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Military Interference With the Election in Delaware, November 4, 1862, published by order of the state legislature and printed by Dover printer James Kirk in 1863, is one of the most important books ever published in the First State. Inexplicably, it is also one of the rarest. The scarcity of the original edition is not surprising, despite the fact that three thousand copies were printed; a lot can happen to a book in a century and a half. It is less easy to explain why there has never been a second edition until now. Brief selections relating to particular towns were inserted into community histories during the 20th century, but these isolated excerpts could not begin to tell the whole story. Nobody bothered to transcribe the entire text and publish a new edition, despite the fact that the book has been in the public domain for decades.

Consequently, the events of 1862, and the investigation that followed in 1863, have not received the attention they deserve. It is my hope that the long overdue publication of a new edition will provoke renewed interest in this dramatic episode of Delaware's history.

The one hundred and twenty-eight testimonies preserved in this extraordinary book, taken at face value, are eyewitness accounts of politically motivated gun seizures, illegal arrests and imprisonments, harassment, assaults, and election tampering, up and down the state, orchestrated by Republican or Union politicians and enforced by federal troops. There are also dissenting voices who maintain that Southern-sympathizing Democrats planned to suppress Republican voters, and had to be restrained by force.

I leave it to the reader to read the testimonies and form an opinion about what happened, and why.

Christopher Slavens

Laurel, Delaware

November 3, 2020

Military Interference With the Election in Delaware

November 4, 1862

New edition by

Bald Cypress Books

Laurel, Delaware

ISBN: 978-1-7361370-0-0  (hardcover)

ISBN: 978-1-7361370-1-7  (paperback)

484 pages

Discounted copies are available to retailers and libraries via Ingram Wholesale. Local bookstores and nonprofit organizations (i.e., historical societies) interested in selling multiple copies should contact the publisher, Christopher Slavens, directly at

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