This Day in U.S. Military History…… February 7

7 February
1774 – The special investigative commission reports to the English Privy Council that the Massachusetts petition calling for the dismissal of Governor hutchinson and provincial secretary Andrew Oliver is based on false charges. For his role in the matter, having sent letters belonging to Governor Hutchinson to Boston where they were publicly read (and which played a role in fomenting the Boston Tea Party) by Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin was removed from his office as Deputy Postmaster General for America.
1795 – The 11th Amendment to US Constitution was ratified. The Eleventh Amendment, which was the first Constitutional amendment after the adoption of the Bill of Rights, was adopted following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 U.S. 419 (1793). In Chisholm, the Court ruled that federal courts had the authority to hear cases in law and equity brought by private citizens against states and that states did not enjoy sovereign immunity from suits made by citizens of other states in federal court. Thus, the amendment clarified Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution, which gave diversity jurisdiction to the judiciary to hear cases “between a state and citizens of another state.”
1799 – In Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, federal marshals arrest John Fries, the leader of a taxpayer’s rebellion. Fires had raised a force of several hundred men in Bucks, Montgomery and Northampton counties in order to protest the direct federal tax implemented by the acts of July 9 and 14, 1798 to raise revenue for the anticipated war with France. Tried twice, Fries will be convicted of treason both times. Although sentenced to death, he will be pardoned by President Adams.
1800 – USS Essex becomes first U.S. Navy vessel to cross the Equator.
1815 – The Board of Naval Commissioners, a group of senior officers, is established to oversee the operation and maintenance of the Navy, under the direction of the Secretary of the Navy.
1832 – 250 Marines defeated Malay pirates in Sumatra, Indonesia.
1861 – The Choctaw Nation declares its allegiance to the Confederacy.
1862 – One day after the fall of Fort Henry on the Tennessee River, Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston, commander of Rebel forces in the west, orders 15,000 reinforcements to Fort Donelson. This fort lay on the Cumberland River just a few miles from Fort Henry. Johnston’s decision turned out to be a mistake, as many of the troops were captured when the Fort Donelson fell to the Yankees on February 16. During the fall and winter of 1861 to 1862, the Union army and navy penetrated through Kentucky and into Tennessee. Led by General Ulysses S. Grant, the Yankees were gaining crucial advantages by controlling parts of the major rivers in the upper South. Johnston sought to stop the bleeding of lost Confederate territory by strengthening the garrison inside Fort Donelson. In retrospect, his mistake was in not providing enough support to Donelson. Johnston wanted to buy time so he could gather his forces from eastern Kentucky and Tennessee to Nashville, which lay south and east of Fort Donelson. If Johnston had concentrated his force at Donelson, he would have had a significant advantage over Grant. Instead, Grant surrounded the fort and sent a squadron to attack from the river. On February 16, the Yankees cut off the fort from the south and forced the surrender of 15,000 Confederates. After the fall of Fort Donelson, Johnston gathered his remaining forces to northern Mississippi. On April 6 at Shiloh, the western armies clashed in one of the most destructive battles of the war. Johnston was killed in the Confederate defeat.
1862 – Roanoke Isle, N.C. seized by Marines and Soldiers in battle with Confederates.
1864 – Union troops commanded by Major General Q A Gilmore occupy Jacksonville, Florida.
1876 – Pres Grant’s private secretary, Gen. Orville E. Babcock, was acquitted of involvement in the Whiskey Ring. The “Whiskey Ring” was a conspiracy among distillers, revenue collectors, and high federal officials to avoid taxation through fraudulent reports on whiskey production. 230 indictments were secured, but no convictions were made. Grant helped Babcock secure an acquittal for his part in the ring. This affair contributed to the reputation for corruption that Grant’s administrations acquired.
1886 – Riots amounting to a small war erupt agains the Chinese in Seatle, Washington. At least 400 are forcibly ejected from their homes. Federal troops are required to restore order. Harpers Weekly of March 6, 1886th reported these facts: “By a preconcerted plan, of which neither the law-abiding citizens of the town nor the Chinamen had a hint, a mob invaded the Chinese quarter late Saturday night, forcibly but quietly entered the houses, dragged the occupants from their beds, forced them quickly to pack their personal effects, and marched them to a steamer. The mob was thoughtful enough to provide wagons to convey the baggage of its victims. Some had money enough to pay their fare to San Francisco, and many did not, but the mob made no distinction. The few policemen that became aware of the wrong-doing had no power and slight willingness to prevent it, and before the sleeping citizens of the town or the county officers knew what was going on, 400 Chinamen were shivering on the dock. The Sheriff ordered the mob to disperse, but the only result of his order was a hastening of the work of expulsion. The captain of the steam-ship admitted all the Chinamen who had bought tickets, but refused to allow the others to go on board. He armed his crew and attached hose to his boilers, and thus assumed the defensive. Not more than 80 of the 400 Chinamen purchased tickets and safety.”
1894 – The US House of Representatives passed a resolution that prevented the sending of US troops to Hawaii to restore Queen Lili’uokalani.
1894 – The Cripple Creek miners’ strike of 1894 was a five-month strike by the Western Federation of Miners (WFM) in Cripple Creek, Colorado, USA. It resulted in a victory for the union and was followed in 1903 by the Colorado Labor Wars. It is notable for being the only time in United States history when a state militia was called out (May/June 1894) in support of striking workers. The strike was characterized by firefights and use of dynamite, and ended after a standoff between the Colorado state militia and a private force working for owners of the mines. In the years after the strike, the WFM’s popularity and power increased significantly through the region.
1914 – Pursuant to the Convention for Safety at Sea in London, President Woodrow Wilson directed that the Revenue Cutter Service undertake the task of manning the International Ice Patrol. Henceforth, the Revenue Cutter Service and the Coast Guard, with brief respites during both World Wars, served in this capacity.
1915 – 1st wireless message sent from a moving train to a station was received.
1917 – The British steamer California is sunk off the coast of Ireland by a German U-boat.
1928 – The United States signed an arbitration treaty with France.
1930 – In Kowloon a unified Communist Party of Vietnam (Viet nam Cong Sang Dang) is founded under the leadership of Nguyen Ai Quoc. I Hong Kong the Indochinese Communist Party is also born under his leadership
1942 – Presidential order creates the War Shipping Administration which assumed control over all phases of merchant marine activities.
1942 – The federal government ordered passenger car production stopped and converted to wartime purposes. In spite of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s exhortation that the U.S. auto industry should become the “great arsenal of democracy,” Detroit’s executives were reluctant to join the war cause. However, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the country mobilized behind the U.S. declaration of war. The government offered automakers guaranteed profits regardless of production costs throughout the war years. Furthermore, the Office of Production Management allocated $11 billion to the construction of war manufacturing plants that would be sold to the automobile manufacturers at remarkable discounts after the war. What had at first seemed like a burden on the automotive industry became a boon. The production demands placed on the industry and the resources allocated to the individual automobile manufacturers during the war would revolutionize American car making and bring about the Golden Era of the 1950s.
1943 – During a fierce convoy battle near Greenland, the CGC Ingham rescued 33 survivors from the torpedoed troopship SS Henry Mallory while the Bibb rescued 202. Bibb then rescued 33 from the torpedoed Kalliopi.
1943 – The government announced that shoe rationing would go into effect in two days, limiting each purchaser to three pairs for the remainder of the year.
1943 – On Guadalcanal the US 161st Regiment continues a cautious advance. The Japanese proceed with their evacuation.
1944 – In the Kwajalein Atoll, American forces complete the elimination of isolated Japanese pockets of resistance.
1944 – At the Anzio beachhead, there are new attacks on the British 1st Division by German forces. The Germans aim for the village of Aprilia and “The Factory” nearby. Meanwhile, the British 56th Division and the US 45th Division arrive at Anzio.
1945 – In the US 5th Corps advance toward the Roer, Schmidt is taken. To the south, US 3rd Army units move into Germany east of the Our.
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 – US 76th and 5th Infantry divisions began crossing Sauer.
1947 – Arabs and Jews rejected a British proposal to split Palestine.
1948 – Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower resigned as Army chief of staff and was succeeded by Gen. Omar Bradley. Eisenhower will become President of Columbia University.
1950 – The United States and Great Britain extend de jure recognition to the Bao Dai regime. Vietnam is now effectively split between a communist-influenced north and an anti-communist south.
1950 – Sen Joe McCarthy claimed “communists” in US Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
1955 – Seventh Fleet ships begin evacuation of Chinese nationalists from Tachen Islands1962 – President Kennedy began the blockade of Cuba.
1962 – The United States bans all Cuban imports and exports.
1965 – As part of Operation Flaming Dart, 49 U.S. Navy jets from the 7th Fleet carriers Coral Sea and Hancock drop bombs and rockets on the barracks and staging areas at Dong Hoi, a guerrilla training camp in North Vietnam. Escorted by U.S. jets, a follow-up raid by South Vietnamese planes bombed a North Vietnamese military communications center. These strikes were in retaliation for communist attacks on the U.S. installation at Camp Holloway and the adjacent Pleiku airfield in the Central Highlands, which killed eight U.S. servicemen, wounded 109, and destroyed or damaged 20 aircraft. Even before the attack, presidential advisors John T. McNaughton and McGeorge Bundy had favored bombing North Vietnam. After the attack in the Central Highlands, they strongly urged President Johnson to order the retaliatory raids. Johnson agreed and gave the order to commence Operation Flaming Dart, hoping that a quick and effective retaliation would persuade the North Vietnamese to cease their attacks in South Vietnam. Bundy, who had just returned from Vietnam, defended the air raids as “right and necessary.” Senate Majority Leader Mansfield (D-Montana) and GOP leader Everett Dirksen (Illinois) supported the president’s decision, but Senators Wayne Morse (D-Oregon) and Ernest Gruening (D-Alaska) attacked the action as a dangerous escalation of the war. The retaliatory raids did not have the desired effect. On February 10, the Viet Cong struck again, this time at an American installation in Qui Nhon, killing 23 Americans. Johnson quickly ordered another retaliatory strike, Flaming Dart II.
1968 – North Vietnamese used 11 Soviet-built light tanks to overrun the U.S. Special Forces camp at Lang Vei at the end of an 18-hour long siege.
1971 – Operation Dewey Canyon II ends, but U.S. units continue to provide support for South Vietnamese army operations in Laos. Operation Dewey Canyon II began on January 30 as the initial phase of Lam Son 719, the South Vietnamese invasion of Laos that was to commence on February 8. The purpose of the South Vietnamese operation was to interdict the Ho Chi Minh Trail, advance to Tchepone in Laos, and destroy the North Vietnamese supply dumps in the area. In Dewey Canyon II, the vanguard of the U.S. 1st Brigade, 5th Infantry Division, an armored cavalry/engineer task force, cleared the road from Vandegrift Combat Base (southwest of Cam Lo in the region south of the DMZ) along highway Route 9 toward Khe Sanh. The area was cleared so that 20,000 South Vietnamese troops could reoccupy 1,000 square miles of territory in northwest South Vietnam and mass at the Laotian border in preparation for the invasion of Laos. In accordance with a U.S. congressional ban, U.S. ground forces were not to enter Laos. Instead, the only direct U.S. support permitted was long-range cross-border artillery fire, fixed-wind air strikes, and 2,600 helicopters to airlift Saigon troops and supplies.
1974 – The island nation of Grenada won independence from Britain.
1984 – While in orbit 170 miles above Earth, Navy Captain Bruce McCandless becomes the first human being to fly untethered in space when he exits the U.S. space shuttle Challenger and maneuvers freely, using a bulky white rocket pack of his own design. McCandless orbited Earth in tangent with the shuttle at speeds greater than 17,500 miles per hour and flew up to 320 feet away from the Challenger. After an hour and a half testing and flying the jet-powered backpack and admiring Earth, McCandless safely reentered the shuttle. Later that day, Army Lieutenant Colonel Robert Stewart tried out the rocket pack, which was a device regarded as an important step toward future operations to repair and service orbiting satellites and to assemble and maintain large space stations. It was the fourth orbital mission of the space shuttle Challenger.
1986 – President-for-Life Jean-Claude Duvlaier of Haiti is flown to France on a United States jet after fleeing his country.
1990 – The Central Committee of the Soviet Union’s Communist Party agrees to endorse President Mikhail Gorbachev’s recommendation that the party give up its 70-year long monopoly of political power. The Committee’s decision to allow political challenges to the party’s dominance in Russia was yet another signal of the impending collapse of the Soviet system. At the end of three days of extremely stormy meetings dealing with economic and political reforms in the Soviet Union, the Central Committee announced that it was endorsing the idea that the Soviet Communist Party should make “no claim for any particular role to be encoded in the Constitution” that was currently being rewritten. The proposal was but one of many made by President Gorbachev during the meetings. Critics of Gorbachev’s plan charged that dissipating the Communist Party’s power would erode the gains made since the Bolshevik Revolution and would weaken the international stature of the Soviet Union. Supporters, however, carried the day–they noted the impatience of the Soviet people with the slow pace of change and the general pessimism about the crumbling economy under communist rule. As one Communist Party official noted, “Society itself will decide whether it wishes to adopt our politics.” However, he was also quick to add that the move by the Central Committee did not mean that the Communist Party was removing itself from public affairs. Many foreign observers stressed that even in a new pluralistic political system in Russia, the well-established party would have immense advantages over any challengers. The response from the United States was surprise and cautious optimism. One State Department official commented that, “The whole Soviet world is going down the drainpipe with astonishing speed. It’s mind-boggling.” Former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger indicated that he was “personally gratified and astonished that anyone would have the chance to say such things in Moscow without being shot.” President George Bush was more circumspect, merely congratulating President Gorbachev for his “restraint and finesse.” Ironically, the fact that the Communist Party was willing to accept political challenges to its authority indicated how desperately it was trying to maintain its weakening power over the country. The measures were little help, however–President Gorbachev resigned on December 25, 1991 and the Soviet Union officially ceased to exist on December 31, 1991.
1991 – Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and General Colin L. Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, left for a visit to the Gulf War zone.
1995 – Ramzi Yousef, the alleged mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing, was arrested in Islamabad, Pakistan, after two years as a fugitive.
1997 – The Air Force suspended all its flights in restricted training areas on the East Coast after two close calls between National Guard jets and civilian airliners.
1999 – NASA launched the Stardust spacecraft on a mission to chase a comet in hopes of collecting a sample of comet dust.
2001 – The space shuttle Atlantis took off with the Destiny module, a laboratory compartment, for the Int’l. Space Station.
2001 – Turkish government officials state that Turkey aims to import about 80,000 barrels per day of Iraqi Kirkuk crude oil in 2002, an increase over the 50,000 barrels per day imported in 2001. The oil, which is taken into Turkey by truck, is transported by Turkey’s foreign trade undersecretariat, for refining by Tupras. The trade is outside of the United Nations oil-for-food program.
2001 – In Washington Robert Pickett (47), an accountant with a history of mental illness, was shot in the leg by a Secret Service agent after brandishing a hand gun outside the White House gates.
2002 – The Bush administration allowed Geneva accords to cover Taliban fighters but not members of al Qaeda.
2003 – President Bush courted the leaders of France and China in an uphill struggle to win U.N. backing for war with Iraq.
2003 – The US moved its terror alert status to orange, the 2nd highest level. Attorney General John Ashcroft said the government had received intelligence information, corroborated by multiple sources, that Osama bin Laden’s terror organization sought to attack Americans at home or abroad during the annual hajj pilgrimage to the holy Saudi city of Mecca.
2003 – The CGC Matagorda, a 110-foot Island Class patrol boat, became the first cutter to begin the Integrated Deepwater System modernization and life extension overhaul when she was decommissioned on 7 February 2003 at the Bollinger Shipyard in Lockport, LA.
2005 – US troops manning a checkpoint found 4 Egyptian technicians who had been kidnapped the previous day in Baghdad, freeing them and arresting some of the abductors.
2005 – UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan suspended the head of the UN oil-for-food program in Iraq and a senior official who dealt with contracts, following an independent investigation that accused them of misconduct.
2006 – Mounir El Motassadeq, a member of the Hamburg cell led by Mohamed Atta, is ordered an early release by the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany. The Berlin court rules there is an absence of proof in the government’s case that Motassadeq was informed about the 9/11 terrorist plot.
2008 – Space Shuttle Atlantis launches successfully on its STS-122 mission. STS-122 was a NASA Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS), flown by the Space Shuttle Atlantis. STS-122 marked the 24th shuttle mission to the ISS, and the 121st space shuttle flight since STS-1. The mission was also referred to as ISS-1E by the ISS program. The primary objective of STS-122 was to deliver the European Columbus science laboratory, built by the European Space Agency (ESA), to the station. It also returned Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Daniel M. Tani to Earth. Tani was replaced on Expedition 16 by Léopold Eyharts, a French Flight Engineer representing ESA. After Atlantis’ landing, the orbiter was prepared for STS-125, the final servicing mission for the Hubble Space Telescope.
2008 – British Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri will be extradited to the United States to face terror charges.

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