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Entries Tagged as 'This Day'

This Day (To an Excellent Lady Edition)

July 15th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1610, William Strachey dated a letter, addressed to an anonymous “Excellent Lady,” in which he spun his now-famous narrative of the Sea Venture shipwreck on the islands of Bermuda. This was actually the second of his two drafts. A first draft, the first page of which is pictured above, was started in Bermuda and finished […]

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This Day (First Throbbings Edition)

July 4th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · 1 Comment

On this day in 2007, I arrived in Virginia without a job or a home, but with a good working knowledge of 1776 (1972).* And while being able to recite the lyrics to “Sit Down, John!” has neither been sufficient in terms of my professional advancement nor even helpful where the happiness of my marriage is concerned, it has […]

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This Day (High Water Mark Edition)

July 3rd, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · 1 Comment

On this day 150 years ago, the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Robert E. Lee attacked the center of the Union line in what became known as Pickett’s Charge. No chicken salad this time, unless you count the fact that somehow this huge defeat has turned into “the high water mark of the Confederacy.” From our entry: Lee’s description of […]

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This Day (Harvest of Death Edition)

July 2nd, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

Where were we? Oh yes. Day two of Gettysburg, fought 150 years ago on fields just to the north of Virginia. Having been chased by Confederates through town on July 1, Union forces took up positions in nearby hills. Those positions were famously in the shape of a fishhook and well reinforced. Robert E. Lee‘s […]

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This Day (Gettysburg 150 Edition)

July 1st, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

Such a big day for Civil War nerds. On this day 150 years ago, Confederate general A. P. Hill sent two divisions into the small Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg to brush aside whatever annoying Union presence had shot at his men the day before. What they found, just west of town, was the stiff back […]

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This Day (Ratification Edition)

June 25th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1788, and after intense debate among the delegates to the Virginia Convention, the United States Constitution is ratified by an 89 to 79 vote—due in part to a promise by the Federalists to consider amendments after ratification. George Mason and Patrick Henry opposed the Constitution, worrying that the central government was too strong and […]

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This Day (Mind and Stomack Edition)

June 24th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1726, the governor’s Council clerk, William Robertson, had the thankless task of informing the body’s senior member, Edmund Jenings, that he had been found incompetent to serve. The timing was significant. Lieutenant Governor Hugh Drysdale was only a few weeks short of death, and by right of seniority, Jenings would serve as acting […]

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This Day (Hell No! Edition)

June 10th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1887, Harry Flood Byrd was born in Martinsburg. Directly descended from men who lived life with a flourish (if you know what I mean), and the older brother to the famed Arctic explorer, Byrd became the dominant force in twentieth-century Virginia politics. The Byrd Organization ran things, and with nothing more than a nod its boss […]

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This Day (Decisive-ish Edition)

June 6th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1944, the Allies invaded Europe. The town of Bedford, Virginia, lost nineteen of its men engaged that day, all members of Company A, 29th Infantry Division. (Four more Bedford soldiers died later in the campaign.) For that reason (and others more political and less fittingly symbolic), on this day in 2001 U.S. […]

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This Day (On the Move Edition)

June 3rd, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day 150 years ago, Confederate general Robert E. Lee‘s Army of Northern Virginia, numbering approximately 75,000 confident, veteran soldiers, began to slowly shift west from its positions around Fredericksburg. The idea was to move north into Pennsylvania, maybe capture the state capital and so embarrass the Lincoln administration. Any kind of victory on […]

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This Day (A Satisfied Demonstrator Edition)

May 31st, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · 1 Comment

On this day fifty years ago, a few weeks after well-publicized demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama, peaceful protests led by two members of the Danville Christian Progressive Association began in Danville. The demonstrators sought the participation of blacks in municipal government and services and the hiring of blacks in downtown white businesses. Come June, the city responded with […]

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This Day (Peace, Love, and Slavery Edition)

May 30th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · 1 Comment

Also on this day in 1854, United States president Franklin Pierce signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act into law. The whole point of the law was to let the states decide for themselves the question of slavery. With no “evil” federal government telling them what to do, then the whole ugly problem might disappear once and for […]

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This Day (Bold and Truthful Speech Edition)

May 30th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1922, the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C. Warren G. Harding was president, so he spoke. And Robert Todd Lincoln, Honest Abe’s son, was still around, so he came, as did the former president and current Chief Justice of the United States, William Howard Taft. Considering Lincoln’s legacy, it seemed only appropriate that an African American […]

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This Day (All Jabbering in French Edition)

May 28th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

En ce jour en 1818, Pierre Beauregard est né. And even as they cut the cord, he likely was all jabbering in French, undoubtedly praising the campaigns of Napoléon and combing those lovely whiskers of his. The future Confederate general is the only Pierre in the entire encyclopedia,* and to him belongs one of the great names […]

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This Day (Land of Death Edition)

May 24th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1854, Anthony Burns—a fugitive slave from Stafford County, Virginia, then living in Boston—was arrested under the provisions of the Fugitive Slave Act (1850). Failing to free him through legal channels, abolitionists later stormed the jail. A federal marshal was killed in the melee and the subsequent trial made national headlines. After he was returned to […]

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This Day (All But the Kitchen Sink Edition)

May 23rd, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1607, Christopher Newport and a small company of men began exploring the upper reaches of the James River, where they were feasted by the Indian weroance Ashuaquid. Two years later, a feast would have tasted even better, but relations with the Indians were generally poor and the colony not doing so well. As such, the muckety-mucks at the Virginia Company of London (that’s their seal above) […]

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This Day (Looking to Fight Edition)

May 22nd, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · 5 Comments

On this day 150 years ago, following Lincoln’s call for black soldiers in the Emancipation Proclamation, the War Department organized the Bureau for Colored Troops. Major Charles W. Foster was charged with issuing guidelines for black regiments, staffing the units with officers, and overseeing recruiting and enrollment. There were already a few black regiments, and […]

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This Day (Making Like Maxwell Edition)

May 20th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1775, Robert Bolling published a long elegy in the Virginia Gazette mourning the deaths of Virginia militamen at the hands of Indians during Dunmore’s War (1773–1774). Bolling was a burgess and something of a hipster wine guy who was once jailed for challenging one of the more flighty of the William Byrds to a duel. […]

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This Day (Screw Public Education Edition)

May 17th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1954, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, that segregation in public schools is unconstitutional. Except that it failed to explain how quickly and in what manner desegregation was to take place. This was no small omission. Imagine the white American South as a […]

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This Day (Ill-Behaving Butler Edition)

May 15th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day 150 years ago, Union general Benjamin Franklin Butler, the military governor of New Orleans, issued his notorious General Orders No. 28, or what became known as the “woman order.” It declared that any woman who treated a Union soldier disrespectfully—spitting was the preferred method that spring—would be treated by the law as if she were […]

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This Day (Looking Ahead Edition)

May 14th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · 2 Comments

On this day in 1804—it was a Monday, and it rained—the Lewis and Clark Expedition left its winter encampment at Camp Dubois near present-day Wood River, Illinois. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark recorded the event as the official beginning of the expedition, but it was Sergeant Patrick Gass who provided the fullest account of the […]

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This Day (Accidentally Brilliant Edition)

May 13th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1607, English colonists, newly arrived to America, situated their camp on a marshy jut of land fifty miles up the James River. They called it Jamestown. One imagines the local Indians rolling their eyes. After all, this particular patch of ground was located in an ecological zone where the exchange between fresh […]

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This Day (The Wall Comes Down Edition)

May 10th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day 150 years ago, Confederate general Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson died after being wounded by friendly fire at the Battle of Chancellorsville. After losing his left arm, he was moved to an office building at the Chandler house near Guinea Station (above). At first it seemed the general might recover, but then he died of pneumonia, […]

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This Day (Best-Selling Edition)

May 9th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1936, Mary Johnston died of Bright’s disease. She is buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. A writer of best-selling historical novels, Johnston broke existing publishing records by selling 60,000 advance copies of To Have and to Hold (1900), her second novel, in addition to another 135,000 during its first week of publication. This proved to be the […]

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This Day (No Treason at All in C Edition)

May 8th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1781, four of six Prince William County oyer and terminer judges convicted the enslaved African American Billy of treason and sentenced him to hang. They placed his value at £27,000 current money. The two dissenting judges immediately appealed to Governor Thomas Jefferson for a reprieve. Billy had been captured aboard a British ship during the American Revolution, but denied […]

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