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June 26, 2014

This Week In The Civil War For June 22 And June 29

Editor’s Note: Primary sources for the series are historic newspaper databases and other archival records.
By The Associated Press

This Week in The Civil War, for week of Sunday, June 22:  AP on evacuation of wounded, fighting in Virginia.

The Associated Press reported in a dispatch June 23, 1864, that the Confederates had been firing upon horse-drawn hospital wagons evacuating the wounded to waiting steamers off the Virginia coast. Union forces reported that ``the Rebels pay no respect to our hospital flags; and on Thursday last they fired upon one of our hospital trains from a battery stationed near Petersburg, (Virginia), killing and wounding several horses.’’ The AP account said no one aboard the hospital wagons was wounded in that and other incidents as Union troops took aim at Petersburg 150 years ago in the Civil War. AP reported thousands upon thousands of bloodied men being evacuated, along with rebel prisoners like a Confederate lieutenant who had lost an arm in the fighting. Meanwhile, AP reported, artillery duels continued unabated for days near Petersburg. ``The city is full of lofty shade trees, and the steeples of the churches are the only prominent objects on which to take effective range. The effects of the shooting have not yet been ascertained, aside from the burning of some of the buildings,’’ AP’s correspondent wrote in June 1864.

This Week in The Civil War, for week of Sunday, June 29:  Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia.

The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia, played out 150 years ago this month in the Civil War, a prelude to the Union’s eventual capture of Atlanta later in 1864. Confederates led by Gen. Joseph E. Johnston entrenched on high ground at Kennesaw Mountain, northwest of Atlanta, on June 18, 1864, as Union fighters approached. Federal forces under Maj. Gen William T. Sherman attacked days later on June 27, 1864, hitting the Confederates hard with artillery.  Though the Union had the early momentum, Sherman’s forces suffered thousands of dead and wounded as fighting ground to a standstill and resulted in a tactical defeat for the Union. But within weeks the Union would be pressing toward Atlanta in hopes of destroying Johnston’s operation while federal forces pressed in on the Confederacy on a separate front in Virginia.

Monday, June 30, Is Deadline For NC Eugenics Victims To File

By JEROME BAILEY Jr.

Associated Press

Raleigh, NC (AP) In 1948, as Naomi Schenck was rushed into a North Carolina operating room because she was having a miscarriage, the then-17-year-old newlywed heard a doctor say: “Cut her.”

“I didn’t know what `cut her’ meant,” said Schenck, now 83. She soon found out: Schenck said she was given a spinal tap and then sterilized against her will. Some 7,600 others were sterilized from 1929 to 1974 under the state’s eugenics program. Most were either forced or coerced into the procedure, though a small number of people chose to be sterilized.
Now, Schenck is among 520 sterilization victims and family members waiting to be paid a portion of the $10 million fund established by North Carolina to compensate victims. The Office for Justice of Sterilization Victims estimates about 1,800 victims are still alive. Their deadline to file claims is Monday.

“I’ll take whatever they give me, if they give me anything,” said Schenck, whose claim is still pending.

Eugenics programs in the U.S. were widely perceived as a legitimate effort to improve society by sterilizing people the state deemed inferior citizens incapable of caring for children. Victims were disproportionately poor, mentally disabled or African-American. Eugenics fell out of favor in most states when it became associated with Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s ideas of racial purity during World War II, though North Carolina’s continued for some time after.

North Carolina is the first of 33 states that ran forced sterilization programs to compensate victims. But getting victims to come forward can be difficult in some cases. For instance, at one recent legal clinic held by the University of North Carolina Center for Civil Rights to guide people through the claims process, only one woman attended. She didn’t want to be interviewed because she has been hiding the fact she was sterilized for over 40 years.

NC Historic Marker

Jennifer Marsh, director of research for the UNC Center for Civil Rights said some victims were so traumatized by what happened to them so long ago, they chose not to come forward.

“It’s something in their past they’ve put behind them,” Marsh said. “It’s very hard to bring that back up.”

Others have died awaiting compensation, and their families will not qualify for payments if they died before June 2013. Bertha D. Marks, whose mother was sterilized in 1965 won’t receive any money because her mother died several years ago.

“I think they should help the family of deceased victims that have been verified like us, because our family was devastated,” Marks said.

Her mother was sterilized because she was having children quickly while suffering with multiple illnesses, according to Marks. Their family struggled with taking care of her because of the side effects she suffered from various medicines tested on her at the hospital.

Victims will be paid June 30, 2015, one year after the deadline to file a claim. The $10 million will be divided according to how many victims file claims and are approved. At the current rate, the average payment will be less than $20,000 per person.

As for Schenck, when she gets her portion of the money, she plans to use it to live more comfortably. But it won’t take away the pain, she said.

“No amount of money would ever amount to what they put me through,” she said.

died several years ago.

“I think they should help the family of deceased victims that have been verified like us, because our family was devastated,” Marks said.

Her mother was sterilized because she was having children quickly while suffering with multiple illnesses, according to Marks. Their family struggled with taking care of her because of the side effects she suffered from various medicines tested on her at the hospital.

Victims will be paid June 30, 2015, one year after the deadline to file a claim. The $10 million will be divided according to how many victims file claims and are approved. At the current rate, the average payment will be less than $20,000 per person.

As for Schenck, when she gets her portion of the money, she plans to use it to live more comfortably. But it won’t take away the pain, she said.

“No amount of money would ever amount to what they put me through,” she said.

Great White Shark Population Is Surging Along East Coast

By PATRICK WHITTLE

Associated Press

Portland, ME (AP) A report that scientists are calling one of the most comprehensive studies of great white sharks finds their numbers are surging in the ocean off the Eastern U.S. and Canada after decades of decline.

The study by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists, published this month in the journal PLOS ONE, says the population of the notoriously elusive fish has climbed since about 2000 in the western North Atlantic.

The scientists behind the study attribute the resurgence to conservation efforts, such as a federal 1997 act that prevented hunting of great whites, and greater availability of prey. The species is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

``The species appears to be recovering,’’ said Cami McCandless, one of the authors. ``This tells us the management tools appear to be working.’’

Great whites owe much of their fearsome reputation to the movie ``Jaws,’’ which was released 39 years ago Friday. But confrontations are rare, with only 106 unprovoked white shark attacks—13 of them fatal—in U.S. waters since 1916, according to data provided by the University of Florida.

A great white shark with its seal dinner

They are, though, ecologically critical. They are apex predators—those at the top of the food chain—and help control the populations of other species. That would include the gray seal, whose growing colonies off Massachusetts have provided food.

``You should be concerned for a good reason,’’ said James Sulikowski, a professor of marine science at the University of New England in Portland, who was not involved in the study but noted it could help better target future conservation efforts for great whites. ``We need these sharks in our waters.’’

A separate study published in PLOS ONE this month suggested that great whites _ also known just as white sharks _ are also returning to abundance in the eastern north Pacific Ocean.

``There’s this general pattern of where the white sharks are protected, they seem to recover,’’ said Tobey H. Curtis, one of the authors of the Atlantic study.

The elusive nature of white sharks and the lack of historical data about their population levels required the authors to rely on sightings of sharks, as opposed to other ways to count sea life, such as commercial fishing surveys and census counts, Curtis said.

The research adds recent unpublished data to previously published records to establish 649 confirmed white shark sightings from 1800 to 2010. The data show that a period of decline in white shark abundance during the 1970s and 1980s has reversed, the authors said.

White shark abundance in the western North Atlantic declined by an estimated 73 percent from the early 1960s to the 1980s, the report says. Shark abundance is now only 31 percent down from its historical high estimate in 1961, the report states. The report does not provide a local estimate for the great white shark population, which some scientists say is between 3,000 and 5,000 animals.

The report also illuminates where people encounter white sharks _ mostly between Massachusetts and New Jersey during the summer and off Florida in the winter, it says.

They also migrate based on water temperature and availability of prey, and are more common along the coast than offshore, the report states.

Shipwreck Hunter ‘99.9% Sure’ 17th Century Ship Found

Traverse City, MI (AP) A debris field at the bottom of Lake Michigan may be the remains of the long-lost Griffin, a vessel commanded by a 17th-century French explorer, said a shipwreck hunter who has sought the wreckage for decades.

Steve Libert told The Associated Press that his crew found the debris this month about 120 feet from the spot where they removed a wooden slab a year ago that was protruding from the lake bottom. Libert believes that timber was the bowsprit of Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle’s ship, although scientists who joined the 2013 expedition say the slab more likely was an abandoned fishing net stake.

The Griffin sailed this channel out, and disappeared

“This is definitely the Griffin — I’m 99.9 percent sure it is,” Libert said. “This is the real deal.”

He described the bottomland area as littered with wooden planks that could belong to a ship’s bow, along with nails and pegs that would have fastened the hull to the rest of the vessel and what appeared to be sections of a mast.

He acknowledged his dive team had found no “smoking gun” such as a cannon or other artifacts with markings identifying them as belonging to the Griffin. But the nails and other implements appeared similar to those from La Belle, another of La Salle’s ships that sank near the Gulf of Mexico, Libert said.

He said his organization has sent images of the debris to three French underwater archaeologists who took part in last year’s search, and that he hopes state and federal permits can be obtained to excavate in the area in September.

The French team was led by Michel L’Hour, director of the Department of Underwater Archaeological Research in the French Ministry of Culture and an authority on shipwrecks. L’Hour told the AP by email Tuesday that the latest findings were “encouraging” but that more evidence was needed to determine the origin of the items.

A woodcut of the 17th century ship Le Griffon (Griffin)

“The wooden remains that have been observed could correspond to a wreck,” L’Hour said.

They include treenails with wedges and square nails that have some similarity with La Belle’s fasteners “and a few other details already observed on wrecks dated in the 17th century,” he said.

But he said the artifacts that have been seen could be dated as late as the 19th century and that items such as ceramic shards are needed to provide more certainty.

“We are always interested in participating to assess the site,” L’Hour said, adding that the U.S. and France would need to approve any new involvement in the project by his team, which comprises civil officers of the French government.

Dean Anderson, Michigan’s state archaeologist, said Monday he hadn’t been notified of the find and could not speculate about whether the Griffin had finally been located. Anderson supports the theory that the timber discovered earlier was a fishing apparatus.

The area strewn with debris is roughly the size of a football field, said Brian Abbott of Nautilus Marine Group, who joined Libert’s search this month and took sonar readings of the bottomlands. It is near tiny Poverty Island in northwestern Lake Michigan and about 50 feet below the water’s surface.

The Griffin is believed to be the first ship of European design to sail the upper Great Lakes. It disappeared with a crew of six on its maiden voyage in 1679 after La Salle had disembarked near the mouth of Wisconsin’s Green Bay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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