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Henry Algernon du Pont (July 30, 1838 - December 31, 1926), known as "Colonel Henry", was an American soldier and politician from Winterthur, near Greenville, in New Castle County, Delawaremarker. He was a veteran of the Civil War, and a member of the Republican Party, who served two terms as U. S. Senator from Delawaremarker.

Early life and family

Du Pont was born July 30, 1838 at Eleutherian Mills, near Greenvillemarker, Delaware, son of Henry and Louisa Gerhard du Pont and grandson of Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, the founder of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. He married Mary Pauline Foster in 1874 and had two children, Henry Francis du Pont and Louisa Evelina. They were members of Christ Episcopal Church in Christiana Hundred and lived on the Winterthurmarker estate near Greenville, Delaware. He attended the University of Pennsylvaniamarker in Philadelphia and graduated first in his class from the United States Military Academymarker at West Point, New York in 1861.

Du Pont was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant of Engineers. Later he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant in the 5th Regiment, U.S. Artillery and served as a light artillery officer in the United States Army during the American Civil War, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. At the beginning of the war he was assigned to the defenses of Washington and New York Harbor, but in 1864 was part of General Philip Sheridan's army in the Shenandoah Valleymarker of northern Virginia. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his handling of a retreat at the Battle of Cedar Creekmarker, allowing Sheridan to ultimately win a victory in the battle. He stayed in the U.S. Army for ten years after the war.

In 1875 he returned to Delaware became president and general manager of the Wilmington & Northern Railroad Company from 1879 until 1899. During that time, and for the remainder of his life he operated an experimental farm on his estate now known as the Winterthur Museum near Greenville, Delaware.

Political career

Du Pont was elected to the U.S. Senate on June 13, 1906, to fill the vacancy in the term beginning March 4, 1905. During this term, he served with the Republican majority in the 59th, 60th, and 61st U.S. Congress. In the 61st Congress he was Chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the Military Affairs Department.

He was again elected to the U.S. Senate in 1911. During this term, he served with the Republican majority in the 62nd Congress, but was in the minority in the 63rd, and 64th U.S. Congress. In the 62nd Congress he was again Chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the War Department, in the 63rd Congress he was a member of the Committee on Military Affairs, and in the 64th Congress he was a member of the Committee on Transportation and Sale of Meat Products.

In the first popular election of a U.S. Senator in Delaware, du Pont lost his bid for a third full term in 1916 to Democrat Josiah O. Wolcott, the Delaware Attorney General. In all, he served most of two terms from June 13, 1906 to March 4, 1917, during the administrations of U.S. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William H. Taft and Woodrow Wilson.

Death and legacy

Henry A. du Pont died at his home, Winterthur, and is buried in the du Pont Cemetery at Greenville. His son, Henry Francis du Pont, developed his home into the well known Winterthur Museum.marker Archival materials relating to him are part of the Archives owned by the museum at Greenville, near Wilmington.

Medal of Honor citation

Rank and organization: Captain, 5th U.S. Artillery. Place and date: At Cedar Creek, Va., October 19, 1864. Entered service at: Wilmington, Del. Birth: Eleutherean Mills, Del. Date of issue: April 2, 1898.

By his distinguished gallantry, and voluntary exposure to the enemy's fire at a critical moment, when the Union line had been broken, encouraged his men to stand to their guns, checked the advance of the enemy, and brought off most of his pieces.


Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1. The General Assembly chose the U.S. Senators, who took office March 4th for a six year term. After 1913 they were popularly elected.

Public Offices
Office Type Location Began office Ended office notes
U.S. Senator Legislature Washingtonmarker June 13, 1906 March 3, 1911
U.S. Senator Legislature Washingtonmarker March 4, 1911 March 3, 1917

United States Congressional service
Dates Congress Chamber Majority President Committees Class/District
1905–1907 59th U.S. Senate Republican Theodore Roosevelt class 1
1907–1909 60th U.S. Senate Republican Theodore Roosevelt class 1
1909–1911 61st U.S. Senate Republican William Howard Taft class 1
1911–1913 62nd U.S. Senate Republican William Howard Taft class 1
1913–1915 63rd U.S. Senate Democratic Woodrow Wilson class 1
1915–1917 64th U.S. Senate Democratic Woodrow Wilson class 1

Election results
Year Office Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1916 U.S. Senator Henry A. du Pont Republican 22,925 45% Josiah O. Wolcott

Hiram R. Burton




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