On this day in 1945, Hugh McElroy, decorated black veteran, was honored by Henry Morganthau Jr., United States secretary of the treasury, for participating in bond drives as a speaker and poster model. McElroy was reportedly the first African American whose picture appeared as an advertisement for United States war bonds. McElroy was born in Kentucky in 1884. In 1898 he lied about his age and enlisted in the Tenth United States Cavalry. He served in Cuba in the Spanish-American War and afterwards in the Philippine Insurrection and on the Pershing expedition into Mexico. During World War I he landed in France with the 317th Engineers. The much-decorated veteran retired in 1927 to Houston. In 1968 he and his oldest son rescued two children from a burning house near his Houston home. The Texas Senate commended the McElroys for their bravery. McElroy died in 1971.
On this date in 1863, the USS Hatteras was sunk by the CSS Alabama. The Hatteras, a converted merchant ship formerly named the St. Mary, was commissioned in October 1861 and first saw duty in the South Atlantic. After assignment to the blockading squadron in the Gulf of Mexico, she was raiding along the Confederate coast when she was sunk by Confederate captain Raphael Semmes. She lies in sixty feet of water twenty miles south of Galveston. The federal government has been able to preserve the wreck for scientific and historical research.
On this day in 1863, the remnants of the Fourth Brigade of Walker's Texas Division were captured intact at Arkansas Post. The division, organized in Arkansas in October 1862, was the only division in Confederate service composed throughout its existence of troops from a single state. It took its name from Maj. Gen. John George Walker, who took command from its organizer, Brig. Gen. Henry Eustace McCulloch, on January 1, 1863. During its existence it was commonly called the "Greyhound Division," or "Walker's Greyhounds," in tribute to its special capability to make long, forced marches from one threatened point to another in the Trans-Mississippi Department. Initially, the division was made up of four brigades. The Fourth Brigade, under the command of Col. James Deshler, was detached from the division shortly after its organization and sent to Arkansas Post. Deshler was captured there, then exchanged and promoted to brigadier general in July 1863. He was killed during the battle of Chickamauga later that year.