This Day in U.S. Military History…… August 9

9 August
1610 – The First Anglo–Powhatan War, between the Powhatan and the English colonists, and lasted from 1610 to 1614, begins. Tired of waiting for a response from Powhattan to an untimatum regarding a series of belligerent incidents on both sides, De la Warr sent George Percy with 70 men to attack the Paspahegh capital, burning the houses and cutting down their cornfields. They killed 65 to 75, and captured one of Wowinchopunk’s wives and her children. Returning downstream, the English threw the children overboard, and shot out “their Braynes in the water”. The queen was put to the sword in Jamestown. The Paspahegh never recovered from this attack, and abandoned their town. Another small force sent with Samuel Argall against the Warraskoyaks found that they had already fled, but he destroyed their abandoned village and cornfields as well. Following these attacks, and the offense of killing royal women and children, both sides now found themselves at war.
1638 – Jonas Bronck of Holland became the 1st European settler in the Bronx.
1645 – Settlers in New Amsterdam gained peace with the Indians after conducting talks with the Mohawks.
1673 – Dutch recapture NY from English. It was regained by English in 1674.
1757 – English Ft. William Henry, NY, surrendered to French and Indian troops.
1790 – The Columbia returned to Boston Harbor after a three-year voyage, becoming the first ship to carry the American flag around the world.
1813 – After reports that British naval vessels were nearing St. Michaels, Md., to attack the shipbuilding town that night, the county militia placed lanterns on the tops of the tallest trees and on the masts of vessels in the harbor; and had all other lights extinguished. When the British attacked, they directed their fire too high and overshot the town.
1814 – Andrew Jackson and the Creek Indians signed the Treaty of Fort Jackson, giving the whites 23 million acres of Creek territory.
1815 – CAPT Stephen Decatur concludes treaty for U.S. with Tripoli.
1842 – The United States and Canada signed the Webster-Ashburton Treaty, resolving a border dispute between Maine and Canada’s New Brunswick and U.S. and Great Britain agreed to cooperate in suppressing the slave trade.
1862 – Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson narrowly defeats a Union force led by General John Pope at Cedar Mountain, Virginia. Jackson had moved north in July 1862 after it became clear that the primary Union force in the east, General George McClellan’s Army of the Potomac, was not going to attack Richmond. McClellan was camped on the James Peninsula southeast of Richmond, where General Robert E. Lee stopped him at the Seven Days’ Battles in late June. Frustrated with McClellan’s lack of action, President Lincoln began shifting troops from the peninsula to Pope’s newly formed Army of Virginia, which was operating near Washington. Jackson, who was sent north by Lee to counter the growing Yankee presence in northern Virginia, fell on part of Pope’s force at Cedar Mountain on August 9. Despite being severely outnumbered, Pope’s army dealt Jackson a near-humiliating defeat. Jackson attacked in the afternoon, but a fierce Union counterattack, led by General Nathaniel Banks, almost broke Jackson’s line. The arrival of Confederate General Ambrose P. Hill provided Jackson with enough troops to launch another assault that evening. That attack drove the Federals from the field, and only nightfall prevented a complete rout of the Yankees.Union losses totaled 2,300 out of 8,000. The Confederates suffered 1,300 casualties out of 18,000. But the battle was nearly a disaster; Jackson miscalculated, and the Confederates almost lost to an army half their size.
1865 – Return of Naval Academy to Annapolis after 4 years at Newport, RI.
1877 – Having refused government demands that they move to a reservation, a small band of Nez Perce Indians clash with the U.S. Army near the Big Hole River in Montana. The conflict between the U.S. government and the Nez Perce was one of the most tragic of the many Indian wars of the 19th century. Beginning with the tribe’s first contact with the explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, the peaceful Nez Perce had befriended and cooperated with the Americans. Even when hordes of white settlers began to flood into their homelands along the Snake River (around the present-day intersection of the Oregon, Washington, and Idaho state borders), most of the Nez Perce peacefully moved to a reservation. However, about a quarter of the Nez Perce, most of them stockmen and buffalo hunters, refused to accept internment on a reservation. Government pressure to force these last resisters to comply finally led to the outbreak of the Nez Perce War of 1877. A small band of warriors-never more than 145 men, though burdened with about 500 noncombatants-fought U.S. soldiers at four major battles. The third battle of the Nez Perce War occurred on this day in 1877. Fleeing eastward with hopes of escaping to Canada, the Nez Perce made camp in the Big Hole Basin in present-day western Montana. At 3:30 a.m., Colonel John Gibbon attacked the sleeping Indians with a force of 183 men. Raking the Indian lodges with withering rifle fire, the soldiers initially seemed to be victorious. The Nez Perce, however, soon counterattacked from concealed positions in the surrounding hills. After four days of sporadic fighting, the Nez Perce withdrew. Both sides suffered serious casualties. The soldiers lost 29 men with 40 wounded. The army body count found 89 Nez Perce dead, mostly women and children. The battle dealt the Nez Perce a grave, though not fatal, blow. The remaining Indians were able to escape, and they headed northeast towards Canada. Two months later, on October 5, Colonel Nelson Miles decisively defeated the Nez Perce at the Battle of the Bear Paw Mountains. Those who were not killed surrendered and reluctantly agreed to return to the reservation. The Nez Perce were only 40 miles short of the Canadian border.
1892 – Thomas Edison receives a patent for a two-way telegraph.
1918 – Following the lead of countries all over the world, the U. S. government ordered automobile production to halt by January 1, 1919, and convert to military production. Factories instead manufactured shells, and the engineering lessons of motor racing produced light, powerful engines for planes. Manufacturers turned out staff cars and ambulances by the hundreds. In fact, World War I has often been described as the war of the machines.
1919 – Construction of rigid airship ZR-1 (Shenandoah) authorized.
1921 – Congress creates the Veterans Bureau to administer assistance to World War I veterans. It quickly devolves into corruption, and is abolished nine years later under a cloud of scandal.
1929 – It was hardly a tell-tale sign of trouble, but on August 9, 1929 Wall Street got an inkling of the upcoming crash as the New York Bank raised the rediscount rate on loans to brokers a full point to 6 percent. The hike was precipitated by the unsettling news that brokers had racked up a record $6 million debt, the fourth time during August 1929 that their loans had swelled to record levels. Still, bankers assured the business community that the move, which was the biggest raise to the rate since the close of World War I, wasn’t cause for alarm. Soothing words aside, reports from the day note that the new rate did indeed catch Wall Street by surprise. The following day the DOW dropped 14.11 points to close at a month-long low of 337.99. Until that point, investors had been reveling in “Big Bull Market,” a record-setting run which was well over a year old. As the DOW hit new highs, the stock market became a national past time; the craze for playing the stocks spread from being the sole province of the big-city elite to a part of the daily life of small-town America. However, as the Reserve Bank’s move to advance the interest rate oh-so-subtly suggested, the good times were based on speculation rather than solid financial practices. By November 1929, this quiet hint at a downturn in the market would look more like a prophetic warning call.
1935 – Fleet Marine Force Headquarters moved from Quantico to San Diego.
1941 – President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill met at Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. Their meeting produced the Atlantic Charter, an agreement between the two countries on war aims, even though the United States was still a neutral country.
1942 – After the removal of the American aircraft carriers, a Japanese cruiser force, commanded by Admiral Mikawa enters the Sealark Channel south of Savo Island. The remaining American naval defenses, lead by Admiral Crutchley, have little experience of, or the equipment needed for, night fighting. The Americans lose four cruisers and sink none of the Japanese ships. Sealark Channel is later renamed Ironbottom Sound. The American transports unloading at Lunga Point are not attacked, however they are ordered to withdraw due to the threat and the 1st Marine Division is left short of heavy equipment and with only one half of their supplies. The Coast Guard-manned transport USS Hunter Liggett rescued the survivors of three U. S. Navy and one Australian cruisers that had been sunk the preceding night by Imperial Japanese Navy during the Battle of Savo Island. The night battle, also known as the First Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, was one of the worst defeats ever suffered by the Navy.
1942 – With the Guadalcanal airstrip secure after heavy fighting with the Japanese, the 1st Engineer Battalion commenced work on the runway using captured equipment. Three days later, on 12 August, the first plane landed on Henderson Field, a Navy PBY which evacuated two wounded Marines. Nearly 3,000 wounded Marines would be evacuated from Henderson Field during the battle.
1944 – The German attacks around Mortain continue to be held by forces of US 1st Army. Meanwhile, the US 15th Corps (part of US 3rd Army) turns north from Le Mans, aiming for Argentan and eventually a junction with the Canadians advance southward between Argentan and Falaise. Allied fight-bombers are active throughout the day.
1944 – The United States Forest Service and the Wartime Advertising Council release posters featuring Smokey Bear for the first time.

1945 – A second atom bomb is dropped on Japan by the United States, at Nagasaki, resulting finally in Japan’s unconditional surrender. The devastation wrought at Hiroshima was not sufficient to convince the Japanese War Council to accept the Potsdam Conference’s demand for unconditional surrender. The United States had already planned to drop their second atom bomb, nicknamed “Fat Man,” on August 11 in the event of such recalcitrance, but bad weather expected for that day pushed the date up to August 9th. So at 1:56 a.m., a specially adapted B-29 bomber, called “Bock’s Car,” after its usual commander, Frederick Bock, took off from Tinian Island under the command of Maj. Charles W. Sweeney. Nagasaki was a shipbuilding center, the very industry intended for destruction. The bomb was dropped at 11:02 a.m., 1,650 feet above the city. The explosion unleashed the equivalent force of 22,000 tons of TNT. The hills that surrounded the city did a better job of containing the destructive force, but the number killed is estimated at anywhere between 60,000 and 80,000 (exact figures are impossible, the blast having obliterated bodies and disintegrated records). General Leslie R. Groves, the man responsible for organizing the Manhattan Project, which solved the problem of producing and delivering the nuclear explosion, estimated that another atom bomb would be ready to use against Japan by August 17 or 18-but it was not necessary. Even though the War Council still remained divided (“It is far too early to say that the war is lost,” opined the Minister of War), Emperor Hirohito, by request of two War Council members eager to end the war, met with the Council and declared that “continuing the war can only result in the annihilation of the Japanese people….” The Emperor of Japan gave his permission for unconditional surrender. Major Sweeney, the pilot, would in 1956, at age 37, become the youngest brigadier general in the entire peacetime Air Force when he was appointed by the governor of Massachusetts to command the 102nd Tactical Fighter Wing, Massachusetts Air National Guard.
1949 – First use of pilot-ejection seat for emergency escape in U.S. made by LT Jack I. Fruin of VF-171 near Walterboro, SC.
1950 – Congress enacted Public Law 679, which charged the Coast Guard with the function of port security.
1951 – The 1st Marine Air Wing was awarded the Army Distinguished Unit Citation for outstanding performance of duty and extraordinary heroism during the period from Nov. 22 to Dec. 14, 1950 The award was for actions in support of X Corps in the Chosin/Changjin Reservoir campaign and the evacuation from northeast Korea.
1952 – The 1st Marine Division defended against a Chinese attack in the vicinity of Bunker Hill. This was the first significant U.S. Marine ground action in western Korea since the Inchon-Seoul campaign. The Marine position on Hill 58 changed hands five times during the next two days. Eventually the Chinese managed to gain control of this outpost.
1960 – There was a race riot in Jacksonville Florida.
1967 – First Marine Division launches Operation Cochise in the Que Son valley. Meanwhile, the First Cavalry Division continued with Operation Pershing, a major clearing operation in the Binh Dinh province designed to improve the security situation in support of the ongoing pacification effort.
1974 – In accordance with his statement of resignation the previous evening, Richard M. Nixon officially ends his term as the 37th president of the United States at noon. Before departing with his family in a helicopter from the White House lawn, he smiled farewell and enigmatically raised his arms in a victory or peace salute. The helicopter door was then closed, and the Nixon family began their journey home to San Clemente, California. Richard Nixon was the first U.S. president to resign from office. Minutes later, Vice President Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the 38th president of the United States in the East Room of the White House. After taking the oath of office, President Ford spoke to the nation in a television address, declaring, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.” Ford, the first president who came to the office through appointment rather than election, had replaced Spiro Agnew as vice president only eight months before. In a political scandal independent of the Nixon administration’s wrongdoings in the Watergate affair, Agnew had been forced to resign in disgrace after he was charged with income tax evasion and political corruption. In September 1974, Ford pardoned Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while in office, explaining that he wanted to end the national divisions created by the Watergate scandal.
1982 – Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger approved the use of Coast Guard law enforcement detachments on board Navy vessels during peace-time. The teams conducted law enforcement boardings from Navy vessels for the first time in history. The first CG TACLET was assigned to the USS Sampson on 11 August 1982.
1985 – Arthur Walker, a retired U.S. Navy officer, is found guilty of espionage for passing top-secret documents to his brother, who then passed them to Soviet agents. Walker was part of one of the most significant Cold War spy rings in the United States. The arrest of Arthur Walker on May 29, 1985, came just one day after the arrest of his brother, John, and John’s son, Michael. All three were charged with conducting espionage for the Soviet Union. John Walker, also a Navy veteran, was the ringleader, and government officials charged that he had been involved in spying for the Soviets since 1968. He recruited his son, who was serving in the U.S. Navy, a short time later. Arthur Walker was drawn into the scheme in 1980 when, at his brother’s suggestion, he took a job with VSE, a Virginia defense contractor. Over the next two years, the government charged, Arthur Walker provided John with a number of highly classified documents dealing with the construction of naval vessels. For his services, Arthur Walker received about $12,000. A nasty divorce between John Walker and his wife eventually brought the spy ring to light when his wife, angry after their separation, went to the FBI to inform on her husband. It was revealed at their trials that the motivation of all the Walker men was the repayment of large debts they had accrued. Arthur Walker was found guilty of seven counts of espionage on August 9, 1985. He was sentenced to life in prison and fined $250,000. John and Michael Walker later pled guilty to espionage charges, with John receiving two life sentences and Michael receiving 25 years in prison. A fourth conspirator, Jerry Whitworth, a friend of John Walker’s, was convicted in 1986 on 12 counts of espionage and sentenced to 365 years in prison. With the arrests and convictions, the U.S. government claimed that it had broken one of the most destructive spy rings in the United States in the history of the Cold War.
1987 – Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh, vowing to investigate the Iran-Contra affair “vigorously but fairly,” told a meeting of the American Bar Association in San Francisco that he would not be deterred by the “popularity of persons involved.”
1990 – A week after Iraq invaded Kuwait, Western European diplomats and Arab witnesses reported that Iraq had virtually sealed its borders, preventing thousands of foreigners from leaving Iraq or Kuwait.
1990 – Walking off of the first American C-141 transport to bring in the first elements what would eventually be more than 527,000 American troops were two Guardsmen from Headquarters Company, 228th Signal Brigade, South Carolina Army National Guard. They immediately set up and began operating their single channel tactical satellite radio link keeping the Saudi Defense Ministry in communication with the U.S. Army’s Third Army Headquarters, Fort McPherson, GA. These two men were the first of 37,848 Army Guard personnel to serve in Saudi Arabia during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Strom which finally forced the Iraqi army to evacuate Kuwait.
1998 – In South Korea flooding over the last 7 days claimed 165 lives that included 3 US soldiers.
2001 – It was reported that the US had decided to pay China $34,567 to cover the costs of the spy plane that was detained on Hainan island. China had asked for $1 million and rejected the offer.
2002 – In eastern Afghanistan a powerful explosion ripped through an Afghan construction firm’s building in the city of Jalalabad, killing 21 people and injuring 85 others.
2003 – The US Army began burning chemical weapons at the Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Anniston, Ala.
2004 – In McAlester, Oklahoma, District Judge Steven Taylor sentenced Terry Nichols to 161 consecutive life sentences for the 1995 Oklahoma City federal building bombing.
2004 – Al Sadr, whose loyalists battled U.S. troops for a fifth straight day, vowed to fight to the death. A suicide attacker detonated a car bomb northeast of Baghdad, killing six people and wounding the deputy governor who was the intended target.
2004 – Four masked, black-clad men who said they belong to a group that has claimed responsibility for kidnappings and killings in Iraq beheaded a man identified only as a Bulgarian in a video posted on the Internet.

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