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On This Day: February 27

1864 - (Civil War) Battle of Pearl River, Tennessee

The 33rd Wisconsin Infantry fought in the Battle of Pearl River in Tennessee. On the same day  in Milwaukee, the 35th Wisconsin Infantry was organized and mustered in.

1873 - Religious Leader of St. Nazianz Dies

On this date Rev. Ambrose Oschwald, the leader of a group of 113 Roman Catholics from the Black Forest, died. Controversial in Germany for his apocalyptic visions, Father Oschwald moved to southwestern Manitowoc County in the 1850s and named his colony after a Greek saint, Gregory of Nazianzen. By 1870 the colony had 600 residents. Oschwald was known for his piety, zeal, and devotion to his people and he was also a skilled botanist and medic. Years after his death the community prospered and today, the St. Gregory church still stands. [Source: by Fred L. Holmes, pg. 172-182]

1895 - Cordelia Harvey Passes Away

On this date Cordelia Adelaide Perrine Harvey Chester, wife of Governor Louis P. Harvey, died in Clinton, Rock County. She was born on December 7, 1824, in Barre, New York. The daughter of John Perrine and Mary Hebard, Cordelia Adelaide Perrine arrived in Southport (now Kenosha) in the mid-1840s where she taught school. She married Louis P. Harvey on November 2, 1847, in Kenosha. The Harveys had one daughter, Mary, who died in infancy. Louis P. Harvey was inaugurated governor in 1862 but drowned shortly thereafter while visiting Wisconsin troops in the South. Known as the "Wisconsin Angel" for her humanitarian efforts during the Civil War, Cordelia persuaded her husband's successor, Edward Salomon, to grant her the title of Sanitary Agent. She visited soldiers in military hospitals throughout the country and promoted relocation of these to the North, where the climate better facilitated recovery. She appealed her case to President Lincoln. The first Harvey hospital was located in former Governor Farwell's mansion on Lake Monona in Madison, followed by others in Prairie du Chien and Milwaukee. She became superintendent of the Soldiers' Orphans' Home in 1866. She married Rev. Albert T. Chester in 1876, in New York. Cordelia Adelaide Perrine Harvey Chester is buried in Forest Hill Cemetery, in Madison. [Source: First Ladies of Wisconsin-The Governors' Wives, by Nancy G. Williams, pg. 53]

1904 - Second State Capitol Burns

On this date fire destroyed the second State Capitol building in Madison. On the evening of the 26th, the generator was turned off for the night. The only lights visible were two gas jets serving the night watchman. At approximately 2 a.m., night watchman Nat Crampton smelled smoke and followed the odor to a recently varnished ceiling, already in flames. A second watchman arrived to assist, but there was no water pressure with which to operate a hose. The fire department encountered a similar situation upon arrival. Governor Robert M. La Follette telegraphed fire departments in Janesville and Milwaukee for assistance. La Follette was at the capitol, directing efforts to douse the fire and entering the burning building to retrieve valuable papers. The fire was completly extinguished by 10 p.m. the next day. Losses were estimated to be close to $1 million.

1949 - Kittoe Mine Fire

Fourteen miners were trapped 168 feet underground in smoke, debris and knee-deep water for seven hours when a fire broke out in the engine room at the Kittoe lead and zinc Mine near Benton, Wis. The fire was contained in four hours, but the trapped miners were only brought to the surface in an improvised lift in the late afternoon. The miners kept warm by snuggling up to their two mules, Kate and Mag. [Source: Wisconsin State Journal, Feb. 28, 1949]

1969 - University of Wisconsin Students Riot

On this date thousands of students rampaged through nine campus buildings at the UW-Madison, protesting low black enrollment numbers. [Source: UW-Madison Library Archives]