Oration on the Unveiling of the Statue of Samuel Francis DuPont: Rear Admiral, U.S.N., at Washington, DC on December 20, 1884

by Hon. Thomas F. Bayard

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Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont (1803-1865) served in the United States Navy, specifically during the Mexican- American War and the Civil War. His uncle, Eleuthere Irenee du Pont, was the founder of what is commonly known as the DuPont chemical concern, but is officially E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. Du Pont’s family was unable to financially support his education, so Samuel enlisted in the Navy. His family’s connections allowed him to receive appointment to midshipman by President James Madison. He had an illustrious until questions about his judgment in an attempt to capture Charleston during the Civil War became an issue when the blockade failed. Du Pont was so anguished by this that he relieved himself of command on July 5, 1863. Later events proved that he was not at fault, and nearly two decades after his death in 1865, a bronze sculpture of Du Pont was dedicated on December 20, 1884. It was replaced in 1921 by a memorial fountain that still stands today, one that was sculpted by Daniel Chester French and designed by Henry Bacon.

The statue was moved by the Du Pont family in 1920 to Wilmington, Delaware. Dupont Circle is a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike in DC. The location has slowly changed its name from Du Pont to Dupont, so this work illustrating the deeds for which the area received its namesake is especially important.

This edition is dedicated to Patricia Fitzgerald, the amiable mainstay of the Women’s National Democratic Club, longtime Dupont Circle anchor.