The Massachusetts Historical Society has acquired a pretty special Civil War object: the sword that Col. Robert Gould Shaw, commander of the 54th Massachusetts, was carrying when he fell at Ft. Wagner. Descendants of Shaw’s sister found it while cleaning an attic, and it’s going on exhibit this month.
The Globe reports that the sword was “stolen from Shaw’s body shortly after he was killed,” but doesn’t say how it made its way back to his family. The MHS, however, has traced its provenance all the way back to its manufacture, so it’s the real deal.
Quite an acquisition! I’d almost be willing to drive to Boston just to see it.
File this one under “Signs of the Times.” Somebody at the Massachusetts Historical Society noticed that John Quincy Adams wrote very brief entries in the diary he kept after his appointment as minister to Russia. Next thing you know, Adams has his own Twitter account.
They’re posting the diary entries on a daily basis, exactly two centuries after Adams wrote each one. So far he’s still on his voyage across the Atlantic, headed to St. Petersburg. Today’s entry: “9/7/1809: Head wind. Calm. Rain, Fog. Lat: 60-30. Long: 7-14. No Soundings. Phocion. Cato of Utica. Birds. Cards.”
Some entries are linked to a Google map marked with the coordinates he put down, so you can trace his voyage across the Atlantic as he tweets merrily away. Pretty nifty!