fitz john porter statue

This Day in History – August 31st – Hijinx, Humor, and Insight

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NewsWhistle is pleased to feature Gary Jenneke’s “This Day In History” column.

You can read the original at Gary’s THIS DAY IN HISTORY blog — or scroll down to enjoy Gary’s unique look at life’s comings and goings.

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THIS DAY IN HISTORY… AUGUST 31

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1745 – Jacobite Uprising reaches Blair Castle, Scotland.

Charles Stuart, otherwise known as Bonnie Prince Charles, led an uprising to try regain the English throne for the House of Stuart. This was the fifth Jacobite uprising, the first being in 1689. Much of the English army was on the continent, fighting another war, so the Jacobites had some initial success. They were expecting help from the French, but that never materialized. The Bonnie Prince invaded England and was 130 miles from London before recalled English army forces caused him to retreat. Defeated, he fled to Rome, where he died at age 67. This was the last of the Jacobite uprising. In the aftermath there was a law banning the wearing of the kilt.

So who says nothing good comes of war?

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1864 – Battle of Jonesboro.

Sherman’s army defeats the rebel forces at Jonesboro leaving Atlanta undefended. 1944 – Free French military units liberate Bordeaux from Germans. 1944 – Russian troops march into Bucharest, Romania.

The losers in all three of these instances were waving either the Confederate flag or the Swastika. The same banners that another group of losers were carrying in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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1939 – Operation Himmler.

This was a staged attack on a German radio station on the Polish border. German SS agents dressed in Polish uniforms, supervised by Heinrich Heydrich, attacked the station. Left behind after the “attack” were the bodies of Poles also dressed in the uniform of the Polish army. They were inmates of a concentration camp who were killed earlier and then shot so it would look like they had fallen in battle. Hitler used this manufactured incident as a provocation to invade Poland and launch the beginning of WWII.

If there was any investigative journalism reporting the questionable nature of the attack, one must wonder if it was decried as fake news.

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Birthdays:

1822 – Fitz John Porter. Union general at the 2nd Battle of Bull Run.

Porter was a protégé of General George McClellan, commander of the Army of the Potomac, and an open critic of General John Pope, commander of the Union forces at Bull Run. Porter received conflicting orders from Pope so he chose to ignore them. When the angry Pope issued the orders a second time he felt compelled to comply. By obeying he left the Union flank exposed, which is what he feared, and the Confederates rolled through to victory. Porter was blamed for the defeat, relieved of command, court-martialed, and dismissed from the army. Edward Alexander, an officer in the Confederate Army, wrote “Confederates who knew Porter respected him greatly and considered his dismissal ‘one of the best fruits of their victory.’” Years later Porter was exonerated and President Grover Cleveland commuted his sentence.

General McClellan fell into political disfavor, with good reason, and was relieved of command. The effect of this however left Porter with no one to protect him, and unfortunately sealed his fate. More often than not politics trumps reality.

1907 – Augustus Hawkins. 1st African-American from California to be elected to the House of Representatives.

Hawkins served in the House for 28 years. He worked with LBJ on the Civil Rights Act, and supported Johnson’s Great Society, but thought the Civil Rights bill was only the start.

From an official House website: “From the beginning of his career on the Hill, Hawkins worked to improve the quality of life for minorities. In 1964, he toured the South with three white Representatives to champion African–American voter registration and to observe discrimination. Praising the volunteers who risked their lives to fight oppression, Hawkins recalled, ‘Being congressmen didn’t exempt us from the constant terror felt by anyone challenging established racial practices.’”

And there are those who want to take us back to that America.

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1945 – George Ivan Morrison. Better known as Van Morrison. Singer, songwriter from Northern Ireland.

Van Morrison, with his unique voice and singing style, has been described as being in a genre of one. Morrison has been influential on the music scene since the late 60s with hits like “Brown-Eyed Girl,” “You’re My Woman,” and “Tupelo Honey.” He had an absolutely stirring performance in Martin Scorsese’s documentary The Last Waltz. Morrison suffered from stage fright and that night his manager had to almost push him on stage. The Band understood for they too suffered from stage fright.

Personal note to friend and music enthusiast Greg Foley. WATCH THIS MOVIE!

I was watching the movie late one night on television. Storm warning kept scrolling across the bottom of the screen, which I ignored. At that time I was living on the second floor of a three-story apartment building. It was raining but I didn’t think too much about it. Just as Van Morrison started to perform there was a roar, the proverbial freight train roar, lights went out, windows exploded, a rush of wind thundered through the apartment, and I hit the floor. Unhurt, I huddled behind a sofa until the wind subsided. Part of the roof was gone from the building, trees were down, cars crushed, (not mine) and we didn’t have power for five days. It wasn’t until several years later that I saw Van Morrison finish his act and the second half of “The Last Waltz.”

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ABOUT GARY JENNEKE

At various junctures of his life, Gary has been an indifferent grade school student, poor high school student, good Navy radioman, one-time hippie, passable college student, inveterate traveler, dedicated writer, miscast accountant (except for one interesting stint at a Communist café), part-time screenwriting teacher, semi-proud veteran, unsuccessful retiree and new blogger.

You can reach him at gary@newswhistle.com.

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CREDITS

The above information was sourced from the following sites and newspapers.

Sources:

US House Of Representatives – history.house.gov

Wikipedia.org

OnThisDay.com

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We’d also thank to the following photographers and videographers for the use of their images:

*  Lead-In Image – Igal Shkolnik / Shutterstock.com – “General Fitz John Porter Statue, Portsmouth, NH”

* Jacobite Rebellion (video) – Jabzy / Youtube.com

* Fitz John Porter (video) – GettysburgNPS / YouTube.com

* Rep. Augustus Hawkins (video) – wufilmarchives / YouTube.com

* Van Morrison (video) – MrNelhas / YouTube.com

* Outro (Man-In-Museum Cartoon) – SkyPics Studio / Shutterstock.com

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OTHER DAYS IN HISTORIES…

December 18 

December 28

January 3

January 7

January 11

January 14

January 19

January 24

January 27

February 1

February 5

February 9

* February 15

February 20

* February 25

March 2

March 9

March 14

March 19

* March 23

March 29

April 3

April 13

April 18

April 23

April 28

May 2

May 6

May 10

May 15

May 19

* May 26

June 1

June 8

June 13

June 18

June 24

June 29

July 3

July 9

* July 13

July 17

July 23

July 30

* August 3

August 10

August 16

August 21

* August 25

* Stay tuned for more!

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