Gen. Rufus Saxton died #OTD in 1908 at the age of 83. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his defense of @HarpersFerryNPS in 1862, and later raised the first black regiment in the Union Army, the 1st South Carolina Colored Volunteers. He is buried in @ArlingtonNatl Cemetery.
In August 1862, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton authorized Saxton, the military governor of the Department of the South, to recruit up to 5000 troops to form the first federally approved black infantry regiments. @BlackPastOnline #CivilWar
Saxton in turn named his friend Col. Thomas W. Higginson as commander of the newly raised regiment, which proved very effective at conducting coastal raids. Harriet Tubman briefly served with the unit in South Carolina, first as a cook and nurse, then as a spy, and scout.

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More from @CivilWarOTD

23 Feb
Robert Smalls died #OTD in 1915 at the age of 75. Born into slavery in Beaufort, SC, during the #CivilWar Smalls commandeered the confederate transport Planter in May 1862, sailing it from Charleston Harbor and turning it over to the Union, freeing himself and the crew.
Smalls was eventually made Captain of the Planter, which was converted to service in the @USNavy, making him the first African-American to command as US naval vessel. After the war, he founded the South Carolina Republican Party and was elected to the US House of Representatives.
Read 7 tweets
23 Feb
President-Elect Abraham Lincoln (@ALPLM) arrived secretly in Washington, DC #OTD in 1861. He checked into the famed @WillardHotel in preparation of his upcoming inauguration the following week.
Lincoln’s original train had been scheduled to travel through Baltimore, but railroad detective Allan Pinkerton uncovered a possible plot to assassinate Lincoln at the station there, and convinced him to switch to an earlier train that passed through Baltimore at night.
Though he arrived safely, Lincoln was mocked ruthlessly in the press, which questioned his masculinity and implied that he was too cowardly to face the potentially hostile crowd.
Read 7 tweets
22 Feb
The city of Wilmington, NC was abandoned by confederate forces under Braxton Bragg #OTD in 1865. It was occupied by @USArmy forces under General John Schofield hours later, closing the last port on the eastern seaboard used by the confederacy during the #CivilWar.
Read 4 tweets
22 Feb
Colonel Augustus Wade Dwight was born #OTD in 1827 in Halifax, VT. After a privileged life attending @Yale, mining for gold, circumnavigating the globe, and practicing as a lawyer, Dwight joined the @USArmy at the outbreak of the #CivilWar.
Dwight was commissioned as a Captain in the 122nd New York Infantry. He would serve with the regiment for the remainder of the war, mostly as Lt. Colonel, in every major engagement of the Army of the Potomac, including @GettysburgNMP and @USGrantNPS’s Overland Campaign.
Just two weeks before the war ended, while serving as acting Colonel and regimental commander, Dwight was killed by an artillery shell while leading his men in a counterattack near @PetersburgNPS following the failed confederate attack on Fort Stedman.
Read 5 tweets
22 Feb
The Battle of Okolona, MS was fought #OTD in 1864. Union cavalry under General William Sooy Smith, delayed in riding to support General William T. Sherman’s occupation of Meridian, encountered confederate cavalry under Nathan Bedford Forrest. #CivilWar
Despite being outnumbered almost 3-to-1, Forrest’s troopers routed Smith’s force in a running day-long battle. He stopped only when his men ran low on ammunition, while Smith’s force retreated all the way into southern Tennessee.
During the fight, German-born Private Charles Bieger of the 4th Missouri Cavalry rode forward under fire to save the life of his captain, whose horse had been shot from under him. Bieger was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.
Read 8 tweets
21 Feb
John H. Winder was born #OTD in 1800, in Maryland. He graduated from @WestPoint_USMA in 1820, and served off and on in the @USArmy for the next 40 years. At the outbreak of the #CivilWar, Winder resigned his commission and joined the rebellion against the United States. Image
In his new capacity with the confederacy, Winder was placed in charge of all prisons, including Libby Prison in @RichmondNPS and Andersonville (@andeNHS) where Union prisoners of war were held. He has been widely vilified for the poor treatment the prisoners received. ImageImage
Winder died of a heart attack before the war ended, and is buried in Green Mount Cemetery in @BaltimoreMD. He was portrayed as a cruel character in MacKinlay Kantor's @PulitzerPrizes-winning novel "Andersonville". ImageImage
Read 7 tweets

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