October, 1863–Lincoln Pleads for Volunteers; Vermont Sends Blacks Back to Africa

By Gary Far­row, Danville His­tor­i­cal Society

Danville’s son, rad­i­cal abo­li­tion­ist con­gress­man Thad­deus Stevens, con­tin­ued his litany of fiery rhetoric exco­ri­at­ing the South and the exas­per­ated Union­ist paper responded.

Octo­ber 3, 1863 Danville North Star

Thad­deus Stevens, of Penn­syl­va­nia, recently made a speech which is reported in the Philadel­phia Press, in which he says, “we must con­quer the South and hold them as con­quered provinces…The Union as it was, and the Con­sti­tu­tion as it is – God for­bid it.

Octo­ber 24, 1863 Danville North Star

Call of the Pres­i­dent for Volunteers

It will be seen that the Pres­i­dent has made another appeal to the coun­try for vol­un­teers, call­ing for an addi­tional force of three hun­dred thou­sand to be enlisted by the 5th of Jan­u­ary; and what­ever vol­un­teers are not obtained by that time, the defi­ciency to be made up by draft­ing. This call for vol­un­teers, says that able Demo­c­ra­tic jour­nal, the Boston Post, “addresses itself to the patri­o­tism and intel­li­gence of the people.”

***

Ear­lier in the year, the Pres­i­dent had called for the draft of thou­sands of sol­diers to replen­ish the Union Army how­ever the ini­tia­tive had spotty results in Ver­mont and many other loyal states. So the call went out in Octo­ber for more vol­un­teers. It’s also impor­tant to note the con­tri­bu­tion black troops made to the over­all war effort.

A recruiting poster for the USCT (United States Colored Troops).

A recruit­ing poster for the USCT (United States Col­ored Troops).

Back in May, Con­gress autho­rized the cre­ation of the “Bureau of Col­ored Troops” enable the recruit­ment of African-American sol­diers for the Union cause. They became known as the United States Col­ored Troops who fought as seg­re­gated units led by white offi­cers. Faced with North­ern racism in its most pejo­ra­tive and con­de­scend­ing form, while con­sid­ered mere live­stock in the South, 178,000 free blacks and ex-slaves would serve in the armed forces over the last two years of the war. They laid their lives on the line by serv­ing in com­bat units to earn their free­dom. By the end of the war, every tenth man was a USCT soldier.

Ver­mont Col­o­niza­tion Society

The American Colonization Society membership certificate.

The Amer­i­can Col­o­niza­tion Soci­ety mem­ber­ship certificate.

 

The Forty-Fourth Anniver­sary of the Soci­ety was held at Brick Church, Mont­pe­lier, Thurs­day evening, Oct 15th , the Pres­i­dent Hon. Daniel Bald­win, in the chair.

Scrip­tures were read and prayers offered by Rev. Piny H. White of Coventry….

Pres­i­dent Larabee of Mid­dle­bury Col­lege then intro­duced Prof. Free­man, of Liberia Col­lege, giv­ing a suc­cinct state­ment of his life in the Col­lege of Mid­dle­bury and labors since…..

THE ADDRESS

We shall not attempt to give our read­ers even a syn­op­sis of the excel­lent address which Prof. Free­man then deliv­ered …partly because one must hear him in order to best appre­ci­ate him.

His sub­ject was, sub­stan­tially, “The best way to ele­vate the African race.”…

His premises were all facts, plain and prin­ci­pled and his con­clu­sions sound and valu­able. In the ques­tion, “What shall be done with the negro?” is involved the wel­fare of two races, our own as well as his. He advo­cated col­o­niza­tion even as the best things for both races. His address, so earnest, sin­cere, pro­found and schol­arly, was lis­tened to with marked atten­tion by the large audience.

Dr. Larabee moved that a con­tri­bu­tion be taken up to aid Prof. Free­man in estab­lish­ing and main­tain­ing his fam­ily in his far off home…

A col­lec­tion was taken up, which yielded the sum of one hun­dred and eight dol­lars and seventy-eight cents, besides some jew­els that were cast into the box … [The Soci­ety] passed a res­o­lu­tion and chose a com­mit­tee under it to peti­tion the Leg­is­la­ture to donate to Liberia Col­lege the Statutes of Ver­mont and var­i­ous annual reports of state offi­cers and of the Supreme Court.

They returned a vote of thanks to Prof. Free­man for his able, inter­est­ing and forcible address. The con­gre­ga­tion was dis­missed with a bene­dic­tion by Dr Larabee.

***

The Ver­mont Col­o­niza­tion Soci­ety was an affil­i­ate of the Amer­i­can Col­o­niza­tion Soci­ety (ACS) that favored free­ing slaves and reset­tling them in Africa under demo­c­ra­tic rule. Mem­bers of the Soci­ety also saw them­selves as mis­sion­ar­ies of sorts, who would spread civ­i­liza­tion, “sound morals” and “true reli­gion” through­out the “dark con­ti­nent.” The goal of the Col­o­niza­tion Soci­ety was also to put a stop to the slave trade and bring about its extinc­tion. In addi­tion, the group worked with slave own­ers to pro­vide an asy­lum to har­bor slaves after they had been released from bondage.

Rev­erend Robert Fin­ley of New Jer­sey con­ceived of the national orga­ni­za­tion in 1816 and, with the help of New Eng­land ship­ping mag­nate and social activist Paul Cuf­fee, an early pro­po­nent of reset­tling freed blacks in Africa, got the orga­ni­za­tion off the ground. The moti­va­tion for its estab­lish­ment was one-part abhor­rence of slavery’s deprav­ity and one-part racism. This man­i­fested itself in the belief that blacks were truly infe­rior to whites, and the sen­ti­ments of many ACS mem­bers who found the prospect of being around Negroes dis­taste­ful. In fact, part of the moti­va­tion for found­ing the ACS was white alarm over the increas­ing num­ber of free blacks in the North as well as Vir­ginia. Prior to the Civil War, some blacks were granted their free­dom by law and oth­ers by “man­u­mis­sion” (blacks released from bondage by their slave owners).

Blacks were per­ceived by mem­bers as: morally lax, who could cor­rupt vul­ner­a­ble whites; prone to crim­i­nal­ity; men­tally infe­rior, which made them unsuited to the respon­si­bil­i­ties of cit­i­zen­ship and inca­pable of self improve­ment; a threat to the jobs of work­ing class whites in the North; and who could erupt into slave rebel­lion in the South.

The peo­ple hold­ing these sen­ti­ments of con­cern and dis­gust were mostly abo­li­tion­ists and Quak­ers, who saw them­selves as benign by help­ing to “repa­tri­ate” blacks back to Africa where they would be able to ful­fill what­ever god-given gifts that they may have. In some cases, attempts to pro­vide African Amer­i­cans safe haven in Liberia were met with armed resis­tance by natives on the coast.

By 1822, the Amer­i­can Col­o­niza­tion Soci­ety founded a colony on the west coast of Africa. This colony even­tu­ally became the nation of Liberia in 1847. As of 1858, a total of 11,172 had been given trans­port back to Africa. This reli­gious based orga­ni­za­tion also sent mis­sion­ar­ies to con­vert the natives. The Ver­mont Col­o­niza­tion Society’s 1858 Annual Report proudly trum­pets that “the tone of morals is believed to be higher and the Sab­bath there bet­ter observed than in Ver­mont.” Church-based col­o­niza­tion groups pro­lif­er­ated all over the state. In sum, the Ver­mont Col­o­niza­tion Soci­ety had three objec­tives: remove all negroes, free and enslaved, from the United States to Liberia; bring civ­i­liza­tion to Africa; and put an end to the slave trade. In addi­tion to the Con­gre­ga­tional Soci­ety in Mont­pe­lier, East Bethel and Pitts­ford also had their own soci­eties, Bap­tist and Methodist respectively.

Col­o­niza­tion Soci­eties are not to be con­fused with the Anti-Slavery Soci­eties that shared the polit­i­cal stage dur­ing the same period. They had an entirely dif­fer­ent and con­flict­ing agenda. For exam­ple, anti-slavery pro­po­nents wanted grad­ual or imme­di­ate eman­ci­pa­tion of slaves while advo­cates of col­o­niza­tion sought to remove blacks from Amer­ica and have them emi­grate to Africa. Both saw them­selves as com­ing to the aid of an abused and infe­rior race.

As for Col­o­niza­tion Soci­eties them­selves, the pre­em­i­nent black leader of his time, Fred­er­ick Dou­glass, was not amused. “That Soci­ety is an old enemy of col­ored peo­ple in this coun­try. Almost every respectable man belongs to it, either by direct mem­ber­ship or by affinity…It is because the Amer­i­can Col­o­niza­tion Soci­ety cher­ishes and fos­ters this hatred towards the black man that I am opposed to it. [The Soci­ety] goes about …solic­it­ing funds for an expa­tri­a­tion from this coun­try. .. Is this not mean and impu­dent in the extreme, for one class of Amer­i­cans to ask for the removal of another class? …I have as much right in this coun­try as any other man.”

Through­out his Pres­i­dency, Lin­coln also flirted with the idea of col­o­niza­tion and his admin­is­tra­tion tried to ini­ti­ate colonies for blacks in South Amer­ica. Ulti­mately, Lincoln’s fan­cies died under their own weight, unlike the efforts of the Amer­i­can Col­o­niza­tion Soci­ety that remained active until 1919.

Octo­ber 31, 1863 Danville North Star

Gen Meade’s Retreat

General George G. Meade

Gen­eral George G. Meade

It is appar­ent …that Lee accom­plished in advanc­ing upon our army but too well, which was to drive it back and destroy the roads so it could not fol­low Lee in his ret­ro­grade move­ments for many weeks, and thus secure his army and Rich­mond from men­ace until next Spring. …

How­ever it is pos­si­ble Meade may find a way to dis­turb him, if the sea­son proves favor­able, before Lee eats his Christ­mas din­ner, and the pris­on­ers in Libby prison [in Rich­mond] hear shouts which will open the doors of their dun­geons. Now is the moment for home aid at any rate. The posi­tions of our armies in the South and West are advan­ta­geous, though some­what crit­i­cal yet, if promptly rein­forced splen­did vic­to­ries are within their grasp.

***

Gen­eral Meade is most renowned for lead­ing his Army of the Potomac to a vic­tory at Get­tys­burg and, to the President’s great dis­may, squan­der­ing an oppor­tu­nity to pur­sue and destroy Gen­eral Robert E Lee’s troops as they retreated to Vir­ginia. The bat­tle of Get­tys­burg took place in early July over three days under a tor­tu­ously hot sun with heavy casu­al­ties sus­tained. These facts need to be taken into account when deter­min­ing whether or not Union troops actu­ally had the capac­ity to follow-up and pur­sue Lee into Vir­ginia. As the Octo­ber account in the North Star sug­gests, Meade finally did catch up with Lee and threaten Rich­mond; how­ever, like other Army of the Potomac com­man­ders before him, the Union efforts were totally ineffectual.

Although a devout Chris­t­ian, Meade had a quick-trigger tem­per that could some­times turn vio­lent. One object of his scorn was the press who hated him right back. A cabal of writ­ers actu­ally froze the Gen­eral out of the news, break­ing their rule only when the oppor­tu­nity to speak ill of him pre­sented itself. The gid­di­ness about future oppor­tu­ni­ties to press Lee and Rich­mond is prob­a­bly more a com­bi­na­tion of strate­gic Union vic­to­ries at Get­tys­burg and Vicks­burg back in July and cur­rent reports that the Fed­er­als were tak­ing the fight to the rebels in East Ten­nessee and North­ern Geor­gia than it was a reflec­tion of the fourth estate’s high regard for the Gen­eral who orches­trated that vic­tory over Lee in the hot days of early July. Meade’s motto was “More deeds than words.” It doesn’t sound like this Union offi­cer was a very good interview.

 

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September 1863–New Depths of Inhumanity Attained, Southern Noose Tightens and Wiggles

By Gary Far­row, Danville His­tor­i­cal Society

The atrocities of war--This drawing of the Sack of Lawrence Kansas was just one of the many.

The atroc­i­ties of war–This draw­ing of the sack of Lawrence, Kansas, was just one of many.

Sep­tem­ber brought news about how the Union dealt with its desert­ers. Two men on oppo­site sides, whose twisted souls were fired ear­lier in the caul­dron that was the Kansas-Missouri Bor­der War, led their “troops” on a mis­sion of mur­der­ing, ran­sack­ing and plun­der­ing non-combatants. The bat­tle for East­ern Ten­nessee — North­ern Geor­gia con­tin­ued to heave to and fro.

Sep­tem­ber 5, 1863 Danville North Star

Mil­i­tary Expectations

Head­quar­ters Army of the Potomac Aug 29 – The exe­cu­tion of sub­sti­tute desert­ers sen­tenced to death in Gen­eral Orders No. 84 took place today. More than ordi­nary inter­est was exhib­ited on the exe­cu­tion of mil­i­tary law, and it is esti­mated that not less than 25,000 per­sons were present…The ground was selected, and every arrange­ment so com­plete that no acci­dents occurred to mar the solem­nity of the proceedings….

The crim­i­nals were sit­ting upon their respec­tive coffins with yawn­ing graves in their rear…. At the order to fire, 86 mus­kets were dis­charged, and instant death was announced by the Sur­geons in atten­dance as a result. The bod­ies were then placed in their respec­tive graves, and the clergy per­formed the last reli­gious rites over the deceased. Con­tinue read­ing

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August 1863–The North Celebrates Two Iconic Victories. Meanwhile the Draft is Running on Fumes

By Gary Far­row, Danville His­tor­i­cal Society

Even a turn in the Union’s mil­i­tary for­tunes could not reignite the will of men, in the likes of Danville and Cabot, to fight. Their sen­ti­ments were shared by many across the North and were man­i­fested by abysmal ful­fill­ment of draft quo­tas, not so sub­tle push­back by states against the first Fed­eral con­scrip­tion law, and out­right riot in one of the nation’s biggest cities.

August 1, 1863 North Star

Our Vic­to­ries and Peace

The dead at Gettysburg. A grim photo of the cost of the war.

The dead at Get­tys­burg. A grim photo of the cost of the war.

All honor to the heroes of Get­tys­burg and Vicksburg…The result of oper­a­tions of Meade [at Get­tys­burg] is deliv­er­ance of the North from the last inva­sion; for, though the enemy may with his splen­did cav­alry, ven­ture upon a sud­den dash and raid into some loyal States, he can­not hope to begin another inva­sion with any­thing like the chances which he had at the com­mence­ment of the late one. His retreat, how­ever, can only be the begin­ning of the end of the last inva­sion; for every con­sid­er­a­tion points to a pur­suit and a scat­ter­ing of the rebel armies which are the cen­tre of the rebellion.

The result of the oper­a­tions of Vicks­burg…. reopens the Mis­sis­sippi, divides the Con­fed­er­acy, and deliv­ers the states of Mis­sis­sippi and Alabama into the hands of the Union…there is no power in this region capa­ble of resist­ing our armies.

…But heavy and tri­umphant as is the hand of our national power, let us reflect that rebel­lion is by no means crushed. Now would seem to be the time to rise above mere par­ti­san schemes on a plane of honor, mag­na­nim­ity and states­man­ship wor­thy of repub­li­can insti­tu­tions… now would seem to strengthen the Union ele­ment in the South­ern States by reas­sur­ing it of a recog­ni­tion of pro­tec­tion under the Constitution….

Indeed has it not become all impor­tant to the North that the Admin­is­tra­tion should purge itself of all con­nec­tion with rad­i­cal vagaries? There is not the first sign that the North will ever unite on these schemes, for they are death and destruction…The strange, wild, crazy spir­i­tual set who have the con­ceit to think they can impro­vise a bet­ter Union than Wash­ing­ton and the fathers grew into, must have the non­sense shaken out of them.

Lin­coln did not exactly share the public’s cel­e­bra­tory mood over the vic­tory of Get­tys­burg. He penned this bit­ter let­ter to Gen­eral Meade. “Again, my dear gen­eral, I do not believe you appre­ci­ate the mag­ni­tude of the mis­for­tune involved in Lee’s escape—He was within your easy grasp, and to have closed upon him would, in con­nec­tion with our other late suc­cesses, have ended the war—As it is, the war will be pro­longed indef­i­nitely. …Your golden oppor­tu­nity is gone and I am dis­tressed immea­sur­ably because of it. -” Unlike per­haps most of us, Lin­coln regained his bal­ance, filed the let­ter in his desk drawer and never sent it.

The Draft

The draft for this coun­try, and in fact for this Dis­trict still remains suspended…It is pre­sumed to take place some­time. We learn that nearly every drafted man in Cabot paid in $300 com­mu­ta­tion money… In Marsh­field, (if we are cor­rectly informed) quite a num­ber con­cluded to serve rather than pay the exemp­tion money.

War and Gen­eral News Items

The State of Michi­gan has ordered that no more new reg­i­ments be raised within the state… that all recruit­ing in the State shall until fur­ther orders, be for the men for reg­i­ments and bat­ter­ies now in the field, and all men enlist­ing there­fore will have choice of reg­i­ments and will be enti­tled to the usual gov­ern­ment and State bounties.

August 8, 1863 North Star

No Draft in New Jersey

It seems that the War Depart­ment has assented to the propo­si­tion to raise the quota of troops in New Jer­sey by vol­un­teer­ing, pro­vided it can be done in thirty days. The quota is 8783 men; and Gov­er­nor Parker has issued a stir­ring and patri­otic procla­ma­tion to the peo­ple to come for­ward and vol­un­teer, and aid vol­un­teer­ing by pay­ments of addi­tional boun­ties … This action of the demo­c­ra­tic Gov­er­nor of New Jer­sey is cred­itable to him as a pub­lic ser­vant, and we should think would silence the croak­ings of polit­i­cal oppo­nents, who accuse him of disloyalty.

Mean­while, the 54th Mass­a­chu­setts Reg­i­ment, one of the first black Afro-American units in the Union, made a dra­matic assault in South Carolina.

The Assault at Fort Wagner

…Soon after four o’clock the fir­ing from Fort Wag­ner ceased… [This] led to the sup­po­si­tion that the enemy had evac­u­ated the work, and it was deter­mined to attempt its occupation…

This was at dusk…the col­ored reg­i­ment which for some rea­son was given the post of extreme honor and dan­ger in advance, and was drawn up in line of bat­tle expos­ing its full front to the enemy…

It was now quite dark… the 54th Mass­a­chu­setts led by Col Shaw was within 200 yards of the works, when the men gave a fierce yell and pushed up to the glacia [ditch]…

The enemy hith­erto silent as the grave, while our men were swarm­ing over the glacia, opened up on them… The gal­lant negroes, how­ever plunged on regard­less of this mur­der­ous recep­tion and many of them crossed the ditch, although it con­tained four feet of water, gain­ing the para­pet. They were dis­lodged, how­ever, in a few min­utes with hand grenades, leav­ing more than one-half their num­ber, includ­ing their brave colonel, dead upon the field.

Colonel Shaw would be buried in a mass grave with his men. The exploits of the 54th would later be dra­ma­tized in the acad­emy award win­ning film, Glory.

August 15, 1863 North Star

The Draft

We seldom read of the racial riots in New York City during the Civil War.

We sel­dom read of the racial riots in New York City dur­ing the Civil War.

…We trust the good name of Ver­mont will not suf­fer, when the num­ber of sol­diers pro­cured by the draft comes to be counted, but we con­fess, thus far, to a severe dis­ap­point­ment in this respect. We fear that one fourth of our quota will be raised by this con­scrip­tion. Many of the nine months men will reen­list in the vet­er­ans reg­i­ments which are soon to be raised, but unless the draft brings into the field more Ver­mon­ters than it promises to now, the three vet­eran reg­i­ments will not fill the defi­ciency in the draft.

Curi­ously, the anti-abolitionist North Star had not pre­vi­ously reported on the draft riots that occurred in New York City July 13 through 16, which was by some accounts the most vio­lent act of civil dis­obe­di­ence the coun­try had ever seen. The riots were pro­voked by the Fed­eral Provost Marshall’s attempt to enforce the Fed­eral con­scrip­tion act. The city’s Irish Catholic immi­grants were enraged at the idea of being forced into mil­i­tary ser­vice to free blacks that Lin­coln, cit­ing his war pow­ers, had ordered by exec­u­tive fiat [Eman­ci­pa­tion Procla­ma­tion] back in Jan­u­ary. Baited by New York’s busi­ness elites, who hated Abo­li­tion­ism because it com­pro­mised the busi­ness loans they had made to the South, and their inabil­ity to come up with the $300 com­mu­ta­tion to buy their way out of the draft, the Irish poor’s three-day ram­page resulted in the destruc­tion of pub­lic build­ings and the loss of 100 black lives. The US mil­i­tary could not get into the city until the end of the first day of riot­ing. Vol­un­teer and mili­tia reg­i­ments had to be diverted from fol­low­ing up on the suc­cess of Get­tys­burg and sent in to restore order. What fol­lows is some of the polit­i­cal after­math to those events.

The Draft in New York City

Wash­ing­ton Aug 8 – Gov­er­nor Sey­mour under the date of Aug 2d writes to the Pres­i­dent with respect to the draft in New York and Brook­lyn con­demn­ing the course of the [Fed­eral] Provost Mar­shal in com­menc­ing the draft with­out con­sul­ta­tion with the City or State offi­cers at the time….while there were not even sol­diers enough in New York to man the for­ti­fi­ca­tions in the har­bor. The Gov­er­nor com­plains of unfair­ness in the enroll­ment, and thinks that this lot­tery in human life, as he terms it, there should be strict impar­tial­ity. In the rural dis­tricts the draft has been exe­cuted with jus­tice, and con­scripts have accepted their fate. In the dis­trict of New York, how­ever, with a pop­u­la­tion less, the num­ber is in some cases dou­ble that of the for­mer [rural dis­tricts]. The attack upon the enrolling offi­cers, which sub­se­quently grew into the most destruc­tive riot known in the his­tory of the coun­try, he pro­nounces unjustifiable. …

The Pres­i­dent in reply, under date of Aug 7, says he can­not sus­pend the draft in New York because time is too important…[In the future] he would direct the draft to pro­ceed only on the aver­age quota of all the districts….The Pres­i­dent would not object to abide the deci­sion of the Supreme courts; he would be will­ing to facil­i­tate it, but could not con­sent to lose time.

War and Gen­eral News Items

…Of the drafted men in this state, not one in ten will be avail­able to the gov­ern­ment. The Rut­land Courier says every one drafted that can beg, bor­row or steal $300, is get­ting exempt, and the bal­ance that do not get off some other way are sked­dling to parts unknown.

The com­mu­ta­tion money paid by drafted men will amount, it is sup­posed, to some forty or fifty mil­lions of dol­lars through­out the country.

The Provost Mar­shal of Pitts­burg had a deserter flogged at the whip­ping post, the other day, and was imme­di­ately in dan­ger of being lynched.

August 22, 1863 North Star

Slav­ery

…His­tory fur­nishes no case in which a national evil which has taken a cen­tury to strengthen and locate itself… the work of ten gen­er­a­tions is not to be undone in a day, with­out a shock to inno­cent inter­ests and unwhole­some con­vul­sions to society.

War and Gen­eral News Items

The Canada papers notice the arrivals of large num­bers of young men from the United States who have fled to the Province to avoid the conscription.

The Drafted

The Danville drafted men have most of them been to Wood­stock, for exam­i­na­tion. Quite a num­ber, though not quite half, were exempted, and those inspected in most of them paid the com­mu­ta­tion money. We know of none who fur­nished substitutes.

 

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News from the North Danville Community Club

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Thaddeus Stevens Focus of Peacham Historical Association Annual Meeting

thaddeus 1The Peacham His­tor­i­cal Asso­ci­a­tion will hold its annual meet­ing on Wednes­day, August 14 start­ing at 7 p.m. at the Peacham Con­gre­ga­tional Church. Fol­low­ing the Association’s busi­ness meet­ing, the evening pro­gram will begin at 7:30 and is enti­tled: “Thad­deus Stevens: His­tory ver­sus Hol­ly­wood.” The fea­tured speaker, Bev­erly Wil­son Palmer, well-known edi­tor of the Thad­deus Stevens Papers, will share her exten­sive knowl­edge of Peacham Academy’s famous alumnus.

Thanks to Tommy Lee Jones’s bril­liant por­trayal in the pop­u­lar movie Lin­coln, many Ver­mon­ters have only recently become aware of the promi­nence of their native son, Thad­deus Stevens. Born in Danville in 1792, he moved to Peacham around 1807 where he attended Peacham Acad­emy and where he started his law stud­ies. Although Stevens left Peacham when he was 23, his pas­sion for equal jus­tice was formed dur­ing his early years in Danville and Peacham. These qual­i­ties appear in Lin­coln along with Stevens’ ora­tor­i­cal skills and his iras­ci­ble per­son­al­ity. How­ever, Hol­ly­wood has taken lib­er­ties with some aspects of this statesman’s’ life and his role in the pas­sage of the Thir­teenth Amend­ment abol­ish­ing slav­ery. Her talk will focus on these discrepancies.

The pro­gram is open to the pub­lic and admis­sion is FREE! The evening will end with dessert and con­ver­sa­tion down­stairs in the church.

 

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Arnold Langmaid — July 5, 1919 — 93 and Counting

By Dwayne Langmaid

Arnold and Shirley Langmaid at the award ceremony for oldest man in Danville.

Arnold and Shirley Lang­maid at the award cer­e­mony for old­est man in Danville.

First of my remem­ber­ing much of Arnie, and of course Shirl, they were liv­ing in half of the lit­tle house across from the old North Danville store. Rather tight quar­ters by today’s stan­dards, but cer­tainly a step-up from the tin-can tiny trailer that had been home. Before that, I’m told Arnie went to the St. Johns­bury Trade School, worked at C. H. Goss, mar­ried Shirl in ’42, and then did three years with the Army in Europe until the end of the Big One.

After get­ting out, Arnie and Shirl bought the tin-can and lived in Spring­field where Arnie was a machin­ist in one of the big shops. A cou­ple years later, we–Hom, Boo, Joe and Snug–started com­ing along. This prompted the move to Arthur Sanborn’s lit­tle house. Arnie mechan­iced out back in the garage that still stands there and helped his dad, Burl, in the woods. Wrench­ing and log­ging didn’t seem to be mak­ing ends meet, so he went to work for Fair­banks Scales, rapidly going through the foundry–drilling to plan­ning to milling and lathe work.

In 1950, Arnie and Shirl bought the farm where Snug and Smitty (Don and Dianne) are now. The place was pretty rough. They, with the help of our grand­par­ents, aunts and uncles, hoed and dug, ripped and tore until in the sum­mer of ’51, we moved in. The old house was plenty big enough, but we didn’t dally run­ning down to the cook stove on nippy morn­ings. Con­tinue read­ing

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Identifying old house photos through Facebook

It takes a com­mu­nity to iden­tify a house! This photo of a house, pho­tographed by Harold Hatch, ca late 1800s early 1900s, was iden­ti­fied and dis­cussed via Face­book. We have many of these uniden­ti­fied house pho­tographs at the Choate-Sias. We will run them by Face­book for fur­ther help. “Like” our page on Face­book and join in the fun.

House identified on the junction of Rt. 2 and Cormier Road, now owned by the Rose family.

House iden­ti­fied on the junc­tion of Rt. 2 and Cormier Road, now owned by the Rose family.

 

 

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July, 1863—Vicksburg and Gettysburg–the Price of Victory

by Mark Moore, His­to­rian and Archivist, Danville His­tor­i­cal Society

1863. The third year of the war. The music exalt­ing medal-bedecked glory and the blood­less romance of a quick 90-day war had faded long ago. In its place was end­less, mind­less slogging–the clean­ing of weapons, large and small, march­ing with no dis­cernible purpose—the killing and dying with an equally point­less objective.

General George G. Meade, aka "the old snapping turtle."

Gen­eral George G. Meade, aka the “Old Snap­ping Turtle.”

This proved to be the rule in the war in the west. The blood­let­ting at Fred­er­icks­burg and Anti­etam, to name two, proved early on that there would be no quick, dra­matic, glit­ter­ing north­ern vic­to­ries. Chan­cel­lorsville had shown the supe­ri­or­ity of some south­ern com­mand­ing gen­er­als so Lin­coln would have to engage on a con­tin­u­ous revolv­ing door of com­mand for the Army of the Potomac replac­ing the use­less Major Gen­eral Joe Hooker with fish-eyed Penn­syl­van­ian George Meade, known to his troops as Old Snap­ping Tur­tle. Con­fed­er­ate Gen­eral Robert E. Lee, on other hand, lost his second-in-command, his bold­est tac­ti­cian and archi­tect of the vic­tory at Chan­cel­lorsville, “Stonewall” Jack­son, to the gun­fire of his own troops in the evening twi­light. Con­tinue read­ing

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June 1863–Democratic Party Leader Brought Before Military Court

By Gary Far­row, Danville His­tor­i­cal Society

A cartoon printed in England in 1864, showing Lincoln as the Federal Phoenix rising from the flames of American Democracy.

A car­toon printed in Eng­land in 1864, show­ing Lin­coln as the Fed­eral Phoenix ris­ing from the flames of Amer­i­can Democracy.

Ten­sions between national secu­rity and civil lib­er­ties are not an unfa­mil­iar topic to mod­ern day read­ers. So what led to a for­mer US Con­gress­man from Ohio and poten­tial can­di­date for gov­er­nor to be rousted out of his house at 2:30 AM on May 5, 1863 and arrested by the fed­eral troops?

Although Clement Val­landigham had lost his reelec­tion bid for the House the prior year, he was still a lead­ing light for the “Cop­per­heads,” the anti-war wing of the Demo­c­ra­tic Party. He had run afoul of Gen. Ambrose Burnside’s mid-April “Gen­eral Order Num­ber 38,” which stated that the “habit of declar­ing sym­pa­thies for the enemy would not be tol­er­ated in the Mil­i­tary Dis­trict of Ohio.” Offend­ers would be sub­ject to execution.

Con­tinue read­ing

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A trip down memory lane from the 1970s

Richard Bois­seau, a for­mer teacher at Danville High School, found a roll of film from one of his classes from the 1970s. He returned it to the Danville His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety in case it might have some value as an arti­fact. What a won­der­ful trip that must have been! There was no sound avail­able at that time on an 8mm movie cam­era. You can find the film here. Thanks, Richard, for shar­ing a part of history.

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