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General Files, 1803-1887

Accession: WMSS-IXIdentifier: WMSS-IX-III.


  • Creation: 1803-1887

Scope and Contents

General files series is organized into five subseries: Loose papers; Bound volumes; Transcripts and extracts; Pictures, maps, and charts; and Residual material.

The Loose papers subseries consists of various personal and official documents and is arranged chronologically. Also included is miscellaneous correspondence, 1819-1887, such as letters that were probably received as enclosures. The letters relate to America's policy toward China, the Civil War blockade, and the U.S. Army's policy toward formerly enslaved people in the Confederate states. Of particular interest is a transcript of a message from General Ulysses S. Grant to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton announcing the April 8, 1865, surrender of General Robert E. Lee.

Loose papers also contain du Pont's personal papers, 1803-1886, such as his baptismal certificate, memoranda on household expenses, inventories of furnishings at Louviers, and a list of articles he purchased from the items displayed at the Crystal Palace Exhibition. There are also papers relating to Christ Church, 1851-1860, such as financial records and copies of the church's articles of association. Papers relating to California real estate owned by du Pont, 1849-1859, include deeds, legal documents, and memoranda describing du Pont's San Francisco properties and his efforts to manage them. Papers about the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations, 1852-1854, include a copy of the proposed plan of organization (1853) and the board of director's resolutions.

Papers relating to the cruises of the Congress and the Cyane, 1845-1848, describe the political situation in Mexico (1847) and include a copy of the proclamation of Robert F. Stockton to the people of California (1846). Papers about the cruise of the Minnesota, 1857-1859, consist of route maps, lists of British and French vessels engaged in the bombardment of the Chinese forts at the Peiho River (1858), and memoranda describing furniture and porcelain purchased by du Pont in Japan and China. The Naval Efficiency Board papers, 1854-1856, include memoranda on the composition and duties of the board and material on the Naval Retiring Board. Japanese Embassy papers, 1860, include correspondence addressed to Secretary of State Lewis Cass and other State Department officials, offering to entertain the Japanese diplomats during their American visit. Papers relating to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, 1861-1864, consist of correspondence from officers under du Pont's command, orders, papers concerning personnel and operations, and captured Confederate documents. Naval miscellany, 1822-1864, includes petitions and memoranda relating to personnel matters during the Mexican War and Civil War.

Bound volumes subseries is arranged chronologically and include du Pont's personal papers, records relating to his duty assignments, and scrapbooks of news items pertaining to events in his career. du Pont's journals describe a trip throughout New York State in 1828 and Italy in 1829 to 1830. There is information about the cruises of the Ontario, Ohio, Congress, Cyane, and Minnesota which include his financial account as well as a record of punishments. South Atlantic Blockading Squadron volumes consist of mail books (a record of correspondence) and General Orders.

Transcripts and extracts subseries relate to the career of S.F. du Pont and were prepared for Sophie M. du Pont and her nephew Henry A. du Pont. These contain some fragmentary biographical information on du Pont's early years as well as extracts from his journals and diaries.

Pictures, maps, and charts subseries consists of a variety of material. Among the most significant items are original sketches and charts dating from du Pont's service during the Mexican War. There are also a number of items associated with his command of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the Civil War.

Residual material subseries includes Published Collections, news items, canceled checks, calling cards, and autographs clipped from documents.


From the Collection: 15 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA