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On This Day: April 5

1860 - Wisconsin Congressman Challenged to Duel

On this date, with the threat of civil war hanging in the air, John F. Potter, a Wisconsin representative in Congress, was challenged to a duel by Virgina representative Roger Pryor. Potter, a Northern Republican, had become a target of Southerners during heated debates over slavery. After one exchange, Pryor challenged Potter to a duel and Potter, as the one challenged, specified that bowie knives be used at a distance of four feet. Pryor refused and Potter became famous in the anti-slavery movement. Two years later, when Republicans convened in Chicago, Potter was given a seven foot blade as a tribute; the knife hung with pride during all the sessions of the convention.  Before his death, Potter remembered the duel and proclaimed, "I felt it was a national matter - not any private quarrel - and I was willing to make sacrifices." [Source: Badger Saints and Sinners, by Fred L. Holmes]

1865 - (Civil War) Confederate leaders reach Jettersville, Virginia

Union troops hot on the trail of retreating Confederate General Robert E. Lee reached Jettersville, Virginia, on the night of April 5th only to find that Lee's army had followed a different route. The 5th, 6th, 7th, 19th, 36th, 37th and 38th Wisconsin Infantry regiments participated in this expedition.

1900 - Spencer Tracy Born

On this date Spencer Tracy was born in Milwaukee. He attended the Northwestern Military Academy in Lake Geneva and Ripon College. He won Academy Awards for Best Actor in Captain Courageous and Boys Town. [Source: Wisconsin Genealogy Index ]

1974 - Robin Yount Becomes A Brewer's Regular

On this date Robin Yount became the Brewers' regular shortstop at 18 years of age. Yount proved to be a great advantage to the team and in 1992 became the 17th player in history (and the third-youngest) ever to reach 3,000 hits. [Source: Milwaukee Brewers]