History of the First Regiment, Delaware Volunteers
[Source: Historical and Biographical Papers, Vol. 1, The Historical Society of Delaware, Wilmington,
Page 3 - Page 154]
History of the First Regiment, Delaware Volunteers
From the commencement of the "three months' service" to the final muster-out at the close of the rebellion
By William P. Seville, Captain Company "E," First Regiment Delaware Volunteers
On the 22d of April, 1873, the colors of the Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Delaware Regiments, which served in the War of the Rebellion, were turned over to the Historical Society of Delaware for safe custody. The colors were presented by Major-General Hancock, on behalf of the regiments, and were received by William C. Spruance, Esp., as the representative of the Society, in the presence of a large assembly in the Opera-House in the city of Wilmington.
On the 29th of January 1884, the colors carried by the First Delaware Regiment during the last three eventful years of the war, were deposited in the Rooms of the Society, subject to the orders of the Regimental Association. The ceremony of delivery was informal, and, in consequence of inclement weather and defective notice, very few persons were present on the occasion. At a subsequent meeting of the Society, on motion of Dr. L. P. Bush, a resolution was adopted to the effect that the Council of the First Delaware Regiment Association be requested to prepare a brief history of the regiment for the use of the Society. Captain W. P. Seville was selected by his comrades for the performance of this duty, and on May 19, 1884, that gentleman read the material portions of the following paper before the survivors of the regiment, the members of the Society and invited guests.
Captain Seville was well qualified for the task assigned to him from the fact that he took a prominent part in organizing the First Delaware Regiment for three months' service, and also in its reorganization for three years. He was adjutant of both regiments, was afterwards appointed captain of Company E, and from the spring of 1862 served on the staffs of General T. A. Smyth and Colonel Allbright until his discharge, October 30, 1864.
A complete Muster-Roll of the First Regiment, made under the supervision of General J. Park Postles, was also deposited with the colors.
History of the First Regiment, Delaware Volunteers.
THE THREE MONTHS' CAMPAIGN.
In the spring of 1861, when the forebodings of the people that the political differences of the nation would culminate in civil strife had settled into a hopeless conviction, the citizens of Delaware were enjoying a reasonable share of prosperity, and, if we except the excitement of party issues, were comparatively tranquil.
The question of slavery, the rock on which our ship of state had struck, was, however, one of too great magnitude, and was too deeply rooted in its principles, not to affect very seriously the feelings and interests of the people of Delaware. Its citizens were closely united in habits, sympathies, and interests with that portion of our people dwelling in the gulf and cotton-raising States. Delaware itself was, in fact, a slave State at this time, and nearly all of the customs appertaining to this "peculiar institution" still exercised potent sway, although the signs of the times during the twenty years then closing clearly indicated that the slave-holding system had fallen into a rapid decline, and, at no very distant day, would be completely eradicated through the operation of natural causes alone.
The first census taken in Delaware, in 1790, showed the number of slaves in the State to be 8887. This number gradually diminished, and the census of 1860 disclosed the fact that the entire State then owned by 1798 slaves. Of these, 1341 were held in Sussex County, 254 in New Castle County, and 203 in Kent County, showing that the favorite institution of the South had a much firmer hold in Sussex than it had in either of the other counties. And thus it was that Sussex County exercised a powerful and almost controlling influence in the politics of the State; so that when the momentous questions involved in the fierce sectional quarrel obtruded themselves on the attention of the people in 1860, and reason abdicated its throne in despair of reaching either a satisfactory settlement or an honorable compromise,--when the tumultuous passions which reigned supreme abandoned the forum and sought the sanguinary field, the State of Delaware, though the best interests of its citizens were identified with the free principles which obtained throughout the North, was influenced to some extent by the positive utterances and defiant conduct of a few men whose hopes of gain and preferment were bound up in the fate of the South, and fears were entertained that disloyalty would raise its head in the halls of the Legislature and an act of secession be passed.
It was in these troublous times, when loyalty seemed to pervade the hearts of the people, and all eyes were strained to welcome the men who should step forth and disclose the requisite boldness and ability to resist the undercurrent that was drifting the State towards certain destruction, that the much-needed patriots appeared. Several among the more prominent citizens in all parts of the State, but more particularly in New Castle County, ventured to discuss the vital question in a public manner, setting clearly before the people at public assemblages, and through the mediumship of the press, the undeniable advantages that would accrue to the State by continuing true in its allegiance to the established government, appealing to the patriotism of the people, and depicting in faithful colors the horrors and suffering that would overtake the citizens of Delaware if the State should attempt to leave the Union, and be made the battle-ground of the contending armies.
These manifestations of loyalty began to take form in the efforts made in April, 1861, to organize a regiment for the defence of the Union. For some weeks there had been a growing conviction that the great national trouble, then nearing a crisis, would scarcely be dispelled without some effusion of blood in the duty of suppressing insurrection; but the most extreme among the prophets of evil hardly ventured to predict such madness on the part of the secession leaders as would drive them to indulge in any act of opposition to the general government of a more serious nature than that of threatening disruption of the Union by force of arms. Such demonstrations were regarded as mere brutum fulmen, the intemperate vaporings of a disappointed political clique; but when State after State adopted ordinances of secession; when armed bodies were organized and drilled; when the note of hostile preparation rose on every hand in the rebellious States; and, finally, when a furious force set itself in battle array before Fort Sumter, and the dreadful overture to civil war was begun on the morning of Friday, April 12, 1861, by the opening of the rebel guns on that work and the revered national flag, all doubts were instantly dissipated.
The patriots of Delaware, with those of the other loyal States, accepted the wager of battle thus thrown down by the infatuated foe. Burning with indignation at the outrage committed upon the national government and a desire to avenge that disgrace, they rallied to their country's defence.
Throughout the Northern States the initiative in organizing troops was taken promptly and effectively by their respective State governments, which at once provided officers to organize the volunteers, and made the necessary arrangements for furnishing them with arms, provisions, and clothing. This timely action resulted in placing in the field a respectable force within a fortnight after the call of the President for volunteers, on the 15th of April, 1861, and by this means the patriotic earnestness of the people was quickly utilized, and the first quota of troops was concentrating at the national capital on the 18th just three days from the date of the proclamation.
The loyal men of Delaware, however, had not the assistance of the State government in preparing to defend the country. With an intense desire to be among the first to plant their standard before the defiant foe, they were prevented from the accomplishment of this patriotic purpose through want of the requisite aid in the work of organization. To men actuated by the liveliest patriotism and the most indomitable zeal, the lack of official aid could not long prove an obstacle to success. Measures having once been taken to form a regiment for national defence, many warm-hearted and loyal men and women came forward to assist in the laudable work; and, while men engaged themselves in the labor of finding means of supplying subsistence through the liberality of the patriotic citizens, the ladies were equally earnest and successful in furnishing clothing and other necessary stores for the support of the volunteers.
The laws of Delaware contained no provision for maintaining militia organizations, and when the Governor was called on by the Secretary of War to furnish one regiment as the quota of the State, the following proclamation was issued by Governor Burton, April 23, 1861, viz.:
"Whereas, a requisition has been made upon the undersigned, as Executive of the said State of Delaware, by the Secretary of War, for one regiment, consisting of seven hundred and eighty men, to be immediately detached from the militia of this State, to serve as infantry or riflemen for the period of three months, unless sooner discharged; and whereas, the laws of this State do not confer upon the Executive any authority enabling him to comply with said requisition, there being no organized militia, nor any law requiring such organization; and, whereas, it is the duty of all good and law-abiding citizens to preserve the peace and sustain the laws and government under which we live and by which our citizens are protected:--Therefore, I, William Burton, Governor of the said State of Delaware, recommend the formation of volunteer companies for the protection of the lives and property of the people of this State against violence of any sort to which they may be exposed. For these purposes, such companies, when formed, will be under the control of the State authorities, though not subject to be ordered by the Executive into the United States service,--the law not vesting in him such authority. They will, however, have the option of offering their services to the general government, for the defence of its capital and the support of the Constitution and laws of the country.
In response to this call three companies were immediately enrolled, and, as a large number of men were ready to volunteer, who were prevented from organizing only through the lack of qualified and capable leaders, the more thoughtful and energetic of those who had been intrusted with the direction of affairs addressed themselves to the duty of seeking for men possessed of sufficient military knowledge to form these volunteers into companies and organize the regiment; their efforts were at length successful, and by the end of April four companies were formed in Wilmington and New Castle, and several others had begun the work of enrollment.
The Governor, having been informed that the required regiment could be speedily obtained, issued the subjoined order, viz.:
"DOVER, DELAWARE, MAY 1, 1861.
"The undersigned, the constitutional commander of the forces of the State of Delaware, directed that those volunteer companies of the State that desire to be mustered into the service of the United States, under the call of the President, will rendezvous to the city of Washington with the least possible delay, where they will be mustered into the service of the United States by Major Ruff, who has been detailed by the War Department for that purpose, and who has reported himself to me and received my instructions. The regiment will consist of ten companies, to serve for the period of three months.
"Governor and Commander-in-Chief."
THE WORK OF ORGANIZATION.
During the political campaign of 1860 party spirit, as before remarked, ran very high. The most determined efforts were used by popular leaders to spur every man up to the performance of his duty. One of the prominent features of the campaign was the formation of clubs, familiarly known as "Wide Awakes," "Bell Men," and "Minute Men." These bodies, besides being distinguished by peculiar uniforms, were thoroughly exercised in tactics similar to those used in military service. From these bands sprang the enrollment of the first companies of volunteers in the city of Wilmington, and thus the First Regiment of Delaware Volunteers had its birth.
One of these Bell and Everett clubs was commanded by Robert S. La Motte, and another by Charles E. La Motte. When the call of the President was published, on the 19th of April, these gentlemen promptly responded, and at once commenced to raise companies from among the members of the before-mentioned clubs. Two companies were speedily filled to their maximum strength, and were designated as Companies A and B, the former commanded by Robert S. La Motte, and the latter by his brother Charles.
Through the exertions of the Messrs. La Motte, and other patriotic citizens of Wilmington, the "Institute Building," on Market Street, was secured as an armory and quarters for the troops. Here the duty of drilling and disciplining the men was at once entered upon, which, owing to the want of arms, was necessarily confined to the movements and evolutions of the squad and company.
About the same time the formation of these companies was begun the nucleus of another company was formed in Wilmington by Joseph M. Barr, which, having soon after reached its full strength, was assigned as Company C in the regimental line. Several other companies were in course of formation in the lower counties, the commanding officers of which were eagerly inquiring at Dover and Wilmington in what manner they were to proceed to Washington with their companies.
The State of Delaware was in the district commanded by General Robert Patterson, whose headquarters were in Philadelphia, Pa. This officer having been apprised of the formation of three or four companies at Wilmington, issued an order placing Captain R. S. La Motte in command of the battalion, and directing him to proceed with all possible diligence to organize the regiment. At this time, the work of consolidation was retarded by the want of some person having a knowledge of army organization to combine the several companies into a regimental body, and the friends of Captain Alfred J. Pleasonton, of Delaware (an officer in the United States Army, who was the choice of many officers for colonel), were endeavoring to obtain the consent of the War Department to his acceptance of the command of the regiment. Captain Pleasonton, who was extremely desirous of obtaining the command of the first regiment from Delaware, was in Philadelphia in the latter part of April seeking to further the object in view, and hasten to Wilmington to engage in the work of organization.
It was at this time that Captain Pleasonton made the acquaintance of Captain William P. Seville, who commanded a company in Philadelphia then waiting to be mustered in. As Mr. Seville had received a military education in the army, and was fresh from West Point, where he had been attached to the Engineer Corps, Captain Pleasonton induced him to resign his command in Philadelphia and cast his fortunes in with the Delaware troops, and furnished him with a letter of introduction to acting Major R. S. La Motte, at the same time informing Mr. Seville that he hoped and expected to command the regiment.
Mr. Seville proceeded to Wilmington on the 2d of May, and was received with great cordiality by acting Major La Motte, who at once issued an order announcing his appointment as acting adjutant of the battalion. For two weeks the drills and instruction of Companies A and B at the Institute were carried on with unflagging zeal, and the "Fair Grounds" in the suburbs of the city having been secured for a camp-ground, and named Camp Brandywine, on the 22d of May three companies, A, B, and C, were marched out and quartered in tents and some sheds that had hurriedly erected for their accommodation. On the same day, the officers assembled and held an election for field-officers. It having been authoritatively announced that Captain Pleasonton could not secure the permission of the Secretary of War to take the command, the election resulted in the choice of Henry H. Lockwood, then a Professor of Mathematics, and Instructor of Infantry Tactics in the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md., as Colonel; John W. Andrews, Lieutenant-Colonel, and Henry A. Du Pont, Major.
On the 23d of May all the other companies came to the camp but Company D, which did not report until the next day. The task of drilling, pitching tents, military arrangement of camp, and instruction in guard duty was immediately begun, and the men, profoundly impressed with the novelty of their new life and the difficulties of studying an entirely new profession, took an ardent interest in their duties and made rapid progress in the school of the soldier.
The night of the 23d of May was made memorable by one of those panics which are so liable to seize bodies of newly-instructed troops. A great commotion was created by some wags outside of the inclosure throwing stones into the camp. By the time the officers reached the scene of confusion several hundred men were rushing toward the spot from which the missiles came, guns in hand, fully determined to wreak dire vengeance on the disturbers of their peace and dignity. A few words sufficed to induce them to return to their quarters and intrust the duty of discovering and punishing the offenders to their officers.
Sunday, May 26th, the regiment attempted its first full dress-parade before an immense concourse of the citizens of Wilmington, and the nervousness of many of the officers to acquit themselves with credit in front of such a dangerous battery of fair eyes as then confronted the is, doubtless, and experience that will long linger in their memory. Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews arrived in camp on the 27th and assumed command.
The regiment being now completed, excepting the staff, the following list comprises its officers as they were at that date:
Colonel, Henry H. Lockwood.
Lieutenant-Colonel, John W. Andrews.
Major, Henry A. Du Pont.
Company A.-Captain, Robert S. La Motte; First Lieutenant, Evan S. Watson; Second Lieutenant, Franklin Houseman.
Company B.-Captain, Charles E. La Motte; First Lieutenant, James Plunkett; Second Lieutenant, Alfred Vandever.
Company C.-Captain, Joseph M. Barr; First Lieutenant, W. C. McKaig; Second Lieutenant, R. J. Holt.
Company D.-Captain, James Green; First Lieutenant, Enoch J. Smithers; Second Lieutenant, Samuel Simpson.
Company E.-Captain, Robert Milligan; First Lieutenant, Benjamin Nields; Second Lieutenant, Leonard E. Wales.
Company F.-Captain, Thomas Crossley; First Lieutenant, Richard Duncan; Second Lieutenant, William Plunkett.
Company G.-Captain, C. Rodney Layton; First Lieutenant, David W. Maull; Second Lieutenant, William Y. Swiggett.
Company H.-Captain, Samuel H. Jenkins; First Lieutenant, John H. Knight; Second Lieutenant, Daniel Woodall.
Company I.-Captain, James Leonard; First Lieutenant, John Daugherty; Second Lieutenant, Daniel Langdon.
Company K.-Captain, George F. Smith; First Lieutenant, Charles Bird; Second Lieutenant, W. H. Cleaden.
On May 28th we were thrown into a high fever of excitement by the receipt of marching orders for a portion of the command. The instructions were to station two companies at Aberdeen and two at Bush River, on the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad, to relieve companies of the Eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Jarratt. For this service Companies A, B, E, and D were selected, and marched through the city to the depot on the same afternoon, conducted by acting Adjutant Seville. Companies A and B were stationed at Aberdeen, and D and E at Bush River. The latter detachment did not reach their destination until quite late; the Pennsylvania men had retired for the night in the only building that would afford shelter, and our newly-fledged soldiers were compelled to roll themselves in their blankets and take to the ground, much to their surprise and disgust.
The following day the Pennsylvania troops departed and vacated the quarters, and the day was spent in issuing rations and instructing the men and officers in guard duty. Great pains had been taken to have them fully understand the necessity of repeating the call for the sergeant of the guard by another sentinel, adding the number of the post. In the dead of the night a most deafening uproar arose, bringing every man out of bed in an instant. The sentries were firing at will and yelling like demons, while the men were tumbling out of the barracks in the direct confusion, each calling for some article of clothing or equipment that could not be found in the dark. When they rushed out of the building in wild excitement and found their officers standing there perfectly calm and collected, quietly directing them to fall into the ranks and finish dressing, they too sobered down, but showed in every action that they would give their knapsacks to know what, in the name of "old Nick," was going on. By the time the ranks were formed the racket among the sentries had been quieted down, and their officers, Captains Milligan and Green, availed themselves of the opportunity to deliver a lecture on discipline and self-possession, assuring them that, thereafter, they should bear in mind that no matter how vigorously the sentries called, it was the sergeant of the guard who was wanted, and not them. It was then explained to them that one of the sentries on the bridge had ordered a negro in a boat to stop, which he neglected to do, and so excited the sentinel that he fired at him and fairly howled for the officer of the guard, all the others repeating the alarm as well as they could hear it.
In the mean time Colonel Lockwood had reached the camp at Wilmington, and on the 31st of May appointed the staff, commissioned and non-commissioned. These were as follows, viz.:
Adjutant, William P. Seville.
Quartermaster, W. Hill Alderdice.
Surgeon, Robert P. Johnson.
Assistant Surgeon, James Knight.
Chaplain, Rev. George M. Condron.
Sergeant-Major, John G. Saville.
DEPARTURE FOR THE FRONT.
June 7th and 8th arms and accoutrements were issued to the companies last to arrive, and the remaining companies last to arrive, and the remaining companies were inspected. The regiment left camp on the 9th, and marched through Wilmington to the depot, where it took the cars at 3 p.m. for its post of occupation along the railroad through Maryland. Company G, Captain Layton, was dropped at Elkton; Company K, Captain Smith, was left at North East; and Companies C and H, Captains Barr and Jenkins, were dropped at Perryville. The other companies, F and I, continued to Havre de Grace, and went into camp and barracks.
From day to day the companies stationed nearest to Havre de Grace (which became headquarters) were brought in for battalion drill. One day an enterprising quartette, consisting of Captain R. S. La Motte, Chaplain Condron, Sergeant-Major Saville, and the adjutant, went on a forced march three miles down the railroad, surrounded the house of a farmer and captured a flag, which proved to be a home-made banner lacking the proper number of stars and stripes. The farmer explained that it was intended for the United States flag, and it was, if his daughter knew how to make one. The assailing party concluded that it looked enough like a secession flag to do duty for one, and so brought it along as a trophy.
June 11th it was announced to the regiment that Major Du Pont, who was an officer in the regular army, would not be allowed to accept the commission to which he was elected, whereupon an election was held, and Captain R. S. La Motte was promoted to fill the vacancy. Lieutenant E. S. Watson became captain of Company A, and Sergeant Ezekiel C. Alexander was elected first lieutenant.
A band was organized on the 18th of June, for which Lieutenant-Colonel Andrews purchased the instruments, and this musical attachment did more to subdue the disloyal stubbornness of the dwellers in Havre de Grace than all the bayonets of the command. About this time a small steamboat was placed at the order of Colonel Lockwood, to facilitate the sending of expeditions to points along the shores of the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay; and the first use made of it was to set out on a reconnaissance up the river to Port Deposit, the force consisting of a dozen officers and the band. As no rebel works were encountered during the trip, a serenade was given to Mr. Tomes, residing there, who was evidently taken by surprise, for, on responding to his invitation to enter, a large table bountifully spread with choice refreshments, both edible and potable, was presented to view.
The next expedition steamed down the bay, and did not stop short of Annapolis, where a sumptuous supper was enjoyed at the house of Mr. Sprogle; after which a visit was paid to the executive mansion, and having, as usual, been introduced by the band, the expeditionary force was cordially invited in, heard from Governor Hicks his very interesting account of the exciting times when the secessionists of the State tried to run away with it, and drank success and prosperity to him, and plenty of it.
All the companies at Havre de Grace left on June 24th and went to Harewood, between Gunpowder River and Stemmer's Run; Companies B and K were stationed at Back River, and the others, F, H, C, and I, pitched their camp in a dense wood. Headquarters continued at Havre de Grace, and the band was carried up and down the road, spending a day with each of the detachments, to help mitigate the rigors of camp-life. On one visit it made to Bush River, a sloop was obtained by the officers, and a military expedition was planned to scout up the river, accompanied by the band; as no enemy was met with prepared to do battle, they went ashore at a mansion, which proved to be the house of a Mr. Wainright, and fired away (uselessly, as it turned out) several of their very best tunes; for neither Mr. Wainright nor any of his family appeared to have any soul for music,--that is, the music of the Union.
The first loss to the regiment occurred on the 11th of July: Major La Motte received an appointment as captain in the regular army, and left us for his new field of duty. We felt his loss deeply, for his genial and soldierly qualities had endeared him to all his comrades, both officers and privates. An election resulted in the promotion of Captain C. Rodney Layton to fill the vacancy.
For a week or two at this time the monotony of camp duty and drill was relieved by a succession of exciting events. On the 19th the Sixth Maine Regiment passed through Havre de Grace on its way to the front. Some of them conceived that a German baker, named Harpst, wanted to poison them with the bread he sold them, and we had much difficulty to save the poor frightened Teuton from instant destruction. Then one of the members of the Maine regiment was accidentally shot, and was left at the hotel, where he died the next day, and was buried with all the honors by our regiment. On the 22d of July we heard the news of the disaster at Bull Run, which sadly depressed our spirits, and greatly elated the majority of the dwellers in Havre de Grace. The animated discussions over this sad reverse to our arms invariably resulted in a vehement expression of opinion that we had no business to be left idling our time away guarding a railroad track when we were so badly needed in the field. Colonel Lockwood did make an eloquent and urgent appeal to the War Department, beseeching that the First Delaware might be ordered into action before the expiration of our time, and was informed in reply that the duty the regiment was performing was quite as valuable to the country, and fully as honorable to the men engaged in it, as any that could be rendered elsewhere. As a climax to these sensations, one of another character was furnished by Company I on the 23d of July. That company having had a short interview with the paymaster, found nothing of any value to them in the vicinity to purchase excepting an article which was commonly known among them as "eye-water;" and, to judge from the quantity of this medicine they laid in, one would have thought their barracks was a bling asylum, for, to tell the truth, many of them were "blind" before the day closed. As is usual with men of the nationality which furnished most of the membership of Company I, a jolly time would lose half of its enjoyment without a fight, and they had one,--a regular family row. This was summarily suppressed by the guard, and the cellar of the building, which was used by the field and staff as a mess-hall, was turned into a guard house, and well filled with these roystering boys. A day or two after, when their money was all gone, the colonel sent Company I to Back River, and brought Companies B and K to headquarters.
The time of service of Companies A, B, C, D, and E expired on August 2d, and the men were seized with an intense desire to go home. They requested the colonel to relieve them and permit them to return to Delaware at once; but he endeavored to persuade them that it would have a far better appearance if they would tarry two weeks longer and march home with the entire regimental organization; they persisting, however, the colonel surrendered the point, and, on the following day, these five companies left the tented field and hastened home; not to relapse into inglorious ease, and participate in the great national struggle for human liberty and free government, only by reading the accounts of battles in the newspapers,--not they: but to enter again into the work of recruiting companies for another bout with the enemy, where they could give and take hard blows, instead of mounting guard over a lot of switches and round-houses.
The time of Company F expired on the 8th of August, and they also turned their faces homeward. The regiment was honored at this time by the appointment of Colonel Lockwood to be brigadier-general of volunteers. The officers, as well as the rank and file, felt a just pride in furnishing from the regiment a general officer after but three months' service; and, being full of enthusiasm and military ardor, they doubtless thought that if generals were to spring from the Delaware troops in future every three months, there was a wide field for ambition, and an additional incentive to re-entering the service for three years.
Colonel Lockwood, however, had won his promotion by able and faithful service. A highly-educated and refined gentlemen, of dignified mien and commanding presence, the few months during which he commanded the regiment were sufficient to reveal his efficiency as a military leader, and to demonstrate the wisdom of selecting him for the exercise of more important commands. As the first citizen of Delaware to reach the distinction of brigadier-general, the State naturally felt proud of him. His subsequent service in the field showed him to be a brave officer, and his administrative ability gained him the honor of commanding the Middle Military Department.
Reports having been received at headquarters from one of those prolific sources of startling intelligence which came to be so well known during that period of the war ("a reliable gentleman") that a large collection of arms and ammunition was concealed in the vicinity of the Sassafras River near the bay, it was determined to send a force to scour that neighborhood, and, if the military stores could be found, to capture them. Accordingly, seventy men, principally volunteers, with the proper quota of officers, embarked on the steamboat in the middle of the night of the 11th of August (this time without the band), steamed quietly down the bay, and approached their point of destination in the gray dawn. The officers and men were kept concealed, and none were visible but the pilot and two or three men attired in the peaceful uniform of roustabouts. The force landed and marched three or four miles into the enemy's country, but no battery, arms, ammunition, nor enemy of any description were discovered, and the expedition returned to camp to relate what would have been done had any opposition been encountered.
At last the day arrived which witnessed the close of our bloodless though active campaign. On August 13th the Fourth New York (Scott Life Guard) came to relieve us and the men at once began preparations for marching on Wilmington and once more rush to arms,--the arms of loved ones at home.
The following day, August 14, 1861, saw the battalion paraded for the last roll-call, with clean uniforms, brightened arms, polished ornaments, and gleeful faces. The distance by railroad from the place of regimental rendezvous was but a few miles, consequently the command soon reached the city of Wilmington, and found their late comrades and a vast concourse of admiring friends assembled to give them a welcome and to listen "with bated breath" to their tales "of moving accidents by flood and field."
Thus ended the first term of service of the First Delaware Regiment; and if we brought not back with us decimated ranks and honorable scars, we were, at least, the proud recipients of warm commendations from officers of the government, who spoke in praise of the faithfulness with which the duty imposed upon the regiment had been performed; and one official of which, then high in command, had said, when the regiment was forming, "I would rather have one regiment from Delaware at this time than two from any other State."