1451 – An eclipse occurred that allegedly prevented the outbreak of war between the Mohawk and the Seneca Indians.
1776 – Jefferson’s document was placed before the Congress after some minor changes by Adams and Franklin. This event was immortalized in the painting by John Trumball.
1776 – Colonists repulsed a British sea attack on Charleston, South Carolina.
1776 – Thomas Hickey, American sergeant convicted of treason, was hanged.
1778 – “Molly Pitcher,” Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley, wife of an American artilleryman, carried water to the soldiers during the Revolutionary War Battle of Monmouth, N.J. and, supposedly, took her husband’s place at his gun after he is overcome with heat.
1794 – Joshua Humphreys appointed master builder to build Navy ships at an annual salary of $2,000.
1814 – USS Wasp captures HMS Reindeer.
1836 – James Madison (85), the 4th president of the United States (1809-17), died in Montpelier, Va. His writings included the 29 Federalist essays.
1861 – Side-wheel steamer St. Nicholas, making scheduled run between Baltimore and Georgetown, D.C., was captured by Confederates who had boarded her posing as passengers at the steamer’s various stopping points on the Potomac River. Confederates were led by Captain George N. Hollins, CSN, who took command of St. Nicholas, and Colonel Richard Thomas, CSA, who boarded disguised as a woman. St. Nicholas then began search for U.S.S. Pawnee, but, not finding her, put out into the Chesapeake Bay, where she seized schooners Margaret and Mary Pierce and brig Monticello the following day, 29 June.
1862 – At Garnett’s and Golding’s farms, fighting continued for a 4th day between Union and Confederate forces during the Seven Days in Virginia.
1862 – A Confederate band makes a daring capture of a commercial vessel on Chesapeake Bay. The plan was the brainchild of George Hollins, a veteran of the War of 1812. Hollins joined the navy at age 15, and had a long and distinguished career. A Maryland native, he was commander of a U.S. warship in the Mediterranean when hostilities erupted in 1861, and returned to New York and resigned his commission. After a brief stop in his hometown, Baltimore, Hollins offered his services to the Confederacy and received a commission on June 21, 1861. Soon after, Hollins met up with Richard Thomas Zarvona, a Marylander, former West Point attendee, and adventurer who had fought with pirates in China and revolutionaries in Italy. They hatched a plan to capture the St. Nicolas and use it to marshal other Yankee ships into Confederate service. Zarvona went to Baltimore and recruited a band of pirates, who boarded the St. Nicholas as paying passengers on June 28. Using the name Madame La Force, Zarvona disguised himself as a flirtatious Frenchwoman. Hollins then boarded the St. Nicholas at its first stop. The conspirators later retreated to the Frenchwoman’s cabin, where they armed themselves and then burst out to capture the surprised crew. Hollins took control of the vessel and stopped on the Virginia bank of the Chesapeake to pick up a crew of Confederate soldiers. They planned to capture a Union gunboat, the Pawnee, but it was called away. Instead, the St. Nicholas and its pirate crew came upon a ship loaded with Brazilian coffee. Two more ships, carrying loads of ice and coal, soon fell to the St. Nicholas. These daring exploits earned Hollins a quick promotion from captain to commodore. At the end of July, Hollins was sent to take control of a fleet at New Orleans, Louisiana.
1863 – General Meade replaced General Hooker three days before the Battle of Gettysburg. General George Gordon Meade said “Well, I’ve been tried and condemned without a hearing, and I suppose I shall have to go to execution,” in response to his appointment as head of the Union Army of the Potomac during the Civil War. Within a week his army won the Battle of Gettysburg, assuring Meade of a record of success superior to all of his predecessors.
1863 – As the advance of General Robert E. Lee’s armies into Maryland (culminating in the Battle of Gettysburg) threatened Washington, Baltimore, and Annapolis, the U.S. Navy Department ordered Rear Admiral S.P. Lee to send ships immediately for the defense of the Capital and other cities. This was a move reminiscent of the opening days of the war when naval protection was vital to the holding of the area surrounding the seat of government.
1865 – CSS Shenandoah captures 11 American whalers in one day
1902 – Congress passed the Spooner bill, authorizing a canal to be built across the isthmus of Panama. The US purchased a concession to build Panama canal from French for $40 million.
1914 – Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia, while riding in an Austro-Daimler that was chauffeured by Otto Merz, a Mercedes team driver. The assassination resulted in the outbreak of World War I. The archduke and his wife, Sophie, rode into Sarajevo in a motorcade consisting of four cars; the royals occupied the second. On the way to the City Hall as they crossed the Milijacka River at Cumuria Bridge, Serbian nationalist Nedjelko Cabrinovic threw a bomb at the Daimler carrying the archduke and his wife. Franz Ferdinand managed to deflect the bomb onto the street. About a dozen people, including Sophie, who was hit in the face with shrapnel, suffered injuries, but no one was killed. The assassin swallowed a cyanide pill and jumped off the bridge. Unfortunately, he coughed up the pill and landed in only a foot of water. He was taken into custody. The first two cars of the motorcade continued on their way to the Sarajevo City Hall. Upon his arrival at the welcome ceremony, Franz Ferdinand interrupted the mayor’s speech, seizing him by the arm and crying, “One comes here to visit and is received with bombs. Mr. Mayor, what do you say?” He later calmed down and finished his own speech with a reaffirming pledge of his regard for the people of Sarajevo. After the speech, Franz Ferdinand ordered his chauffeur to carry him to the hospital to visit the victims of the bomb; Sophie accompanied him. Their driver took a wrong turn after crossing the Imperial Bridge and the car ended up on a street named after Franz Ferdinand’s father, Franz Josef. Noticing his mistake, the driver applied the brakes and the car came to a halt a foot short of another Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip. Princip fired his pistol into the car, striking the archduke in the neck and his wife in the stomach. In shock and unaware that she had been wounded, Sophie cried to her husband, “For heaven’s sake, what’s happened to you?” Franz Ferdinand keeled over whispering “Es ist nichts, Es ist nichts…” A lengthy investigation into the conspiracy failed to prove any complicity in the plot on the part of the Serbian government. Nevertheless, the Austrians sent their army into Serbia and World War I was born.
1918 – The Chemical Warfare Service was established on June 28, 1918, combining activities that until then had been dispersed among five separate agencies of Government. It was made a permanent branch of the Regular Army by the National Defense Act of 1920. In 1945, it was redesignated the Chemical Corps.
1919 – At the Palace of Versailles outside Paris, Germany signs the Treaty of Versailles with the Allies, officially ending World War I. By the fall of 1918, it was apparent to the leaders of Germany that defeat was inevitable in World War I. After four years of terrible attrition, Germany no longer had the men or resources to resist the Allies, who had been given a tremendous boost by the infusion of American manpower and supplies. In order to avert an Allied invasion of Germany, the German government contacted U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in October 1918 and asked him to arrange a general armistice. Earlier that year, Wilson had proclaimed his “Fourteen Points,” which proposed terms for a “just and stable peace” between Germany and its enemies. The Germans asked that the armistice be established along these terms, and the Allies more or less complied, assuring Germany of a fair and unselfish final peace treaty. On November 11, 1918, the armistice was signed and went into effect, and fighting in World War I came to an end. In January 1919, representatives traveled to the Paris Peace Conference. Germany had no role in the negotiations deciding its fate, and lesser Allied powers had little responsibility in the drafting of the final treaty. It soon became apparent that the treaty would bear only a faint resemblance to the Fourteen Points that had been proposed by Wilson and embraced by the Germans. Wilson, a great idealist, had few negotiating skills, and he soon buckled under the pressure of Clemenceau, who hoped to punish Germany as severely as it had punished France in the Treaty of Frankfurt that ended the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. Lloyd George took the middle ground between the two men, but he backed the French plan to force Germany to pay reparations for damages inflicted on Allied civilians and their property. Since the treaty officially held Germany responsible for the outbreak of World War I (in reality it was only partially responsible), the Allies would not have to pay reparations for damages they inflicted on German civilians. The treaty that began to emerge was a thinly veiled Carthaginian Peace, an agreement that accomplished Clemenceau’s hope to crush France’s old rival. According to its terms, Germany was to relinquish 10 percent of its territory. It was to be disarmed, and its overseas empire taken over by the Allies. Most detrimental to Germany’s immediate future, however, was the confiscation of its foreign financial holdings and its merchant carrier fleet. The German economy, already devastated by the war, was thus further crippled, and the stiff war reparations demanded ensured that it would not soon return to its feet. A final reparations figure was not agreed upon in the treaty, but estimates placed the amount in excess of $30 billion, far beyond Germany’s capacity to pay. Germany would be subject to invasion if it fell behind on payments. The Germans initially refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles, and it took an ultimatum from the Allies to bring the German delegation to Paris on June 28. It was five years to the day since the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, which began the chain of events that led to the outbreak of World War I. Clemenceau chose the location for the signing of the treaty: the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles Palace, site of the signing of the Treaty of Frankfurt that ended the Franco-Prussian War. At the ceremony, General Jan Christiaan Smuts, soon to be president of South Africa, was the only Allied leader to protest formally the Treaty of Versailles, saying it would do grave injury to the industrial revival of Europe. Germany soon fell hopelessly behind in its reparations payments, and in 1923 France and Belgium occupied the industrial Ruhr region as a means of forcing payment. In protest, workers and employers closed down the factories in the region. Catastrophic inflation ensued, and Germany’s fragile economy began quickly to collapse. By the time the crash came in November 1923, a lifetime of savings could not buy a loaf of bread. That month, the Nazi Party led by Adolf Hitler launched an abortive coup against Germany’s government. The Nazis were crushed and Hitler was imprisoned, but many resentful Germans sympathized with the Nazis and their hatred of the Treaty of Versailles. A decade later, Hitler would exploit this continuing bitterness among Germans to seize control of the German state.
In the 1930s, the Treaty of Versailles was significantly revised and altered in Germany’s favor, but this belated amendment could not stop the rise of German militarism and the subsequent outbreak of World War II.
1935 – FDR ordered a federal gold vault to be built at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
1941 – The US Army Bill for 1942 is passed by Congress.
1943 – More American forces occupy Kiriwina and Woodlark islands. Construction of airfields begins.
1944 – In the Cotentin Peninsula, American forces of US 1st Army prepare to eliminate German resistance in the direction of Cap de la Hague. The forces of British 2nd Army cross the Odon River on a 2 mile front near Mondrainville.
1944 – On Biak, the American divisional force, now commanded by General Doe, clears the Japanese-held caves in the western part of the island.
1945 – General MacArthur announces that the operations on Luzon are complete. It has been 5 months and 19 days since the American invasion began. An estimated 11,000 Japanese troops remain isolated in the Sierra Madre mountains and another 12,000 are trapped in the Kiangan-Bontoc (or Ifugao-Bontoc) area. The US 8th Army is assigned the task of mopping up on Luzon while the US 6th Army is reorganized for the invasion of Japan (Operation Olympic). Much of the mopping-up will be left to Filipino units. On Mindanao, mopping up operations continue.
1946 – Peacetime cruises for the cadets of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy at New London Connecticut, were revived.
1949 – The last U.S. combat troops were called home from Korea, leaving only 500 advisers.
1950 – General Douglas MacArthur arrived in South Korea as Seoul fell to the North Korean forces.
1950 – Sergeant Leroy Deans, Korean Military Advisory Group, received a wound in the eye thereby earning the first ground combat Purple Heart of the Korean War.
1950 – Detachment X, 35 men of the 507th Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion, was the first U.S. ground force unit to arrive in Korea. Within a short time the detachment shot down a Yak fighter with quad .50-caliber machine guns, suffering five wounded in the action.
1950 – Far East Air Force aircraft dropped the first psychological warfare leaflets over Korea.
1965 – In the first major offensive ordered for U.S. forces, 3,000 troops of the 173rd Airborne Brigade–in conjunction with 800 Australian soldiers and a Vietnamese airborne unit–assault a jungle area known as Viet Cong Zone D, 20 miles northeast of Saigon. The operation was called off after three days when it failed to make any major contact with the enemy. One American was killed and nine Americans and four Australians were wounded. The State Department assured the American public that the operation was in accord with Johnson administration policy on the role of U.S. troops.
1968 – Daniel Ellsberg was indicted for leaking the Pentagon Papers.
1968 – LTC Richard A. McMahon denounces the body count as a ‘dubious and dangerous’ method of determining the enemy’s combat potential.
1968 – Prince Souvanna Phouma declares that, until North Vietnam agrees to withdraw its forces from Laos, the United States should continue to reject Hanoi’s demands for a bombing halt.
1969 – US sources in Saigon say that North Vietnamese infiltration into South Vietnam in January-May is 40% lower than the corresponding period in 1968.
1969 – A Gallup Poll shows that 42% of the American people favor a faster withdrawal of US troops than has been ordered by President Nixon, while 16% favor a slower rate. 29% favor a total withdrawal, 61% are opposed.
1969 – After several days of fighting around the US Special Forces base at Benhet, a 1,500-man South Vietnamese force begins new sweeps of the area. US forces remain in an advisory role and supply only air and artillery support. The US command considers the Benhet campaign a test of the ability of the South Vietnamese forces to stand up against the North Vietnamese and Vietcong.
1970 – Muhammed Ali, formerly Cassius Clay, stood before the Supreme Court regarding his refusal of induction into the Army during the Vietnam War.
1970 – USS James Madison (SSBN-627) completes conversion to Poseidon missile capability
1971 – The Supreme Court overturned the draft evasion conviction of Muhammad Ali.
1971 – Daniel Ellsburg was arrested for leaking the Pentagon Papers to the Press. In 2002 he authored “Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and The Pentagon Papers.”
1972 – President Nixon announces that no more draftees will be sent to Vietnam unless they volunteer for such duty. He also announced that a force of 10,000 troops would be withdrawn by September 1, which would leave a total of 39,000 in Vietnam.
1976 – The first women entered the U.S. Air Force Academy.
1987 – Secretary of State George P. Shultz said he had found some of the recent revelations about the Iran-Contra affair “sickening,” but he defended the Reagan administration’s foreign policy.
1992 – In Afghanistan rebel leader Burhanuddin Rabbani became president, but factional fighting continued.
1993 – US helicopters attack Somali positions killing 2 gunmen.
1996 – The Citadel voted to admit women, ending a 153-year-old men-only policy at the South Carolina military school.
1999 – It was reported that NATO scaled backed initial estimates of damage to the Yugoslav army in the 78-day air campaign.
1999 – In Kosovo KLA rebels handed over weapons to NATO troops. At the same time hundreds of Albanians, fired a decade ago by Milosevic, demanded their state jobs back.
2003 – After days of intense searching by ground and air, U.S. forces found the bodies of two soldiers missing north of Baghdad.
2003 – Malawi’s army was deployed to quell violent riots after demonstrators attacked an American children’s charity and several churches to protest the removal of five Muslim foreign nationals suspected of working for al-Qaida.
2004 – The US Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that detainees at Guantanamo must have access to the US legal system. The Court ruled that the war on terrorism did not give the government a “blank check” to hold a US citizen and foreign-born terror suspects in legal limbo.
2004 – America resumed direct diplomatic ties with Libya after a 24-year break.
2004 – Seven Afghan policemen were killed as NATO agreed to boost its troop contingent there to 10,000 ahead of September elections.
2004 – The US-led coalition in a surprise move, transferred sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government two days early.
2004 – NATO leaders agreed to help train Iraq’s armed forces just hours after the new government in Baghdad took over sovereignty from the U.S.-led administration.
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