IntriguingHistory

HISTORY is MORE than just names and dates

Archive for the tag “Essays”

Hancock County, West Virginia and the Start of the Civil War

Virginia, the home state of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, was notably divided during the Civil War. The growing factions were evident in the state’s most northern reaches. In May 1861, pro-Unionists in Hancock County, VA(now West Virginia), decided to organize a company of men to help fulfill President Abraham Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers. The enlistments were for only three months, but those men quickly cemented their place in history by fighting in the first military land engagement of the Civil War, which catapulted Union General George B. McClellan to the national stage.

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David Farragut: One of the Youngest Midshipman in American Naval History

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David Farragut was one of the most well-known Naval Commanders of the Civil War, but his intriguing life-story began at a surprisingly early age.

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Mark Twain and Ulysses S. Grant: A Phenomenal Friendship, Part 2

A few months after Twain’s hilarious speech, Grant decided to run for a third presidential term. His political supporters rallied for him. At the 1880 Republican National Convention, Grant nearly received the nomination, but James Garfield was able to secure a majority of the votes. Grant understood the implications of not receiving the candidacy. He was only making six thousand dollars a year, so he needed to make investments which would sustain his family financially.[1]

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Mark Twain and Ulysses S. Grant: A Phenomenal Friendship, Part 1

         U.S. Grant

In the summer of 1884 former president Ulysses S. Grant screamed out in pain after he took a bite from a peach. Something was wrong with his throat. At first, his wife Julia thought he was scratched by the peach’s pit or that he was stung by a bug. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Months later, after Julia convinced him to see a doctor, Grant discovered that he had throat and mouth cancer. The family was devastated by the news, but in usual fashion, Grant decided to fight. He knew that he did not have much time to live, which meant that he had to find a way to provide for his family after his death. His problems were exacerbated by failed business investments. The only solution was for him to write his autobiography. He was approached by multiple publishing companies who were interested in producing his memoirs, but at the eleventh hour, Grant met with one of America’s most famous authors, Mark Twain. Read more…

Martha Ballard: American History Through a Woman’s Perspective

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During the late 1700s, Martha Ballard was a midwife living in Maine. In life, she was not famous or well known, but her personal diary made her an important part of history, because it revealed the obscured viewpoint of early American women. Ballard’s diary entries covered topics, including textile production, dissections, courtship and marriage, money, the Scarlet Fever epidemic, premarital pregnancy, and the horrific Purrinton Murders.

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Ricketts’ Circus: George Washington and Americas First Circus, 1793

John B. Ricketts

John B. Ricketts

Obviously, nearly every American knows who George Washington was, and the role he played in American history. However, did you know that the battle hardened General and astute President loved the circus?

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Dueling Pianos: Muzio Clementi vs. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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Can you imagine the scene? It is Christmas Eve in 1781 at the Royal Viennese Court, and everyone, including the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II, is waiting for the piano duel to commence. Sitting at one piano is a well established Italian composer, Muzio Clementi, and at the other is the most anticipated prodigy of his time, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

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John Forsyth: The Slave Owning Secretary of State

Secretary of State John Forsyth

Secretary of State John Forsyth

During the early nineteenth century, John Forsyth was a well respected American politician. Throughout different parts of his life, he served as a Congressman, Senator, and Governor of Georgia. However, most notably, he was the Secretary of State who led the US Government’s case against the Amistad mutiny. Read more…

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