This Day in U.S. Military History…… July 13

13 July
1585 – A group of 108 English colonists, led by Sir Richard Grenville, reached Roanoke Island, North Carolina. Roanoke Island near North Carolina became England’s first foothold in the New World. Sir Walter Raleigh sent a detachment of 108 men to build a fort on the island. The detachment included two scientists, Thomas Hariot, a surveyor, mathematician, astronomer and oceanographer, and Joachim Gans, a metallurgist.
1755 – Edward Braddock, British general, died in battle at Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh).
1787 – Congress, under the Articles of Confederation, enacted the Northwest Ordinance, establishing rules for governing the Northwest Territory, for admitting new states to the Union and limiting the expansion of slavery.
1821 – Confederate cavalry commander Nathan Bedford Forrest was born in Tennessee’s Bedford County.
1854 – US forces shelled and burned San Juan del Norte, Nicaragua.
1861 – Union General George B. McClellan distinguishes himself by routing Confederates under General Robert Garnett at Corrick’s Ford in western Virginia. The battle ensured Yankee control of the region, secured the Union’s east-west railroad connections, and set in motion the events that would lead to the creation of West Virginia. Two days before Corrick’s Ford, Union troops under General William Rosecrans flanked a Confederate force at nearby Rich Mountain. The defeat forced Garnett to retreat from his position on Laurel Hill, while part of McClellan’s force pursued him across the Cheat River. A pitched battle ensued near Corrick’s Ford, in which Garnett was killed—the first general officer to die in the war. But losses were otherwise light, with only 70 Confederate, and 10 Union, casualties. The Battle of Corrick’s Ford was a significant victory because it cleared the region of Confederates, but it is often overlooked, particularly because it was overshadowed by the Battle of Bull Run, which occurred shortly thereafter on July 21. However, the success made McClellan a hero, even though his achievements were inflated. Two weeks later, McClellan became commander of the Army of the Potomac, the primary Federal army in the east. Unfortunately for the Union, the small campaign that climaxed at Corrick’s Ford was the zenith of McClellan’s military career.
1862 – Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest defeated a Union army at Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
1863 – Rioting against the Civil War military draft erupted in New York City; about 1,000 people died over three days. Antiabolitionist Irish longshoremen rampaged against blacks in the deadly Draft Riots in New York City in response to Pres. Lincoln’s announcement of military conscription. Mobs lynched a black man and torched the Colored Orphan Asylum.
1863 – USS Wyoming battled Japanese warlord’s forces.
1864 – Gen Jubal Early retreated from the outskirts of Washington back to Shenandoah Valley.
1866 – Great Eastern began a two week voyage to complete a 12-year effort to lay telegraph cable across the Atlantic between Britain and the United States. Massachusetts merchant and financier Cyrus W. Field first proposed laying a 2,000-mile copper cable along the ocean bottom from Newfoundland to Ireland in 1854, but the first three attempts ended in broken cables and failure. Field’s persistence finally paid off in July 1866, when Great Eastern, the largest ship then afloat, successfully laid the cable along the level, sandy bottom of the North Atlantic. As messages traveled between Europe and America in hours rather than weeks, Cyrus Field was showered with honors. Among the honors was this commemorative print referring to the cable as the Eighth Wonder of the World.
1866 – Colonel Henry Carrington begins construction on Fort Phil Kearny, the most important army outpost guarding the Bozeman Trail. In 1863, a Georgia-born frontiersman named John Bozeman blazed a wagon road that branched off from the Oregon Trail and headed northwest to the gold fields of western Montana. The trail passed through the traditional hunting grounds of the Sioux, and Chief Red Cloud attacked several wagon trains to try to stop the violation of Indian Territory. Despite the questionable legality of the Bozeman Trail, the U.S. government decided to keep it open and began building a series of protective army forts along the route. Colonel Henry Carrington was assigned the task of designing and building the largest and most important of these outposts, Fort Phil Kearny. A talented strategist and designer, Carrington planned the fort with care. He selected a site in northern Wyoming that was near a source of water and commanded a view over a good section of the Bozeman Trail. He began building on this day in 1866, setting up a timbering operation and sawmill to supply the thousands of logs needed for construction. By fall, Carrington had erected an imposing symbol of American military power. A tall wooden palisade surrounded a compound the size of three football fields. Inside the walls, Carrington built nearly 30 buildings, including everything from barracks and mess halls to a stage for the regimental band. Only the most massive and determined Indian attack would have been capable of taking Fort Phil Kearny. Unfortunately, Carrington’s mighty fortress had one important flaw: the nearest stands of timber lay several miles away. To obtain the wood essential for heating and further construction, a detachment had to leave the confines of the fort every day. The Indians naturally began to prey on these “wood trains.” In December, a massive Indian ambush wiped out a force of 80 soldiers under the command of Captain William Fetterman. Despite this weakness, Fort Phil Kearny was still a highly effective garrison. Nonetheless, the U.S. Army found it nearly impossible to halt completely the Indian attacks along the trail. In 1868, the government agreed to abandon all of the forts and close the trail in exchange for peace with the Indians. Immediately after the soldiers left, the Indians burned Carrington’s mighty fortress to the ground.
1890 – John C. “Pathfinder” Fremont (76), US explorer, governor (Ariz), died. He was buried in obscurity in Sparkill, NY. Fremont (b.1830) was the 1st Republican presidential candidate in 1856.
1900 – Boxer Rebellion: In China, Tientsin is retaken by European Allies from the rebelling Boxers.
1916 – The first aero Company, New York National Guard, was called to Federal service during the border crisis with Mexico on July 13, 1916. This was the first time a National Guard aviation unit was mobilized. The unit was commanded by Capt. Raynal C. Bolling.
1916 – Guardsmen of the 4th South Dakota Infantry prepare to leave for San Benito, Texas, to take up their station as part of the partial mobilization to protect the Mexican border against bandit raids lead by Pancho Villa. When the 4th SD arrives in late July it will be placed into the First Separate Brigade along with the 22nd U.S. Infantry, the 1st Louisiana and 1st Oklahoma infantry regiments (these latter two both Guard units). During the seven months the 4th remains on the border it will take part in several large-scale maneuvers used to train both officers and men in case America is drawn into World War I (then raging in Europe). The 4th returned home in March 1917 and was released from active duty. During World War I it was broken up into several elements assigned to different divisions which later fought in France. In all, 158,664 Guardsmen served on active duty during the border crisis.
1921 – Major Sheldon H. Wheeler, former commander of Luke Field on Ford Island, died when his plane crashed during a demonstration. Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii, was named in his honor.
1943 – The 10 Mountain Division came into being on July 13, 1943, at Camp Hale, Colorado as the 10th Light Division (Alpine). The combat power of the Division was contained in the 85th, 86th, and 87th Infantry Regiments. The Division’s year training at the 9,200 foot high Camp Hale honed the skills of its soldiers to fight and survive under the most brutal mountain conditions.
1939 – Appointment of RADM Richard Byrd as commanding officer of 1939-1941 Antarctic Expedition.
1943 – During Battle of Kolombangara in Solomon Islands, U.S. lost USS Gwin. (DD-433) while Japanese lost light cruiser Jintsu. American reinforcements arrive on Rendova and New Georgia. The attack on New Georgia makes more progress against, continued, heavy Japanese resistance.
1944 – The US 1st Army makes no progress in its attack toward St. Lo. A formal assault on the German defenses to the east of the town is now considered.
1944 – The French Expeditionary Corps (part of US 5th Army) is attacking around Poggibonsi and Castellina, about 20 miles south of Florence.
1944 – Around Aitape, the US 128th Regiment falls back to the Driniumor River. On Numfoor the final pockets of Japanese resistance are being cleared.
1945 – At a hastily arranged meeting between the Japanese ambassador, Naotake Sato, and the Soviet commissar for foreign affairs, Molotov, it is believed that a request was made to the Soviet Union to sound out Britain and the United States about negotiations for surrender.
1945 – In Berlin, the municipal council officially confiscates all property held by members of the NSDAP, the Nazi Party. Meanwhile, on the eve of the dissolution of SHAEF, General Eisenhower issues a farewell message to all members of the Allied Expeditionary Force. “No praise is too high,” says the message, “for the manner in which you surmounted every obstacle.”
1945 – The American government admits responsibility for sinking the Japanese relief ship Awa Maru in error.
1950 – Lieutenant General Walton H. Walker, commander of Eighth Army, assumed command of all ground forces in Korea, establishing his headquarters at Taegu.
1950 – The newly arrived 22d and 92d Bombardment Groups launched a radar-directed attack against the marshaling yards and oil refinery at Wonsan. This mission marked the groups’ entry into combat and the first combat mission flown by Far East Air Forces Bomber Command.
1953 – The final communist offensive of the war began.
1954 – The 3dMarDiv was placed on 48-hour alert in preparation to move in support of the French in Indochina. The alert was later cancelled.
1973 – Alexander Butterfield reveals the existence of the Nixon tapes to the special Senate committee investigating the Watergate break in.
1995 – Just six days after the space shuttle “Atlantis” returned, the shuttle “Discovery” blasted off on a nine-day mission.
1998 – Syria agrees to reopen an existing oil pipeline, linking Iraq’s Kirkuk oil fields to the Mediterranean terminals of Banias in Syria and Tripoli in Lebanon. Syria closed the line in 1982 in support of Iran during the Iran/Iraq war. The pipeline has an estimated capacity of 650,000 barrels per day and is expected to be operational within a few months. Since Iraqi oil exports currently operate under the U.N. oil-for-food program, Iraq will need U.N. approval before the pipeline can be reopened.
2000 – It was reported that the US and Vietnam had completed a trade agreement for generally unfettered commerce between the two countries.
2001 – CGC Sherman became the second cutter to circumnavigate the globe when she returned to the United States from a six-month deployment to the Arabian Gulf in support of U.N. operations. She conducted 219 queries, 115 boardings, and five diverts. The Eastwind was the first cutter to circumnavigate the globe on a cruise in 1960-1961.
2002 – A unanimous UN Security Council vote to exempt American peacekeepers from prosecution by the new war crimes tribunal for a year ended a U.S. threat to halt U.N. peacekeeping but angered many court supporters.
2003 – In Iraq a 25-member interim Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) of prominent Iraqis from diverse political and religious backgrounds was named at an inaugural meeting, the first national body since the fall of Saddam Hussein. The council abolished a number of old holidays and established April 9, the fall of Baghdad and Saddam’s regime, as a new national holiday.
2004 – The Philippines said it would withdraw its tiny peacekeeping force from Iraq as soon as it can. The Philippine government made a direct appeal to insurgents holding a Filipino hostage, pleading with them to show mercy for the man they threatened to kill if the country did not agree to pull its troops from Iraq early.
2004 – Khaled al-Harbi, described as a close associate of Osama bin Laden, turned himself in to authorities in Iran. Khaled al-Harbi is believed to have battled alongside bin Laden in Afghanistan in the 1980’s. He was identified on a tape in late 2001, talking with bin Laden about the September 11th attacks. Al-Harbi apparently accepted the June Saudi Arabian offer of amnesty for al-Qaida members who surrender.
2011 – The U.S. drawdown in Afghanistan began when the first 650 U.S. troops left Afghanistan as part of President Barack Obama’s planned drawdown. The units that left were the Army National Guard’s 1st Squadron, 134th Cavalry Regiment, based in Kabul, and the Army National Guard’s 1st Squadron, 113th Cavalry Regiment, which had been in neighboring Parwan province.

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