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On This Day: August 24

1857 - Panic of 1857

On this date the New York branch of the Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company failed, launching the Panic of 1857. Stocks plunged; banks and businesses across the nation, including many Wisconsin-based ventures, collapsed. The Panic of 1857 led to a depression that lasted three years until the beginning of the Civil War. [Source: American Memory Today in History]

1863 - (Civil War) Lt. Vilas returns to the front

Lieutenant William F. Vilas of the 23rd Wisconsin Infantry, along with several other Wisconsin officers, left for Mississippi after being home on leave. Vilas later wrote a long account of the Vicksburg Campaign.

1970 - Sterling Hall Bombing on UW-Madison Campus

On this date a car bomb exploded outside Sterling Hall, killing research scientist Robert Fassnacht. Sterling Hall was targeted for housing the Army Mathematics Research Center and was bombed in protest of the war in Vietnam. The homemade bomb (2,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate soaked in aviation fuel) was detonated by the New Year's Gang, aka Vanguard of the Revolution, who demanded that a Milwaukee Black Panther official be released from police custody, ROTC be expelled from the UW campus, and "women's hours" be abolished on campus. The entire New Year's Gang fled to Canada the evening of the explosion. Four men were charged with this crime: Karleton Armstrong, David Fine, Dwight Armstrong, and Leo Burt. All but Burt were captured and served time for their participation. Leo Burt remains at large.[Source: On Wisconsin Summer 2005]