In remembrance of Cinco de Mayo, I thought I would share an interesting RPI connection to the end of the French occupation of Mexico. Julius A. Skilton, Class of 1849, became a physician and practiced as a surgeon during the Civil War. Following the Civil War, Julius traveled on assignment for the New York “Herald” to Mexico with his wife, Harriet Ingersoll. Julius escorted Mexican President Benito Juárez back to Mexico from New Orleans and proceeded to assist with his restoration of Mexican rule. During this time, Julius owned and edited a newspaper devoted to the Juárez cause. He was also commissioned to exhume and examine the body of Maximilian before it was sent back to Austria. Because of his diplomatic involvement, in 1869 Julius was appointed US Consul in Mexico City by President Grant. From 1872-1878, he was the US Consul General in Mexico.
Two of Julius’ brothers also graduated from RPI: George S. Skilton, Class of 1868 and James A. Skilton, Class of 1845. A collection of their personal papers are in the Archives. Skilton Family Papers