Chartered in 1816 and was prosperous under Nicholas Biddle. First Defender Heber Thompson wrote that one man was caught dumping gunpowder on the floor of one of train cars “in the hope that a soldier carelessly striking a match in the darkened interior…might blow himself and his comrades to perdition.” For the idealistic volunteers from Pottsville, Allentown, Reading and Lewistown, the ordeal quickly erased any romanticized notions of soldiering they might have had. Posted May 15, 2020. He had arrived in Pottsville as a … The surviving veterans of the Washington Artillery and the National Light Infantry once again answered the call. But Biddle refused. COPYRIGHT (C) 2017 - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED - BLACK THEN Nicholas Biddle (17861844) established the Bank of the United States as a prototype of the modern central banking system. Agreeing to pay for the costs, they arranged Biddle’s funeral, which took place just two days after his death. So you think the Civil War only happened because of events and decisions after 1850? April 18, 1861,” it reads. All of them except Nicholas Biddle, of course. William Lipscomb, chemist; awarded Nobel Prize in 1976. Biddle would return to Pottsville and passed in 1876 at 82. Biddle, however, had willingly marched off to war as the orderly of Captain Wren, the Washington Artillery’s commanding officer. It’s odd considering he didn’t change his name until his late-30s or early-40s. Contributor Names While serving with the Washington Artillery in Baltimore in the first days of the war, he was targeted by a Confederate and badly injured by a brick thrown on April 18, 1861. The following morning, the two companies, along with the Ringgold Light Artillery from Reading, the Logan Guards from Lewistown and the Allen Infantry of Allentown, boarded the North Central Railroad and began their journey to Washington via Baltimore. John D. Hoptak works as a ranger at Antietam National Battlefield. It was on this subject that he made his first speech, which attracted general attention at the time, and was warmly commended by Chief-Justice Marshall and other leaders of public opinion. “Nigger in Uniform! They had been angry enough when Pennsylvania militiamen had detrained at Bolton Street station and began marching down Eutaw Street toward Camden Station on April 18, 1861, but when they saw Nicholas Biddle, an African American in uniform who was treated as an equal by his white comrades, their blood lust only increased and their calls grew louder. The latter could be hinting to a gentleman by the name of Nicholas Biddle, an African-American soldier passing through Baltimore on April 18, 1861 on his way to Washington and the battlefields of the Civil War. Departing Pottsville on April 17, 1861, they reached Harrisburg late that evening. Henry Kendall, particle physicist; shared Nobel Prize in 1990. The first man to shed blood during the Civil war was an escaped slave by the name of Nicholas Biddle from Pottsville, PA. Due to his having escaped a life of slavery very little is known of Mr. Biddle's life. . In addition to working in a hotel, Biddle was also heavily involved in the Underground Railroad and worked with the Gillingham Family. black history culture race. Others in the group were hit by bricks and bottles as the mob tried to overtake the train. At the time some considered Biddle’s blood the first shed in hostility during the Civil War. Whatever the truth, by 1840 Biddle had made Pottsville his home, taking up residence in a modest dwelling on Minersville Street. Posted March 22, 2020. It has since been replaced. He reportedly shook hands with Biddle and encouraged him to seek medical attention. 1 Thomas P. Govan, Nicholas Biddle: Nationalist and Public Banker (University of Chicago Press, 1959) p. 412. He also writes heavily on wrestling, comics, gaming, and Black sci-fi and fantasy. Biddle adopted the name and whoever he was called before was forgotten. On September 10, 1833, President Jackson pulled the government deposits out of the Bank of the United States (BUS) and put it into the state banks. Biddle refused the president’s advice to seek medical attention, insisting that he preferred to remain with his company. A few years after graduation from Princeton College, John Biddle entered the United States Army, serving for most of the War of 1812 in the Niagara Frontier under General Scott. "Nick Biddle," of Pottsville, Pa., the first man wounded in the great American Rebellion, "Baltimore, April 18, 1861" / W. R. Mortimer. His Was the Proud Distinction of Shedding the First Blood In the Late War For the Union, Being Wounded While Marching Through Baltimore With the First Volunteers From Schuylkill County 18 April 1861. is brought to you by Historynet LLC, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. He remained in Pottsville, still nursing the painful head wound he had suffered in Baltimore. ... the Cherokee Trail of Tears, the seizure of Spanish Florida, the battle of New Orleans, the declaration of war on the Federalist bank of America, ... developed during civil war era for fast communication with the west. Following his retirement from banking, he helped establish Girard College in Philadelphia and held literar… Nicholas Biddle. But exactly when he slipped the chains of human bondage is not known. The rest of the way, the Defenders were escorted by Baltimore police. A true American aristocrat, he read classics in their original language and collected art. The Grave of Nick Biddle: Ode to the Man who was the First Casualty of the Civil War. Born in the late 1790s, he escaped slavery in Delaware and resided in Pennsylvania most of his adult life where he worked in a Pottsville hotel. Judi Dench (Dame Judith Dench), actress; known to James Bond fans for her role as M in Bond films beginning with Golden Eye (1997), her many awards include an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (Chocolat, 2000). Jacqueline Dormer/staff photo A flag marks the grave of First Defender Nicholas Biddle, who was the first to shed blood in the Civil War. There were chants of “N****r in uniform!” The mob threw objects at the group and Biddle was struck in the head with a brick. After Biddle moved to the Pennsylvania State Senate, he lobbied for the rechartering of the Second Bank of the United States. By the end of the incident, four soldiers and twelve rioters were dead. of hostilities was Daniel Hough, an Irish immigrant soldier who died at Fort Sumpter on April 14, 1861, four days before Nicholas Biddle, who was injured during a civil disturbance at a train station in Baltimore several days later. The vibe of Baltimore was that Maryland needed to ditch the Union. Around this time, the Philadelphia’s famous banker Nicholas Biddle had rolled into town to establish an iron furnace. It was upon seeing Biddle that they exploded. By the time the American Civil War broke out Nicholas Biddle was in his mid-60s. The First Defenders on the other had guns—that didn’t work. While Pennsylvania was technically outside of the slaveholding U.S, it was a border state. Even his real name is unknown. Of course, it didn’t help that there was a train of Union recruits was in the city. The term of service for the initial 75,000 Northern volunteers—including those in the ranks of the First Defender companies—was for three months, and in late July 1861, the soldiers were mustered out. Jackson’s veto was only one part of the war on the “monster bank.” In 1833, the president removed the deposits from the national bank and placed them in state banks. As the volunteers arrived at Camden Station, they were pelted with stones, bricks, bottles and whatever else the local mob could reach; some were even clubbed or knocked down by a few well-landed punches. Biddle adopted the name and whoever … Captain Thomas Yeager was extremely concerned about the situation and expected “an intended massacre in Baltimore.” While the First Defenders were met by Union troops lead by Lt. General John C. Pemberton to get them to the station, this would only be halfway. The marker for his grave had been destroyed not only after he was buried. The angry citizens of Baltimore were spoiling for a fight and picked up whatever weapons and projectiles they could find. Read the poem “The Grave of Nick Biddle“, a stirring ode written in 1876 about April 18, 1861, the day “In Baltimore City, where riot ran high.”. Around this time, the Philadelphia’s famous banker Nicholas Biddle had rolled into town to establish an iron furnace. Posted by John David Hoptak at 5:43 AM. William Barret Travis, commander of the Texas troops at the battle of the Alamo. Nicholas Biddle, an African American Union soldier was the first man wounded in the Civil War. According to this account, Biddle, along with his servant, traveled to the Schuylkill County seat of Pottsville in January 1840 for a celebratory dinner at the Mountain House hotel in the nearby village of Mount Carbon. Many of the Pennsylvanians present that day believed Biddle was the first man to be struck down by an enemy combatant in the Civil War. The militia managed to escape but not with thirty-six of their men being injured and having to leave the bulk of their gear. When news of President Lincoln’s call to arms spread throughout the North in April 1861, both the National Light Infantry and the Washington Artillery were quick to tender their services. First Casualty of the Civil War Disputed. He is best known for his role in the Bank War. Biddle soon was the target of more than just oaths, as salvos of bricks pried loose from the streets began to fly through the air. Continue Reading. In History. In Baltimore, the First Defenders ended up in a hive of aggression as a mob 2,000 people deep moved in on them. The 6th Massachusetts was taking the same route as the First Defenders and retaliated by firing on the Baltimore rioters. As for the Union soldier who was the first to spill blood, Nicholas Biddle was unable to enlist for the Union. For whatever reason, the servant Biddle remained behind in Pottsville when his employer returned to Philadelphia. Nicholas Biddle becomes the first African American in uniform to be wounded in the Civil War ... Nicholas Biddle becomes the first African American in uniform to be wounded in the Civil War. At the time, however, Biddle received the attention even of Abraham Lincoln as the president visited the militiamen being billeted at the U.S. Capitol on April 19. The other origin of Biddle is that he escaped to Philadelphia early on and worked in the service the more famous Biddle, then he took the name upon settling in Pottsville. By admin. Banker (1786-1844) Born in Philadelphia on January 8, 1786, Biddle entered the University of Pennsylvania at the age of ten. A grateful President Lincoln later greeted the Pennsylvanians. This collection contains a typescript transcription of the Civil War diary of Nicholas Biddle Gibbon, written between 1861 and 1866, and describing his service in North Carolina and Virginia as a drill master and commissary in the 1st and 28th North Carolina Regiments. Born in the late 1790s, he escaped slavery in Delaware and resided in Pennsylvania most of his adult life where he worked in a Pottsville hotel. M. Swift primarily writes on moments and important figures in Black history for Your Black World. By Dannie Gore Nicholas Biddle first to shed blood for The Civil War. One thing about Biddle is that real name is basically lost to history. He reportedly soon found work as a servant in the lavish home of Nicholas Biddle, the wealthy financier and longtime president of the Second Bank of the United States, whose name the escaped slave adopted as his own. Did Nicholas Biddle try to buy the presidential election in 1832? Pottsville’s leading newspaper, The Miners’ Journal, appealed to the community for help. On April 18, 1951, the 90th anniversary of the First Defenders’ famed march through Baltimore, the people of Pottsville dedicated a bronze plaque for the Civil War Soldiers’ Monument in Garfield Square. “Poor Nick had to take it” as the mob closed in like “wild wolves,” Captain James Wren, Biddle’s commander, later recorded. AFTER THE SERMON AT THE CEMETERY, a number of uniformed First Defenders carried the simple coffin to the burial site and laid Nicholas Biddle to rest. By Dannie Gore Nicholas Biddle first to shed blood for The Civil War. . But most of the First Defenders were quick to reenlist, this time “for three years, or the course of the war.” Almost to a man, the National Light Infantry became Company A of the 96th Pennsylvania Infantry, while most members of the Washington Artillery reenlisted into the ranks of Company B, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry, with James Wren remaining as captain. Using the power of the bank to expand and contract the money supply, Biddle played a prominent role in creating a stable currency and in bringing order to the chaotic American marketplace. Erected By His Friends In Pottsville. Nicholas Biddle died in his home on August 2, 1876, at the age of 80. “In Memory of the First Defenders And Nicholas Biddle, of Pottsville, First Man To Shed Blood In The Civil War. He had been associated with the company since its formation in 1840 and was so highly regarded by the members of the unit that they considered him one of their own and issued him a uniform. Biddle's work as a banker has been extensively treated in Ralph C. H. Catterall, The Second Bank of the United States (1903); Fritz Redlich, The Molding of American Banking: Men and Ideas (2 vols., 1947-1951); Walter B. Smith, Economic Aspects of the Second Bank of the United States (1953); and Bray Hammond, Banks and Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War (1957). Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, speaker of the House of Representatives. Photographic prints--1860-1870. Cartes de visite--1860-1870. Along with 80 industrialists and capitalists, they celebrated the success of William Lyman’s Pottsville Furnace, the first in the United States to smelt iron by an anthracite-fired blast furnace continuously for 100 days. BIDDLE’S INJURIES WERE THE MOST SERIOUS, an irony considering he wasn’t technically a soldier since the Federal government would not muster him in because of his race. Like many lives of African-Americans at the time, that of Nicholas Biddle leaves history with more questions than answers. Nick Biddle, however, did not accompany Wren when the 48th left Schuylkill County in September 1861. Previous Post The 2020 Blake Mini Library “Breaking Barriers” Collection. He is the author of First in Defense of the Union: The Civil War History of the First Defenders, and maintains a Web site on the 48th Pennsylvania at On this day in 1861, Nicholas Biddle became “the first blood of the Civil War” in the midst of mob violence in Baltimore. In befriending members of the National Light Infantry and the Washington Artillery, Biddle joined the First Defenders—several militias from Pennsylvania—as the orderly of Captain James Wren. Preserving the Civil War's Legacy A short, focused history of the politics of Reconstruction in a changing America In The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant: Preserving the Civil War’s Legacy , historian Paul Kahan focuses on the unique political, economic, and cultural forces unleashed by the Civil War and how Grant addressed these issues during his tumultuous two terms as chief executive. Charles John Biddle (1819 – September 28, 1873) was an American soldier, lawyer, Congressman, and newspaper editor. Privacy. Joel Chandler Harris, writer, creator of the Uncle Remus tales. One account has him settling in Philadelphia, where he possibly was taken in by abolitionists. Grace Hopper, mathematician and computer pioneer. Impoverished in his final years, he walked the streets of Pottsville seeking charity. Before setting out from the Pennsylvania capital, the soldiers of the five companies took the oath of allegiance and were all sworn in as soldiers of the United States. Masako, Crown Princes of Japan, wife of Crown Prince Naruhito, heir apparent to the Chrysanthemum Throne. A few bolder Confederate sympathizers lunged at the unarmed Pennsylvanians with knives and drawn pistols. 3 Bray Hammond, Banks and Politics in America: From the Revolution to the Civil War (Princeton Nicholas Biddle. Traveling to D.C, the Defenders had to change connecting trains in Baltimore, a slave port. John Cassavetes, actor (The Dirty Dozen), film director, screenwriter (Faces). Lincoln wanted to thank the men who had arrived to defend Washington only four days after he called for 75,000 volunteers to quell the rebellion that began with the attack on Fort Sumter on April 12. contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines. Dick Van Patten, actor; best known for his role on the TV series Eight is Enough. If this is true, then, as Schuylkill County historian Herrwood Hobbs wrote, “something of financier Biddle rubbed off on him,” and he adopted the capitalist’s name. A brother, Major Thomas Biddle, served in the U. S. Army and another brother, Commodore James Biddle, was a noted Naval officer. When civil war erupted in April 1861, Biddle, described as "a gently aging man of sixty-five," departed Pottsville with the Washington Artillerists, as an aide, ... "In Memory of Nicholas Biddle, Died August 2, 1876. Nicholas Biddle (January 8, 1786 – February 27, 1844) was an American financier who served as the third and last president of the Second Bank of the United States (chartered 1816–1836). His was the Proud Distinction of Shedding the First Blood in the Late War for the Union, Being Wounded while marching through Baltimore with the First Volunteers from Schuylkill County, 18 April 1861. Size Approximately 8x12 inches. Biddle, the bank’s director, retaliated by restricting loans to the state banks, resulting in a reduction of the money supply. John Milton, British writer and poet (Paradise Lost). It’s odd considering he didn’t change his name until his late-30s or early-40s. “Peace, Union, and Glory”: Berks County African Americans in the Civil War By LAURA HIRNEISEN After Lincoln’s initial call for troops in 1861, Pottsville resident Nicholas Biddle, then sixty-five years old, promised himself he would join the fighting, even if it had to be on the sly. Another story, perhaps more plausible, has the escaped slave settling in Pottsville itself and becoming a servant at the Mountain House hotel, where he was employed during the January 1840 dinner. Portrait photographs--1860-1870. "On this day in 1861, Nicholas Biddle became “the first blood of the Civil War” in the midst of mob violence in Baltimore." Private Ignatz Gresser, a native of Germany, suffered from a painful ankle wound, and Private David Jacobs had a fractured left wrist and a few broken teeth. Read the poem "Grave of Nick Biddle" dedicated to the Civil War's first blood. “Nick has been a good soldier and now that he is getting old and feeble, he deserves the support of our citizens.”. As he grew older and more infirm he couldn’t perform any labor. Billy Edd Wheeler, singer, songwriter ("Jackson," "Coward of the County"). Old Hickory's attack on Biddle's bank had some unexpected consequences Editor's Note: Bray Hammond wrote this essay for American Heritage in 1956 and developed it into Banks and Politics in America from the Revolution to the Civil War, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1958. Now known as the Gillingham House, the residence served as a station house for escaped slaves heading further into the north. Biddle spent the rest of his life in Pottsville, performing odd jobs until he began to suffer from rheumatism. Biddle, Nicholas--Military service. United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Military personnel--Union. Also see . He also served in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Dick Butkus, pro football player; inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame, 1979. Not only that, but it was what you could call a “hostile city” at the time. Despite being a wounded veteran, he could not draw a Federal pension because he had never mustered in. Bookmark /2004678578/ Bookmark:2004678578 Bookmark:2004678578. "In Memory of Nicholas Biddle, Died Aug.2, 1876, Aged 80 years. Little is known about Biddle’s life, except that he was born a slave in Delaware about 1796 and later escaped. Before he died, the proud figure claimed he had enough money saved up in the bank for a proper funeral and burial, but upon his death it was discovered that there was not a penny to his name. Jean de Brunhoff, illustrator and author, creator of the Babar series of books. African Americans--Military service. Battered and bruised, the First Defenders would arrive in Washington D.C later in the day where President Lincoln met them personally. Regardless of who shed first blood in what would be the bloodiest of all America’s wars, it seems strange that Biddle remains an overlooked and almost entirely forgotten figure in the Civil War’s rich history. The first Bank of the United One struck Biddle in the head, knocking him to the ground and leaving a wound that reportedly exposed bone. Biography of Nicholas Biddle. One thing about Biddle is that real name is basically lost to history. Since that time, remembrance of Biddle’s role in the Civil War has faded almost to the point of oblivion, and, shamefully, his tombstone has been destroyed by vandals. Biography Biddle was born and died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sarah Spencer Washington. The Pennsylvanians were the first of the volunteers to arrive in the District of Columbia and would thus go down in history as the “First Defenders.” Their Baltimore injuries occurred as the men arrived for the final leg of their journey from Pennsylvania to Washington. He was the son of Nicholas Biddle, president of the Second Bank of the United States, and nephew of Congressman Richard Biddle. Nicholas Biddle's Management In 1823, the BUSII entered its third stage under President Nicholas Biddle, who as a Pennsylvania state legislator had been a supporter of the first Bank of the United States. But it was the frail 65-year-old Biddle, wearing the uniform of the Washington Artillery, his head wrapped with blood-soaked bandages, who especially caught Lincoln’s attention. John Malkovich, actor (Places in the Heart), producer (Juno), director, fashion designer. When the engineer stepped in, the mob stopped trying to knock the locomotive off the tracks. Kirk Douglas, American actor (Spartacus). Nicholas Biddle was the first casualty of the Civil War. He preferred to remain with the company. In History. “In Memory of the First Defenders And Nicholas Biddle, of Pottsville, First Man To Shed Blood In The Civil War. Source: Friend Ron Coddington, well-known for his Civil War Faces series, contributed a fine article specifically on the First Defenders and the story of Nicholas Biddle, which can be found here. However, he would head to Washington D.C. to join the Union’s call for soldiers. Summary Photograph shows Nicholas Biddle, an African American Union soldier, in uniform, half-length portrait, facing front. By Editor. Redd Foxx (John Sanford), comedian, actor; best known for his starring role in the TV series Sanford and Son. Chaplain James M. Guthrie. Since that time, remembrance of Biddle’s role in the Civil War has faded almost to the point of oblivion, and, shamefully, his tombstone has been destroyed by vandals. Bank War, in U.S. history, the struggle between President Andrew Jackson and Nicholas Biddle, president of the Bank of the United States, over the continued existence of the only national banking institution in the nation during the second quarter of the 19th century. Quakers, they had emigrated from England in part to escape religious persecution.Having acquired extensive rights to more than 43,000 acres (170 km 2) … Email This BlogThis! The president learned the Pennsylvanians had been attacked while traveling through Baltimore en route to the capital. Nigger in Uniform!” screamed the agitated Baltimore crowd of Southern sympathizers. 2 Fritz Redlich, The Molding of American Banking: Men and Ideas (New York: Hafner, 1947) p. 110. The following day the Pratt Street Riot broke out. The entire Baltimore police force had been summoned to escort the volunteers through the streets, but even the police had a difficult time controlling the raucous crowd of 2,000, which jeered the anxious militiamen while hurrahing for Jefferson Davis and the Southern Confederacy. The Biddle family of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is a prominent Old Philadelphian family descended from English immigrants William Biddle (1630–1712) and Sarah Kempe (1634–1709), who arrived in the Province of New Jersey in 1681. Nor is it known where Biddle first settled in Pennsylvania. Next Post On Race, Ballet and Being Muslim: We are not less than anyone else. Did Andrew Jackson Shut down the bank to stop him? “If poor old Nick Biddle calls on you with a document, as he calls it, don’t say you are in a hurry and turn him off, but ornament the paper with your signature and plant a good round sum opposite your name,” the paper implored. The surviving First Defenders contributed $1 each to pay for a tombstone, upon which was inscribed: In Memory of Nicholas Biddle, Died August 2, 1876, Aged 80 Years. Troops of color weren’t admitted into the U.S Army until May 1863 with the establishment of the United States Colored Troops. He took an active interest in the city’s two militia companies, the National Light Infantry and the Washington Artillery, whose members he quickly befriended. Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Pinterest. April 18, 1861,” it reads. The First Official Casualty of the Civil War was a 65-year-old Escaped Slave. A large crowd gathered in front of Biddle’s home and then, as a drum corps played, began the solemn procession up Minersville Street to the “colored burying ground” adjacent to the Bethel A.M.E. Church.