Archive for March, 2011
The USS Monitor was the Navy’s first ironclad vessel, but it was not the only one in Civil War waters.
The Virginia had started life in 1855 as the Merrimack, a Union ship that had been burned to the waterline, sunk, and abandoned in the Gosport Navy Yard in Norfolk, VA. The Confederates raised what remained of the ship and used the hull to build the ironclad Viriginia.
On March 8, 1862, Virginia made its first combat sortie, as the ship headed through Hampton Roads and fired on the Union frigates Cumberland and Congress in an attempt to break the Union blockade at Hampton Roads. According to this New York Times article, the Virginia looked like “a submerged house” with “nothing protruding above the water but a flagstaff flying the rebel flag, and a short smokestack”
But when the Cumberland fired on the Virginia, the Confederate ship proved to be far tougher than an underwater home: “the latter opened on her with heavy guns, but the balls struck and glanced off, having no more effect than peas from a pop-gun.” The Virginia rammed the wooden frigate, which was no match for the ironclad boat, and also took out the Congress. Another Union ship was run aground.
The next morning, March 9, the Monitor arrived. The two ironclads fired on each other … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on March 9, 2011, under - Civil War.
Tags: blockade, Confederate, Congress, Cumberland, frigate, Gosport Navy Yard, Hampton Roads, Merrimac, Monitor, New York Times, Norfolk, Union
Here at Prologue: Pieces of History, we have Facial Hair Friday. On the Harry S. Truman Library’s Facebook page, they celebrate Millinery Monday! When I was very little, I loved poking through my mother’s old hatboxes stored in the basement. Alas, the era of wearing hats for every occasion had passed, but she had saved her favorites.
Bess Truman apparently did the same thing. The Truman Library has several of her hats and many more photographs of her in hats at various stages of her life. Scrolling through the Truman Library’s page is a good substitute for exploring my mother’s hatboxes. Not only do you get to see some remarkable chapeaux, but you also get to see the very stylish young Bess Wallace (and others) wearing the hats.
Because Millinery Monday covers the span of Bess Truman’s life, we get to see how hat styles changed from the start of the 20th century through its late decades. We also get to see a part of the library’s collection that is not usually seen by the public. On the National Archives Facebook page, click through our list of “Favorite Pages” to find out more about the Presidential libraries, regional archives, and other units that are all part of the National Archives and Records Administration. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find.
Besides looking through the old hatboxes … [ Read all ]
Posted by Mary on March 7, 2011, under Uncategorized.
Tags: american history, Bess Truman, Facial Hair Fridays, hats, Millinery Monday, national archives, National archives and records administration, Pieces of History, Truman Library
In a break with tradition, today’s Facial Hair doesn’t feature a picture of a beard, but the man whose accomplishments we are featuring did indeed have a luxurious beard. And whether or not whiskers tickle your own chin, you almost certainly have one of his inventions attached to your face at some point during the day.
Forget Steve Jobs and the iPhone. You can thank Alexander Graham Bell that you are not carrying a wireless telegraph around with you.
Bell’s telephone was the child of the telegraph. The telegraph–the creation of bearded inventor Samuel Morse–took electric sounds and converted them into words. While it was useful for sending messages, it required a skilled operator. It was not a device for the homes of regular Americans.
Bell’s telephone allowed sounds to be transmitted–sounds that were heard as words.
“It is possible to connect every man’s house, office or factory with a central station, so as to give him direct communication with his neighbors,” wrote Bell.
March 1876 was a big month for Bell. His 29th birthday was March 3. He was issued the patent above on March 7. Just 3 days later on March 10, he made his now famous request of “Mr. Watson, come here!” over the telephone to his assistant.
This new invention was then exhibited at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876.
Last’s week winning caption goes to Marc, whose plowman did not expect to have quite such an active role in government.
If you thought this looked like a victorious pursuit for these two well-dressed gentlemen, you would be correct. In this image from the Roosevelt Presidential Library, the Victory Garden Program Secretary is plowing Boston Common in 1944. There are no records on how many rutabagas were successfully planted and harvested.
This week’s mystery photo is more ominous than victorious! Put your caption in the comments box below.… [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on March 3, 2011, under Photo Caption Contest, Uncategorized.
Tags: national archives, National archives and records administration, old photos, Photo Caption Contest, weird photos