The Second Delaware Volunteer Infantry Regiment is formally mustered into service at Camp Andrews in New Castle on October 17, 1861. Among the new recruits from Delaware was David L. Stricker (1839-1864) of Dover, who started out as a captain of Company A. As the regiment went on to participate in all the major campaigns of the Army of the Potomac, Stricker quickly rose through the ranks. He was in command of the regiment at Antietam, after which he was promoted to the rank of major. By the Battle of Chancellorsville he had been promoted again to lieutenant colonel. He was wounded in action at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863, but returned to active duty at Spotsylvania, only to be killed in action on May 12, 1864.
Fortunately, Stricker’s story did not truly end there and a piece of it still lives on as part of our collections. In 1909, his widow gave the Society a very fine presentation sword that had belonged to her husband. The sword, the blade of which is marked by the Connecticut firm of Collins & Company, was made and sold by Evans & Hassall, a major military equipment retailer in Philadelphia. The blade is engraved with “U.S.” and decorated with images of Union soldiers, martial symbols, and foliage ornamentation. The engraved scabbard is silver-plated with brass fittings and bears the Delaware state seal along with this inscription:
Presented to Lieut. Col. D.L. Stricker
officers of the 2nd Regt.
Falmouth VA May 18, 1863
Stricker received this sword at an important time during his military service: Just after the Battle of Chancellorsville, when he made lieutenant colonel, and just before the start of the Gettysburg Campaign. The fine workmanship of this piece clearly shows that Stricker’s comrades held him in high esteem while he was alive, and we are glad to be able to preserve it as a fitting memorial to his service.