The name Selfridge has been recorded in history for at least two if not three US Rear Admirals. There was also a Captain and a Lt. that also left their names in the history books. Rear Admiral Thomas O Selfridge Snr of the US Navy had a son of the same name and rank. This son, as a junior officer, served on the USS Cumberland and almost drowned when it was blown out of the water in the Civil War by the Confederate ship... CSS Merrimack. You have hopefully read about that event and the more famous Monitor and Merrimack battle of the next day in past blogs. This same man was also serving on board the USS Kearsarge when it tackled and sank the dreaded CSS Alabama towards the end of the Civil War.
This Rear Admiral had a brother who fought in the Spanish American War, by the name of Edward Augustus Selfridge. Edward had a son Thomas Etholen Selfrige, who was the very T.E. that worked with Bell at Baddeck Nova Scotia and died in a plane crash piloted by Orville Wright within several hundred feet of the Arlington cemetery.
On the left and above is the marker that Captain Selfridge raised for his son T.E. The center crest, enlarged, notes that he died in an... "aerodrome accident." Today we call them planes. The plaque makes no mention of the fact that the accident was the first such accident recorded in US History.
On the far right is the grave marker for Abner Doubleday, a veteran of several wars and many of the major battles of the Civil War including at Gettysburg. At the beginning of the war he held the rank of captain and was the second in command at Sumter and sited the first cannon to respond from the union side in that battle, the very one that began the CW. By the war's end he was a Major General and has also gone down in history, incorrectly, as the founder of baseball.
Daniel Sickles was a politician then Civil War General then diplomat with a very colourful and less than stellar career. Pre was days he was caught escorting a prostitute into a state capitol building, and running off to England with the same woman while his pregnant wife was left to fend for herself back home. He introduced her to Queen Victoria but with a slight change of names. He had her impersonate the wife of one of his political foes. Still later he would be charged with murder. He shot a fellow near the White House when he detected the man was having an affairs with his wife. (What goes around comes around, hehe.) The victim was the son of Francis Scott Key, famed author of the lyrics we all know today for the Spar Spangled Banner. He got off with a plea... the first such use in US History, of temporary insanity. His lawyer would later become the Secretary of War in CW Days. A war in which Sickles raised at least 4 regiments, commanded one, ended up as a Major General and caused considerable problems on the Gettysburg battlefield when he disobeyed orders of his superiors. His war came to an end when a canon ball blew off one of his legs. That's another story worthy of further reading.
On the right is the marker from General George Mindil, whom has received some attention in past blogs. He was awarded two Medals of Honor though history continues to only credit him with one. His marker gives him no credit whatsoever for either award.
The 9-11 memorial at Arlington Cemetery is a five sided monument in honour of the 184 service personnel and civilians who lost their lives on that horrible day. The names of each soul is listed alphabetically on these sides. Using all five sides, the monument has inscribed these few words...
Victims of Terrorist Attack on the Pentagon September 11, 2001.
At the right is a memorial at Arlington for the men who were killed during the November 1979 hostage takeover of the US Embassy at Iran. A movie today, called Fargo, and with plenty of Hollywood flare, tells some of that dreadful story and the roll that Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor played in helping to produce fake passports, and a cover story to smuggle out 6 Americans through the Canadian network.
While visiting the Canadian Embassy a few weeks back, I was told that the very land that the building stands on, land worth millions in downtown DC and within only blocks of the US Capitol, was donated free to the Canadian government. This being a present for the heroism shown by Mr. Taylor and others to save those six lives.
Virgil Grissom and Roger Chaffe were killed probably within seconds, on the Apollo 1 flight of January, 1967. They are also buried at Arlington and colleague Edward White, who also lost his life is buried elsewhere.
While it is said that Jerry Cronan, a Canadian, from unknown parts, was the only Canadian serving with the southern Confederates buried at Arlington. This may not be accurate as there are many unknowns, and of course so are their home countries. That said, Cronan served with the 10th Louisiana Infantry and he joined over 400 others from that unit buried in this cemetery. He died after wounds received in 1864 at the battle of Spotsylvania. There were 8 other KNOWN Canadians in the unit and he is believed to be the only one from that unit that died in the war.
This being close to the end of Womens History Month in Canada I will remind readers to read some American history by scrolling backwards in this space for the blog done on Juliet Hopkins. She was the only woman who received a CONFEDERATE Medal of Honor for services in the Civil War. She is of course also buried at Arlington.
Enough on this grave subject...