1607 – Colonists in North America completed James Fort in Jamestown.
1775 – The Second Continental Congress voted unanimously to appoint George Washington head of the Continental Army.
1775 – Word reached the Americans that the British intended to occupy the Charlestown peninsula.
1776 – Delaware declared independence from both England and Pennsylvania with whom it had shared a royal governor.
1779 – General Anthony Wayne captured Stony Point, New York, from the British. “I’ll storm the Gates of Hell if you will but plan the attack,” Wayne told Gen. Washington. [see Jul 16]
1836 – Arkansas was admitted into the Union as the 25th state.
1844 – Charles Goodyear (b.1800) received a patent for the vulcanization of rubber, his process to strengthen rubber.
1846 – Representatives of Great Britain and the United States sign the Oregon Treaty, which settles a long-standing dispute with Britain over who controlled the Oregon territory. The treaty established the 49th parallel from the Rocky Mountains to the Strait of Georgia as the boundary between the United States and British Canada. The United States gained formal control over the future states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana, and the British retained Vancouver Island and navigation rights to part of the Columbia River. In 1818, a U.S.-British agreement had established the border along the 49th parallel from Lake of the Woods in the east to the Rocky Mountains in the west. The two nations also agreed to a joint occupation of Oregon territory for 10 years, an arrangement that was extended for an additional 10 years in 1827. After 1838, the issue of who possessed Oregon became increasingly controversial, especially when mass American migration along the Oregon Trail began in the early 1840s. American expansionists urged seizure of Oregon, and in 1844 Democrat James K. Polk successfully ran for president under the platform “Fifty-four forty or fight,” which referred to his hope of bringing a sizable portion of present-day Vancouver and Alberta into the United States. However, neither President Polk nor the British government wanted a third Anglo-American war, and on June 15, 1846, the Oregon Treaty, a compromise, was signed. By the terms of the agreement, the U.S. and Canadian border was extended west along the 49th parallel to the Strait of Georgia, just short of the Pacific Ocean.
1849 – James Polk, the 11th president of the United States, died in Nashville, Tenn.
1862 – Confederate cavalry commander J.E.B. Stuart completes a four-day ride around George B. McClellan’s Army of the Potomac in the area of the James Peninsula.
1862 – James River Flotilla, including U.S.S. Monitor, Galena, Aroostook, Port Royal, and Naugatuck, under Commander J – Rodgers encountered obstructions sunk across the river and at close range hotly engaged sharpshooters and strong Confederate batteries, manned in part by sailors and Marines, at Drewry’s Bluff, Virginia. For his part in the ensuing action, Corporal John B. Mackie, a member of Galena’s Marine Guard, was cited for gallantry in a letter to Secretary of the Navy Welles; in Department of the Navy General Order 17, issued on 10 July 1863, Mackie was awarded the first Medal of Honor authorized a member of the Marine Corps. In the bombardment, Galena was heavily damaged but, unsupported, Rodgers penetrated the James River to within eight miles of Richmond before falling back. Rodgers stated at this time that troops were needed to take Drewry’ s Bluff in the rear. Had this been done, Richmond might well have fallen.
1863 – President Abraham Lincoln calls for help in protecting the capital. Throughout June, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was on the move. He had pulled his army from its position along the Rappahannock River around Fredericksburg and set it on the road to Pennsylvania. Lee and the Confederate leadership decided to try a second invasion of the North to take pressure off Virginia and to seize the initiative against the Army of the Potomac. The first invasion, in September 1862, failed when the Federals fought Lee’s army to a standstill at Antietam. Lee later divided his army and sent the regiments toward the Shenandoah Valley, using the Blue Ridge Mountains as a screen. After the Confederates took Winchester, Virginia, on June 14, they were situated on the Potomac River, seemingly in a position to move on Washington, D.C. Lincoln did not know it, but Lee had no intention of attacking Washington. All Lincoln knew was that the Rebel army was moving en masse and that Union troops could not be certain as to the Confederates’ location. On June 15, Lincoln put out an emergency call for 100,000 troops from the state militias of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia. Although the troops were not needed, and the call could not be fulfilled in such a short time, it was an indication of how little the Union authorities knew of Lee’s movements and how vulnerable they thought the Federal capital was.
1863 – Confederate guerrillas fired into U.S.S. Marmora, Acting Lieutenant Getty, near Eunice, Arkansas, and on the morning of the 14th, took transport Nebraska under fire. In retaliation, Getty sent a landing party ashore and destroyed the town, “including the railroad depot, with locomotive and car inside, also the large warehouse . . . The next day, 15 June, landing parties from Marmora and U.S.S. Prairie Bird, Acting Lieutenant Edward E. Brennand, destroyed the town of Gaines Landing in retaliation for a guerrilla attempt to burn the Union coal barge there and for firing on Marmora.
1864 – Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton signed an order establishing a military burial ground at Robert E. Lee’s home estate at Arlington. This became Arlington National Cemetery.
1864 – Confederate artillery opened fire in the early morning hours on wooden side-wheeler U.S.S. General Bragg, Acting Lieutenant Dominy, lying off Como Landing, Louisiana. The return fire from General Bragg forced the Southerners to move to Ratliff’s Landing where they fired on small paddle-wheel steamer U.S.S. Naiad, Acting Master Henry T. Keene. U.S.S. Winnebago, a double-turreted river monitor, alerted by the sound of gunfire, soon hove into sight, and the com-bined firepower of the three ships temporarily silenced the field battery. Next day, General Bragg was again taken under fire by Confederate guns on the river bank and another spirited engagement ensued, during which a shot disabled the ship’s engine.
1864 – During the Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Potomac and Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia collide for the last time as the first wave of Union troops attacks Petersburg, a vital Southern rail center 23 miles south of the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. The two massive armies would not become disentangled until April 9, 1865, when Lee surrendered and his men went home. In June 1864, in a brilliant tactical maneuver, Grant marched his army around the Army of Northern Virginia, crossed the James River unopposed, and advanced his forces to Petersburg. Knowing that the fall of Petersburg would mean the fall of Richmond, Lee raced to reinforce the city’s defenses. The mass of Grant’s army arrived first. On June 15, the first day of the Battle of Petersburg, some 10,000 Union troops under General William F. Smith moved against the Confederate defenders of Petersburg, made up of only a few thousand armed old men and boys commanded by General P.G.T. Beauregard. However, the Confederates had the advantage of formidable physical defenses, and they held off the overly cautious Union assault. The next day, more Federal troops arrived, but Beauregard was reinforced by Lee, and the Confederate line remained unbroken during several Union attacks occurring over the next two days. By June 18, Grant had nearly 100,000 at his disposal at Petersburg, but the 20,000 Confederate defenders held on as Lee hurried the rest of his Army of Northern Virginia into the entrenchments. Knowing that further attacks would be futile, but satisfied to have bottled up the Army of Northern Virginia, Grant’s army dug trenches and began a prolonged siege of Petersburg. Finally, on April 2, 1965, with his defense line overextended and his troops starving, Lee’s right flank suffered a major defeat against Union cavalry under General Phillip Sheridan, and Grant ordered a general attack on all fronts. The Army of Northern Virginia retreated under heavy fire; the Confederate government fled Richmond on Lee’s recommendation; and Petersburg, and then Richmond, fell to the Union. Less than a week later, Grant’s massive army headed off the remnants of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Station, and Lee was forced to surrender, effectively ending the Civil War.
1877 – Some 800 Nez Perce were pursued by the US Army and began their journey to reach safety in Canada. The Nez Perce had been ordered to leave the valley of the Winding Waters in the Northwest. They refused to be resettled and fled.
1877 – Henry Ossian Flipper, born a slave in Thomasville, Georgia, in 1856, is the first African American cadet to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Flipper, who was never spoken to by a white cadet during his four years at West Point, was appointed a second lieutenant in the all-African American 10th Cavalry, stationed at Fort Sill in Indian Territory. The United States Military Academy–the first military school in America–was founded by Congress in 1802 for the purpose of educating and training young men in the theory and practice of military science. Established at West Point, New York, the U.S. Military Academy is often simply known as West Point. Located on the high west bank of New York’s Hudson River, West Point was the site of a Revolutionary-era fort built to protect the Hudson River Valley from British attack. In 1780, Patriot General Benedict Arnold, the commander of the fort, agreed to surrender West Point to the British in exchange for 6,000 pounds. However, the plot was uncovered before it fell into British hands, and Arnold fled to the British for protection. Ten years after the establishment of the U.S. Military Academy in 1802, the growing threat of another war with Great Britain resulted in congressional action to expand the academy’s facilities and increase the West Point corps. Beginning in 1817, the U.S. Military Academy was reorganized by superintendent Sylvanus Thayer–later known as the “father of West Point”–and the school became one of the nation’s finest sources of civil engineers. During the Mexican-American War, West Point graduates filled the leading ranks of the victorious U.S. forces, and with the outbreak of the Civil War former West Point classmates regretfully lined up against one another in the defense of their native states. In 1870, the first African American cadet, James Webster Smith, was admitted into the academy but never reached the graduation ceremonies. It was not until 1877 that Henry Ossian Flipper became the first to graduate, after enduring four years of prejudice and silence. In 1976, the first female cadets were admitted into West Point. The academy is now under the general direction and supervision of the department of the U.S. Army and has an enrollment of more than 4,000 students.
1888 – Wilhelm II became emperor of Germany.
1898 – The U.S. House of representatives approved the annexation of Hawaii. Some 38,000 Hawaiians signed the “Monster Petition” that was delivered to Washington by Queen Liliu’okalani. the petition was ignored.
1898 – US marines attacked the Spanish off Guantanamo, Cuba.
1916 – President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill incorporating the Boy Scouts of America.
1917 – Congress passed and President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Espionage Act, authorizing the Treasury Secretary to assume control of U.S. ports, control ship movements, establish anchorages and supervise the loading and storage of explosive cargoes. The authority was immediately delegated to the Coast Guard and formed the basis for the formation of the Coast Guard’s Captain of the Ports and the Port Security Program.
1918 – The U.S. Post Office and the U.S. Army began regularly scheduled airmail service between Washington and New York through Philadelphia. Lieutenant George L. Boyle, an inexperienced young army pilot, was chosen to make the first flight from Washington. Even with a route map stitched to his breeches, Boyle lost his way and flew south rather than north. The second leg of the Washington–Philadelphia–New York flight, however, took off and arrived in New York on schedule–without the Washington mail.
1940 – Another Navy bill passes into law. This provides for a much expanded air corps, with 10,000 planes and 16,000 more aircrew.
1943 – Paul Blobel, an SS colonel, is given the assignment of coordinating the destruction of the evidence of the grossest of Nazi atrocities, the systematic extermination of European Jews. As the summer of 1943 approached, Allied forces had begun making cracks in Axis strongholds, in the Pacific and in the Mediterranean specifically. Heinrich Himmler, leader of the SS, the elite corps of Nazi bodyguards that grew into a paramilitary terror force, began to consider the possibility of German defeat and worried that the mass murder of Jews and Soviet prisoners of war would be discovered. A plan was devised to dig up the buried dead and burn the corpses at each camp and extermination site. The man chosen to oversee this yearlong project was Paul Blobel. Blobel certainly had some of that blood on his hands himself, as he was in charge of SS killing squads in German-occupied areas of Russia. He now drew together another kind of squad, “Special Commando Group 1,005,” dedicated to this destruction of human evidence. Blobel began with “death pits” near Lvov, in Poland, and forced hundreds of Jewish slave laborers from the nearby concentration camp to dig up the corpses and burn them-but not before extracting the gold from the teeth of the victims.
1944 – American forces began their successful invasion of Saipan during World War II. Meanwhile, B-29 Superfortresses made their first raids on Japan. Coast Guard-manned transports that took part in the invasion included the USSs Cambria, Arthur Middleton, Callaway, Leonard Wood, LST-19, LST-23, LST-166 and LST-169. Preceded by naval gunfire and carrier air strikes, the V Amphibious Corps assaulted the west coast of Saipan, Marianas Islands. By nightfall, the 2d and 4th Marine Divisions, moving against heavy opposition, had established a beachhead 10,000 yards wide and 1,500 yards deep.
1944 – Admiral Clark leads two groups of US carrier forces raiding Iwo Jima, Chichi Jima and Haha Jima. The Japanese carriers are sighted by US patrols heading through the San Bernardino Strait while some of the Japanese battleships are seen east of Mindanao.
1944 – A fourth American corps is add to the US 1st Army. The US 8th Corps becomes operations on the Cotentin Peninsula. Meanwhile, elements of the US 7th Corps capture Quineville.
1944 – The first B-29 Superfortress raid on Japan is conducted. Bombers from the US 20th Air Force in China attack Yawatta on Kyushu.
1945 – American OSS units complete mopping up operations in the Shan Mountains area.
1945 – US B-29 Superfortress bombers drop 3000 tons of bombs on Osaka.
1945 – On Okinawa, Marines suffer heavy casualties and are unable to advance on Kunishi Ridge. The US 1st Division, already short of troops, is attached to the US 2nd Marine Division. Forces of the US 24th Corps continue operations to eliminate Japanese positions on Mount Yaeju and Mount Yuza.
1945 – On Luzon, Filipino guerrillas seize Cervantes in the north. Meanwhile, the US 37th Division continues to battle forward in the Cagayan valley, eliminating a Japanese strong point about 3 miles from Santiago, near Cabanatuan.
1946 – The United States presents the Baruch Plan for the international control of atomic weapons to the United Nations. The failure of the plan to gain acceptance resulted in a dangerous nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In August 1945, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, becoming the first and only nation to use nuclear weapons during wartime. The successful use of the bombs not only ended World War II, but also left the United States with a monopoly on the most destructive weapon known to humankind. As Cold War animosities between the United States and the Soviet Union began to develop in the months after the end of the war, a sharp discussion ensued in the administration of President Harry S. Truman. Some officials, including Secretary of War Henry R. Stimson and Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace, argued that the United States should share its atomic secrets with the Soviets. The continuing U.S. monopoly, they argued, would only result in growing Russian suspicions and an eventual arms race. Others, such as State Department official George F. Kennan, strenuously argued against this position. The Soviets, these people declared, could not be trusted and the United States would be foolish to relinquish its atomic “ace in the hole.” The battle between these two groups was apparent in early 1946, when the United States proposed the formation of the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission (UNAEC) to establish an international control over the spread and development of nuclear weapons and technology. Bernard Baruch, a trusted adviser to U.S. presidents since the early 20th century, was tapped to formulate the American proposal and present it to the United Nations. Baruch sided with those who feared the Soviets, and his proposal reflected this. His proposal did provide for international control and inspection of nuclear production facilities, but clearly announced that the United States would maintain its nuclear weapons monopoly until every aspect of the proposal was in effect and working. The Soviets, not surprisingly, rejected the Baruch Plan. The United States thereupon rejected a Soviet counterproposal for a ban on all nuclear weapons. By 1949, any discussion of international control of nuclear weapons was a moot point. In September of that year, the Soviets successfully tested a nuclear device. During the next few years the United States and Soviet Union raced to develop an ever-more frightening arsenal of nuclear weapons, including the hydrogen bomb, MIRV missiles (missiles with multiple nuclear warheads), and the neutron bomb (designed to kill people but leave structures standing).
1946 – 10th Marines help police in Black Market Riot – Nagasaki.
1952 – U.S. Air Force Second Lieutenant James F. Low, 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, became the 17th ace of the Korean War with his fifth MiG kill. The most junior in grade ace of the war, Low had been in combat for only six days.
1953 – The USS Princeton launched 184 sorties and established a single-day Korean War record for offensive sorties flown from the deck of a carrier.
1963 – Launching of combat store ship, Mars (AFS-1), first of new class of underway replenishment ships.
1964 – At a meeting of the National Security Council, McGeorge Bundy, President Lyndon B. Johnson’s national security advisor, informs those in attendance that President Johnson has decided to postpone submitting a resolution to Congress asking for authority to wage war. The situation in South Vietnam had rapidly deteriorated, and in March 1964, Secretary of State Robert McNamara reported that 40 percent of the countryside was under Viet Cong control or influence. Johnson was afraid that he would be run out of office if South Vietnam fell to the communists, but he was not prepared to employ American military power on a large scale. Several of his advisers, led by McGeorge Bundy’s brother, William, had developed a scenario of graduated overt pressures against North Vietnam, according to which the president–after securing a Congressional resolution–would authorize air strikes against selected North Vietnamese targets. Johnson rejected the idea of submitting the resolution to Congress because it would “raise a whole series of disagreeable questions” which might jeopardize the passage of his administration’s civil rights legislation. Just two months later, they revisited idea of a resolution in the wake of the Tonkin Gulf incident. In August, after North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked U.S. destroyers in what became known as the Tonkin Gulf incident, Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara and Secretary of State Dean Rusk appeared before a joint Congressional committee on foreign affairs. They presented the Johnson administration’s arguments for a resolution authorizing the president “to take all necessary measures” to defend Southeast Asia. Subsequently, Congress passed Public Law 88-408, which became known as the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, which gave President Johnson the power to take whatever actions he deemed necessary, including “the use of armed force.” The resolution passed 82 to 2 in the Senate, where Wayne K. Morse (D-Oregon) and Ernest Gruening (D-Alaska) were the only dissenting votes; the bill passed unanimously in the House of Representatives. President Johnson signed it into law on August 10 and it became the legal basis for every presidential action taken by the Johnson administration during its conduct of the war.
1965 – U.S. planes bomb targets in North Vietnam, but refrain from bombing Hanoi and the Soviet missile sites that surround the city. On June 17, two U.S. Navy jets downed two communist MiGs, and destroyed another enemy aircraft three days later. U.S. planes also dropped almost 3 million leaflets urging the North Vietnamese to get their leaders to end the war. These missions were part of Operation Rolling Thunder, launched in March 1965, after President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered a sustained bombing campaign of North Vietnam. The operation was designed to interdict North Vietnamese transportation routes in the southern part of the North Vietnam and to slow infiltration of personnel and supplies into South Vietnam. During the early months of this campaign, there were restrictions against striking targets in or near Hanoi and Haiphong, but in July 1966, Rolling Thunder was expanded to include the bombing of North Vietnamese ammunition dumps and oil storage facilities. In the spring of 1967, it was further expanded to include power plants, factories, and airfields in the Hanoi and Haiphong areas. The White House closely controlled Operation Rolling Thunder and at times President Johnson personally selected the targets. From 1965 to 1968, about 643,000 tons of bombs were dropped on North Vietnam. The operation continued, with occasional suspensions, until President Johnson halted it entirely on October 31, 1968, under increasing domestic political pressure.
1969 – North Vietnamese forces twice attack Third Brigade headquarters of the 101st Airborne Division atop a 2,000-foot peak just east of Apbia mountain.
1986 – Commandant ADM Paul Yost bans the wearing of beards by Coast Guard personnel.
1991 – Mount Pinatubo (4,750 feet high) erupted. Due to early warning 56,000 people were evacuated and only 450 people died. The eruption forced the closure of Clark Air Force Base in Angeles City and displaced hundreds of families of the Aeta tribe. 2 battle groups and amphibious ships evacuate dependents and Air Force personnel from Clark.
1992 – The Supreme Court ruled the government may seize criminal suspects from a foreign country for prosecution.
1994 – Former President Jimmy Carter arrived in North Korea on a private mission to try to reduce tensions with the communist nation.
1996 – UN weapons inspectors gave up after a 5-day standoff with Iraqi authorities over inspection of 4 sites for documents and other material relating to weapons of mass destruction.
1998 – US F-16 fighter jets took off as part of a 13-nation, 85 warplane NATO show of force over Albania and Macedonia. Meanwhile Serb forces attacked 4 Kosovo villages with grenades and helicopter gunships and began sealing off the border to Albania.
2000 – In Kosovo 2 Serbs were killed and another wounded when their vehicle ran over a land mine. NATO peacekeepers raided an ethnic Albanian stronghold in Drenica and seized a large quantity of weapons and ammunition. Halil Dreshaj, a member of the Democratic League of Kosovo, was shot and killed by masked men wearing uniforms of the disbanded KLA.
2001 – Pres. Bush spoke in Poland and strongly backed the expansion of Nato into Eastern Europe. On the eve of his first meeting with Vladimir Putin, President Bush, chastised Russia for suspected nuclear commerce and encouraged the former Cold War rival to help “erase the false lines that have divided Europe.”
2001 – It was reported that the Bush administration had decided to restore some military ties with Indonesia. The Clinton administration had cut some ties during the 1999 upheavals in East Timor.
2003 – With a deadline passed for Iraqis to hand in heavy weapons, U.S. forces fanned out across Iraq to seize arms and put down potential foes.
2004 – Iraq’s interim government received a boost when its neighbors welcomed the transfer of sovereignty in that country at the end of June.
2004 – A Saudi al Qaeda group threatened to execute Paul M. Johnson Jr. within 72 hours unless fellow jihadists were released were released from prison.
2009 – Law Enforcement officers from the 14th Coast Guard District reported aboard the USS Crommelin (FFG-37) to support U.S. Coast Guard fisheries enforcement in Oceania in an operation called the “Fight for Fish” mission. It marked the first time a Navy warship was utilized “to transit the Western Pacific enforcing fishing regulations in a joint effort with the Coast Guard to stop illegal fishing in this region.”
2014 – ISIS militants captured the Iraqi city of Tal Afar in the province of Nineveh. ISIS claimed that 1,700 Iraqi soldiers who had surrendered in the fighting had been killed, and released many images of mass executions via its Twitter feed and various websites.
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