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On This Day: August 18

1864 - (Civil War) Second Battle of Weldon Railroad opens near Petersburg, Virginia

The 2nd, 6th, 7th, 37th, and 38th Wisconsin Infantry regiments took part in the Second Battle of Weldon Railroad, also known as the Battle of Globe Tavern, near Petersburg, Virginia. This was the first Union victory in the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign. By destroying the railway while under heavy attack, Union troops forced Confederates to carry their provision 30 miles by wagon around Union lines to supply the city.

1893 - Burleigh Arland Grimes Born

On this date Baseball Hall of Famer Burleigh Arland Grimes was born in Emerald, Wisconsin. Knicknamed "Ol' Stubblebeard" and known as the last legal spitball pitcher, Grimes played major league baseball for the New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Boston Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Giants, and the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1916 to 1934. After spitball pitching was banned in 1920, 17 established spitball pitchers were allowed to continue with the pitch. Grimes lasted the longest, using the spitball until retiring in 1934. He won 270 games over 19 seasons for seven major league teams, reaching 20 wins in a season on five occasions. He helped Brooklyn to the championship in 1920, the Cardinals to pennants in 1930 and 1931, and the Cubs to the flag in 1932. Grimes was known as "Ol' Stubblebeard" for his habit of not shaving on the day he was scheduled to pitch. Grimes managed the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1937 to 1938. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1964. Burleigh Arland Grimes died on December 6, 1985 in Clear Lake. [Source: Wisconsin Lore and Legends edited by Lou and John Russell, p.30 and Baseball Hall of Fame]

1919 - Elizabeth Mary (Berta) Johnson Rusk Dies

On this date Elizabeth Mary Johnson Rusk, wife of Governor Jeremiah McLain Rusk, died in Viroqua, Vernon County. She was born on November 8, 1837, in Norde Land, Norway. She was 12 years old when she emigrated to the U.S. with her family. They originally located in the Norwegian settlement Koshkonong in Dane County, and in 1850 were among the first settlers on Coon Prairie, Christiana Township, in Bad Axe (Vernon) County. At age 18, she was sent to be a servant in the home of widower Jeremiah Rusk. She married Jeremiah McLain Rusk on November 18, 1856. Elizabeth Rusk served as first lady of Wisconsin from 1882 to 1889. She is buried in Viroqua. [Source: First Ladies of Wisconsin-The Governors' Wives by Nancy G. Williams, p.91]