On this day: the execution of Henry Wirz

Henry Wirz, a Swiss-born Confederate commandant of Andersonville Prison (Camp Sumter), was executed in the shadow of the US Capitol on the 10th of November, 1865.

He was only one of two men executed for war crimes in the American Civil War.

Today the US Supreme Court sits on the site of the execution.



When Australian women were accidentally given the vote.

Australian Suffragettes

Australian suffragettes in London in 1911

In the nineteenth century, in the colony of Victoria in Australia, the Electoral Act 1863 was passed. According to the act, “all persons” who owned property were entitled to vote. Though it was not intended to include women in this, there were plenty in the state who did, indeed own property.

In the 1864 elections, some women took advantage of this error and went to the polling stations, where their votes were recorded:

The Argus  , 5 November 1864, p 4. When women in Australia accidentally got the vote.

“At one of the polling booths in the Castlemaine district a novel sight was witnessed. A coach filled with ladies drove up, and the fair occupants alighted and recorded their votes.”
The Argus , 5 November 1864, p 4.

The oversight was quickly fixed, and a new law in 1865 once again took voting rights away from women. However, Australia was very early in granting women full voting rights, in 1902.



On this day: the last shot of the US Civil War

America’s Civil War ended on the 9th of May, 1865. However, the final shot fired was on the 22nd of June that year.

The shot was fired from the Confederate-operated CSS Shenandoah. The event took place near the Aleutian Islands in the Northern Pacific Ocean.

The Shenandoah was photographed here in Williamstown in Melbourne, Australia in 1865.


CSS Shenandoah in dry dock in Williamstown, Victoria, Australia, 1865. The last shot fired in the US American Civil War 22nd June.

On this day: the raising of the flag over Fort Sumter

In February 1865, Union forces took Charleston, and recaptured Fort Sumter. On April 14, 1865, the same flag (above) that had been taken down four years before, was raised over the fort during a celebration of its recapture.


On the 14th of April, 1865, near the end of the American Civil War, a ceremony was held to once again raise the US flag over Fort Sumter, South Carolina.

‘This day, Friday, April 14, 1865, will be ever memorable for the formal restoration to its legitimate place of the first United States flag captured in battle during our long, but now happily closing civil war. In view of this circumstance, a brief sketch of the main facts concerning the glorious old fort, her defence and final surrender four years ago will be timely reading.’

Article published 14 April, 1965.

Picture Source

View of the flag-raising over Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, Charleston, South Carolina, April 14, 1865, with the arrival of Major General Robert Anderson and guests.