1614 – American Indian princess Pocahontas (d.1617) married English Jamestown colonist John Rolfe in Virginia. Their marriage brought a temporary peace between the English settlers and the Algonquians. In 1616, the couple sailed to England. The “Indian Princess” was popular with the English gentry.
1621 – The Mayflower sailed from Plymouth, Mass., on a return trip to England.
1792 – George Washington cast the first presidential veto, rejecting a congressional measure for apportioning representatives among the states.
1861 – Gideon Wells, the Secretary of the Navy, issued official orders for the relief of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, S.C. U.S.S. Powhatan, Pawnee, Pocahontas, and Revenue Cutter Harriet Lane were ordered to provision Fort Sumter; squadron commander was Captain Samuel Mercer in Powhatan.
1861 – Federals abandoned Ft. Quitman, Tx.
1862 – Union forces under General George McClellan arrive at Yorktown, Virginia, and establish siege lines instead of directly attacking the Confederate defenders. This was the opening of McClellan’s Peninsular campaign. He sailed his massive Army of the Potomac down Chesapeake Bay and landed on the James Peninsula southeast of the Confederate capital of Richmond. He reasoned that this would bring him closer to Richmond, and the Confederates would have a difficult time gathering their scattered forces to the peninsula. The first resistance came at Yorktown, the site of George Washington’s decisive victory over Lord Cornwallis to end the American Revolution 91 years earlier. McClellan was discouraged by what he thought was a substantial force resting inside of strong and well-armed fortifications. The Confederates he saw were actually 11,000 troops under General John B. Magruder. Although vastly outnumbered, Magruder staged an elaborate ruse to fool McClellan. He ordered logs painted black, called “Quaker Guns,” placed in redoubts to give the appearance of numerous artillery pieces. Magruder marched his men back and forth to enhance the illusion. The performance worked, as McClellan was convinced that he could not make a frontal assault. He opted to lay siege instead. Not until May 4 did Magruder’s troops finally abandon Yorktown, giving the Confederates valuable time to gather their troops near Richmond. The campaign climaxed in late June when McClellan was driven away from the gates of Richmond in the Seven Days’ battles.
1865 – Confederate General Robert E. Lee pulls his troops from Amelia Court House and begins a desperate race west to escape pursuing Yankee troops. On April 2, Lee’s men were forced to evacuate Richmond and Petersburg after a ten-month siege. The hungry army arrived at Amelia Court House expecting to find rations, but only ammunition and canons had been delivered. Lee was distraught, and he sent his troops out to the countryside to find food. They found little, however, and were forced to move on with empty stomachs.
1869 – Daniel Bakeman, the last surviving soldier of the U.S. Revolutionary War, died at the age of 109.
1933 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs two executive orders: 6101 to establish the Civilian Conservation Corps, and 6102 “forbidding the Hoarding of Gold Coin, Gold Bullion, and Gold Certificates” by U.S. citizens.
1937 – Colin Powell, U.S. Army general, was born in Bronx New York. He later became the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Persian Gulf War and first African American to serve in the position. In 2000 Pres.-elect Bush appointed him to be Sec. of State. EDUCATION: Bachelor of science in geology, City College of New York, 1958; master’s in business administration, George Washington University, 1971. EXPERIENCE: Secretary of state; founder and chairman, America’s Promise, a nonprofit organization for youth; chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1989-1993; national security adviser to President Reagan, 1987-89; veteran of 35 years in the Army. AWARDS: Military awards include Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Army Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star, Purple Heart. Civilian awards include two Presidential Medals of Freedom, the President’s Citizens Medal, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal. BOOK: “My American Journey,” 1995. FAMILY: Wife, Alma; three children, Michael, Linda and Annemarie; two grandsons, Jeffrey and Bryan.
1942 – The Japanese offensive down the Bataan peninsula continues. In fierce fighting, at Mount Samat, the US 21st Division takes heavy losses as the Japanese take the position. Elsewhere, Japanese forces leave Luzon for Cebu Island.
1942 – US naval forces (Task Force 39) arrive to reinforce the British naval position at Scapa Flow, with the aircraft carrier, USS Wasp and the battleship, USS Washington. The British are in need the assistance as ships have been drawn for Operation Ironclad which is directed against Madagascar.
1943 – American bomber aircraft accidentally cause more than 900 civilian deaths, including 209 children, and 1,300 wounded among the civilian population of the Belgian town of Mortsel. Their target was the Erla factory one kilometer from the residential area hit.
1943 – The Axis defenses on the Wadi Akarit Line have been improved over the course of the past few days. The line is occupied, mostly, by Italian troops. The German 15th Panzer and 90th Light Divisions are held in reserve behind the line. Most of the Axis armor is further north, engaging the US 2nd Corps around El Guettar. In the evening the British 4th Indian Division begins a night advance against the Djebel Fatnassa position. Good progress is achieved.
1944 – The Ploesti oil installations and rail sidings are attacked by B-17 and B-24 bombers of the US 15th Air Force, with a strong fighter escort. A total of 12 planes are lost. Determined German, Romanian and Bulgarian fighter opposition is encountered as well as heavy flak over the target. A reported 262 civilians are killed and 361 are injured.
1945 – On the Italian west coast, American units from US 5th Army begin to attack north near Massa, south of La Spezia.
1945 – On Luzon, south and west of Manila, the US forces on either side of Laguna de Bay are beginning to make significant gains in their attacks. In Manila Bay, on Caballo Island, American troops pour thousands of gallons of a diesel/gasoline mixture into Fort Hughes and set it on fire but fail to entirely eliminate Japanese resistance.
1945 – The battleship, USS Nevada, is damaged by Japanese fire from a shore battery.
1945 – It is announced that General MacArthur will take control of all army forces in the Pacific theater of operations and Admiral Nimitz will command all naval forces in preparation for the invasion of Japan.
1946 – USS Missouri arrives in Turkey to return the body of Turkish ambassador, Mehmet Munir Ertegun, who had died in Washington, DC, in November 1944, to the U.S. and to show U.S. support and willingness to defend Turkey.
1947 – Five Marine guards were killed and eight wounded when attacked by Communist Chinese raiders near the Hsin Ho ammunition depot in Northern China. This last major clash between Marines of the 1st Marine Division and Communist forces occurred shortly after withdrawal and redeployment plans from China were issued for the 1st Division and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing on 1 April.
1950 – Coast Guard announced that former enlisted women of the Coast Guard Reserve could apply for enlistment in the Women’s Volunteer Reserve SPARS. Enlistments would be for a three-year period with written agreement to serve on active duty in time of war or national emergency.
1951 – At the end of a highly publicized espionage case, death sentences are imposed against Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, one week after the couple were found guilty of conspiring to transmit atomic secrets to the Soviet Union. The Rosenberg case began with the arrest of Klaus Fuchs, a German-born and U.S.-employed scientist who confessed to passing classified information about the U.S. atomic program to the Soviets. Following his 1950 conviction, U.S. authorities began an extensive investigation of Los Alamos, New Mexico, the top secret U.S. atomic development headquarters where Fuchs worked during the war. Harry Gold, a Philadelphia chemist, was arrested as a Fuchs accomplice, followed by David Greenglass, who had been stationed near the Los Alamos atomic testing site during the war. In July 1950, Ethel Rosenberg, the sister of Greenglass, was arrested along with her husband, Julius, an electrical engineer who had worked for the U.S. Army Signal Corps during the war. Alleged to have communist leanings, the couple was accused of convincing Greenglass to provide Harry Gold with atomic secrets. The trial occurred at the height of the “red scare” in the early 1950s, and critics of the case argued that the political climate of the time made a fair trial impossible. Others questioned whether the Rosenbergs deserved execution, especially as the only seriously incriminating evidence came from a confessed spy who was given a reduced sentence to testify against them. In one of her last letters before being executed, Ethel Rosenberg wrote, “My husband and I must be vindicated by history; we are the first victims of American Fascism.” During their trial, the Rosenbergs maintained their innocence, though Greenglass, who had pleaded guilty, agreed to testify against them. At the trial’s end in the spring of 1951, David Greenglass was sentenced to 15 years in prison, Harry Gold was sentenced to a 30 years, and the Rosenbergs were sentenced to death. Despite court appeals and pleas for executive clemency, the Rosenbergs, the first U.S. civilians to be given the death penalty in an espionage trial, were executed by electrocution on June 19, 1953.
1951 – Operation RUGGED, a general advance to the Kansas Line north of the 38th parallel began. With Eighth Army now very much in fighting trim, and the CCF and NK forces showing weakness and lack of resolution in meeting our advances, General Ridgway now moved to assault to the 38th parallel, to reach and establish the Kansas-Wyoming Lines mostly just above the 38th Parallel. The Truman administration was making overtures to China for possible Cease-Fire talks, and General MacArthur had months earlier indicated the general area of Kansas-Wyoming as a theoretical cease-fire line in anticipation of Truman’s actions. Truman summarily relieved General of the Army MacArthur on April 10, nominally for insubordination because of his public disagreements with Truman’s prosecution of the War. Whether or not this dramatic action was justified remains for history to decide, but at the time MacArthur was very much in agreement with Ridgway on the military moves being taken, and the disposition of our forces across Korea in the event cease-fire talks began. In the event, Ridgway’s continuation of the series of counter-attacks did successfully establish Line Kansas, and passed forward beyond it towards Line Wyoming and the so-called “Iron Triangle”. Many KW veterans feel that Truman’s dismissal of MacArthur was primarily political, with little justification or effect on the progress of the war. One new action General Ridgway did take, though, with which almost all KW vets agreed. On April 16 Ridgway appointed General Hickey Chief of Staff in relief of General Almond.
1951 – General MacArthur’s letter of March 20 to House minority leader Joseph W. Martin criticizing President Truman’s strategy and the concept of limited war was made public. In the letter MacArthur advocated using Chinese Nationalist troops to open a second front against Communist China.
1956 – Fidel Castro declares himself at war with Cuban President Fulgencio Batista.
1962 – NASA civilian pilot Neil A. Armstrong took the X-15 to 54,600 m.
1964 – Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur died in Washington, D.C., at age 84. William Manchester wrote his biography: “American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur.”
1964 – In South Vietnam a new draft law authorizes conscription into the Civil Guard and the Self Defense Corps, the two paramilitary forces that bear the brunt of fighting with the Vietcong. Both forces have been at a lack for volunteers and have experienced rising desertions.
1965 – A three day battle in the Mekong Delta begins that leaves six US troops dead and a reported 276 Vietcong fatalities.
1967 – The 4th Marines began a multi-battalion operation named Big Horn in Thua Thien Province.
1968 – In Vietnam the siege of Khe Sahn ended after 76 days.1971 – US Lt. William Calley was sentenced to life for the My Lai Massacre.
1972 – Moving out of eastern Cambodia, North Vietnamese troops open the second front of their offensive with a drive into Binh Long Province, attacking Loc Ninh, a border town 75 miles north of Saigon on Highway 13. At the same time, additional North Vietnamese cut the highway between An Loc, the provincial capital, and Saigon to the south, effectively isolating An Loc from outside support. This attack was the southernmost thrust of the three-pronged Nguyen Hue Offensive (later known as the “Easter Offensive”), a massive invasion by North Vietnamese forces designed to strike the blow that would win them the war. The attacking force included 14 infantry divisions and 26 separate regiments, with more than 120,000 troops and approximately 1,200 tanks and other armored vehicles. The main North Vietnamese objectives, in addition to An Loc in the south, were Quang Tri in the north, and Kontum in the Central Highlands. Initially, the South Vietnamese defenders in each case were almost overwhelmed, particularly in the northernmost provinces where government forces abandoned their positions in Quang Tri and fled south in the face of the enemy onslaught. In Binh Long, the North Vietnamese forces crossed into South Vietnam from Cambodia to strike first at Loc Ninh, then quickly encircled An Loc, holding it under siege for almost three months while they made repeated attempts to take the city. The defenders suffered heavy casualties, including 2,300 dead or missing, but with the aid of U.S. advisors and American airpower, they managed to hold An Loc against vastly superior odds until the siege was lifted on June 18. Fighting continued all over South Vietnam into the summer months, but eventually the South Vietnamese forces prevailed against the invaders and they retook Quang Tri in September. With the communist invasion blunted, President Nixon declared that the South Vietnamese victory proved the viability of his Vietnamization program, which he had instituted in 1969 to increase the combat capability of the South Vietnamese armed forces.
1972 – US planes destroyed Benhai bride on the DMZ, the only road link between North and South Vietnam.
1974 – The World Trade Center, the tallest building in the world at 110 stories, opened.
1985 – A bomb explodes outside Hezbollah headquarters in Beirut killing 80 people. CIA backed Lebanese Christian Milita are blamed.
1986 – A Berlin nightclub was bombed and 2 US soldiers and a woman were killed and 230 injured. Palestinian Yasser Shraydi (Chraidi) was suspected of playing a lead role in the bombing of the La Belle discotheque. In 1996 he was extradited from Lebanon to face charges in Germany. In 1996 Andrea Hasler was arrested in Greece and extradited to Germany. Also a woman named Verena Chanaa, suspected of planting the bomb, and her former husband named Ali Chanaa were arrested in Berlin. In 1997 Musbah Abulghasen Eter was arrested by Italian police in Rome in connection with the bombing. In 2001 V. Chanaa was sentenced to 14 years, A. Chanaa and Eter were sentenced to 12 years, and Chraidi was sentenced to 14 years. Libya was implicated and in 2004 agreed to pay $35 million in compensation.
1991 – The space shuttle “Atlantis” blasted off on a mission that included the deploying of the second of “NASA’s” Great Observatories. NASA launched the $670 million Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. It was directed to a suicide plunge in 2000.
1999 – NATO attacks struck Belgrade, Nis and Novi Sad in the most ferocious attacks for a 13th straight day. The first Kosovo refugees were flown out to Norway and Turkey and the US said it would take some 20,000 to Guantanamo Ari Base in Cuba. Pres. Clinton asked for public donations for the relief effort.
1999 – Libya handed over to UN officials 2 men accused in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103. They were then flown to the Hague to be tried under Scottish law. UN Sec. Gen’l. Kofi Annan immediately suspended economic sanctions on Libya.
2000 – In Russia the FSB arrested a US businessman for suspected espionage after he allegedly bought information on defense technology from Russian scientists. Edmond Pope was later identified as a retired navy captain working for Pennsylvania State Univ. in applied research. The key witness against Pope recanted his testimony in Nov.
2000 – The government of Iran announces that it has seized a tanker which was smuggling Iraqi oil through Iranian territorial waters. A spokesman forthe United States Department of State welcomes the action.
2001 – The United States and China intensified negotiations for the release of an American spy plane’s crew; President Bush, in a conciliatory gesture, expressed regret over the plane’s Apr 1 in-flight collision with a Chinese fighter that triggered the tense standoff.
2002 – US mediator Anthony Zinni met with Yasser Arafat in Ramallah as Israeli forces continued their offensive. At least 35 Palestinians were killed on the bloodiest day of fighting since the beginning of Israel’s week-old military offensive.
2003 – In the 18th day of Operation Iraqi Freedom US 3rd Infantry troops entered Baghdad for the first time. Coalition troops took several objectives surrounding the capital in the north and northwest. US warplanes hit Iraqi positions near the commercial center of Mosul. Up to 3,000 Iraqi fighters were killed as American armored vehicles moved into Baghdad.
2003 – Ali Hassan al-Majid (king of spades), Saddam Hussein’s 1st cousin and dubbed “Chemical Ali” by opponents for ordering a 1988 poison gas attack that killed thousands of Kurds, was killed by an airstrike on his house in Basra.
2004 – Paul Bremer, the top U.S. administrator in Iraq, declared a radical Shiite cleric an “outlaw” after his supporters rioted in Baghdad and four other cities in fighting that killed at least 52 Iraqis, eight U.S. troops and a Salvadoran soldier. A warrant was issued for al-Sadr related to the murder of a rival Shiite leader in 2003.
2009 – North Korea launches its controversial Kwangmyŏngsŏng-2 rocket. The satellite passed over mainland Japan, which prompted an immediate reaction from the United Nations Security Council, as well as participating states of Six-party talks.
2010 – A series of coordinated bombings at the U.S. consulate in Peshawar and at a ruling party rally in the Pakistani North-West Frontier Province kills fifty people and injures one hundred.
2010 – The United States Supreme Court declines to take up a case by residents of Bikini Atoll and Enewetak in the Marshall Islands, who are seeking compensation for U.S. nuclear tests conducted on the islands.
2014 – Amidst violence, voters in Afghanistan elect a new President in what is the country’s first democratic transfer of power.
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