Search Another Date

On This Day: May 4

1864 - (Civil War) Wilderness Campaign Opens in Virginia

Union forces crossed the Rapidan River in Virginia and prepared to fight at the Wilderness the next day. The resulting series of battles between May 5 and June 12, 1864, is called the Wilderness Campaign, or Grant's Overland Campaign. The 2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 19th, 36th and 38th  Wisconsin Infantry regiments and the 4th Wisconsin Light Artillery participated in this series of bloody battles. The initial Battle of the Wilderness on May 5-7, 1864, produced nearly 30,000 casualties without giving either side a clear victory.

1873 - Progressive Governor John James Blaine Born

On this date John James Blaine was born in the town of Wingville in Grant County. A politician, governor, and U.S. Senator, Blaine attended public schools in Montfort, and received a law degree from Northern Indiana University. He was admitted to the Wisconsin bar in 1897 and practiced briefly in Montfort before settling in Boscobel. A Progressive Republican, he served as Boscobel's mayor for four terms and was elected to the State Senate in 1909. It was there that he gained prominence by leading investigations into the campaign expenditures of Wisconsin Senator Isaac Stephenson, attempting to block Stephenson's re-election. A zealous advocate of progressivism and the ideals embraced by Robert M. La Follette Sr., Blaine was one of the organizers and vice-president of the Wilson National Progressive Republican League. After running unsuccessfully for governor in 1914, Blaine was elected state attorney in 1918. In 1921, he became governor and held this office for three consecutive terms. During his tenure Blaine promoted progressive labor legislation, fostered a campaign to eradicate bovine tuberculosis, and signed the nation's first law giving equal rights to women. In 1926, he won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate where he served from 1927 to 1933, becoming one of the leaders in the effort to repeal prohibition. He died on April 16, 1934. [Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin Biography, SHSW 1960, pg. 39]