Mrs. E. du Pont Smith to her nephew, Henry Algernon du Pont, 1861-01-03
Commenting on family life and South Carolina's grievances with the Union and withdrawing
Correspondence, Mrs. E. du Pont Smith to Henry Algernon du Pont, 1861-05-09
News on the Brandywine and family, and hearing about H.A.'s movements
Correspondence, Mrs. Henry (Louisa) du Pont to her son, Henry Algernon du Pont, 1861-07-04
Mostly on Henry Algernon's being ill, the family goes to Sand Hole Woods to hear Henry take oath after his appointment from the State of Delaware
Correspondence, Mrs. Samuel Francis (Sophie) Du Pont to Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont, 1861-12-23
General conversation about who Mrs. Du Pont has seen and spending Christmas apart
Correspondence, Mrs. Samuel Francis (Sophie) Du Pont to Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont DuPont, 1862-01-15
Death of a family friend, updates on family members, issue of neutrality of England