On Lincoln's Knee
During the Civil War, Mary Margaret Fuessel Riley, age 24, along with her two daughters Catherine, age 2½, and Cora, age 1-2 months, made a long and perilous trip from Brighton, SC to Washington, DC to obtain the release of her husband Thomas Jefferson Riley, who was a prisoner of war at Fort Delaware. Catherine sat on President Lincoln's knee while her mother talked with the President about her husband's release.   MMF Riley & Daughters 
Mary Margaret Fuessel Riley
with her daughters Catherine and Cora
Spring 1865
Mrs. Riley left Brighton on January 20, 1865 and traveled first to New York City, where the Fuessel family lived, arriving on March 7. She then went to Fort Delaware (near Wilmington) to visit her husband, on to Washington to arrange his release, and then back to New York on March 19. The war was still in progress, although soon to end.  
Fort Delaware was near Wilmington on a small island in the middle of the Delaware River. The marshy location, cold weather, brutal treatment, and overcrowded conditions all combined to make the Confederate inmates miserable, while starvation and disease led to the most deaths. About 2,700 of the 12,500 prisoners held there died. Fort Deleware
Fort Delaware during Civil War
 TJ Riley Thomas Jefferson Riley had enlisted in the Confederate Army on April 1, 1863 and served in Company F, Third Regiment of the South Carolina Cavalry until his capture at South New Port, Georgia on August 17, 1864. After his release in 1865, they went to live with her family in New York City until the end of the war. Mary Margaret Fuessel Riley, who was clearly a devoted, brave, and determined wife, had two brothers in the Union Army.  
Thomas Jefferson Riley
Thomas Jefferson Riley (1825-1877), Mary Margaret Fuessel Riley (1841-1912), Catherine Riley Kittles (1862-1941), and Cora Riley Richardson (1865-1942) are all buried in the Black Swamp Cemetery