December 19, 1877
Michael Davitt, Land League organizer, was released from Dartmoor Prison on this day in 1877. During the Fenian Rising, Michael Davitt became involved in the effort to provide Catholics with arms. He took part in the failed raid on Chester Castle in 1867 and then attempted to arm Catholic churches against Protestant attack in 1868. Police arrested Davitt on May 14, 1870 and he was sentenced to 15 years in jail. Davitt wrote several letters from prison chronicling his terrible treatment and the time he spent in solitary confinement. Public opinion grew in his favor and he was released after 7 years.