1676 – In King Philip’s War Narragansett and Nipmuck Indians, searching for food, raided Lancaster, Mass. Over 35 villagers were killed and 24 were taken captive including Mary Rowlandson and her 3 children. Rowlandson was freed after 11 weeks and an account of her captivity was published posthumously in 1682.
1677 – Virginia Governor William Berkley revokes the royal pardon which Colonel Herbert Jeffreys has brought for rebels of Bacon’s Rebellion. In defiance of the Crown, Berkley proceeds to execute 23 of the rebels.
1763 – The Seven Years’ War, a global conflict known in America as the French and Indian War, ends with the signing of the Treaty of Paris by France, Great Britain, and Spain. In the early 1750s, France’s expansion into the Ohio River valley repeatedly brought the country into armed conflict with the British colonies. In 1756, the British formally declared war against France. In the first year of the war, the British suffered a series of defeats at the hands of the French and their broad network of Native American alliances. However, in 1757, British Prime Minister William Pitt (the older) recognized the potential of imperial expansion that would come out of victory against the French and borrowed heavily to fund an expanded war effort. Pitt financed Prussia’s struggle against France and her allies in Europe and reimbursed the colonies for the raising of armies in North America. By 1760, the French had been expelled from Canada, and by 1763 all of France’s allies in Europe had either made a separate peace with Prussia or had been defeated. In addition, Spanish attempts to aid France in the Americas had failed, and France also suffered defeats against British forces in India. The Seven Years’ War ended with the signing of the treaties of Hubertusburg and Paris in February 1763. In the Treaty of Paris, France lost all claims to Canada and gave Louisiana to Spain, while Britain received Spanish Florida, Upper Canada, and various French holdings overseas. The treaty ensured the colonial and maritime supremacy of Britain and strengthened the 13 American colonies by removing their European rivals to the north and the south. Fifteen years later, French bitterness over the loss of most of their colonial empire contributed to their intervention in the American Revolution on the side of the Patriots.
1840 – A House resolution was introduced to inquire into transferring the Revenue Marine to the Navy.
1855 – US citizenship laws were amended to include all children of US parents born abroad.
1861 – Jefferson Davis receives word that he has been selected president of the new Confederate States of America. Davis was at his plantation, Brierfield, pruning rose bushes with his wife Varina when a messenger arrived from nearby Vicksburg. It was not a job he wanted, but he accepted it out of a sense of duty to his new country. Varina later wrote that she saw her husband’s face grow pale and she recalled, “Reading that telegram he looked so grieved that I feared some evil had befallen our family. After a few minutes he told me like a man might speak of a sentence of death.” Davis said of the job: “I have no confidence in my ability to meet its requirement. I think I could perform the function of a general.” He could see the difficulties involved in launching the new nation. “Upon my weary heart was showered smiles, plaudits, and flowers, but beyond them I saw troubles innumerable. We are without machinery, without means, and threatened by powerful opposition but I do not despond and will not shrink from the task before me.” Davis was prescient in his concerns. He drew sharp criticism during the war–Alexander Stephens, the vice president, said Davis was “weak and vacillating, timid, petulant, peevish, obstinate,” and Stephens declared that he held “no more feeling of resentment toward him” than he did toward his “poor old blind and deaf dog.”
1862 – Following the capture of Roanoke Island, a naval flotilla, including embarked Marines, under Commander Rowan in U.S.S. Delaware, pursuing Flag Officer Lynch’s retiring Confederate naval force up the Pasquotank River, engaged the gunboats and batteries at Elizabeth City, North Caro¬lina. C.S.S. Ellis was captured and C.S.S. Seabird was sunk; C.S.S. Black Warrior, Fanny, and Forrest were set on fire to avoid capture; the fort and batteries at Cobb’s Point were destroyed. Of Commander Rowan’s success, Admiral Daniel Ammen later wrote: ”Nothing more brilliant in naval ‘dash’ occurred during the entire Civil War than appears in this attack.” One example of “dash” was called to Flag Officer L. N. Goldsborough’s attention by Commander Rowan. ”I would respectfully call your attention to one incident of the engagement which reflects much credit upon a quarter gunner of the Valley City and for which Congress has provided rewards in the shape of medals. A shot passed through her magazine and exploded in a locker beyond containing fireworks. The commander, Lieutenant Commander Chaplain, went there to aid in sup¬pressing the fire, where he found John Davis, quarter gunner, seated with commendable coolness on an open barrel of powder as the only means to keep the fire out.” For demonstrating such courage, ”while at the same time passing powder to provide the division on the upper deck while under fierce enemy fire,” Davis was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by General Order 11, 3 April 1863.
1865 – The Confederate Navy began its last attempt to gain control of the James River and thus force the withdrawal of General Grant’s army by cutting its communications at City Point. The expedition of 100 officers and men was led by the audacious naval lieutenant, Charles W. Read. He loaded four torpedo boats on wagons and started overland from Drewry’s Bluff. The plan called for marching to a place below City Point on the James River where the party would launch the boats, capture any passing tugs or steamers, and outfit these prizes with spats and torpedoes. The expedition would then ascend the river and attack and sink the Union monitors, leaving the Union gunboats at the mercy of the Confederate ironclads. The James, without which Grant would be denied transport and supplies, would be under Confederate control from Richmond to Hampton Roads.
1890 – Around 11 million acres, ceded to US by Sioux Indians, opened for settlement.
1896 – Insurgents in Cuba are suppressed when General Valeriano Wyler arrives from Spain. The “Yellow Press” quickly dubs him “the Butcher.”
1900 – Appointment of first naval governor of Guam, Commodore Seaton Schroder.
1915 – President Wilson blasted the British for using the U.S. flag on merchant ships to deceive the Germans. He also warned the Kaiser that he would hold Germany “to a strict accountability” for U.S. lives and property endangered. In Europe [Lithuania], the Germans encircled and captured 100,000 Russians near Nieman River. When the United States entered World War I, propagandist George Creel set out to stifle anti-war sentiment.
1940 – CGCs Bibb and Duane make first transmissions as weather stations.
1940 – President Roosevelt condemns the USSR, saying the US backs Finland.
1941 – Iceland was attacked by German planes. In July, the US 5th Division will be deployed for the defense of Iceland.
1942 – The war halted civilian car production at Ford. Henry Ford opposed America’s entry into World War II until the attack on Pearl Harbor, which inspired him to begin an all-out effort to manufacture planes and vehicles for the war effort.
1942 – The former French liner Normandie capsized in New York Harbor a day after it caught fire while being refitted for the U.S. Navy.
1942 – Japanese submarine launches a brutal attack on Midway, a coral atoll used as a U.S. Navy base. It was the fourth bombing of the atoll by Japanese ships since December 7. The capture of Midway was an important part of the broader Japanese strategy of trying to create a defensive line that would stretch from the western Aleutian Islands in the north to the Midway, Wake, Marshall, and Gilbert Islands in the south, then west to the Dutch West Indies. Occupying Midway would also mean depriving the United States of a submarine base and would provide the perfect launching pad for an all-out assault on Hawaii. Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, mastermind of the Pearl Harbor attack and commander in chief of the Japanese combined fleet, knew that only the utter destruction of U.S. naval capacity would ensure Japanese free reign in the Pacific. Japanese bombing of the atoll by ship and submarine failed to break through the extraordinary defense put up by Adm. Chester Nimitz, commander of the U.S. Navy in the Pacific, who used every resource available to protect Midway and, by extension, Hawaii. Yamamoto persevered with an elaborate warship operation, called Mi, launched in June, but the Battle of Midway was a disaster for Japan, and was the turning point for ultimate American victory in the Pacific.
1944 – Australian forces advancing from Sio link up with American forces near Saidor. Allied forces now occupy most of the Huon Peninsula.
1945 – German forces open the Schwammenauel Dam, opposite the US 1st Army, in a partially successful attempt to delay the advance of the American forces nearby.
1945 – American USAAF B-24 and B-29 bombers raid Iwo Jima in preparation for the landings later in the month. They drop a daily average of 450 tons of bombs over the course of 15 days (6800 tons).
1945 – Task Force 58, with Marine Fighter Squadrons 123, 216, 217, 212, and 451 on board carriers, attacked Tokyo and provided air cover support for Iwo Jima landing forces. They also bombed and strafed Okinawa.
1951 – Eighth Army units retook Inchon and Kimpo airfield. U.N. patrols entered Seoul.
1952 – Operation CLAM-UP began as a moratorium and was imposed on the use of infantry patrols, indirect fire missions and close-air support. The purpose of CLAM-UP was to lure the enemy into investigating the situation and them ambushing them. Unfortunately, the communists did not respond to the bait.
1953 – General James A. Van Fleet retired. General Maxwell D. Taylor assumed command of Eighth Army.
1954 – Eisenhower warned against US intervention in Vietnam.
1955 – Bell Aircraft displayed a fixed-wing vertical takeoff plane. An ingenious blend of airplane and helicopter features, the Fairey Rotodyne was a case of almost–but not quite enough.
1960 – USS Sargo (SSN-583) surfaces at North Pole.
1962 – Francis Gary Powers, an American who was shot down over the Soviet Union while flying a CIA spy plane in 1960, is released by the Soviets in exchange for the U.S. release of a Russian spy. The exchange concluded one of the most dramatic episodes of the Cold War. Powers had been a pilot of one of the high altitude U-2 spy planes developed by the United States in the late-1950s. Supposedly invulnerable to any Soviet antiaircraft defense, the U-2s flew numerous missions over Russia, photographing military installations. On May 1, 1960, Powers’ U-2 was shot down by a Soviet missile. Although Powers was supposed to engage the plane’s self-destruct system (and commit suicide with poison furnished by the CIA), he and much of the plane were captured. The United States at first denied involvement with the flight, but had to admit that Powers was working for the U.S. government when the Soviets presented incontrovertible evidence. In retaliation, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev called off a scheduled summit with President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Powers was put on trial, convicted of espionage, and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. In February 1962, the Soviet Union announced that it was freeing Powers because of a petition from the prisoner’s family. American officials made it quite clear, however, that Abel was being exchanged for Powers-a spy-for-a-spy trade, not a humanitarian gesture on the part of the Soviet Union. The U.S. government announced that in exchange for Powers, it would release Col. Rudolf Abel, a Russian convicted of espionage in the United States. On February 10, Abel and Powers were brought to the Gilenicker Bridge that linked East and West Berlin for the exchange. After the men were successfully exchanged, Powers was flown back to the United States. In an announcement, the Soviet Union declared that its release of Powers was partially motivated by “a desire to improve relations between the Soviet Union and the United States.” U.S. officials were cautious in evaluating the Soviet overture, but did note that the action could certainly help lessen Cold War tensions. The exchange was part of the ongoing diplomatic dance between Khrushchev and President John F. Kennedy. Both men seemed earnestly to desire better relations, and the February 1962 exchange was no doubt part of their efforts. Just a few months later, however, the Cuban Missile Crisis, in which the Soviets helped construct missile bases in Cuba, erased the memory of these diplomatic overtures and brought the two powers to the brink of nuclear conflict.
1965 – Viet Cong guerrillas blow up the U.S. barracks at Qui Nhon, 75 miles east of Pleiku on the central coast, with a 100-pound explosive charge under the building. A total of 23 U.S. personnel were killed, as well as two Viet Cong. In response to the attack, President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered a retaliatory air strike operation on North Vietnam called Flaming Dart II. This was the second in a series of retaliations launched because of communist attacks on U.S. installations in South Vietnam. Just 48 hours before, the Viet Cong struck Camp Holloway and the adjacent Pleiku airfield in the Central Highlands. This attack killed eight U.S. servicemen, wounded 109, and destroyed or damaged 20 aircraft. With his advisors advocating a strong response, President Johnson gave the order to launch Operation Flaming Dart, retaliatory air raids on a barracks and staging areas at Dong Hoi, a guerrilla training camp 40 miles north of the 17th parallel in North Vietnam. Johnson hoped that quick and effective retaliation would persuade the North Vietnamese to cease their attacks in South Vietnam. Unfortunately, Operation Flaming Dart did not have the desired effect. The attack on Qui Nhon was only the latest in a series of communist attacks on U.S. installations, and Flaming Dart II had very little effect.
1966 – Protester David Miller was convicted of burning his draft card.
1967 – The 25th Amendment to the Constitution, dealing with succession to the Presidency and establishes procedures both for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, as well as responding to Presidential disabilities, is ratified. It supersedes the ambiguous wording of Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 of the Constitution, which does not expressly state whether the Vice President becomes the President, as opposed to an Acting President, if the President dies, resigns, is removed from office or is otherwise unable to discharge the powers of the presidency.
1988 – A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco struck down the Army’s ban on homosexuals, saying gays were entitled to the same protection against discrimination as racial minorities. However, the ruling was later set aside by the full appeals court.
1991 – In a broadcast on Baghdad Radio, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein praised his countrymen for withstanding attacks by allied warplanes and rockets.
1992 – Retired Coast Guard Chief Journalist Alex Haley, internationally noted author and the first person to ever hold that rate in the Coast Guard, dies of a heart attack. Born in Ithaca, New York, Haley grew up in Henning, Tennessee, where he listened to family stories told by his maternal grandmother. A mediocre student at Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College and at Elizabeth City Teachers College, Haley later spent two decades with the U.S. Coast Guard as a journalist, writing adventure stories to take the edge off his boredom. When he retired, he moved back to New York to pursue a writing career. He interviewed trumpeter Miles Davis and political activist Malcolm X for Playboy in the 1960s and later collaborated with the Black Muslim spokesman to write The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965), an acclaimed work that fueled the black-power movement in America and was cited extensively in institutions of higher learning. Haley then started his best-known work, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, published in 1976. The blend of fact and fiction, drawn largely from stories recited by Haley’s grandmother, chronicles seven generations of Haley’s family history, from the enslavement of his ancestors to his own quest to trace his family tree. To write the mostly nonfiction work, Haley pored over records in the National Archives and went by safari to the African village of Juffure to meet with an oral historian (Haley later donated money to that village for a new mosque). In the early 1970s, he and his brothers founded the Kinte Foundation, named for Haley’s ancestor Kunta Kinte, to collect and preserve African American genealogy records. Haley received special citations from the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award committees in 1977 for Roots, which sold more than a million copies in one year. It was translated into 26 languages. Later in his life, Haley wrote a biography of Frank Wills, the security guard who discovered the break-in at the Watergate Hotel that brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency.
1997 – The Army suspended its top-ranking enlisted soldier, Army Sgt. Major Gene McKinney, following sexual misconduct allegations.
1997 – The city of Cincinnati revealed plans for a new $80 museum for its role in the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. The museum and freedom center were scheduled to open in 2002.
1999 – US and British jets again hit Iraqi air defense sites. It was reported that Saddam Hussein has offered $14,000 to air defense troops who shoot down a US or British plane.
2000 – In Yemen tribesmen released Kenneth White (54), an American oil executive, who was kidnapped a month ago.
2001 – The space shuttle Atlantis’ astronauts installed the $1.4 billion Destiny laboratory on the international space station.
2003 – Afghanistan became the 89th nation to join the International Criminal Court.
2003 – In Kabul, Afghanistan, Germany and the Netherlands took control of the 22-nation peacekeeping force (ISAF) charged with keeping order, replacing Turkey.
2003 – A Chinese court convicted U.S.-based dissident Wang Bingzhang on spying and terrorism charges and sentenced him to life in prison.
2003 – France, Germany and Belgium blocked NATO efforts to begin planning for possible Iraqi attacks against Turkey. Turkey responds and becomes the first country in NATO’s 53-year history to publicly invoke Article 4 of the alliance’s mutual defense treaty which binds the 19 allies to talks when one perceives a threat to its “territorial integrity, political independence or security”.
2003 – Iraq agreed to allow U-2 surveillance flights over its territory, meeting a key demand by U.N. inspectors searching for banned weapons; President Bush, however, brushed aside Iraqi concessions as too little, too late.
2004 – The US broke ground for a new U.S. Embassy compound in the Chinese capital, billed by the American government as the largest State Department project ever built on foreign soil.
2004 – Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi met with Libya leader Moammar Gadhafi, and the United States said it had restored diplomatic contacts with the country. In London, Prime Minister Tony Blair held talks with the Libyan foreign minister.
2005 – New York civil rights lawyer Lynne Stewart was convicted of smuggling messages of violence from one of her jailed clients, radical Egyptian sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, to his terrorist disciples on the outside. In 2006 Stewart was sentenced to 28 months in prison.
2005 – North Korea announced for the first time that it has nuclear arms and rejected moves to restart disarmament talks anytime soon, saying it needs the weapons as protection against an increasingly hostile United States.
2007 – David Petraeus was made commander of Multi-National Force – Iraq (MNF-I), the four-star post that oversees all coalition forces in country, replacing General George Casey. In his new position, Petraeus oversaw all coalition forces in Iraq and employed them in the new “Surge” strategy outlined by the Bush administration. 2007 also saw a sharp increase in insurgent chlorine bombings.
2008 – U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates also arrives in Iraq from a Germany security conference to meet with Iraqi leaders, General David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker.
2013 – American general Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. takes over command of NATO forces in Afghanistan, replacing John R. Allen.
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