The Civil War was the seminal event in American history, said Frank Giamboy, member of The Civil War Round Table of Wilmington, Delaware, Inc. Tiny Delaware played a major role in the War Between the States, said Thomas J. Reed, co-author of “Untying the Political Knot,” Broadfoot Publishing Company. “One of four slave states that did not secede from the Union, Delaware furnished a greater percentage of men to the Union Army than any other state, and it is estimated that as many as 2,000 Delawareans may have served in the Confederate Army and Navy,” said Reed.
In many respects, the Delaware of 1860, a tiny slave state with a population of 112,216, exemplified a divided society representative of the entire United States, said Reed. Each of the three counties making up the Delmarva Peninsula was vastly different in both character and political orientation. New Castle County north of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal was an industrialized urban center. With political and financial ties to Philadelphia and New York, citizens in the northern part of the state tended to side with the Union.
Additionally, New Castle County accounted for a disproportionate share of the state’s agricultural production, said Reed. It had the most productive agricultural land in the state, including the incredibly rich flat lands near Middletown. Excellent rail and waterways linked New Castle County to the rest of the nation.
This story was first published in the News Journal under the byline of Gail A. Sisolak. All rights reserved.