Saturday, March 31, 2012

Struck Down By A fever

Confederate General John Bordenave Villepigue resigned his commission with the Union army on March 31st 1861.

John Bordenave Villepigue was born July 2nd 1830 in Camden, Kershaw, South Carolina.  He attended the South Carolina Military Academy in 1846, the Citadel in 1847 and finally graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1854, the 2nd in his class.  Villepigue’s first duty as a Second Lieutenant was with the 2nd United States Dragoons.  He saw action in Kansas and Nebraska against the Sioux, and was part of the Utah campaign in 1857.  Promoted to First Lieutenant he taught for a time at the Carlisle Cavalry School in Pennsylvania.

Villepigue was on duty in Utah when the Civil War started, he resigned his commission in the Union Army March 31st 1861.  He took a commission in the Confederate Army of Captain of artillery.  In a short time Villepigue was promoted to Colonel in the 36th Georgia Infantry, and he took command of Fort McRee in time for the bombing on November 22nd 1861, where he was seriously wounded.  Serving under Confederate General Braxton Bragg; who praised him for his leadership, Bragg said Villepigue was "an educated soldier, possessing in an eminent degree the love and confidence of his officers and men, he had been specially selected for this important and perilous post."  He moved onto Mobile, Alabama and received an appointment to Brigadier General in 1862.  Villepigue commanded a brigade at the Second Battle of Corinth in October 1862, serving under Confederate Major General Earl van Dorn.

Villepigue caught a fever during the campaign.  He was sent to Port Hudson, Louisiana to recuperate, but developed pneumonia and died November 9th 1862.  He is buried in the Old Quaker Cemetery in Camden, South Carolina.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Burning Hay

Stanwix Station a stop on the Butterfield Overland Stage line saw a small skirmish on March 30th 1862 which slowed the progress of Union troops, giving Confederate troops in the capital of Arizona time to evacuate.

Stanwix Station was built in the 1850’s near the Gila River to the east of Yuma, Arizona as a stop on the Butterfield Overland Stagecoach line.  An advanced unit of the California Column under the command of Union Captain William P Calloway came onto a detachment of Confederates.  The Confederates under command of Second Lieutenant John W Swilling were burning hay that had been deposited at Stanwix Station for the animals of the California Column.  The two forces exchanged gun fire on March 30th 1862, before the larger force of Union troops forced the Swilling’s men to retreat.  The only casualty was a German born Union private; William Semmilrogge, who recovered.

The burning of the hay at Stanwix as well as several other stations slowed down the movement of the California Column.  This gave the Confederates time to evacuate the territorial capital of Mesilla, Arizona.  It also allowed Swilling to reach Confederate Captain Sherrod Hunter at Tucson, Arizona and warn him of the advancing Union troops.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

She Went Down

The USS Milwaukee struck a torpedo and was sunk on March 28th 1865.

The USS Milwaukee was a 1300 ton double turreted ironclad monitor.  It was launched at Carondelet, Missouri on February 4th 1864.  She was commissioned into Union service August 27th 1864 at Mound City, Illinois with Lieutenant James W Magune in command.  The Milwaukee joined the West Gulf Blocking Squadron in October, where she was placed under a new commander, Lieutenant James H Gillis.  During the next few months the Milwaukee; along with other light draft Union ships, swept Mobile Bay for Confederate mines, removing any obstructions.  She was also used to transport Union troops.

Union General Edward Canby decided the key to taking Mobile, Alabama was by way of the rivers from the east.  With help from the Union Navy the plan was to take Spanish Fort on the Blakely River.  Canby moved his forces and began a siege on Spanish Fort on March 27th 1865.  That day the Milwaukee with five other ships moved across the Dog River Bar to cut communication between Mobile and Spanish Fort.  The next afternoon the Milwaukee and the USS Winnebago moved up the Blakely River to stop Confederates from supplying Spanish Fort.  On the way back down the river the Milwaukee struck a torpedo on her port side and she quickly sank.  The crew from the Milwaukee was saved by the USS Kickapoo.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Maine Boy

Union Captain Richard Small Ayer was mustered out of the service March 22nd 1863 due to disability.

Richard Small Ayer was born October 9th 1829 in Montville, Maine, the son of William and Caroline (Small) Ayer.  He attended local schools, and then made living as a farmer and store owner.

In 1861 when the Civil War started Ayer joined the Union army as a private in the 4th Maine Infantry.  He was quickly promoted through the ranks, but on March 22nd 1863 was mustered out of the service because of disabilities.

After the war ended Ayer moved to Warsaw, Virginia.  He took part in the Virginia constitutional convention and represented the state as a Republican in the 41st United States Congress.  After his term was up Ayer moved back to Montville, Maine.  He served in the Maine House of Representatives in 1888.  Ayer died December 14th 1896 in Liberty, Maine, and is buried in the Mount Repose Cemetery, Montville, Waldo, Maine.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Speech

Confederate Vice President Alexander Hamilton Stephen delivered “the Cornerstone Speech” March 21st 1861 in Savannah, Georgia.

The Cornerstone Speech as delivered by Confederate Vice President Alexander Hamilton Stephens on March 21st 1861 in Savannah, Georgia.  It explained the differences between the constitutions of the United State and the Confederate Republic.  In the speech Stephens defended slavery and explained the need for the Civil War.  The speech outlined the Confederate constitution including the elimination of tariffs, and the rights of the states above all.  The date of the speech was just a few weeks after several southern states seceded and only three week after Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated.

If you would like to read the speech Cornerstone Speech is the place.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Protection For Washington DC

Fort Stanton outside of Washington DC was closed March 20th 1866, and everything in it sold off with the land returned to its owners.

When Virginia seceded to join the Confederacy, Union troops moved into the Arlington area of northern Virginia.  This movement was to stop the Confederates from seizing the United State Capital.  During the next seven weeks the Union forces built forts along the Potomac River.  Following the First Battle of Bull Run and Union Major General George B McClellan’s becoming the commander of the Army of the Potomac, it was decided that Washington, DC needed even more protection.

Union Brigadier General John G Barnard was appointed the chief engineer of the defenses of Washington.  Fort Stanton was the first of these new forts.  It was located in Garfield Heights and was begun in September 1861, across from the Washington Navy Yard.  Work went fast, and by Christmas that year Fort Stanton was completed and fully armed.  By the summer of 1862 the fort was garrisoned.  In 1864 Fort Stanton was reported to be armed with six 32 pounders, three 24 pounders field howitzer, four 8 inch guns, and was garrisoned by the 4th New York Heavy Artillery and 88th Pennsylvania Infantry.

After Confederate General Robert E Lee’s surrender at Appomattox on April 9th 1865, there wasn’t much reason to keep the forts around Washington, DC.  The forts were dived into classes; first class being those that should be kept active, second class should be kept in reserve, and third class should be abandoned.  Fort Stanton was listed as first class, as it defended the Washington Navy Yard.  As listed Fort Stanton received maintenance and continued to be fully garrisoned.  However with the Civil War over military budgets were cut, and soon all the first and second class forts were looked at as surplus.  The guns were taken out of Fort Stanton, and the land the fort sat on was returned to its original owners.  Fort Stanton was abandoned March 20th 1866.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Because Of An Oath Of Allegiance

Edward Clark became the Governor of Texas on March 18th 1861, when Sam Houston refused to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy.

Edward Clark was born in New Orleans, Louisiana April 1st 1815 the son of Elijah Clark Jr.  He spent his childhood in Georgia and Alabama.  He moved to Marshall, Texas in 1842 where he opened a law practice.  Clark served at the Texas Annexation Convention and two terms as a Texas State Representative.  He fought during the Mexican American War, and when that was over he was Secretary of State to Texas Governor Elisha M Pease and Lieutenant Governor to Sam Houston.

In 1861 Texas voted to secede, but then Governor Sam Houston refused to take the oath of allegiance to the Confederacy.  Clark was made the Governor of Texas March 18th 1861.  Once in office Clark moved quickly to raise militia, and stabilize Texas’ finances.  When the next election for Governor took place in the autumn of 1861, Clark lost the race by 124 votes to Francis Richard Lubbock.  Clark joined the 14th Texas Infantry as their Colonel.  He was wounded while leading an attack at the Battle of Pleasant Hill, and ended the war as a Brigadier General.

When the Civil War came to an end Clark fled to Mexico.  He would return to his home in Marshall, Texas, where he died May 4th 1880.  Clark is buried in the Marshall City Cemetery.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Confederates In California

The only California unit to serve the Confederacy, the Los Angeles Mounted Rifles was formed March 17th 1861.

The Los Angeles Mounted Rifles were formed as a part of a call by California Governor John G Downey for militia companies at the beginning of the Civil War.  Enrollment filled quickly in the Mounted Rifles and an organizational meeting was held with 85 men at the Los Angeles County Courthouse March 17th 1861.  The name of the company the Los Angeles Mounted Rifles was chosen, and the company mustered into service under Captain Alonzo Ridley and First Lieutenant Joseph Cattick.  The rolls showed 8 officers and 64 privates.  From the Rifles inception they were known as pro-Confederacy.

Once the news reached the west coast that Fort Sumter had fallen, Ridley decided to take Rifles to Texas.  They were joined by former United States Officers Albert Sidney Johnston and Lewis Addison Armistead, who had resigned their commissions.

After making a long journey across the desert the Rifles were disbanded as a unit the second week of August 1861.  Most of the members of the Rifles joined Texas units and served throughout the war.  Captain Alonzo Ridley stayed with Albert Sidney Johnston through the Battle of Shiloh.

A web site for more information about this subject is California's Confederate Militia: The Los Angeles Mounted Rifles

Friday, March 16, 2012

Believed He Was Just To The Last

Abolitionist Aaron Dwight Stevens was executed March 16th 1860 for his part in John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry.

Aaron Dwight Stevens was born March 15th 1831 in Lisbon, New London, Connecticut.  At sixteen he enlisted in Cushing’s Massachusetts regiment and saw service in the Mexican American War.  Latter as part of Company F of the United States 1st Dragoons, Stevens was tried for assaulting United States Major George A H Blake.  The assault was understood to have been caused by Blake’s treatment of enlisted soldiers.  Stevens was sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted by President Franklin Pierce, and Stevens was sent to Leavenworth for three years hard labor.  He escaped and became the Colonel of 2nd Kansas Militia, using the name Whipple.

It was while Stevens was with the 2nd that he met John Brown on August 7th 1856 during “Bleeding Kansas”.  In 1859 Stevens was with John Brown at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia.  Stevens was trapped in the engine house with Brown and several other raiders.  He thought they should use the hostages as shields and make a run for it, but Brown overruled him and they stayed in the engine house.  Stevens was sent out with Brown’s son Watson to negotiate and was shot four times.  When taken captive by militia, they thought he was dead.

Stevens’ lawyer George H Hoyt said of him that, “He's in a most pitiable condition physically, his wounds being of the most painful and dangerous character. He has now four balls in his body, two of these being about the head and neck. He bears his sufferings with grim and silent fortitude, never complaining and absolutely without hope. He is a splendid looking young fellow. Such black and penetrating eyes! Such an expansive brow! Such a grand chest and limbs! He was the best, and in fact the only man Brown had who was a good soldier besides being reliable otherwise."  Stevens made a deathbed confession, but never changed his belief that the raid on Harper’s Ferry was just.

Stevens was found guilty of treason for his part in the Harper’s Ferry raid, and for conspiring with slaves to bring on an insurrection.  One day after his 29th birthday Stevens was executed on March 16th 1860 in Charlestown, Virginia.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Also Known As

Confederate Captain Marcellus Jerome Clarke, who was thought to also be known as Sue Mundy, was hung March 15th 1865.

Marcellus Jerome Clarke was born in Franklin, Kentucky August 25th 1845.

Clarke was 17 when the Civil War started and he enlisted in the 4th Kentucky Infantry, a part of the Confederate 1st Kentucky “Orphan” Brigade.  When Fort Donelson fell Clarke was taken prisoner, but escaped.  He also saw action while with the 4th Kentucky at the Battle of Chickamauga.  Clarke was promoted to Captain and place under the command of Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan.

Morgan was killed September 1864, and Clarke returned to Kentucky where he formed a band, raiding, destroying supplies and skirmishing with Union soldiers.  Clarkes’ raids were given credit by the Louisville Journal as the Mundy Gang, and they joined forces with William Quantrill.  On February 2nd 1865, Clarke and Quantrill burned freight cars and the depot at Lair Station, Kentucky.  A week letter they killed three Union soldiers and took four others prisoner.

On March 12th 1865 the 30th Wisconsin Infantry under command of Union Major Cyrus Wilson surrounded Clarke in a tobacco barn south of Brandenburg, Kentucky.  They captured Clarke along with two other men, Henry Medkiff and Henry C Magruder.   The men were taken to Louisville where Clarke was tried in secret as a guerrilla.  Clarke was told on March 15th 1865 by the Reverend JJ Talbott that he was to be hung that afternoon.  Clarke asked the Reverend to write four letters for him and to see that his body was sent to his family in Franklin, Kentucky for burial in his Confederate uniform.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Run Up River

Union Admiral David Farragut tried to run his fleet by the batteries at Port Hudson March 14th 1863.

Around eleven on the night of March 14th 1863, Union Admiral David Farragut ran his fleet of seven ships by the Port Hudson batteries.  Hoping to get his ships up the river and block Confederate river traffic on the Red River.  It brought on a three hour battle between the Union ships and Confederate batteries.  Five of the Union ships were disabled, with the USS Mississippi being run aground, burned and abandoned. The remaining two Union ships the USS Hartford which was Farragut’s flagship, and the USS Albatross made it through with some damage.

The two remaining ships were able to stop Confederate re-supply of Port Hudson by the Red River.

If you’re interested in knowing more Farragut's Run at Port Hudson is a good place to start.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Wounded Four Times

Union General Henry Baxter was appointed Brigadier General March 12th 1863 after being wounded at the Battle of Fredericksburg.

Henry Baxter was born September 8th 1821 in Sidney Plains, Delaware, New York.  His family moved to Jonesville, Michigan in 1831.  When gold fever struck in 1849 Baxter went to California along with 30 other men from the Jonesville area to hunt for the metal.  He returned to Jonesville in 1852 were he settled in and became a miller.  Baxter organized and commanded a militia unit known as the Jonesville Light Guards after moving back.

When the Civil War started Baxter was elected Captain of Company C of the 7th Michigan Infantry.  He was wounded during the Seven Days Battle.  By the Battle of Antietam, Baxter was a Lieutenant Colonel.  During this battle he was wounded in the leg when Major General John Sedgwick’s division; of which Baxter was a part, was ambushed.  Baxter recuperated in Michigan.  He returned with the command of a regiment in time for the Battle of Fredericksburg.  At Fredericksburg Baxter’s regiment made an amphibious assault, driving Confederate sharpshooters out of the town.  Baxter was wounded again, this time in the left shoulder.  He received an appointment to Brigadier General March 12th 1863, and the command of a brigade.   At the Battle of Gettysburg Baxter’s men held the right flank of the Union First Corps on the first day of the battle, his troops wiping out most of Confederate Colonel Alfred Iverson’s men.  When the Army of the Potomac was reorganized in March 1864 Baxter kept the command of his brigade, and was assigned to the 2nd Division of the V Corps.  While fighting at the Battle of the Wilderness he was shot in the left leg; the bullet passing through the leg and killing his horse.  After recuperating this time he led a brigade in the 3rd Division of the V Corps during the Siege of Petersburg.  Baxter mustered out of service August 24th 1865.

After the war ended the United Senate awarded Baxter the brevet rank of Major General.  He worked as the Register of Deeds for the State of Michigan before being appointed by President Ulysses S Grant in 1869 to Minister of Honduras.  He returned to Michigan in 1872 and worked in the lumber business until his death on December 30th 1873 from pneumonia.  He is buried in the Sunset View Cemetery, Jonesville, Michigan.

A good web site to find more is Henry J. Baxter (1821 – 1873)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Reoccupied Without A Shot

Union troops re-took the city of St Augustine, Florida and Fort Marion from the Confederates on March 11th 1862.

Fort Marion located at St Augustine, Florida was a small Union Army garrison with one Sergeant on January 7th 1861, when it was taken over by about 25 Florida State Militia from Fernandina, Florida.  The Sergeant received a receipt for the fort from the Confederacy and it was surrendered without a shot.  Three days later the state of Florida seceded from the Union.  On March 11th 1862 Union Marines landed from the USS Wabash and USS Mohican without opposition and were able to reoccupied St Augustine and Fort Marion.  The Fort was used as a military prison for the rest of the Civil War.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Prize Or Pirated

The Prize Cases (1863) were decided by the United States Supreme Court as being constitutional March 10th 1863.

The Prize Cases (1863) were a set of cases argued in front of the United States Supreme Court beginning in February 1863.  The argument being whether or not the blockaded of Southern ports as ordered by President Abraham Lincoln was constitutionally sound.

The Union’s blockade of Confederate held ports resulted in the seizure of many ships both American and foreign held.  Any ship caught while trying run the blockade or smuggle good in or out of the blocked ports where seized.  The question before the court was whether or not these ships where captured as a part of war and therefore could be kept as a prize, or if they had been pirated.  The United States Supreme Court looked to international law for answers.  The opinion of the majority was written by Justice Robert Cooper Grier on March 10th 1863 and concluded that "it is not necessary to constitute war, that both parties should be acknowledged as independent nations or sovereign States."  It said the President as Commander-in-chief has the authority to declare a blockade and did not need Congressional approval.

If you’re interested in more information about this topic History 404: US Constitution Seminar  is good place to start.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Rudely Awaken

Union Brigadier General Edwin Henry Stoughton was captured while sleeping March 9th 1863 at Fairfax Court House by Confederate Colonel John S Mosby.

Edwin Henry Stoughton was born June 23rd 1838 in Chester, Windham, Vermont the son of Henry Evander and Laura (Clark) Stoughton.  He received an appointment to the United States Military Academy and graduated with the class of 1859 placing 17 out of a class of 22.  Stoughton served with the United States 4th Infantry until 1859, when he was promoted to Second Lieutenant and transferred to the United States 6th Infantry.

Stoughton resigned his commission in March 1861 with start of the Civil War.  In September 1861 he was appointed to the 4th Vermont Infantry as their Colonel.  Stoughton led the 4th through the Peninsula Campaign.  They saw action at the Battles of Williamsburg and Savage Station.  He was appointed to Brigadier General in November 1862; the youngest General in the Union Army at that time, and was placed in command of the 2nd Vermont Brigade, replacing Colonel Asa P Blunt.

Stoughton held a party for his visiting mother and sister on March 8th 1863 at the home of Antonia Ford.  Ford was a Confederate spy.  When Stoughton left the party he retired to his headquarters located in the town of Fairfax Court House.  Confederate Colonel John S Mosby captured Stoughton at 2am on March 9th 1863, while he slept.  The story is that Stoughton was woken rudely and shouted out, "Do you know who I am?"  To this Mosby said, "Do you know Mosby, general?" "Yes! Have you got the rascal?" "No but he has got you!"  Stoughton spent two months in Libby Prison before being exchanged.  His appointment was not confirmed by the Congress and Stoughton resigned from the Union Army in May 1863.

Following the war Stoughton worked as an attorney in New York City.  He died December 25th 1868 in New York City.  Stoughton is buried in the Immanuel Cemetery in Rockingham, Windham, Vermont.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Died While The Ironclad Attacked

Union Navy Lieutenant Joseph B Smith was killed while commanding the USS Congress March 8th 1862, when attacked by the CSS Virginia.

Joseph B Smith was born in Belfast, Maine in 1826, the son of United State Commodore Joseph Smith.  He received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy in 1841 as midshipman and was part of the graduating class on 1847.  After graduation Smith served at the Washington Navy Yard on the USS Mississippi and took part in the United States Coastal Survey.  He was promoted in 1855 to Lieutenant and assigned the USS Merrimack, a steam frigate.  In 1857 Smith was given ordnance duty at the Washington Navy Yard in DC.

As the Civil War approached Smith was ordered to the USS Congress as Executive Officer.  On March 8th 1862 when the Confederate ironclad the CSS Virginia attacked and destroyed the USS Congress, Smith was the acting commander.  He was killed during the battle.  The USS Congress surrendered and was destroyed when her powder magazine exploded.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Great Man Of Texas

Confederate Brigadier General Benjamin McCulloch of Texas was killed during the Battle of Pea Ridge March 7th 1862.

Benjamin McCulloch was born in Rutherford County Tennessee the son of Alexander and Frances Fisher (LeNoir) McCulloch.  The family was part of old Virginia planter stock, but McCulloch’s father moved the family west often.  They settled finally in Dyersburg, Tennessee were McCulloch’s neighbor was David Crockett.  In 1835 when Crockett went to Texas, McCulloch and his brother Henry head for the state.  Because of Ben contracting measles the brothers had to hold up for a few weeks, and were saved from being in the Alamo when it fell.

McCulloch fought for Texas under Sam Houston as part of the artillery.  He received 960 acres of land for his service.  He took up land surveying for the Republic of Texas, before joining the Texas Rangers as a lieutenant under Captain John Coffee Hays.  In 1839 McCulloch was elected to the Texas House of Representatives.  By 1842 McCulloch was back fighting Indians and Mexican with the Texas Rangers.  During the Mexican American War he was appointed Chief of Scouts under United States General Zachary Taylor with the rank of Major.  When gold fever struck in 1849 McCulloch traveled to California, where he would become a sheriff in Sacramento.  He was back in Texas by 1852.

With the coming of the Civil War, Texas seceded from the Union on February 1st 1861 and on the 14th McCulloch received a commission from Confederate President Jefferson Davis to Colonel.  McCulloch met with Union General David E Twiggs on the morning to February 16th 1861 and demanded his surrender.  McCulloch was promoted to Brigadier General.  He put together the Confederate Army of the West with men from Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Indians from the Creek, Cherokee and Choctaw nations.  Their first action was at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek on August 10th 1861, where they defeated Union General Nathaniel Lyon.

McCulloch was in command of the Confederate right wing at the Battle of Pea Ridge.  His troops, after much maneuvering over took a Union artillery battery on March 7th 1862.  The fight continued through the morning and McCulloch who was riding out in front to scout positions was shot out of his saddle.  He died instantly.  He was buried on the field at Pea Ridge, but was later moved to the battle cemetery in Little Rock.  McCulloch’s remains would be moved finally to the State Cemetery in Austin, Texas.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

They Defended The Tallahassee

On March 6th 1865 the Battle of Natural Bridge was fought near Tallahassee in the town of Woodville, Florida.

Union Major General John Newton moved a force against Confederate troops in the Cedar Keys and Fort Myers area.  The Union Navy was supposed to also engage the Confederates, but they couldn’t get up the St Marks River.  Newton’s men however advanced and just before sunrise on March 6th 1865 approached the river at the Natural Bridge.

The Union troops pushed the Confederates under Brigadier General William Miller, but couldn’t move them away from the bridge.  Miller’s soldiers; made up mostly of old men and teenagers from the nearby Florida Military and Collegiate Institute [now Florida State University], had built and were protecting the breastworks defending the approaches to the Natural Bridge.  The Battle at Natural Bridge went on for most of the day and the Confederates stood up to three charges.

Newton’s men retreated back to the safety of the Navy.  This battle kept the Union from capturing the Florida State capital of Tallahassee.  The Union saw heavy casualties of 148 men, while the Confederates only lost 26.

For more information check this web site, The Defense of Tallahassee

Monday, March 5, 2012

Navy At The Cannon

Union Seaman William Joseph Franks received a Medal of Honor for his actions at Yazoo City, Mississippi on March 5th 1864.

William Joseph Franks was born about 1830 in Pittsboro, North Carolina.  He enlisted in the United States Navy September 16th 1863.  While serving on the USS Marmora on March 5th 1864 Franks and his shipmates James Stoddard and Bartlett Laffey landed a 12 pound howitzer with its crew at Yazoo City, Mississippi.  The city was under attack by a strong Confederate force.  Franks and his group found themselves in the middle of the fighting, but refused to leave the cannon.  Their action helped to hold the Union position.

Franks would receive the United States Medal of Honor for his action at Yazoo City.  He would also be promoted to Acting Master’s Mate.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The 16th President

Abraham Lincoln became the 16th President of the United States on March 4th 1861.

Abraham Lincoln was elected president on November 6th 1860, between then and his inauguration on March 4th 1861 four states had seceded from the Union.  Lincoln began traveling to Washington, DC by train on February 11th 1861 with his wife Mary and their three sons.  During the next 10 days the train made numerous stops, ending with late night train through Baltimore, Maryland to avoid an assassination plot.

The outgoing President James Buchanan arrived at the Capital just before 1 pm.  Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B Taney administered the presidential oath of office to Abraham Lincoln shortly after one on March 4th 1861.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

An Act Of Civil Rights

The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was signed into law on March 1st 1875 by President Ulysses S Grant.

The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was a federal law proposed by Republican Representative Benjamin Franklin Butler and Senator Charles Sumner.  The last biracial United State Congress of the 19th century, passed the law in February 1875, and President Ulysses S Grant signed it into law March 1st 1875.  The Act promised that everyone, irrespective of color, past condition of bondage, or race was entitled to equal treatment in “public accommodations”.  “Public accommodations” included services on juries, public transportation, restaurants and theaters.

The law was hardly ever enforced.  The Supreme Court declared in the 1883 Civil Rights Cases that the 1875 Act was unconstitutional.  It stated that the 14th Amendment prohibited discrimination by states, but did not give power to the government to stop private individuals from discriminating.

If you’re interested in reading the original law as passed this web site, Civil Rights Act of 1875  is a good place to start.