1775 – Francis Salvador, the first Jew to be elected in the Americas, takes his seat on the South Carolina Provincial Congress. In June 1776, Salvador, a Patriot, became known as the “Southern Paul Revere” when he warned Charleston, South Carolina, of the approaching British naval fleet. Thanks to Salvador’s intelligence information, Fort Sullivan in Charleston harbor was able to prepare for the British attack, and the half-completed fort successfully repelled an attack by a British fleet under Sir Peter Parker. On August 1 of the same year, while leading a militia group under the general command of Major Wilkinson, Salvador and his men were ambushed by a group of Cherokees and Loyalists near present-day Seneca, South Carolina. Salvador was wounded and then scalped by the Cherokees. He was the first recorded Jewish soldier killed in the American War for Independence.
1782 – French troops begin a siege of a British garrison on Brimstone Hill in Saint Kitts in a bid to weaken and distract British forces in the American War of Independence. After landing on Saint Kitts, the French troops of the Marquis de Bouillé stormed and besieged Brimstone Hill, and after a month of siege the heavily outnumbered and cut-off British garrison surrendered. The Comte de Grasse, who delivered de Bouillé’s troops and supported the siege, was outmanoeuvred and deprived of his anchorage by Admiral Hood. Even though Hood’s force was inferior by one-third, de Grasse was beaten off when he attempted to dislodge Hood. Hood’s attempts to relieve the ongoing siege were unsuccessful, and the garrison capitulated after one month. About a year later, the Treaty of Paris restored Saint Kitts and adjacent Nevis to British rule.
1805 – The Michigan Territory is created. The Territory of Michigan was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from June 30, 1805, until January 26, 1837, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Michigan. Detroit was the territorial capital.
1861 – Alabama secedes from the Union. Alabama becomes the fourth state to secede from the Union when a convention votes 61 to 39 in favor of the measure. Alabama had a much closer vote than other states, due to strong Unionist sentiment in the northern part of the state.
1861 – U.S. Marine Hospital two miles below New Orleans was occupied by Louisiana State troops.
1863 – Union General John McClernand and Admiral David Porter capture Arkansas Post, a Confederate stronghold on the Arkansas River. The victory secured central Arkansas for the Union and lifted northern morale just three weeks after the disastrous Battle of Fredericksburg. Arkansas Post was a massive fort 25 miles from the confluence of the Arkansas and Mississippi rivers. It was designed to insure Confederate control of the White and Arkansas rivers, and to keep pressure off Vicksburg, the last major Rebel city on the Mississippi River. The sides of the square fort were each nearly 200 feet long and the structure was protected by a moat. It sat on a bluff 25 feet above the river. The post was a major impediment to Yankee commerce on the Arkansas. McClernand gathered his Army of the Mississippi at Milliken’s Bend, just north of Vicksburg. He had 32,000 men in two corps commanded by Generals George Morgan and William T. Sherman. McClernand’s main objective was Vicksburg, but he decided to capture Arkansas Post first to secure Yankee commerce on the rivers north of Vicksburg. McClernand was accompanied by Porter’s flotilla. The plan was to steam up the Arkansas River and land the troops below the post, then have Sherman’s men swing around behind the fort while Morgan approached from downriver. Porter began bombing the fort on the night of January 10. The bombardment continued the following afternoon. Through the afternoon, Union infantry moved towards the fort while the ships passed in front and began firing from the other side of the fort. The Confederate garrison was surrounded, and offered a white flag before the day was out. The Yankees lost 134 men and suffered 898 wounded, but they captured 5,000 Confederates and preserved Union commerce on the Arkansas and White rivers.
1861 – Alabama secedes from the United States.
1863 – The Confederate ship Alabama under Capt. Semmes flew a British flag and lured the USS Hatteras out of Galveston harbor. The Hatteras was quickly sunk.
1863 – Battle of Arkansas Post – General John McClernand and Admiral David Dixon Porter capture the Arkansas River for the Union. Also known as the Battle of Fort Hindman, was fought near the mouth of the Arkansas River at Arkansas Post, Arkansas, as part of the Vicksburg Campaign of the American Civil War.
1917 – The Kingsland munitions factory explosion occurs as a result of suspected sabotage. The charge is never borne out. A fire started in Building 30 of the Canadian Car and Foundry Company in Kingsland (now Lyndhurst), Bergen County, New Jersey. In 4 hours, probably 500,000 pieces of 76 mm (3″) -high explosive shells were cooked off. The entire plant was destroyed.
1928 – Leon Trotsky, a leader of the Bolshevik revolution and early architect of the Soviet state, is deported by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin to Alma-Ata in remote Soviet Central Asia. He lived there in internal exile for a year before being banished from the USSR forever by Stalin. Born in the Ukraine of Russian-Jewish parents in 1879, Trotsky embraced Marxism as a teenager and later dropped out of the University of Odessa to help organize the underground South Russian Workers’ Union. In 1898, he was arrested for his revolutionary activities and sent to prison. In 1900, he was exiled to Siberia. In 1902, he escaped to England using a forged passport under the name of Leon Trotsky (his original name was Lev Davidovich Bronshtein). In London, he collaborated with Bolshevik revolutionary Vladimir Ilyich Lenin but later sided with the Menshevik factions that advocated a democratic approach to socialism. With the outbreak of the Russian Revolution of 1905, Trotsky returned to Russia and was again exiled to Siberia when the revolution collapsed. In 1907, he again escaped. During the next decade, he was expelled from a series of countries because of his radicalism, living in Switzerland, Paris, Spain, and New York City before returning to Russia at the outbreak of the revolution in 1917. Trotsky played a leading role in the Bolsheviks’ seizure of power, conquering most of Petrograd before Lenin’s triumphant return in November. Appointed Lenin’s secretary of foreign affairs, he negotiated with the Germans for an end to Russian involvement in World War I. In 1918, he became war commissioner and set about building up the Red Army, which succeeded in defeating anti-Communist opposition in the Russian Civil War. In the early 1920s, Trotsky seemed the heir apparent of Lenin, but he lost out in the struggle of succession after Lenin fell ill in 1922. In 1924, Lenin died, and Joseph Stalin emerged as leader of the USSR. Against Stalin’s stated policies, Trotsky called for a continuing world revolution that would inevitably result in the dismantling of the Soviet state. He also criticized the new regime for suppressing democracy in the Communist Party and for failing to develop adequate economic planning. In response, Stalin and his supporters launched a propaganda counterattack against Trotsky. In 1925, he was removed from his post in the war commissariat. One year later, he was expelled from the Politburo and in 1927 from the Communist Party. In January 1928, Trotsky began his internal exile in Alma-Ata and the next January was expelled from the Soviet Union outright. He was received by the government of Turkey and settled on the island of Prinkipo, where he worked on finishing his autobiography and history of the Russian Revolution. After four years in Turkey, Trotsky lived in France and then Norway and in 1936 was granted asylum in Mexico. Settling with his family in a suburb of Mexico City, he was found guilty of treason in absentia during Stalin’s purges of his political foes. He survived a machine-gun attack on his home but on August 20, 1940, fell prey to a Spanish Communist, Ramon Mercader, who fatally wounded him with an ice-ax. He died from his wounds the next day.
1941 – Adof Hitler orders forces to be prepared to enter North Africa to assist the Italian effort, marking the establishment of the Afrika Korps. Hitler’s first choice to command the DAK (Deutcshes Afrika Korps-German Afrika Korps) was Maj. General Hans von Funk, a Prussian aristocrat, who’s negative report that Libya was lost led him to be dissmissed. Hitler considered Lt. General Erich von Manstein, who devised the invasion of France, but he was a too valuable component of Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of Russia. Hitler settled for Erwin Rommel. The beginning of the DAK was simply the 5th Light Division, but was doubled when a full panzer division arrived. Rommel would arrive in Tripoli on February 12, 1941.
1942 – Japan invades the Dutch East Indies at Borneo. The Japanese had three specific objectives in their military thrust – the rich oil fields of the Dutch East Indies, particularly Borneo; the Philippines and the associated mainland areas of Southeast Asia. Japan was determined to control the natural resources of these areas, including the world’s largest supply of tin and rubber.
1942 – The American carrier Saratoga is severely damaged by Japanese submarine I.6 near Hawaii.
1943 – The United States and United Kingdom give up territorial rights in China.
1943 – On Guadalcanal, US forces take the “Sea Horse” position. The Japanese Gifu strongpoint continues to resist American pressure.
1944 – Aircraft from Escort Carrier USS Block Island make first aircraft rocket attack on German submarine. Departing San Diego in May 1943 Block Island steamed to Norfolk, Va., to join the Atlantic Fleet. After two trips from New York to Belfast, Ireland, during the summer of 1943 with cargoes of Army fighters, she operated as part of a hunter-killer team. During her four anti-submarine cruises Block Island’s planes sank two submarines. At 2013, 29 May 1944, Block Island was torpedoed by U-549 which had slipped undetected through her screen. The German submarine put one and perhaps two more torpedoes into the stricken carrier before being sunk herself by the avenging Eugene E. Gilmore (DE-686) and Ahrens (DE-575). Block Island (CVE-21) received two battle stars for her service.
1944 – The US 8th Air Force carries out a fighter escorted daylight raid on Oschersleben. A quarter of the 238 bombers are lost. The attrition effect on the defending German fighters is not reflected in this loss.
1944 – President Roosevelt asks Congress for a new national service law to prevent damaging strikes and to mobilize the entire adult population for war.
1944 – Elements of the US 32nd Division, at Saidor, complete repairs to the airfield.
1944 – Franz Kettner, a private in the German army and a prisoner of war at Camp Hearne in Texas, is killed by a Nazi kangaroo court. Internment camps for German prisoners of war were dominated by Nazi enforcers, who killed as many as 150 of their fellow prisoners during World War II. Only seven were officially considered murder. Kettner’s wrists were slashed so that his death would be recorded as a suicide. Even the smallest infraction could put German prisoners at risk. Those who talked to guards, spoke English, or refused to parrot the Nazi line were often beaten or killed. American camp officials generally looked the other way because they appreciated the discipline and order that the Nazis provided in the camps. Prisoners who were not ethnically German and had been conscripted into service were particularly in danger from their fellow prisoners. In the later part of 1943, a rash of murders were committed at camps all across America. When Corporal Johann Kunze was beaten to death in an Oklahoma camp for allegedly providing Americans with information, five Nazi sergeants were charged with his murder. They were hanged in 1945 and became the first foreign prisoners of war to meet that fate in the United States. Hans Geller, a prisoner in Arkansas, was killed by his fellow soldiers despite a stellar war record as a paratrooper for the German army. His only mistake was his fluency in English. Eventually, American officials began separating the Nazis from the anti-Nazi Germans, and three camps were set aside for those who opposed Hitler. Despite Nazi threats that those who opposed them would be in bad shape when the war was over, anti-Nazi prisoners were often put in positions of power by Americans when they were repatriated. The Nazis, on the other hand, were widely scorned after Hitler’s defeat.
1945 – On Luzon, the US 25th Division and an armored group land at Lingayen to reinforce the American beachhead. The first serious fighting begins ashore. There are more Kamikaze attacks on the American ships. Many smaller craft are damaged.
1945 – Aircraft from the US 3rd Fleet (Halsey) sink 25 ships and damage 13 others off the coast of Indochina in attacks on four Japanese convoys.
1945 – Units of the US 3rd Army and the British 30th Corps join up near St. Hubert as the German salient in the Ardennes is further reduced. To the south, the fighting in the US 7th Army around Bitche is also continuing but German attacks are being held.
1949 – Surrender talks in China between the Nationalists and Communists opened as Tientsing was virtually lost to the Communists.
1949 – On Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C., the cornerstone is laid at the first mosque of note in the United States. Intended to serve as a national mosque for all American Muslims, the Islamic Center was built in a traditional Arabic architectural style, complete with a 160-foot minaret from which prayers were to be announced. A colonnade cloister joined the mosque to two wings containing a library, classrooms, a museum, and administrative offices. In the basement of the mosque was an auditorium built to accommodate several hundred people. The Islamic Center’s first director was Dr. Mahmoud Hoballah.
1949 – The first “networked” television broadcasts take place as KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania goes on the air connecting the east coast and mid-west programming.
1951 – With improved weather, Fifth Air Force and FEAF Bomber Command resumed close air support missions for X Corps in north central South Korea.
1953 – 307th BW B-29s bombed Sonchon and Anju marshalling yards. Enemy searchlights illuminated a B-29 apparently betrayed by its contrails, and fighters shot it down.
1956 – South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem issues Ordinance No. 6, allowing the internment of former Viet Minh members and others “considered as dangerous to national defense and common security.” The Viet Minh was a largely communist organization that overthrew French colonial rule in Vietnam and assumed control of the government in North Vietnam in October 1954. Diem’s internment of former Viet Minh members was an attempt to consolidate his control of South Vietnam. He had already subdued opposition from various religious sects and had launched a drive against Viet Minh who remained in the South. Although by the end of 1956, Diem had smashed 90 percent of the former Viet Minh insurgent agents in the Mekong Delta, his ruthless drive against all dissidents did little to enhance his popularity, and he lost many potential allies. He managed to stay in power until November 1963, when he was assassinated during a coup by South Vietnamese army generals.
1963 – Senior White house aide Michael V. Forrestal advises President Kennedy to expect a long and costly war. ‘No one really knows how many of the 20,000 “Vietcong” killed last year were only innocent, or at least, persuadable, villagers, whether the strategic hamlet program is providing enough government services to counteract the sacrifices it requires, or how the mute class of villagers react to the charges against Diem of dictatorship and nepotism.’ he points out that Vietcong recruitment in South Vietnam is effective enough to continue the war without any infiltration from the North.
1965 – Major cities–especially Saigon and Hue–and much of central Vietnam are disrupted by demonstrations and strikes led by Buddhists. Refusing to accept any government headed by Tran Van Huong, who they saw as a puppet of the United States, the Buddhists turned against U.S. institutions and their demonstrations took on an increasingly anti-American tone. Thich Tri Quang, the Buddhist leader, and other monks went on a hunger strike. A Buddhist girl in Nha Trang burned herself to death (the first such self-immolation since 1963). Although Huong tried to appease the Buddhists by rearranging his government, they were not satisfied. In the end, Huong was unable to put together a viable government and, on January 27, the Armed Forces Council overthrew him in a bloodless coup and installed Gen. Nguyen Khanh in power. Khanh was ousted by yet another coup on February 18, led by Air Commodore Nguyen Cao Ky and Maj. Gen. Nguyen Van Thieu. A short-lived civilian government under Dr. Phan Huy Quat was installed, but it lasted only until June 12, 1965. At that time, Thieu and Ky formed a new government with Thieu as the chief of state and Ky as the prime minister. Thieu and Ky would be elected as president and vice-president in general elections held in 1967.
1988 – World War II flying ace Gregory “Pappy” Boyington died in Fresno, Calif., at age 75.
1991 – The United States and Iraq intensified their rhetoric, with Secretary of State James A. Baker III telling Air Force pilots in Saudi Arabia, “We pass the brink at midnight January 15,” and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein boasting of his army’s readiness. Congress empowered Bush to order attack on Iraq.
1993 – In Somalia, Operation Nutcracker. 900 Marines sweep through the Bakara bazaar. No casualties on either side.
1996 – STS-72 launches from the Kennedy Space Center marking the start of the 74th Space Shuttle mission and the 10th flight of Endeavour on a mission to capture and return to Earth a Japanese microgravity research spacecraft known as Space Flyer Unit (SFU). The mission launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
1999 – US planes fired missiles at 2 Iraqi defense installations after determining that they were about to be attacked by surface to air missiles.
1999 – Iraq rejects a proposal by Saudi Arabia to ease United Nations trade sanctions imposed on Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The initiative would recommend that Iraq be allowed to buy and sell all goods, except military equipment or materials that could be used for military purposes.
2001 – The US Army premiered its new slogan “An Army of One” on the TV sitcom “Friends.”
2002 – First group of 20 detainees arrives at Guantanamo Bay’s Camp X-Ray.
2004 – U.S. paratroopers captured Khamis Sirhan al-Muhammad, a former regional Baath Party chairman and militia commander a former Baath Party official who was No. 54 on the list of 55 most-wanted figures from Saddam Hussein’s regime.
2004 – Danish and Icelandic troops reported a cache of 36 shells buried in the Iraqi desert, and preliminary tests showed they contained a liquid blister agent. The 120mm mortar shells are thought to be left over from the eight-year war between Iraq and neighboring Iran, which ended in 1988.
2006 – In Georgia, Vladimir Arutinian is convicted of the attempted assassination of U.S. President George W. Bush and terrorist charges and sentenced with life imprisonment.
2007 – The U.S. Defense Department reports that United States Department of Defense contractors, while traveling through Canada, have had Canadian coins with radio transmitters inside planted on them by unknown people. The transmitters could be used to track the locations of the contractors.
2014 – The United States State Department issues a warning to those going to the host city of Sochi, informing that local medical facilities are “untested” and that there are threats of terrorist activity.
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