1778 – After almost nine months of occupation, the 15,000 British troops under Sir Henry Clinton evacuate Philadelphia, the former U.S. capital. The British position in Philadelphia had become untenable after France’s entrance into the war on the side of the Americans. To avoid the French fleet, General Clinton was forced to lead his British-Hessian force to New York City by land. Loyalists in the city sailed down the Delaware River to escape the Patriots, who returned to Philadelphia the day after the British departure. U.S. General Benedict Arnold, who led the force that reclaimed the city without bloodshed, was appointed military governor. On June 24, the Continental Congress returned from its temporary capital of York, Pennsylvania. On September 26, 1777, Philadelphia was captured by the British following Patriot General George Washington’s defeats at the Battle of Brandywine and the Battle of the Clouds. British General William Howe had made Philadelphia, the seat of the Continental Congress, the focus of his campaign, but the Patriot government had deprived him of the decisive victory he hoped for by moving its operations to the more secure site of York one week before. Nine months later, the Continental Congress returned.
1812 – The day after the Senate followed the House of Representatives in voting to declare war against Great Britain, President James Madison signs the declaration into law–and the War of 1812 begins. The American war declaration, opposed by a sizable minority in Congress, had been called in response to the British economic blockade of France, the induction of American seaman into the British Royal Navy against their will, and the British support of hostile Indian tribes along the Great Lakes frontier. A faction of Congress known as the “War Hawks” had been advocating war with Britain for several years and had not hidden their hopes that a U.S. invasion of Canada might result in significant territorial land gains for the United States. In the months after President Madison proclaimed the state of war to be in effect, American forces launched a three-point invasion of Canada, all of which were decisively unsuccessful. In 1814, with Napoleon Bonaparte’s French Empire collapsing, the British were able to allocate more military resources to the American war, and Washington, D.C., fell to the British in August. In Washington, British troops burned the White House, the Capitol, and other buildings in retaliation for the earlier burning of government buildings in Canada by U.S. soldiers. In September, the tide of the war turned when Thomas Macdonough’s American naval force won a decisive victory at the Battle of Plattsburg Bay on Lake Champlain. The invading British army was forced to retreat back into Canada. The American victory on Lake Champlain led to the conclusion of U.S.-British peace negotiations in Belgium, and on December 24, 1814, the Treaty of Ghent was signed, formally ending the War of 1812. By the terms of the agreement, all conquered territory was to be returned, and a commission would be established to settle the boundary of the United States and Canada. British forces assailing the Gulf Coast were not informed of the treaty in time, and on January 8, 1815, the U.S. forces under Andrew Jackson achieved the greatest American victory of the war at the Battle of New Orleans. The American public heard of Jackson’s victory and the Treaty of Ghent at approximately the same time, fostering a greater sentiment of self-confidence and shared identity throughout the young republic.
1862 – Commander S.P. Lee submitted a demand from Flag Officer Farragut and General Butler for the surrender of Vicksburg; Confederate authorities refused and a year-long land and water assault on the stronghold began.
1863 – After repeated acts of insubordination, General John McClernand was relieved by General Ulysses S. Grant during the siege of Vicksburg.
1863 – Rear Admiral Farragut in U.S.S. Monongahela steamed down river from Port Hudson to Plaquemine, Louisiana, where a raid by a company of Confederate cavalry had burned two Army transports. It was feared that the Confederate intent was to capture Donaldsonville, Louisiana, cutting off the flow of supplies between New Orleans and General Banks before Port Hudson. U.S.S. Winona, Lieutenant Commander Aaron ‘V. Weaver, shelled the Confederate cavalrymen from the town.
1864 – At Petersburg, Union General Ulysses S. Grant realized the town could no longer be taken by assault and settled into a siege.
1864 – Union war hero Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain is severely wounded at Petersburg, Virginia, while leading an attack on a Confederate position. Chamberlain, a college professor from Maine, took a sabbatical to enlist in the Union army. As commander of the 20th Maine, he earned distinction at Gettysburg when he shored up the Union left flank and helped save Little Round Top for the Federals. His bold counterattack against the Confederates earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor. His wound at Petersburg was the most serious of the six he received during the war. Doctors in the field hospital pronounced his injury fatal, and Union General Ulysses S. Grant promoted him to brigadier general as a tribute to his service and bravery. Miraculously, he survived and spent the rest of the Petersburg campaign convalescing at his Maine home. He returned to the Army of the Potomac in time for Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, and he was given the honor of accepting the arms of the Confederate infantry. Chamberlain returned to Maine after the war and served four terms as governor. He then became president of Bowdoin College—the institution that had refused to release him for military service—and held the position until 1883. Chamberlain remained active in veterans’ affairs and, like many soldiers, attended regimental reunions and kept alive the camaraderie created during the war. He was present for the 50th anniversary of Gettysburg in 1913, one year before he died of an infection from the wound he suffered at Petersburg.
1878 – Congress established the U.S. Life-Saving Service as a separate agency under the control of the Treasury Department (20 Stat. L., 163).
1878 – The 45th Congress enacted a rider on an Army appropriations bill that became known as the Posse Comitatus Act [Chapter 263, Section 15, U.S. Statutes, Vol. 20.] This act limited active-duty military involvement in civil law enforcement leaving the Revenue Cutter Service as the only military force consistently charged with federal law enforcement on the high seas and in U.S. waters and the militia, later to become the National Guard, available for such duty. The rider prohibited the use of the Army in domestic civilian law enforcement without Constitutional or Congressional authority. The use of the Navy was prohibited by regulation and the rider was amended in 1976 outlawing the use of the Air Force. In 1981, however, new legislation allowed the Secretary of Defense to bring Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps support to civilian authorities in intelligence, equipment, base and research facilities, and related training.
1900 – Empress Douairisre ordered I-Ho-Chuan (the Boxers) to kill all foreigners. [see Jun 21]
1903 – 1st transcontinental auto trip began in SF and arrived in NY 3-months later. [see Jul 26]
1918 – Allied forces on the Western Front began their largest counter-attack against the spent German army.
1942 – The U.S. Navy commissioned its first black officer, Harvard University medical student Bernard Whitfield Robinson.
1944 – On Saipan, elements of the US 5th Amphibious Corps continue to make progress. The 4th Marine Division reaches the west side of the island at Magicienne Bay. This advance divides the Japanese garrison. Elements of the 27th Division capture Aslito airfield. Japanese air strikes sink 1 American destroyers and 2 tankers as well as damaging the escort carrier Fanshaw Bay. Most of the American air and naval support has withdrawn to meet the approaching Japanese fleet.
1944 – The main US carrier forces rendezvous west of the Mariana Islands. Japanese scout planes sight the American fleet late in the day. The Japanese command intends to launch air strikes next morning, while still beyond range, and fly the aircraft to Guam to refuel and rearm.
1944 – Elements of the French Expeditionary Corps (part of US 5th Army), in the west, enter Radicofani.
1945 – On instructions from Emperor Hirohito, Prime Minister Suzuki tells the Japanese Supreme Council that it is the intention of Hirohito to seek peace with the Allies as soon as possible.
1945 – On Okinawa, the remnants of the Japanese 32nd Army continue to offer determined resistance to attacks of the US 3rd Amphibious Corps and the US 24th Corps. Lt. General Simon Bolivar Buckner, commanding US 10th Army, is killed by Japanese artillery fire while he is on a visit to the front line, inspecting troops of the US 8th Marine Division. He is temporarily replaced by General Geiger, commanding the US 3rd Amphibious Corps.
1945 – On Luzon, elements of the US 37th Division, supported by an armored column, advance in the Caygayan valley, capturing Ilagan airfield and crossing the Ilagan River. On Mindanao, organized Japanese resistance comes to an end. Forces of the Japanese 35th Army have been cut off and dependent on roots and tree bark for food for some time now. Nonetheless, some small units of Japanese continue to resist.
1945 – Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower received a tumultuous welcome in Washington, where he addressed a joint session of Congress. Eisenhower went on to meet Pres. Harry Truman and the 2 men established a warm relationship that later soured. In 2001 Steve Neal authored “Harry and Ike: The Relationship That Remade the Postwar World.”
1945 – Organized Japanese resistance ended on the island of Mindanao, Philippines.
1953 – ROK President Syngman Rhee ordered ROK guards to release 25,000 North Korean prisoners who did not wish to be repatriated. This unilateral action by Rhee threatened to derail armistice negotiations.
1953 – U.S. Air Force Captains Lonnie R. Moore and Ralph S. Parr of the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing became the 33rd and 34th aces of the war. Their F-86s were named “Billie/Margie” and “Barb/Vent De Mort.”
1954 – Albert Patterson was assassinated in Phenix, Ala. He had recently been elected as attorney general on a platform to crack down on vice. His murder led the governor to call in the National Guard to replace local law enforcement and cleanup the vice. Patterson’s son John filled the attorney general position. He was elected governor in 1958.
1957 – CNO approves ship characteristics of the Fleet Ballistic Missile submarine.
1964 – In a meeting with North Vietnam’s Premier Pham Van Dong, J. Blair Seaborn, the chief Canadian delegate to the International Control Commission, is serving as a secret envoy for the US government for he has been authorized to appraise the situation in Hanoi, specifically, to see whether the North Vietnamese leaders are ready to pull back from the war. Although Seaborn is not authorized to make any literal threats, he leaves the Premier with little doubt that the United States was prepared to ‘carry the war to the North…if pushed too far.’ Seaborn, however, was not informed about, nor authorized to convey a package of proposals including the withdrawal of US forces and various forms of economic aid if Hanoi would halt hostilities in South Vietnam. When Seaborn returns to Saigon and sends two long reports to the US State Department, no action is taken by the US authorities.
1965 – For the first time, 28 B-52s fly-bomb a Viet Cong concentration in a heavily forested area of Binh Duong Province northwest of Saigon. Such flights, under the aegis of the Strategic Air Command (SAC), became known as Operation Arc Light. The B-52s that took part in the Arc Light missions had been deployed to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam and more bombers were later deployed to bases in Okinawa and U-Tapao, Thailand. In addition to supporting ground tactical operations, B-52s were used to interdict enemy supply lines in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, and later to strike targets in North Vietnam. Releasing their bombs from 30,000 feet, the B-52s could neither be seen nor heard from the ground as they inflicted awesome damage. B-52s were instrumental in breaking up enemy concentrations besieging Khe Sanh in 1968 and An Loc in 1972. Between June 1965 and August 1973, 126,615 B-52 sorties were flown over Southeast Asia. During those operations, the Air Force lost 29 B-52s: 17 from hostile fire over North Vietnam and 12 from operational causes.
1966 – Gen. William Westmoreland, senior U.S. military commander in Vietnam, sends a new troop request to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Westmoreland stated that he needed 542,588 troops for the war in Vietnam in 1967–an increase of 111,588 men to the number already serving there. In the end, President Johnson acceded to Westmoreland’s wishes and dispatched the additional troops to South Vietnam, but the increases were done in an incremental fashion. The highest number of U.S. troops in South Vietnam was 543,500, which was reached in 1969.
1979 – During a summit meeting in Vienna, President Jimmy Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT-II agreement dealing with limitations and guidelines for nuclear weapons. The treaty, which never formally went into effect, proved to be one of the most controversial U.S.-Soviet agreements of the Cold War. The SALT-II agreement was the result of many nagging issues left over from the successful SALT-I treaty of 1972. Though the 1972 treaty limited a wide variety of nuclear weapons, many issues remained unresolved. Talks between the United States and the Soviet Union began almost immediately after SALT-I was ratified by both nations in 1972. Those talks failed to achieve any new breakthroughs, however. By 1979, both the United States and Soviet Union were eager to revitalize the process. For the United States, fear that the Soviets were leaping ahead in the arms race was the primary motivator. For the Soviet Union, the increasingly close relationship between America and communist China was a cause for growing concern. In June 1979, Carter and Brezhnev met in Vienna and signed the SALT-II agreement. The treaty basically established numerical equality between the two nations in terms of nuclear weapons delivery systems. It also limited the number of MIRV missiles (missiles with multiple, independent nuclear warheads). In truth, the treaty did little or nothing to stop, or even substantially slow down, the arms race. Nevertheless, it met with unrelenting criticism in the United States. The treaty was denounced as a “sellout” to the Soviets, one that would leave America virtually defenseless against a whole range of new weapons not mentioned in the agreement. Even supporters of arms control were less than enthusiastic about the treaty, since it did little to actually control arms. Debate over SALT-II in the U.S. Congress continued for months. In December 1979, however, the Soviets launched an invasion of Afghanistan. The Soviet attack effectively killed any chance of SALT-II being passed, and Carter ensured this by withdrawing the treaty from the Senate in January 1980. SALT-II thus remained signed, but unratified. During the 1980s, both nations agreed to respect the agreement until such time as new arms negotiations could take place.
1983 – From Cape Canaveral, Florida, the space shuttle Challenger is launched into space on its second mission with Dr. Sally Ride, who as a mission specialist became the first American woman to travel into space. During the six-day mission, Ride, an astrophysicist from Stanford, operated the shuttle’s robot arm, which she had helped design. Her historic journey was preceded almost 20 years to the day by cosmonaut Valentina V. Tereshkova of the Soviet Union, who on June 16, 1963, became the first woman ever to travel into space. The United States had screened a group of female pilots in 1959 and 1960 for possible astronaut training but later decided to restrict astronaut qualification to men. In 1978, NASA changed its policy and announced that it had approved six women to become the first female astronauts in the U.S. space program. The new astronauts were chosen out of some 3,000 original applicants. Among the six were Sally Ride and Shannon Lucid, who in 1996 set a new space endurance record for an American and a world endurance record for a woman during her 188-day sojourn on the Russian space station Mir.
1984 – Radio talk host Alan Berg, the self-described “man you love to hate,” is gunned down in the driveway of his home in Denver, Colorado. With his own show on KOA aiming to stir up controversy, Berg was used to receiving an endless stream of death threats. He had reportedly once said, “You never know where the nuts are going to come from so you live day by day.” One of the suspects, Bruce Pierce-leader of a neo-Nazi organization called the Order-was arrested nearly a year later in Georgia, driving a van that contained machine guns, grenades, dynamite, and a crossbow. His right-wing extremist group had been linked to many armored-car robberies in the West. David Lane and Richard Scutari, Pierce’s alleged accomplices, were caught a short time later. Authorities believed that Robert Matthews, the founder of the Order, was also involved, but he had died in a fire caused by a shootout with FBI agents in Seattle, Washington, in December 1984. After Pierce, Lane, and Scutari were charged with violating Berg’s civil rights, a jury concluded that Pierce had been responsible for shooting Berg, while Lane had driven the getaway car. Scutari was acquitted.
1987 – Charles Glass, a journalist on leave from ABC News, was kidnapped in Lebanon. (Glass escaped his captors the following August.)
1995 – The Bosnian Serbs announced the resumption of cooperation with the UN. Serbs released the last 26 UN hostages held since NATO airstrikes.
1996 – Federal prosecutors in California charged Theodor J. Kaczynski, the UNABOM suspect, in four of the Unabomber attacks He was indicted by a federal grand jury for two killings in Sacramento.
1996 – Two Army transport helicopters collided and crashed during training exercises near Fort Campbell, Ky., killing six and injuring 33.
1999 – The US and Russia agreed on terms for Russian participation in Kosovo peacekeeping.
1999 – NATO peacekeepers took 25 KLA members into custody after finding 15 Gypsy prisoners they had mistreated. Serb media reported that KLA fighters had killed 3 Serbs in Novo Selo and kidnapped 18 Serbs near Pristina.
1999 – The CGC Midgett departed its homeport of Seattle for a six-month deployment to the Persian Gulf. Midgett was attached to a Navy carrier battle group. The Midgett’s crew brought the Coast Guard’s expertise in boarding ships to the battle group. Once in the Gulf, the cutter’s primary mission was to enforce United Nations’ sanctions against illegal Iraq petroleum shipments and conduct SAR operations.
2000 – A US F-14 Tomcat fighter jet crashed during an air show at Willow Grove, Pa. Two naval aviators were killed.
2001 – The US Navy dropped dummy bombs on Vieques island. A number of protesters were arrested for trespassing.
2001 – In Yemen 15 suspected terrorists were arrested. US FBI investigators had pulled out on June 17 under a security threat.
2002 – Pres. Bush sent to Congress his detailed proposal for creation of a new Homeland Security Department.
2002 – Saudi Arabia announced its first al-Qaida-related arrests since Sept. 11 and said it was holding 11 Saudis, an Iraqi and a Sudanese man behind a plot to shoot down a U.S. military plane taking off from a Saudi air base.
2004 – In southern Afghanistan Taliban insurgents attacked a government office in Mizan, sparking a gunfight with Afghan troops that killed seven people.
2004 – South Korea said it will send 3,000 soldiers to northern Iraq beginning in early August to assist the U.S.-led coalition.
2004 – A Saudi al-Qaida group said it killed American hostage Paul M. Johnson Jr., posting three photos on the Internet showing his body and severed head.
2004 – Saudi security forces killed Abdulaziz al-Moqrin (31), a top al-Qaida leader, and three other militants in Riyadh.
2004 – The U.N. atomic watchdog agency censured Iran for past cover-ups in its nuclear program in a resolution, warning Tehran to be more forthcoming.
2007 – Operation Arrowhead Ripper began when Multi-National Division-North commenced offensive operations against Al-Qaeda positions in Baquba in Diyala province where fighting had already been going on for months. The operation started with air assaults under the cover of darkness in Baquba. Heavy street fighting lasted throughout the first day of the operation, mainly in the center of the city and around the main city market. On 22 June, Coalition attack helicopters killed 17 al-Qaeda gunmen and the vehicle they were using southwest of Khalis in Diyala province. By 19 August, at least 227 insurgents had been killed in Baquba.
2013 – The handover of security from NATO to Afghan forces was completed. The International Security Assistance Force formally handed over control of the last 95 districts to Afghan forces at a ceremony attended by President Hamid Karzai and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at a military academy outside Kabul. Following the handover, Afghan forces will have the lead for security in all 403 districts of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. Before the handover they were responsible for 312 districts nationwide, where 80 percent of Afghanistan’s population of nearly 30 million lives.
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