Local publisher Bald Cypress Books announced the release of a new edition of “Military Interference With the Election in Delaware, November 4, 1862,” an important but rare title last published by the Delaware General Assembly in 1863.
The nearly 500-page book contains the sworn testimonies of 128 citizens about politically motivated harassment, assaults, illegal arrests and imprisonments, and election tampering up and down the state, coordinated by a faction of Delaware politicians and enforced by federal troops.
Notable figures interviewed during a two-month investigation include Gov. William H. Ross of Seaford, Gov. William Cannon of Bridgeville and Gov. William Burton of Milford. The proceedings were led by Dr. Gove Saulsbury of Dover, then a state senator who would later serve as governor. The book includes the testimonies of citizens from nearly every town in the state, offering a glimpse of Delaware as a bitterly divided border state during the Civil War.
Bald Cypress Books was founded by Chris Slavens in early 2020 for the purpose of publishing books about the history and folklore of the Delmarva Peninsula. “Military Interference” is his first reprint. Slavens transcribed the original text over the course of several months, working from a scanned copy of the hard-to-find first edition.
“This might be the most explosive book ever published in Delaware, yet it is almost completely unknown today,” said Slavens. “The testimonies within its pages prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there was a conspiracy to throw the election of 1862, and that the rights of numerous Delawareans were violated for political reasons.”
Even so, he notes that he did not express an opinion about the allegations in his brief introduction to the new edition. “I didn’t write the book, and didn’t feel it was my place to insert my interpretation of its contents. Readers can make up their own minds. My goal was simply to revive and preserve an important Delaware book,” he said.