Joseph Henry Accused of Treason

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Date: October 1861

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Summary

Englishman C. F. Anderson accuses Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry of treason for operating signals from the tower of the Smithsonian Building. It is possible Anderson had witnessed signalling tests carried out by Henry with the support of President Abraham Lincoln, or that Anderson had seen the flashlights of night watchmen on the tower. This is among a number of claims made by persons who question Henry's loyalty to the Union.

Subject

  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Anderson, C.F
  • Lincoln, Abraham 1809-1865
  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)
  • United States President (1861-1865 : Lincoln)

Category

Chronology of Smithsonian History

Notes

  • Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds. The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 10, January 1858-December 1865: The Smithsonian Years. Washington, D.C.: Science History Publications, 2004, pp. 234-45, 430-32.
  • Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, 4 vols. (New York, 1939), 1:400.
  • Thomas Coulson, Joseph Henry: His Life and Work (Princeton, 1950), p. 243.
  • Robert V. Bruce, Lincoln and the Tools of War (Urbana and Chicago, 1989), pp. 84-85.
  • Noah Brooks, Washington in Lincoln's Time (New York, 1895), pp. 11-13.
  • Leonard Carmichael, "Joseph Henry--Scientific Genius," The Military Engineer, 1946, 48:418.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu

Date

  • October 1861
  • Civil War, 1861-1865

Topic

  • Signals and signaling
  • Wartime Activities
  • Secretaries
  • Treason
  • History
  • Communication

Place

United States

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