1587 – In the Roanoke Island colony, Ellinor and Ananias Dare became parents of a baby girl whom they name Virginia Dare, the first English child born on what is now Roanoke Island, N.C., then considered Walter Raleigh’s second settlement in Roanoke, Virginia. Virginia Dare, born to the daughter of John White, became the first child of English parents to be born on American soil.
1590 – John White, the governor of the Roanoke Island colony in present-day North Carolina, returns from a supply-trip to England to find the settlement deserted. White and his men found no trace of the 100 or so colonists he left behind, and there was no sign of violence. Among the missing were Ellinor Dare, White’s daughter; and Virginia Dare, White’s granddaughter and the first English child born in America. August 18 was to have been Virginia’s third birthday. The only clue to their mysterious disappearance was the word “CROATOAN” carved into the palisade that had been built around the settlement. White took the letters to mean that the colonists had moved to Croatoan Island, some 50 miles away, but a later search of the island found none of the settlers. The Roanoke Island colony, the first English settlement in the New World, was founded by English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh in August 1585. The first Roanoke colonists did not fare well, suffering from dwindling food supplies and Indian attacks, and in 1586 they returned to England aboard a ship captained by Sir Francis Drake. In 1587, Raleigh sent out another group of 100 colonists under John White. White returned to England to procure more supplies, but the war with Spain delayed his return to Roanoke. By the time he finally returned in August 1590, everyone had vanished. In 1998, archaeologists studying tree-ring data from Virginia found that extreme drought conditions persisted between 1587 and 1589. These conditions undoubtedly contributed to the demise of the so-called Lost Colony, but where the settlers went after they left Roanoke remains a mystery. One theory has them being absorbed into an Indian tribe known as the Croatans.
1774 – Meriwether Lewis, American explorer, was born in Charlottesville, VA. He led the Corps of Discovery with William Clark.
1812 – Returning from a cruise into Canadian waters Captain Isaac Hull’s USS Constitution of the fledgling U.S. Navy encountered British Captain Richard Dacre’s HMS Guerriere about 750 miles out of Boston. After a frenzied 55-minute battle that left 101 dead, Guerriere rolled helplessly in the water, smashed beyond salvage. Dacre struck his colors and surrendered to Hull’s boarding party. In contrast, Constitution suffered little damage and only 14 casualties. The fight’s outcome shocked the British Admiralty while it heartened America through the dark days of the War of 1812. [see Aug 19]
1835 – The last Potawatomi Indians left Chicago.
1838 – Six US Navy ships departed Hampton Roads, Va., led by Lt. Charles Wilkes on a 3-year mission called the US South Seas Exploring Expedition, the “U.S. Ex. Ex.” The mission proved Antarctica to be a continent. Wilkes was tried in a military court for abuses of power, but was generally acquitted.
1846 – U.S. forces led by Gen. Stephen W. Kearney captured Santa Fe, N.M.
1862 – Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart’s headquarters was raided by Union troops of the 5th New York and 1st Michigan cavalries.
1862 – Union naval force, comprising U.S.S. Sachem, Reindeer, Belle Italia, and yacht Corypheus, under command of Acting Lieutenant Kittredge, bombarded Corpus Christi. On 18 August a landing party of sailors from Belle Italia, supported by ships’ gunfire, attempted to seize a Confederate battery but was driven back by a cavalry force. Lieutenant Kittredge was captured while ashore on 14 September. Confederate General H. P. Bee characterized Kittredge as ”an honorable enemy and a “bold and energetic leader.” Lacking troop strength to occupy and hold Corpus Christi, Sabine City or Galveston, Rear Admiral Farragut’s ships nonetheless effectively controlled the Texas coast and pinned down Confederate forces which were vitally needed elsewhere.
1864 – Union General William T. Sherman sent General Judson Kilpatrick to raid Confederate lines of communication outside Atlanta. The raid was unsuccessful. Union General William Sherman considered Judson Kilpatrick, his cavalry chief, ‘a hell of a damn fool.’
1864 – Union General Ulysses S. Grant tries to cut a vital Confederate lifeline into Petersburg, Virginia, with an attack on the Weldon Railroad. Although the Yankees succeeded in capturing a section of the line, the Confederates simply used wagons to bring supplies from the railhead into the city. Grant’s spring campaign against General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia ended at Petersburg, 20 miles south of Richmond. In June, Grant ceased frontal assaults, and the two armies settled into trenches for a siege. Grant sought to break the stalemate by severing the Weldon and Petersburg Railroad, which ran south to Weldon, North Carolina. The line was one of two that now supplied Lee’s army from other points in the South. Grant’s first attack, on June 22, failed. Now Grant attacked with General Gouvernor K. Warren’s corps at the Globe Tavern. On August 18, Warren’s men succeeded in capturing part of the line. In a battle that raged for the next five days, the Confederates tried to recapture the line, but the Yankees remained in control of a short section around the tavern. Despite control over this area, the Union did not prevent the Weldon line from supplying Lee’s army. The Confederates simply stopped their trains one day south of Petersburg and used wagons to haul the cargo around the break. On August 25, a Confederate offensive would return control of the railroad to the Rebels; but nearly four months later, Grant would finally succeed in destroying the railroad.
1911 – First Navy Nurse Corps superintendent, Esther Voorhees Hasson, appointed.
1914 – President Wilson issued his Proclamation of Neutrality, aimed at keeping the United States out of World War I.
1914 – Germany declared war on Russia.
1920 – The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote, is ratified by Tennessee, giving it the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it the law of the land. The amendment was the culmination of more than 70 years of struggle by woman suffragists. Its two sections read simply: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex” and “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” America’s woman suffrage movement was founded in the mid 19th century by women who had become politically active through their work in the abolitionist and temperance movements. In July 1848, 200 woman suffragists, organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott, met in Seneca Falls, New York, to discuss women’s rights. After approving measures asserting the right of women to educational and employment opportunities, they passed a resolution that declared “it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.” For proclaiming a woman’s right to vote, the Seneca Falls Convention was subjected to public ridicule, and some backers of women’s rights withdrew their support. However, the resolution marked the beginning of the woman suffrage movement in America. The first national women’s rights convention was held in 1850 and then repeated annually, providing an important focus for the growing woman suffrage movement. In the Reconstruction era, the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted, granting African American men the right to vote, but Congress declined to expand enfranchisement into the sphere of gender. In 1869, the National Woman Suffrage Association was founded by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to push for a woman suffrage amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Another organization, the American Woman Suffrage Association, led by Lucy Stone, was formed in the same year to work through the state legislatures. In 1890, these two groups were united as the National American Woman Suffrage Association. That year, Wyoming became the first state to grant women the right to vote. By the beginning of the 20th century, the role of women in American society was changing drastically: Women were working more, receiving a better education, bearing fewer children, and three more states (Colorado, Utah, and Idaho) had yielded to the demand for female enfranchisement. In 1916, the National Woman’s Party (formed in 1913 at the Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage) decided to adopt a more radical approach to woman suffrage. Instead of questionnaires and lobbying, its members picketed the White House, marched, and staged acts of civil disobedience. In 1917, America entered World War I, and women aided the war effort in various capacities, which helped to break down most of the remaining opposition to woman suffrage. By 1918, women had acquired equal suffrage with men in 15 states, and both the Democratic and Republican parties openly endorsed female enfranchisement. In January 1918, the woman suffrage amendment passed the House of Representatives with the necessary two-thirds majority vote. In June 1919, it was approved by the Senate sent to the states for ratification. Campaigns were waged by suffragists around the country to secure ratification, and on August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment. On August 26, it was formally adopted into the Constitution by proclamation of Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby.
1942 – Marines left Makin Island after destroying a seaplane base, two radio stations, a supply warehouse, and killing about 100 Japanese soldiers.
1942 – On Guadalcanal, Japanese reinforcements are landed at Taivu and a detachment of 1,000 troops under the leadership of Colonel Ichiki starts towards the American position. The Japanese believe there are only 3,000 Americans on the Island. There are actually 10,000 and the airstrip is now ready to receive aircraft.
1943 – American cruisers and destroyers bombard Palmi and Gioai Taura in Italy.
1944 – The Falaise gap is closed by a link up of Polish and American troops at Chambois. Considerable German forces remain trapped to the west. Allied fighter-bombers successfully harass the German columns attempting to withdraw to the east. To the south, patrols from US 3rd Army reach Versailles as the army advances toward the Seine River.
1944 – The forces of US 7th Army continue advancing. The US 6th Corps is moving toward Aix-en-Provence and northward in the direction of Gap while the French 2nd Corps advances along the coast to Toulon and eventually Marseilles.
1945 – A photographer was killed and two members of the crew wound in one of two American planes which were attacked by 14 Japanese fighters over Tokyo.
1945 – Psychiatrists conclude that Clarence V. Bertucci is “mentally unbalanced.” He is responsible for the massacre of German POWs at Camp Salina, Utah on July 8th.
1950 – U.N. Command service personnel established the Korean Relief Center in Pusan to aid refugees.
1951 – The Battle of Bloody Ridge began. During the battle, the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division and its attached units sustained 326 killed in action, 2,032 wounded and 414 missing. The enemy’s dead totaled 1,389. The 15th Field Artillery Battalion set a record of 14,425 rounds fired in a 24-hour period.
1951 – U.N. aircraft began Operation STRANGLE to interdict North Korean rail and supply lines.
1951 – The 1st transcontinental wireless phone call was made from SF to NYC by Mark Sullivan, president of PT&T, and H.T. Killingworth of AT&T.
1963 – Former Air Force Sergeant James Meredith becomes the first black person to graduate from the University of Mississippi. It had taken troops of the Army and National Guard to get him admitted.
1965 – After a deserter from the First Vietcong Regiment had revealed that an attack was imminent against the U.S. base at Chu Lai, the Marines launch Operation Starlite in the Van Tuong peninsula in Quang Ngai Province. In this, the first major U.S. ground battle of the Vietnam War, 5,500 Marines destroyed a Viet Cong stronghold, scoring a resounding victory. During the operation, which lasted six days, ground forces, artillery from Chu Lai, close air support, and naval gunfire combined to kill nearly 700 Vietcong soldiers. U.S. losses included 45 Marines dead and more than 200 wounded.
1966 – First ship-to-shore satellite radio message sent from USS Annapolis in South China Sea to Pacific Fleet Headquarters at Pearl Harbor.
1968 – The North Vietnamese and Viet Cong launch a limited offensive in the south with 19 separate attacks throughout South Vietnam. In the heaviest fighting in three months, Communist troops attacked key positions along the Cambodian border in Tay Ninh and Binh Long provinces, northwest of Saigon. In Tay Ninh, 600 Viet Cong, supported by elements of two North Vietnamese divisions, attacked the provincial capital, capturing several government installations. U.S. reinforcements from the Twenty-fifth Infantry Division were rushed to the scene and after a day of house-to-house fighting expelled the communists from the city.
1971 – Australia and New Zealand announce the end of the year as the deadline for withdrawal of their respective contingents from Vietnam. The Australians had 6,000 men in South Vietnam and the New Zealanders numbered 264. Both nations agreed to leave behind small training contingents. Australian Prime Minister William McMahon proclaimed that the South Vietnamese forces were now able to assume Australia’s role in Phuoc Tuy province, southeast of Saigon and that Australia would give South Vietnam $28 million over the next three years for civilian projects. Total Australian losses for the period of their commitment in Vietnam were 473 dead and 2,202 wounded; the monetary cost of the war was $182 million for military expenses and $16 million in civilian assistance to South Vietnam.
1976 – Two U.S. Army officers were killed in Korea’s demilitarized zone as a group of North Korean soldiers wielding axes and metal pikes attacked U.S. and South Korean soldiers. Major Arthur G. Bonifas was attacked and beaten to death by North Korean soldiers as he attempted to cut down a poplar tree in the DMZ.
1987 – American journalist Charles Glass escaped his kidnappers in Beirut after 62 days in captivity. Glass had been abducted June 17 with two Lebanese, who were released after a week.
1990 – A US frigate fired warning shots across the bow of an Iraqi oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman—apparently the first shots fired by the United States in the Persian Gulf crisis.
1990 – The U.N. Security Council passes Resolution 664calling on Iraq to release all foreign citizens and warns Iraq against harming them.
1991 – Hard-line elements of the Soviet government and military begin a coup attempt against President Mikhail Gorbachev. The coup attempt signified a decline in Gorbachev’s power and influence, while one of his most ardent opponents, Boris Yeltsin, came out of the event with more power than ever. Since coming to power in 1985, Gorbachev had pressed forward with significant reforms on two fronts. First, he called for a liberalization of the Soviet government’s economic and political policies. He pushed for an economy that would rely more on free market policies and argued that the closed communist political system would need to be democratized. Second, he strenuously pursued better relations with the West, particularly the United States. His efforts were acclaimed in the West, and President Ronald Reagan, an avowed anticommunist, came to consider Gorbachev a friend and respected colleague. In the Soviet Union, however, Gorbachev found his policies attacked twofold. On one side were hard-line communists who believed that Gorbachev’s policies were leading the Soviet Union to ruin and a status as a second-class world power. On the other side were more radical reformers such as Boris Yeltsin, who served as president of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic. Yeltsin constantly complained that Gorbachev was not moving fast or far enough with his reforms; in July 1990, Yeltsin demonstrated his dissatisfaction by announcing that he was resigning from the Communist Party. By August 1991, hard-line elements of the Soviet government and military decided to act and staged a coup against Gorbachev. Gorbachev was put under house arrest, and his enemies demanded that he resign as leader of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev refused, but many outside of Russia began to feel that his government could not survive. Yeltsin and many of his supporters, who had taken refuge in the Russian Parliament, then stepped in. Yeltsin correctly perceived that if the coup were successful, even the limited reforms begun by Gorbachev would be destroyed. He called on the Russian people to strike and take to the streets to oppose the coup. The people responded by the thousands, and the poorly organized coup collapsed only a few days later. The damage to the Gorbachev regime was nonetheless disastrous. In December 1991, with the Soviet Union crumbling around him, he resigned as leader of the nation. Yeltsin emerged from the crisis as Gorbachev’s heir apparent. When Gorbachev announced his resignation in December, Yeltsin immediately removed all flags of the former Soviet Union from government buildings in the state of Russia and continued to serve as the leader of the most powerful of the former soviet socialist republics.
1995 – Shannon Faulkner, who’d won a two-and-a-half-year legal battle to become the first female cadet at The Citadel, quit the South Carolina military college after less than a week, most of it spent in the infirmary.
1997 – In Virginia the VMI class of 2001 included 30 women among the 460 freshman students. Beth Ann Hogan became the first coed in the Virginia Military Institute’s 158-year history.
1998 – In Kenya FBI agents, acting on a tip from Mohammed Saddiq Odeh, raided The Hilltop Hotel in Nairobi and confiscated 175 pounds of TNT. The room was reported to have been occupied by 2 Palestinians, a Saudi and an Egyptian from Aug 3 to Aug 7.
2002 – Operation Mountain Sweep was the first for the 82nd Airborne Division since its arrival in Afghanistan. The troopers of the 82nd joined with Army Rangers and other coalition special operations forces to mount five combat air assault missions. Combat engineers, aviation assets and civil affairs detachments also took part in the operation. Mountain Sweep continued Operation Mountain Lion in searching out al Qaeda and Taliban forces and information about the terrorist organizations. The troops discovered five separate weapons caches and two caches of Taliban documents. The operation took place mainly around the villages of Dormat and Narizah, south of the cities of Khowst and Gardez. The troopers found an anti-aircraft artillery gun, two 82mm mortars and ammunition, a recoilless rifle, rockets, rocket-propelled grenades, machines guns and thousands of small arms rounds. Coalition forces detained 10 persons during the operation. The 229th, serving as the aviation arm for Task Force Shark, conducted 14 helicopter missions in support of the operation. More than 2,000 Coalition forces, consisting of seven infantry companies, combat engineers and elements of three aviation battalions, took part in the operation, completing Operation Mountain Sweep in the former al Qaeda and Taliban areas of Southeastern Afghanistan on August 26.
2002 – US federal agents said they had seized over 2,300 unregistered missiles at a “counter-terrorism” school, High Energy Access Tools (HEAT), in Roswell, New Mexico, that was training students from Arab countries and arrested its Canadian leader.
2004 – Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s 17 rivals in the presidential race threatened to boycott landmark October 9 elections unless he stepped down before the vote.
2004 – Iraq’s new air force took to the skies for the 1st time since the 2003 US invasion. The limited operations were intended to protect infrastructure facilities and borders.
2004 – In Iraq a rocket slammed into a busy market in the northern city of Mosul, killing at least five civilians. U.S. forces clashed with insurgents southeast of Baghdad.
2014 – Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon orders the National Guard into Ferguson, MO, after police cited “pre-planned” acts of aggression by protesters. Over the preceding two nights, protesters shot at police, threw Molotov cocktails at officers, looted businesses and carried out a “coordinated attempt” to block roads and overrun the police’s command center. Ferguson is a predominantly black city of 21,000 on the outskirts of St. Louis that had been experiencing nightly rioting since Aug. 9, when white police officer Darren Wilson, 28, fatally shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.
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