Delaware was a slave state during the Civil War (1861-1865), but it remained loyal to the Union and it voted against secession on January 3, 1861. As the governor stated, "Delaware had been the first state to embrace the Union by ratifying the Constitution and would be the last to leave it." While most Delawareans who fought in the war served in the regiments of the state, there were many who served in the Confederate Army in Maryland and Virginia. Delaware is notable for being the only slave state from which no Confederate regiments or militia units were assembled.
Delaware Governor William Burton (January 18, 1859 – January 20, 1863) was a democrat, but he maintained a cautious politcal stance. The aged Burton (October 16, 1789 – August 5, 1866) tried to steer a course down the middle of all the competing interests. Like a majority in the state, he was strongly sympathetic towards the South, and a strong opponent of abolition, but he opposed Delaware’s possible secession.
Delaware, according to the 1860 U.S. census, had a free population (including blacks) of 110,418 and an additional 1,798 in the bonds of slavery. The government of Delaware never formally abolished slavery; however, a large portion of the state's slaveowners voluntarily freed their slaves. Continue to Delaware Civil War History.