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June 12, 1863: The Day the War Stopped

During the Civil War, John Hart of Schenectady commanded a Union gunboat on the Mississippi River.  On June 12, 1863, while his ship was on patrol near the Confederate fortress of Port Hudson, he became delirious with fever and shortly afterward took his own life.  The way Lt. Commander Hart died shamed his family and friends and they did not want to talk about him. But Hart’s fellow sailor and comrade-in-arms, Oliver Ambrose Batcheller of Saratoga, knew this was not fair or right.  Batcheller understood Hart’s stellar service to the United States and he knew something else: why the rebel town of Saint Francisville, Louisiana stopped its part of the war for a day so that John Hart could receive a respectful and dignified burial in the town cemetery.  Grant Cottage tour guide Steve Trimm, portraying Oliver Batcheller, will tell the story of John Hart and the Southern town that honored him in 1863. (Every June 12th since then, Saint Francisville has solemnly recalled the Day the War Stopped.)

Earlier Event: August 26
Grant’s Next Chapter