HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015
1600 – Scotland begins its numbered year on January 1 instead of March 25. The rest of Great Britain follows suite in 1752.
1698 – The Abenaki Indians and Massachusetts colonists sign a treaty halting hostilities between the two.
1735 – Paul Revere was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He attended North Grammar School. He served for a short time in the French and Indian War. After the war, he married Sarah Orne and entered his father’s silversmith business. Paul Revere soon became interested in the issue of American liberty. He received lots of attention from political cartoons he drew. Paul Revere was a member of the “Sons of Liberty.” On December 16, 1773, he took part in the Boston Tea Party. On April 18, 1775, Revere and William Dawes were sent to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock of British plans to march from Boston to seize military stores at Concord. A signal was established to warn if the British were coming by land or by sea. From the steeple of the Old North Church in Boston, two lanterns would mean the British were coming by sea, and one would mean by land. One lantern was lit. The British were coming by land. Revere left Boston around 10 PM. Along the road to Lexington, he warned residents that “the British are coming!” He arrived in Lexington around midnight riding a borrowed horse. At 1 AM, Revere, William Dawes, and Dr. Samuel Prescott left for Concord. Revere was captured. Only Prescott got through to Concord. Revere was released without his horse and returned to Lexington. At Lexington he joined Adams and Hancock and fled into safety in Burlington. Revere returned to rescue valuable papers in Hancock’s trunk. When the British arrived on April 19, the minutemen were waiting for them. In 1778 and 1779, Revere commanded a garrison at Castle Williams in Boston Harbor. Revere left the service in disrepute. During and after the war, Revere continued his silversmith trade in Boston. He died on May 10, 1818.
1745 – Anthony Wayne was born near Philadelphia at Waynesborough, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Wayne was named for his grandfather, who had fought for the British army before emigrating to America. After studying in Philadelphia, Wayne surveyed the coast of Nova Scotia and later returned to the family farm in Pennsylvania. With the outbreak of war with England in 1776, Wayne was commissioned a colonel and assisted General Benedict Arnold in his retreat from Quebec. He held various positions with the Continental Army and endured the long winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge. In 1779, Wayne and his troops captured the English garrison at Stony Point, N.Y. Sent south in 1781, Wayne and his command were hemmed in by British General Charles Cornwallis’ superior forces at Green Springs, Va., but managed to escape with his men. He then served under General Nathaniel Greene, helping to force the British out of Georgia and South Carolina in 1782. Wayne was recalled as a major general by Washington in 1792 to lead the Legion of the United States against the native American forces in Ohio and Indiana. The United States under Generals Harmar and St. Clair had suffered successive defeats to a confederation of tribes, Wayne’s troops defeated the native Americans at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, Ohio. The victory led to the Wayne’s Treaty of Greeneville in 1795, which opened the Northwest Territory to white settlement. After accepting the surrender of Detroit in 1796, he was seized with a severe attack of gout and died at Fort Presque Isle, Penn., Dec. 15, 1796. In 1809, his son retrieved the skeleton of the general, reinterring the flesh there and returning the bones to be buried in the family cemetery in Radnor, Penn.
1776 – The Burning of Norfolk was an incident during the American War of Independence. British Royal Navy ships in the harbor of Norfolk, Virginia began shelling the town, and landing parties came ashore to burn specific properties. The town, whose significantly Tory (Loyalist) population had fled, was occupied by Whig (Revolutionary) forces from Virginia and North Carolina. Although these forces worked to drive off the landing parties, they did nothing to impede the progress of the flames, and began burning and looting Tory properties. After three days, most of the town had been destroyed, principally by the action of the Whig forces. The destruction was completed by Whig forces in early February to deny use of even the remnants to the British. Norfolk was the last significant foothold of British authority in Virginia; after raiding Virginia’s coastal areas for a time, its last Royal Governor, Lord Dunmore, left for good in August 1776.
1752 – Great Britain (excluding Scotland) and its colonies, move New Year to January 1. Previously the British have observed the New Year on March 25. Scotland had changed to January 1 in 1600.
1780 – American patriots conduct a continuing guerrilla campaign against the British in the territory surrounding Augusta, Georgia.
1781 – The Pennsylvania Line Mutiny began, and ended with negotiated settlement on January 8, 1781. The negotiated terms were concluded by January 29, 1781. The mutiny was the most successful and consequential insurrection by Continental Army soldiers during the American Revolutionary War. Although the mutineers demanded a change in their conditions, they refused to defect to the British despite enticement by British Army General Sir Henry Clinton. When negotiations with the Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania promised satisfactory resolution, many of the soldiers returned to arms for the Continental Army and participated in future campaigns. This mutiny inspired a similar insurrection by the New Jersey Line, but instead of a favorable negotiated settlement, several New Jersey soldiers were executed for treason to bring their units back to order.
1782-The supporters of the British cause, the Loyalists, begin to leave the US, mainly for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Among the first to leave are those from the New England states and New York. If they stay, the Loyalists fear legal charges of treason or collaboration, and property confiscation.
1804 – The tradition of the Marine Band serenading the Commandant was established.
1808 – A U.S. law banning the import of slaves comes into effect, but is widely ignored.
1815 – At New Orleans, British commander Sir Edward Pakenham leads an attack against the US fortifications around the city. Under General Andrew Jackson, the US Artillery proves superior, and the British are forced to withdraw in order to await reinforcements.
1862 – U.S.S. Yankee, Lieutenant Eastman, and U.S.S. Anacostia, Lieutenant Oscar C. Badger, exchanged fire with Confederate batteries at Cockpit Point, Potomac River; Yankee was damaged slightly. Attacks by ships of the Potomac Flotilla were instrumental in forcing the withdrawal of strong Confederate emplacements along the river. Batteries at Cockpit and Shipping Point were abandoned by 9 March 1862.
1863 – Confederate General Braxton Bragg and Union General William Rosecrans readjust their troops as the Battle of Murfreesboro continues.
1863 – President Abraham Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, calling on the Union army to liberate all slaves in states still in rebellion as “an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity.” These three million slaves were declared to be “then, thenceforward, and forever free.” The proclamation exempted the border slave states that remained in the Union at the start of the Civil War and all or parts of three Confederate states controlled by the Union army. As a Republican politician, Lincoln had fought to isolate slavery from the new territories, not outlaw it outright, and this policy carried over into his presidency. Even after the Civil War began, Lincoln, though he privately detested slavery, moved cautiously on the emancipation issue. However, in 1862, the federal government began to realize the strategic advantages of emancipation: The liberation of slaves would weaken the Confederacy by depriving it of a major portion of its labor force, which would in turn strengthen the Union by producing an influx of manpower. That year, Congress annulled the fugitive slave laws, prohibited slavery in the U.S. territories, and authorized Lincoln to employ freed slaves in the army. Following the major Union victory at the Battle of Antietam in September, Lincoln issued a warning of his intent to issue an Emancipation Proclamation for all states still in rebellion on New Year’s Day. The Emancipation Proclamation transformed the Civil War from a war against secession into a war for “a new birth of freedom,” as Lincoln stated in his Gettysburg Address in 1863. This ideological change discouraged the intervention of France or England on the Confederacy’s behalf and enabled the Union to enlist the 200,000 African-American soldiers and sailors who volunteered to fight between January 1, 1863, and the conclusion of the war. In 1865, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution formally abolished slavery.
1863 – Confederate warships under Major Leon Smith, CSA, defeated Union blockading forces at Galveston in a fierce surprise attack combined with an assault ashore by Confederate troops that resulted in the capture of the Northern Army company stationed there. Smith’s flotilla included the improvised cotton-clad gunboats C.S.S. Bayou City and Neptune, with Army sharpshooting boarding parties embarked, and tenders John F. Carr and Lucy Gwin. The Union squadron under Commander William B. Renshaw, U.S.S. Harriet Lane, Owasco, Corypheus, Sachem, Clifton, and Westfield, was caught off guard. Despite the surprise, Harriet Lane, Commander Jonathan M. Wainwright, put up a gallant fight. She rammed Bayou City, but without much damage. In turn she was rammed by Neptune, which was so damaged by the resulting impact and a shot from Harriet Lane taken at the waterline that she sank in 8 feet of water. Bayou City, meanwhile, turned and rammed Harriet Lane so heavily that the two ships could not be separated. The troops from the cotton-clad clambered over the bulwarks to board Harriet Lane. Commander Wainwright was killed in the wild hand-to-hand combat and his ship was captured. In the meantime, Westfield, Commander Renshaw, had run aground in Bolivar Channel prior to the action, could not be gotten off, and was destroyed to prevent her capture. Renshaw and a boat crew were killed when Westfield blew up prematurely. The small ships comprising the remainder of the blockading force ran through heavy Confederate fire from ashore and stood out to sea. Surprise and boldness in execution, as often in the long history of warfare, had won another victory. The tribute paid by Major General John Bankhead Magruder, CSA, was well deserved. “The alacrity with which officers and men, all of them totally unacquainted with this novel kind of service, some of whom had never seen a ship before, volunteered for an enterprise so extraordinarily and apparently desperate in its character, and the bold and dashing manner in which the plan was executed, are certainly deserving of the highest praise.”
1883-William Jacob Donovan, American lawyer and director of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), was born in Buffalo, N.Y. Distinguished service in World War I won him medals and the nickname Wild Bill Donovan. He was prominent in Republican politics and served (1925-29) in the office of the Attorney General. President Franklin D. Roosevelt sent him on foreign missions, and in 1942 he was made head of the newly created OSS, which he made into a formidable and successful intelligence agency. Donovan was given the rank of major general and served until 1945, and later returned to public service as ambassador to Thailand (1953-54). His enthusiasm for covert operations and paramilitary interventions helped shape the psychology of the Central Intelligence Agency, which replaced the OSS as the premier U.S. intelligence agency in 1947.
1915 – The German submarine U-24 sinks the British battleship Formidable off the coast of Plymouth Massachusetts.
1920 – Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer and his assistant J. Edgar Hoover, begin prosecution of what he perceives as a “Red Menace.” Without warrants Palmer authorizes raids on private homes and labor headquarters across the country, targeting in particular the members and offices of the International Workers of the World (IWW) known as “wobblies.” In one night he pounces on 33 separate cities and arrests 4000 people. Many are Russians, some are Communists, but most are victims of Palmer’s grab for fame. In Detroit 300 totally innocent people are held for a week, one day without food. Palmer finds no signs of imminent revolution, nor even much radicalism, but he will enjoy public adulation around the country until early May.
1942 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill issue a declaration, signed by representatives of 26 countries, called the “United Nations.” The signatories of the declaration vowed to create an international postwar peacekeeping organization. On December 22, 1941, Churchill arrived in Washington, D.C., for the Arcadia Conference, a discussion with President Roosevelt about a unified Anglo-American war strategy and a future peace. The attack on Pearl Harbor meant that the U.S. was involved in the war, and it was important for Great Britain and America to create and project a unified front against Axis powers. Toward that end, Churchill and Roosevelt created a combined general staff to coordinate military strategy against both Germany and Japan and to draft a plan for a future joint invasion of the Continent. Among the most far-reaching achievements of the Arcadia Conference was the United Nations agreement. Led by the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union, the signatories agreed to use all available resources to defeat the Axis powers. It was agreed that no single country would sue for a separate peace with Germany, Italy, or Japan-they would act in concert. Perhaps most important, the signatories promised to pursue the creation of a future international peacekeeping organization dedicated to ensuring “life, liberty, independence, and religious freedom, and to preserve the rights of man and justice.”
1944 – American aircraft attack a Japanese convoy off Kavieng, New Ireland. The planes are from the carrier task group led by Admiral Sherman.
1945 – In Operation Bodenplatte, The German Luftwaffe makes a series of heavy attacks on Allied airfields in Belgium, Holland and northern France. They have assembled around 800 planes of all types for this effort by deploying every available machine and pilot. Many of the pilots have had so little training that they must fly special formations with an experienced pilot in the lead providing the navigation for the whole force. The Allies are surprised and lose many aircraft on the ground. Among the German aircraft losses for the day are a considerable number of planes shot down by German anti-aircraft fire. Allied losses amount to 300 planes opposed to about 200 German aircraft shot down. Meanwhile, the land battle in the Ardennes continues with the Allied counterattacks gathering force. The most notable gains are by the US 8th Corps. Farther south in Alsace the forces of German Army Group G begins an offensive in the Sarreguemines area (Operation Nordwind) towards Strasbourg. The US 7th Army retires before this attack on orders from Eisenhower.
1946 – The U.S. Coast Guard, which had operated as a service under the U.S. Navy since 1 November 1941, was returned to the U .S. Treasury Department, pursuant to Executive Order 9666, dated 28 December 1945.
1946 – An American soldier accepts the surrender of about 20 Japanese soldiers who only discovered that the war was over by reading it in the newspaper. On the island of Corregidor, located at the mouth of Manila Bay, a lone soldier on detail for the American Graves Registration was busy recording the makeshift graves of American soldiers who had lost their lives fighting the Japanese. He was interrupted when approximately 20 Japanese soldiers approached him-literally waving a white flag. They had been living in an underground tunnel built during the war and learned that their country had already surrendered when one of them ventured out in search of water and found a newspaper announcing Japan’s defeat.
1947 – The American and British occupation zones in Germany, after World War II, merge to form the Bizone, that later became West Germany.
1950 – Mary T. Sproul commissioned as first female doctor in Navy
1951 – As almost half a million Chinese Communist and North Korean troops launched a new ground offensive. They take Inchon and Kimpo Airfied. Fifth Air Force embarked on a campaign of air raids on enemy troop columns.
1951 – General MacArthur told the Japanese that the Korean War might force Japan to rearm.
1954 – NBC makes the first coast-to-coast NTSC color broadcast when it telecast the Tournament of Roses Parade, with public demonstrations given across the United States on prototype color receivers.
1955-The United States Foreign Operations Administration begins sending aid to Southeast Asia. Cambodia, Laos, and South Vietnam will receive $216,000,000 this year.
1955 – In pledging new military assistance to South Vietnam, the United States cites the aid agreement of 23 December 1950 signed by the United States, France, and the French Associated States of Indochina.
1955 – Chief of the US Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) Indochina Lieutenant General John W. O’Daniel is assigned to assist the South Vietnamese government in organizing and training the South Vietnamese Army. All US aid to Vietnam goes directly to Saigon.
1958 – The U.S. Coast Guard ceased listening continuously for distress calls on 2670 kilocycles. Although the countries of the world had agreed at the Atlantic City Convention of the International Telecommunication Union in 1947 to use 2182 kilocycles for international maritime mobile radiotelephone calling and distress, the U.S. Coast Guard had continued listening on the old frequency until the public had had sufficient time to change to the new one.
1959 – Cuban dictator Batista falls from power: In the face of a popular revolution spearheaded by Fidel Castro’s 26th of July Movement, Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista flees the island nation. As celebration and chaos intermingled in the Cuban capitol of Havana, U.S. policymakers debated how best to deal with the radical Castro and the ominous rumblings of anti-Americanism in Cuba. The United States government had supported the American-friendly Batista regime since it came to power in 1952. After Fidel Castro, together with a handful of supporters that included the professional revolutionary Che Guevara, landed in Cuba to unseat Batista in December 1956, the U.S. continued to support Batista. Suspicious of what they believed to be Castro’s leftist ideology and fearful that his ultimate goals might include attacks on U.S. investments and properties in Cuba, American officials were nearly unanimous in opposing his revolutionary movement. Cuban support for Castro’s revolution, however, spread and grew in the late 1950s, partially due to his personal charisma and nationalistic rhetoric, but also because of the increasingly rampant corruption, brutality, and inefficiency within the Batista government. This reality forced U.S. policymakers to slowly withdraw their support from Batista and begin a search in Cuba for an alternative to both the dictator and Castro. American efforts to find a “middle road” between Batista and Castro ultimately failed. On January 1, 1959, Batista and a number of his supporters fled Cuba. Tens of thousands of Cubans (and thousands of Cuban-Americans in the United States) joyously celebrated the end of the dictator’s regime. Castro’s supporters moved quickly to establish their power. Judge Manuel Urrutia was named as provisional president. Castro and his band of guerrilla fighters triumphantly entered Havana on January 7. In the years that followed, the U.S. attitude toward the new revolutionary government would move from cautiously suspicious to downright hostile. As the Castro government moved toward a closer relationship with the Soviet Union, and Castro declared himself to be a Marxist-Leninist, relations between the U.S. and Cuba collapsed into mutual enmity, which continued only somewhat abated through the following decades.
1962 – Navy SEAL teams established. In March 1961, Arleigh Burke, Chief of Naval Operations, recommended the establishment of guerrilla and counter-guerrilla units. These units would be able to operate from sea, air or land. This was the beginning of the Navy SEALs. All SEALs came from the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Teams, who had already gained extensive experience in commando warfare in Korea; however, the Underwater Demolition Teams were still necessary to the Navy’s amphibious force. The first two teams were formed in January 1962 and stationed on both US coasts: Team One at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, in San Diego, California and Team Two at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Formed entirely with personnel from UDTs, the SEALs mission was to conduct counter guerilla warfare and clandestine operations in maritime and riverine environments. Men of the newly formed SEAL Teams were trained in such unconventional areas as hand-to-hand combat, high-altitude parachuting, demolitions, and foreign languages. The SEALs attended Underwater Demolition Team replacement training and they spent some time training in UDTs. Upon making it to a SEAL team, they would undergo a SEAL Basic Indoctrination (SBI) training class at Camp Kerry in the Cuyamaca Mountains. After SBI training class, they would enter a platoon and conduct platoon training.
1964 – Fatah, the Palestinian guerrilla group founded by Yasser Arafat, made its 1st armed attack against Israel. The annual celebration of this day came to be known as Fatah Day.
1966 – 1st Marine Division advance elements arrive in Vietnam: On this day, advance elements of the 1st Regiment of the Marine 1st Division arrive in Vietnam. The entire division followed by the end of March. The division established its headquarters at Chu Lai and was given responsibility for the two southernmost provinces of I Corps (the military region just south of the DMZ). At the peak of its strength, the 1st Marine Division consisted of four regiments of infantry: the 1st, 5th, 7th, and 27th Marines. It also included the 11th Artillery regiment, which consisted of six battalions of 105-mm, 155-mm, and 8-inch howitzers. Other divisional combat units included the 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Antitank Battalion, 1st Amphibious Tractor Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, and the 1st Force Reconnaissance Company. The division numbered nearly 20,000 marines by the time all elements had arrived in South Vietnam. During the Tet Offensive of 1968, the 1st Marine Division assisted the South Vietnamese army forces in recapturing the imperial city of Hue. The 1st Marine Division was withdrawn from Vietnam in the spring of 1971 and moved to its current base at Camp Pendleton, California. During the course of the Vietnam War, 20 members of the 1st Marine Division won the Medal of Honor for conspicuous bravery on the battlefield. The 1st Marine Division was twice awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for gallantry in action in Vietnam and received the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm and the Vietnamese Civil Action Award.
1967 – Operation Sam Houston begins: Operation Sam Houston begins as a continuation of border surveillance operations in Pleiku and Kontum Provinces in the Central Highlands by units from the U.S. 4th and 25th Infantry Divisions. The purpose of the operation was to interdict the movement of North Vietnamese troops and equipment into South Vietnam from communist sanctuaries in Cambodia and Laos. The operation ended on April 5. A total of 169 U.S. soldiers were killed in action; 733 enemy casualties were reported.
1970 – Unix time begins at 00:00:00 UTC/GMT. Unix time (aka POSIX time or Epoch time), is a system for describing instants in time, defined as the number of seconds that have elapsed since 00:00:00 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), Thursday, 1 January 1970, not counting leap seconds. It is used widely in Unix-like and many other operating systems and file formats. Due to its handling of leap seconds, it is neither a linear representation of time nor a true representation of UTC. Unix time may be checked on most Unix systems by typing date +%s on the command line.
1979 – The United States and China held celebrations in Washington and Beijing to mark the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Deng Xiaoping arranged to visit the US.
1981 – Palau achieves self-government though it is not independent from the United States. It signed a Compact of Free Association with the United States in 1982.
1983 – The ARPANET officially changes to using the Internet Protocol, creating the Internet.
1985- The Coast Guard cutter Citrus was rammed by the M/V Pacific Star during a boarding incident. The Pacific Star then sank after being scuttled by her crew. There were no casualties. The seven crewmen were arrested on drug charges.
1985 – The Internet’s Domain Name System (DNS) is created. DNS is a hierarchical distributed naming system for computers, services, or any resource connected to the Internet or a private network. It associates various information with domain names assigned to each of the participating entities. Most prominently, it translates easily memorized domain names to the numerical IP addresses needed for the purpose of locating computer services and devices worldwide. The Domain Name System is an essential component of the functionality of the Internet.
1986 – As the United States builds its strength in the Mediterranean, Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi threatens to retaliate if attacked.
1996 – Retired US Admiral Arleigh Burke, remembered for his World War II heroics, died at Bethesda Naval Hospital at age 94.
2000 – The arrival of 2000 saw no terrorist attacks, Y2K meltdowns or mass suicides among doomsday cults, but instead saw seven continents stepping joyously and peacefully into the New Year.
2001 – Pres. Bush announced that envoy Gen. Anthony Zinni would return to the Middle East to push for steps to renew peace talks.
2002 – The Open Skies mutual surveillance treaty, initially signed in 1992, officially comes into force and currently has 34 States Parties. It establishes a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over the entire territory of its participants. The concept of “mutual aerial observation” was initially proposed to Soviet Premier Nikolai Bulganin at the Geneva Conference of 1955 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower; however, the Soviets promptly rejected the concept and it lay dormant for several years. The treaty was eventually signed as an initiative of US president (and former Director of Central Intelligence) George H. W. Bush in 1989. Negotiated by the then-members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, the agreement was signed in Helsinki, Finland, on March 24, 1992.
2002 – Pakistan ordered the country’s military intelligence agency to cut off backing for Islamic militant groups fighting in Kashmir.
2003 – U.S. and British warplanes attacked an Iraqi mobile radar system after it entered the southern no-fly zone.
2003 – Joe Foss (87), former South Dakota Gov. and World War II hero who also served as president of the National Rifle Association and commissioner of the American Football League, died at an Arizona hospital.
2003 – In Bosnia the EU hoisted its dark blue banner to officially mark the transfer of peacekeeping duties from the United Nations, while NATO-led troops handed over control of Sarajevo’s airport to Bosnian authorities.
2004 – The US Navy seized a 4th drug-smuggling vessel in the Persian Gulf with about 2,800 pounds of hashish. Street value was estimated at $11 million.
2004 – North Korea confirmed that it would allow a U.S. delegation to visit its main nuclear complex next week, the first such inspection since the isolated communist country expelled UN monitors more than a year ago.
2009 – The United States handed control of the Green Zone and Saddam Hussein’s presidential palace to the Iraqi government in a ceremonial move described by the country’s prime minister as a restoration of Iraq’s sovereignty. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said he would propose 1 January be declared national “Sovereignty Day”. “This palace is the symbol of Iraqi sovereignty and by restoring it, a real message is directed to all Iraqi people that Iraqi sovereignty has returned to its natural status”, al-Maliki said.
2012 – The second of NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory spacecraft is in orbit around the moon.