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Folks, there is one aspect of the DuPont family that is given scant publicity, their military service. One DuPont in particular, Henry Algernon duPont {1838-1926}, was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Henry A. duPont was an 1861 graduate of West Point. He had the distinction of graduating first in his class. He achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel at age 26. He served in the Army for ten years, gaining the affectionate nickname, Colonel Henry. He resigned from the service in 1875, at the behest of his father.

Colonel Henry was awarded the Medal of Honor for his valor in action against Confederate forces at Cedar Creek, Virginia on October 19, 1864. In the Battle of Cedar Creek, Captain Henry A. Du Pont voluntarily exposed himself to the enemy’s fire at a critical moment in the battle thereby inspiring his men to resist the Confederate charge–the Union Line was not broken.

There are many instances in history where a combination of actions influence historical outcomes. Captain Du Pont’s isolated valor at Cedar Creek helped to insure Gen. P.H. Sheridan’s victory in the Shenandoah Valley and Gen. W.T. Sherman’s sweep through Atlanta spurred the reelection of Pres. A. Lincoln.

Henry A. Du Pont was Delaware’s U.S. Senator from 1906 til 1917. It is worth noting that due to the respect for Sen. Du Pont’s military experience and knowledge he was made chairman of the Senate Committee of Military Affairs in 1911, 1912 and 1913.

H. A. Du Pont’s father, Henry, was appointed Major General of Delaware’s Militia by Governor William Burton. Not to be overlooked, his Uncle was Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont.

A scholium: Henry Algernon du Pont’s son Henry Francis du Pont [1880-1969] developed the du Pont Winterthur home into the well known Winterthur Museum.

Today’s TSD History Corner comes from Alex F. Wysocki, who is a Veteran of WWII, served in the Pacific Theater and was part of the original occupation of Japan. He has a passion for the history of state he was born in, Delaware.

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