Friday, August 19, 2016

General John G. Barnard - Distinguished Officer of the Corps of Engineers

General John G. Barnard
General John G. Barnard was born on May 19, 1815 in Sheffield, Massachusetts among the picturesque Berkshire Hills. John was part of a large and gifted family. His brother, Frederick Augustus Porter Barnard was a longtime educator, president of Columbia University, and namesake of Barnard College. John, Frederick, and other members of their family suffered from a hereditary form of deafness, which worsened with age. In early life, when stationed in New Orleans, Barnard married Jane Elizabeth Brand, of Maryland, with whom he had four children. In 1860, he married Anna E. Hall of Harford County, Maryland, with whom he had three children.

He performed every species of Engineer work; was noted as one of the most accomplished mathematicians of his country; became an erudite author of many valuable volumes; was a soldier ever ready to use his brilliant talents for the nation's welfare; and his high moral worth equaled his intellectual capacity. Many of his accomplishments were hidden from the world because of an inherited deafness, which limited his conversations. However, this infirmity may have turned his mind from externals to the inward development of his higher faculties. He was always a student, and such was his love for scientific investigation that it was jocosely said he read Laplace's "Mécanique Céleste" every morning to get up an appetite for his breakfast.

John received an appointment to the US Military Academy at West Point in July 1829. He was an excellent student and demonstrated remarkable mathematical talents. Superintendent Colonel Thayer said that John was the ablest Cadet that left the institution during the Thayer's sixteen years at the Academy. Barnard graduated second in a class of forty-three cadets in 1833. As one of the top Cadets, he joined Army Corps of Engineers and began a forty-eight-year career in that branch.

Second Lieutenant Barnard's first assignment was as an assistant to Colonel Joseph G. Totten in constructing Fort Adams in Newport, Rhode Island from 1833 to 1834. Totten was the foremost American military engineer of his day and served as Chief Engineer of the Army for much of Barnard's career. There two officers formed a close friendship as evidenced by Barnard's extensive eulogy of Totten in 1866.

Barnard helped construct coastal defenses at Fort Columbus/Fort Jay, Fort Hamilton, and Fort Wadsworth in New York City; New Orleans; Pensacola; Mobile; Fort Livingston, Fort Jackson, and Fort St. Philip, Louisiana; and on the Pacific Coast at San Francisco.

In the Mexican-American War, he directed construction of defenses at the captured Mexican port of Tampico, which protected the city and secured its role as a vital supply line for American forces advancing on Mexico City. He surveyed battlefields for Winfield Scott to assist in infantry and artillery placement. After the conquest of California, he served as Chief Engineer for the Exploration and Survey of the projected Tehuantepec Railroad in Mexico, in 1850–1851 to examine a possible route to the newly acquired Pacific possessions.

From May 31, 1855 through September 8, 1856, Barnard was Superintendent of the United States Military Academy. Following his brief tenure, he returned to work on coastal defenses, especially in the New York and New Jersey area. During a leave of absence, he studied construction projects in Europe.

Soon after the outbreak of the Civil War, US Army commander General Winfield Scott assigned Barnard to the Department of Washington. This Army unit was in charge of defending the capital. On April 28, 1861, Colonel Joseph K. Mansfield, the department commander, attached Barnard to his headquarters as chief engineer.

When the Union Army moved into Northern Virginia on May 24, 1861, Barnard directed building of fortifications on the Arlington hills. He also accompanied the Army to Manassas in July 1861 and was present at the Union defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas). Between June 1861 and September 1861, Barnard also served on the US Navy's Blockade Strategy Board. When Major General George B. McClellan assumed command of the Military Division of the Potomac and subsequently command of the Army and Department of the Potomac, Barnard became chief engineer of the Military District of Washington. He implemented McClellan ideas for the defenses around Washington. Barnard planned, designed, and directed construction of the network of forts that protected the capital.

Historic Map of Defenses of Washington
In Barnard's A Report on the Defenses of Washington, published after the Civil War, he commented on the complexity and ever-changing nature of the project.  From a few isolated works covering bridges or protecting several important points, Barnard developed a connected system of fortifications at intervals of 800 to 1,000 yards. He placed enclosed field-forts to defend every prominent point and located batteries for field guns to sweep important approaches and depressions unseen from the forts. General Barnard connected the forts and batteries by rifle-trenches or more appropriately lines of infantry parapets. The parapets had room for two ranks of men and allowed for covered communication along the line. Barnard had new roads built to supplement existing roads so troops and artillery could be moved rapidly from one point on the immense periphery to another, or under cover, from point to point along the line. When finally completed, the defenses consisted of sixty-eight enclosed forts and batteries around a defensive perimeter of about fourteen miles. The fortifications had emplacements for 1,120 guns of which 807 guns and 98 mortars were mounted. There were also 93 unarmed batteries with places for 401 guns. Twenty miles of infantry trenches connected the emplacements. The entire circuit of the line was thirty-three miles, excluding the Chain Bridge works and the stretch across the Potomac from Fort Greble to Fort Lyon. Thirty-two miles of military roads, besides the existing roads and avenues of the District of Columbia, provided the means of communication from the interior to the periphery, and from point to point. These works helped save Washington after the Bull Run defeat. They provided temporary shelter to the shattered national forces in Virginia after the disasters of the campaign of 1862. They helped defend the capital a third time when General Early's troops attacked the city.

On September 23, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Barnard Brigadier General of US Volunteers and the U.S. Senate confirmed the promotion on March 24, 1862. Barnard was Engineer for the Army of the Potomac between August 20, 1861 and August 16, 1862. He participated in the Peninsula Campaign and directed the siege works at Yorktown, Virginia of offensive and defensive works on the Chickahominy River. On the march to Harrison's Landing on the James River, he reconnoitered and selected positions for the Battle of Gaines Mill, the passage of White Oak Swamp and the Battle of Malvern Hill. After he finished with his assignment in that campaign, he returned to his work on the defenses of Washington as chief engineer of the Department of Washington. In addition to this task, he had special assignments such as devising the defenses of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Following the death of Brigadier General Joseph Totten on April 22, 1864, President Lincoln nominated Barnard to be the next chief of the US Army Corps of Engineers. However, Barnard immediately asked the president to withdraw the nomination.

Barnard was an Engineer in the XXII Corps, Department of Washington, between February 2, 1863 and May 25, 1864. Between May 25, 1864 and June 5, 1864, he was Chief Engineer for the Army of the Potomac. He was on the staff of General Ulysses S. Grant in the Overland Campaign between June 5, 1864 and July 4, 1864. On July 4, 1864, President Lincoln nominated and the Senate confirmed to award General Barnard the honorary rank of brevet major general, US Volunteers, to rank from July 4, 1864 for "Meritorious and Distinguished Services during the Rebellion."

The Army appointed General Barnard Chief Engineer of the armies in the field and assigned him to General Grant's staff. He held this position from the Siege of Petersburg, including the capture of Fort Harrison, the Battle of Hatcher's Run, and the final assault on Petersburg, until the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox, Virginia on April 9, 1865.

General Barnard served in the honor guard for President Lincoln's funeral in April 1865.

The Army mustered Barnard out of the US Volunteers on January 15, 1866. On April 10, 1866, President Andrew Johnson nominated Barnard and the Senate confirmed the honorary grade of brevet brigadier general, USA, (Regular Army) to rank from March 13, 1865 for "Gallant and Meritorious Service in the Campaign terminating with the Surrender of the Insurgent Army under Gen. R. E. Lee." On July 17, 1866, President Johnson nominated and the Senate confirmed to award Barnard the honorary grade of brevet major general, USA, to rank from March 13, 1865 "for Gallant and Meritorious Services in the Field during the Rebellion." The military promoted Barnard to colonel in the Regular Army on December 28, 1865, and he remained in the Army Corps of Engineers until January 1881.

After the war, the Army appointed Barnard president of the permanent Board of Engineers for Fortifications and River and Harbor Improvements. He held this position until his retirement. Barnard successfully recast the approach to coastal defenses, which was required because of the obsolescence of wooden ships and muzzle loading guns. He also advocated the successful use of parallel jetties to improve the mouth of the Mississippi River. He was a prominent member of the United States Lighthouse Board from February 20, 1870 until his retirement.

In addition to his assigned duties, Barnard contributed greatly to scientific literature during his lifetime.
Barnard was the author of numerous scientific and engineering reports:
  • "Phenomena of the Gyroscope, analytically examined" - 1858
  • "Dangers and Defenses of New York" - 1859
  • "Notes on Seacoast Defense" - 1861
  • "'The C. S. A. and the Battle of Bull Run" - 1862
  • With General W. F. Barry, "Reports of the Engineer and Artillery Operations of the Army of the Potomac, from its organization to the close of the Peninsular Campaign" - 1863
  • "Eulogy on the late Bvt. Maj.-General Joseph G. Totten, late Chief Engineer, U. S. Army" - 1866
  • "Report on the Defenses of Washington" (Professional Papers of the Corps of Engineers, No. 20)
  • With Gen. H. G. Wright and Col. P. S. Michie, "Report on the Fabrication of Iron for Defensive Purposes " (Professional Papers of the Corps of Engineers, No. 21, and Supplement)
  • "Report on the North Sea Canal of Holland," (Professional Papers of the Corps of Engineers, No. 22)
  • Papers on the Precession of the Equinoxes, the Pendulum, and the Internal Structure of the Earth (Smithsonian Contributions, Nos. 240 and 310) 

      Besides, the above the works, he wrote numerous scientific pamphlets and elaborate professional reports. He published over seventy articles in Johnson's "Universal New Cyclopedia" that illustrated Barnard's mental strength, his versatility of talents, and his prodigious powers of production. The studies include treatises on Bridge-building and Harbor, Breakwater, Jetty, and Lighthouse construction; complex mathematical dissertations on Calculus, Aeronautics, Imaginaries, Gyroscope, and the Theory of Tides; and valuable histories of the Army Corps of Engineers, Lighthouse Board, and the battle of Bull Run.

Barnard was an original member of the Aztec Club of 1847 as well as the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.

In 1838, Alabama University conferred upon him the degree of A. M., and in 1864, Yale College awarded him an LL. D. He was a working member of several learned associations. Barnard, along with several other senior officers of the Army Corps of Engineers, was one of the fifty original founders of the National Academy of Sciences.

General Barnard retired from the Army on January 2, 1881 and died in Detroit, Michigan on May 14, 1882. He is interred in Sheffield, Massachusetts.

The announcement of his death by the Chief of Engineers concludes with the following epitaph:

A service of nearly fifty years in the Corps of Engineers has been closed by the death of one of the most prominent of its members.
Of greatly varied intellectual capacity, of a very high order of scientific attainments, considerate and cautious, ripe in experience, sound in judgment, General Barnard has executed the important duties with which he has been charged, during his long and useful life, with conscientious care and regard for the public interests, and with an enthusiastic devotion to his profession. His corps, the army, and the country are his debtors.
Modest and retiring in disposition, considerate and courteous, warm in his sympathies and affections, our deceased associate will be missed as few are missed, and his name, which will be held as one of the foremost names of the Corps of Engineers, will be cherished with peculiar love and affection by his brother officers.

John G. Barnard, Cullum Register, 530-535.
John G. Barnard,
Defenses of Washington, National Park Service,

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Confederate Torpedoes

General Gabriel J. Rains
Confederate Torpedoes edited by Herbert M. Schiller contains The Torpedo Book by Gabriel J. Rains and Notes Explaining Rebel Torpedoes and Ordinance by Peter S. Michie. Schiller produced a valuable reference book for students of Civil War weapons technology. In Confederate Torpedoes, Schiller assembled a collection of illustrations including never-before-published plates from Rains' and Michie's reports. The book contains new photographs of the torpedo specimens at the US Military Academy as well as other museums and private collections. The editor introduces each book with brief biographies of the authors. Schiller includes an updated list of vessels damaged and sunk by Confederate torpedoes including additional details on the incidents.  He also includes an appendix with plates not referenced in Rains' book.

Singer Torpedo

The development of Confederate torpedoes began during the Union advance from Yorktown in the Peninsular Campaign. Rains planted torpedoes to impede General George McClellan's forces as they advanced toward Williamsburg. Generals on both sides

CSS Hunley

The Confederate torpedoes were successfully used on many occasions, the most famous may be the spar torpedo on the CSS Hunley that destroyed the USS Housatonic, the torpedo field in Mobile Bay that sunk the gunship USS Tecumseh, and USS Cairo sunk by a wicker-covered demijohn torpedo on the Yazoo River.

Brigadier General Gabriel J. Rains was director of the Confederate Torpedo Bureau during the Civil War. He organized the system of torpedoes and mines that protected the harbors of Charleston, Savannah, Mobile, and other port cities, and invented an early land mine that was successfully used in battle. Brigadier General Peter S. Michie served as chief engineer of the Union's Army of the James and was stationed in Richmond for a year after the war. Michie was Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy at the US Military Academy from 1871 to 1901. Physician and historian Herbert M. Schiller edited the two works presented in Confederate Torpedoes. Schiller is the author or editor of numerous books on the Civil War including Sumter is Avenged: The Siege and Reduction of Fort Pulaski, The Bermuda Hundred Campaign: "Operations on the south side of the James River, Virginia - May, 1864," and The Autobiography of Major General William F. Smith 1861-1864. Schiller graduated from Wake Forest University with an M.A. in history.

This is an excellent edition for Civil War students and scholars who want to learn more about the many devices used by the Confederacy to sink Union ships and protect ports and rivers.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Ignorance and Slavery

African-American Sharecroppers
I was doing some research for my new book on Ebenezer Allen when I discovered several interesting articles in The Texas Almanac of 1858. A compilation of "Statistics for all the Counties" lists Negroes, Horses, and Cattle with the number and value. The total value of these three categories is $77,079,593 of which the value of Negroes of $58,123,340 accounts for 75%.  The number of Negroes is given as 113,217 which translates to value of $513 per slave.[1] This is one of the most compelling reasons why wealthy slave owners fought to preserve slavery - the loss of wealth would destroy their fortunes.

The second factor is outlined by an article in The Texas Almanac entitled "African Slavery." The bigotry is evident as is ignorance of the writer. I present the information to illustrate the cruel, idiotic, and self-serving ideas that might have been typical of a large slave-owning Texas plantation owner.

Every citizen of the United States should be the warm friend, the unceasing advocate and the bold defender of the institution of African Slavery, as it exists in the Southern States of the Union. Why?
First: Because the African is an inferior being, differently organized from the white man, with wool instead of hair on his head - with lungs, feet joints, lips, nose and cranium so distinct as to indicate a different and inferior grade of being. Whether this comes from the curse upon Ham and his descendants forever, or from an original law of God, we will not here discuss. But the great fact is as true so that man exists. The negro [sic] is incapable of self-government, or self-improvement, as proven by his universal ignorance and barbarism, though ever in contact with civilized nations, for five thousand years. He has never advanced one step, excepting as a slave to white men. And when civilized and Christianized in slavery, and then freed, he invariably relapses, more or less rapidly, into ignorance and barbarism. Three generations as a freeman find him, in his offspring, a confirmed barbarian. The exception is only where he remains surrounded by white civilization, as in the United States, and then he becomes a petty thief and idle loafer. For proof, look to Jamaica, to San Domingo, Hayti [sic], to his now acknowledged degeneracy in Liberia and to the freed blacks of the United States and Canada. He cannot amalgamate with the white race without producing disease and death to the offspring. The mulatto of the fourth degree, unless bred back into the pure white or black cannot re-produce himself. Hence, the law of God stamps disease and death as the penalty for amalgamation.
Second: As a slave in a mild climate, the negro [sic] is contented, cheerful, obedient and a long-lived laborer. He attains his highest civilization in slavery, receives religious instruction - becomes faithful, trustworthy and affectionate to his white master and superior - yields him willing obedience and enjoys his own highest attainable happiness on earth. For proof, look at the negro in his wild native haunts - in his freed condition, after having been a slave - and after having been a slave - and  at his past and present happy, contented and healthy condition, as a slave in the Southern States.
Third: As a slave, he produces the great staples of cotton, sugar, rice, hemp, tobacco, coffee, &c., which cannot be grown either by white or free labor to meet the demands of the world. Abolish slavery, and we abolish the production of these great staples. Abolish their production, and we break up the commerce of the civilized world - we destroy the manufactories of Europe and America - we destroy their combined shipping interests - we throw the white man of both continents out of employment., and cause anarchy, revolution and internecine wars to usurp the paths of peaceful commerce, progress and Christian advancement. The Northern States, without manufactures, without commerce, would present one universal scene of waste and desolation. “Ruin" would become the watch-word of every civilized State and nation. Relief would only be found, after the total extinction of the negro [sic] and the suppression of anarchy through a military despotism in this now great and prosperous confederacy of free and sovereign States. My space is limited by the publishers of the “Texas Almanac,” and I can but glance at this great question of questions. But to every citizen of Texas let me say - “These are sober, solemn, portentous truths! Look at them! Meet them like men who know their rights!” How meet them, do you say? By placing in the hands of every man and woman possible, one or more of the excellent books written in elucidation and defense of slavery - by convincing every one of the truths herein so briefly stated - and thus, not only rendering the institution a moral Gibralter [sic] as it is, but convincing every white man of the land that slavery is not only a wise, humane, necessary and glorious institution, in which every one [sic], rich or poor, is vitally interested, and thereby sweeping away, once and forever, the low and the unsound misinformed popular feeling of the American people against what is commonly called the “Slave Trade," or the transfer of the beastly, savage negroes [sic] of Africa from their ghastly, paganistic slavery there, to the Heaven-ordained and Heaven- approved system of Christian slavery in this country. Do this: repeal the law of congress: import them in good, well-ventilated ships: look to their health and well-being as a dependent but useful race: break up the present inhuman system of clandestine importation: obey the behests or Heaven to make slaves, like humane Christians, of the heathen: and, in due time, the glorious results will be manifest - for the smiles of Deity will be upon the work. J. H. B. [2]

The article is full of so many bold-faced lies that mock the writer's statement "These are sober, solemn, portentous truths." He ignores the strong manufacturing economy of the North and success of free black men and women. The writer maintains the notion of the benevolent slave owner whose prisoners are "contented, cheerful, obedient." The article would be laughable except for its bigotry disguised as charitable work in helping blacks attain "his own highest attainable happiness on earth." Regrettably, some of these ideas exist today in the minds of racists and taint the ideal of America.

[1] The Texas Almanac of 1858,<>,  p. 48
[2] The Texas Almanac of 1858<>,  pp. 132-133 

See also
[1] Slavery,
[2] Slavery in Early Texas,
[3] Texas Slavery Project, 
[4] African Americans,

George Washington Williams

George W. Williams
Recently, I read a review of the new movie, The Legend of Tarzan. Among the list of characters is George Washington Williams (played in the movie by Samuel L. Jackson).  The movie uses some of the events associated with the Belgian administration of the Congo adulterated by Hollywood and London scriptwriters.  When the film begins, Tarzan is now living in England as  "Lord Greystoke." Through the British Prime Minister, Greystoke is invited by King Leopold to visit the Congo and report on its development by Belgium. An American envoy, George Washington Williams, urges Greystoke to go. Tarzan/Greystoke initially declines the invitation. However, Williams suspects that the Belgians are enslaving the Congolese population, and persuades him to accept it in order to prove his suspicions. Williams' character is based on the real George Washington Williams (October 16, 1849 – August 2, 1891) who was an Civil War soldier, Christian minister, politician, lawyer, journalist, and writer on African-American history.
Williams enlisted in the Union Army under an assumed name when he was only fourteen and fought in the Civil War from October 1863 to April 1865. He wrote A History of Negro Troops in the War of Rebellion based on his experiences.
After the war, he went to Mexico and joined the Republican army, which was fighting to overthrow Emperor Maximilian. He received a commission as lieutenant, learned some Spanish, got a reputation as a good gunner,
Williams returned to the US in the spring of 1867 and enlisted in the army for five years. In 1868, he was wounded in the Indian Territory. He remained hospitalized until his discharge.
After leaving the military, he briefly attended Howard University in Washington, DC. He entered the Newton Theological Institution near Boston, Massachusetts in 1870. In 1874, Williams became the first African American to graduate from Newton. After graduation from Newton Seminary, Williams was ordained as a Baptist minister. He served as pastor at several Boston churches, including the historic Twelfth Baptist Church of Boston.
Williams moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where he studied law and became the first African American elected to the Ohio State Legislature, serving one term 1880 to 1881.
In 1885, President Chester A. Arthur appointed Williams as "Minister Resident and Consul General" to Haiti, but he never served in the post.
In addition to his religious and political achievements, George W. Williams wrote groundbreaking histories about African Americans in the United States: A History of Negro Troops in the War of Rebellion and The History of the Negro Race in America 1619–1880. The latter was the first overall history of African Americans, showing their participation and contributions from the earliest days of the colonies.
King Leopold II
In 1889, King Léopold II of Belgium granted an informal audience with Williams. At that time, the Congo Free State was the personal possession of the King. He employed a private militia to enforce rubber production by the Congolese and there were widespread rumors of abuses. In spite of the monarch’s objections, Williams went to Central Africa to examine personally the conditions.

Victim of Congolese Attrocities

From Stanley Falls, he addressed "An Open Letter to His Serene Majesty Léopold II, King of the Belgians and Sovereign of the Independent State of Congo" on July 18, 1890. In this letter, he condemned the brutal and inhuman treatment the Congolese were suffering at the hands of Europeans and Africans supervising them for the Congo Free State. He mentioned the role played by Henry M. Stanley, who was sent to the Congo by the King, in deceiving and mistreating local Congolese. Williams reminded the King that the crimes committed were all committed in his name, making him as guilty as the perpetrators. He appealed to the international community of the day to "call and create an International Commission to investigate the charges herein preferred in the name of Humanity ..."
Williams included the following charges against the Belgian Government:
1.     The government "is deficient in the moral military and financial strength, necessary to govern a territory of 1,508,000 square miles, 7,251 miles of navigation, and 31,694 square miles of lake surface." "Cruelties of the most astounding character are practised by the natives, such as burying slaves alive in the grave of a dead chief, cutting off the heads of captured warriors in native combats, and no effort is put forth by your Majesty’s Government to prevent them. Between 800 and 1,000 slaves are sold to be eaten by the natives of the Congo State annually; and slave raids, accomplished by the most cruel and murderous agencies, are carried on within the territorial limits of your Majesty’s Government which is impotent."
2.   The government "has established nearly fifty posts, consisting of from two to eight mercenary slave-soldiers from the East Coast. These piratical, buccaneering posts compel the natives to furnish them with fish, goats, fowls, and vegetables at the mouths of their muskets; and whenever the natives refuse to feed these vampires, they report to the main station and white officers come with an expeditionary force and burn away the homes of the natives."
3.     The government "is guilty of violating its contracts made with its soldiers, mechanics and workmen, many of whom are subjects of other Governments."
4.     The government courts "are abortive, unjust, partial and delinquent. The laws printed and circulated in Europe 'for the Protection of the blacks' in the Congo, are a dead letter and a fraud. I know of prisoners remaining in custody for six and ten months because they were not judged."
5.     The government "is excessively cruel to its prisoners, condemning them, for the slightest offences, to the chain gang, the like of which can not be seen in any other Government in the civilized or uncivilized world."
6.     "Women are imported into your Majesty’s Government for immoral purposes. They are introduced by two methods, viz., black men are dispatched to the Portuguese coast where they engage these women as mistresses of white men, who pay to the procurer a monthly sum. The other method is by capturing native women and condemning them to seven years’ servitude for some imaginary crime against the State with which the villages of these women are charged. The State then hires these women out to the highest bidder, the officers having the first choice and then the men. Whenever children are born of such relations, the State maintains that the women being its property the child belongs to it also.
7.     The government "is engaged in trade and commerce, competing with the organised trade companies of Belgium, England, France, Portugal and Holland. It taxes all trading companies and exempts its own goods from export-duty, and makes many of its officers ivory-traders, with the promise of a liberal commission upon all they can buy or get for the State."
8.     The government violated the General Act of the Conference of Berlin by firing upon native canoes; by confiscating the property of natives; by intimidating native traders, and preventing them from trading with white trading companies; by quartering troops in native villages when there is no war; ... by permitting the natives to carry on the slave- trade, and by engaging in the wholesale and retail slave-trade itself."
9.     The government "has been, and is now, guilty of waging unjust and cruel wars against natives, with the hope of securing slaves and women, to minister to the behests of the officers of your Government."
10.  The government "is engaged in the slave-trade, wholesale and retail. It buys and sells and steals slaves."
11.  The government has a contract with the Arab Governor at this place for the establishment of a line of military posts in territory to which the government has no legal claim.
12.  The agents of the government "have misrepresented the Congo country and the Congo railway. Mr. H. M. Stanley, the man who was your chief agent in setting up your authority in this country, has grossly misrepresented the character of the country. Instead of it being fertile and productive it is sterile and unproductive. The natives can scarcely subsist upon the vegetable life produced in some parts of the country. Nor will this condition of affairs change until the native shall have been taught by the European the dignity, utility and blessing of labour."
While traveling back from Africa, George Washington Williams died in Blackpool, England, on August 2, 1891, from tuberculosis and pleurisy.
I think that Williams' life would make a great story by itself.  The Ohio Statehouse has a film on his life.