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Tag: famous veterans

Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln in the same photo

Lincoln's funeral procession passing the Roosevelt Mansion in New York City (Courtesy New York Public Library)

Lincoln's funeral procession passing the Roosevelt Mansion in New York City (Courtesy New York Public Library)

History is full of strange coincidences, and the Civil War is no exception. In the 1950s, Stefan Lorant was researching a book on Abraham Lincoln when he came across an image of the President’s funeral procession as it moved down Broadway in New York City. The photo was dated April 25, 1865.

At first it appeared like one of any number of photographs of Lincoln’s funeral procession, until he identified the house on the corner as that of Cornelius van Schaack Roosevelt, the grandfather of future President Teddy Roosevelt and his brother Elliot.

The coincidence might have ended there, but Lorant took a closer look. In the second=story window of the Roosevelt mansion he noticed the heads of two boys are peering out onto Lincoln’s funeral procession.

Lorant had the rare chance to ask Teddy Roosevelt’s wife about the image, and when she saw it, she confirmed what he had suspected: the faces in the windows were those of a young future President and his brother. “Yes, I think that is my husband, and next to him his brother,” she exclaimed. “That horrible man! I was a little girl then and my governess took me to Grandfather Roosevelt’s house on Broadway so I could watch the funeral procession. But … [ Read all ]

Facial Hair Friday: Boldly going where no beard has gone before

Norton P. Chipman (111-B-1521)

Norton P. Chipman (111-B-1521)

In the Facial Hair Friday spotlight today is a man with a truly impressive set of whiskers. Norton P. Chipman also has a fascinating story to go behind that beard. Chipman was born in 1834 in Ohio, later lived in Iowa, and joined the Union Army after finishing law school. He didn’t spend the entire war behind a desk, however. He was severely wounded during the Battle of Fort Donelson in Tennessee in 1862. After the war, he settled in Washington, DC, and was appointed secretary of the district in 1871 and then served in the House of Representatives as a Delegate from the District of Columbia from 1871 to 1875.

Chipman’s most conspicuous role in history came just after the Confederate surrender. In May 1865, Federal forces arrested Capt. Henry Wirz, the commander of the infamous Confederate prisoner of war camp at Andersonville, GA. Judge Advocate Chipman was the Army prosecutor during the trial. Wirz was convicted and hanged. In 1911, Chipman wrote his own account of the trial, The Tragedy of Andersonville.

In 1970, Chipman came to the small screen when The Andersonville Trial aired on television. Chipman was portrayed by none other than William Shatner. While Shatner got generally favorable reviews for this role, the makeup artist missed an opportunity to go wild with whiskers. While the … [ Read all ]

Private Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth's World War I draft card (Records of the Selective Service System)

Babe Ruth's World War I draft card (Records of the Selective Service System)

George Herman “Babe” Ruth was no exception to the military draft that took place during World War I, but as fate would have it, the Great Bambino’s number was never called.

Still, “Babe” Ruth managed to serve his country. Eighty-six years ago this month, the Sultan of Swat traded out his swing for a salute and enlisted in the 104th Field Artillery Division of the New York Army National Guard before a huge crowd in Times Square. Not only did he join the ranks of the military, but he also joined a growing group of veteran celebrities including Jimi Hendrix, Joe Louis, and Jack Kerouac.

75 years ago today the Great Bambino hit his 714th (and final) home run.

Private Ruth renders General Pershing a smart salute (Library of Congress)

Private Ruth renders General Pershing a smart salute (Library of Congress)

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