1677 – Colonel Jeffreys became the governor of Virginia.
1773 – The British Parliament passes the Tea Act, a bill designed to save the faltering East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and thus granting it a monopoly on the American tea trade. The low tax allowed the East India Company to undercut even tea smuggled into America by Dutch traders, and many colonists viewed the act as another example of taxation tyranny. When three tea ships, the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, and the Beaver, arrived in Boston Harbor, the colonists demanded that the tea be returned to England. After Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused, Patriot leader Samuel Adams organized the so-called Boston Tea Party with about 60 members of the radical Sons of Liberty. On December 16, 1773, the Patriots boarded the British ships disguised as Mohawk Indians and dumped the tea chests, valued at ₤18,000, into the water. Parliament, outraged by the Boston Tea Party and other blatant acts of destruction of British property, enacted the Coercive Acts, also known as the Intolerable Acts, in the following year. The Coercive Acts closed Boston to merchant shipping, established formal British military rule in Massachusetts, made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in America, and required colonists to quarter British troops. The colonists subsequently called the first Continental Congress to consider a united American resistance to the British.
1777 – At the Battle of Ridgefield, a British invasion force engages and defeats Continental Army regulars and militia irregulars at Ridgefield, Connecticut. The Battle of Ridgefield was a battle and a series of skirmishes between American and British forces during the American Revolutionary War. The main battle was fought in the village and more skirmishing occurred the next day between Ridgefield and the coastline near modern Westport, Connecticut. On April 25, 1777 a British force under the command of the Royal Governor of the Province of New York, Major General William Tryon landed between Fairfield and Norwalk (in what is now Westport), and marched from there to Danbury. There they destroyed Continental Army supplies after chasing off a small garrison of troops. When word of the British troop movements spread, Connecticut militia leaders sprang into action. Major General David Wooster, Brigadier General Gold S. Silliman, and Brigadier General Benedict Arnold raised a combined force of roughly 700 Continental Army regular and irregular local militia forces to oppose the British, but could not reach Danbury in time to prevent the destruction of the supplies. Instead, they set out to harass the British on their return to the coast. The company led by General Wooster twice attacked Tryon’s rear guard during their march south on April 27. In the second encounter, Wooster was mortally wounded; he died five days later. The main encounter then took place at Ridgefield, where several hundred militia under Arnold’s command confronted the British and were driven away in a running battle down the town’s main street, but not before inflicting casualties on the British. Additional militia forces arrived, and the next day they continued to harass the British as they returned to Compo Beach, where the fleet awaited them. Arnold regrouped the militia and some artillery to make a stand against the British near their landing site, but his position was flanked and his force scattered by artillery fire and a bayonet charge. The expedition was a tactical success for the British forces, but their actions in pursuing the raid galvanized Patriot support in Connecticut. While the British again made raids on Connecticut’s coastal communities (including a second raiding expedition by Tryon in 1779 and a 1781 raid led by Arnold after his defection to the British side), they made no more raids that penetrated far into the countryside.
1805 – After marching 500 miles from Egypt, U.S. agent William Eaton leads a small force of U.S. Marines and Berber mercenaries against the Tripolitan port city of Derna. The Marines and Berbers were on a mission to depose Yusuf Karamanli, the ruling pasha of Tripoli, who had seized power from his brother, Hamet Karamanli, a pasha who was sympathetic to the United States. The First Barbary War had begun four years earlier, when U.S. President Thomas Jefferson ordered U.S. Navy vessels to the Mediterranean Sea in protest of continuing raids against U.S. ships by pirates from the Barbary states–Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, and Tripolitania. American sailors were often abducted along with the captured booty and ransomed back to the United States at an exorbitant price. After two years of minor confrontations, sustained action began in June 1803, when a small U.S. expeditionary force attacked Tripoli harbor in present-day Libya. In April 1805, a major American victory came during the Derna campaign, which was undertaken by U.S. land forces in North Africa. Supported by the heavy guns of the USS Argus and the USS Hornet, Marines and Arab mercenaries under William Eaton captured Derna and deposed Yusuf Karamanli. Lieutenant Presley O’ Bannon, commanding the Marines, performed so heroically in the battle that Hamet Karamanli presented him with an elaborately designed sword that now serves as the pattern for the swords carried by Marine officers. The phrase “to the shores of Tripoli,” from the official song of the U.S. Marine Corps, also has its origins in the Derna campaign.
1813 – After surviving two dangerous exploratory expeditions into uncharted areas of the West, Zebulon Pike dies during a battle in the War of 1812. By the time he became a general in 1812, Pike had already faced many perilous situations. He joined the army when he was 15, and eventually took various military posts on the American frontier. In 1805, General James Wilkinson ordered Pike to lead 20 soldiers on a reconnaissance of the upper Mississippi River. Expecting to return before the rivers froze, Pike and his small band departed up the Mississippi in a 70-foot keelboat in early August. Slow progress, however, meant Pike and his men spent a hard winter near present-day Little Falls, Minnesota, before returning the following spring. Less than three months later, Wilkinson ordered Pike to head west again. This time, Pike and his men explored the headwaters of the Arkansas River, a route that took them into Colorado. There, Pike saw the towering peak that now bears his name, and he made an ill-advised attempt to climb it. Grossly underestimating the height of the mountain and dressed only in thin cotton uniforms, Pike and his men struggled with deep snow and sub-zero temperatures before finally abandoning the ascent. During this second expedition, Pike also became lost and wandered into Spanish-controlled territory. A Spanish patrol arrested him and took him into custody. Although Pike had indisputably lost his way, he had also hoped the Spanish would capture him so he could see more of their territory. This risky strategy paid off. Failing to recognize they were providing Pike with a golden opportunity to spy on the territory, the Spanish obligingly moved their prisoner first to Santa Fe and then to Chihuahua, before finally releasing him near the U.S. boundary at Louisiana. Impressed with his daring and his reputation as an efficient officer, the military promoted Pike to brigadier general during the War of 1812. Having survived two perilous journeys into the Far West, Pike was killed on this day in 1813 while leading an attack on British troops in Toronto. He was 34 years old.
1813 – American troops capture the capital of Upper Canada in the Battle of York (present day Toronto, Canada). The Battle of York was fought in York (present-day Toronto), the capital of the province of Upper Canada (present-day Ontario), between United States forces and the British defenders of York during the War of 1812. U.S. forces under Zebulon Pike were able to defeat the defenders of York, comprising a British-led force under the command of Roger Hale Sheaffe, combined with a small group of Ojibway allies. An American force supported by a naval flotilla landed on the lake shore to the west, defeated the defending British force and captured the fort, town and dockyard. The Americans themselves suffered heavy casualties, including Brigadier General Zebulon Pike who was leading the troops, when the retreating British blew up the fort’s magazine. The American forces subsequently carried out several acts of arson and looting in the town before withdrawing. Though the Americans won a clear victory, it did not have decisive strategic results as York was a less important objective in military terms than Kingston, where the British armed vessels on Lake Ontario were based.
1822 – Ulysses S. Grant, general and 18th U.S. president (1869-1877), was born in Point Pleasant [Hiram], Ohio.
1860 – Thomas J Jackson (the future “Stonewall”) was assigned to command Harpers Ferry.
1861 – President Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus.
1861 – West Virginia seceded from Virginia after Virginia seceded from the Union.
1861 – President Lincoln extended blockade of Confederacy to VA and NC ports.
1861 – US Secretary of the Navy Welles issued order for Union ships to seize Confederate privateers upon the high seas.
1862 – Fort Livingston, Bastian Bay, Louisiana, surrendered to the Navy Boat crew from U.S.S. Kittatinny who raised the United States flag over the fort.
1863 – Battle of Streight’s raid: Tuscumbia to Cedar Bluff, AL.
1863 – The Army of the Potomac began marching on Chancellorsville.
1864 – Attempting to reach Alexandria, Union gunboats under Rear Admiral Porter fought a running engagement with Confederate troops and artillery along the Red River. Wooden gunboats U.S.S. Fort Hindman, Acting Lieutenant John Pearce, U.S.S. Cricket, Acting Master Henry Gorringe, U.S.S. Juliet, Acting Master J. S. Watson, and two pump steamers were attacked by a large force while making final preparations to blow up U.S.S. Eastport (see 15 April). The Confederates charged Cricket in an attempt to carry her by boarding, but were driven back by a heavy volley of grape and canister from the gunboats. Later in the day, near the mouth of the Cane River at Deloach’s Bluff, Louisiana, Southern troops, this time with artillery as well as muskets, again struck Porter’s ships, wreaking havoc. Cricket, the Admiral’s flagship, was hit repeatedly by the batteries, but finally succeeded in rounding a bend in the river downstream and out of range. Pump Steamer Champion No. 3 took a direct hit in her boiler, drifted out of control, and was captured. Juliet’s engine was disabled by Confederate shot, but Champion No. 5, though badly hit, succeeded in towing her upstream out of range. Fort Hindman covered the withdrawal of the disabled vessels, and the night of April 26 was spent in making urgent repairs. Confederate Major General Richard Taylor, commanding forces along the river, described his plans as follows: ‘My dispositions for the day are to . . . keep up a constant fight with the gunboats, following them with sharpshooters and killing every man who exposes himself.” On 27 April the ships made a second attempt to pass the batteries. Fort Hindman took a shot which partially disabled her steering, and she drifted past the Confederate guns. Champion No. 5 was so damaged that she grounded, was abandoned, and burned. Juliet succeeded in getting through, but was severely damaged. Ironclad U.S.S. Neosho, Acting Lieutenant Samuel Howard, attempting to assist the embattled gunboats, arrived after the riddled ships had passed the batteries, having endured what Porter later described as “the heaviest fire I ever witnessed.” By day’s end on the 27th, Porter had reassembled his squadron at Alexandria and began to plan means to pass the Red River rapids.
1865 – The steamboat Sultana explodes on the Mississippi River near Memphis, killing 1,700 passengers including many discharged Union soldiers. The Sultana was launched from Cincinnati in 1863. The boat was 260 feet long and had an authorized capacity of 376 passengers and crew. It was soon employed to carry troops and supplies along the lower Mississippi River. The Sultana left New Orleans on April 21 with 100 passengers. It stopped at Vicksburg, Mississippi, for repair of a leaky boiler. R. G. Taylor, the boilermaker on the ship, advised Captain J. Cass Mason that two sheets on the boiler had to be replaced, but Mason order Taylor to simply patch the plates until the ship reached St. Louis. Mason was part owner of the riverboat, and he and the other owners were anxious to pick up discharged Union prisoners at Vicksburg. The federal government promised to pay $5 for each enlisted man and $10 for each officer delivered to the North. Such a contract could pay huge dividends, and Mason convinced local military authorities to pick up the entire contingent despite the presence of two other steamboats at Vicksburg. When the Sultana left Vicksburg, it carried 2,100 troops and 200 civilians, more than six times its capacity. On the evening of April 26, the ship stopped at Memphis before cruising across the river to pick up coal in Arkansas. As it steamed up the river above Memphis, a thunderous explosion tore through the boat. Metal and steam from the boilers killed hundreds, and hundreds more were thrown from the boat into the chilly waters of the river. The Mississippi was already at flood stage, and the “Sultana” had only one lifeboat and a few life preservers. Only 600 people survived the explosion. A board of inquiry later determined the cause to be insufficient water in the boiler–overcrowding was not listed as a cause. The Sultana accident is still the largest maritime disaster in U.S. history.
1877 – President Hayes removed Federal troops from LA. Reconstruction ended.
1897 – Grant’s Tomb was dedicated.
1940 – Himmler orders the construction of Auschwitz concentration camp.
1942 – The 1st convoys of Japanese detainees arrived at the Tanforan detention center south of San Francisco. The assembly center remained in operation for 169 days after which detainees were transferred to relocation camps. Most of the Tanforan detainees were transferred to Abraham, Utah.
1944 – During the night (April 27-28), 3 American LST landing craft, conducting an invasion exercise (Exercise “Tiger”), are torpedoed by German E-boats in Lyme Bay. A total of 638 troops are killed. This incident is kept secret for fear of damaging Anglo-American relations.
1944 – US troops occupy the main airstrip at Hollandia, New Guinea.
1945 – Forces of US 5th Army liberate Genoa, which is already substantially controlled by Italian partisan forces.
1945 – Italian partisans captured Mussolini.
1945 – US forces capture Baguio, on Luzon. Fighting continues in the Bicol Peninsula.
1945 – A squadron of 3 cruisers and 6 destroyers, commanded by Admiral Berkey, make a preparatory bombardment of targets in the Tarakan area in the northeast of the island of Borneo.
1946 – 1st radar installation aboard a commercial ship was installed.
1951 – Munsan fell to communist forces as the CCF (Chinese Communist Forces) Spring Offensive continued.
1953 – Operation Moolah is initiated by U.S. General Mark W. Clark against Communist pilots in the Korean War. Operation Moolah was a United States Air Force (USAF) effort during the Korean War to obtain through defection a fully capable Soviet MiG-15 jet fighter. Communist forces introduced the MiG-15 to Korea on November 1, 1950. USAF pilots reported that the performance of the MiG-15 was superior to all United Nations (U.N.) aircraft, including the USAF’s newest plane, the F-86 Sabre. The operation focused on influencing Communist pilots to defect to South Korea with a MiG for a financial reward. The success of the operation is disputable since no Communist pilot defected before the armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. However, on September 21, 1953, North Korean pilot Lieutenant No Kum-Sok flew his MiG-15 to the Kimpo Air Base, South Korea, unaware of Operation Moolah.
1955 – After a meeting with General J. Lawton Collins in Washington, Secretary Dulles reluctantly agrees to replace Diem and cables the embassy in Saigon to find an alternative. CIA Colonel Lansdale, who has already helped foil General Hinh’s coup against Diem by organizing an effective palace guard, rallies to Diem’s side. he presses the embassy to support Diem and takes ‘all measures possible under narrow limits permitted by US policy.’
1959 – US State Dept. announced small arms stored in Canal Zone will be provided to Panamanian forces to repel Cuban invaders.
1960 – The 1st atomic powered electric-drive submarine was launched at Tullibee.
strong>1965 – President Johnson renews his offer of ‘unconditional discussions…with any governments concerned,’ and defends US bombing raids. “Our restraint was viewed as weakness. We could no longer stand by while attacks mounted.”
1966 – After a US Air Force B-57 became reported overdue, the US Coast Guard Eastern Area Commander commenced an intensive air search. The 2-day, large-scale, over water search for the missing aircraft, all of which was coordinated by the U.S. Coast Guard, unfortunately, yielded negative results.
1968 – Vice-President Hubert Humphrey announces his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination. In an interview he supports the current US policy of sending troops ‘where required by our own national security.’
1972 – Official Vietnam peace talks, suspended on 23 March, resume in Paris.
1972 – Apollo 16 returned to Earth.
1972 – North Vietnamese troops shatter defenses north of Quang Tri and move to within 2.5 miles of the city. Using Russian-built tanks, they took Dong Ha, 7 miles north of Quang Tri, the next day and continued to tighten their ring around Quang Tri, shelling it heavily. South Vietnamese troops suffered their highest casualties for any week in the war in the bitter fighting. This was the northern-most front of the North Vietnamese Nguyen Hue Offensive, launched on March 30 when more than 120,000 North Vietnamese troops invaded South Vietnam. The attacks on Quang Tri were followed by attacks on Binh Long province, just 75 miles north of Saigon, and Kontum in the Central Highlands. Hanoi’s 304th Division, supported by tanks, artillery, and antiaircraft units, swept across the Demilitarized Zone and routed the South Vietnamese division that had been guarding outlying positions on the approach to Quang Tri. The attackers quickly overwhelmed the South Vietnamese troops, who fell back toward the city of Quang Tri. The North Vietnamese encircled the city and continued to pound it with artillery and rockets. On May 1, the North Vietnamese captured the city as the South Vietnamese 3rd Division collapsed as a fighting force. This was the first provincial capital to fall during the North Vietnamese offensive and ultimately the North Vietnamese controlled the entire province. Hanoi claimed 10,000 South Vietnamese and Allied casualties were captured during the battle for Quang Tri.
1975 – Saigon was encircled by North Vietnamese troops.
1978 – Afghanistan President Sardar Mohammed Daoud is overthrown and murdered in a coup led by procommunist rebels. The brutal action marked the beginning of political upheaval in Afghanistan that resulted in intervention by Soviet troops less than two years later. Daoud had ruled Afghanistan since coming to power in a coup in 1973. His relations with the neighboring Soviet Union had grown progressively worse since that time as he pursued a campaign against Afghan communists. The murder of a leading Afghan Communist Party leader in early April 1978 may have encouraged the communists to launch their successful campaign against the Daoud regime later that month. In the political chaos that followed the death of Daoud, Nur Mohammed Taraki, head of the Afghan Communist Party, took over the presidency. In December 1978, Afghanistan signed a 20-year “friendship treaty” with the Soviet Union, by which increasing amounts of Russian military and economic assistance flowed into the country. None of this, however, could stabilize the Taraki government. His dictatorial style and his decision to turn Afghanistan into a one-party state alienated many people in the heavily Moslem country. In September 1979, Taraki was himself overthrown and murdered. Three months later, Soviet troops crossed into Afghanistan and installed a government acceptable to the Russians, and a war between Afghan rebels and Soviet troops erupted. The conflict lasted until Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev withdrew the Soviet forces in 1988. In the years following the Soviet intervention, Afghanistan became a Cold War battlefield. The United States responded quickly and harshly to the Soviet action by freezing arms talks, cutting wheat sales to Russia, and boycotting the 1980 Olympic games in Moscow. Tension increased after Ronald Reagan became president in 1981. The United States provided arms and other assistance to what Reagan referred to as the “freedom fighters” in Afghanistan. For the Soviets, the Afghanistan intervention was a disaster, draining both Soviet finances and manpower. In the United States, commentators were quick to label the battle in Afghanistan “Russia’s Vietnam.”
1978 – Former United States President Nixon aide John D. Ehrlichman is released from an Arizona prison after serving 18 months for Watergate-related crimes.
1981 – Xerox PARC introduces the computer mouse.
1989 – In China more than 150,000 students and workers calling for democracy marched, cheered and sang as they took over Tiananmen Square in central Beijing.
1989 – President George Bush dedicated the Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence Center East, otherwise known as C3I, in south Florida. The facility, manned by Coast Guard and Customs personnel, was designed to give law enforcement agencies instant access to air and marine smuggling information.
1990 – The aperture door of the Hubble Space Telescope was opened by ground controllers as the space shuttle Discovery, which had carried the Hubble into orbit, prepared to return home.
1991 – A group of 250 Kurds became the first refugees to move into a new US-built camp in northern Iraq.
1997 – A Texas militia group, called Republic of Texas, took 2 hostages at the Davis Mountain Resort community in a standoff with 300 police officers. They advocated independence for the state. The hostages were released later the next day in exchange for a jailed comrade, but the standoff continued. Richard McLaren and Robert Otto were later captured, convicted and sentenced to 99 and 50 years in prison.
1998 – A Pentagon panel said remains of the Vietnam veteran in the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery should be exhumed to determine whether they belonged to Air Force 1st Lt. Michael J. Blassie, as his family believed. The remains were later positively identified as Blassie’s.
1998 – The UN extended security sanctions against Iraq but agreed to reviews every 60 days. It was earlier reported that Iraq recently had executed 1,500 political prisoners.
1999 – The US Pentagon announced a call for 33,102 reservists for active duty in Kosovo.
2001 – In Puerto Rico the US Navy resumed bombing exercises on Vieques Island where 14 protesters were arrested.
2002 – South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth arrived at the international space station for an eight-day, seven-night cruise that cost him $20 million.
2002 – The last successful telemetry received from the NASA space probe Pioneer 10. 33 minutes of clean data received from a distance of 80.22 AU.
2003 – Lt. Gen. Hossam Mohammed Amin al-Yasin (6 of clubs), chief Iraqi liaison with UN weapons inspectors, surrendered to US forces.
2003 – The U.S. military arrested the self-anointed mayor of Baghdad, Mohammed Mohsen al-Zubaidi, reflecting U.S. determination to brook no interlopers in its effort to build a consensus for administering Iraq.
2004 – U.S. troops fought gunbattles with militiamen overnight near the city of Najaf, killing 64 gunmen and destroying an anti-aircraft system belonging to the insurgents.
2005 – In Vietnam, six people are arrested for trying to sell human remains as remains of MIA US soldiers.
2006 – Construction begins on the Freedom Tower in New York City breaking a deadlock between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site, and private developer Larry Silverstein. The 1,776-foot tower is the centerpiece of the rebuilding effort for the World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.
2007 – CIA arrested a senior al-Qaeda operative, Abdul Hadi al Iraqi, and transferred him to the Guantanamo Bay detention center. Hadi was a key paramilitary commander in Afghanistan during the late 1990s, before taking charge of cross-border attacks against US and coalition troops from 2002 to 2004. He was accused of commanding attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan, and of involvement in plots to assassinate Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
2009 – A low-flying Boeing VC-25, Air Force One, causes momentary panic in New York City, New York, United States. It was intended as a photo opportunity, a showcase of Air Force One alongside the sweep of New York City skyline. Director of the White House Military Office, Louis Caldera, ultimately takes responsibility for approving the mission and failing to notify authorities in New York City. Caldera resigned as a result, on 22 May 2009.
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