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Dred Scott Statue Commemorates Historic Fight for Freedom

On June 8, St. Louis, Missouri, became home to the nation’s first statue of Dred Scott, the slave whose failed legal battle for freedom helped set the stage for the looming national struggle over slavery. The new statue, depicting Dred Scott and his wife Harriet, stands in front of the Old Courthouse where the suit was first filed in 1846. It would take 11 years for the case to reach the Supreme Court, which ruled in 1857 that as a slave Scott was not a U.S. citizen and remained his owner’s property even though he had been taken outside state lines into new territory where slavery was not recognized. As the 150th anniversary of the infamous decision neared, Lynne Jackson, Dred Scott’s great-great-granddaughter, wanted to commemorate Scott’s historic fight. “I never found anything that had a bust or a statue or anything that you could go and see…not even in St. Louis. That seemed to be a major oversight and was something we should at least start to address.”

In 2006 Jackson and family friend David Uhler, a ranger at the National Park Service, founded the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation, and in 2007 they collaborated with other groups in commemorating the decision. In 2010 the foundation launched the statue campaign, and so far has raised more than $150,000 of the bronze statue’s $250,000 price tag.

Jackson wants to start people talking about “what does this have to do with the Civil War, what impact did he have on the country.” Most of all, she adds, the goal is “to educate people about our history. Even today—here in our own city—when people are asked who is Dred Scott, they are really vague on it.” For more information, visit:—Richie Phillips.

Georgian Ironclad to Be Removed From Riverbed

The Savannah port needs dredging to accommodate deeper-draft vessels, but CSS Georgia—a Confederate ironclad built in Savannah and scuttled in December 1864 after not firing a single shot—stands in the way. It will cost $14 million to remove and conserve the remains: casemate, guns and cannonballs. The total cost of the dredging project is $652 million.

Clara Barton Bobblehead Debuts

Clara Barton, whose first brush with battlefield nursing occurred during the fighting at Antietam on September 17, 1862, has joined a pantheon of historical figures commemorated by bobbleheads. On June 23, the Hagerstown (Md.) Suns minor league baseball team gave away Clara Barton figurines to the first 1,000 fans attending its home game against the Lakewood (N.J.) Blue Claws. The roster of previous honorary Hagerstown bobbleheads includes Captain Ulric Dahlgren, General George Washington, author Nora Roberts, Maryland Symphony Orchestra director Elizabeth Schulze, General Abner Doubleday and Little Heiskell, a Revolutionary War soldier adopted as Hagerstown’s symbol. The Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau sponsored the promotion, which included dressing the players in Union-style uniforms. After the game, the uniforms were to be given away by raffle, with the proceeds donated to the American Red Cross, which Barton helped establish.

Nine Orphaned Civil War Photos Seek Kin

The Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Va., needs help identifying nine photos from its collection. The images were found by Confederate soldiers who were scavaging for supplies on battlefields. Often the only information provided to the museum was the name of the battlefield where a photo had been found. One ambrotype of a little girl posed in an armchair was found lying between two dead soldiers, one Confederate and one Union, after the Battle of Port Republic. Another is a tintype so tiny that it fit inside a gold locket. To see all nine images, go to

Helium Donation Rescues Intrepid Liftoff

 Thanks to a gift from Macy’s of 5,000 cubic feet of helium, a replica of the manned balloon Intrepid lifted off as scheduled on July 4 at the Genesee Country Village & Museum near Rochester, N.Y. An unanticipated shortage of helium had threatened to postpone or even cancel the event, planned to commemorate the balloon’s use in surveillance of enemy troops by General George McClellan. For more on the event, visit

Bedside Account of Abraham Lincoln’s Death

 The handwriting is neat and orderly, the words equally precise. “When I reached the president, he was in a state of general paralysis, his eyes were closed, and he was in a profoundly comatose condition, while his breathing was exceedingly intermittent and stertorous,” wrote 23-year-old Charles Leale, a newly minted doctor who happened to be among those in the audience at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. The physician’s notes, recently discovered by a researcher in the National Archives, describe with clinical clarity the commotion surrounding President Lincoln’s assassination and the details of his dying. You can read Leale’s notes at


Originally published in the October 2012 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here.