summer schooled

During the mid-nineteenth century the United States Congress was not in session as much as it is today. In general, Congress did not meet from March until the following December. 1867 was a different kind of year. In March legislation was enacted despite a veto which took over Reconstruction from President Andrew Johnson, whose policies were relatively lenient to the established white South. Congress also passed a law over the president’s veto which limited his power to fire federal officeholders. Because Congress was concerned that President Johnson might ignore the new laws, it did not wait until December to convene the new 40th Congress. Not only did the new Congress convene in March, it also gave itself leeway to reconvene in July instead of December if that was deemed necessary because of the administration’s conduct. It was going to prove necessary:

Johnson’s opportunity to undermine congressional Reconstruction arose after the lawmakers had gone home. In May and June, in two separate opinions, Attorney General Stanbery so interpreted the Reconstruction Acts that voting registrars retained considerable leeway in deciding whom to register. At the same time, Stanbery upheld the authority of the existing governments in the South as well as the supremacy of the civilian courts. In view of the fact that General Sickles and Sheridan had issued orders to the contrary, this opinion created grave problems. Sheridan particularly had sought to enforce the congressional mandate by removing various state and local officers in Louisiana, including in the end, the governor himself. In addition, he had set brief periods of registration because he knew restricting his powers and those of the registrars was forthcoming; in fact, Grant had warned him and informed him that he and Stanton would try to protect him to the best of their ability. … [1]

The following is an 1896 summary of the July 1867 act. It begins with the mindset of Congress when it adjourned in March. While Congress was away, Attorney General Henry Stanbery’s opinion instigated enough Congressmen to return to Washington in July to make a quorum. From The Struggle between President Johnson and Congress over Reconstruction by Charles Ernest Chadsey (pages 122-124):

The passage of the supplementary reconstruction act, and of a joint resolution providing for the expenses involved in carrying out the provisions of the act, completed the work of this session of the 40th Congress. It was hoped that no further congressional action would be needed until the constitutions of the States should be submitted for examination and approval, preparatory to granting representation. But the importance of the measures and the avowed hostility of the President caused hesitation on the part of Congress as to adjourning till the regular December session. It was realized that if any loop-hole could be found by which the intention of the act could be evaded, Johnson would have no hesitation in taking advantage of it. To provide for such a contingency Congress passed a concurrent resolution which provided for a recess until July 3, and authorized the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House to adjourn Congress until the first Monday in December if a quorum did not appear on July 3. In case everything appeared to be progressing with little friction, the members would not assemble; but if there should be any unfavorable developments, Congress could assemble independently of the President and enact legislation to remedy the difficulty.

507px-Hon._Henry_Stanberry,_Ohio_-_NARA_-_526547 (

opined a loop-hole

4. July 3 found a quorum in both houses. The Attorney-General had rendered an opinion upon the act of March 2 which greatly hampered the work of the commanders of the districts. He advised the President that the act should be construed strictly, that the commanders should be allowed no powers beyond those specifically bestowed upon them. This prevented them from removing state officers, from making new laws for the government of the people, or from suspending the action of the state courts; and with state officers hostile to the federal authorities, and using every means to impede their work, the commanders found it impossible properly to discharge the duties assigned to them by the act. The intent of the reconstruction acts obviously was to make the commanders of the districts commanders de facto as well as de jure. Consequently remedial legislation was deemed necessary, and Congress convened for the purpose of framing additional acts defining more precisely the intention of the preceding acts and the powers of the commanders.

A few days’ debate sufficed to bring Congress to an agreement as to the form of a second supplementary act. The bill passed both Houses on July 13, was vetoed on the 19th, and was immediately passed over the veto. It declared the true intent and meaning of the previous reconstruction acts to be that the governments then existing in the ten States specified in the acts were illegal, and that such governments, “if continued, were to be continued subject in all respects to the military commanders of the respective districts, and to the paramount authority of Congress.” It therefore provided that the district commanders should have the power to suspend or remove all incumbents of offices of “any so-called State or the government thereof,” and to fill all vacancies in such offices, however caused. The same powers were granted to the General of the Army, who was also empowered to disapprove the appointments or removals made by the district commanders. The previous appointments by the district commanders were confirmed and made subject to the provisions of the act, and it was declared to be the duty of these commanders to remove from office all who were disloyal to the United States, or who opposed in any way the administration of the reconstruction acts. The registration boards were empowered and required “before allowing the registration of any person to ascertain, upon such facts or information as they can obtain, whether such person is entitled to be registered.” No person was to be disqualified as a member of any board of registration by reason of race or color. The true intent and meaning of the oath prescribed in the supplementary act was fully explained, the most important portion of the explanation being that the words “executive or judicial office in any State” should be construed to “include all civil offices created by law for the administration of any general law of a State, or for the administration of justice.” The time of registration under the supplementary act was extended to October 1, 1867, in the discretion of the commander and it was provided that “the boards of registration shall have power, and it shall be their duty, commencing fourteen days prior to any election under said act, and upon reasonable notice of the time and place thereof, to revise, for a period of five days, the registration lists,” by striking out the names of those found to be disqualified, and adding the names of those qualified for registration. Executive pardon or amnesty should not qualify any one for registration who without it would be disqualified. District commanders were empowered “to remove any member of a board of registration, and to appoint another in his stead, and to fill any vacancy in such board.” The iron-clad oath was to be required of all registration boards, and of all persons elected or appointed to office in the military districts. Further possibility of unfavorable construction by the Attorney-General was prevented by the provision that “no district commander or member of the board of registration, or any of the officers or appointees acting under them, shall be bound in his action by any opinion of any civil officer of the United States.” The closing section, taken in connection with this, was fully as significant: “All the provisions of this act and of the acts to which this is supplementary shall be construed liberally, to the end that all the intents thereof may be fully and perfectly carried out.”

President Johnson’s veto “deplored the imposition of absolute military government over ten states” and objected to Congress curtailing his own Constitutional powers. [2]. You can read Andrew Johnson’s entire veto message at The American Presidency Project. His concluding paragraph:

This interference with the constitutional authority of the executive department is an evil that will inevitably sap the foundations of our federal system; but it is not the worst evil of this legislation. It is a great public wrong to take from the President powers conferred on him alone by the Constitution, but the wrong is more flagrant and more dangerous when the powers so taken from the President are conferred upon subordinate executive officers, and especially upon military officers. Over nearly one-third of the States of the Union military power, regulated by no fixed law, rules supreme. Each one of the five district commanders, though not chosen by the people or responsible to them, exercises at this hour more executive power, military and civil, than the people have ever been willing to confer upon the head of the executive department, though chosen by and responsible to themselves. The remedy must come from the people themselves. They know what it is and how it is to be applied. At the present time they can not, according to the forms of the Constitution, repeal these laws; they can not remove or control this military despotism. The remedy is, nevertheless, in their hands; it is to be found in the ballot, and is a sure one if not controlled by fraud, overawed by arbitrary power, or, from apathy on their part, too long delayed. With abiding confidence in their patriotism, wisdom, and integrity, I am still hopeful of the future, and that in the end the rod of despotism will be broken, the armed heel of power lifted from the necks of the people, and the principles of a violated Constitution preserved.


combativeness not cute

Just like in March his veto was immediately overridden.

In an editorial published on July 20, 1867 The New-York Times castigated the president. His combativeness might be amusing if the matter was not so important. “Though Mr. JOHNSON wages battle in his own name, the people of ten States are the victims of his rashness.” Originally his arguments looked strong, but three overridden vetoes showed that his arguments didn’t deal with actual circumstances – and the country wasn’t buying his position. “Of what use is it to appeal to a Constitution which has no binding force or efficacy in the exigency which Congress is required to meet?” The editorial thought that the veto message and especially its final paragraph (above) was “gratuitously offensive” and “insulting”. The president’s position was repudiated “by the people, who are the proper umpires in the controversy.” The editorial’s final paragraph seems to be saying that if President Johnson agreed with the aims of Congressional Reconstruction his logical arguments might be better received. His opposition and the vile way he expressed it show the wisdom of the supplementary act he just vetoed.

You can read a summary of the law enacted 150 years ago today at the University of Richmond and the entire act at History Central.
The image of Henry Stanbery is from the National Archives
The other two images are from a Thomas Nast cartoon lampooning President Johnson and his Swing Around the Circle of August and September 1866. The Library of Congress has the cartoon, which was originally published in the October 27, 1866 issue of Harper’s Weekly. The NY Times editorial seems to refer to the president’s speech at St. Louis during the Swing.
kicking (LOC:

who’s kicking who

  1. [1] Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1997. Print. pages 290-291.
  2. [2] ibid. pages 289-290
Posted in 150 Years Ago This Week, Aftermath, Postbellum Politics, Postbellum Society, Reconstruction | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

shovels ready

Old Erie Canal lock, Fort Hunter, New York (1941 Oct.: LOC:

defunct Erie Canal lock

I’ve lived near canals and/or old defunct canals almost all my life, so I’m a little disappointed that I forgot to mention the 200th anniversary of work beginning on the Erie Canal back on July 4th. On the bright side I’ve had more time to look through old stuff. Unfortunately we don’t have any exciting photographs of the commencement ceremony in Rome, New York back in 1817, so here’s a brief word picture. From Historic Highways of America (Vol. 14), by Archer Butler Hulbert (1904; pages 118-119) (at Project Gutenberg:

The authorities of Rome arranged with the canal commissioners to unite the celebrations of the opening of the canal with the annual Fourth of July holiday. “At the appointed time and place, Judge Hathaway, President of the village, made a short address, adapted to the occasion, and then delivered the spade into the hands of the Commissioners. After a short but graphic speech by the Commissioner Young, he handed the spade to Judge Richardson, the first contractor, who then thrust it into the ground and made the first excavation for the construction of the canal. The example was immediately followed by his own laborers, and by the assembled citizens, all ambitious of the honor of participating in the labors of that memorable occasion. Thus amid the roar of artillery, and the acclamations of the people, was begun that great work which has spread civilization, wealth and refinement….”

erie-canal-7 (

Rome got first digs

I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad about missing the big anniversary. There were a lot of good seaports on the American Atlantic coast two hundred years ago, but the Erie Canal gave New York City a big commercial advantage as it joined the seaboard to the land west of the Appalachians. However, back in 1917 a New York City newspaper only mentioned the centenary of the initial, ceremonial spadework as it related to war preparedness. Work on the latest canal improvement was given more of a sense of urgency because the United States had entered the Great War.

From The New-York Times July 8, 1917:

          AS A WAR MEASURE

July 4, 1918, Date Set for Completion,
    but Military Value of Waterway
        Results in Intensive Operations
            Along Last 15-Mile Section.

A Canal Lock at Rome, New York, Touching the Site of Fort Stanwix (

“A Canal Lock at Rome, New York, Touching the Site of Fort Stanwix”

Last Wednesday, July 4, was the one hundredth anniversary of the building of the Erie Canal, which first opened for development the canal system in this country. It was not built for war use, but July 4, 1918, the date at present set for the opening of the New York State Barge Canal, which embraces the Erie and other waterways, will provide the United states with an additional route for shipments of military supplies from the Great Lakes to the Port of New York. Hope has been expressed that the Barge Canal can be opened sooner, and reinforcements of workers have been assisting the State Engineer’s office in the excavation of the final fifteen miles, or the last section of the waterway.

Congestion on the railroads will be materially decreased by the opening of the canal, and State officials have been expecting that, with the perfecting of the towboat, the round trip from the Great Lakes to New York will be made in less time than ever before, thus making the canal a war asset of no mean importance. For the public benefit, it will lower freight rates as the larger boats will make possible greater speed in delivery. …

Eugene M. Travis (between ca. 1915 and ca. 1920; LOC:

canal’s history points the way forward

[State Controller Eugene M. Travis extolled the new Barge Canal and explained some of the Erie’s history]: “George Washington first saw the future of canal communication, and it was at his suggestion that a survey of the route was made in 1808, although as early as 1785 he advocated the building of a waterway. Consequently, when the Canal Fund was first set aside for that purpose a century ago the venture was not considered a new nor untried one. It was not until after the War of 1812, however, when De Witt Clinton became Governor, that the digging of the famous ditch was actually begun. On April 17, 1817, the first law was enacted which provided for the connecting of the Hudson River and Lake Erie. Under its provisions five Canal Commissioners, consisting of all State officers save the Governor, were authorized to borrow money to carry on the project.

“The law also provided for the creation of a Canal Fund which was to be raised from a tax of 12½ cents per bushel on salt manufactured within the State, duties on goods sold at auction, a tax on steamboat passengers, toll from the canal, grants and donations, and a tax on real estate located within twenty-five miles of the proposed route of the canal. The work of construction, according to a marble tablet erected in honor of the event and preserved in the State Controller’s office, was begun on July 4, 1817, and as soon as each section was completed it was opened for traffic.

erie-canal-3 (

lots of freight traffic, too

“On October 26, 1825, the entire 362 miles were finished at an aggregate cost of nearly $8,000,000, but within ten years after, the canal was found to be insufficient in size to accommodate the increasing volume of traffic. An act providing for its enlargement and the construction of a double set of lift locks was adopted, but twenty-seven years elapsed before this improvement, costing $31.000,000, was completed. …

“The third and greatest epoch in the canal’s history occurred within the last 30 years, when the question of a cheaper transportation was provoked by the immense traffic between the Western States and the Atlantic coast, making the Erie Canal a waterway of national importance. Then it became apparent that a barge canal was essential. The National Government had already deepened the channels of the Great lakes and the Hudson River from 12 to 20 feet, leaving the canal at its 7 foot depth. Following years of investigation the barge canal act was passed … [the work has been expensive, but throughout its history the canal always delivered a profit to the state] …

During the coming months, when the military emergencies command the complete use of every facility for the transportation of war munitions, this enlarged canal will demonstrate itself to be a commercial waterway the equal of any in the world.”

I checked. Since George Washington died in 1799, I’m not sure exactly what Controller Travis meant when he said, “and it was at his suggestion that a survey of the route was made in 1808,” but George Washington was interested in canals to as a way to connect seaboard with the continent’s interior. He was the first president of the Patowmack Company, founded in 1785, that improved the navigability of the Potomac River but was unable to build a canal through the Appalachians to link up eventually with the Ohio River valley. The Appalachian Mountains were a big obstacle in the way of east-west commerce – except in New York State where the Mohawk River flowed through a gap in the mountain range and then conveniently joined the Hudson River and its water path straight south to New York City and the ocean. George Washington realized this:

But in late 1783, awaiting the formal British surrender, he toured New York’s upstate waterways and recognized – with prescience and resignation – that they, and not Virginia’s, might prove better suited to opening the west: “Prompted by these actual observations, I could not help taking a more contemplative and extensive view of the vast inland navigation of these United States, from maps and the information of others.” The father of the nation was “struck with the immense difficulty and importance of it; and with the goodness of that Providence which has dealt her favors to us with so profuse a hand.”[1]


Looking at more news from 100 years ago, the Congressional Baseball Game does indeed have a long history:

Dem-RepubCongBaseballNYT7-8-1917 (LOC:,%201917&st=gallery image 6)

from The New York Times July 8, 1917

The Red Cross seems like a pretty good choice for a charity:

NY Times July 8, 1917

New York Times July 8, 1917

new army horse (NY Times July 8, 1917; LOC: image 5)

taking the reins

In his description of the commencement ceremony at Rome Mr. Hulbert references M. S. Hawley, Origin of the Erie Canal. Jesse Hawley was one of the first proponents of a canal from the Hudson to Lake Erie. The image of the lock at Rome is from Archer Hulbert’s book.
From the Library of Congress: Old Erie canal lock at Fort Hunter; Mr. Travis; baseball image 6; army horse image 5. The map and canal boat can be found at U.S. History Images
  1. [1] Koeppel, Gerard. Bond of Union: Building the Erie Canal and the American Empire. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2009. Print. page 23.
Posted in 100 Years Ago, Technology, World War I | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

battle in Franklin

Another riot in the South. This one occurred 150 years ago this week in Franklin, Tennessee at something like a political rally ahead of state-wide elections on August 1st. This would be the first Tennessee election in which black men could vote; on the other hand, ex-Confederate soldiers had been disenfranchised back in 1865.

From The New-York Times July 8, 1867:



Radical Meeting at Franklin – Attack on Colored Loyal Leaguers – One White man Killed, Four Wounded and Eighteen Colored men Wounded.

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Sunday, July 7.

JOHN TRIMBLE, candidate for Congress, and two candidates for the State Legislature, all Radicals, had an appointment to speak yesterday at Franklin, Williamson County. A large number of persons, white and black, assembled, among the latter members of a loyal league, about eighty in number, who paraded the streets in regalia, with a band of music, and armed, in some instances firing a salute. The candidates were heard without interruption, the speaking lasting until about 4:30 o’clock. Subsequently, however, TRIMBLE, when not present, was denounced on the public square, and one of the legislative candidates badgered for something he had said. Much excitement arose, and symptoms of ill feeling between some of the whites and colored Leaguers were developed. The Leaguers retired in bad humor to a grove, where they were followed by a son of Dr. CLIFFE, who, in a conciliatory address, advised them to disperse. They agreed to do this and marched back to their hall. By this time night came on, and after stowing away their regalia, &c., they left the hall and returned to the public square, where a collision immediately occurred. It is alleged that they were fired on by a party of white and colored Conservatives, a man named CADY, a livery stable keeper, firing the first shot. The fire was instantly returned. The affair lasted but a few moments – half a minute, perhaps. There appeared to be a volley in attack, and a scattering reply, resulting in the death of CADY, who was shot through the heart, and the wounding of eight whites and eighteen blacks. Three of the latter are mortally wounded. Some of the wounded blacks are Conservatives. The Radical blacks were much exasperated, and threatened to return and return the fight, but Dr. CLIFFE interposed and prevailed upon them to desist. An official investigation will be necessary to fix the responsibility for this murderous affair. On one hand it is charged that the colored Leaguers were armed, were menacing in deportment, and desired a fight; on the other that they had been previously and repeatedly assaulted, and they were armed in self-defence, and the attack evinced a preparation and design to do so. It was apprehended that the difficulty would be renewed to-day, but all is quiet. A company of the Forty-fifth Regulars left this place this morning for Franklin to maintain quiet. The affair is deplored by all parties.

On Saturday one of a company of militia, stationed at Tullahoma, was shot and killed by DEWITT BENNETT, a captain in the late rebel army. Inspector-General HUNT to preserve the peace there and to have the murder investigated.

You can read a report on the riot addressed to General O.O. Howard at The Freedmen’s Bureau Online

Here’s some context for the upcoming election from an article on Reconstruction by Robert Tracy McKenzie at The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture:

Although the state was the first rebellious one to be accepted back in the Union:

Tennessee politics had not returned to normal, however, for the state continued to be dominated by a Republican minority that commanded the allegiance of, at most, one-third of the total population. Nonexistent in the state prior to 1865, the party had emerged as a political vehicle for Unionists and, consequently, always was strongest in staunchly Unionist East Tennessee. Aided by a wartime edict of Military Governor Andrew Johnson that disfranchised Confederate sympathizers, Tennessee Republicans swept into power in March 1865, controlling the general assembly as well as the governorship, which was claimed by the mercurial parson and newspaper publisher William G. Brownlow. For four years the Brownlow government worked assiduously to maintain Republican supremacy. In 1865 the legislature formally disfranchised ex-Confederates. Two years later it took the drastic step of awarding the franchise to former slaves to expand the ranks of potential Republican voters …

According to the BlackPast, “The Union League of America (or Loyal League) was the first African American Radical Republican organization in the southern United States. The League was created in the North during the American Civil War as a patriotic club to support the Union.”

There’s a good chance that Dr. Cliffe is Dr Daniel Bonaparte Cliffe, Sr, a physician from Franklin who served as a Confederate surgeon during the war. During his army time he disputed allegations of his disloyalty (to the Confederacy), but in April 1863 he was reportedly “Dropped” [“for prolonged absence from duty without leave”].

The NY Times article is one of four on the riot that is included in a teacher’s guide on Franklin During Reconstruction


I thought of the 1864 Battle of Franklin when I read about the riot. In other war-related news from 150 years ago this week, Thomas Francis Meagher, a leader of the Union’s Irish Brigade during the Civil War, drowned in the Missouri River near Fort Benton on the night of July 1st. He was serving as Acting-Governor of Montana territory.

Posted in 150 Years Ago This Week, Aftermath, Postbellum Politics, Postbellum Society, Reconstruction, Southern Society | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on battle in Franklin

“incongruous” fourth

Talk about progress. Thanks to the global media, seemingly more and more omnipresent, we can be more and more aware of all the pain and agony throughout this world. I realize I don’t have enough empathy for all the people who deserve my empathy. Bad things can happen at any time and not just on my schedule. Christians can die on Christmas, and Americans get killed and wounded on Independence Day.

Gen. Alex Hays (between 1855 and 1865; LOC:

take care of the rebel sharpshooters

While historians would declare the battle of Gettysburg over, the dying was not. Skirmishing, which masked Lee’s withdrawal, continued into July 4th, taking four more lives of the redeemed 126th New York. Their old brigade commander, General Hays, had ordered the 126th’s new commander, Lieutenant Colonel Bull, to remove the Confederate sharpshooters which still threatened the Union troops. In turn, Bull sought volunteers, but his men, hearing the cries of the wounded and calculating the risk, hesitated. It seemed particularly incongruous to hear bands on Cemetery Hill playing “National airs” to celebrate “Independence Day” and simultaneously to be called upon to face “the most dangerous service they were ever employed in, as the sharpshooters hit everything that was seen to move.

Finally, Second Lieutenant John B. Geddis of Company D, a Pennsylvania native, volunteered and asked his company to follow him, a request with which they and individuals from other companies complied. One of the volunteers, 30-year-old Second Lieutenant Rufus P. Holmes, company D, was killed almost immediately by Confederates whose spirits were unbroken and aim still accurate. … [three others were killed or mortally wounded and seven more were wounded] …[1]

One of the wounded was Company I’s Sergeant Stephen Weatherlow, who would eventually be discharged on account of his wounds:

Stephen Weatherlow (

volunteered on the Fourth

I had been aware of Sergeant Weatherlow because of his gravesite. Further along in Wayne Mahood’s book I learned that in 1883 he was elected by the 126th’s veterans to a commission that was charged with building a monument at Gettysburg to memorialize the regiment and especially its founding colonel – Eliakim Sherrill, who was mortally wounded on July 3, 1863 (and died about 8:00 AM July 4th).[2]

According to documentation at Restvale Cemetery in Seneca Falls, Stephen Weatherlow lived to be ninety-three years old.

Weatherlow gravesite, Restvale Cemetery, Seneca Falls, New York July 2, 2017

at Restvale Cemetery

Weatherlow gravesite, Restvale Cemetery, Seneca Falls, New York July 2, 2017

at Restvale

Seemed pretty straightforward, although I wondered about the gap between his wound and his discharge. Yesterday’s search provided an explanation. A post at lifewithldub Extraordinary Stories From An Ordinary Guy recounted a ceremony in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania that commemorated the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. During the ceremony a first cousin, five times removed, of Stephen Weatherlow had her grandsons read the story of his Gettysburg experience. Sergeant Weatherlow was wounded in the leg on July 4th. He had his leg amputated that evening and laid in the woods until July 1th when he was transferred to a field hospital. His leg had to be re-amputated on July 25th. Around December 1st he was sent to Baltimore, where his leg was amputated a third time. He walked on crutches for 21 years before he could use an artificial leg. He was a postmaster in Seneca Falls.

Group of soldiers, some in uniform and some with crutches, pose in front of the woods at the hospital at Camp Letterman in Gettysburg (LOC:

at a Gettysburg field hospital

U.S. Cristian (i.e. Christian) Commission at Gettysburg General Hospital, August, 1863 (LOC:

Christian Commission at Gettysburg General hospital August 1863

According to page 144 in “GRIP’S” HISTORICAL SOUVENIR OF SENECA FALLS “Grip’s” Historical Souvenir of Seneca Falls, N.Y in 1904 an “S. Weatherlow” was a “Pension Agt.” in Seneca Falls. According to an issue of the Seneca County Courier-Journal sometime in November 1928 (at NYS Historic Newspapers) Mr. Weatherlow as still voting and still voting Republican until just before his death.

sweatherlow 1928(

from Frémont to Hoover

Stephen Weatherlow gravesite, Restvale Cemetery, Seneca Falls, New York, July 2, 2017

still at Restvale

Talk about progress. With just a bit of clicking and clacking yesterday I found the link to the interesting post about Sergeant Weatherlow’s wound.
In the paragraphs about July 4, 1863 from his book, Wayne Mahood references Arabella M. Willson’s 1870 Disaster, Struggle, Triumph. The Adventures of 1000 “Boys in Blue,” from August, 1862, to June, 1865 (at Google)
From the Library of Congress: Alexander Hays; field hospital left and right. From the New York State Military Museum: roster, monument, and table
It’s amazing how much more faded Stephen Weatherlow’s service marker at the cemetery became in about seventeen months.
I realize the focus of this piece is not on July 3, 1863, but Colonel Sherrill was mortally wounded on that day. Hal Jespersen’s map of Pickett’s Charge shows Sherrill’s brigade right next to Ziegler’s Grove. Colonel Sherrill became brigade commander when George L. Willard was killed on July 2nd.
126th Inf Monument at Gettysburg

126th’s monument on Cemetery Ridge at Ziegler’s Grove

Stephen Weatherlow, Restvale cemetery, Seneca Falls, New York, February 7, 2016

three amputations

126thInfTable (

126th’s Battles and Casualties

  1. [1] Mahood, Wayne “Written in Blood” A History of the 126th New York Infantry in the Civil War . Hightstown, New Jersey: Longstreet House, 1997. Print. page 165.
  2. [2] ibid. page 359
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oh … canada

150 years ago today three British colonies up north joined together to make one Dominion of Canada – one British colony with four separate provinces (the colony of Canada was cleft in two). Most citizens were reportedly able to contain their enthusiasm.

Government buildings, Ottawa, Canada / Chas. Shrober & Co., prop. Chicago Lith. Co. (ca.between 1865 and 1880; LOC:

where Lord Monck sworn in

From The New-York Times July 2, 1867:



Inauguration of the Confederation – A General Holiday – Lord Monck Sworn in – Review of Troops.

Ottawa, C.W., Monday, July 1.

This day has given birth to the political infant, the Dominion of Canada.

At 12:5 o’clock last night its advent was hailed by a salute of 101 guns and a bonfire, also by the ringing of bells. The day dawned clearly and brightly on its nativity, and the capital was dressed with bunting to testify the public pleasure. The flags hung out were of course the British, with a few, a very few, French flags. It was evident that the celebration of the birth of the new State was to fall upon the shoulders of the authorities, the people generally taking a passive interest in it.

There is a feeling of anxiety as to how the union will work, rather than of confidence in it.

About the hour of 11 o’clock the streets became crowded, and the Russel House was the centre of news.

The groups of people wended their way toward the Parliament buildings to witness the arrival of His Excellency the Governor-General. A few minutes before 11 o’clock a guard of honor of 100 men of the Rifle Brigade, with the band, drew up, lining the approach to the entrance of the eastern block of the Parliament building.


feu de joie for Queen’s birthday 1868

At 11 o’clock precisely Lord MONCK, the Viceroy, drew up amid salutes of artillery. The guard presented arms and the band played “God Save the Queen.”

The people looked on in silence at the pageant.

His Excellency entered the building and was then shut out from the public, where I am enabled to say that he took the oath of office as Governor-General of the Dominion of Canada …

His Excellency then proceeded to name the members of the Privy Council. …

After the affair was over Lord MONCK returned to Rideau Hall, the gubernatorial residence, and there was a petty review in front of the Parliament Building, the chief features of which were the firing of a feu de joie and the giving of three cheers.

I will wind up by saying that the celebration of the Union has not here at least been impressive, although it will be said by the Canadian Press, Ministerial side, to have gone off with éclat.

Map of the provinces of Canada as they were from 1867 to 1870 (

it might grow on you

This day, July 1, will be henceforth known as Union Day. …

The Celebration at Toronto.

TORONTO, Monday July 1.

To-day was observed as a general holiday; all business was suspended, and the city was gaily decorated with flags. The prominent feature in the day’s celebration was the review of the troops, regulars and volunteers, which was witnessed by an immense concourse of citizens. To-night a monster concert was held at the Horticultural Gardens, at which the military bands were present. The principal buildings were illuminated, and a grand display of fireworks took place.


The Day at Halifax.

HALIFAX, N.S., Monday July 1.

The inauguration of the Confederation of the Canadian, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia Provinces was observed here to-day by a civic and military procession, a grand dinner and a public meeting. The celebration was a complete success.

Flag_of_Nova_Scotia (

half-mast in Halifax


HALIFAX, N.S., Monday July 1.

The holiday for the new Dominion is a poor affair.

The Chronicle and Recorder are out this morning in black.

Half the shops only are open.

The Scotch, English and Irish societies have refused to go in the procession.

Several flags are at half-mast.

The Anti-Unionists treat the whole affair with contempt.

Great excitement prevails.

According to a CBC report (at YouTube) 150 years later some Canadians seem to be similarly ambivalent about The Union. The current report is from Montreal.

Ice castle, Montreal; winter carnival, 1887 / J.T. Henderson, publisher, Montreal ; Canada Bank Note Co. Lim., lith. (

Carnival, Canadian Style

Golbez’s map of Canada’s territory in 1867 is licensed by Creative Commons
From Wikimedia Commons: Feu-de-joie at Ottawa, 1868 and Nova Scotia flag adopted in 1858.
From the Library of Congress: Ottawa; Montreal; the frozen Niagara River with Clifton House, American Falls
Niagara River & Clifton House, Canada ([New York, N.Y.] : [George Stacy], [between 1860 and ca. 1865]) (LOC:

frozen Niagara River with Clifton House in back

Niagara, great ice bridge & American Falls ([New York, N.Y.] : [George Stacy], [between 1860 and ca. 1865]; LOC:

ice bridge and American Falls

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the three wise men denigrated

phillips (Men of Our Times, by Harriet Beecher Stowe (

‘traitors release a traitor’

150 years ago earlier this month Wendell Phillips seemed a bit miffed that Jefferson Davis had been bailed out back in May.

From The New-York Times June 7, 1867:

Jefferson Davis and His Friends.

From the Anti-Slavery Standard of This Week.

In spite of the “three wise men of Gotham,” BEECHER, GREELEY and SMITH, we still hold that treason and murder ought to be punished, and that, had there been a will, a way would have been found; that it is a most unsound as well as disgraceful “policy” to treat murderers like honest men in order to conciliate other murders. The religion of these “wise men” consists in swapping morality for success. They have every quality of a Yankee peddler, except his ‘cuteness [acuteness?].

Washington, D.C. Soldier springing the trap; men in trees and Capitol dome beyond (by Alexander Gardner; LOC:

murder near the capitol steps

In contrast with these muddled philanthropists and clergymen, tossing about words of whose meaning they know nothing, look at the sensible and clear-sighted statesman, THADDEUS STEVENS, whose letter on confiscation, full of profound wisdom, will be found in another column. Mr. GREELEY, like all convicted sinners, takes refuge in that coward’s castle, an effort to show my inconsistency. No amount of inconsistency on my part would lessen his guilt. He expended so much magnanimity, however, in going to Richmond to clasp DAVIS’ hand, that he had none left to copy in his columns my statements, which he undertakes to answer and comment on. Instead of this newfangled and wondrous magnanimity, I wish he could find time to cultivate a wee bit of that homely and old-fashioned virtue, justice. The nation and I should both be better for it. In regard to his statements, copied in another column, let me say, I never asked for DAVIS’ death, and do not now. He deserved death, and the Government which leaves him alive confesses that it murdered WIRTZ. Had I been President, and ready to execute WIRTZ, I should have shot DAVIS within twenty-four hours after his arrest, not as a traitor or belligerent, but as a murderer and a butcher, wholesale violator of the laws of honorable war. But I am against life-taking, and my whole theory of rebel punishment I explained in a speech in April, 1865, on LINCOLN’s death.

Pioneers of freedom (1866; LOC:

and justice for all

I repudiated the idea of trying him by a jury; not, however, from any doubt that he could be convicted. Take him to Lawrence, Kansas, and try him for QUANTRELL’s [sic] murders; take him within sight of St. Albans and set him before a Vermont jury – does any man doubt that he would be convicted? But I would no more honor him with a jury trial than I would an adder.

In the Winter of 1865 and 1866 I scouted the idea of punishing DAVIS in any way; because I saw that, with JOHNSON in the White House and GREELEY in the Tribune – the first a traitor from excess of backbone, and the second equally in our way from entire want of one – justice was an impossibility. I was anxious, in such untoward circumstances, to snatch all I could. Waiving, therefore, justice, I struggles for the negro’s vote. And because he himself thus blocked the wheels of right, Mr. GREELEY quotes me as if allowing or advocating the release of DAVIS! I saw and said that the idea of DAVIS’ punishment was as old as the ark – his release a foregone conclusion – and I held JOHNSON and GREELEY responsible for this: JOHNSON because he planned and GREELEY because he indorses it. My position is submission to the inevitable. Mr. GREELEY’s position is fellowship with the disgraceful. Let me not, however, do injustice to President JOHNSON, by seeming to bring him down to GREELEY’s level. The President released DAVIS, but he never went to Richmond to congratulate and shake hands with him.

reconciliation (Reconstruction / eng. by J.L. Giles, N.Y. ; printed by F[rancis] Ratellier, 171 Broadway, N.Y.( 186; LOC:

everything hunky-dory? Bobby and Sam, Horace and Jeff

Horace Greeley (

wanting a backbone?

I go for substance, and not for forms. This wining about DAVIS’ imprisonment would be absurd, if it were not criminal. Has he suffered a millionth part of the misery he inflicted on others? Has he suffered one thousandth part of what he deserved? If I had been President, I would have kept him in prison until the ingenuity of the last survivor of the kindred of those starved at Andersonville confessed itself unable to devise a way of bringing him to trial. They should have had a century, if necessary, to invent a process that would enable the nation “to execute justice between man and man.” Imprisoned a few months too long! Let him be thankful that he did not fall into the hands of a barbarian like himself, and meet with retaliation, which would have been torture and starvation unto idiocy, unless death, more merciful than his jailor, took him to his loving arms. I have no fear of DAVIS. This nation is strong enough (as I have said every week for the last three years) to despise a million such. But we are not strong enough to allow that crime should be treated as ill-used innocence. We are not strong enough to have the foundations of our moral sense sapped by the sophisms and vagaries of our leaders. JEFFERSON DAVIS is one of the vilest and guiltiest men in the country. This Government has released him, not because it could not punish him – it has not tried to do so – but because it expects to strengthen its party by this ignoring of crime. The philanthropists who rejoice in this disgraceful act are either stone-blind or too besotted to deserve our confidence hereafter.


In a public letter dated June 6. 1867 Gerrit Smith said he agreed to be part of the bail out team because he believed in due process and he was asked to sign the bond:

Image 1 of Gerrit Smith on the bailing of Jefferson Davis ... Peterboro, June 6, 1867. (

no trial very trying

A cartoon in the June 1, 1867 issue of Harper’s Weekly (page 341) seemed to sell the bail out as an example of Northern superiority over the South, where Northerners were harassed and mobbed; the example referred a riot in Mobile, Alabama:

peace and war peaceandwar Harper's Weekly June 1, 1867;

reconciliation and riots

The portraits of Wendell Phillips and Horace Greeley come from a book (at Project Gutenberg) written by one of the wise men’s sister. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1868 Men of Our Times contains biographies of eighteen “Leading Patriots of the Day” and included Wendell Phillips and two of the three wise men (sorry about that Gerrit). Mrs. Stowe respected Wendell Phillips for his strong advocacy of his principles but seemed to be advising him to lighten up a bit since the war had ended and the slaves were free. “A Change of Tone Recommended.” Beginning on page 499:
During the period of comparative vacillation and uncertainty, when McClellan was the commander-in-chief, and war was being made on political principles, Mr. Phillips did his utmost in speeches and public addresses in the papers, to stir up the people to demand a more efficient policy.
Since the termination of the war and the emancipation of the slave, Mr. Phillips seems to show that the class of gifts and faculties adapted to rouse a stupid community, and to force attention to neglected truths are not those most adapted to the delicate work of reconstruction. The good knight who can cut and hew in battle, cannot always do the surgeon’s work of healing and restoring. That exacting ideality which is the leading faculty of Mr. Phillips’ nature leads him constantly to undervalue what has been attained, and it is to be regretted that it deprived him of the glow and triumph of a victory in which no man than he better deserved to rejoice. …
May we not think now that the task of binding up the wounds of a bruised and shattered country, of reconciling jarring interests thrown into new and delicate relationships, of bringing peace to sore and wearied nerves, and abiding quiet to those who are fated to dwell side by side in close proximity, may require faculties of a wider and more varied adaptation, and a spirit breathing more of Calvary and less of Sinai?
It is no discredit to the good sword gapped with the blows of a hundred battle fields, to hang it up in all honor, as having done its work. …
freeandequal (

“new birth of freedom”

Harriet Beecher Stowe (

the war is won

Mrs. Stowe began her treatment of Horace Greeley by describing the characteristics of the Scotch-Irish race in America. I was a bit concerned that she might have been resorting to a stereotype, but then she explained how “Mr. Greeley [was] a Partly Reversed Specimen of it [the Scotch-Irish race]”
The portrait of Harriet Beecher Stowe also comes from her book. The Harper’s Weekly cartoon can be found at Wikimedia Commons. The images of  two handshakes and two babies (my first thought was Romulus and Remus) are cut out from Reconstruction, which the Library of Congress describes as “a grand allegory of the reconciliation of North and South through the federal program of Reconstruction.” Also from the Library: pioneers; Gerrit Smith’s letter; one of several images of the execution of Henry Wirz
Apparently the story about President Lincoln saying to her “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!” is apocryphal
Reconstruction / eng. by J.L. Giles, N.Y. ; printed by F[rancis] Ratellier, 171 Broadway, N.Y. Enlarge (1867; LOC:

a big job

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It probably wasn’t another august madness; I doubt anybody thought the doughboys would be home for Christmas (at least not in 1917 – first they had to get over there). But 100 years ago there was a lot of evidence that America was successfully mobilizing for a fighting part in the great war. The June 17, 1917 issue of The New-York Times showed that female aviators from California had volunteered their planes and services to help Uncle Sam patrol his coasts:

Dolores Francis (New York Times 6-17-1917; LOC: image 1)

west coast patriot

American doctors and nurses made up the first war unit to make it to Europe and were greeted by the king and queen of Great Britain:

firstAmwarunitEurope (NY Times 6-17-1917; LOC: image 1)

welcoming the first arrivers

In other news: zeppelins again raided England; Elihu Root, an American special envoy to Russia, gave a speech in Petrograd proposing that the United States and Russia fight for each other’s freedom; a Russian Workmen’s Council and Soldier Delegates said they rejected a separate peace with the Central Powers; an American Liberty Loan was oversubscribed; and President Wilson was irritated by Congress’s delay in creating a new food administration. He wanted Herbert Hoover, the proposed “food czar,” to get started anyway:

NY Times June 17, 1917

NY Times June 17, 1917

More egg on Sumpter’s face. Wanted to title the post proto-WAC after World War II’s Women’s Air Corps – whoops. WAC was the Women’s Army Corps; apparently I was thinking of the Women Airforce Service Pilots.
All the photographs are from the June 17, 1917 issues of The New-York Times and can be found at the Library of Congress (images 1 and 6). The Food Administration poster is from the National Archives
be-patriotic (

patriotic pleading

General Pershing as Cadet (NY Times June 17, 1917; image 6)

Black Jack at West Point

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family reunion

This is the Showing forth of the Inquiry of Herodotus of Halicarnassos, to the end that neither the deeds of men may be forgotten by lapse of time, nor the works great and marvellous, which have been produced some by Hellenes and some by Barbarians, may lose their renown; and especially that the causes may be remembered for which these waged war with one another.

Gettysburg June 8, 1917 (New York Times June 17, 1917; LOC:

From The New-York Times June 9, 1917:


Many Veterans Attend Ceremony In Honor of Virginia’s Dead.

A C Lee (NY Times June 17, 1917; LOC: Image 1)

represented the Lee family

Gettysburg, Penn., June 8. – A memorial surmounted by a statue of General Robert E. Lee was unveiled on Gettysburg battlefield today in the presence of many Confederate veterans who had come from their annual reunion at Washington, and also many Grand Army veterans.

The memorial, erected by the State of Virginia to her soldier dead, was accepted for the Government by William M. Ingraham, Assistant Secretary of War, who declared it was characteristic of the American people that both North and South could meet as one great reunited family on the celebrated field.

The Virginia Monument has hit the century mark, but how much longer will it be there? Will it be next? In a post at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog Fred Ray discussed the removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans and possibly elsewhere. Mr. Ray wrote that Mayor Mitch Landrieu spoke “about what a fine fellow he was for erasing the city’s history.” That made me think of an alternative translation of Herodotus:

Here are presented the results of the enquiry carried out by Herodotus of Halicarnassus. The purpose is to prevent the traces of human events from being erased by time, and to preserve the fame of the important and remarkable achievements produced by both Greeks and non-Greeks; among the matters covered is, in particular, the cause of the hostilities between Greeks and non-Greeks.

Here’s some photographic evidence of the Confederate reunion in the nation’s capital prior to the dedication at Gettysburg:

MaryCustisLeeandConfederates NY Times 6-17-1917(NY Times June, 17, 1917; LOC:,%201917&st=gallery Image 6)

General and Mrs. Lee’s only surviving child attended

wheelchairandConfederates NY Times 6-17-1917 (NY Times June 17, 1917; LOC:,%201917&st=gallery Image 6)

rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue

wwilsonandConfederates NY Times 6-17-1917 (NY Times June 17, 1917; LOC:,%201917&st=gallery Image 6)

the black sheep of the family?
greeting President Wilson

You can get a better look at Gettysburg’s Virginia Monument at Stone Sentinels, which says that General Lee’s niece not his granddaughter unveiled the monument back in 1917. The National Park Service’s Arlington House site has more information about Mary Custis Lee. I don’t think writing a history = building a monument, but I think there might be some similarities. Herodotus is often referred to as “The Father of History”. This post’s first translation of his introduction to The Histories is found at Project Gutenberg; the second is Robin Waterfield’s 2008 translation found at Wikipedia. All the images were published in the June 17, 1917 issue of The New-York Times at the Library of Congress (Images 1 and 6).
oldtimesandConfederates NY Times 6-17-1917 (New York Times June 17, 1917; LOC:,%201917&st=gallery Image 6)

museum piece?

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father’s day

In December 1811 Jacob Johnson of Raleigh, North Carolina jumped into Hunter’s Mill Pond to rescue three men whose boat had capsized. He successfully saved all three, but in January 1812 Jacob Johnson died, possibly as a result of jumping in the pond. [1]
On June 4, 1867 Jacob’s son, President Andrew Johnson, attended the dedication of a monument at Jacob’s grave. From The New-York Times June 5, 1867:


Dedication of the Raleigh Monument – Interesting Ceremonies.

… RALEIGH, N.C., Tuesday, June 4 – P.M.

569px-Jacobjohnson (

tribute to an honest and courageous man

The ceremonies at the City Cemetery, in connection with the dedication of the monument erected to the father of President JOHNSON, commenced at noon today.

The monument is a single shaft of red limestone, ten feet high with an ornamented cap. It bears the following inscription:

“In memory of JACOB JOHNSON; an honest man, beloved and respected by all who knew him. Born –. Died January, 1812, from disease caused by an over-effort in saving the life of his friend.”

The President and party, accompanied by Gov. WORTH, Gen. SICKLES, and others, having reached the cemeteries in carriages, were conducted to a platform near the monument.

…Hon. D.L. SWAIN, LL.D., President of the State University, delivered an address … [in which he alluded to one of the men Jacob saved]

The following obituary notice, written by Col. HENDERSON, the editor of the Raleigh Star, is copied from that paper Jan. 12, 1812:

“Died, in this city, on Saturday last, JACOB JOHNSON, who had for many years occupied a humble but useful station. He was city constable, sexton, and porter to the State Bank. In his last illness he was visited by the principal inhabitants of the city, by all of whom he was esteemed for his honesty, sobriety, industry, and humane and friendly disposition.

“Among those by whom he was known and esteemed none more deeply lamented him, except, perhaps, his own relatives, than the publisher of this paper, for he owes his life, on a particular occasion, to the boldness and humanity of JACOB JOHNSON.” …

The ceremonies were closed with a benediction, when two young colored girls came forward and tenderly lay bunches of the choicest flowers on the grave of JACOB JOHNSON. …

President Johnson, Secretary of State Seward, and others arrived in Raleigh the day before. The president was so “overcome with emotion” by the large crowd of well-wishers who greeted him that he quoted Sir Walter Scott:[2]

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!

Andrew Johnson had just turned three years old when his father died back in 1812.

Michael Helms’ 2006 photo of Jacob Johnson’s grave is licensed by Creative Commons. President Johnson was quoting from The Lay of the Last Minstrel
  1. [1] Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1997. Print. pages 19-20.
  2. [2] ibid.
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pre-dawn queues

150 years ago today recently enfranchised black men in the District of Columbia once again took advantage of their new right to vote in large numbers at a local election. The presumably more progressive Republicans won  all the city-wide races and  a majority of the wards.

From the June 22, 1867 issue of Harper’s Weekly (page 397)


WASHINGTON CITY witnessed, on June 3, another curious scene illustrative of the progressive spirit of the times. For the second time in its history the colored citizens assisted in the municipal election. We give on this page a view at one of the polling-places at which a negro man was one of the Judges, and from all accounts a smart one he proved. In fact the whole colored race in Washington appears to have appreciated its privilege on this occasion. The colored men gathered in long lines before the polls as early as two o’clock on the morning of the election, and waited patiently for an opportunity to vote. Many who entered the line before sunrise did not get their vote deposited until a short time before the polls closed. Very few whites voted, and the Republican ticket was elected by a large majority.

Significant election scene at Washington, June 3, 1867 / sketched by A.W. M'Callum. ( Illus. in: Harper's weekly, 1867 June 22, p. 397.; LOC:

judging the vote

You can read more details in the June 4, 1867 edition of From The New-York Times. The correspondent noted that the blacks were well-organized and avoided being deceived by their opponents by only accepting Republican tickets from people they knew. Democrats circulated fraudulent Republican tickets throughout the city. Many churches distributed regular Republican tickets the day before.

You can see the sketch in more detail at the Library of Congress
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