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Entries Tagged as 'This Day'

This Day (The Beam on Thine Head Edition)

May 3rd, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day 150 years ago, the drama at Chancellorsville continued. To bring you up to date, Union general Joseph Hooker snuck across the Rappahannock on May 1, thinking he was going to sneak around Robert E. Lee‘s right flank. Instead, he ran smack into the Army of Northern Virginia, and he did it in […]

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This Day (Rock Marks the Spot Edition)

May 2nd, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day 150 years ago, the Union and Confederate armies continued their fight at Chancellorsville. Last we saw Lee and Jackson, they were sitting on tree stumps hatching a plan: on the morning of May 2, Jackson would march his entire corps twelve miles under the cover of the Wilderness, past an old iron […]

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This Day (Stumbling About Edition)

May 1st, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day 150 years ago, the Battle of Chancellorsville began. Union general Joseph Hooker, the new commander of the Army of the Potomac, had crossed to the southern side of the Rappahannock River in an attempt to sneak around Robert E. Lee‘s flank. But his cavalry was off trying to create a diversion, which […]

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This Day (My Fellow Citizens Edition)

April 30th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

Also on this day in 1789, George Washington delivered his first Inaugural Address. A handwritten copy of page 1 can be seen above, courtesy of the National Archives. George Washington took the Presidential oath on a second floor balcony of Federal Hall. Below, an enthusiastic crowd assembled in the streets. The President and members of […]

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This Day (Bonnie Blue Flag Edition)

April 30th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · 1 Comment

On this day in 1861, the Virginia Convention, having seceded from the Union, now saw fit to establish a flag that was just perfect for a state on the go. Something in blue, I think. Be it ordained by the convention of the commonwealth of Virginia That the Flag of this commonwealth shall hereafter be made of bunting, […]

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This Day (Never Surrender Edition)

April 29th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · 1 Comment

On this day in 1861, the First Rockbridge Artillery organized in Lexington, with VMI professor John A. McCausland as its first captain. One suspects that even as a young man, McCausland was an old cuss. He had that bald-headed, bug-eyed look about him. He retreated grudgingly, if at all, as his 1927 (!) obituary in the Washington Post suggested: “The veteran of the gray legions whose pride […]

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This Day (Whipt and Collared Edition)

April 26th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1688, the General Court found Sam, the slave of Richard Metcalfe of Westmoreland County, guilty in James City County of promoting a slave rebellion. His conviction came just six months or so after a suspected plot was discovered in Westmoreland County. His sentence required him to be “severely whipt” multiple times, after which he was to be fitted with a strong Iron collar affixed […]

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This Day (Genesis 12 Edition)

April 25th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1609, the English minister William Symonds published Virginia: a sermon preached at Whitechapel in the presence of … Adventurers and Planters for Virginia. In it, he compares God’s call to Abraham in Genesis 12 to England’s call to settle Virginia. As in, The Lord called Abraham to goe into another Countrey. Symonds’s preaching came in the context […]

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This Day (Not Quite Normal Edition)

April 22nd, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1927, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in Buck v. Bell. If you’re not familiar, here are the basic facts: Emma Buck of Charlottesville was considered by authorities to be a “low grade moron.” When she gave birth out of wedlock to Carrie Buck, she was committed. Later, Carrie was raped […]

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This Day (Barebones Edition)

April 19th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

  On this day in 1653, Oliver Cromwell forcibly dissolved Parliament. The legal body’s replacement, a nominated assembly of religious men known as the Barebones Parliament, voted for its own dissolution in December. The above documentary goes a long way in explaining why Cromwell was so important (although I still prefer Richard Harris with my Cromwell!)—while our entries on the English Civil […]

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This Day (Howlinge or Howbabub Edition)

April 18th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1644, Opechancanough and a force of Powhatan Indians launched a second great assault against the English colonists, initiating the Third Anglo-Powhatan War. As many as 400 colonists were killed, but rather than press the attack, the Indians retired. Why? The historian Karen Kupperman writes that “American war”—which is to say, war waged by the Indians—”was premised on the assumption that […]

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This Day (First Draft Edition)

April 16th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1862, the Confederate Congress passed the first Conscription Act, making all white males between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five eligible to be drafted into military service. This was the first such draft in United States history. IMAGE: A poster urges young men to avoid conscription by volunteering for the Confederate army; Charleston, Tennessee, 1862 (Library of Congress)

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This Day (Tax Day Edition)

April 15th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1861, and after all the nastiness of Fort Sumter, Abe Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 troops. What’s worth remembering is that Virginia had not yet seceded; in fact, the Virginia Convention then in session in Richmond had voted more than once AGAINST secession. But the president of the United States asking the commonwealth to […]

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This Day (What Sweet Closure Edition)

April 12th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

Other stuff happened on this date, I realize—Luther Porter Jackson died, for instance, Jerry Falwell got married, and so did Annie Dillard (again)—and I also realize that we’re still two years away from the surrender’s 150th anniversary … but still. How amazing is it that on this day in 1865, at five in the morning and almost four years to […]

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This Day (Virginia in April Edition)

April 11th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day, sometime between 1853 and 1857, Lewis Miller composed an ode to the Virginia spring in his notebook: the Beautiful Sugar Maple’s Tres are Growing here, and we find honey and good water, Now beams to heaven the violet’s dewy eye; the bird’s cheerey melody, Sweet April comes, where the dove in the vocal grove, […]

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This Day (A Most Gratifying Edition)

April 10th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

So much of it begins, really, on this day in 1606, when King James I granted the Virginia Company of London a royal charter. “Go west, young men,” he proclaimed, more or less, “and bring me back the loot!” It was a total disaster—at least in the short term. By this day in 1861, Virginia’s economy had certainly turned around, but other […]

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This Day (“If I’m Gonna Go Down / I’m Gonna Do It with Style” Edition)

April 9th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1865, three days after the disaster at Sailor’s Creek, and one week to the day after the fall of Richmond, Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant. Well, what he did was negotiate the terms of surrender. The actual surrender didn’t happen until three days later, by which time Lee was in Richmond and Grant in Washington. […]

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This Day (So Much Drama! Edition)

April 2nd, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1861, Walter Ashby Plecker was born in Augusta County. Happy birthday, Herr Plecker! A year later, militiamen from Rockingham County made themselves a burr in the side of the already irritable Stonewall Jackson, refusing to be incorporated into the regular Confederate army. A year after that, a group of women began looting shops in downtown Richmond to protest a lack of […]

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This Day (Stuffed Horse Edition)

March 29th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

You might remember how the rather querulous Winfield Scott was made brevet lieutenant general, an honorary promotion dating back to one of his great Mexican War victories. (He accepted the honor by immediately demanding back pay.) Well, today was that great victory. On this day in 1847, Mexico surrendered the city of Vera Cruz. Nicely played all […]

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This Day (Was Their Last Edition)

March 28th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · 2 Comments

On this day in 1913, by order of Governor William Hodges Mann, Floyd Allen and his youngest son Claude were executed despite a number of public pleas to commute their sentences. The two were convicted of murder after a judge, a sheriff, a commonwealth’s attorney, a juror, and a court spectator were all killed in Carroll County […]

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This Day (There’s a Map for That Edition)

March 26th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1862, Confederate general Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson delivered a famous order to his topographical engineer, Jedediah Hotchkiss: I want you to make me a map of the Valley, from Harpers Ferry to Lexington, showing all the points of offense and defence in those places. As famous orders go, it’s not exactly “Don’t fire until […]

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This Day (Recognize Edition)

March 25th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1610, on one of the islands that came to be known as Bermuda, an English infant was baptized and named Bermuda. His parents, Edward Eason an his wife, had survived the wreck of the Sea Venture, as had his godfathers—William Strachey, Captain Christopher Newport, and James Swift. The fate of the […]

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This Day (A Day in the Zoo Edition)

March 20th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · 3 Comments

On this day in 1916, Ota Benga committed suicide in Lynchburg. The four-foot-nine-inch Benga was a Congolese-born Pygmy whose family was killed in a raid in 1902 or 1903. He was captured, sold into slavery, and finally, in 1904, brought to the United States by a missionary who displayed him first at the Saint Louis […]

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This Day (Freedom Papers Edition)

March 19th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · No Comments

On this day in 1847, Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts agreed to purchase Paul Jennings from Dolley Madison in order, eventually, to free him. Elizabeth Dowling Taylor explains: On Friday, 19 March 1847, Daniel Webster wrote on a flyleaf, “I have paid $120 for the freedom of Paul Jennings—he agrees to work out the same at $8 per […]

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This Day (Sarawak, Singapore, and Prince Edward County Edition)

March 18th, 2013 by Brendan Wolfe · 1 Comment

  On this day fifty years ago, U.S. attorney general Robert F. Kennedy spoke at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky, on the occasion of the Emancipation Proclamation’s centennial. As you might expect, the civil rights movement came up. Twelve years earlier, students at Robert Russa Moton school in Prince Edward County had struck for better […]

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