1664 – New Jersey, named after the Isle of Jersey, was founded.
1675 – In colonial New England, King Philip’s War begins when a band of Wampanoag warriors raid the border settlement of Swansee, Massachusetts, and massacre the English colonists there. In the early 1670s, 50 years of peace between the Plymouth colony and the local Wampanoag Indians began to deteriorate when the rapidly expanding settlement forced land sales on the tribe. Reacting to increasing Native American hostility, the English met with King Philip, chief of the Wampanoag, and demanded that his forces surrender their arms. The Wampanoag did so, but in 1675 a Christian Native American who had been acting as an informer to the English was murdered, and three Wampanoag were tried and executed for the crime. King Philip responded by ordering the attack on Swansee on June 24, which set off a series of Wampanoag raids in which several settlements were destroyed and scores of colonists massacred. The colonists retaliated by destroying a number of Indian villages. The destruction of a Narragansett village by the English brought the Narragansett into the conflict on the side of King Philip, and within a few months several other tribes and all the New England colonies were involved. In early 1676, the Narragansett were defeated and their chief killed, while the Wampanoag and their other allies were gradually subdued. King Philip’s wife and son were captured, and on August 12, 1676, after his secret headquarters in Mount Hope, Rhode Island, was discovered, Philip was assassinated by a Native American in the service of the English. The English drew and quartered Philip’s body and publicly displayed his head on a stake in Plymouth. King Philip’s War, which was extremely costly to the colonists of southern New England, ended the Native American presence in the region and inaugurated a period of unimpeded colonial expansion.
1861 – Federal gunboats attacked Confederate batteries at Mathias Point, Virginia.
1861 – Tennessee became the 11th and last state to secede from US.
1862 – U.S. intervention saved the British and French at the Dagu forts in China.
1862 – President Abraham Lincoln meets with retired General Winfield Scott, a hero of the Mexican War and the commander of all Union forces at the outbreak of the Civil War. Scott, aged and infirm, still possessed a sharp military mind. More important, he was one of the few impartial advisors surrounding Lincoln. On June 23, Lincoln took a train from Washington to West Point, New York, and called on Scott the following day to discuss Union strategy in Virginia. Lincoln had doubts about George McClellan’s ability to lead the Army of the Potomac, which was stuck in a stalemate with Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia outside of Richmond. He also sought Scott’s opinion on the various Federal armies operating in northern Virginia. Scott recommended that Irwin McDowell’s corps be sent to aid McClellan on the James Peninsula, since a defeat of Lee at Richmond would, in Scott’s words, “be a virtual end of the rebellion.” Although it may have been sound advice, Lincoln did not move McDowell’s force. McClellan had provided no evidence to Lincoln that he would effectively apply the reinforcements against Lee. Instead, Lincoln consolidated McDowell’s corps with the commands of John C. Frýmont and Nathaniel Banks, who had recently been bested by Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley. John Pope, under whom Frýmont refused to serve and so went on inactive duty, led the newly formed Army of Virginia. This new army would face its first test in August at the Second Battle of Bull Run, where it suffered a humiliating defeat. More than anything, this visit fueled Lincoln’s disenchantment with military advice. Lincoln spent the war’s first two and a half years learning about military affairs and searching for the right advisor. He would not find that voice until the fall of 1863—from Ulysses S. Grant.
1863 – Planning an invasion of Pennsylvania, Lee’s army crossed the Potomac.
1864 – Iron screw steamer U.S.S. Calypso, Acting Master Frederick D. Stuart, and wooden side wheeler U.S.S. Nansemond, Acting Ensign James H. Porter, transported and supported an Army expedition in the vicinity of New River, North Carolina. The object was to cut the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad, but Confederates had learned of the attempt and, taking up defensive positions in strength, compelled the Union troops to withdraw under cover of the ships’ guns.
1864 – Lieutenant Cushing, with Acting Ensign J. E. Jones, Acting Master’s Mate Howorth and fifteen men, all from U.S.S. Monticello, reconnoitered up Cape Fear River to within 3 miles of Wilmington, North Carolina. They rowed past the batteries guarding the western bar on the night of the 23rd, and despite three narrow escapes pulled safely ashore below Wilmington as day dawned on the 24th. The expedition had begun as an attempt to gain information about C.S.S. Raleigh, which Cushing was unaware had been wrecked after the engagement on 6 May. He learned that the ram had been “indeed, destroyed, and nothing now remains of her above water.
1864 – U.S.S. Queen City, Acting Master Michael Hickey, lying at anchor off Clarendon, Arkansas, on the White River, was attacked and destroyed in the early morning hours by two regiments of Confederate cavalry supported by artillery. The 210-ton wooden paddle-wheeler, taken by surprise, was disabled immediately, and Hickey surrendered her. Lieutenant Bache, U.S.S. Tyler, attempted to retake the ship, but when within a few miles of the location “heard two successive reports, which proved subsequently to have been the unfortunate Queen City blowing up. [Confederate General] Shelby, hearing us coming, had destroyed her.” Bache proceeded with wooden steamers Tyler, U.S.S. Fawn, Acting Master John R. Grace, and U.S.S. Naumkeag, Acting Master John Rogers, to Clarendon, where he engaged the Confederate battery hotly for forty-five minutes. Naumkeag succeeded in recapturing one howitzer and several crewmen from Queen City as the Confederates fell back from the riverbank.
1864 – Colorado Governor John Evans warns that all peaceful Indians in the region must report to the Sand Creek reservation or risk being attacked, creating the conditions that will lead to the infamous Sand Creek Massacre. Evans’ offer of sanctuary was at best halfhearted. His primary goal in 1864 was to eliminate all Native American activity in eastern Colorado Territory, an accomplishment he hoped would increase his popularity and eventually win him a U.S. Senate seat. Immediately after ordering the peaceful Indians to the reservation, Evans issued a second proclamation that invited white settlers to indiscriminately “kill and destroy all…hostile Indians.” At the same time, Evans began creating a temporary 100-day militia force to wage war on the Indians. He placed the new regiment under the command of Colonel John Chivington, another ambitious man who hoped to gain high political office by fighting Indians. The Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe Indians of eastern Colorado were unaware of these duplicitous political maneuverings. Although some bands had violently resisted white settlers in years past, by the autumn of 1864 many Indians were becoming more receptive to Cheyenne Chief Black Kettle’s argument that they must make peace. Black Kettle had recently returned from a visit to Washington, D.C., where President Abraham Lincoln had given him a huge American flag of which Black Kettle was very proud. He had seen the vast numbers of the white people and their powerful machines. The Indians, Black Kettle argued, must make peace or be crushed. When word of Governor Evans’ June 24 offer of sanctuary reached the Indians, however, most of the Indians remained distrustful and were unwilling to give up the fight. Only Black Kettle and a few lesser chiefs took Evans up on his offer of amnesty. In truth, Evans and Chivington were reluctant to see hostilities further abate before they had won a glorious victory, but they grudgingly promised Black Kettle his people would be safe if they came to Fort Lyon in eastern Colorado. In November 1864, the Indians reported to the fort as requested. Major Edward Wynkoop, the commanding federal officer, told Black Kettle to settle his band about 40 miles away on Sand Creek, where he promised they would be safe. Wynkoop, however, could not control John Chivington. By November, the 100-day enlistment of the soldiers in his Colorado militia was nearly up, and Chivington had seen no action. His political stock was rapidly falling, and he seems to have become almost insane in his desire to kill Indians. “I long to be wading in gore!” he is said to have proclaimed at a dinner party. In this demented state, Chivington apparently concluded that it did not matter whether he killed peaceful or hostile Indians. In his mind, Black Kettle’s village on Sand Creek became a legitimate and easy target. At daybreak on November 29, 1864, Chivington led 700 men, many of them drunk, in a savage assault on Black Kettle’s peaceful village. Most of the Cheyenne warriors were away hunting. In the awful hours that followed, Chivington and his men brutally slaughtered 105 women and children and killed 28 men. The soldiers scalped and mutilated the corpses, carrying body parts back to display in Denver as trophies. Amazingly, Black Kettle and a number of other Cheyenne managed to escape. In the following months, the nation learned of Chivington’s treachery at Sand Creek, and many Americans reacted with horror and disgust. By then, Chivington and his soldiers had left the military and were beyond reach of a court-martial. Chivington’s political ambitions, however, were ruined, and he spent the rest of his inconsequential life wandering the West. The scandal over Sand Creek also forced Evans to resign and dashed his hopes of holding political office. Evans did, however, go on to a successful and lucrative career building and operating Colorado railroads.
1898 – American troops drove Spanish forces from La Guasimas, Cuba.
1908 – The 22nd and 24th president (1893-1897) of the United States, Grover Cleveland, died in Princeton, N.J., at age 71.
1915 – Some 70,000 attend the National German-American meeting at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
1917 – US General John Pershing lands with the first contingents of the American Expeditionary Force. Other units will follow; 180,000 men by the end of the year.
1918 – After weeks of grinding infantry combat, the French command finally commits sufficient artillery to reduce Belleau Woods. The guns are brought in to prepare for a renewed assault.
1930 – The 1st radar detection of planes was made at Anacostia, DC.
1941 – President Franklin Roosevelt pledged all possible support to the Soviet Union.
1943 – Allies began a 10-day fire bombing of Hamburg.
1944 – The battle for Cherbourg continues. American forces of US 7th Corps (part of 1st Army) continue to make progress. The German garrison commander, General Schlieben, refuses to surrender.
1944 – The battle for Saipan continues as US 5th Amphibious Corps makes progress. The 27th Division clears the southern part of the island and most of the division moves northward. The 2nd Marine Division continues to battle for Mount Tapotchau.
1944 – Japanese bases on Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima are raided by American carrier aircraft. The planes are from Hornet, Yorktown, Bataan and Belleau Wood (a force commanded by Admiral Clark). Japanese losses are 66 aircraft.
1945 – Over Borneo, British and American aircraft drop 1000 tons of bombs on Japanese positions.
1945 – The last of four German Ar234 jet bombers (collected by “Watson’s Wizzers” of the USAAF) lands in Cherbourg, flying from Sola in Norway. These aircraft are to be loaded onboard the British aircraft carrier HMS Reaper, along with 34 other advanced German aircraft, for shipment to the United States.
1946 – Lt. Col. Ellison S. Onizuka (astronaut: mission specialist aboard ill-fated Space Shuttle Challenger), was born.
1948 – One of the most dramatic standoffs in the history of the Cold War begins as the Soviet Union blocks all road and rail traffic to and from West Berlin. The blockade turned out to be a terrible diplomatic move by the Soviets, while the United States emerged from the confrontation with renewed purpose and confidence. Following World War II, Germany was divided into occupation zones. The United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and, eventually, France, were given specific zones to occupy in which they were to accept the surrender of Nazi forces and restore order. The Soviet Union occupied most of eastern Germany, while the other Allied nations occupied western Germany. The German capital of Berlin was similarly divided into four zones of occupation. Almost immediately, differences between the United States and the Soviet Union surfaced. The Soviets sought huge reparations from Germany in the form of money, industrial equipment, and resources. The Russians also made it clear that they desired a neutral and disarmed Germany. The United States saw things in quite a different way. American officials believed that the economic recovery of Western Europe was dependent on a strong, reunified Germany. They also felt that only a rearmed Germany could stand as a bulwark against Soviet expansion into Western Europe. In May 1946, the Americans stopped reparations shipments from their zone to the Soviets. In December, the British and Americans combined their zones; the French joined some months later. The Soviets viewed these actions as a threat and issued more demands for a say in the economic future of Germany. On June 22, 1948, negotiations between the Soviets, Americans, and British broke down. On June 24, Soviet forces blocked the roads and railroad lines into West Berlin. American officials were furious, and some in the administration of President Harry S. Truman argued that the time for diplomacy with the Soviets was over. For a few tense days, the world waited to see whether the United States and Soviet Union would come to blows. In West Berlin, panic began to set in as its population worried about shortages of food, water, and medical aid. The United States response came just two days after the Soviets began their blockade. A massive airlift of supplies into West Berlin was undertaken in what was to become one of the greatest logistical efforts in history. For the Soviets, the escapade quickly became a diplomatic embarrassment. Russia looked like an international bully that was trying to starve men, women, and children into submission. And the successful American airlift merely served to accentuate the technological superiority of the United States over the Soviet Union. On May 12, 1949, the Soviets officially ended the blockade.
1955 – Soviet MIG’s down a U.S. Navy patrol plane over the Bering Strait.
1957 – The US Army’s 1st Special Forces Group is activated in Okinawa. In the course of the year this unit trains 58 men of the Vietnamese Army at the Commando Training Center in Nha Trang. These trainees become the nucleus of the Vietnamese Special Forces.
1965 – Hanoi Radio announces that the Vietcong have shot POW and US Army Sergeant Harold G. Bennett. Harold Bennett and Charles Crafts were MACV advisors to an ARVN unit operating in Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam. A native of Maine, Crafts had been in country about 1 month. On the afternoon of December 29, 1964, Bennett, Crafts and their ARVN unit made contact with Viet Cong guerrillas and the unit engaged in a firefight. During the firefight, both were taken prisoner. By early 1965, Crafts and Bennett joined other prisoners held by the Viet Cong. Those who returned supplied information on the fates of those who did not. In late spring, 1965, Bennett began to refuse food. This was not an uncommon occurrence among prisoners suffering dysentery, malnutrition, malaise, injury and other ills that were common among prisoners of war in the South. Normally, the other prisoners worked hard to prevent further illness by forcing food on the POW who refused food, provided the sick man was not isolated. Returned POWs report the death of several men from the cycle of illness-refusal to eat-depression-starvation. Bennett did not die of starvation, however. The Vietnamese National Liberation Front (NLF) announced on Radio Hanoi on June 24, 1965 that Bennett had been shot in retaliation for Viet Cong terrorist Tran Van Dong’s execution by South Vietnam. He was the first POW to be executed in retaliation. When the war ended in 1973, the Vietnamese listed Bennett as having died in captivity. They did not return his remains. He is one of nearly 2400 Americans still missing in Southeast Asia.
1957 – A 37-kiloton nuclear fission bomb, code-named Priscilla, was exploded in the Nevada desert at Frenchman Flat. The security of a bank vault was tested in the experiment. At this time the US was manufacturing 10 nuclear bombs a day.
1970 – On an amendment offered by Senator Robert Dole (R-Kansas) to the Foreign Military Sales Act, the Senate votes 81 to 10 to repeal the Tonkin Gulf Resolution. In August 1964, after North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked U.S. destroyers (in what became known as the Tonkin Gulf incident), President Johnson asked Congress 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, giving the president 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. It became the legal basis for every presidential action taken by the Johnson administration during its conduct of the war. Despite the initial support for the resolution, it became increasingly controversial as Johnson used it to increase U.S. commitment to the war in Vietnam. Repealing the resolution was meant as an attempt to limit presidential war powers. The Nixon administration took a neutral stance on the vote, denying that it relied on the Tonkin resolution as the basis for its war-making authority in Southeast Asia. The administration asserted that it primarily drew on the constitutional authority of the president as commander-in-chief to protect the lives of U.S. military forces in justifying its actions and policies in prosecuting the war.
1970 – The US embassy in Phnompenh discloses that the United States has stepped up the shipment of arms to Cambodia and that all of the $7.9 million in arms aid promised for the current fiscal year either had arrived or would arrive shortly.
1973 – Graham Martin is sworn in as ambassador to South Vietnam, replacing Ellsworth Bunker.
1983 – The space shuttle “Challenger,” carrying America’s first woman in space, Sally K. Ride, coasted to a safe landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
1993 – Eight Muslim fundamentalists were arrested in New York, accused of plotting a day of bombings of the United Nations, a federal building and the Holland and Lincoln tunnels. They and two others were later convicted of seditious conspiracy
1993 – Yale University computer expert David Gelernter was injured in his office by a bomb sent from Sacramento by Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski.
1995 – The cutter CGC Juniper was launched, the first of the new 225-foot Juniper Class buoy tenders.
1997 – The Air Force released a report on the so-called “Roswell Incident,” suggesting the alien bodies witnesses reported seeing in 1947 were actually life-sized dummies.
1999 – The US offered a $5 million reward for help in the arrest of Pres. Milosevic. US plans to oust Pres. Milosevic included the encouragement for a coup; financial support for the opposition; covert action; a freeze on assets; propaganda; and reconstruction aid for the area excluding Serbia.
2002 – Pres. Bush outlined his blueprint for peace in the Middle East. His statement included a call on Palestinians to replace Yasser Arafat with leaders “not compromised by terror” and adopt democratic reforms that could produce an independent state within three years.
2003 – Pres. Bush met with Pakistan’s Pres. Musharraf and promised a $3 billion aid package that did not included F-16s.
2004 – Western advisers completed their handover Iraq’s remaining government ministries. The final 11 of 25 were handed over 6 days before the official end of coalition occupation.
2004 – Insurgents launched coordinated attacks against police and government buildings across Iraq. The strikes killed over 105 people, including three American soldiers. In Mosul alone 4 car bombs killed 62 people.
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