On December 27, 2020, author Philip Andrew Hamilton and his partner Ruth Olga Sherman visited Gunston Hall, the home of the author’s relative George Mason IV. Founding Father George Mason IV had written the Virginia Declaration of Rights in Williamsburg, Virginia, which the Bill of Rights was based off of, and voted against the adoption of the United States Constitution, because it did not consist a Bill of Rights.
George Mason IV, had twelve children with his first wife Anna Eilbeck Mason. Philip Andrew Hamilton is related to George Mason IV’s son William Mason, whom served in the Fairfax Militia that his father formed and led.
George Mason IV, Anna Eilbeck Mason, and other members of the Mason family are buried within a brick wall, inside a wooded area, walking distance from Gunston Hall.
The author Philip Andrew Hamilton and his identical twin brother Jeffrey Patrick Hamilton were both born on the year that the Bicentiennial of the United States Constitution was being celebrated. However, that year many with a critical eye of our nation’s history, such as Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall did not believe it was appropriate to celebrate the Constitution since it took so long for all Americans to obtain voting rights.
Philip Andrew Hamilton, along with five of his siblings, went to George Mason University; a former University of Virginia institution named after George Mason IV. While at the University, Philip Andrew Hamilton studied Constitutional Legal Issues, Contract Law, Family Law, Business Law, and obtained a Paralegal Certification.
In addition to adding the Bill of Rights, George Mason IV particularly supported adding Article V of the United States Constitution which allows for a, “Convention of States”:
“The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate”.
George Mason IV supported this measure to allow a majority of states to exert power over the federal government. Philip Andrew Hamilton supports having state legislators evoke Article V of the United States Constitution for the purpose of having term limits for U.S. Congress members and U.S. Senators, and for other measures.
On April 19, 1861, Confederate sympathizers, in Baltimore, Maryland, launched an attack on the 8th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment while the troops were changing trains. A week after the attack on Fort Sumter, this attack by “Pro-Confederate Rioters” resulted in the first loss of life during the United States Civil War.
On May 25, 2020, after the death of George Floyd by the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, groups such as Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and various other political groups actively called for the removal of Confederate monuments, and other historical monuments, throughout the United States. Richmond, Virginia, one of the three former Confederate capitals for the Confederate States of America, had large monuments dedicated to Jefferson Davis, General Robert Edward Lee, J.E.B. Stuart, and Stonewall Jackson on it’s street Monument Avenue. All of the Confederate statutes, except for the one of General Robert Edward Lee, which is on land owned by a descendent of Lee, was removed in 2020. Only the foundations of those monuments remain.
On December 7, 2020, on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, the Stonewall Jackson statute in front of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), which was sculpted by a former VMI Cadet Moses Jacob Ezekiel, was removed and relocated the the Virginia Museum of the Civil War at New Market Battlefield State Historical Park. Members of the public, at large, seem to have forgotten that Stonewall Jackson was a unionist before the war began and that he stopped cadets at the institute from firing their weapons on pro-Union protestors within the town of Lexington. Union colonel Robert Edward Lee was offered, by President Abraham Lincoln, to have control of the entire Union army after the first shots were fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina. However, Robert Edward Lee declined that position, before resigning his commission with the U.S. Army because, because he believed, as thousands of others did, that his state was his “country”. Members of the public tend to forget that those who were pro-Union, before Virginia’s vote to secede, took arms against the union because they did not want to take arms against their fellow friends, family and neighbors within their own state.
We need to remember that history was not so black and white and the removal of historical statutes in public spaces is a huge disservice to that discussion, that could be had, with future generations of individuals seeking to learn the, “good, the bad and the ugly” within our national history.
The board at VMI is considering realigning the George C. Meade statute to the center front, of the barracks, where the Stonewall Jackson statute used to stand.
John Thomas Lewis Preston’s account is as follows:
The execution is over, we have just returned from the field and I sit down to give you some account of it. The weather was very favorable: the sky was a little overcast, with a gentle haze in the atmosphere that softened without obscuring the magnificent prospect afforded here.
Between eight and nine o’clock, the troops began to put themselves in motion to occupy the positions assigned to them on the field, as designated on the plan I send you. Col. Smith had been assigned the superintendency of the execution, and he and his staff were the only mounted officers on the ground, until the Major-General and his staff appeared. By ten o’clock all was arranged. The general effect was most imposing, and, at the same time, picturesque.
The cadets were immediately in rear of the gallows with a howitzer on the right and left, a little behind, as to sweep the field. They were uniformed in red flannel shirts, which gave them a gay, dashing, Zouave look, and was exceedingly becoming, especially at the Battery. They were flanked obliquely by two Corps, the Richmond Grays (Greys) and Company F, which if inferior in appearance to the cadets, were superior to ant other company I ever saw outside of the regular army. Other companies were distributed over the field, amounting in all to about 800 men. The military force was about 1,500.
The whole enclosure was lined by cavalry troops posted as sentinels, with their officers — one on a peerless black horse, and another on a remarkable looking white horse, continually dashing round the enclosure. Outside rip this enclosure were other companies acting as rangers and scouts. The jail was guarded by several companies if infantry, and pieces of artillery were put into position for its defense.
Shortly before eleven o’clock the prisoner was taken from jail, and the funeral cortege was put into motion. First came three companies, then the criminal’s wagon, drawn by two large white horses. John Brown was seated on his coffin, accompanied by the sheriff and two other persons. The wagon drove to the foot of the gallows, and Brown descended with alacrity and without assistance, and ascended the steep steps to the platform. His demeanor was intrepid, without being braggart. He made no speech; whether he desired to make one or not, I do not know. He had desired it, it would not have been permitted. Any speech of his must, of necessity, have been unlawful, and as being directed against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth, and such could not be allowed by those who were then engaged in the most solemn and extreme vindication of law.
His manner was without trepidation, but his countenance was not free from concern, and it seemed to me to have a little cast of wildness. He stood upon the scaffold but a short time, giving adieus to those about him, when he was properly pinioned, the white cap drawn over his face, the noose adjusted and attached to the hook above, and he was moved blindfold a few steps forward. It was curious to note how the instincts of nature operated to make him careful in putting his feet as if afraid he would walk off the scaffold. The man who stood unbalanced on the brink of eternity was afraid of falling a few feet off the ground.
He was now all ready. The sheriff asked him if he should give him a private signal before the final moment. He replied in a voice that seemed to me unnaturally natural, so composed was its tone, and so distinct its articulation, that ‘it did not matter to him, if only they would not keep him too long waiting”. He was kept waiting, however. The troops that had formed his escort had to be put into their position, and while this was going on, he stood for some ten or fifteen minutes blindfold, the rope around his neck, and his feet on the treacherous platform, expecting instantly the fatal act. But he stood for this comparatively long time upright as a soldier in position, and motionless.
I was close to him, and watched him narrowly, to see if I could perceive any signs of shrinking or trembling in his person, but there was none. Once I thought I saw his knees tremble, but it was only the wind blowing his loose trousers. His firmness was subjected to still further trial by hearing Colonel Smith announce to the sheriff, “We are all ready, Mr. Campbell.” The sheriff did not hear, or did not comprehend; and in a louder tone the same announcement was made. But the culprit still stood ready until the sheriff, descending the flight of steps, with a well-directed blow of a sharp hatchet, severed the rope that held up the trap door, which instantly sank beneath him, and he fell about three feet; and the man of strong and bloody hand, of fierce passions, of iron will, of wonderful vicissitudes, the terrible partisan of Kansas, the capturer of the United States. Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, the would-be Catiline of the South, the demi-god of the abolitionists, the man who is in his motives, his means, his plans, and his successes, must ever be a wonder, a puzzle, and a mystery — John Brown — was hanging between heaven and earth.
There was profound stillness during the time his struggles continued, growing feebler and feebler at each abortive attempt to breathe. He knees were scarcely bent, his arms were drawn up to a right angle at the elbow, with the hands clenched; but there was no writing of the body, no violent heaving of the chest. At each feebler effort at respiration his arms sank lower, and his legs hung more relaxed, until at last, straight and lank he dangled, swayed to and fro by the wind.
On December 2, 2020, Author Philip Andrew Hamilton visited the site of John Brown’s execution. The wagon that was used to take John Brown to the gallows is in the Jefferson County Musuem in West Virginia.
The Maryland State House, which was built during the British Colonial Era, served as the Maryland legislature and as the capital of the United States during the course of the Revolutionary War. At the end of the war, Congress ratified the “Treaty of Paris” and appointed Thomas Jefferson as a minister.
On September 14, 1786, the Annapolis Convention called for a, “Convention of States” to ratify the proposed United States Constitution.
During the summer of 1861, President Abraham Lincoln commissioned the United States Balloon Corps. The Union Army utilized the U.S. Balloon Corps in Virginia to observe various Confederate positions from afar.
Gary Francis Powers, Junior the son of Gary Francis Powers and Sue Powers established the original musuem in 1996 as a tribute to all Cold War veterans. Francis’s father had served as a U-2 pilot and as an American Cold War era spy. On May 1, 1960, the armed forces of the Soviet Union shot down Gary Francis Powers’s U-2 plane while he was conducting a reconnaissance mission.
During World War II, Vint Hill Farms hosted Japanese Americans whom helped the United States military intelligence interpret axis Japanese communications. During the Cold War the base was used in correspondence to spy missions on the Soviet Union. Vint Hill Farms was utilized as a covert operations center until 1997. Gary Francis Power, Junior established a traveling Cold War Museum in 1996, and in 2011 Francis established the permanent museum in Warrenton, Virginia.
On November 29, 2020, Philip Andrew Hamilton had the opportunity to visit the Cold War Museum and spoke with three military veterans; who were volunteers at the facility. Mike, a veteran of Vint Hill Farm, explained the technologies behind past communications devices used by military intelligence in addition to the fact that modern cellular phones utilize four types of radio technologies developed during the Cold War.
On June 30, 1863, the Battle of Sporting Hill, an engagement which occurred right before the Battle of Gettysburg, is considered to be the northernmost conflict between Confederate and Union soldiers during the Gettysburg Campaign. Some historians deem the conflict to be a skirmish due to the lessor amount of troops involved, compared to better known battles.
In 1952, the land within Brooklandwood was used to build Saint Paul’s School. The Maryland Historical Trust and the Maryland State Highway Administration established a historical marker dedicated to Brooklandwood at the front entrance to Saint Paul’s School.
On May 13, 1938, Veterans Day was established by an act of the United States Congress to honor the veterans of World War I, also known as, “The Great War”. The official end of the First World War was on June 28, 1919, but the Veterans Day holiday honors the date of the armistice which began on November 11, 1918.
At the end of my tour of the Arlington National Cemetery, I got to see the burial site of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and of U.S. Senator Robert Francis Kennedy.
In 1864, Harriet Brice, a former slave, bought her first home within Union occupied Falls Church, Virginia; across the street from a church that George Washington used to attend. A historical marker was placed in front of the home that former slaves Harriet and George Brice used to live in.
During the First Battle of Manassas, Confederate soldiers utilized telescopes to observe Union troop movements. At Signal Hill, within Manassas, Virginia, the Wigflag Signal System was utilized for the first time by Confederate soldiers.
In 1876, Ben Boyd, an engraver for a gang of Chicago based Irish counterfeiters, was arrested at his workshop in Fulton, Illinois. Ben Boyd was sentenced to ten years at the Joliet Prison. Members of the Irish gang were unable to find another engraver to continue their counterfeiting efforts, thus they developed a scheme to steal President Abraham Lincoln’s grave, in Springfield, Illinois, and to hide it in the san dunes in Illinois, as a way to bargain for Ben Boyd’s freedom and for a cash payment of $200,000.
Members of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Association were in charge of guarding Abraham Lincoln’s grave, and did not have guards posted daily. On November 7, 1876, Secret Service agents were sent to guard Abraham Lincoln’s tombsite and they discovered that his grave was already removed. A secret service agent accidentally discharged his firearm, and a firefight between the agents began, allowing for all of the members of the gang, except for two to escape the scene. Abraham Lincoln’s grave was left in the cemetery and the escapees were unable to leave with it.
Two of the captured members were sentenced the maximum sentence for grave robbing, one year, at the Joliet Prison.
The Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II is a memorial dedicated to the Japanese Americans who faught during the Great War and to those who were unjustly interned in camps during the war.
A statue dedicated to Civil War veteran and former President James Abram Garfield, within the Capital Park in the District of Columbia, was created by John Quincy Adams Ward. President Garfield had been assassinated, a mere 16 years after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, within the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station in Washington, D.C.
The pedestal for the sculpture, which was created by architect Richard Morris Hunt, represents different phases of President Garfield’s life.
James Lawson Kemper served in the Virginia House of Delegates and served as the Speaker of the House during part of the time that Virginia was part of the Confederacy.
In the middle of the Civil War, James Lawson Kemper left the legislature and served as a general for the Confederacy. During Pickett’s Charge, during the Battle of Gettysburg, James Kemper was wounded. After the war, from 1874 to 1878, James Kemper served as the Governor of Virginia.
On November 3, 2020, the American Election Day, I went to the Masonic Temple dedicated to George Washington, the first President of the United States. The temple was being utilized as a polling location for some of the residents in the city of Alexandria, Virginia.