Occasionally the strangest things will surface in the county records. While processing Amelia County records (Barcode 1147160), archivist Callie Freed found a map depicting the U.S. Army’s 20-day siege of the Mexican city of Veracruz during the Mexican-American War.
Titled “Siege of Vera Cruz by the U.S. Troops under Major General Scott in March 1847, from surveys made by Major Turnbull, Captains Hughes, McClellan, & Johnston, Lieutanants Derby & Hardcastle, Top. Engineers,” the map depicts General Winfield Scott’s troops and siege engines spread out across the land surrounding the city of Veracruz and its fortifications, as well as other key features of the landscape and the reefs just off of the city in the Gulf of Mexico. Statistics are given about the regiments of the divisions belonging to William J. Worth, David E. Twiggs, and Robert Patterson as well as the numbers of troops killed and wounded in the operation. The map was drawn by Captain George McClellan and published in 1847 by the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers.
The siege of Veracruz took place in March 1847 and was the scene of the first successful large-scale amphibious assault by a United States military force. General Scott landed his U.S. Expeditionary Force near the city and lay siege to it for twenty days until it was surrendered, opening up the east coast of Mexico … read more »
As I was inventorying a collection of federal records housed at the Library, I stumbled upon a box of papers that did not seem to fit with the rest of the collection. I pulled the box, searched our catalog, and found an entry for the microfilm copy of the collection (Henry A. Wise Papers, Accession 36084, Miscellaneous Reel 421). I then decided to read through the papers to see if I could enhance the existing catalog record with more complete information. What I found was a very interesting piece of United States and South American history.
Henry A. Wise (1806-1876) was born in Accomack County, Virginia, to Major John Wise (d. 1812) and Sarah Corbin Cropper Wise (d. 1813). A lawyer who trained under Henry St. George Tucker and practiced in Tennessee and Virginia, he served for 11 years in the United States House of Representatives. In 1844 he was appointed by President John Tyler as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States to Brazil. During his time in this position, his somewhat overzealous and improper dealings with Brazil offended Emperor Pedro II and led to his being recalled in 1847.
By reading the notes and letters in this collection one can trace the escalating tensions between Wise and his Brazilian … read more »