A monument to Delawareans who were loyal to the South
On May 12, 2007, local groups dedicated a monument to honor Delaware’s Confederate veterans and partisans. The monument is located at the Nutter B. Marvel Museum in Georgetown. The Sons of Confederate Veterans “Delaware Grays” Camp #2068 in Seaford, the United Daughters of the Confederacy “Caleb Ross” Chapter #2635, and the Georgetown Historical Society sponsored the financing and construction of the monument.
The fact that this monument was only constructed in recent years is an indication of Delaware’s divided politics over the Civil War that has lasted to the present day. Note that this monument came about through the efforts of private organizations, and no public or governmental sponsorship was involved.
According to the Delaware Grays Web site (http://descv.org/), the monument includes the names of any Delaware statesmen who resided in Delaware prior to the Civil War (War Between the States) and favored the Southern cause. Also included are those who fought or gave aid to the Confederate States of America. Listed on this monument, which stands approximately 12 feet tall with a 16-foot-wide base, are the soldiers’ names, rank, unit and original place of residence within Delaware.
There are two flag poles that flank each side of the monument, one flying the Delaware state flag and the other displaying one of the many Southern flags under which the Confederate soldiers fought. The Confederate battle flag is inscribed on the monument, with an additional star to represent Delaware.
There are more than 100 names on the monument, several being recently inscribed as new information became available about Delawareans who fought for the South. Camp #2068 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans continues to conduct research and will add newly discovered names in the future. Most estimates show that about 250 actually served the South during the war, although some believe the number could be as high as 2,000.
Prominent names that can be found on the monument include:
• William Ross from Seaford, governor of Delaware from 1851 to 1855, was a strong supporter of the Southern cause. His son fought for the South.
• The Rev. James Vallandigham was a Southern sympathizer and pastor of the White Clay Creek Presbyterian Church in Newark. He had two sons who fought in Robert E. Lee’s army.
• Thomas Bayard from Wilmington commanded a pro-South militia company called the Delaware Guards, and was the son of James Bayard, the U.S. senator from Delaware.
• Charles duPont Bird from Dover, a member of the prominent duPont family who at the time was a student at Loyola College in Baltimore and a Southern sympathizer, sent a letter to Henry Wise, former governor of Virginia, who forwarded it to Gen. Robert E. Lee. The letter advised that the duPont family powder works on the Brandywine should be captured and, if necessary, destroyed. If Lee and his army had reached as far as Philadelphia during his invasion of the North in 1863, he would have undoubtedly followed Bird’s advice. That letter is included in the Official Records of the Civil War.
• Russell B. Hobbs, from the Georgetown area, served as quartermaster of the fearsome Confederate raider ship Alabama, which was under the command of Admiral Rafael Semmes.
You can visit the Delaware Confederate Monument at the Marvel Museum, at 510 Bedford Street in Georgetown. Call the Georgetown Historical Society at (302) 855-9660 for more information and directions.
Thomas J. Ryan is a Civil War author and speaker and former president of the Central Delaware Civil War Round Table in Dover. He lives in Bethany Beach. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.