1656 – In the colony of Virginia, suffrage was extended to all free men regardless of their religion.
1681 – English Quaker William Penn received a charter from Charles II, making him sole proprietor of colonial American territory of Pennsylvania.
1769 – Philadelphia merchants finally agree among themselves to support an intercolonial nonimportation movement. Effective 1 April, they ban the import of nearly all British trade goods until the Townshend Acts are repealed.
1775 – The Transylvania Company sends Daniel Boone and 30 woodchoppers to cut the Wilderness Road from Fort Wautauga to the mouth of the Kentucky River.
1776 – “Common Sense” by Thomas Paine was published.
1783 – USS Alliance (CAPT John Barry) defeats HMS Sybil in final naval action of Revolution in West Indies waters. Barry, in defense of a companion ship, the Duc de Lauzun which was carrying gold to fund the US war effort, maneuvered her between Sybil and Duc De Lauzun to demand the full attention of the former so that the latter might slip away to safety. Sybil then turned her fire toward Alliance and managed to send one shot from her bow chaser into the American frigate’s cabin, mortally wounding a junior officer and scattering many splinters. Yet, Barry held Alliance’s fire until she was within a stone’s throw of her opponent. At that point, a broadside from the American warship opened some 40 minutes of close-in fighting which finally forced Sybil to flee
1783 – An anonymous address is circulated among the officers of Washington’s main camp at Newburgh, New York. Actually written by Major John Armstrong, the first “Newburgh Address” rebukes Congress for the failure to honor its promises to Continental Army soldiers and exhorts the veterans to defy Congress if accounts are not settled equitably. A meeting of officers is called for the next day.
1785 – Thomas Jefferson was appointed minister to France, succeeding Benjamin Franklin. 1848 – The Senate ratified the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ending the war with Mexico.
1804 – Louisiana Purchase: In St. Louis, Missouri, a formal ceremony is conducted to transfer ownership of the Louisiana Territory from France to the United States.
1848 – The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is ratified by the United States Senate, ending the Mexican–American War.
1849 – A riot erupts in New York where a British actor named Macready is performing at the Astor Place Opera House. Crowds are angry because of the theater’s snobbish dress requirements and because Macready makes scornful comments on the vulgarity of Americans. Twenty-two people are killed and thirty-six injured when troops are called in.
1862 – First U.S. paper money was issued in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50, $100, $500 & $1000.
1864 – Ulysses S. Grant became commander of the Union armies in the Civil War.
1865 – Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads, NC.
1865 – Confederate General William Henry Chase Whiting dies in prison from wounds suffered during the fall of Fort Fisher, North Carolina. Born in 1824 in Biloxi, Mississippi, Whiting was educated in Boston and at Georgetown College in Washington, where he graduated first in his class at age 16. He then entered the U.S. Military Academy, where in 1845 he again topped his graduating class. Whiting joined the Corps of Engineers and designed coastal fortifications in the West and South, including the defenses for the Cape Fear River in North Carolina. During this project, he got married and settled in Wilmington, North Carolina. When the war began, Whiting offered his services to the new Confederate States of America. He was at Fort Sumter when the Union garrison surrendered at the start of the war. He returned to Wilmington in the summer of 1861 to supervise the construction of defenses for the city, and then moved to northern Virginia as chief engineer for the Confederate army forming there. Whiting was responsible for moving troops from the Shenandoah Valley to Manassas in time for the First Battle of Bull Run on July 21. His work was a vital component of the Confederate rout of Union troops there. Whiting was given command of a division, and his leadership during the Seven Days’ battles in June 1862 earned him the praise of the top Confederate leaders. In November 1862, he was given command of the District of Wilmington, allowing him to return to his North Carolina home. He set about strengthening the city’s defenses and constructing Fort Fisher at the Cape Fear River’s mouth. Partly due to his efforts, Wilmington was one of the most important blockade running ports for the Confederates throughout the war. Whiting spent the rest of the war in Wilmington, with the exception of a few months in 1864 spent shoring up the defenses around Petersburg, Virginia. Whiting’s Fort Fisher was a formidable barrier to the Union capture of Wilmington. General Benjamin Butler led a Yankee force against Fort Fisher in December 1864, but the garrison fended off the attack. The next month, General Alfred Terry launched another assault; this time, Fort Fisher fell to the Yankees. Whiting was badly wounded and captured during the attack. He was able to write his report of the battle three days later, but his health failed when he was shipped to New York and confined in prison at Governor’s Island. William H. C. Whiting died on March 10 at age 40.
1876 – Alexander Graham Bell made what was, in effect, the first telephone call. He found a way of converting words into electrical current and back again and sent his first message using his new variable-liquid resistance transmitter. Bell’s telephone caused the current to vary smoothly in proportion to the pressure created on a microphone by human speech and got a patent. His assistant, in an adjoining room in Boston, heard Bell say over the experimental device: “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.” On a page from his notebook, dated March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell described the first successful experiment with the telephone. Bell wrote: “I then shouted into M (the mouthpiece) the following sentence: ‘Mr. Watson—come here—I want to see you.’ To my delight he came and declared that he had heard and understood what I said.”
1880 – The Salvation Army arrived in the United States from England. The organization had been founded in Britain in 1865 by William Booth, a street preacher. It drew on revivalism and attention-getting tactics.
1917 – On a third day of riots and demonstrations in Moscow, Russia, an estimated 25,000 workers are on strike. Army units are called in to deal with the growing unrest, but they refuse to fire on the demonstrators. These vents become known as the ‘February Revolution’–the Russian (Julian) calendar of the time was 11 days behind the western one.
1919 – In Schenk v United States, the Supreme Court finds that the Espionage Act does not violate the First Amendment. In this case Oliver Wendel Holmes agrees with the majority that in war there exists a “clear and present danger.” In any case, he adds, free speech is always under restraint. Under this ruling Eugene V. Debs is sentenced to ten years for interfering with the draft. He will serve three.
1940 – U.S. Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles, after a meeting with Adolf Hitler in Berlin, visits London to discuss a peacemaking proposal with Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to prevent a widening of the European war. Sumner Welles, a diplomat and expert on Latin America, spent his early professional life promoting the United States’ “Good Neighbor” foreign policy as attache to the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires, chief of Latin American affairs of the State Department, and commissioner to the Dominican Republic. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him assistant secretary of state, sending him to Cuba, where Welles successfully mediated opposing groups attempting to overthrow the government of Gerardo Machado. He was promoted to undersecretary of state in 1937, serving as a delegate to several Pan-American conferences. But in 1940, the stakes were raised for Welles. War had broken out in Europe with the German invasion of Poland, and Welles was sent on a fact-finding tour of Berlin, Rome, Paris, and London, in the hopes of keeping the war contained, at the very least, and ideally brought to an end. After a trip to Rome to chat with Benito Mussolini, Welles met with Hitler on March 1-3. Hitler feared that Welles would try to drive a wedge between himself and Axis partner Italy by convincing Mussolini to keep out of the conflict completely. As a result, the Fuhrer bombarded Welles with a propagandistic interpretation of recent events, putting the blame for the European conflict on England and France. Welles informed Hitler that he and Mussolini had engaged in a “long, constructive, and helpful” conversation, and that the Duce believed “there was still a possibility of bringing about a firm and lasting peace.” Hitler agreed that there would be peace-after a German victory in Europe. Welles left Berlin and arrived in London on March 10. He briefed British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on Hitler’s intransigence, arguing that the only hope for a lasting peace was the progressive disarmament of the belligerents, primarily Germany. Chamberlain’s foreign ministers were less than impressed with the suggestion, believing that even a “disarmed” Germany could still invade a smaller, weaker nation. In short, Welles’ trip accomplished nothing.
1942 – American aircraft launched from the American carriers Lexington and Yorktown attack Japanese vessels near Lae, New Guinea.
1943 – Chennault is promoted and his command in China is to be enlarged and named the 14th Air Force.
1944 – On New Britain, American forces capture Talasea.
1944 – On Bougainville, Japanese forces capture Hill 260 but lose ground to American counterattacks in other areas.
1945 – Patton’s 3rd Army made contact with Hodge’s 1st Army. They link up near Andernach completing the Allied hold on the west bank of the Rhine everywhere north of Koblenz. Field Marshal Kesselring arrives from Italy to take command of the German armies in the west.
1945 – Germany blew up the Wessel Bridge on the Rhine.
1945 – 300 American bombers drop almost 2,000 tons of incendiaries on Tokyo, Japan, destroying large portions of the Japanese capital and killing 100,000 civilians. In the closing months of the war, the United States had turned to incendiary bombing tactics against Japan, also known as “area bombing,” in an attempt to break Japanese morale and force a surrender. The firebombing of Tokyo was the first major bombing operation of this sort against Japan. Early in the morning, the B-29s dropped their bombs of napalm and magnesium incendiaries over the packed residential districts along the Sumida River in eastern Tokyo. The conflagration quickly engulfed Tokyo’s wooden residential structures, and the subsequent firestorm replaced oxygen with lethal gases, superheated the atmosphere, and caused hurricane-like winds that blew a wall of fire across the city. The majority of the 100,000 who perished died from carbon monoxide poisoning and the sudden lack of oxygen, but others died horrible deaths within the firestorm, such as those who attempted to find protection in the Sumida River and were boiled alive, or those who were trampled to death in the rush to escape the burning city. As a result of the attack, 10 square miles of eastern Tokyo were entirely obliterated, and an estimated 250,000 buildings were destroyed. During the next nine days, U.S. bombers flew similar missions against Nagoya, Osaka, and Kobe. In August, U.S. atomic attacks against Hiroshima and Nagasaki finally forced Japan’s hand.
1945 – Most of the US 41st Infantry Division is landed at the southwest of Mindanao near Zamboanga. General Doe commands the troops and Admiral Barbey the naval support. On Luzon fighting continues south of Laguna de Bay where the US forces are still trying to break through to the east. Organized Japanese resistance on the island of Palawan comes to an end.
1945 – In the Philippines Pfc. Thomas Eugene Atkins (d. 1999 at 78) repulsed a Japanese attack while wounded and killed 14 enemy soldiers in northern Luzon.
1945 – Navy and civilian nurses interned at Los Banos, Philippines flown back to U.S. Navy nurses awarded Bronze Star.
1945 – Roosevelt informs Spanish representatives that no American aid will be forthcoming so long as the Franco dictatorship continues.1947 – The Big Four met in Moscow to discuss Germany.
1948 – First use of jets assigned to operational squadron (VF-5A) on board a carrier (Boxer).
1948 – The communist-controlled government of Czechoslovakia reports that Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk has committed suicide are greeted with suspicion by the West. The story of the noncommunist Masaryk’s death was greeted with skepticism in the West. Masaryk was born in 1886, the son of Czechoslovakia’s first president. After World War I, he served as foreign minister in the new Czech government. Later he served as the Czech ambassador to Great Britain. During World War II, he once again took the position of foreign minister, this time with the Czech government-in-exile in London. After the war, Masaryk returned to Czechoslovakia to serve as foreign minister under President Eduard Benes. It was a tense time in Masaryk’s native country. The Soviet Union had occupied the nation during World War II and there were fears that the Soviets would try to install a communist government in Czechoslovakia, as it had in Poland, East Germany, and elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Masaryk, however, was skillful in dealing with the Soviets, assuring them that a democratic Czechoslovakia posed no security threat to Russia. In 1947, though, Masaryk made a fatal mistake. When the United States unveiled the Marshall Plan-the multimillion-dollar aid program for postwar Europe-Masaryk indicated Czechoslovakia’s interest in participating. When he informed the Soviets, they absolutely refused to give their approval. This was quickly followed, in February 1948, by a communist coup in Czechoslovakia. President Benes was forced to accept a communist-dominated government. Masaryk was one of the few non-communists left in place. On March 10, 1948, the Czech government reported that Masaryk had committed suicide by jumping out of a third-story window at the Foreign Ministry. The reaction in the West was characterized by deep suspicion. Secretary of State George Marshall stated that Czechoslovakia was under a “reign of terror,” and that Masaryk’s “suicide” indicated “very plainly what is going on.” Despite suspicions that the communists had murdered Masaryk, nothing has been proven definitively and his death remains one of the great mysteries of the Cold War era.
1949 – Nazi wartime broadcaster Mildred E. Gillars, also known as “Axis Sally,” was convicted in Washington D.C. of treason. She served 12 years in prison.
1951 – The United Nations Command gained one to two miles per day to capture Line Albany; enemy opposition began to fade.
1953 – North Korean gunners at Wonsan fired on the USS Missouri, the ship responds by firing 998 rounds at the enemy position.
1954 – Pres. Eisenhower called Sen. Joseph McCarthy a peril to the Republican Party.
1955 – President Eisenhower indicates that in the event of war, the US would use nuclear weapons.
1966 – The North Vietnamese captured a Green Beret camp at Ashau Valley.
1968 – Battle of Lima Site 85, concluding the 11th with largest single ground combat loss of United States Air Force members (12) during the Vietnam War. Also called Battle of Phou Pha Thi, was fought as part of a military campaign waged during the Vietnam War and Laotian Civil War by the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) (then known as NVA) and the Pathet Lao, against airmen of the United States Air Force 1st Combat Evaluation Group, elements of the Royal Laos Army, Royal Thai Border Patrol Police, and the Central Intelligence Agency-led Hmong Clandestine Army. The battle was fought on Phou Pha Thi mountain in Houaphanh Province, Laos, on 10 March 1968, and derives its name from the mountaintop where it was fought or from the designation of a 700 feet (210 m) landing strip in the valley below.
1970 – The U.S. Army accuses Capt. Ernest Medina and four other soldiers of committing crimes at My Lai in March 1968. The charges ranged from premeditated murder to rape and the “maiming” of a suspect under interrogation. Medina was the company commander of Lt. William Calley and other soldiers charged with murder and numerous crimes at My Lai 4 in Song My village. The My Lai massacre became the most publicized war atrocity committed by U.S. troops in Vietnam. Allegedly, a platoon had slaughtered between 200 and 500 unarmed villagers at My Lai 4, a cluster of hamlets in the coastal lowlands of I Corps Tactical Zone. This was a heavily mined region where Viet Cong guerrillas were firmly entrenched and numerous members of the participating platoon had been killed or maimed during the preceding month. The company had been conducting a search-and-destroy mission. In search of the 48th Viet Cong (VC) Local Force Battalion, the unit entered My Lai but found only women, children, and old men. Frustrated by unanswered losses due to snipers and mines, the soldiers took out their anger on the villagers. During the attack, several old men were bayoneted, some women and children praying outside the local temple were shot in the back of the head, and at least one girl was raped before being killed. Many villagers were systematically rounded up and led to a nearby ditch where they were executed. Reportedly, the killing was only stopped when Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson, an aero-scout helicopter pilot, landed his helicopter between the Americans and the fleeing South Vietnamese, confronting the soldiers and blocking them from further action against the villagers. The incident was subsequently covered up, but eventually came to light a year later. An Army board of inquiry headed by Lt. Gen. William Peers investigated the massacre and produced a list of 30 people who knew of the atrocity. Only 14, including Calley and Medina, were eventually charged with crimes. All eventually had their charges dismissed or were acquitted by courts-martial except Calley, who was found guilty of murdering 22 civilians. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but his sentence was reduced to 20 years by the Court of Military Appeals and further reduced later to 10 years by the Secretary of the Army. Proclaimed by much of the public as a “scapegoat,” Calley was paroled in 1974 after having served about three years.
1975 – The North Vietnamese surround and attack the city of Ban Me Thuot, as heavy fighting erupts in the Central Highlands. This action, initiated in late January 1975, just two years after a cease-fire was established by the Paris Peace Accords, was part of what the North Vietnamese called Campaign 275. The battle for Ban Me Thuot began on March 4, when North Vietnamese encircled the city with five main force divisions and effectively cut it off from outside support. The South Vietnamese 23rd Division was vastly outnumbered and quickly succumbed to the communists. As it became clear that the communists would take the city and probably the entire province, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu decided to withdraw his forces in order to protect the more critical populous areas. Accordingly, he ordered his forces in the Central Highlands to pull back from their positions. Abandoning Pleiku and Kontum, the South Vietnamese forces began to move toward the sea, but what started out as an orderly withdrawal soon turned into panic and the South Vietnamese forces rapidly fell apart. The North Vietnamese were successful in both the Central Highlands and further north at Quang Tri, Hue, and Da Nang. The South Vietnamese soon collapsed as a cogent fighting force and the North Vietnamese continued the attack all the way to Saigon. South Vietnam surrendered unconditionally on April 30.
1980 – Iran’s leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, lent his support to the militants holding the American hostages in Tehran. He intervenes to arrange meeting between UN commission members and hostages.
1982 – Pres Reagan proclaims economic sanctions against Libya and banned Libyan oil imports, because of the continued support of terrorism.
1983 – The Coast Guard retired the last operational HU-16E Albatross, ending the “era of seaplanes” for the service.
1993 – Authorities announced the arrest of Nidal Ayyad, a second suspect in the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City.
1996 – Secretary of State Warren Christopher, accusing China of “reckless” provocations against Taiwan, said on NBC that US warships would move closer to Taiwan.
1997 – The White House and the FBI clashed in a rare public quarrel after President Clinton said he should have been alerted when the bureau told national security officials that the Chinese government might be trying to influence U.S. elections.
1997 – Vietnam agreed to repay the US millions of dollars in debts incurred by the former South Vietnam. The debts were currently worth $140 mil.
1998 – U.S. Air Force and Navy personnel in the Persian Gulf received vaccinations against anthrax.
1998 – In South Carolina the FBI received a videotape made by Daniel Rudolph, brother of abortion clinic bombing suspect Eric Robert Rudolph, in which he amputated his left hand with a circular saw.
1999 – In Serbia Pres. Milosevic met with Richard Holbrooke and stood firm against NATO troops in his country.
2002 – Operation Anaconda continues. In Afghanistan, U.S. troops have been working to reduce a pocket of al-Qaeda resistance for the past 24 hours. No senior al Qaeda leaders have been captured at this point.
2003 – Facing almost certain defeat, the United States and Britain delayed a vote in the U.N. Security Council to give Saddam Hussein an ultimatum to disarm.
2003 – The US military says US and British warplanes have attacked several communications sites in Iraq after Iraqi forces fired a missile at coalition aircraft.
2004 – U.S. Marines shot and killed at least two Haitians in overnight gun battles.
2005 – Iraq’s main Shiite party and a Kurdish bloc reached a deal that sets the stage for a new government to be formed when the National Assembly convenes next week.
2005 – Pakistan’s information minister acknowledged that Abdul Qadeer Khan, a rogue scientist at the heart of an international nuclear black market investigation, gave centrifuges to Iran, but insisted the government had nothing to do with the transfer.
2006 – The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter arrives at Mars. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is a multipurpose spacecraft designed to conduct reconnaissance and exploration of Mars from orbit. The US$720 million spacecraft was built by Lockheed Martin under the supervision of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The mission is managed by the JPL, at California Institute of Technology, La Cañada Flintridge, California, for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. It was launched August 12, 2005, and attained Martian orbit on March 10, 2006. In November 2006, after five months of aerobraking, it entered its final science orbit and began its primary science phase. As MRO entered orbit it joined five other active spacecraft which were either in orbit or on the planet surface: Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Express, Mars Odyssey, and two Mars Exploration Rovers; at the time a record for the most operational spacecraft in the immediate vicinity of Mars. MRO contains a host of scientific instruments such as cameras, spectrometers, and radar, which are used to analyze the landforms, stratigraphy, minerals, and ice of Mars. It paves the way for future spacecraft by monitoring Mars’ daily weather and surface conditions, studying potential landing sites, and hosting a new telecommunications system. MRO’s telecommunications system will transfer more data back to Earth than all previous interplanetary missions combined, and MRO will serve as a highly capable relay satellite for future missions.
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