Two Hundred and Forty six years later Cornwallis Place, named after the Governor, and which had stood for years at this part of town, pictured to the left, would be renamed the Summit building, in honour of the 2,000 delegates, 2,100 members of the media and the seven leaders of major industrialized nations that came to Halifax. It would become known as the G7 Summit building. Had they waited four days, they could have celebrated the anniversary of the very day of Cornwallis's arrival.
The G7 leaders attending where Canada's PM Chretien, The US's President Clinton, the UK's PM John Major, Germany's Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Italy's PM Lamberto Dini, France's President-elect Jacques Chirac, Japan's PM Tomiichi Murayama, Russian's President Boris Yeltsin and from the European Union came President Jacques Santer.
About 35 miles from where I am standing in the picture to the right, there is a place called Prospect Cove. And there in 1867 a man named Charles Robinson, born in Scotland probably in 1840, married. Within a few years he and his wife would be operating a motel and place for the purchase of spirits at various locations within a few blocks of this location. I am pointing to the location of their 20' frontage lot that went eastbound under the current TD sign at bottom right of above picture and travelled back about 70 feet. The entry to the parking lot in front of me used to be the entry to what was once called Bentley Lane. Charles and his wife raised several children living within blocks of this location for possibly 30 years or more. He also wore the uniform of a Halifax policeman for a short period in the early 1880's.
His second vessel was the USS Saint Louis that fought during the Battles of Forts Henry and Donelson in February 1862, and several other battles leading up to the Yazoo Expedition in late December of that year. But not long before the December mission, the US Government reliized that it actually had two ships of this name. This one which was recently purchased, and one already in existance. So they did the natural thing. They rennamed the vessel, and it then became the USS Baron De Kalb. It was under this name that the vessel then proceeded on the task to search out any enemy activity, forts, vessels etc along a stretch of the Yazoo River in the State of Mississippi. The area was known to have torpedoes (underwater mines) and part of the task also involved the very dangerous job of finding and destroying them. (You read what happened to Ben Jackson in a recent blog losing an arm doing this very task, but in another location.)
Robinson and three others on the ship were later awarded Medals of Honor for their bravery. But like so many other cases, it is most difficult to get details about exactly what each did... and when. The General Order that lists these four sailors... and 41 others is the first ever listing sailors who were awarded the medal but only gives their names, rank and vessels served on at the time of their deed. A later version of the events notes the above and that the four men were...
"serving bravely throughout this action, Robinson, as boatswain's mate, distinguished himself in the various actions."
The citation for each of the four is identical except for the insertion of each man's name and rank.
No further details whatsoever are given. And as you shall see from the next blog on this subject, over the years the story seems to have changed when some took to assuming what they did.
Please tune in tomorrow to hear some more of these four brave sailors.