Forgotten Delaware Confederates

Though I was born in Texas, I have spent the majority of my life living on the Delmarva Peninsula.  The Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware had numerous men run the blockade to join the Confederacy. Several are household names such as, General Arnold Elzey (Jones) and Charles S. Winder. Winder and Admiral Franklin Buchanan are buried in the same family burial ground near Wye Mills, Maryland. While quite a bit has been written about Maryland’s involvement in the Confederacy, Delaware’s part has been ignored. After searching for over 10 years I have garnered about 75 names of Delawareans who served the Confederacy. While estimates have as many as 1000 Delawareans serving the Confederacy, I feel the number was about 250-300. My original goal was to self publish a monograph, however I came across a Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp in Seaford, Delaware called the Delaware Grays who are planning on erecting a monument to these brave souls who gave up their wordly goods to fight against Yankee oppression. They would like to publish a book to help raise money for their monument, so I donated my list of men that I’ve located. Delaware, much like Maryland, was a seized state. Union troops were stationed throughout Delaware to scare southern leaning Delaware Democrats. Many men in this region were arrested without cause or charges and thrown into Prison or “sent South”. No where was this Interference more felt than during the November 4th 1862  elections in Delaware. Known Southern Sympathizer’s and Staunch Democrats were driven away from the polls and not allowed to vote by Federal troops with fixed bayonets. I’m lucky enough to own a rare copy of a book published about the Union soldiers intervention at the Delaware Polls. Published in 1863 in Dover, Delaware by James Kirk, this book called “Report of the Committee of the General Assembly of the State of Delaware together with the Journal of the Committee, and the Testimony taken before them, in regard to the Interference by the United States Troops with the General Election held in the State on the Fourth Day of November, 1862”. That may be the longest title of any Civil War related book! 😀  If you would like to help these fine men establish a monument to Delaware Confederates that will be erected in Georgetown, Delaware please visit this site and tell them Mark sent you. People in the South should realize that many Border Staters laid down their lives wearing the Gray, even though their state wasn’t allowed to secede.

Published in: on December 11, 2006 at 2:45 am  Comments (3)  

Samuel Batson Hearne

Samuel Batson Hearne was born to an old Delaware family. The Hearne’s who were staunch supporter’s of Oliver Cromwell,  fled after Cromwell’s death fearing for their safety, arrived in Delaware in the late 1600’s. Samuel was born January 28th, 1841 on the Maryland side of Delmar. Though the Hearne’s lived on the Delaware side of this small hamlet which is divided by the Mason-Dixon line, Mrs Hearne was probably visiting her relatives on the Maryland side when Samuel arrived. Delaware, much like Maryland, recieved brutal treatment at the hands of Union troops that were stationed there by the Lincoln administration to quell any Confederate sympathies. Many young men detested how they were being treated by the Occupation troops and decided to do something about it. Samuel decided to head south, much to the disatisfaction of his father who was a Union man. Crossing the Cheaspeake with 12 other men on August 22nd, 1862 he eventually arrived at Charlottesville and enlisted in the 1st Maryland Cavalry Co. B on September 10th, 1862. The 1st Maryland Cavalry was made up by many Marylander’s who entered the war at the very beginning, many serving with Jeb Stuart in the 1st Virginia Cavalry. According to family legend, when Samuel shot his first Yankee he rushed to aid the wounded man. The grateful Union soldier gave Samuel his pocket watch as a token of appreciation. After serving for some time in the Hard fighting 1st Maryland, Samuel was granted a leave and traveled home with several friends. Things went well while at home as his family hid him to keep him safe. When time came to return however, his father hatched a plot to take his son out of combat and keep him safe. He told the authorities that his son along with several comrades would be heading back south. The cavalrymen were captured April 26th, 1864 on the Chesapeake Bay by a Union Gunboat and taken to Ft McHenry. The Confederates were tried and convicted as spies and sentenced to death. Several powerful and well to do Marylanders appealed for the lives of the young men, But General Lew Wallace ignored their pleas.

Enter the Gitting’s family. Though they were powerful Southern Democrats and were known to be aiding the Confederate Cause, they had also aided someone else that owed them a favor.  In 1861 when President-elect Abraham Lincoln was heading to Washington DC with his family, there were rumors of an assination plot. Lincoln, on a train headed to Washington was to pass through Baltimore. Baltimore, who voted heavily for Breckenridge, detested Lincoln.  Lincoln left the train at Harrisburg and rode a special train to Washington leaving his family on the original train. When the train arrived at Baltimore it was met by an angry mob, that got angrier when it found out that Lincoln wasn’t aboard the train. John Gittings used his personal carriage and picked up Mary Lincoln and her sons and brought them to his house. Gittings entertained the Lincoln’s and protected them from danger. Gittings then took the Lincoln’s to the train station after the dire situation quieted down to travel on to Washington. Fast forward to August 28th, 1864 when Gittings traveled to Washington DC to request an appearance with the President. During the meeting Lincoln realized that the Gitting family had protected his family and told them he was glad he could finally repay an old debt. Lincoln commuted the sentences of the young men and their lives were saved on the very day they were to be executed. Sentenced to hard labor at Albany, New York, they were sent to Ft Monroe in early January of 1865 to be exchanged. Hearne was exchanged on March15,1865 and headed towards Richmond. Upon hearing of Lee’s surrender he went south to North Carolina, hoping to hook up with Johnston. Johnston, however surrendered before he could reach that command. Traveling back to Richmond, Hearne took the oath and headed back to Delaware. The lure of the South would call Samuel back and he eventually settled at Port Royal, Virginia on his estate named “Hickory Hill”. Samuel Hearne died October 9th, 1917

Published in: on November 11, 2006 at 4:30 am  Comments (2)