Saturday, June 27, 2020

Being A Good American -- Our Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities

Citizenship is the common thread that connects all Americans. We are a nation bound not by race or religion, but by the shared values of freedom, liberty, and equality.

Throughout our history, the United States has welcomed newcomers from all over the world. Immigrants have helped shape and define the country we know today. Their contributions help preserve our legacy as a land of freedom and opportunity. More than 200 years after our founding, naturalized citizens are still an important part of our democracy. By becoming a U.S. citizen, you too will have a voice in how our nation is governed.

The decision to apply is a significant one. Citizenship offers many benefits and equally important responsibilities. By applying, you are demonstrating your commitment to this country and our form of government.

Below you will find several rights and responsibilities that all citizens should exercise and respect. Some of these responsibilities are legally required of every citizen, but all are important to ensuring that America remains a free and prosperous nation.

Our Rights As Citizens:
  • Freedom to express yourself.
  • Freedom to worship as you wish.
  • Right to a prompt, fair trial by jury.
  • Right to vote in elections for public officials.
  • Right to apply for federal employment requiring U.S. citizenship.
  • Right to run for elected office.
  • Freedom to pursue “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Our Responsibilities As Citizens:
  • Support and defend the Constitution. 
  • Stay informed of the issues affecting your community. 
  • Participate in the democratic process. 
  • Respect and obey federal, state, and local laws. 
  • Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others. 
  • Participate in your local community. 
  • Pay income and other taxes honestly, and on time, to federal, state, and local authorities. 
  • Serve on a jury when called upon. 
  • Defend the country if the need should arise.
All of the above came directly from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' website. 

So why I'm posting this? Well, first, I enjoy talking about Civics. But more importantly, I have readers from other countries who wanted me to talk about this. One of my long time readers asked if there is any more to being an American Citizen besides what the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services states. He wanted to know if there are things the federal government website wasn't covering? He can't believe that that's all there is to being a "good American."

Thinking about this, I decided to post this here as a small reminder to folks about our basic rights and responsibilities as American Citizens. Of course, while reading over the list of rights, I was surprised to see that our rights and freedoms as listed in our Bill of Rights was not listed among the things that citizens should realize. 

Signed in convention on September 17, 1787, and ratified on June 21, 1788, The Constitution of the United States of America is the supreme law of the United States. Our nation's "Constitution is empowered with the sovereign authority of we the American people." It was created by our framers and the consent of the legislatures of the states. It is the source of all government powers, and also provides important limitations on the government that protect the fundamental rights of United States citizens.

The Preamble states, "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Before someone writes to tell me that the word "defense" is spelled wrong in the Preamble above. It is exactly as spelled in the official document. 

It should be noted that our Bill of Rights, that which is the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution, specifically spells out our rights in relation to our government while guaranteeing our Civil Rights and the Liberties that we as individuals hold dear to us. 

Our Rights per The Bill of Rights: 
  1. Freedom of religion, speech, press, peaceable assembly, and petition.
  2. Right to keep and bear arms.
  3. Right to not to quarter soldiers without the consent of the owner.
  4. Right of American citizens to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.
  5. Right to due process of law, freedom from self-incrimination and double jeopardy, freedom of being deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process. 
  6. Rights of accused persons. Our right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury, be informed of the accusation; meet our accusers, have witnesses for us, and the right to a lawyer. 
  7. Right of trial by jury in civil suits.
  8. Freedom from excessive bail, cruel and unusual punishments.
  9. Rights not specified which are rights of the people.
  10. Powers reserved to the states -- states rights, or more accurately rights "reserved to the States respectively."
As for the responsibilities of citizenship that are listed in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, I was surprised that our responsibility to conduct ourselves as a civilized people while respecting the rights and freedoms of others was not listed. It does state, "Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others." But really, do people understand what that means? 

It is an age old belief in America that one's rights and freedoms end when the person exercising those rights and freedoms harms others or destroys property. We should remember that our Founding Fathers recognized this fact and included the word "peaceably" when they created the 1st Amendment of our Bill of Rights. 

As stated: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

While we should not have to tell our potential citizens that conducting themselves in a civilized manner is a responsibility of our conducting ourselves as responsible citizens, as citizens, we should all understand that acting civilized and not a mob is conducive to good citizenship. 

After all, we are the "We The People" that our Constitution talks about. We are the people responsible for insuring our domestic tranquility as well as for promoting the general welfare of our nation. If we are to act like a mob than that's the jungle will create. And frankly, most Americans do not want an America that's a jungle ruled by jungle law of kill or be killed. 

Sadly, it takes times like these when the rule of law is ignored, when looters, rioters, and murderers go unchecked, that teach us how important the responsibility of being civilized really is to being a good American. It is also times like these that reaffirm why some of our rights are in place. Like it or not, these recent riots conducted by those simply out to wage war on America, and destroy lives and property, is why we have the 2nd Amendment. It is why we have our ability to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities. It's times like these that the basic right of a citizen to own guns demonstrates why we are afforded the ability as citizens to protect our loved ones. 

As for my referring to our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, our nation, our liberties, our rights, our responsibilities, our citizenship as Americans. I do so because its specifically "ours." Our Constitution does not apply to other countries. What's written in that wonderful document has met the tests of time and has endured and prevailed. Of course it applies to our federal government and not other nations. The same goes for our Bill of Rights. Those 10 Amendments only apply to American citizens. 

As an American, this is something that I feel very territorial about because our Constitution and our Bill of Rights were not written to give rights to non-citizens, those people who are citizens of other countries. They have rights or not under their laws. Our Constitution is solely ours because it was written for us. Our rights and freedoms are why others want to be American citizens. 

Being a good American means making a real and honest effort at being a responsible citizen. While it's our duty to do so, it actually comes very easy to those of us who love America.  

Tom Correa

Thursday, June 18, 2020

The Truth About Slavery In The United States

Sometimes factual history simply doesn't go along with those attempting re-write history. For example, a form of slavery is that of an indentured servant, also known as an indentured laborer or a contract laborer. It is a system of unfree-labor where people are bound by a signed or forced contract to work for a period of time. While some say there's no comparison between slaves and indentured servants, the harsh reality of indentured servants is that Fugitive Slave Laws traditionally applied to runaway indentured servants as well.

Of the 10 to 12 million black African slaves who were brought to the Western Hemisphere, it's believed that 4% of the slaves sold into bondage by their African Chiefs ended up in North America. The vast majority of African slaves were transported to South American countries.

When people say there has been slavery in the United States for 400 years, they are either liars or stupid and don't know history. The English, French, and Spanish owned slaves in North America before there was a nation known as the United States.

The United States won its independence from England in 1783. The United States Constitutional Convention took place in 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Just 3 years later in 1790, Benjamin Franklin petitioned the U.S. Congress to ban slavery. In 1807, a mere 20 years after the Constitutional Convention, President Thomas Jefferson passed a bill to stop the importation of African slaves into the United States.

That law went into effect in 1808. After President Jefferson ended bringing slaves into the United States, all African slaves brought into the United States was done so smuggled and illegally.

I'm amazed to hear how many Americans today are under the misconception that Democrats have been an anti-slavery party while also believing that Republicans are the party of slavery. The Republican Party was created in 1854 as an abolitionist party. Their focus was on abolishing slavery. President Abraham Lincoln was a Republican who vowed to end slavery. President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in 1863.

By 1862, only the Democrat controlled Confederate states had legal slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation (Proclamation 95) was specially aimed at the rebel states for that reason. People should understand that President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was an Executive Order issued on September 22, 1862. His executive order became effective as of January 1, 1863.

People can vilify President Lincoln by attempting to paint  him a hypocrite because he once said in a letter that he would keep slavery if it meant preserving the union. I see him changing his stance regarding slavery when he realized that there was no stopping states from seceding. Besides, his Emancipation Proclamation trumped any of his rhetoric by his actually freeing slaves. And whether some like it or not, it is a historical fact that President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation is the pivotal moment in American history when the black slaves were freed.

The 13th Amendment which was the law ending slavery did not pass the Republican controlled Congress until two years later on January 31, 1865. It was ratified in December of 1865, well after President Lincoln was murdered on April 15, 1865. As for his assassin, he was an actor by the name of John Wilkes Booth, who was a Democrat, a radical left wing anarchist.

In contrast to what the Republicans were doing from their start in 1854, the Democratic Party which was established in 1829 actually took the nation to Civil War from 1861 to 1865 in part over their desire to keep slavery intact. After the Civil War, the Democratic Party created the Ku Klux Klan to terrorize freed slaves and Republican administrators during the Reconstruction Era. Democrats in the South murdered and lynched blacks and Republicans. Democrats created segregation and Jim Crow laws.

Before someone writes to tell me that at some point the Democrats and Republicans magically switched places politically in regards to Equal Rights, keep in mind that it was Democrats who fought for months to stop the 1965 Civil Rights Act that gave Equal Rights to black-Americans. It was Republican votes that got the 1965 Civil Rights Act passed. This is all true.

So where does the misinformation come from? Well, in some cases, it's simply not looking at the facts. In other cases, it's our taking technically correct statements at face value without looking into them. For example, we know that the importation of African slaves into the United States lasted a period of 26 years after our Constitution was ratified, and that slavery in the United States was legal from 1783 to 1865. But there's a problem with the later statement.

Our saying "slavery in the United States was legal from 1783 to 1865," is a little misleading because slavery was not widespread in the United States during those years. In fact, many of the states abolished slavery either just before the United States won the Revolutionary War on September 3, 1783 or right after that.

For example, the colony of Rhode Island passed a law abolishing African slavery in 1652 over a hundred years before our war of independence. Slavery was banned in Vermont when it was founded in 1777. The state of Pennsylvania officially abolished slavery in 1780. Slavery was abolished in Massachusetts in July of 1783 soon after a slave named Quock Walker sued his owner for his freedom. Connecticut abolished slavery in that state in 1784. New Hampshire abolished slavery in 1788. New York abolished slavery in that state in 1799.

Also, folks don't usually mention The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 which was passed just before our Constitution was ratified. That act prohibited slavery in the federal Northwest Territory. The six states that were created from the Northwest Territory were Ohio (1803), Indiana (1816), Illinois (1818), Michigan (1837), Wisconsin (1848), and Minnesota (1858). All forbid the owning of slaves from their conception. All came into the United States, as part of our union of states, as "free states" long before slavery officially ended in the South in 1865. None of those states ever had slaves.

The same goes for the state of Maine which became a free state, meaning it did not allow slavery, when it was admitted to the United States as part of the Missouri Compromise of 1820. The same with California when it became a state in 1850 as a "free state." And yes, the same took place with Oregon in 1859, Kansas in 1861, and Nevada in 1864. Those states never ever had slavery to begin with. Subsequently, when the Civil War broke out in 1861, their slave populations were zero.

When we break down the 33 states and 10 organized territories present in 1861 at the beginning of the Civil War, we find that 10 states never had slaves in the history of those states, 8 former slave states did not have slavery for more than 50 years, 15 states were still slave states and they were primarily in the South, 9 U.S. territories did not have slaves, and there were 15 slaves listed as living in the Nebraska Territory.

Here's something else. To say that only whites owned slaves in the United States is not true. Fact is, while the vast majority of slave owners were in fact whites with European ancestry, there were blacks and even Native American slave owners.

Whether or not people want to admit the truth of what took place, the blame for slavery is not one simply owned by whites. In fact, long before the United States won its independence from England, there were black slave owners.

One of the more famous black slave owners in the British Colonies was Anthony Johnson. He was supposedly born around 1600 and died in 1670 which was over a hundred years before the United States declared its independence from England in 1776.

Johnson was a black man who gained his freedom as a slave. He gained wealth as a merchant. He then became a slave owner in the Colony of Virginia. It is said that he owned over 400 black slaves. And today, Johnson is recognized as being one of the first African-American property owners on the North American continent.

He is also said to have had his right to legally own black slaves recognized in a Virginia court of law. Known as a successful merchant and tobacco farmer, Johnson has been referred to as "'The Black Patriarch" because he was one of the first African slave owners in North America.

While Johnson was a British subject, one of the most famous American black men to own black slaves in the United States was a man by the name of William Ellison Jr. of South Carolina. By age 21, Ellison took money that he got from his slave master to buy his own freedom. He also took what his master taught him and used that knowledge of machinery to make cotton gins while also working as a blacksmith. Later, he acquired over 1,000 acres and became a planter. He did in fact own 53 black slaves. In fact, he is ranked as the largest of the 171 black slave owners in South Carolina history.

As for Native Americans owning African slaves? Long before the United States came into being, African slaves were owned by Native American tribes. In fact, Native American tribes bought and owned African slaves during the Colonial period and only ended with the American Civil War.

There were some North American tribes such as the Five Civilized Tribes who were slave owners before the United States achieved its independence. They continued to be slave owners after the United States came into existence.

We have to remember that slavery was nothing new to Native Americans. For a thousand or more years before the Europeans ever step foot on North American soil, tribes have waged genocidal war against each other. While most tribes believed in killing the men and boys of the enemy tribes, they all took slaves as spoils of war.

And while some think this sort of genocidal warfare was simply an isolated occurrence between a few tribes, there is evidence that such warfare was conducted all across the North American continent as far north as Alaska for more years than most realize. And yes, along with such warfare was the taking of slaves as spoils. But when it comes to Africans slaves, Native American tribes bought them.

The Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole) were huge slave owners. In fact, when they were forced to leave their lands following the Indian removal of the 1830s, those tribes went on the Trail of Tears to present-day Oklahoma bringing their black slaves with them.

When you think of the Trail of Tears, you probably don't think of Cherokee slaveholders such as Cherokee Chief John Ross who was an advocate and slave owner. You probably don't think of Choctaw Chief Greenwood LeFlore who had 15,000 acres in Mississippi and owned 400 African slaves. No, you probably don't think of hundreds of African slaves owned by Native Americans, all having to make that horrible journey en masse to what is now Oklahoma.

Let's be honest, Native American Indian slave masters is not what we all think about when we think of the Trail of Tears. But sadly, there's no denying that's part of took place.

In an interview a few years ago, National Museum of the American Indian curator Paul Chaat Smith, who himself is Comanche, said, "The Five Civilized Tribes were deeply committed to slavery, established their own 'racialized black codes,' immediately reestablished slavery when they arrived in Indian territory, rebuilt their nations with slave labor, crushed slave rebellions, and enthusiastically sided with the Confederacy in the Civil War."

He went on to say, "the truth is about as far a cry from a crowd-pleasing narrative as you could possibly get. Do you want to hear that? I don’t think so. Nobody does. ...

The Cherokee owned slaves for the same reasons their white neighbors did. They knew exactly what they were doing. In truth, Civilized Tribes were not that complicated. They were willful and determined oppressors of blacks they owned, enthusiastic participants in a global economy driven by cotton, and believers in the idea that they were equal to whites and superior to blacks."

We know that there were a few Native American tribes which provided sanctuary to some runaway slaves. We also know that there were Native American tribes that re-enslaved runaway blacks as their own. And yes, there were Native Americans who also captured them and return them to their white masters in the late 1700's and 1800's for bounty.

To sum this up, we know that by the Civil War most of the states were slave free. We know that slavery was legal in the United States for a total of 82 years from 1783 to 1865. We know that more than just whites owned slaves. We also know that as is the case with most all white Americans, most Native Americans did not own slaves. In fact, slave owners of any color were only a small handful of the wealthy during that time period.

Tom Correa

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Frontier Justice In Arkansas 1895 - 1922

Frontier justice is extrajudicial punishment that's motivated by the belief that law and order either doesn't exist or doesn't work. And while that may be true, lynchings, gunfights, revenge killings are all said to be considered forms of frontier justice. Yes indeed, frontier justice is also "vigilante justice".

On August 6th, 1895, Crittenden County Deputy Sheriff Alfred Werner was shot and killed when he and two other deputies attempted to arrest a man at his home. When they arrived at the home the two deputies went inside the home as Deputy Werner remained outside.

The suspect was expecting the deputies to arrive at the house, so he hid outside waiting. Yes, ready to ambush the deputies. As Deputy Werner stood outside, the man opened fire from an ambush position and shot Deputy Werner in the neck. He killed the deputy almost instantly.

A posse was formed to capture the killer. While officially it is not known if he was ever captured or killed. It is believed by most that he was hanged from some tree.
Hot Springs Police Detective John Donahue

On Thursday, December 25th, 1902, Hot Springs Police Department's Chief of Detectives John Donahue was shot and killed by a man the he attempted to arrest for assaulting a woman with an ax. Detective Donahue approached the man on a local street. The suspect drew a revolver and shot him in the head, killing Donahue instantly.

As the suspect attempted to escape, a 16-year-old boy who saw what took place ran to get his father's shotgun and shot the murderer in the face. Because of his distance, the shotgun put the murderer on the ground but did not kill him.

The murderer lay in the street writhing in pain. But as the boy approached him with his reloaded shotgun, the murderer turned his pistol on himself and shot himself in the head.

On August 20th, 1910, Garland County Sheriff Jake Houpt was shot and mortally wounded. And his brother, who was a deputy, was also wounded while attempting to arrest two brothers for stealing horses.

The two horse thieves suddenly produced pistols and opened fire as Sheriff Houpt and his brother were escorting them to jail. As the suspects fled, both wounded lawmen returned fire killing one suspect and wounding the other. Sadly, Sheriff Houpt died three days later.

The other suspect was captured three days after the shooting. Then on December 26, 1910, Sheriff Houpt's killer was being escorted by a deputy sheriff from the Garland County Jail to the police station when three unidentified men walked up with guns drawn.

The unidentified men forced the deputy to step away. Once clear, the three men opened fire and shot the killer to death. As for the shooters, the unidentified citizens were never identified.

On September 26th, 1911, Sheriff William Preston and Deputy Sheriff Barney Stiel of the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office were shot and killed by two brothers they were attempting to arrest near Dumas.

As Sheriff Preston and several of his deputies approached the suspect's cabin, one of the brothers opened fire killing the Sheriff instantly. Deputy Stiel returned fire killing his Sheriff's murderer, but the other brother opened fire and killed Deputy Stiel.

The other deputies shot and killed his killer. They also shot and seriously wounded their father who arrived on the scene shooting a rifle at them. The killers' father was taken to a hospital and then to the local jail. Almost immediately, word started to go around that the killers' father was only acting in defense of his sons and would probably get off with a light sentence if any.

The next morning the father of those two killers was taken from the local jail by a group of angry citizens. He was hanged from a water tank just outside of town on the Iron Mountain Railroad.

On April 1st, 1912, Fort Smith Police Department's Detective Patrick Andrew Carr was shot and killed when he assisted other officers in the capture of an escaped prisoner.

It all took place when the 42-year old Fort Smith Police Detective observed a 24-year old male engaged in a loud argument with a woman on Garrison Avenue. Detective Carr arrested the young man. While escorting him to jail, the prisoner pulled away from the Detective and ran.

Detective Carr was soon joined by other officers in pursuit of the escapee. During their efforts to recapture of the prisoner, shots were fired and Detective Carr was struck above the right eye by a bullet. Detective Carr died nine days later in St. Edward Hospital and did not regain consciousness. He was survived by his wife, two sons, and three daughters.

A few days later, Detective Carr's killer was found. Soon enough, he was captured. But on the way to jail, the officers were overpowered by a number of angry citizens. They took Detective Carr's killer and hanged him from a nearby tree.

On July 4th, 1912, Conway County Sheriff's Special Deputy Herbert Paul Nisler was only 21 years old when he was killed. It happened when he and several other deputies, and the Conway County Sheriff attempted to break up a fight at a picnic near Plummerville.

After Special Deputy Nisler was assaulted and killed, citizens became angry and soon grabbed his killer. Before it could be stopped, his killer was hanged from the nearest tree.

On November 7th, 1919, Columbia County Sheriff B. E. Greer was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a man wanted for beating his wife at their home approximately four miles west of Magnolia. Yes, killed during a domestic violence situation. Sound familiar, it should. More law enforcement officers are killed during domestic violence situations than any other type of situation.

On the way there, the 45-year old Sheriff Greer deputized a citizen to accompany him to the home. They met with another deputy at the location. The sheriff and the deputized citizen approached the home's open door. The man inside immediately fired at them, but fortunately the shooter missed both of them.

Sheriff Greer then entered the home and returned fire at the suspect. The suspect then took cover hiding under a bed. When the sheriff bent down to look under the bed, the suspect fatally shot him.

The killer of Sheriff Greer was able to get away but was arrested by a sheriff's posse at his sister's house. As the sheriff's posse took the man to jail, an armed group of angry citizens approached the posse and took the killer off their hands. They then hanged him.

On December 10th, 1922, Conway County Deputy Sheriff Granville Edward Farish was only 34 years old when he was shot and fatally wounded in the line of duty. He sustained his fatal wound the previous day while interviewing a suspect in Morrilton.

While talking with the suspect, his killer all of a sudden pulled out a .32 caliber revolver and shot Deputy Farish in the abdomen. He then ran from the scene.

The killer was found and was arrested by other deputies. He was then taken to the county jail. But due to the threat of mob violence, the Sheriff decided to move him to another county. In the process of transferring their prisoner, the deputies were confronted and overpowered by a large group of angry citizens who were concerned that the killer would get of lightly.

Those angry citizens hauled the killer away with them. And later, well later the deputies found Deputy Farish's killer where those concerned citizens had hanged him.

None of this was unusual back in the day. All are just examples of frontier justice. And after reading this, you might be wondering what would give the people back then the notion that a killer might get off lightly? Especially when people today have this idea that no one got off lightly back in those days.

Well, imagine this, on May 26th, 1874, John Wesley Hardin killed Brown County, Texas, Deputy Sheriff Charles Webb. Of course, Hardin claimed he killed the Deputy in "self-defense." And no, Hardin was not alone when he killed Deputy Webb. Two of Hardin's gang members were with him when it happened.

The murder of Deputy Web angered a great many locals and soon a group of citizens quickly formed. Believe it or not, it is said that Hardin's parents and wife were taken into protective custody. And yes, tension was high for over a month until his brother Joe, and their two cousins, Bud and Tom Dixon, were arrested on outstanding warrants in July. It was then that the angry citizens broke into the jail and dragged out Joe, Bud, and Tom. They pulled the three outlaws to a tree and strung them up. Then they went looking for Hardin.

John Wesley Hardin had fled, but it would be years before he was finally caught. Then on June 5, 1878, Hardin was tried for the killing Deputy Webb. And surprising as it was, Hardin was only sentenced to serve 25 years in Huntsville Prison for killing Deputy Webb. That's it, 25 years for luring Deputy Webb into a hotel room to kill him.

It is interesting to note, that on February 14, 1892, while in prison, Hardin was convicted of a manslaughter charge for the earlier shooting of J.B. Morgan. For killing Morgan, Hardin was given an additional two-year sentence that was to be served concurrently with his 25-year sentence.

So, let’s make no mistake about it, whether it was the Vigilance Committee of 1851 in San Francisco, California, which numbered in the thousands, or small groups of angry citizens in small towns in Arkansas, citizens in the Old West knew real well that the law did not always work. Because of that, in many cases in many parts of the West, citizens did what the law may have refused to do.

They were dissatisfied with the performance of the justice system. And because of that, they saw it as their duty to take action to stop killers from killing again.

Tom Correa

Monday, June 1, 2020

Two Union Soldiers Named Jacob Miller

Jacob C. Miller was born on August 4, 1840, in Bellevue, Ohio. His parents were John R. Miller (1801–1868) and Christiana Alspaugh Miller (1807–1870). 

During the Civil War, he volunteered and served with the Union Army in Company G, 113th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He rose to the rank of Sgt., and is said to have served exceptionally. After the war, Miller became a laborer, than a "house carpenter," and later a mail carrier. He lived in Illinois for a while, but then settled in Nebraska. He married Martha Adelia Homan Miller who was born in New York on February 25, 1846. It's believed they were married in either 1868 or 1870.

Some sources say he had a daughter, Lottie, and two sons, Percival and William. I couldn't find any trace of a daughter or a second son. From what I can find, their only child was a son, William Eugene Miller. who was born on October 6, 1871. Sadly, William died a mere ten days after his 8th birthday on October 16, 1879.

Jacob C. Miller lived until the age of 76 when he died in Omaha, Nebraska. He passed away on January 13, 1917. He was buried in the Cedar Dale Cemetery in Papillion, Nebraska. When his wife Martha passed away a few years later in 1923, she was interred with her loving husband.

Jacob, Martha, and William are buried together in a family plot in the Cedar Dale Cemetery in Papillion, Nebraska. There is a headstone for William, and a smaller marker for Jacob and Martha. Along side both is a headstone that has the words Medal of Honor inscribed just beneath Jacob C. Miller's name.

Yes, Jacob was a Medal of Honor recipient for bravery during the Civil War. In fact, during the Siege of Vicksburg, Miller is said to have volunteered for a dangerous mission that meant almost certain death. As amazing as it was, he survived and was later awarded our nation's highest honor. 

It's true. This Civil War Congressional Medal of Honor recipient served in the Union Army in Company G, 113th Illinois Infantry during the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, on May 22, 1863. The battle involved a long siege of the Confederate forces defending a very important position on the Mississippi River. Whoever controlled that position, controlled Vicksburg and would ultimately control the vital supply line of the Mississippi River.

General Ulysses S. Grant was in command of the Union forces at Vicksburg. What became known as the Siege of Vicksburg started on May 18, 1863 and lasted until July 4, 1863. It was considered a decisive Union victory. There were over 77,000 Union soldiers at the siege of Vicksburg. During the repeated assaults and 47-day siege, the fighting was fierce and cost in blood was high. As a result, 120 Union soldiers earned Medals of Honor.

Union forces tried on several occasions to storm the city. Miller was a member of a small group of volunteers that charged the Confederate lines. That volunteer charge, only un-married men were allowed to volunteer, would become known as the "charge of the volunteer storming party." It's said that he was at the head of his attacking force where the enemy fire was the heaviest and the odds of his making it through alive were not in his favor. Yet, he survived the charge. Years later, on August 20, 1894, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his gallantry in the face of the enemy.

So about now you're saying, tell us how Jacob C. Miller was shot in the head and lived? Tell us about the picture atop this article with him wearing the Medal of Honor? 

Well, while the Internet says that Jacob C. Miller was shot in the head? The Internet is wrong. Jacob C. Miller who won the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Siege of Vicksburg is not the man in the above picture. Jacob C. Miller is not the man with a bullet hold in his forehead. The picture below is Jacob C. Miller.

The picture of a man with a hole in his head is Jacob Miller. Just not Medal of Honor recipient Jacob C. Miller. 

As for the decoration that looks like the Medal of Honor? Well, it's not the Civil War-era Medal of Honor. The medal that he is wearing is actually the medal of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) which was a fraternal organization that was formed after the Civil War by Union veterans for the benefit of Union veterans. The GAR medal looks almost exactly like what the Civil War-era Medal of Honor looked like.

The story of the second Jacob Miller is fairly amazing in my book. He was born in Indiana in 1838 and enlisted in the Union Army's 9th Indiana Volunteer Infantry in 1861. I couldn't find out much more than that regarding his personal life. 

Of course, according to some sources, he saw a lot of action during the Civil War. Yes, several skirmishes and battles, including the Battle of Chickamauga. That battle was fought from September 18th to the 20th, 1863. It was end of a Union offensive, called the Chickamauga Campaign, in southeastern Tennessee and northwestern Georgia. The battle of Chickamauga didn't turn out well for the Union. It was a Confederate victory. 

That battle is regarded as the most significant Union defeat in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. And here's something else, the Battle of Chickamauga resulted in the second-highest number of casualties. It is only second to the Battle of Gettysburg. 

It was during the Battle of Chickamauga in a forest along the Chickamauga Creek in Georgia that a Confederate musket ball struck the second Jacob Miller right in the forehead. The story is that he was hit at the exact moment that he was aiming his rifle.

Because of the Union forces were retreating, the second Jacob Miller was left for dead. Frankly, it's not too hard to think he was done for after getting shot in the head. That round laid him out. He was completely unconscious and looked to be dead as his comrades were retreating. It is said that he came to later and immediately realized that he was where he shouldn't be. He was in the midst of Union and Confederate dead at the what was the rear of the Confederate line.

As we can see by the picture of him in his old age, he lived to tell the tale of what happened. In fact, he recounted his experience to The Daily News of Joliet, Illinois, on June 14, 1911. It was at that time that he said how he woke and after realizing where he was, he feared becoming a prisoner of war.

It was then that he used his rifle as a crutch and started walking. Covered with blood, he said he walked and "those that I met did not notice that I was a Yank."

He walked until he came upon a road which he followed. Exhausted, he laid down by the side of the road and passed out again. Passing ambulance bearers found him. They put him on a stretcher to a wagon that carried him to the Union field hospital. 

In that 1911 newspaper interview, Jacob Miller recalled how he was laying in the hospital tent. He said, "a hospital nurse arrived and put a wet bandage over my wound and around my head and gave me a canteen of water. The surgeons examined my wound and decided it was best not to operate on me and give me more pain as they said I couldn’t live very long, so the nurse took me back into the tent. I slept some during the night. The next morning, the doctors came around to make a list of the wounded and said they were sending all the wounded to Chattanooga, Tennessee. But they told me I was wounded too bad to be moved."

The Army doctors told him that Jacob that if he was taken prisoner, that he could be exchanged later. Even with a bullet still in his head, he knew better than to let that happen. After hearing the doctor, he left on his own to make his way to Chattanooga. He knew the treatment troops got as prisoners of war. He knew his chances of survival were slim if he were taken. So he left and walked until he passed out along side a road.

A wagons taking the wounded to Chattanooga came by and saw him. The drivers loaded him in the wagon. He passed out again in the wagon. He woke the next day in Chattanooga. From there, he made his way to another hospital in Nashville. From there, he was transferred to an Army hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. Then, he was sent to another hospital in New Albany, Indiana. 

During this whole time, he kept asking doctors to remove the bullet. He said, "In all the hospitals I was in, I begged the surgeons to operate on my head but they all refused.”

After nine months of suffering, Jacob Miller met with two doctors who agreed to operate on his still open wound. It was then the doctors took out the musket ball. Jacob Miller remained in the hospital until his enlistment ended on September 17, 1864.

But that's not the end of the story of what happened to Jacob Miller. Fact is, there was more than just a musket ball in Jacob's forehead. As he stated in that 1911 newspaper interview, "Seventeen years after I was wounded, a buck shot dropped out of my wound. And thirty one years after, two pieces of lead came out."

During that interview, Jacob Miller wanted readers to know that he hasn't doing the interview to complain about his suffering, or about what happened, or his treatment, or even to blame anyone for leaving him when everyone was retreating. He simply thought he would relate what happened to him during the Civil War fighting for the Union. In fact, he made no qualms about how grateful he was to the government, saying, "The government is good to me and gives me $40.00 per month pension."

And for you folks who might be curious, $40 in 1911 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $1,079.53 in 2020. To give you an idea of how that $40 was spent, typical prices for 1911 for food included a loaf of bread for 7 cents, a dozen eggs for 34 cents, a quart of milk for 9 cents, a pound of steak for 26 cents, and renting a room would cost about $2 a week. So for a disabled veteran at the time, $40 must have seems like enough to get him by. And if he had a job, he was that better off.

By the way, Jacob Miller died sometime in 1927.

So there you have two Union soldiers who fought in the Civil War. Both named Jacob Miller. In reality, that's probably a fairly common name for those days or today. One was a Medal of Honor recipient, the other was a man who proved miracles do happen. 

Tom Correa