Today in “Hidden” History

Today in “Hidden” History is a daily listing of important but little-known events illustrating the range of innovators, contributors, or incidents excluded from formal history lessons and common knowledge. Bookmark this page and check daily to quickly expand your knowledge. Suggest entries for Today in “Hidden” History by clicking the Contact Us link.

April 12
1825Reverend Richard Harvey Cain is born. Cain was a  minister, abolitionist, and United States Representative from South Carolina from 1873–1875 and 1877-1879. After the Civil War, he was appointed by Bishop Daniel Payne as a missionaryof the African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina. He also was one of the founders of Lincolnville, South Carolina. Learn more.
1864Rebel troops commanded by Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest commit the Fort Pillow Massacre, murdering several hundred Union soldiers, the vast majority of whom were Black, after they had already surrendered. Forrest, who after the war become the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, initially described a river as “dyed with the blood of the slaughtered for 200 yards,” and his field commander bragged that his men had taught “the mongrel garrison” a memorable lesson; later, Forrest and his staff later either denied there was a massacre or blamed it on the garrison itself. The Fort Pillow affair became a target of Southern revisionists, and many reference works balk at deeming the battle a massacre. But recent accounts drawn from primary sources conclude emphatically that a massacre did indeed transpire, and that Forrest’s field officers did little to stop it, for which Forrest himself bears the ultimate responsibility. Learn more here and here.

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