This Day in U.S. Military History…… April 6

6 April
610 – Lailat-ul Qadar: The night that the Koran descended to Earth. Muhammad is believed by his followers to have had a vision of Gabriel. The angel told him to recite in the name of God. Other visions are supposed to have Gabriel lead Muhammad to heaven to meet God, and to Jerusalem to meet Abraham, Moses and Jesus. These visions convinced Mohammad that he was a messenger of God.
1712 – The New York Slave Revolt of 1712 begins near Broadway. The New York Slave Revolt of 1712 was an uprising in New York City of 23 enslaved Africans who killed nine whites and injured another six. More than three times that number of blacks, 70, were arrested and jailed. Of these, 27 were put on trial, and 21 convicted and executed. After the revolt, laws governing the lives of blacks in New York were made more restrictive. African Americans were not permitted to gather in groups of more than three, they were not permitted to carry firearms, and gambling was outlawed. Other crimes, such as property damage, rape, and conspiracy to kill, were made punishable by death. Free blacks were no longer allowed to own land. Slave owners who decided to free their slaves were required to pay a tax of £200, a price much higher than the price of a slave.
1776 – Sloop-of-war Ranger, frigate Queen of France and frigate Warren capture British Hibernia and 7 other vessels.
1776 – In the Battle of Block Island, ships of the Continental Navy fail in their attempt to capture a Royal Navy dispatch boat. This was a nighttime naval encounter between the Continental Navy, returning from a successful raid on Nassau in The Bahamas on its maiden voyage, and HMS Glasgow, a Royal Navy dispatch boat. Glasgow successfully escaped capture by a fleet of seven ships under the command of Commodore Esek Hopkins, although she sustained significant damage in the encounter. Several of the ship captains of the Continental fleet were criticized for their actions in the engagement, and one was dismissed as a result. Commodore Hopkins was criticized for other actions pertaining to the cruise, including the distribution of seized goods, and was eventually also dismissed from the Navy.
1789 – The first US Congress began regular sessions at Federal Hall on Wall Street, NYC.
1815 – At Dartmoor Prison in southwest England 7 American prisoners were killed by British soldiers under the command of Captain Thomas G. Shortland. Some 6,000 prisoners were awaiting return to the US. A farmer’s jury with no victims or witnesses issued a verdict on April 8 of “justifiable homicide.”
1862 – Two days of bitter fighting began at the Civil War battle of Shiloh as the Confederates attacked Grant’s Union forces in southwestern Tennessee. Union commander Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, planning to advance on the important railway junction at Corinth, Miss., met a surprise attack by General Albert Sidney Johnston’s Army of Mississippi. The Confederates pushed the Federals back steadily during the first day’s fighting, in spite of Johnston’s death that afternoon. Only with the arrival of Union reinforcements during the night did the tide turn, forcing the rebels to withdraw. The opposing sides slaughtered each other with such ferocity that one survivor wrote, “No blaze of glory…can ever atone for the unwritten and unutterable horrors of the scene.” Gen. Ulysses Grant after the Battle of Shiloh said: “I saw an open field… so covered with dead that it would have been possible to walk across… in any direction, stepping on dead bodies without a foot touching the ground.” More than 9,000 Americans died. The battle left some 24,000 casualties and secured the West for the Union. In 1952 Shelby Foote wrote “Shiloh,” an historical novel based on documentation from participants in the battle. Recorded Books made a cassette version in 1992.
1862 – Albert Sidney Johnston (59), US and Confederate general, was killed in battle of Shiloh.
1865 – At the Battle of Sayler’s Creek, a third of Lee’s army was cut off by Union troops pursuing him to Appomattox. Skirmish at High Bridge, VA, (Appomattox). The Battle of Sailor’s Creek (also known as Sayler’s Creek, Hillsman Farm, or Lockett Farm) was fought near Farmville, Virginia, as part of the Appomattox Campaign, in the final days of the American Civil War. It was the last major engagement between the armies of Gen. Robert E. Lee and Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant before the capitulation of Lee’s Confederate army at Appomattox Court House three days later.
1866 – G.A.R. was formed (Grand Army of the Republic). It was composed of men who served in the US Army and Navy during the Civil War. The last member died in 1956.
1909 – Explorers Robert E. Peary and Matthew A. Henson became the first men to reach the North Pole along with 4 Eskimos. The claim, disputed by skeptics, was upheld in 1989 by the Navigation Foundation. Robert E. Peary used Ellesmere Island as a base for his expedition to the North Pole. The north coast of Ellesmere lies just 480 miles from the Pole. He was accompanied by Matthew Henson, an African-American, who had spent 18 years in the Arctic with Peary.
1916 – German government OK’d unrestricted submarine warfare.
1917 – Congress declares war on Germany. However the US Army will have to be expanded before it can contribute to the war, The Navy is more prepares. The US does not become a full ally of the British, French, and Russians, preferring to be an “Associate Power.” Wilson sees the war as a moral crusade and does not want to be associated with the motives of the other states arrayed against Germany.
1917 – The Coast Guard, which consisted of 15 cruising cutters, 200 commissioned officers, and 5000 warrant officers and enlisted men, became part of the U. S. Navy by Executive Order. Coast Guard aviators were assigned to naval air stations in this country and abroad. One Coast Guardsman commanded the Naval Air Station at Ille Tudy, France, and won the French Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. Another commanded Chatham Naval Air Station and he piloted one of two HS-1 seaplanes that attempted to bomb and machine gun a surfaced U-boat off the coast of New England. The bombs failed to explode, however, and the U-boat escaped.
1924 – Four open-cockpit biplanes took off from Seattle for a round the world flight. Two of the planes made it back. They flew 26,000 miles in 363 hours over a 175 days at an average speed of 77 mph. The US Congress had to approve the financing and the airplanes were built by Douglas Aircraft.
1938 – Roy Plunkett, a DuPont researcher in New Jersey, discovered the polymer, polytetrafluoroethylene, later known as teflon.
1945 – On Okinawa, the US 3rd Amphibious Corps continues to advance in the north, but the US 24th Corps is held by Japanese forces along the first defenses of the Shuri Line. There are numerous Kamikaze attacks on shipping during the day, as part of Operation Kikusui. The aircraft carriers USS Jacinto and HMS Illustrious are hit as well as 25 other ships including 10 small warships.
1945 – During World War II, the Japanese warship Yamato and nine other vessels sailed on a suicide mission to attack the U.S. fleet off Okinawa; the fleet was intercepted the next day.
1949 – A US Coast Guard H03S-1 helicopter completed the longest unescorted helicopter ferry flight on record. The trip from Elizabeth City, NC to Port Angeles, WA via San Diego, a distance of 3,750 miles, took 10 1/2 days to complete and involved a total flight time of 57.6 hours.
1951 – President Harry S. Truman discussed the relief of General Douglas MacArthur with several of his closest advisors. He asked to meet with them the next day to continue the discussion.
1954 – Four weeks after being attacked on the air by Edward R. Murrow, Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis., delivered a filmed response on CBS’ “See It Now” in which he charged that Murrow had, in the past, “engaged in propaganda for Communist causes.”
1963 – The United States and Britain signed an agreement under which the Americans would sell Polaris A-3 missiles to the British.’
1965 – The United States launched the “Early Bird” communications satellite, the first communications satellite to be placed in geosynchronous orbit. Intelsat I (nicknamed Early Bird for the proverb “The early bird catches the worm”) was built by the Space and Communications Group of Hughes Aircraft Company (later Hughes Space and Communications Company, and now Boeing Satellite Systems) for COMSAT, which activated it on June 28. It was based on the satellite that Hughes had built for NASA to demonstrate that communications via synchronous-orbit satellite were feasible. Its booster was a Thrust Augmented Delta (Delta D). It helped provide the first live TV coverage of a spacecraft splashdown, that of Gemini 6 in December 1965. Originally slated to operate for 18 months, Early Bird was in active service for four years, being deactivated in January 1969, although it was briefly activated in June of that year to serve the Apollo 11 flight when the Atlantic Intelsat satellite failed. It was deactivated again in August 1969 and has been inactive since that time (except for a brief reactivation in 1990 to commemorate its 25th launch anniversary), although it remains in orbit. The Early Bird satellite was the first to provide direct and nearly instantaneous contact between Europe and North America, handling television, telephone, and telefacsimile transmissions. It was fairly small, measuring nearly 76 × 61 cm (2.5 × 2.0 feet) and weighing 34.5 kg (76 pounds). Early Bird was one of the satellites used in the then record-breaking broadcast of Our World.
1965 – National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy drafts and signs National Security Action Memorandum 328 on behalf of President Johnson. This document authorizes US forces to take the offensive to secure ‘enclaves’ and to support ARVN operations.
1966 – US Marines destroy a Vietcong hospital and supply area in a sweep near Saigon.
1967 – 2500 combined Vietcong and North Vietnamese troops make four closely coordinated attacks on the city of Quangtri, 15 miles south of the DMZ. The South charges that the Communist raiders had infiltrated through the DMZ.
1968 – Black Panther member Bobby Hutton (17) was killed in a gun battle with police in West Oakland, Ca., and Eldridge Cleaver was arrested.
1968 – USS New Jersey recommissioned for shore bombardment duty in Vietnam.
1968 – The 77 day siege of Khesan is officially relieved when elements of the 1st Cavalry (Airmobile) Division link up with Marines.
1972 – Clear weather for the first time in three days allows US planes and Navy warships to begin the sustained air strikes and naval bombardment ordered by President Nixon for Operation Linebacker. Hundreds of planes flying 225 missions by 9 April hit troop concentrations and missile emplacements above and below the DMZ. Two US planes are lost to SAM-2 missiles, a new element in North Vietnamese troop defenses.
1973 – Launch of Pioneer 11 spacecraft. Pioneer 11 (also known as Pioneer G) is a 259 kilogram (569 lb) robotic space probe launched by NASA to study the asteroid belt, the environment around Jupiter and Saturn, solar wind, cosmic rays, and eventually the far reaches of the solar system and heliosphere. It was the first probe to encounter Saturn and the second to fly through the asteroid belt and by Jupiter. Due to power constraints and the vast distance to the probe, last contact with the spacecraft was on September 30, 1995.
1979 – The U.S. cut off aid to Pakistan, because of that country’s covert construction of a uranium enrichment facility.
1991 – Bosnian Serbs began a war in a quest for their own ethnically pure republic.1991 – Iraq reluctantly agreed to accept United Nations conditions for ending the Persian Gulf War.
1995 – A seminar of international biological weapons experts convened by UNSCOM concludes that Iraq has an undeclared full-scale biological weapons program.
1996 – Fighting and looting began in Monrovia, Liberia, and a six year civil war resumed between rival ethnic groups. Supporters of Roosevelt Johnson faced off against the ruling council of state, which sacked Johnson as rural development minister and ordered his arrest for murder. Johnson accused Charles Taylor of violating the Abuja accord of August, which set up a transitional government.
1997 – NASA officials announced they were cutting short the 16-day mission of space shuttle Columbia by 12 days because of a deteriorating and potentially explosive power generator.
1998 – Pakistan reported a successful test of medium-range missile from its Kahuta nuclear research lab. It was capable of carrying nuclear warheads with a range of 900 miles.
1998 – President Clinton in a new report to Congress on Iraq’s non-compliance with UNSC resolutions says Iraq remains a threat to international peace and security.
1999 – NATO bombed Yugoslav forces in Montenegro.
1999 – In Serbia Pres. Milosevic announced a unilateral Easter cease-fire through to Sunday. NATO rejected the proposal and escalated its aerial bombardment on Serbian forces and supplies.
2000 – US and British warplanes bombed military sites in southern Iraq and Iraqi military reported 14 civilians killed and 19 wounded.
2001 – US officials announced some progress toward the release of 24 military personnel in China and hoped to establish a joint US-China commission to examine the April 1 collision of a US spy plane and Chinese jet.
2001 – Algerian national Ahmed Ressam, accused of bringing explosives into the United States just days before the millennium celebrations, was convicted twice in the same day — first in France for belonging to a group supporting Islamic militants, then in Los Angeles on terror charges.
2001 – Bosnian Croats stoned Nato peacekeepers after police and troops seized the Hercegovacka Banka and its 10 branches. The bank was believed to be used by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) to promote a separate Croatian ministate.
2003 – In the 19th day of Operation Iraqi Freedom 18 Kurdish fighters were killed and 45 wounded in northern Iraq when a US warplane mistakenly bombed a convoy. The 1st US transport plane landed at Baghdad Airport.
2003 – US forces near Baghdad reportedly found a weapons cache of around 20 medium-range Rockets, BM-21 missiles, equipped with sarin and mustard gas and “ready to fire.” David Bloom (39), NBC correspondent, died of a pulmonary embolism south of Baghdad.
2003 – Ahmed Chalabi, Iraqi exile leader, was airlifted by the US along with 700 “freedom fighters” to southern Iraq to join coalition troops and form the nucleus of a new national army.
2003 – Afghan officials announced a plan to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate an estimated 100,000 fighters over the next 3 years.
2004 – Insurgents and rebellious Shiites mounted a string of attacks across Iraq’s south and U.S. Marines launched a major assault on the turbulent city of Fallujah. Up to a dozen Marines were killed in Ramadi. Two more coalition soldiers were reported killed. US warplanes firing rockets destroyed four houses in the besieged city of Fallujah.
2005 – In southeast Afghanistan a US military helicopter crashed in bad weather. 15 US service members and 3 American civilians were killed when their Chinook helicopter crashed.
2011 – Ecuador expels the United States ambassador over Wikileaks diplomatic cables alleging corruption within the Ecuadorian police force.
2012 – A United States Navy FA-18 Hornet crashes into an apartment complex in the US city of Virginia Beach, Virginia with minimal injuries and no fatalities.

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