1526 – The 1st American slave revolt occurred at San Miguel de Guadelupe, SC. The Spanish settlers had brought a group of Africans to labor at the mission, to clear ground and erect the buildings. This was the first time that Spanish colonists had used African slaves on the North American continent. During a period of internal political disputes among the settlers, the slaves rebelled and fled to the interior. They presumably settled with Native Americans if they survived.
1778 – Captain John Paul Jones of Ranger led landing party raid on Whitehaven, England. Whitehaven was an English seaport on the Irish Sea. The decision to raid it was not made because of its strategic value, for the ships in its harbor were mostly coastal fishing vessels, containing little of value to the English war cause. John Paul Jones’ original idea was to capture an important person in the course of the raid and hold the unfortunate prisoner hostage until the British ministry released American sailors from prison. By this time, the Revolutionary War had been going on for three years. Soldiers taken prisoner during land engagements were frequently exchanged as prisoners of war. But the English still treated anyone found on an American armed vessel as a pirate. This was a sore point with sailors in the Continental Navy, and especially with Jones. He hoped his raid might free some of the American seamen languishing in English prisons. In addition, he may also have known that the British ministry intended to make the burning of American seaports part of its military policy. He chose Whitehall because it was the English seaport he knew best, having departed from there at age thirteen when he first went to sea. His first voyage had carried him to Virginia, and he later wrote that he fell in love with America at first sight. Going ashore near daybreak, Jones and his men spiked the guns in the two batteries in Whitehaven Harbor, then proceeded to light a collier (coal ship) on fire. One of Jones’ crew, however-an Irishman who had enlisted only to get home-began shouting warnings and banging on the doors of citizens. Soon a crowd of townsfolk swarmed down to the water’s edge. Jones coolly posted sentinels until the collier was beyond rescue, but decided to abandon the 150 remaining vessels and return to, the Ranger, waiting offshore. The destruction caused by the Whitehaven raid was paltry, but its effectiveness as propaganda was electrifying. No raid had been made on an English seaport since 1667, thanks to Britain’s dominance of the seas. Englishmen wondered uneasily where the mighty Royal Navy had been in Whitehaven’s time of need, and Jones appeared, not for the last time, in English newspapers as a swashbuckling pirate. The effects of the Continental Navy’s daring exploits upon English commerce helped arouse distaste among the British people for continuing the Revolutionary War.
1790 – Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, submitted a bill to Congress to create a “system of cutters” to enforce tariff and customs laws along the nation’s coastline. Congress passed his bill on 4 August of the same year. This would be the nascent Coast Guard.
1792 – President Washington proclaimed American neutrality in the war in Europe.
1836 – A day after the Battle of San Jacinto, forces under Texas General Sam Houston identify Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna among the captives of the battle when one of his fellow captives mistakenly gives away his identity.
1861 – Robert E. Lee was named commander of Virginia forces.
1861 – Captain Franklin Buchanan, Commandant Washington Navy Yard, submitted his resignation and was relieved by Commander John A. Dahlgren; Buchanan joined the Confederate Navy and was promoted to Admiral, CSN. on 26 August 1862. Dahlgren spurred the buildup of Union ordnance and operation of ships for the defense of Washington and Potomac River.
1863 – Colonel Benjamin Grierson’s troops bring destruction to central Mississippi on a two-week raid along the entire length of the state. This action was a diversion in General Ulysses S. Grant’s campaign to capture Vicksburg, Mississippi, the last remaining Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River. Grant had his army on the western shore of the river, but he was planning to cross the mighty river south of Vicksburg, and move against Vicksburg from the west. Grierson’s orders were to destroy enemy supplies, telegraph lines, and railroads in Mississippi. Grierson crafted a brilliant campaign. He left La Grange, Tennessee, on April 17 with 1,700 cavalry troopers and began traveling down the eastern side of the state. Whenever Confederate cavalry approached, Grierson sent out a diversionary force to draw them away. The diversionary units then rode back to La Grange, while the main force continued south. On April 22, he dispatched Company B of the 7th Illinois regiment to destroy telegraph lines at Macon, Mississippi, while Grierson rode to Newton Station. Here, Grierson could inflict damage on the Southern Mississippi Railroad, the one specific target identified by Grant. On April 24, his men tore up the tracks and destroyed two trainloads of ammunition bound for Vicksburg. On May 2, Grierson and his men rode into Union occupied Baton Rouge, Louisiana, ending one of the most spectacular raids of the war. The Yankees killed about 100 Confederates, took 500 prisoners, destroyed 50 miles of rail line, and destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars of supplies and property. Grierson lost just 3 men killed, 7 wounded, 14 missing. More important, the raiders drew the attention of Confederate troops in Mississippi and weakened the forces at Vicksburg and Port Hudson, Louisiana. Both strongholds fell to the Union in July 1863. For his efforts, Grierson was promoted to brigadier general.
1870 – Vladimir Ilyitch Lenin (d.1924), also known as Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov, Russian revolutionary leader and first communist leader of USSR, was born. It was later learned that he was a hereditary noble and that he had a French mistress named Inessa Armand.
1889 – At precisely high noon, thousands of would-be settlers make a mad dash into the newly opened Oklahoma Territory to claim cheap land. The nearly two million acres of land opened up to white settlement was located in Indian Territory, a large area that once encompassed much of modern-day Oklahoma. Initially considered unsuitable for white colonization, Indian Territory was thought to be an ideal place to relocate Native Americans who were removed from their traditional lands to make way for white settlement. The relocations began in 1817, and by the 1880s, Indian Territory was a new home to a variety of tribes, including the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, Cheyenne, Commanche, and Apache. By the 1890s, improved agricultural and ranching techniques led some white Americans to realize that the Indian Territory land could be valuable, and they pressured the U.S. government to allow white settlement in the region. In 1889, President Benjamin Harrison agreed, making the first of a long series of authorizations that eventually removed most of Indian Territory from Indian control. To begin the process of white settlement, Harrison chose to open a 1.9 million-acre section of Indian Territory that the government had never assigned to any specific tribe. However, subsequent openings of sections that were designated to specific tribes were achieved primarily through the Dawes Severalty Act (1887), which allowed whites to settle large swaths of land that had previously been designated to specific Indian tribes. On March 3, 1889, Harrison announced the government would open the 1.9 million-acre tract of Indian Territory for settlement precisely at noon on April 22. Anyone could join the race for the land, but no one was supposed to jump the gun. With only seven weeks to prepare, land-hungry Americans quickly began to gather around the borders of the irregular rectangle of territory. Referred to as “Boomers,” by the appointed day more than 50,000 hopefuls were living in tent cities on all four sides of the territory. The events that day at Fort Reno on the western border were typical. At 11:50 a.m., soldiers called for everyone to form a line. When the hands of the clock reached noon, the cannon of the fort boomed, and the soldiers signaled the settlers to start. With the crack of hundreds of whips, thousands of Boomers streamed into the territory in wagons, on horseback, and on foot. All told, from 50,000 to 60,000 settlers entered the territory that day. By nightfall, they had staked thousands of claims either on town lots or quarter section farm plots. Towns like Norman, Oklahoma City, Kingfisher, and Guthrie sprang into being almost overnight. An extraordinary display of both the pioneer spirit and the American lust for land, the first Oklahoma land rush was also plagued by greed and fraud. Cases involving “Sooners”–people who had entered the territory before the legal date and time–overloaded courts for years to come. The government attempted to operate subsequent runs with more controls, eventually adopting a lottery system to designate claims. By 1905, white Americans owned most of the land in Indian Territory. Two years later, the area once known as Indian Territory entered the Union as a part of the new state of Oklahoma.
1898 – The Volunteer Army Act was passed to circumvent the question about the legality of sending the militia (National Guard) abroad. When war did break out with Spain, the Regular Army’s 28,000 men were scattered throughout the country at many different posts and the National Guard numbered around 100,000 men and was composed mostly of infantry units of widely varying degrees of readiness. The act was so framed that National Guard forces could serve as state volunteer units with the approval of the respective governors.
1898 – With the United States and Spain on the verge of formally declaring war, the U.S. Navy began blockading Cuban ports under orders from President McKinley. In the first Spanish-American War action the USS Nashville captured a Spanish merchant ship, the Buenaventura, off Key West, Fla. Also, Congress authorized creation of the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, popularly known as the “Rough Riders.”
1915 – The Second battle of Ypres begins with the first use of poison chlorine gas on the Western Front. The Germans use 4000 gas cylinders to open their attack. Targeted units had no defense and many panicked and fled leaving 5 mile wide gap in the front line.
1930 – The United States, Britain and Japan signed the London Naval Treaty, which regulated submarine warfare and limited shipbuilding. The London Naval Conference met in Europe and agreed to shrink the world’s navies.
1940 – Rear Adm. Joseph Taussig testified before US Senate Naval Affairs Committee that war with Japan is inevitable.
1942 – British troops including the 7th Armored Division assume position around Meiktia to stem the Japanese advance. Chinese troops from the 200th Division are sent as reinforcements. However, the refusal of another division to withdraw under orders from General Stilwell makes the position of these troops vulnerable.
1943 – A series of Allied attacks are launched against the Axis positions in the Tunisian hills. The US 2nd Corps (now commanded by General Bradley) attacks Hill 609 in “Mousetrap Valley,” with the objective of advancing to Mateur. The British 5th Corps attacks “Longstop” and “Peter’s Corner” and the British 9th Corps attacks between Boubellat and Bou Arada. Montgomery has been ordered to cease his attacks along the coast. Meanwhile, another Axis air supply effort results in 30 transports being shot down.
1944 – The Landing at Aitape (Operation Persecution) was a battle of the Western New Guinea campaign of World War II. American and Allied forces undertook an amphibious landing at Aitape on northern coast of Papua New Guinea. The amphibious landing was undertaken simultaneously with the amphibious landings of Battle of Hollandia at Hollandia to isolate the Japanese 18th Army at Wewak. The invasion force was commanded by Brigadier General Jens A. Doe and was built around the US 163rd Infantry Regiment of the 41st Infantry Division (ORARNG). The Japanese defenders numbered less than 1,000 in the area. The landings were planned at “Blue Beach”. Obscured by heavy smoke from fires from the beach head, the landing took place at Wapil. The 163rd Regimental Combat Team landed and opposition was light, with most Japanese defenders fleeing into the hills as the overwhelming force continued to arrive. One landing force transport was badly damaged by a Japanese torpedo bomber. No. 62 Works Wing of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) went ashore that morning to help secure and repair Tadji Airfield. General Douglas MacArthur watched the landings from a light cruiser, then went ashore in a landing boat. The airfield was secured by 13:00, and the fighter strip was made operational by the RAAF No. 62 Works Wing within 48 hours after working nonstop. Twenty-five P-40s from the No. 78 Wing of the RAAF landed on the field on 24 April, with the rest of the wing arriving the next day to provide support to the Aitape and Hollandia landings.
1944 – US forces occupy Ungelap Island, in the Marshalls, completing the campaign.
1944 – The 1st Air Commando Group, led by Lt. Col. Clinton B. Gaty, using Sikorsky R-4 helicopters stage the first use of helicopters in combat with combat search and rescue operations in the China-Burma-India theater. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, amidst the Quebec Conference in August 1943, had been impressed by Brigadier Orde Wingate’s account of what could be accomplished in Burma with proper air support. To comply with Roosevelt’s proposed air support for British long range penetration operations in Burma, the United States Army Air Forces created the 5318th Air Unit to support the Chindits. In March 1944, they were designated the 1st Air Commando Group by USAAF Commander General Hap Arnold. Arnold chose Colonel John R. Alison and Colonel Philip Cochran as co-commanders of the unit.
1945 – The US 31st Infantry Division is landed at Moro Gulf. The US 24th Division is already advancing inland and has nearly reached Kabakan. Meanwhile, on Jolo, the last Japanese resistance comes to an end as their final strong-points fall to the US forces. Scattered individual Japanese soldiers remain at large.
1945 – Adolf Hitler, learning from one of his generals that no German defense was offered to the Russian assault at Eberswalde, admits to all in his underground bunker that the war is lost and that suicide is his only recourse. Almost as confirmation of Hitler’s assessment, a Soviet mechanized corps reaches Treuenbrietzen, 40 miles southwest of Berlin, liberates a POW camp and releases, among others, Norwegian Commander in Chief Otto Ruge.
1945 – Himmler meets Count Bernadotte of the Swedish Red Cross and gives him a message to pass to the western Allies, offering a German surrender to the British and Americans but not to the Soviets. The message is passed to the Allies on the 24th.
1945 – US 7th Army units cross the Danube at Dillingen and Baldingen.
1945 – Units of 2nd and 4th US Corps (parts of US 5th Army) reach the Penaro River in their advance to the Po River. On the left flank Modena is taken.
1951 – There was a ticker-tape parade for General MacArthur in NYC.
1951 – The Chinese launched their spring offensive with a heavy artillery barrage northeast of Yonchon. The Battle of the Imjin River began.
1952 – An atomic test conducted at Yucca Flat, Nevada, became the first nuclear explosion shown on live network television.
1954 – Senator Joseph McCarthy begins hearings investigating the United States Army, which he charges with being “soft” on communism. These televised hearings gave the American public their first view of McCarthy in action, and his recklessness, indignant bluster, and bullying tactics quickly resulted in his fall from prominence. In February 1950, Senator McCarthy charged that there were over 200 “known communists” in the Department of State. Thus began his dizzying rise to fame as the most famous and feared communist hunter in the United States. McCarthy adeptly manipulated the media, told ever more outrageous stories concerning the communist conspiracy in the United States, and smeared any opponents as “communist sympathizers” to keep his own name in the headlines for years. By 1954, however, his power was beginning to wane. While he had been useful to the Republican Party during the years of the Democratic administration of President Harry S. Truman, his continued attacks on “communists in government” after Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower took over the White House in 1953 were becoming political liabilities. In an effort to reinvigorate his declining popularity, McCarthy made a dramatic accusation that was a crucial mistake: in early 1954, he charged that the United States Army was “soft” on communism. McCarthy was indignant because David Schine, one of his former investigators, had been drafted and the Army, much to McCarthy’s surprise, refused the special treatment he demanded for his former aide. In April 1954, McCarthy, chairman of the Government Operations Committee in the Senate, opened televised hearings into his charges against the Army. The hearings were a fiasco for McCarthy. He constantly interrupted with irrelevant questions and asides; yelled “point of order” whenever testimony was not to his liking; and verbally attacked witnesses, attorneys for the Army, and his fellow senators. The climax came when McCarthy slandered an associate of the Army’s chief counsel, Joseph Welch. Welch fixed McCarthy with a steady glare and declared evenly, “Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness…Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?” A stunned McCarthy listened as the packed audience exploded into cheers and applause. McCarthy’s days as a political power were effectively over. A few weeks later, the Army hearings dribbled to a close with little fanfare and no charges were upheld against the Army by the committee. In December 1954, the Senate voted to censure McCarthy for his conduct. Three years later, having become a hopeless alcoholic, he died.
1962 – Twenty-nine US helicopters airlift about 600 Vietnamese troops to the Mekong Delta in Kein Phong Province (about 80 miles south of Saigon) to double the number of troops used in a mopping up operation there.
1965 – USCG and US Navy agree on the deployment of 82-foot patrol and 40-foot utility boats to support Operation Market Time in Vietnam.
1968 – In a news conference, Defense Secretary Clark Clifford declares that the South Vietnamese have “acquired the capacity to begin to insure their own security [and] they are going to take over more and more of the fighting.” Clifford, who had succeeded Robert McNamara, had taken office with more than a little skepticism about the way the United States was conducting the war in Vietnam. This skepticism increased after the communists launched their massive offensive during the Tet (Chinese New Year) holiday earlier in 1968. Clifford set up a Vietnam task force to reassess the situation. He learned that U.S. military leaders could offer no plan for victory or assurance of success. Accordingly, he told President Lyndon B. Johnson that victory was probably impossible and recommended that the president initiate a bombing halt of North Vietnam and try to negotiate an end to the war. Clifford’s comments about the combat capabilities of the South Vietnamese were part of his effort to set the stage for U.S. disengagement from the war. Johnson would follow Clifford’s advice on the bombing halt in October 1968 when he called an end to Operation Rolling Thunder, the bombing campaign against North Vietnam that had been ongoing since March 1965. Clifford left office in 1969 with the rest of the Johnson administration. The next president, Richard M. Nixon, instituted a new policy that echoed many of the things that Clifford had recommended. In June 1969, Nixon announced his “Vietnamization” policy, a strategy built around two main objectives: increasing South Vietnamese combat capability and withdrawing U.S. troops.
1971 – Former US Navy Lieutenant John Kerry (27) testified before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee and talked about alleged war crimes and atrocities committed in Vietnam by US forces.
1977 – Optical fiber is first used to carry live telephone traffic.
1987 – U.S. Navy ordered to provide assistance to neutral vessels under Iranian attack outside the exclusion zone and that requested help.
1990 – Pro-Iranian kidnappers in Lebanon freed American hostage Robert Polhill after nearly 39 months of captivity.
1991 – Intel released 486SX chip.
1993 – The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum was dedicated in Washington, D.C., to honor the victims of Nazi extermination.
1994 – Richard M. Nixon (81), the 37th president of the United States (1969-1975), died at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, four days after suffering a stroke.
1999 – In Kentucky an Army Black Hawk helicopter crashed during training at Fort Campbell and 7 people were killed and 4 injured.
1999 – The NATO summit began in Washington.
1999 – An early morning missile hit the home of Pres. Milosevic at 15 Uzicke St. in Belgrade. NATO bombs also hit the Serbian TV station in Belgrade and killed 15 people. Russian envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin after meeting with Pres. Milosevic in Belgrade said Milosevic would accept an int’l. presence in Kosovo.
2001 – Two spacewalking astronauts, including Canadian Chris Hadfield, installed a massive Canadian-built robot arm on the international space station.
2001 – In Quebec City, Canada, 34 Western leaders affirmed the creation of a free trade zone by 2005. They agreed that only democratic nations could join and to penalize any country that strayed from the path of democracy.
2001 – Ahmed Khalil Ibrahim Samir al-Ani, an Iraqi diplomat, was expelled from the Czech Republic. He was later reported to have met with Mohamed Atta and planned an attack on Radio Free Europe.
2002 – Zacarias Moussaoui (33), charged in connection with the Sep 11 terrorism, made a 50 minute statement and asked that his court-appointed attorneys be replaced by a Muslim legal consultant.
2003 – American soldiers in Baghdad found $112 million sealed inside 7 animal kennels.
2003 – France proposed that the UN suspend economic sanctions against Iraq, but continue to operate the oil-for-food program.
2004 – Pat Tillman former safety for the Arizona Cardinals, was killed in an ambush in Afghanistan. He had walked away from millions of dollars to join the Army Rangers and serve his country.
2004 – Algerian officials said the Salafists, a rebel group linked to al Qaeda, were in surrender talks to end a 12-year Islamic insurgency.
2004 – Spain has agreed to a U.S. request to leave its intelligence agents in Iraq and not withdraw them along with its 1,300 troops.
2006 – Nuri al-Maliki is selected as the first Iraqi Prime Minister under the permanent government.
2008 – The United States Air Force retires the remaining F-117 Nighthawk aircraft in service.
2008 – Ben-ami Kaddish, a former U.S. Army mechanical engineer, is arrested on charges of disclosing national defense information to Israel.
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