Thursday, April 19, 2012

Luther C. Ladd

(1843-1861)

I got the chills this morning when I realized that not only did the Revolution begin today in 1775, but the first blood of the Civil War was spilt on this day in 1861.  Luther Ladd was a seventeen year old machinist from Lowell, MA, who quickly took up arms with the 6th Massachusetts when President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers.  The quickest way to Washington was through the city of Baltimore.  The citizens of Baltimore were sympathetic to the Southern cause, so when the 6th Massachusetts arrived by train on the morning of April 19th, a riot broke out. Ladd was one of four soldiers killed while trying to get from President Street Station to Camden Station. He is often referred to as the first to die in the war. His last words were reportedly, "all hail the Stars and Stripes!"

The Shot

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

 -Ralph Waldo Emerson - Concord Hymn


Today marks the anniversary of the start of the Revolutionary War!  On the morning of April 19, 1775, the British troops arrived in Lexington to confiscate military supplies and instead found an armed group of colonists, ready to fight.  Though both sides were told to hold fire, a shot rang out.  After some fighting at the North Bridge, the redcoats fled back to Boston.

Suggested reading:  Howard Fast's April Morning

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

William Dawes

(1745-1799)

We've all heard about Paul Revere's midnight ride to warn the colonists that the British Army was approaching, but had you heard Revere wasn't the only rider?  On the night of April 18, 1775, William Dawes took a land route heading toward Lexington, getting out of Boston just before the city was sealed off.  His warning spread throughout the towns, making it possible for a militia to be organized by the next morning. It is unknown, however, if Dawes had any part in the battle that followed.  During the war, he served as quartermaster.  And a cool fun fact, he died in Marlborough, MA!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Frederick Barbarossa

(1122-1190)


Holy Roman Emperor, known for his magnificent red beard and for mediating between the French, led by Philip Augustus, and the English, led by Richard the Lionheart, during the Third Crusade in 1189.  It was during this expedition to the Holy Land, however, that Barbarossa drowned in the Saleph River. His men attempted to perserve his body in a barrel of vinegar, but this didn't go so well...bits and pieces of Barbarossa's remains can now be found in Antioch, Tyre & Tarsus!