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Civil War in Delaware: Part 4

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General A. T. A. Torbert: Wikipedia: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Brady-Handy Photograph Collection.

Alfred T. A. Torbert was the most significant Civil War hero from Delaware said Dr. Gary Wray, Professor of History at Wilmington College. Born in Georgetown in 1833, Torbert served with and was on a first name basis with legendary Civil War figures such as William Tecumseh Sherman and George Armstrong Custer.

Torbert’s father was a farmer, bank teller and part- time minister in Delaware, which meant that he was a man with both political and financial connections. As such, he had ambitions for his son and used his connections to get him into West Point, where Torbert was “noted for his horsemanship, and not so much for good grades,” said Wray.

In the Nineteenth century, classes at West Point were small, continued Wray. Everyone knew everyone else. When war clouds loomed in 1860-1861, each former student had to take sides. While the Civil War has been described as a confrontation pitting brother against brother, said Wray, military commanders regularly faced former classmates across the battlefields. They knew each others strengths and weaknesses, having studied together at West Point.

This story was first published in the News Journal under the byline of Gail A. Sisolak. All rights reserved.

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Civil War in Delaware: Part 3

Slavery in Delaware

Delaware played a major role in the history of African-American freedom, said Reed. Thomas Garrett organized and operated a branch of the Underground Railroad running from Seaford through Middletown and Odessa.

Harriet Tubman: Wikipedia: woodcut artist not listed; W.J. Moses, printer; stereotyped by Dennis Bro's & Co.

Harriet Tubman: Wikipedia: woodcut artist not listed; W.J. Moses, printer; stereotyped by Dennis Bro’s & Co.

Harriet Tubman conducted slaves through Delaware to freedom during the 1850’s. She was assisted by other free people of color and escaped slaves. “From 1863 to 1865, Delaware furnished 924 men to the Union Army as members of four U.S. Colored Troop Regiments,” said Reed.

The Civil War Round Table of Wilmington, Delaware, Inc, the nation’s fourth oldest civil war round table, meets to learn about and discuss these contentious times on the first Wednesday of the month from September through June. Reservations required. For information about featured speakers, visit http://mysite.verizon.net/vze6oji5/index.html .

This story was first published in the News Journal under the byline of Gail A. Sisolak. All rights reserved.