"Nick Biddle," of Pottsville, Pa

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#1
"Nick Biddle," of Pottsville, Pa., the first man wounded in the great American Rebellion, "Baltimore, April 18, 1861"
Biddle.jpg

Library of Congress
  • Date Created/Published: Pottsville (Schuylkill Co., Pa.) : published by W. R. Mortimer, [between 1861 and 1865]
  • Medium: 1 photographic print on carte de visite mount.
  • Summary: Photograph shows Nicholas Biddle, an African American Union soldier, in uniform, half-length portrait, facing front.
  • Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-126417
 

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ErnieMac

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#4
On April 17, 1861 five companies of Pennsylvania militia entrained for Washington D.C. from Harrisburg in response to Lincoln's call for volunteers. One of the units was the Washington Artillery of Pottstown, Schuykill County, Pennsylvania. The commander of the unit was Captain James Wren. Nicholas Biddle, Wren's personal servant, accompanied the unit. During their passage through Baltimore the following day (April 18) a mob assaulted the volunteers with stones, brickbats, etc. Biddle was severly injured, along with several others. The five units would arrive in Washington that evening, would later be denoted as the "First Defenders" and spent the three months of their service on garrison duty in D.C.
 
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Nicholas Biddle, the colored servant of Capt. James Whren of the Washington artillery while marching through Baltimore to change trains to the Capitol..The new recruits were mobbed by Southern Sympathizers. Biddle was struck on the head with a brick receiving a serious gash, believed to be the first person to shed blood in defense of the Union....The irony was that Biddle a black servant for a white Union officer. was the first to shed blood in a war historians have noted as a conflict aimed at the destruction of slavery.....


Schuylkill Living Magazine
 
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#6
On April 17, 1861 five companies of Pennsylvania militia entrained for Washington D.C. from Harrisburg in response to Lincoln's call for volunteers. One of the units was the Washington Artillery of Pottstown, Schuykill County, Pennsylvania. The commander of the unit was Captain James Wren. Nicholas Biddle, Wren's personal servant, accompanied the unit. During their passage through Baltimore the following day (April 18) a mob assaulted the volunteers with stones, brickbats, etc. Biddle was severly injured, along with several others. The five units would arrive in Washington that evening, would later be denoted as the "First Defenders" and spent the three months of their service on garrison duty in D.C.

And that would be Pottsville Penna....sorry to nit pick
 
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There was quite an out pore of volunteers from Schuylkill County..So many that Gov. Curtain refused to accept any more companies from the region...Just to name a few...The 96th, 48th, 151st, 7th Pa. Vol Cav., 50th,55th,67th, 101st, 107th, 116th 184th,,,,I live in the center of Schuylkill County
 

John Hartwell

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#10
There's an interesting 1892 booklet The Story of the First Defenders available at the hathi Trust. There's a photo of an older Nick Biddle on p. 20, and brief text on p. 21.

http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=loc.ark:/13960/t2697jz9g;view=1up;seq=1

Rather surprising the Confederates didn't make a big propaganda deal about it at the time. But then, it was clear that, despite the fancy uniform, Biddle was only a servant, not a soldier, and they couldn't honestly claim otherwise.

jno
 

JPK Huson 1863

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" Voltaic pile of active treason " and " that cess-pool have eminated all the abominations that ever cursed a free people ", with a passing reference to Sodom and Gomorrah. I don't think the author was smitten with Washington, DC. OH, Lord, had to get past that- still crying! Honestly, you get the general impression the fellow must have been foaming at the mouth slightly, left a little spit on the page. That's the trouble with these writers from the era, they had problems leaving a record of how they REALLY felt.

Thanks for the new bookmark, it was inevitable becoming immersed in the entire text. Worth the read!

You know, on the Confederacy honestly claiming otherwise- hmm. I've been browsing an awful lot of papers from the war years. Hee. Both sides did their share of piously maintaining some righteous 'truth' which managed to demonize the enemy while that side was somehow maintaining themselves walking on water. You read some of these, knowing what History recorded on XYZ event, they're a little hysterical.
 

John Hartwell

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#12
You know, on the Confederacy honestly claiming otherwise- hmm. I've been browsing an awful lot of papers from the war years. Hee. Both sides did their share of piously maintaining some righteous 'truth' which managed to demonize the enemy while that side was somehow maintaining themselves walking on water. You read some of these, knowing what History recorded on XYZ event, they're a little hysterical.

The first 'offensive' in any war is to demonize the enemy in the eyes of your own people. Always has been. Honesty has nothing at all to do with it (quite the opposite, actually). It's the tendency of some such characterizations to outlive the actual struggle (and thus their usefulness), that our problems begin. Too often bad propaganda doesn't die, it just smells that way.

Cgeers!

jno
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#13
Oh wow, good point! Yes, as an amatuer, there was ( and still is ) a massive amount of un-learning to do, pertaining to Civil War events and people- from Andersonville ( not that any facts were incorrect, but prisons like Elmira required some explaining... ) to Butler, who I ended up liking a ton. OH, and Meade, to name a few.

This would make a great thread, wouldn't it? I'm not conversant enough with the whole genre to phrase it correctly, I don't think, but the subject would be exactly that- what CW legends persist 150 years later, which were incorrectly torqued by the other side at the time?

See? I told you I was not capable of phrasing it well. :smile:
 

Zuzah

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#14
Oh wow, good point! Yes, as an amatuer, there was ( and still is ) a massive amount of un-learning to do, pertaining to Civil War events and people- from Andersonville ( not that any facts were incorrect, but prisons like Elmira required some explaining... ) to Butler, who I ended up liking a ton. OH, and Meade, to name a few.

This would make a great thread, wouldn't it? I'm not conversant enough with the whole genre to phrase it correctly, I don't think, but the subject would be exactly that- what CW legends persist 150 years later, which were incorrectly torqued by the other side at the time?

See? I told you I was not capable of phrasing it well. :smile:
No, I get it clear as day (I think so, correct me if I don't!)

Debunking 150 year old myths?
 
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#16
There was quite an out pore of volunteers from Schuylkill County..So many that Gov. Curtain refused to accept any more companies from the region...Just to name a few...The 96th, 48th, 151st, 7th Pa. Vol Cav., 50th,55th,67th, 101st, 107th, 116th 184th,,,,I live in the center of Schuylkill County


My Dad's side of the family is form Ashland, PA. right next Potsville, PA. ..... If you have lived in Schuylkill county for awhile, I bet you would have heard of the family name.... and some are form Gordon, PA as well...
Thanks for the photos. These always make the stories come alive for me. My grgrgrandfather was born in Pottsville, did not travel very far in life before listing out of Schuylkill Haven. Funny the brushes with History these little towns pick up through time.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#17
Ha! Ashland! Yes, I know of it also, although we can't claim to have crept back as far as Schuylkill at the moment- still a few feet south into the next county. Dad's family was ALL from there, Schuylkill Haven, Pottsville, Tamaqua, West Penn, Frackville- and as a child we lived 'or in Tower City. ( nicest people ever, ever of the planet, except Scranton and Pittsburgh :smile: ) Heck- if your family was from there from any length of time, probably 7th-10th cousins or something. :smile: My father would have known, too- your family name, where you folks lived, what everyone did for a living, then he'd have come up with ' Let's see, I think a Leiby may have married a Knect, that was his first marriage, she died, he married a Schoffstall, then....', and connected the whole thing.

Do you frequent that awesome website, Schuylkill Haven History? GEE whiz, if you haven't been there, clear your calender, it's addicitve. The gentleman who runs it does it single-handedly, crazy the amount of information to be found on there! He 'knows' who everyone is also. I once wrote to him on something, he 'knew' exactly 'who' I was, from where my ancestry is over there. Blows your mind!
 
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#19
There was quite an out pore of volunteers from Schuylkill County..So many that Gov. Curtain refused to accept any more companies from the region...Just to name a few...The 96th, 48th, 151st, 7th Pa. Vol Cav., 50th,55th,67th, 101st, 107th, 116th 184th,,,,I live in the center of Schuylkill County

William Austin Leyden of the 9th Georgia Artillery was born on a Thursday, May 18, 1826 in Belfast, Center County Pennsylvania. 4 He came from a distinguished lineage descended from Sir. John Leyden, a poet of rare literary attainments, worked with Sir Walter Scott, knew over 30 languages and was knighted for valuable services rendered in India. On his mother Mary’s side, John McBride, a revolutionary war soldier who served under General “Mad” Anthony Wayne, and their family received bounty land in Pennsylvania. Austin was raised working with canal boats along the Susquehanna and Schuylkill rivers. By the age of 16 he became captain of a small fleet. 5

Do you know of any details or resources to search for. I could not find Belfast in Center County
 
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#20
William Austin Leyden of the 9th Georgia Artillery was born on a Thursday, May 18, 1826 in Belfast, Center County Pennsylvania. 4 He came from a distinguished lineage descended from Sir. John Leyden, a poet of rare literary attainments, worked with Sir Walter Scott, knew over 30 languages and was knighted for valuable services rendered in India. On his mother Mary’s side, John McBride, a revolutionary war soldier who served under General “Mad” Anthony Wayne, and their family received bounty land in Pennsylvania. Austin was raised working with canal boats along the Susquehanna and Schuylkill rivers. By the age of 16 he became captain of a small fleet. 5

Do you know of any details or resources to search for. I could not find Belfast in Center County
It may have changed its name. A lot of the little Pennsylvania towns have changed their names over time.

R
 



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