(1812 - 1905)
Home State: Pennsylvania
Education: University of Pennsylvania, Class of 1832
Command Billet: Commanding Regiment
Branch of Service: Infantry
Unit: 1st Delaware Infantry
Born into a prominent and historic Philadelphia family, he entered the University of Pennsylvania (as had his father and grandfather before him) in 1828, graduating in 1832. He briefly studied Law, served as a civil engineer for 2 years in Pennsylvania and Virginia, and returned to Philadelphia and the law. In 1837 he passed the bar and worked for the District Attorney. He obtained military experience in the mid-1840s as a member of two local militia companies--the National Grays and the Cadwalader Grays.
As the First Delaware was being reorganized from a three-month to three-year unit in October 1861, Hopkinson was elected Lieutenant Colonel. He was with the regiment as they were posted to Fort Monroe and Suffolk, Virginia until the Brigade got orders for Maryland on 6 September 1862.
On the Campaign
Passing through Washington, the First reached the Antietam on the 16th and were assigned to French's Division of the Second Corps. Hopkinson was in command of the Regiment at Antietam after Colonel Andrews relieved the wounded General Weber in command of the Brigade in action at the Sunken Lane on the 17th. Hopkinson was himself wounded in combat there.
The rest of the War
He resigned his commission 14 December 1862 and was discharged on a Surgeon's Certificate, but was again in service as Colonel of the Second Coal Regiment--the 51st Pennsylvania Infantry--in the Militia of 1863, which was called up by the Governor in response to the invasion of the North by the Army of Northern Virginia that summer.
After the War
Oliver Hopkinson was long prominent in the Philadelphia legal establishment and died in that city of pneumonia at the considerable age of 93.
References & notes
The photograph above is from a CDV in the collection of Scott Hann; thanks to it's owner for scanning and providing to AotW. Basic biography from the Alumni Register1, which also contains a picture of him as an older man. Military details also from Seville's First Delaware2 and Walker's Second Corps3
More on the Web
His Civil War letters are in the Hopkinson papers at the Pennsylvania Historical Society, Philadelphia.
07/24/1812; Philadelphia, PA
03/10/1905; Philadelphia, PA
1 General Alumni Society, Alumni Register of the University of Pennsylvania, Vol. 5 (1900-01), Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1901, V. 5, No. 7 (April 1901), pg. 207 [AotW citation 734]
2 Seville, William Penn, History of the First Regiment, Delaware Volunteers, Wilmington: Historical Society of Delaware, 1884, pg. 27 [AotW citation 735]
3 Walker, Francis Amasa, History of the Second Army Corps in the Army of the Potomac, New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1886, pg. 199 [AotW citation 736]