1788 – Virginia ratified the U.S. Constitution.
1798 – US passed the Alien Act allowing president to deport dangerous aliens.
1862 – The first day of the Seven Days Campaign began with fighting at Oak Grove, Virginia, with Robert E. Lee commanding the Confederate Army for the first time.
1863 – Pres. Lincoln chose US General George Meade to replace General Hooker, hoping he would be more aggressive. [see Jun 28]
1864 – Pennsylvania troops begin digging a tunnel toward the Rebels at Petersburg, Virginia, in order to blow a hole in the Confederate lines and break the stalemate. The great campaign between Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Potomac ground to a halt in mid-June. Having battered each other for a month and a half, the armies came to a standstill at Petersburg, just south of Richmond. Here, they settled into trenches for a long siege of the Confederate rail center. The men of the 48th Pennsylvania sought to break the stalemate with an ambitious project. The brainchild of Lieutenant Colonel Henry Pleasants, the plan called for the men of his regiment—mostly miners from Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal region—to construct a tunnel to the Confederate line, fill it with powder, and blow a gap in the fortifications. On June 24, the plan received the approval of the regiment’s corps commander, Ambrose Burnside, and the digging commenced the following day. Burnside’s superiors, Generals Grant and George Meade, expressed little enthusiasm for the project but allowed it to proceed. For five weeks the miners dug the 500-foot long shaft, completing about 40 feet per day. On July 30, a huge cache of gunpowder was ignited. The plan worked, and a huge gap was blown in the Rebel line. But poor planning by Union officers squandered the opportunity, and the Confederates closed the gap before the Federals could exploit the opening. The Battle of the Crater, as it became known, was an unusual event in an otherwise uneventful summer along the Petersburg line.
1867 – The 1st barbed wire was patented by Lucien B. Smith of Ohio. [see Illinois, Oct 27, 1873]
1868 – Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina were re-admitted to the Union.
1876 – Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated his telephone at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.
1876 – Determined to resist the efforts of the U.S. Army to force them onto reservations, Indians under the leadership of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse wipe out Lieutenant Colonel George Custer and much of his 7th Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. Sioux Chiefs Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse had been successfully resisting American efforts to confine their people to reservations for more than a decade. Although both chiefs wanted nothing more than to be left alone to pursue their traditional ways, the growing tide of white settlers invading their lands inevitably led to violent confrontations. Increasingly, the Sioux and Cheyenne who did try to cooperate with the U.S. government discovered they were rewarded only with broken promises and marginal reservation lands. In 1875, after the U.S. Army blatantly ignored treaty provisions and invaded the sacred Black Hills, many formerly cooperative Sioux and Cheyenne abandoned their reservations to join Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse in Montana. They would not return without a fight. Late in 1875, the U.S. Army ordered all the “hostile” Indians in Montana to return to their reservations or risk being attacked. Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse ignored the order and sent messengers out to urge other Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe Indians to unite with them to meet the white threat. By the late spring of 1876, more than 10,000 Indians had gathered in a massive camp along a river in southern Montana called the Little Big Horn. “We must stand together or they will kill us separately,” Sitting Bull told them. “These soldiers have come shooting; they want war. All right, we’ll give it to them.” Meanwhile, three columns of U.S. soldiers were converging on the Little Big Horn. On June 17, the first column under the command of General George Crook was badly bloodied by Sioux and Cheyenne warriors led by Crazy Horse. Stunned by the size and ferocity of the Indian attack, Crook was forced to withdraw. Knowing nothing of Crook’s defeat, the two remaining columns commanded by General Alfred Terry and General John Gibbon continued toward the Little Big Horn. On June 22, Terry ordered the 7th Cavalry under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George Custer to scout ahead for Indians. On the morning of this day in 1876, Custer’s scouts told him that a gigantic Indian village lay nearby in the valley of the Little Big Horn River. Custer dismissed the scouts’ claim that the village was extraordinarily large-certainly many thousands of Indians-as exaggerated. Indeed, his main fear was that the Indians would scatter before he could attack. Rather than wait for reinforcements, Custer decided to move forward immediately and stage an unusual mid-day attack. As the 7th Cavalry entered the valley, Custer divided the regiment of about 600 men into four battalions, keeping a force of 215 under his own command. In the vast Indian encampment (historians estimate there were as many as 11,000 Indians), word quickly spread of the approaching soldiers. Too old actually to engage in battle, Sitting Bull rallied his warriors while seeing to the protection of the women and children. The younger Crazy Horse prepared for battle and sped off with a large force of warriors to meet the invaders. As Custer’s divided regiment advanced, the soldiers suddenly found they were under attack by a rapidly growing number of Indians. Gradually, it dawned on Custer that his scouts had not exaggerated the size of the Indian force after all. He immediately dispatched urgent orders in an attempt to regroup his regiment. The other battalions, however, were facing equally massive attacks and were unable to come to his aid. Soon, Custer and his 215 men found themselves cut off and under attack by as many as 3,000 armed braves. Within an hour, they were wiped out to the last man. The remaining battalions of the 7th Cavalry were also badly beaten, but they managed to fight a holding action until the Indians withdrew the following day. The Battle of the Little Big Horn was the Indians’ greatest victory and the army’s worst defeat in the long and bloody Plains Indian War. The Indians were not allowed to revel in the victory for long, however. The massacre of Custer and his 7th Cavalry outraged many Americans and only confirmed the image of the bloodthirsty Indians in their minds, and the government became more determined to destroy or tame the hostile Indians. The army redoubled its efforts and drove home the war with a vengeful fury. Within five years, almost all of the Sioux and Cheyenne would be confined to reservations. Crazy Horse was killed in 1877 after leaving the reservation without permission. Sitting Bull was shot and killed three years later in 1890 by a Lakota policeman.
1886 – Henry (Hap) Arnold, commanding general of the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II, was born.
1917 – Navy convoy of troopships carrying American Expeditionary Forces arrives in France.
1918 – At Belleau Woods, major fourteen hour bombardment starting at 0300 makes clearance of the remaining woods possible. The following attack swamps the remaining machine gun outposts of the enemy. Marines and Army machine-gunners participate in the assault.
1940 – New considerably increased taxes are introduced which bring an additional 2,200,000 into the tax roll who have never formerly paid income tax. These increases of course reflect the armament expenditure.
1942 – Following his arrival in London, Major General Dwight D. Eisenhower takes command of U.S. forces in Europe. Although Eisenhower had never seen combat during his 27 years as an army officer, his knowledge of military strategy and talent for organization were such that Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall chose him over nearly 400 senior officers to lead U.S. forces in the war against Germany. After proving himself on the battlefields of North Africa and Italy in 1942 and 1943, Eisenhower was appointed supreme commander of Operation Overlord–the Allied invasion of northwestern Europe. Born in Denison, Texas, in 1890, Eisenhower graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1915. Out of a remarkable class that was to produce 59 generals, Eisenhower ranked 61st academically and 125th in discipline out of a total of 164 graduates. As a commissioned officer, his superiors soon took note of his organizational abilities, and appointed him commander of a tank training center after the U.S. entrance into World War I in 1917. In October 1918, he received the orders to take the tanks to France, but the war ended before they could sail. Eisenhower received the Distinguished Service Medal but was disappointed that he had not seen combat. Between the wars, he steadily rose in the peacetime ranks of the U.S. Army. From 1922 to 1924, he was stationed in the Panama Canal Zone, and in 1926, as a major, he graduated from the Army’s Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, at the top of a class of 275. He was rewarded with a prestigious post in France and in 1928 graduated first in his class from the Army War College. In 1933, he became aide to Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur, and in 1935 he went with MacArthur to the Philippines when the latter accepted a post as chief military adviser to that nation’s government. Promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel while in the Philippines, Eisenhower returned to the United States in 1939 shortly after World War II began in Europe. President Franklin Roosevelt began to bring the country to war preparedness in 1940 and Eisenhower found himself figuring prominently in a rapidly expanding U.S. Army. In March 1941, he was made a full colonel and three months later was appointed commander of the 3rd Army. In September, he was promoted to brigadier general. After the United States entered World War II in December 1941, Army Chief of Staff Marshall appointed Eisenhower to the War Plans Division in Washington, where he prepared strategy for an Allied invasion of Europe. Promoted to major general in March 1942 and named head of the operations division of the War Department, he advised Marshall to create a single post that would oversee all U.S. operations in Europe. Marshall did so and on June 11 surprised Eisenhower by appointing him to the post over 366 senior officers. On June 25, 1942, Eisenhower arrived at U.S. headquarters in London and took command. In July, Eisenhower was appointed lieutenant general and named to head Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of French North Africa. As supreme commander of a mixed force of Allied nationalities, services, and equipment, Eisenhower designed a system of unified command and rapidly won the respect of his British and Canadian subordinates. From North Africa, he successfully directed the invasions of Tunisia, Sicily, and the Italian mainland, and in December 1943 was appointed Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force. Operation Overlord, the largest combined sea, air, and land military operation in history, was successfully launched against Nazi-occupied Europe on June 6, 1944. On May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered. By that time, Eisenhower was a five-star general. After the war, Eisenhower replaced Marshall as army chief of staff and from 1948 to 1950 served as president of Columbia University. In 1951, he returned to military service as supreme commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Pressure on Eisenhower to run for U.S. president was great, however, and in the spring of 1952 he relinquished his NATO command to run for president on the Republican ticket. In November 1952, “Ike” won a resounding victory in the presidential elections and in 1956 was reelected in a landslide. A popular president, he oversaw a period of great economic growth in the United States and deftly navigated the country through increasing Cold War tensions on the world stage. In 1961, he retired with his wife, Mamie Doud Eisenhower, to his farm in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, which overlooked the famous Civil War battlefield. He died in 1969 and was buried on a family plot in Abilene, Kansas.
1942 – Some 1,000 British Royal Air Force bombers raided Bremen, Germany, during World War II.
1944 – The 3 divisions of the US 7th Corps (part of US 1st Army) penetrate into the suburbs of Cherbourg. Naval support includes 3 battleships, 4 cruisers and 11 destroyers. On the left wing of the Normandy front, elements of the British 30th Corps (part of British 2nd Army) attack toward Rauray.
1944 – Elements of US 5th Army capture Piombino. Inland the French Expeditionary Corps (part of 5th Army) and the British 8th Army attack the German-held Albert Line west of Trasimeno Lake, around Chiusi.
1944 – The US 5th Amphibious Corps continues to battle for Saipan. Mount Tapotchau is captured. Heavy fighting is recorded in the Hagman Peninsula and near the southwest tip of the island.
1945 – On Luzon, Tuguegarao is captured by the American forces, of the US 37th Division, in the Cagayan valley. Gattaran is retaken in the southward advance of the American paratroopers dropped at Aparri, after the Japanese had expelled the Filipino guerrillas. Penablanca is also captured. The surviving Japanese units on the island, about 50,000 troops, are now concentrated in the Sierra Madre area to the east of the Cagayan valley.
1946 – Ho Chi Minh traveled to France for talks on Vietnamese independence.
1948 – Truman signed Displaced Persons Bill allowing 205,000 Europeans to come to the US.
1948 – The Soviet Union tightened its blockade of Berlin by intercepting river barges heading for the city.
1950 – Armed forces from communist North Korea smash into South Korea, setting off the Korean War. The United States, acting under the auspices of the United Nations, quickly sprang to the defense of South Korea and fought a bloody and frustrating war for the next three years. Korea, a former Japanese possession, had been divided into zones of occupation following World War II. U.S. forces accepted the surrender of Japanese forces in southern Korea, while Soviet forces did the same in northern Korea. Like in Germany, however, the “temporary” division soon became permanent. The Soviets assisted in the establishment of a communist regime in North Korea, while the United States became the main source of financial and military support for South Korea. On June 25, 1950, North Korean forces surprised the South Korean army (and the small U.S. force stationed in the country), and quickly headed toward the capital city of Seoul. The United States responded by pushing a resolution through the U.N.’s Security Council calling for military assistance to South Korea. (Russia was not present to veto the action as it was boycotting the Security Council at the time.) With this resolution in hand, President Harry S. Truman rapidly dispatched U.S. land, air, and sea forces to Korea to engage in what he termed a “police action.” The American intervention turned the tide, and U.S. and South Korean forces marched into North Korea. This action, however, prompted the massive intervention of communist Chinese forces in late 1950. The war in Korea subsequently bogged down into a bloody stalemate. In 1953, the United States and North Korea signed a cease-fire that ended the conflict. The cease-fire agreement also resulted in the continued division of North and South Korea at just about the same geographical point as before the conflict. The Korean War was the first “hot” war of the Cold War. Over 55,000 American troops were killed in the conflict. Korea was the first “limited war,” one in which the U.S. aim was not the complete and total defeat of the enemy, but rather the “limited” goal of protecting South Korea. For the U.S. government, such an approach was the only rational option in order to avoid a third world war and to keep from stretching finite American resources too thinly around the globe. It proved to be a frustrating experience for the American people, who were used to the kind of total victory that had been achieved in World War II. The public found the concept of limited war difficult to understand or support and the Korean War never really gained popular support.
1963 – The Joint Service Commendation Medal was Authorized by the Secretary of Defense. The JSCM shall be awarded only to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who, after January 1, 1963, distinguished themselves by meritorious achievement or service.
1964 – President Lyndon Johnson ordered 200 naval personnel to Mississippi to assist in finding three missing civil rights workers.
1964 – North Vietnamese Foreign Minister Xuan Thuy writes to Communist China and other signers of the Geneva Agreements and urges them ‘to demand that the US government give up its…provocation and sabotage against North Vietnam.’
1965 – President Johnson appeals to the United nations to persuade North Vietnam to negotiate a peace.
1965 – Two Viet Cong terrorist bombs rip through a floating restaurant on the Saigon River. Thirty-one people, including nine Americans, were killed in the explosions. Dozens of other diners were wounded, including 11 Americans.
1967 – Mohammed Ali (Cassius Clay) was sentenced to 5 years for draft evasion.
1969 – The U.S. Navy turns 64 river patrol gunboats valued at $18.2 million over to the South Vietnamese Navy in what is described as the largest single transfer of military equipment in the war thus far. The transfer raised the total number of boats in the South Vietnamese Navy to more than 600. This was part of the “Vietnamization” program, which President Richard Nixon initiated to increase the fighting capability of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (to include the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps) so that they could assume more responsibility for the war. Vietnamization included the provision of new equipment and weapons and an intensified advisory effort.
1971 – As announced by the North Vietnamese Paris peace talks delegation, the Pathet Lao renew their peace plan proposal which includes an immediate end to US military involvement and bombing raids in Laos. Laotian Premier Souvanna Phouma rejects the plan by calling for Vientiane as the site of the proposed Laotian peace talks and by calling for the prior withdrawal of North Vietnamese troops from Laos.
1981 – The Supreme Court decided that male-only draft registration was constitutional.
1981 – HMH-464 at MCAS New River, North Carolina, received its first CH-53E “Super Stallion.”
1986 – Congress approved $100 million in aid to the Contras fighting in Nicaragua.
1988 – American-born Mildred Gillars, better known during World War II as “Axis Sally” for her Nazi propaganda broadcasts, died in Columbus, Ohio, at age 87. Gillars had served 12 years in prison for treason.
1992 – The space shuttle Columbia, carrying seven astronauts, blasted off on a two-week mission.
1996 – At least 23 Americans were killed at a US base near Dhahran and another 105 suffered serious injuries from a truck bomb estimated at 5,000 pounds at the Khobar Towers apartment complex adjacent to King Abdul Aziz Air Base. About 5,000 US troops served in Saudi Arabia. US, French and British aircraft resumed flying 100 missions per day over southern Iraz from Saudi Arabia. In 1997 intelligence information tied a senior Iranian intelligence officer to Hani Abd Rahim Sayegh, a man who fled Saudi Arabia shortly after the bombing. In 1999 the US threatened was set to deport Hani al-Sayegh to Saudi Arabia. Sayegh feared torture and asked for US asylum. Sayegh was deported Oct 10. In 2000 Ahmad Behbahani told a 60 Minutes journalist from a refugee camp in Turkey that he proposed the Pan Am operation and coordinated the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. In 2001 13 Saudis and one Lebanese man were indicted for the bombing that killed 19 American airmen and wounded nearly 400 others.
1996 – Later reports said that Osama bin Laden, an exiled Saudi billionaire, bankrolled the bombing of the US base that killed 19 US servicemen. He was an advocate of strict Islamic rule and had said that he would campaign to overthrow the Saudi royal family. He had lived in the Sudan for 5 1/2 years and recently moved to Afghanistan and was accepted by the Taliban. In 1998 a senior Saudi official absolved Iran of any involvement in the bombing. In 2000 it was reported that the Bin Laden family firm was awarded the contract to rebuild the Khobar Towers.
1998 – Albanian security personnel (SHIK) under CIA guidance arrested Shawki Salama Attiya, a Tirana cell forger. Over the next month they made successful raids on more suspected members of the Egyptian Jihad terrorist organization. The suspected terrorists were turned over to anti-terrorist officials in Egypt, where they delivered forced confessions following torture.
1999 – US Marines killed one person following an attack southeast of Pristina.
2000 – In Puerto Rico US Navy bombing in Vieques resumed with nonexplosive dummy bombs after 37 demonstrators were arrested. A fatal accident had prompted a yearlong occupation by protesters.
2001 – In southern Iraq a US Navy fighter jet attacked an anti-aircraft site in response to artillery fire.
2001 – In Skopje, Macedonia, rioting erupted after US troops escorted rebels away from the capital.
2002 – A federal judge in Alexandria, Va., refused to accept a no-contest plea from Zacarias Moussaoui, accused of conspiracy in the Sept. 11 attacks, and instead entered an innocent plea on his behalf.
2002 – The Defense Department told Congress it planned to supply the Canadian navy with Raytheon Co. -built SM-2 Standard surface-to-air missiles and related gear valued at up to $19 million.
2002 – U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation Michael Jackson, joined by U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Thomas H. Collins, announced the award of the largest acquisition in the history of the Coast Guard. The Integrated Deepwater System (IDS) contract was awarded to Integrated Coast Guard Systems (ICGS), a joint venture established by Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. The Deepwater contract had the potential to extend up to 30 years, with an approximate value of $17 billion. At full implementation, the interoperable ICGS system comprised three classes of new cutters and their associated small boats, a new fixed-wing manned aircraft fleet, a combination of new and upgraded helicopters, and both cutter-based and land-based unmanned air vehicles (UAVs). All of these highly capable assets were to be linked with Command, Control, Communications and Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems, and were supported by an integrated logistics regime.
2002 – In Morocco authorities have arrested three more people in a widening investigation into the Moroccan tendrils of al-Qaida, bringing the number of suspects held here to 10, including three Saudis.
2004 – In southern Afghanistan suspected Taliban gunmen sprayed a van with bullets after finding that occupants had registered to vote. At least 10 people were killed.
2004 – US air strikes hit Fallujah and up to 25 people were killed. Al-Sadr announced a unilateral cease fire.
2011 – U.S. Predator drones attacked a Shabaab training camp south of Kismayo. Ibrahim al-Afghani, a senior al Shabaab leader was rumored to be killed in the strike.
2014 – Al-Nusra Front’s branch in the Syrian town of al-Bukamal pledged loyalty to ISIS, thus bringing to a close months of fighting between the two groups.
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