1740 – Georgia provincial governor James Oglethorpe begins an unsuccessful attempt to take Spanish Florida during the Siege of St. Augustine. Oglethorpe raised a mixed force of British regulars (the 42nd Regiment of Foot), colonial militia from the Province of Georgia and the Carolinas, and native American Creek and Chickasaw, or Uchees. Oglethorpe deployed his batteries on the island of Santa Anastasia while a British naval squadron blockaded the port.1774 – Rhode Island became the 1st colony to prohibit importation of slaves.
1777 – Marquis de Lafayette landed in the United States to assist the colonies in their war against England.
1786 – Winfield Scott, a hero in the Mexican-American War and commander of the U.S. Army at the outbreak of the Civil War, is born on this day in 1786.
1798 – Mission San Luis Rey [in California] was founded.
1805 – Having hurried ahead of the main body of the expedition, Meriwether Lewis and four men arrive at the Great Falls of the Missouri River, confirming that the explorers are headed in the right direction. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark had set out on their expedition to the Pacific the previous year. They spent the winter of 1804 with the Mandan Indians in present-day North Dakota. The Hidatsa Indians, who lived nearby, had traveled far to the West, and they proved an important source of information for Lewis and Clark. The Hidatsa told Lewis and Clark they would come to a large impassable waterfall in the Missouri when they neared the Rocky Mountains, but they assured the captains that portage around the falls was less than half a mile. Armed with this valuable information, Lewis and Clark resumed their journey up the Missouri accompanied by a party of 33 in April. The expedition made good time, and by early June, the explorers were nearing the Rocky Mountains. On June 3, however, they came to a fork at which two equally large rivers converged. “Which of these rivers was the Missouri?” Lewis asked in his journal. Since the river coming in from the north most resembled the Missouri in its muddy turbulence, most of the men believed it must be the Missouri. Lewis, however, reasoned that the water from the Missouri would have traveled only a short distance from the mountains and, therefore, would be clear and fast-running like the south fork. The decision was critical. If the explorers chose the wrong river, they would not be able to find the Shoshone Indians from whom they planned to obtain horses for the portage over the Rockies. Although all of their men disagreed, Lewis and Clark concluded they should proceed up the south fork. To err on the side of caution, however, the captains decided that Lewis and a party of four would speed ahead on foot. If Lewis did not soon encounter the big waterfall the Hidatsa had told them of, the party would return and the expedition would backtrack to the other river. On this day in 1805, four days after forging ahead of the main body of the expedition, Lewis was overjoyed to hear “the agreeable sound of a fall of water.” Soon after he “saw the spray arise above the plain like a column of smoke…. [It] began to make a roaring too tremendous to be mistaken for any cause short of the great falls of the Missouri.” By noon, Lewis had reached the falls, where he stared in awe at “a sublimely grand specticle [sic]…. the grandest sight I had ever held.” Lewis and Clark had been correct–the south fork was the Missouri River. The mysterious northern fork was actually the Marias River. Had the explorers followed the Marias, they would have traveled up into the northern Rockies where a convenient pass led across the mountains into the Columbia River drainage. However, Lewis and Clark would not have found the Shoshone Indians nor obtained the horses. Without horses, the crossing might well have failed. Three days after finding the falls, Lewis rejoined Clark and told him the good news. However, the captains’ elation did not last long. They soon discovered that the portage around the Great Falls was not the easy half-mile jaunt reported by the Hidatsa, but rather a punishing 18-mile trek over rough terrain covered with spiky cactus. The Great Portage, as it was later called, would take the men nearly a month to complete. By mid-July, however, the expedition was again moving ahead. A month later, Lewis and Clark found the Shoshone Indians, who handed over the horses that were so critical to the subsequent success of their mission.
1862 – Confederate steamer Planter, with her captain ashore in Charleston, was taken out of the harbor by an entirely Negro crew under Robert Smalls and turned over to U.S.S. Onward, Acting Lieutenant Nickels, of the blockading Union squadron.
1862 – U.S.S. Iroquois, Commander Palmer, and U.S.S. Oneida, Commander S. P. Lee, occupied Natchez, Mississippi, as Flag Officer Farragut’s fleet moved steadily toward Vicksburg.
1863 – Confederate forces on their way to Gettysburg clashed with Union troops at the Second Battle of Winchester, Virginia.
1864 – The bulk of the Army of the Potomac begins moving towards Petersburg, Virginia, precipitating a siege that lasted for more than nine months. From early May, the Union army hounded Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia as it tried to destroy the Confederates in the eastern theater. Commanded officially by George Meade but effectively directed by Ulysses S. Grant, the Army of the Potomac sustained enormous casualties as it fought through the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor. After the disaster at Cold Harbor, where Union troops suffered horrendous losses when they attacked fortified Rebels just east of Richmond, Grant paused for more than a week before ordering another move. The army began to pull out of camp on June 12, and on June 13 the bulk of Grant’s force was on the move south to the James River. As they had done for six weeks, the Confederates stayed between Richmond and the Yankees. Lee blocked the road to Richmond, but Grant was after a different target now. After the experience of Cold Harbor, Grant decided to take the rail center at Petersburg, 23 miles south of Richmond. By late afternoon, Union General Winfield Hancock’s Second Corps arrived at the James. Northern engineers were still constructing a pontoon bridge, but a fleet of small boats began to ferry the soldiers across. By the next day, skirmishing flared around Petersburg and the last great battle of war in Virginia began. This phase of the war would be much different, as the two great armies settled into trenches for a war of attrition.
1881 – The USS Jeannette is crushed in an Arctic Ocean ice pack. Jeannette departed San Francisco on 8 July 1879, the Secretary of the Navy having added to her original instructions the task of searching for the long-overdue Swedish polar expedition of Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld (whose ship Vega had successfully traversed the Northeast Passage). Jeannette pushed northward to Alaska’s Norton Sound and sent her last communication to Washington before starting north from St. Lawrence Bay, Siberia on 27 August. Under Lt. Cdr. DeLong’s direction the ship sailed across the Chukchi Sea and sighted Herald Island on 4 September. Soon afterward she was caught fast in the ice pack near Wrangel Island at 71°35′N 175°6′E. For the next 21 months, Jeannette drifted to the northwest, ever-closer to DeLong’s goal, the North Pole itself. He described in his journal the important scientific records kept by the party: “A full meteorological record is kept, soundings are taken, astronomical observations made and positions computed, dip and declination of the needle observed and recorded… everything we can do is done as faithfully, as strictly, as mathematically as if we were at the Pole itself, or the lives of millions depended on our adherence to routine.” In May 1881, two islands were discovered and named Jeannette and Henrietta. In June, Bennett Island was discovered and claimed for the U.S. On the night of 12 June, the pressure of the ice finally began to crush Jeannette when they had reached 77°15′N 154°59′E. DeLong and his men unloaded provisions and equipment onto the ice pack and the ship sank the following morning.
1888 – The US Congress created the Department of Labor.
1893 – Grover Cleveland notices a rough spot in his mouth and on July 1 undergoes secret, successful surgery to remove a large, cancerous portion of his jaw; operation not revealed to US public until 1917, nine years after the president’s death.
1900 – China’s Boxer Rebellion against foreigners and Chinese Christians erupted into violence.
1918 – Marines plug the line in their exposed area. German counterattack begins supported by the artillery from three divisions and almost recaptures Bouresches. Heavy gas casualties. A planned relief of 2/5 goes for naught as 2/6 is caught in the open by a artillery barrage with gas.
1927 – Aviator Charles Lindbergh receives a ticker-tape parade down 5th Avenue in New York City.
1929 – Coast Guard Radio Technician A. G. Descoteaux became the first person to broadcast from an aircraft. In a Loening amphibian, he reported the takeoff of a French aircraft on a trans-Atlantic flight at Old Orchard Beach, Maine. The account was relayed by ground equipment to an extensive national hookup and was received by U.S. and foreign listeners.
1940 – Roosevelt signs a new $1,300,000,000 Navy bill providing for much extra construction. Meanwhile, in response to Churchill’s pleas in his telegrams to President Roosevelt, surplus stocks of artillery weapons and rifles have been assembled from US government stores. The first shipment now leaves the USA on the SS Eastern Prince for the voyage to Britain. The US Neutrality Laws have been subverted by first “selling” the arms to a steel company and then reselling them to the British government.
1942 – President Roosevelt created the Office of War Information, and appointed radio news commentator Elmer Davis to be its head. The OSS, Office of Strategic Services, was formed.
1942 – John C. Cullen, Seaman 2/c discovered Nazi saboteurs landing on beach at Amagansett, Long Island. He reported this to his superiors. The FBI later captured the Nazis and Cullen was awarded the Legion of Merit. The four men had plans to sabotage NYC’s water system and industrial sites across the Northeastern US.
1942 – CGC Thetis sank the German U-boat U-157 off the Florida Keys. There were no survivors.
1942 – 1st V-2 rocket launch from Peenemunde, Germany, reached 1.3 km.
1943 – CGC Escanaba exploded and sank off Ivigtut, Greenland, with only two survivors. The cause for the loss has never been confirmed.
1944 – Only one week after the Normandy invasion, the first German V-1 buzz bomb, also called the doodlebug (Fieseler Fi-103), was fired at London. The first guided missile to be used in force, the V-1 was powered by a pulse-jet engine and resembled a small aircraft. Only one of the four missiles London saw that day caused any casualties, but a steady stream of V-1s causing severe damage and casualties fell on London in coming months. At times, nearly 100 bombs fell each day. Many German buzz bombs never reached their targets because of primitive guidance systems or because they were destroyed in flight by anti-aircraft fire or intercepting Allied fighters.
1944 – US 1st Army makes progress towards St Lo and across the Cotentin. Pont l’Abbe is capture in the peninsula. A German counterattack, spearheaded by 17th Panzer Division, toward Carentan is held.
1944 – On Biak, American forces reduce the scattered Japanese resistance from caves in the east of the island. US aircraft are operating from Mokmer Airfield.
1944 – Admiral Small leads a cruiser and destroyer group to bombard Japanese positions on Matsuwa.
1945 – On Okinawa, the Japanese resistance in the Oruku peninsula ends. The US 6th Marine Division records a record 169 Japanese prisoners as well as finding about 200 dead. (This is a large total when compared with previous numbers of Japanese prisoners reported.) The fighting continues to the southeast, especially in the Kunishi Ridge area where a regiment of the US 1st Marine Division suffers heavy casualties. The US 24th Corps uses armored flamethrowers in the elimination of the Japanese held fortified caves on Mount Yuza and Mount Yaeju and on Hills 153 and 115.
1945 – On Luzon, an American armored column attempts pass through the Orioung Pass, to exploit a breakthrough achieved by the US 145th Infantry Regiment (US 37th Division), but a Japanese counterattack blocks the road.
1949 – Vietnam state was established at Saigon with Bao Dai as chief of state. Installed by the French, Bao Dai entered Saigon to rule Vietnam.
1951 – U.N. troops seized Pyongyang, North Korea.
1951 – U.N. commander General Mathew Ridgway’s Joint Strategic Plans and Operations Group (JSPOG) discussed with him four options to carry Eighth Army above Line KANSAS so that this line would not be lost in any withdrawal required by cease-fire arrangements.
1966 – The Supreme Court issued its landmark Miranda vs. Arizona decision, ruling that criminal suspects must be informed of their constitutional rights prior to questioning by police. The conviction of Ernesto Miranda for rape and kidnapping was overturned because his confession was not voluntarily given.
1969 – The US government discloses it used wiretapping devices to eavesdrop on the ‘Chicago Eight’ anti-war activists who have been indicted for inciting riots during the 1968 Democratic convention. The government contends it has the right to eavesdrop without court approval on members of organizations it believes to be seeking to attack and subvert the government.
1969 – Souvanna Phouma, premier of Laos, acknowledges publically for the first time that US planes regularly carryout bombing raids in Laos and says the bombing will continue as long as North Vietnam uses Laotian bases and infiltration routes.
1969 – B-52 bombing missions over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in southern Laos rise to 5,567 in 1969, up from 3,377 in 1968, according to official Pentagon statistics. The B-52s, no longer permitted to bomb North Vietnam since the November 1968 bombing halt, are increasingly diverted to Laos and, in secret, to Cambodia. Nearly 160,000 tons of bombs are dropped on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in 1969.
1967 – Operation Great Bend in Rung Sat Zone, Vietnam.
1971 – The New York Times begins to publish sections of the so-called “Pentagon Papers,” a top-secret Department of Defense study of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. The papers indicated that the American government had been lying to the people for years about the Vietnam War and the papers seriously damaged the credibility of America’s Cold War foreign policy. In 1967, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara ordered his department to prepare an in-depth history of American involvement in the Vietnam War. McNamara had already begun to harbor serious doubts about U.S. policy in Vietnam, and the study–which came to be known as the “Pentagon Papers”–substantiated his misgivings. Top-secret memorandums, reports, and papers indicated that the U.S. government had systematically lied to the American people, deceiving them about American goals and progress in the war in Vietnam. The devastating multi-volume study remained locked away in a Pentagon safe for years. In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a Vietnam veteran and Defense Department employee who had turned completely against the war, began to smuggle portions of the papers out of the Pentagon. These papers made their way to the New York Times, and on June 13, 1971, the American public read them in stunned amazement. The publication of the papers added further fuel to the already powerful antiwar movement and drove the administration of President Richard Nixon into a frenzy of paranoia about information “leaks.” Nixon attempted to stop further publication of the papers, but the Supreme Court refused to issue an injunction. The “Pentagon Papers” further eroded the American public’s confidence in their nation’s Cold War foreign policy. The brutal, costly, and seemingly endless Vietnam War had already damaged the government’s credibility, and the publication of the “Pentagon Papers” showed people the true extent to which the government had manipulated and lied to them. Some of the most dramatic examples were documents indicating that the Kennedy administration had openly encouraged and participated in the overthrow of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem in 1963; that the CIA believed that the “domino theory” did not actually apply to Asia; and that the heavy American bombing of North Vietnam, contrary to U.S. government pronouncements about its success, was having absolutely no impact on the communists’ will to continue the fight.
1973 – Representatives of the original signers of the January 27 cease-fire sign a new 14-point agreement calling for an end to all cease-fire violations in South Vietnam. Coming at the end of month-long negotiations between Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho, the settlement included an end to all military activities at noon on June 15; an end to U.S. reconnaissance flights over North Vietnam and the resumption of U.S. minesweeping operations in North Vietnamese waters; the resumption of U.S. talks on aid to North Vietnam; and the meeting of commanders of opposing forces in South Vietnam to prevent outbreaks of hostilities. Fighting had erupted almost immediately after the original cease-fire that had been initiated as part of the Paris Peace Accords. Both sides repeatedly violated the terms of the cease-fire as they jockeyed for position and control of the countryside. This new agreement proved no more effective than the original peace agreement in stopping the fighting, which continued into early 1975 when the North Vietnamese launched a massive offensive that overran South Vietnam in less than 55 days. The war was finally over on April 30, 1975, when North Vietnamese tanks rolled into Saigon.
1979 – Sioux Indians were awarded $105 million in compensation for the U.S. seizure in 1877 of their Black Hills in South Dakota.
1983 – After more than a decade in space, Pioneer 10, the world’s first outer-planetary probe, leaves the solar system. The next day, it radioed back its first scientific data on interstellar space. On March 2, 1972, the NASA spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a mission to Jupiter, the solar system’s largest planet. In December 1973, after successfully negotiating the asteroid belt and a distance of 620 million miles, Pioneer 10 reached Jupiter and sent back to Earth the first close-up images of the spectacular gas giant. On June 13, 1983, the NASA spacecraft left the solar system. NASA officially ended the Pioneer 10 project on March 31, 1997, with the spacecraft having traveled a distance of some six billion miles. Headed in the direction of the Taurus constellation, Pioneer 10 will pass within three light years of another star–Ross 246–in the year 34,600 A.D. Bolted to the probe’s exterior wall is a gold-anodized plaque, 6 by 9 inches in area, that displays a drawing of a human man and woman, a star map marked with the location of the sun, and another map showing the flight path of Pioneer 10. The plaque, intended for intelligent life forms elsewhere in the galaxy, was designed by astronomer Carl Sagan.
1991 – Marines from Okinawa and Marine Barracks, Subic Bay, Philippines, evacuated 20,000 Americans after Mount Pinatubo erupted. HMH-772, MAGTF 4-91, MAG-36, 15th MEU and other Marine units assisted.
1993 – Astronaut Donald K. “Deke” Slayton died in League City, Texas, at age 69.
1997 – The leaders of France, Germany and Canada insisted that Romania and Slovenia be allowed to join NATO next month.
1997 – A jury sentences Timothy McVeigh to death for his part in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
1999 – NATO soldiers shot dead two armed men as peacekeepers tried to contain new violence in Kosovo; Russian troops, meanwhile, blocked British troops from entering the airport in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo.
2001 – Pres. Bush met behind closed doors with NATO leaders in Brussels, Belgium, and pitched his missile shield plan with mixed response.
2001 – The US House voted (422-2) to forbid foreign oil companies doing business in Sudan from selling securities in the US.
2002 – A federal judge blocked SC Gov. Jim Hodges’ suit to block a plutonium shipment from Rocky Flats in Colorado to the Savannah River Site nuclear facility for re-processing.
2002 – Afghanistan’s interim leader Hamid Karzai won endorsement from about two-thirds of delegates at the Loya Jirga grand assembly, making him the most likely candidate to win the presidency.
2002 – A US military vehicle in South Korea ran over 2 girls (14), Shim Mi-son and Shin Hyo-sun. A military jury later cleared Sgt. Fernando Nino of negligent homicide charges. Driver Sgt. Mark Walker was acquitted Nov 22.
2003 – US forces killed 27 Iraqi fighters in a ground and air pursuit after the Iraqis attacked an American tank patrol north of Baghdad.
2003 – Belgium’s foreign minister said the country has already amended its war crimes laws to avoid politically inspired lawsuits against US officials.
2004 – Pakistani troops ended a major operation to flush out al-Qaida suspects and their local supporters from hide-outs in a remote region near Afghanistan. 72 people died, including 17 security personnel.
2007 – The 2007 al-Askari Mosque bombing occurred at around 9 am local time at one of the holiest sites in Shia Islam, the al-Askari Mosque, and has been attributed to al-Qaeda in Iraq or the Iraqi Baath Party. While there were no injuries or deaths reported, the mosque’s two ten story minarets were destroyed in the attacks. This was the second bombing of the mosque, with the first bombing occurring on 22 February 2006 and destroying the mosque’s golden dome. By April 2009, both minarets had been repaired.
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