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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Civil War veteran in Tangier

While I was in Tangier I learned of an interesting connection between the American Legation, pictured here, and the Civil War.

In December of 1777, Morocco became the first country to recognize the United States. Diplomatic relations soon began and the American Legation, now a museum, was built in 1821.

One early consul was Felix Mathews. Mathews was living in California when the war broke out and organized a Union cavalry force in the California militia to patrol the area. He rose to the rank of colonel.

His service had started earlier than that, however. He had been in the navy and served with Admiral Farragut, who later commanded the Union navy during the Civil War. He spent time sailing the seas and suppressing the slave trade off the coast of Africa. Once he left the navy he went hunting silver in Utah and got into several skirmishes with the Indians.

His real name was Felix Mateo. He was born in Spain and immigrated when he was young. Like many immigrants, he Anglicized his name. Mateo/Mathews was appointed consul by President Ulysses S. Grant, another Union veteran, in 1869. His connections with Admiral Farragut probably played a big part in getting the job.

1 comment:

  1. This is really fascinating! I love to find connections like this. I'm in the midst of research, and these are exactly the kind of things that delight me when I come across them. It's even better when I can work them into stories. :)


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