1606 – The Virginia Company of London is established by royal charter by James I of England with the purpose of establishing colonial settlements in North America.
1790 – U.S. patent system was established. The Patent Board was made up of the Secretary of State, Secretary of War and the Attorney General and was responsible for granting patents on “useful and important” inventions. In the first three years, 47 patents were granted. Until 1888 miniature models of the device to be patented were required.
1794 – Matthew Calbraith Perry, the American Navy Commodore who opened Japan, was born.
1806 – Leonidas Polk (d.1864), bishop, Lt Gen (Confederate Army), was born.
1816 – Congress approves the creation of the Second Bank of the United States.
1827 – Lewis Wallace (d.1905), soldier, lawyer, diplomat and author (Ben Hur), was born. “As a rule, there is no surer way to the dislike of men than to behave well where they have behaved badly.”
1862 – Union forces began the bombardment of Fort Pulaski in Georgia along the Tybee River.
1863 – Rebel Gen. Earl Van Dorn attacked at Franklin, Tenn.
1863 – An expedition led by Lieutenant Commander Selfridge of U.S.S. Conestoga cut across Beulah Bend, Mississippi, and destroyed guerrilla stations that had harassed Union shipping on the river.
1864 – Steaming toward Shreveport, Rear Admiral Porter’s gunboats and the Army transports arrived at Springfield Landing, Louisiana, where further progress was halted by Confederate ingenuity, which Porter later described to Major General W. T. Sherman: “When I arrived at Springfield Landing I found a sight that made me laugh. It was the smartest thing I ever knew the rebels to do. They had gotten that huge steamer, New Falls City, across Red River, 1 mile above Loggy Bayou, 15 feet of her on shore on each side, the boat broken down in the middle, and a sand bar making below her. An invitation in large letters to attend a ball in Shreveport was kindly left stuck up by the rebels, which invitation we were never able to accept.” Before this obstruc-tion could be removed, word arrived from Major General Banks of his defeat at the Battle of Sabine Cross-Roads near Grand Ecore and retreat toward Pleasant Mill. The transports and troops of Brigadier General T.K. Smith were ordered to return to the major force and join Banks. The high tide of the Union’s Red River campaign had been reached. From this point, with falling water level and increased Confederate shore fire, the gunboats would face a desperate battle to avoid being trapped above the Alexandria rapids.
1865 – At Appomattox Court, Va, General Robert E. Lee issued Gen Order #9, his last orders to the Army of Northern Virginia. Seneca Indian Ely Parker was at his general’s side at Appomattox. “After four years of arduous service, marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources. I need not tell the brave survivors of so many hard-fought battles, who have remained steadfast to the last, that I have consented to the result from no distrust of them…I determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen…I bid you an affectionate farewell.”
1877 – Federal troops were withdrawn from Columbia, SC.
1912 – The first wireless transmission was received on an airplane.
1930 – The first synthetic rubber is produced.
1933 – The Civilian Conservation Corps, a tool for employing young men and improving the government’s vast holdings of western land, is created in Washington, D.C. One of the dozens of New Deal programs created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to fight the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was primarily designed to put thousands of unemployed young men to work on useful public projects. Roosevelt put the program under the direction of his Secretary of Interior, Harold Ickes, who became an enthusiastic supporter. Since the vast majority of federal public land was in the West, Ickes created most of his CCC projects in that region. The young men who joined, however, came from all over the nation. It was the first time many had left their homes in the densely populated eastern states. Many of them later remembered their time spent in the wide-open spaces of the West with affection, and many later returned to tour the region or become residents. Participation in the CCC was voluntary, although the various camps often adopted military-like rules of discipline and protocol. Ickes put his CCC “armies” to work on a wide array of conservation projects. Some young men spent their days planting trees in national forests, while others built roads and dams, fought forest fires, or made improvements in national parks like Glacier and Yellowstone. In exchange for their labor, the CCC men received a minimal wage, part of which was automatically sent to their families back home. The program thus provided employment for unskilled young men while simultaneously pumping federal money into the depressed national economy. The training provided by the CCC proved particularly valuable to the 77,000 Indian and Hispanic youths who worked in the Southwest. Many of these young men left the CCC able to drive and repair large trucks and tractors, skills that proved highly employable during WWII. Likewise, many former CCC enlistees found the transition to life as a WWII soldier eased by their previous experience with military-like discipline. Despite the rigid regimentation and low pay, the CCC remained popular with both enlistees and the public throughout its history. By the time Congress abolished the agency in 1942, more than two million men had served, making the CCC one of the most successful government training and employment projects in history.
1941 – U.S. troops occupied Greenland to prevent Nazi infiltration.
1941 – The President transferred ten Coast Guard cutters to England, stating that he found the defense of the United Kingdom vital to the defense of the United States. The cutters were of the 250-foot Lake class, consisting of Cayuga, Itasca, Saranac, Sebago, Shoshone, Champlain, Mendota, Chelan, Pontchartrain, and Tahoe. Coast Guardsmen trained British crews in Long Island Sound to operate the cutters.
1941 – USS Niblack, while rescuing survivors of torpedoed ship, depth charged German submarine; first action of WW II between U.S. and German navies.
1942 – About 12,000 Japanese land on Cebu. The small number of American defenders retreat inland.
1942 – The day after the surrender of the main Philippine island of Luzon to the Japanese, the 75,000 Filipino and American troops captured on the Bataan Peninsula begin a forced march to a prison camp near Cabanatuan. During this infamous trek, known as the “Bataan Death March,” the prisoners were forced to march 85 miles in six days, with only one meal of rice during the entire journey. By the end of the march, which was punctuated with atrocities committed by the Japanese guards, hundreds of Americans and many more Filipinos had died. The day after Japan bombed the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese invasion of the Philippines began. Within a month, the Japanese had captured Manila, the capital of the Philippines, and the U.S. and Filipino defenders of Luzon were forced to retreat to the Bataan Peninsula. For the next three months, the combined U.S.-Filipino army, under the command of U.S. General Jonathan Wainwright, held out impressively despite a lack of naval and air support. Finally, on April 7, with his army crippled by starvation and disease, Wainwright began withdrawing as many troops as possible to the island fortress of Corregidor in Manila Bay. However, two days later, 75,000 Allied troops were trapped by the Japanese and forced to surrender. The next day, the Bataan Death March began. Of those who survived to reach the Japanese prison camp near Cabanatuan, few lived to celebrate U.S. General Douglas MacArthur’s liberation of Luzon in 1945. In the Philippines, homage is paid to the victims of the Bataan Death March every April on Bataan Day, a national holiday that sees large groups of Filipinos solemnly rewalking parts of the death route.
1944 – German submarines U-515 and U-68 are sunk by elements of US Task Group 21.12 which includes the carrier Guadalcanal.
1945 – On Okinawa, after a massive preparatory barrage, the US 96th Infantry Division seizes part of Kakazu Ridge.
1945 – The Allies liberated their first Nazi concentration camp, Buchenwald, north of Weimar, Germany.
1945 – On Luzon, the advance of US 14th Corps reaches Lamon Bay and the coastal town of Mauban is captured.
1945 – Hanover falls to the US 13th Corps (part of US 9th Army). US 3rd Army advances toward Erfurt and US 7th Army advances toward Nuremberg.
1945 – German Me 262 jet fighters shot down ten U.S. bombers near Berlin.
1951 – The Defense Department issued an order effective May 1 lowering the induction standards for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. The plan called for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps to receive draftees for the first time since World War II.
1957 – The Suez Canal is reopened for all shipping after being closed for three months.
1963 – The USS Thresher nuclear-powered submarine failed to surface 220 miles east of Boston, Mass., in a disaster that claimed 129 lives. The second USS Thresher (SSN-593) was the lead boat of her class of nuclear-powered attack submarines in the United States Navy. Her loss at sea in the North Atlantic during deep-diving tests approximately 220 miles east of Boston, Massachusetts was a watershed event for the U.S. Navy, leading to the implementation of a rigorous submarine safety program known as SUBSAFE. Judging by the 129 crew members and shipyard personnel who were killed in the incident, historic context and significance, the sinking of Thresher was then, and remains today, the world’s worst submarine disaster. As the first nuclear submarine lost at sea, its disappearance generated international shock and sympathy.
1965 – 5000 Marines stationed in the area of Danang are reinforced by 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines. One reinforced company is immediately sent to Phu Bai, eight miles south of Hue. The first Marine fixed-wing tactical aircraft also arrive at Danang, the F4B Phantom IIs of vMFA-531.
1966 – River Patrol Boats of River Patrol Force commenced operations on inland waters of South Vietnam.
1968 – President Johnson replaced General Westmoreland with General Creighton Abrams in Vietnam.
1968 – Over the next three days, US troops will recapture a lost Special Forces camp at Langvei, be driven out again, and then retake it once more.
1969 – The Communist offensive heats up. 45 mortar and rocket attacks occur during the night and increased ground fighting is reported in the Mekong Delta and northwest of Saigon.
1970 – Hundreds of ethnic Vietnamese are massacred by Cambodian troops in the village of Prasot in Svayrieng Province. The Cambodian government ascribes the deaths to “crossfire.”
1972 – The United States and the Soviet Union joined some 70 nations in signing an agreement banning biological warfare: The Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention. A defector in 1990 revealed that the Soviet biological weapons program was twice the size of the highest US intelligence estimates. The convention banned the development, production, and stockpiling of bacteriological and toxic weapons.
1972 – Although the U.S. command refuses to confirm publicly the location of targets, U.S. B-52 bombers reportedly begin bombing North Vietnam for the first time since November 1967. The bombers struck in the vicinity of Vinh, 145 miles north of the Demilitarized Zone. It was later acknowledged publicly that target priority during these attacks had been given to SAM-2 missile sites, which had made raids over North Vietnam increasingly hazardous. U.S. officials called Hanoi’s SAM-2 defenses “the most sophisticated air defenses in the history of air warfare.” These defenses consisted of advanced radar and lethally accurate air defense missiles.
1972 – US aircraft carriers Midway and Saratoga are ordered form Florida and California to join the other four carriers and warships already engaged in the bombardment of Vietnam.
1981 – The long-awaited maiden launch of the space shuttle “Columbia” was scrubbed because of a computer malfunction.
1984 – US Senate condemned the CIA mining of Nicaraguan harbors.
1987 – President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev delivered speeches on nuclear arms, with the president challenging the Soviets to join the United States in working harder for arms reductions, and Gorbachev proposing talks on short-range weapons.
1991 – Following an Iraqi army offensive against Kurds in northern Iraq which results in 2 million Kurdish refugees, a U.N. ‘safe haven’ is established in northern Iraq for their protection. The US and Britain imposed a no-fly zone to protect these 3 Kurdish provinces in northern Iraq.
1994 – Two U.S. F-16 fighters bombed Bosnian Serb targets in Gorazde, which was under heavy attack. This was NATO’s first-ever attack on ground positions. A second air strike took place the following day.
1995 – The Unabomber sent a letter to the New York Times claiming responsibility for the killing of Thomas Mosser.
1997 – Onetime fighter pilot and former POW Pete Peterson was confirmed by the Senate as the first postwar U.S. ambassador to Vietnam.
1999 – The US announced that 82 more warplanes were being shipped to join the NATO campaign in Yugoslavia. It was reported that half Yugoslavia’s most modern planes had been destroyed.
1999 – US F-16s struck southern Iraqi radar and antiaircraft sites after the fighters were fired upon.
1999 – Bad weather hampered NATO’s bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, but the allies warned Slobodan Milosevic the lull wouldn’t last. The Pentagon, meanwhile, announced that 82 U.S. planes would join the force conducting airstrikes over Yugoslavia.
2002 – In Russia the FSB, successor to the KGB, accused the CIA of trying to steal military secrets. US diplomat Yunju Kensinger and David Patterson were identified as agents posing as US Embassy officials.
2003 – In the 23rd day of Operation Iraqi Freedom US and Kurdish troops seized oil-rich Kirkuk without a fight and held a second city within their grasp as opposition forces crumbled in northern Iraq. Looting in Baghdad prompted orders for US Marines to crack down on thieves. Over 40 suicide vests were found in a Baghdad school. Looting in Kirkuk stripped the North Oil Co. facilities and pumping of 850,000 barrels a day ceased.
2003 – In Najaf clerics Haider al-Kadar, a widely hated loyalist of Saddam, and Abdul Majid al-Khoei, a high-ranking Shiite cleric and son of one of the religion’s most prominent spiritual leaders, were hacked to death at the shrine of Imam Ali by a crowd during a meeting of reconciliation.
2007 – United States and Iraqi forces backed by attack helicopters fight gunmen in Baghdad in the heaviest fighting since the launch of a security crackdown, Operation Law and Order, in February 2007. Most of the helicopters called in had to return to base because the anti-aircraft fire they received was too heavy.
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