This Day in U.S. Military History…… July 12

12 July
1630 – New Amsterdam’s governor bought Gull Island from Indians for cargo and renamed it Oyster Island. It later became Ellis Island.
1774 – Citizens of Carlisle, Penn., passed a declaration of independence.
1804 – Alexander Hamilton (47), US Sec. of Treasury, died of wounds from a pistol duel with VP Aaron Burr. In 1920 Frederick Scott Oliver authored a Hamilton biography. In 2002 Stephen Knott authored “Alexander Hamilton and the Persistence of Myth.” In 2004 Ron Chernow authored the biography “Alexander Hamilton.” Lawyer Ambrose Spencer (1765-1848) said Hamilton “more than any man, did the thinking of his time.”
1812 – United States forces led by General William Hull entered Canada during the War of 1812 against Britain. However, Hull retreated shortly thereafter to Detroit. Madison had called for 50,000 volunteers to invade Canada but only 5,000 signed up.
1836 – Commissioning of Charles H. Haswell as first regularly appointed Engineer Officer.
1861 – Special commissioner Albert Pike completes treaties with the members of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Tribes, giving the new Confederate States of America several allies in Indian Territory. Some members of the tribes also fought for the Confederacy. A Boston native, Pike went west in 1831 and traveled with fur trappers and traders. He settled in Arkansas and became a noted poet, author, and teacher. He bought a plantation and operated a newspaper, the Arkansas Advocate. By 1837 he was practicing law and often represented Native Americans in disputes with the federal government. Pike was opposed to secession but nonetheless sided with his adopted state when it left the Union. As ambassador to the Indians, he was a fortunate addition to the Confederacy, which was seeking to form alliances with the tribes of Indian Territory. Besides the agreements with the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes, Pike also engineered treaties with the Creek, Seminole, Comanche, and Caddos, among others. Ironically, many of these tribes had been expelled from the Southern states in the 1830s and 1840s but still chose to ally themselves with those states during the war. The grudges they held against the Confederate states were offset by their animosity toward the federal government. Native Americans were also bothered by Republican rhetoric during the 1860 election. Some of Abraham Lincoln’s supporters, such as William Seward, argued that the land of the tribes in Indian Territory should be appropriated for distribution to white settlers. When the war began in 1861, Secretary of War Simon Cameron ordered all posts in Indian Territory abandoned to free up military resources for use against the Confederacy, leaving the area open to invasion by the Confederates. By signing these treaties, the tribes severed their relationships with the federal government, much in the way the southern states did by seceding from the Union. They were accepted into the Confederates States of America, and they sent representatives to the Confederate Congress. The Confederate government promised to protect the Native American’s land holdings and to fulfill the obligations such as annuity payments made by the federal government.Some of these tribes even sent troops to serve in the Confederate army, and one Cherokee, Stand Watie, rose to the rank of brigadier general.
1862 – President Abraham Lincoln signs into law a measure calling for the awarding of a U.S. Army Medal of Honor, in the name of Congress, “to such noncommissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldier-like qualities during the present insurrection.” The previous December, Lincoln had approved a provision creating a U.S. Navy Medal of Valor, which was the basis of the Army Medal of Honor created by Congress in July 1862. The first U.S. Army soldiers to receive what would become the nation’s highest military honor were six members of a Union raiding party who in 1862 penetrated deep into Confederate territory to destroy bridges and railroad tracks between Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Atlanta, Georgia. In 1863, the Medal of Honor was made a permanent military decoration available to all members, including commissioned officers, of the U.S. military. It is conferred upon those who have distinguished themselves in actual combat at risk of life beyond the call of duty. Since its creation, during the Civil War, almost 3,400 men and one woman have received the Medal of Honor for heroic actions in U.S. military conflict. The Web site for the US Army Center of Military History:
1864 – President Abraham Lincoln became the first standing president to witness a battle as Union forces repelled Jubal Early’s army on the outskirts of Washington, D.C.
1864 – U.S.S. Whitehead, Acting Ensign George W. Barrett, and U.S.S. Ceres, Acting Master Foster, in company with transport steamer Ella May, conducted a joint expedition up the Scuppernong River to Columbia, North Carolina. Whitehead, a small tinclad, and Ceres, a 140-ton paddle- wheeler, landed troops near Columbia, and the soldiers succeeded in destroying a bridge and a quantity of grain.
1916 – Battleship USS North Carolina is the first Navy ship to carry and operate aircraft.
1921 – Congress creates Bureau of Aeronautics to be in charge of all matter pertaining to naval aeronautics.
1940 – Rufus Robinson and Earl Cooley jumped out of a Travelair plane to fight the a forest fire in Idaho’s Nez Perce national Forest. They were the first smoke-jumpers.
1943 – The Panzer Division “Hermann Goring” resumes attacks on American positions in the morning but withdraws to face the more threatening British advance in the afternoon. The German 15th Panzergrenadier Division proceeds to pressure the Americans after arriving from the west of the island. The British continue to advance toward Augusta, in spite of Italian and German resistance, and capture Lentini.
1943 – Off Kolombangara, Admiral Ainsworth’s Task Force (3 cruisers and 10 destroyers) encounter a Japanese squadron (1 cruiser and 9 destroyers) under the command of Admiral Izaki. The Japanese cruiser obliterated by the radar-directed gunfire of the American cruisers but the Japanese sink one destroyer and damage two cruisers with torpedo attacks.
1943 – The US submarine Pampanito was christened in New Hampshire. In 1982 the sub opened to the public at Pier 45 in San Francisco.
1944 – Allied air attacks against the Po bridges begin. Elements of the US 5th Army advance. The US 88th Division takes Lajatico.
1944 – The US 1st Army offensive toward St. Lo reaches within 2 miles of the town but faces heavy resistance from German forces. Hill 192, east of the town, is captured.
1945 – Targets on the Japanese home islands of Shikoku and Honshu are heavily bombed.
1948 – The Marshall Plan Conference convened in Paris. It was attended by 16 European nations and established the Committee for European Economic Cooperation.
1950 – In a series of desperate battles, the 21st Infantry Regiment fought delaying actions from Chonui to Chochiwon. Not only did the two under strength rifle battalions of the “Gimlet” Regiment delay two of the best North Korean People’s Army divisions, but they turned in the best battle performance of U.S. troops in the war to that date.
1950 – The first Distinguished Service Cross of the Korean War was awarded posthumously to Colonel Robert R. Martin who single-handedly attacked an enemy tank with a rocket launcher. Martin had just arrived in Korean and had been commander of the battered 34th Infantry Regiment of the 24th Infantry Division for one day when he was killed in action on July 8.
1950 – Photographs of seven American soldiers found shot through the head by the communists shocked the world.
1953 – United Nations Fleet launches heavy air and sea attack on Wonsan.
1966 – The National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy (SANE) and American socialist Norman Thomas appeal to North Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh on behalf of captured American pilots. The number of American captives was on the increase due to the intensification of Operation Rolling Thunder, the U.S. bombing campaign against North Vietnam. On July 15, 18 senators opposed to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Vietnam policy signed a statement calling on North Vietnam to “refrain from any act of vengeance against American airmen.” The next day, the United Nations Secretary General also urged North Vietnam to exercise restraint in the treatment of American prisoners of war. On July 19, North Vietnamese ambassadors in Beijing and Prague asserted that the captured Americans would go on trial as war criminals. However, Ho Chi Minh subsequently gave assurances of a humanitarian policy toward the prisoners, in response, he said, to the appeal he received from SANE and Norman Thomas. Despite Ho’s assurances, the American POWs were routinely mistreated and tortured. They were released in 1973 as part of the provisions of the Paris Peace Accords that were signed on January 27, 1973.
1967 – The Newark Riot of 1967 began with the arrest of a cab driver named John Smith, who allegedly drove around a double-parked police car at the corner of 7th St. and 15th Avenue. He was subsequently stopped, interrogated, arrested and transported to the 4th precinct headquarters, during which time he was severely beaten by the arresting officers. As news of the arrest spread, a crowd began to assemble in front of the precinct house, located directly across from a high-rise public housing project. When the police allowed a small group of civil rights leaders to visit the prisoner, they demanded that Mr. Smith be taken to a hospital. Emerging from the building, these civil rights leaders begged the crowd to stay calm, but they were shouted down. Rumor spread that John Smith had died in police custody, despite the fact he had been taken out the back entrance and transported to a local hospital. Soon a volley of bricks and bottles was launched at the precinct house and police stormed out to confront the assembly. As the crowd dispersed they began to break into stores on the nearby commercial thoroughfares. Eventually violence spread from the predominantly black neighborhoods of Newark’s Central Ward to Downtown Newark, and the New Jersey State Police were mobilized. Within 48 hours, National Guard troops entered the city. With the arrival of these troops the level of violence intensified. At the conclusion of six days of rioting 23 people lay dead, 725 people were injured and close to 1500 people had been arrested.
1974 – President Richard Nixon’s aides G. Gordon Liddy, John Ehrlichman and two others were convicted of conspiracy and perjury in connection with the Watergate scandal. They were convicted of conspiring to violate the civil rights of Daniel Ellsberg’s former psychiatrist.
1988 – The PHOBOS 2 Flyby and lander failed within 480 miles of Mar’s moon Phobos.
1988 – SECDEF approves opening Navy’s Underwater Construction Teams, fleet oiler, ammunition ships, and combat stores ships to women.
1990 – Commander Rosemary B. Mariner becomes first woman to command an operational aviation squadron (VAQ-34).
1993 – 17 US helicopters conduct an attack on Aidid compound-at least 13 Somalis are killed.
1996 – The EU warned that it would freeze US assets and impose visa requirements on Americans if European companies are penalized for investing in Cuba.
1999 – The United Nations Compensation Commission, charged with assessing Iraq’s liability for damages resulting from the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait, issues a judgement of liability for $2.8 billion dollars to oil companies and oilfield service providers whose operations were disrupted. The largest share, $2.2 billion, is to go to the Kuwaiti Oil Company. American firms which are owed payments include Saudi Arabian Texaco, a subsidiary of Texaco, National-Oilwell, OGE Drilling Company, and the Halliburton Company.
1999 – In Zimbabwe the trial for 3 American held on sabotage and weapons charges was scheduled. They were found guilty on Sep 10 and were sentenced to 1-year prison terms. They were released on Nov 6 and sent home.
2001 – The US space shuttle Atlantis took off with a crew of 5 to deliver a portal for spacewalks to the Int’l. Space Station Alpha.
2002 – The UN Security Council agreed to exempt US peacekeepers from war crimes prosecution for a year, ending a threat to UN peacekeeping operations.
2003 – Pres. Bush met with Pres. Olusegun Obasanjo in Nigeria. They discussed the circumstances under which Liberian President Charles Taylor will live in exile in Nigeria, Wrapping up a five-day tour of Africa, President Bush said he would not allow terrorists to use the continent as a base “to threaten the world.”
2003 – The USS Ronald Reagan, the first carrier named for a living president, was commissioned in Norfolk, Va.

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