Two weeks after the first southern state; South Carolina seceded, Delaware’s legislature voted on 3 January 1861 not to secede from the Union.
Slavery was a troublesome issue in Delaware, where the influence of Quakerism led many slaveholders to free their slaves. By 1860 over 90% of the state’s black population were freedmen.
Following South Carolina’s section, Delaware’s legislature voted on 3 January 1861, not to secede and to stay in the Union. One of the five border, slave holding states to remain in the Union [Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, and when it became a state; West Virginia]. Governor William Burton said that Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution, and join the Union, and it would be the last to leave it.
Although Delaware stayed in the Union, there were deep sympathies among the population for both sides. Union troops had to occupy polling stations in the state in 1862 while state and federal elections were being held, due to fears of political intimidation. Lincoln lost both of his presidential elections in Delaware. It was the only slave holding state in which no Confederate regiments or militia was raised. About 13,000 men fought for the Union, including 954 black troops. There were an estimated few thousand men who left the state and enlisted in Confederate service in neighboring states.