1663 – Charles II of England grants John Clarke a Royal charter to Rhode Island.
1755 – Britain broke off diplomatic relations with France as their disputes in the New World intensified.
1758 – The British attack on Fort Carillon at Ticonderoga, New York, was foiled by the French.
1760 – The Battle of Restigouche, a naval battle fought during the French and Indian War on the Restigouche River between the British Royal Navy and the small flotilla of vessels of the French Navy, Acadian militia and Mi’kmaq militias. The French vessels had been sent to relieve New France after the fall of Quebec. Supplies were extraordinarily important because France ran their colonies such that the colonies were wholly dependent on products and manufacturing of the motherland. The loss of the Battle of Restigouche and the consequent inability to supply the troops, marked the end of any serious attempt by France to keep hold of their colonies in North America, and it severely curtailed any hopes for a lengthy resistance to the British by the French forces that remained. The battle was the last major engagement of the Mi’kmaq and Acadian militias before the Burying of the Hatchet Ceremony between the Mi’kmaq and the British.
1775 – The Olive Branch Petition, adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 5, 1775, was signed by members of the Continental Congress. The petition was a final attempt to avoid a full-blown war between the Thirteen Colonies that the Congress represented, and Great Britain. The petition affirmed American loyalty to Great Britain and entreated the king to prevent further conflict. In August 1775 the colonies were formally declared to be in rebellion by the Proclamation of Rebellion, and the petition was rejected in fact, although not having been received by the king before declaring the Congress-supporting colonists traitors.
1776 – In Philadelphia, the Liberty Bell rings out from the tower of the Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall), summoning citizens to the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence, by Colonel John Nixon. On July 4, the historic document was adopted by delegates to the Continental Congress meeting in the State House. However, the Liberty Bell, which bore the apt biblical quotation, “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land unto All the Inhabitants Thereof,” was not rung until the Declaration of Independence returned from the printer on July 8. In 1751, to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of Pennsylvania’s original constitution, the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly ordered the 2,000-pound copper and tin bell constructed. After being cracked during a test, and then recast twice, the bell was hung from the State House steeple in June 1753. Rung to call the Pennsylvania Assembly together and to summon people for special announcements and events, it was also rung on important occasions, such as when King George III ascended to the throne in 1761 and to call the people together to discuss Parliament’s controversial Stamp Act of 1765. With the outbreak of the American Revolution in April 1775, the bell was rung to announce the battles of Lexington and Concord. Its most famous tolling was on July 8, 1776, when it summoned Philadelphia citizens for the first reading of the Declaration of Independence. As the British advanced toward Philadelphia in the fall of 1777, the bell was removed from the city and hidden in Allentown to save it from being melted down by the British and used for cannons. After the British defeat in 1781, the bell was returned to Philadelphia, which was the nation’s capital from 1790 to 1800. In addition to marking important events, the bell tolled annually to celebrate George Washington’s birthday on February 22, and Independence Day on July 4. In 1839, the name “Liberty Bell” was first coined in a poem in an abolitionist pamphlet. The question of when the Liberty Bell acquired its famous fracture has been the subject of a good deal of historical dispute. In the most commonly accepted account, the bell suffered a major break while tolling for the funeral of the chief justice of the United States, John Marshall, in 1835, and in 1846 the crack expanded to its present size while in use to mark Washington’s birthday. After that date, it was regarded as unsuitable for ringing, but it was still ceremoniously tapped on occasion to commemorate important events. On June 6, 1944, when Allied forces invaded France, the sound of the bell’s dulled ring was broadcast by radio across the United States. In 1976, the Liberty Bell was moved to a new pavilion about 100 yards from Independence Hall in preparation for America’s bicentennial celebrations.
1778 – George Washington headquartered his Continental Army at West Point.
1778 – Allied French fleet under Comte d’Estaing arrives in America.
1835 – The US Liberty Bell in Philadelphia cracked while being tolled for Chief Justice John Marshall. It was never rung again.
1853 – Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry, representing the U.S. government, sails into Tokyo Bay, Japan, with a squadron of four vessels. For a time, Japanese officials refused to speak with Perry, but under threat of attack by the superior American ships they accepted letters from President Millard Fillmore, making the United States the first Western nation to establish relations with Japan since it had been declared closed to foreigners two centuries before. Only the Dutch and the Chinese were allowed to continue trade with Japan after 1639, but this trade was restricted and confined to the island of Dejima at Nagasaki. After giving Japan time to consider the establishment of external relations, Commodore Perry returned to Tokyo with nine ships in March 1854. On March 31, he signed the Treaty of Kanagawa with the Japanese government, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to American trade and permitting the establishment of a U.S. consulate in Japan. In April 1860, the first Japanese diplomats to visit a foreign power in over 200 years reached Washington, D.C., and remained in the U.S. capital for several weeks, discussing expansion of trade with the United States. Treaties with other Western powers followed soon after, contributing to the collapse of the shogunate and ultimately the modernization of Japan.
1863 – Port Hudson, the Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River in Louisiana, falls to Nathaniel Banks’ Union force. Less than a week after the surrender of Vicksburg, Mississippi, the Confederate garrison’s surrender at Port Hudson cleared another obstacle for the Federals on the Mississippi River. In late 1862, Banks was given orders to clear the river as far north as possible. He seemed hesitant, however, even with David Farragut’s naval forces at his disposal. After much prodding, Banks finally began to move in February 1863. But by March, Farragut had failed to move past Port Hudson; he lost one ship and the others retreated back down the river. So Banks delayed action against Port Hudson until May. At first unsure whether to join Ulysses S. Grant’s force up at Vicksburg or attack Port Hudson, Banks opted to attack the fort. On May 27, Federal cannons and riverboats opened fire on Port Hudson, but Banks directed a poorly coordinated attack against the stronghold, which was defended by General Franklin Gardner and a force of 3,500 men. Although the tiny Confederate force was able to hold off the Union assault in May, Banks had Port Hudson surrounded. The garrison held out through June, but word of Vicksburg’s surrender convinced Gardner that further resistance was futile.
1863 – Lieutenant Commander Fitch, U.S.S. Moose, received word at Cincinnati that General Morgan, CSA, was assaulting Union positions and moving up the banks of the Ohio River. He had also captured steamers John T. McCombs and Alice Dean (see 7 July). Fitch immediately notified the ships under his command stationed along the river, and got underway himself with U.S.S. Victory in company Next day the ships converged on Brandenburg, Kentucky, only to find that Morgan’s troops, 6,000 strong, had just beaten them to the river and crossed into Indiana. “Not knowing which direction Morgan had taken,” Fitch reported, “I set the Fairfield and Silver Take to patrol from Leavenworth, [Indiana] up to Brandenburg during the night, and the Victory and Springfield to patrol from Louisville down [to Brandenburg].” By thus deploying his forces, Fitch was able to cover the river for some 40 miles. The morning of 10 July Fitch learned the Confederates were moving northward and, joined by U.S.S. Reindeer and Naumkeag, ascended the Ohio, “keeping as near Morgan’s right flank as I possibly could.” The chase, continuing until 19 July, was conducted by U.S.S. Moose, Reindeer, Victory, Springfield, Naumkeag, and steamer Alleghany Belle. U.S.S. Fairplay and Silver Lake remained to patrol between Louisville and Cannelton, Indiana.
1864 – Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston retreated into Atlanta to prevent being flanked by Union General William T. Sherman.
1865 – C.E. Barnes of Lowell, MA, patented the machine gun.
1876 – White terrorists attacked Black Republicans in Hamburg, SC, and killed 5.
1879 – The steamship USS Jeannette under Lt. George W. De Long departed San Francisco on an expedition to reach the North Pole.
1898 – US battle fleet under Adm. Dewey occupied Isla Grande at Manila.
1918 – Ernest Hemingway is severely wounded while carrying a companion to safety on the Austro-Italian front during World War I. Hemingway, working as a Red Cross ambulance driver, was decorated for his heroism and sent home. Hemingway was born in 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois. Before joining the Red Cross, he worked as a reporter for the Kansas City Star. After the war, he married the wealthy Hadley Richardson. The couple moved to Paris, where they met other American expatriate writers, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and Ezra Pound. With their help and encouragement, Hemingway published his first book of short stories, in the U.S. in 1925, followed by the well-received The Sun Also Rises in 1926. Hemingway would marry three more times, and his romantic and sporting epics would be followed almost as closely as his writing. During the 1930s and ’40s, the hard-drinking Hemingway lived in Key West and then in Cuba while continuing to travel widely. He wrote The Old Man and the Sea in 1952, his first major literary work in nearly a decade. The book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953. The same year, Hemingway was wounded in a plane crash, after which he became increasingly anxious and depressed. Like his father, he eventually committed suicide, shooting himself in 1961 in his home in Idaho.
1932 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches its lowest level of the Great Depression, closing at 41.22.
1941 – Twenty B-17s flew in their first mission with the Royal Air Force over Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
1943 – American B-24 bombers struck Japanese-held Wake Island for the first time. An obscure U.S. Navy fighter did yeoman duty when times were toughest early in World War II.
1943 – On New Georgia, US forces make some gains near the Barike River.
1943 – US invasion fleet passed Bizerta, Tunisia.
1944 – The US 1st Army is reinforced with 2 divisions arriving from Britain. There is heavy fighting along the road from Carentan to Periers.
1944 – Japanese kamikaze attacked US lines at Saipan.
1944 – Naval bombardment of Guam begins.
1945 – At Camp Salina, Utah, an American guard (Clarence V. Bertucci) opens fire on German prisoners of war. During the night, the 23-year-old army private climbed the guard tower with a .30 caliber machine gun. He looked across the tent city where the 250 Germans slept. Then, for the next 15 seconds, he riddled the 43 tents from left to right. The shooting stopped only when the gun ran out of ammunition. Eight Germans were killed and twenty more were wounded. The victims were laid to rest at Fort Douglas and given a proper military funeral. Bertucci showed no remorse for what he done. He said he hated Germans, and wanted to kill them. This is considered the worst massacre at a POW camp in the history of the USA.
1945 – On Mindanao, fighting continues in the Sarangani Bay area. Filipino guerrillas under American leadership engage the Japanese.
1947 – Demolition work began in New York City to make way for the new permanent headquarters of the United Nations.
1947 – In New Mexico the Roswell Daily Record reported the military’s capture of a flying saucer. It became know as the Roswell Incident. Officials later called the debris a “harmless, high-altitude weather balloon. In 1994 the Air Force released a report saying the wreckage was part of a device used to spy on the Soviets.
1948 – The United States Air Force accepts its first female recruits into a program called Women in the Air Force (WAF).
1949 – Vietta M. Bates became the first enlisted woman sworn into the U.S. Army when legislation was passed making the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps part of the regular Army.
1950 – The day after the U.N. Security Council recommended that all U.N. forces in Korea be placed under the command of the U.S. military, General Douglas MacArthur, the hero of the war against Japan, is appointed head of the United Nations Command by President Harry S. Truman. MacArthur, the son of a top-ranking army general who fought in the Civil War, was commissioned as an army lieutenant in 1903. During World War I, MacArthur served as a commander of the famed 84th Infantry Brigade. During the 1920s, he was stationed primarily in the Philippines, a U.S. commonwealth, and in the first half of the 1930s he served as U.S. Army chief of staff. In 1935, with Japanese expansion underway in the Pacific, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed MacArthur military adviser to the government of the Philippines. In 1941, five months before Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, he was named commander of all U.S. armed forces in the Pacific. After the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, he conducted the defense of the Philippines against great odds. In March 1942, with Japanese victory imminent, Roosevelt ordered MacArthur to Australia, but the American general famously promised the Philippines “I shall return.” Five months later, the great U.S. counteroffensive against Japan began. On October 20, 1944, after advancing island by island across the South Pacific, MacArthur waded onto the Philippines’ shores. Eleven months later, he officiated the Japanese surrender and then served as the effective ruler of Japan during a productive five-year occupation. After North Korea invaded South Korea on June 25, 1950, MacArthur was appointed supreme commander of the U.S.-led U.N. force sent to aid the South. In September, he organized a risky but highly successful landing at Inchon, and by October North Korean forces had been driven back across the 38th parallel. With President Truman’s approval, U.N. forces crossed into North Korea and advanced all the way to the Yalu River–the border between North Korea and communist China–despite warnings that this would provoke Chinese intervention. When China did intervene, forcing U.N. forces into a desperate retreat, MacArthur pressed for permission to bomb China. President Truman, fearing the Cold War implications of an expanded war in the Far East, refused. MacArthur then publicly threatened to escalate hostilities with China in defiance of Truman’s stated war policy, leading Truman to fire him on April 11, 1951. For his action against General MacArthur, the celebrated hero of the war against Japan, Truman was subjected to a torrent of attacks, and some Republicans called for his impeachment. On April 17, MacArthur returned to U.S. soil for the first time since before World War II and was given a hero’s welcome. Two days later, he announced the end of his military career before a joint meeting of Congress, declaring, “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.” After unsuccessfully running for the Republican presidential nomination in 1952, MacArthur did indeed fade from public view. He died in 1964.
1951 – The communists offered an armistice if the U.N. Command repatriated all Chinese prisoners. The U.N. Command declined.
1954 – Col. Carlos Castillo Armas is elected president of the junta that overthrew the administration of Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman in late June 1954. The election of Castillo Armas was the culmination of U.S. efforts to remove Arbenz and save Guatemala from what American officials believed to be an attempt by international communism to gain a foothold in the Western Hemisphere. In 1944, Guatemala went through a revolution that saw the removal of a long-time dictator and the establishment of the first democratically elected government in the nation’s history. In 1950, Guatemala witnessed another first with the peaceful transfer of power to the newly elected president, Arbenz. Officials in the United States had watched the developments in Guatemala with growing concern and fear. The Guatemalan government, particularly after Arbenz came to power in 1950, had launched a serious effort at land reform and redistribution to Guatemala’s landless masses. When this effort resulted in the powerful American-owned United Fruit Company losing many acres of land, U.S. officials began to believe that communism was at work in Guatemala. By 1953 and into 1954, the U.S. government was intent on removing Arbenz from power and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was given this task by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The CIA established a multifaceted covert operation (code named PBSUCCESS). Beginning in June 1954, the CIA saturated Guatemala with propaganda over the radio and through leaflets dropped over the country, and also began small bombing raids using unmarked airplanes. It also organized and armed a small force of “freedom fighters”–mostly Guatemalan refugees and mercenaries–headed by Castillo Armas. This force, which never numbered more than a few hundred men, had little impact on subsequent events. By late June, the Arbenz government, diplomatically and economically isolated by the United States, came to the conclusion that resistance against the “giant of the north” was futile, and Arbenz resigned on June 27. A short time later, Castillo Armas and his “army” marched into Guatemala City and established a ruling junta. On July 8, 1954, Castillo Armas was elected president of the junta. For the United States, the election of Castillo Armas was the culmination of a successful covert operation against international communism. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles declared that Guatemala had been saved from “communist imperialism.” The overthrow of Arbenz had added “a new and glorious chapter to the already great tradition of the American states.” Many Guatemalans came to have a different perspective. The new regime rounded up thousands of suspected communists, and executed hundreds of prisoners. Labor unions, which had flourished since 1944, were crushed, and United Fruit’s lands were restored. Castillo Armas, however, did not long enjoy his success. He was assassinated in 1957. Guatemalan politics then degenerated into a series of coups and countercoups, coupled with brutal repression of the country’s people.
1959 – Maj. Dale R. Ruis and Master Sgt. Chester M. Ovnand become the first Americans killed in the American phase of the Vietnam War when guerrillas strike a Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) compound in Bien Hoa, 20 miles northeast of Saigon. The group had arrived in South Vietnam on November 1, 1955, to provide military assistance. The organization consisted of U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps personnel who provided advice and assistance to the Ministry of Defense, Joint General Staff, corps and division commanders, training centers, and province and district headquarters.
1960 – The Soviet Union charged Francis Gary Powers, whose U-2 spy plane was shot down over the country, with espionage.
1962 – Members of the 49th Armored Division from Texas, currently serving on active duty since October 1, 1961, use their full-time training experience to teach Guardsmen in non-mobilized units coming to Ft. Polk for their annual training the finer points of combat readiness. The 49th, along with 32nd Infantry Division from Wisconsin and 264 non-divisional Army Guard units and 163 Air Guard units were mobilized by President John Kennedy in response to the Soviet Union building the Berlin Wall marking an increase in tension in Europe. These units brought more than 66,000 Guard personnel on active duty for up to one year. As tensions cooled by summer’s end the units began returning home. No Army Guard units or personnel had been sent overseas. However, eleven Air Guard fighter squadrons had been deployed to France, Britain and Spain during the crisis. In fact, their movement across the Atlantic was the largest deployment of jet aircraft to date.
1963 – US banned all monetary transactions with Cuba.
1965 – President Johnson decrees that a Vietnam Service Medal be awarded to Americans serving in Vietnam, even though there had been no official declaration of war. There were 16,300 U.S. troops in South Vietnam at the end of 1964. With Johnson’s decision to send U.S. combat units, total U.S. strength in South Vietnam would reach 184,300 by the end of 1965.
1974 – Reverend Alice M. Henderson became the first woman to officially serve in the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps. Henderson was sworn in at U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) at Fort McPherson, Ga. and went on to serve the nation for 13 years.
1987 – Lt. Col. Oliver North became a daytime TV star as the Iran-Contra hearings were televised throughout the U.S.
1988 – Iran’s parliamentary speaker, Hashemi Rafsanjani, said his nation would not seek revenge against the United States for shooting down an Iranian jetliner over the Persian Gulf, killing 290 people.
1991 – Reversing earlier denials, Iraq disclosed for the first time that it was carrying out a nuclear weapons program, including the production of enriched uranium.
1994 – The space shuttle “Columbia” blasted off on a two-week mission.
1994 – Kim Il Sung, the communist dictator of North Korea since 1948, dies of a heart attack at the age of 82. In the 1930s, Kim fought against the Japanese occupation of Korea and was singled out by Soviet authorities, who sent him to the USSR for military and political training. He became a communist and fought in the Soviet Red Army in World War II. In 1945, Korea was divided into Soviet and American spheres, and in 1948 Kim became the first leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). Hoping to reunify Korea by force, Kim launched an invasion of South Korea in June 1950, thereby igniting the Korean War, which ended in a stalemate in 1953. During the next four decades, Kim led his country into a deep isolation from even its former communist allies, and relations with South Korea remained tense. Repressive rule and a personality cult that celebrated him as the “Great Leader” kept him in power until his death in 1994. He was succeeded as president by his son, Kim Jong Il.
1995 – Chinese-American human rights activist Harry Wu was arrested in China and charged with obtaining state secrets. He was later convicted of espionage and deported.
1995 – A Marine tactical recovery team from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit stationed on board the USS Kearsarge rescued a downed U.S. pilot, Captain Scott O’Grady, USAF, from Bosnian-Serb territory in Bosnia.
1996 – The Shuttle Columbia landed after a record flight of 16 days, 21 hours, 48 minutes and 30 sec.
1997 – A US Army Black Hawk helicopter crashed at Fort Bragg, NC, and killed 8 soldiers.
1997 – NATO issued formal membership invitations to Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
1998 – The US and European countries demanded an immediate cease fire in Kosovo and called for a crackdown on the flow of funds to ethnic Albanian rebels.
1998 – In Afghanistan the Taliban decreed that television was corrupting Afghan society and issued an edict that banned televisions, videocassette recorders, videos and satellite dishes.
1999 – An Air Force cargo jet took off from Seattle on a dangerous mission to Antarctica to drop medicine for Dr. Jerri Nielsen, a physician at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Research Center who had discovered a lump in her breast. The mission was successful; Nielsen was evacuated the following October.
1999 – Astronaut Charles “Pete” Conrad Junior, the third man to walk on the moon, died after a motorcycle accident near Ojai, California; he was 69.
2000 – The Pentagon’s missile defense project suffered its latest setback when a rocket that had taken off from Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific failed to intercept a target missile launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
2003 – In Iraq Mizban Khadr Hadi (No. 23), a high-ranking member of the Baath Party regional command was taken into custody
2003 – US military experts arrived in Liberia to assess the need for help in the local civil war.
2010 – An article tilted, “The Runaway General”, appeared in Rolling Stone magazine, in which General Stanley McChrystal and his staff mocked civilian government officials, including Joe Biden, National Security Advisor James L. Jones, US Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl W. Eikenberry, and Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke. McChrystal was not quoted as being directly critical of the president or the president’s policies, but several comments from his aides in the article reflected their perception of McChrystal’s disappointment with Obama on the first two occasions of their meeting. This leads to McChrystal’s resignation and replacement as Commander of US forces in Afghanistan by General David Petraeus.
2011 – Space Shuttle Atlantis is launched in the final mission of the U.S. Space Shuttle program.
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