1776 – Colonel Knox arrived near Boston with 80 sleds packed with cannons, mortars and other heavy equipment in February and General Washington saw his chance. Even though 2,000 of his 9,000 soldiers didn’t have muskets, he figured out the perfect plan. On March 2 and 3, 1776, soldiers fired all night into the city of Boston from the west. This was a camouflage of what was really happening. South of the city there were hills named Dorchester Heights which reminded General Washington of Bunker and Breed’s Hills. The men without guns moved the artillery brought by Colonel Knox south to Dorchester Heights and set them up so they could protect their gunners and could hit the British in the city.
1776 – The Battle of the Rice Boats. A group of boats containing rice are the target of a British attack on March 2, 1776. The Council of Safety reacts quickly, ordering the local militia to set boats on fire and drive the British away. The Inverness, loaded with rice and deerskins, is set on fire and cut loose, drifting into the brig Nelly. While some 500 Whigs from South Carolina join the 600 Georgia rebels, the two ships drift downstream, setting three more ships on fire. Royal Governor Wright, who has fled tot the relative safety of the British vessels barely escapes.
1781 – Maryland ratified the Articles of Confederation. She was the last state to sign.
1792 – Congress authorized the revenue cutters to fire on merchant ships who refused to “bring to.”
1793 – Samuel Houston, the first president of the independent Republic of Texas, is born in Rockbridge County, Virginia. When Houston was 14, his father died and his mother moved her nine children to the frontier village of Maryville, Tennessee. After working for a time in the Maryville general store, Houston joined the army at the age of 20. There he attracted the admiring attention of his commanding general, Andrew Jackson, and established a distinguished record in the War of 1812. In 1818, intrigued by politics, Houston decided to abandon the military for the law. He completed an 18-month law course in six months. By the following year, he had become a district attorney in Nashville, where he could make important political connections. Five years later, he ran for Congress and won. The people of Tennessee reelected him for a second term and twice made him their governor. Houston’s personal life, however, suffered as his political fortunes soared. In 1829, his wife abandoned him. Despondent, he resigned the governorship and went to live with Cherokee Indians in Arkansas, serving for several years as their spokesman in Washington. Houston’s interest in the fate of the Arkansas Cherokee led him to make several trips to the neighboring Mexican State of Texas. He became intrigued by the growing Texan movement for political independence from Mexico and decided to make Texas his new home. In 1836, he signed the Texas declaration of independence. Because of his previous military experience, his fellow rebels chose him as commander-in-chief of the revolutionary Texas army. Although his first efforts as a military strategist were failures, Houston led the Texan army to a spectacular victory over superior Mexican forces at San Jacinto in April 1836. Celebrated as the liberator of Texas, Houston easily won election later that year as the first president of the Republic of Texas. He immediately let it be known that Texas would like to become part of the United States. However, American fears of war with Mexico and questions over the extension of slavery into the new territory interfered with annexation for a decade. Finally, the aggressively expansionist President James Polk pushed Congress to grant statehood to Texas in 1846. Again an American citizen, Houston served for 14 years as a U.S. senator, where he argued eloquently for Native American rights. The divisive issue of slavery finally derailed Houston’s political career. His antislavery beliefs were out of step with the dominant southern ideology of Texas, and he staunchly resisted those who argued for southern secession from the Union during the 1850s. Nonetheless, his enduring popularity won him the governorship in 1859. When Texas voted to break from the Union in 1861, Houston refused to swear allegiance to the Confederacy. The Texas legislature voted to remove Houston from office and replaced him with a pro-Confederacy governor. Disillusioned, Houston retired to his farm near Huntsville. He died two years later, in 1863, while the fratricidal war he had sought to avoid continued to tear his beloved state and nation apart.
1797 – The Directory of Great Britain authorized vessels of war to board and seize neutral vessels, particularly if the ships were American.
1799 – Congress standardized US weights and measures.
1799 – Congress authorized that “Revenue Cutters shall, whenever the President of the United States shall so direct, cooperate with the Navy of the United States. During which time they shall be under the direction of the Secretary of the Navy, and the expenses thereof shall be defrayed by the agents of the Navy Department.”
1799 – Congress authorized revenue cutter officers to board all ships of the United States within four leagues of the U.S., if bound for the U.S. and then search and examine them, certifying manifest, sealing hatches and remaining on board until they arrived in port. They were also authorized to search ships of other nations in United States’ waters and “perform such other duties for the collection and security of the Revenue” as directed by the Secretary of the Treasury.
1799 – Congress authorized cutters and boats to be “distinguished from other vessels by an ensign and pendant” with the marks thereon prescribed by the President of the United States, to fire on vessels who refused to bring to after the pendant and ensign had been hoisted and a gun fired as a signal, masters to be indemnified from any penalties or actions for damages for so doing, and be admitted to bail if any one is killed or wounded by such firing. On August 1, 1799, Secretary Oliver Wolcott, Jr., prescribed that the ” ensign and pennant’’ should consist of “Sixteen perpendicular stripes, alternate red and white, the union of the ensign to be the arms of the United States in dark blue on a white field.” There were sixteen states in the Union at that time.
1807 – The U.S. Congress passes an act to “prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States…from any foreign kingdom, place, or country.” The first shipload of African captives to North America arrived at Jamestown, Virginia, in August 1619, but for most of the 17th century, European indentured servants were far more numerous in the North American British colonies than were African slaves. However, after 1680, the flow of indentured servants sharply declined, leading to an explosion in the African slave trade. By the middle of the 18th century, slavery could be found in all 13 colonies and was at the core of the Southern colonies’ agricultural economy. By the time of the American Revolution, the English importers alone had brought some three million captive Africans to the Americas. After the war, as slave labor was not a crucial element of the Northern economy, most Northern states passed legislation to abolish slavery. However, in the South, the invention of the cotton gin in 1793 made cotton a major industry and sharply increased the need for slave labor. Tension arose between the North and the South as the slave or free status of new states was debated. In January 1807, with a self-sustaining population of over four million slaves in the South, some Southern congressmen joined with the North in voting to abolish the African slave trade, an act that became effective January 1, 1808. The widespread trade of slaves within the South was not prohibited, however, and children of slaves automatically became slave themselves, thus ensuring a self-sustaining slave population in the South. Great Britain also banned the African slave trade in 1807, but the trade of African slaves to Brazil and Cuba continued until the 1860s. By 1865, some 12 million Africans had been shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas, and more than one million of these individuals had died from mistreatment during the voyage. In addition, an unknown number of Africans died in slave wars and forced marches directly resulting from the Western Hemisphere’s demand for African slaves.
1815 – To put an end to robberies by the Barbary pirates, the United States declared war on Algiers.
1819 – Territory of Arkansas was organized.
1825 – Roberto Cofresí, one of the last successful Caribbean pirates, is defeated in combat and captured by authorities. The Capture of the El Mosquito refers to the defeat of Roberto Cofresí and his pirate ship off the port town of Boca Del Infierno, Puerto Rico by American and Spanish forces in March 1825. United States Navy ships of the West Indies Squadron, with help from the Spanish Military, heavily damaged Cofresi’s vessel and forced him to abandon her and escape to shore where he was later captured by Puerto Rican authorities and executed.
1829 – Carl Schurz was born in Cologne, Germany. While studying at the University of Bonn he became involved in radical politics. Schurz took part in the 1848 German Revolution and was afterwards forced to flee to Switzerland. Schurz spent time in France and England before emigrating to the United States in 1852. Schurz and his wife lived in New York for a while before buying a farm in Watertown, Wisconsin. In 1856 Margarethe Schurz founded the first kindergarten in America. A strong supporter of universal suffrage, Schurz once wrote: “Our ideals resemble the stars, which illuminate the night. No one will ever be able to touch them. But the men who, like the sailors on the ocean, take them for guides, will undoubtedly reach their goal.” A leading member of the Republican Party, in 1860 Schurz campaigned for Abraham Lincoln in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. After the election, President Lincoln appointed Schurz as U.S. envoy to Spain. Schurz was an active campaigner against slavery and on the outbreak of the American Civil War joined the forces of the Union Army. He helped recuit Germans living in New York before being asked to negotiate with European governments on behalf of Abraham Lincoln. On his return to the United States, Schurz served under General John Fremont, the commander of the Department of the West. Soon afterwards he was given the rank of brigadier general and placed in command of the 3rd Division of the Army of Virginia (26th June, 1862 to 12th September, 1862). Schurz also commanded the 3rd Division of the Army of Potomac (12th September, 1862 to 2nd April, 1863) and took part in the battles at Bull Run (July, 1862) and Fredericksburg (December, 1862). After the battle he was promoted to the rank of major general, replacing his friend and fellow German, Franz Sigel. Schurz also took part in the battle at Chancellorsville (May, 1863) and Gettysburg (July, 1863) before being given command of the 3rd Division of the Army of the Cumberland (25th September, 1863 to 21st January, 1864). After the war Schurz worked as the Washington correspondent of the New York Tribune. This was followed by a period as editor-in-chief of the Detroit Post. In 1867 he became editor of the German language newspaper, the Westliche Post, in St. Louis, Missouri. Schurz remained active in the Republican Party and in 1869 was elected to the Senate. In 1872 he, like many Radical Republicans, supported Horace Greeley against Ulysses S. Grant, the official Republican candidate. Despite the efforts of Schurz and his close friend in Missouri, Joseph Pulitzer, Grant won the presidential election by 286 electoral votes to 66. In 1877 President Rutherford Hayes appointed Schurz as his secretary of the interior. Over the next four years Schurz introduced civil service reforms and made improvements to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. After leaving office in 1881 Schurz returned to journalism and became managing editor of the New York Evening Post. He also wrote for Harper’s Weekly, The Nation and had several books published including The Life of Henry Clay (1887) and Abraham Lincoln (1891). Carl Schurz died on 14th May, 1906.
1836 – During the Texas Revolution, a convention of American Texans meets at Washington-on-the-Brazos and declares the independence of Texas from Mexico. The delegates chose David Burnet as provisional president and confirmed Sam Houston as the commander in chief of all Texan forces. The Texans also adopted a constitution that protected the free practice of slavery, which had been prohibited by Mexican law. Meanwhile, in San Antonio, Santa Anna’s siege of the Alamo continued, and the fort’s 185 or so American defenders waited for the final Mexican assault. In 1820, Moses Austin, a U.S. citizen, asked the Spanish government in Mexico for permission to settle in sparsely populated Texas. Land was granted, but Austin died soon thereafter, so his son, Stephen F. Austin, took over the project. In 1821, Mexico gained independence from Spain, and Austin negotiated a contract with the new Mexican government that allowed him to lead some 300 families to the Brazos River. Under the terms of the agreement, the settlers were to be Catholics, but Austin mainly brought Protestants from the southern United States. Other U.S. settlers arrived in succeeding years, and the Americans soon outnumbered the resident Mexicans. In 1826, a conflict between Mexican and American settlers led to the Freedonia Rebellion, and in 1830 the Mexican government took measures to stop the influx of Americans. In 1833, Austin, who sought statehood for Texas in the Mexican federation, was imprisoned after calling on settlers to declare it without the consent of the Mexican congress. He was released in 1835. In 1834, Antonio Lpez de Santa Anna, a soldier and politician, became dictator of Mexico and sought to crush rebellions in Texas and other areas. In October 1835, Anglo residents of Gonzales, 50 miles east of San Antonio, responded to Santa Anna’s demand that they return a cannon loaned for defense against Indian attack by discharging it against the Mexican troops sent to reclaim it. The Mexicans were routed in what is regarded as the first battle of the Texas Revolution. The American settlers set up a provisional state government, and a Texan army under Sam Houston won a series of minor battles in the fall of 1835. In December, Texas volunteers commanded by Ben Milam drove Mexican troops out of San Antonio and settled in around the Alamo, a mission compound adapted to military purposes around 1800. In January 1836, Santa Anna concentrated a force of several thousand men south of the Rio Grande, and Sam Houston ordered the Alamo abandoned. Colonel James Bowie, who arrived at the Alamo on January 19, realized that the fort’s captured cannons could not be removed before Santa Anna’s arrival, so he remained entrenched with his men. By delaying Santa Anna’s forces, he also reasoned, Houston would have more time to raise an army large enough to repulse the Mexicans. On February 2, Bowie and his 30 or so men were joined by a small cavalry company under Colonel William Travis, bringing the total number of Alamo defenders to about 140. One week later, the frontiersman Davy Crockett arrived in command of 14 Tennessee Mounted Volunteers. On February 23, Santa Anna and some 3,000 Mexican troops besieged the Alamo, and the former mission was bombarded with cannon and rifle fire for 12 days. On February 24, in the chaos of the siege, Colonel Travis smuggled out a letter that read: “To the People of Texas and All Americans in the World…. I shall never surrender or retreat…. Victory or Death!” On March 1, the last Texan reinforcements from nearby Gonzales broke through the enemy’s lines and into the Alamo, bringing the total defenders to approximately 185. On March 2, Texas’ revolutionary government formally declared its independence from Mexico. In the early morning of March 6, Santa Anna ordered his troops to storm the Alamo. Travis’ artillery decimated the first and then the second Mexican charge, but in just over an hour the Texans were overwhelmed, and the Alamo was taken. Santa Anna had ordered that no prisoners be taken, and all the Texan and American defenders were killed in brutal hand-to-hand fighting. The only survivors of the Alamo were a handful of civilians, mostly women and children. Several hundred of Santa Anna’s men died during the siege and storming of the Alamo. Six weeks later, a large Texan army under Sam Houston surprised Santa Anna’s army at San Jacinto. Shouting “Remember the Alamo!” the Texans defeated the Mexicans and captured Santa Anna. The Mexican dictator was forced to recognize Texas’ independence and withdrew his forces south of the Rýo Grande. Texas sought annexation by the United States, but both Mexico and antislavery forces in the United States opposed its admission into the Union. For nearly a decade, Texas existed as an independent republic, and Houston was Texas’ first elected president. In 1845, Texas joined the Union as the 28th state, leading to the outbreak of the Mexican-American War.
1853 – The Territory of Washington was organized after separating from Oregon Territory.
1859 – Launch of Saginaw at Mare Island, first Navy ship built on West Coast of U.S.
1861 – The Territory of Nevada was created by an act of Congress. The first elected governor of the state was Henry G. Blasdel. US Congress created the Dakota & Nevada Territories out of the Nebraska & Utah territories.
1861 – U.S. Revenue Schooner Henry Dodge, First Lieutenant William F. Rogers, USRM, was seized at Galveston, as Texas joined the Confederacy.
1862 – Gen’l. Frederick W. Lander (b.1821), transcontinental engineer and Union General, died of “congestion of the brain” at Paw Paw, Virginia. He was the chief engineer of the Central Overland route. In 2000 Gary L. Ecalbarger authored “Frederick W. Lander: The Great Natural American Soldier.”
1865 – General Lee proposed peace to Grant. President Abraham Lincoln rejected Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s plea for peace talks, demanding unconditional surrender.
1865 – Union General George Custer’s troops rout Confederate General Jubal Early’s force, bringing an end to fighting in the Shenandoah Valley. The Shenandoah Valley was the scene of many battles and skirmishes during the Civil War. It was located directly in the path of armies invading from the south–as Confederate General Robert E. Lee did during the 1863 Gettysburg campaign-and the north. The fertile valley could sustain armies, and the gentle terrain allowed for rapid troop movement. In 1862, Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson staged a brilliant campaign in the Shenandoah Valley, defeating three Yankee armies with quick marching and bold attacks. In 1864, Early drove through the valley to threaten Washington, D.C., as he tried to relieve pressure on Lee, who was pinned down near Richmond. That fall, General Ulysses S. Grant, the Union commander, dispatched General Philip Sheridan to stop Early. At Cedar Creek on October 19, Sheridan achieved his goal. The Confederates were soundly defeated, but the remnants of Early’s force lingered at the southern end of the valley through the winter of 1864 and 1865. Grant ordered Sheridan to move further west and destroy a railroad in southwestern Virginia. As Sheridan marched from the valley, Early sent a few hundred cavalry under General Thomas Rosser to block his path. On March 1, Rosser set fire to a bridge along the middle fork of the Shenandoah River, but Custer, leading the advance units of Sheridan’s army, charged across the burning span and extinguished the fire before the bridge was destroyed. The next day, Custer followed Sheridan’s orders and chased down the bulk of Early’s force, which numbered about 2,000. Custer and about 5,000 troops found the Confederates entrenched along a ridge near Waynesboro. Part of the Yankee army shelled the Rebel position, while the rest slipped undetected through some woods that stood between Early’s line and the South River. Custer gave the order in the late afternoon, and the Union troops stormed out of the woods and swarmed over the Confederate trenches from the rear. In a short time, 80 percent of the Confederates were captured and only nine Federal troops were killed. Early and his staff narrowly escaped over the Blue Ridge Mountains, marking the end of the Confederate presence in the Shenandoah Valley.
1867 – The first Reconstruction Act was passed by Congress, it divided the South into five districts, each governed by martial law. It was the first of a series of four bills that the Radicals passed that year.
1867 – Jacob Zeilin, Colonel Commandant of the Marine Corps from 30 June 1864, was this date promoted to the rank of Brigadier General Commandant, the first time Congress authorized this rank for the Marine Corps. The statute, however, was repealed in June 1874 so that the rank of Commandant would again revert to colonel upon Zeilin’s retirement. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 16 July, 1806; died in Washington, D. C., 18 November, 1880. He entered the marine corps and was commissioned a 2d lieutenant, 1 October, 1831, promoted to 1st lieutenant, 12 September, 1836, and cruised in the “Columbus” and “Congress” in 1845-‘8 during the Mexican war. He participated in the operations on the Pacific coast and in de fence of Monterey, 15 July, 1846, was transferred to command the marines in the frigate ” Congress,” and took part with Commander Robert F. Stockton in the conquest of California. He was brevetted major for gallantry in the action at crossing San Gabriel river, 9 January, 1847, and took part in the capture of Los Angeles and in the battle of La Mesa. He was military commandant at San Diego in 1847, and participated in the capture of Guaymas in September. 1847, and in the action at San Jose, 30 September, 1847. During October, 1847, and till the end of the war, he was at Mazatlan, where he tool; part in frequent skirmishes with the Mexicans, who had been obliged to evacuate the city. He was commissioned captain, 14 September, 1847, and served at New York in 1849, and in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1849-’52. He was fleet marine-officer in the flag-ship “Mississippi,” in Commander Matthew C. Perry’s expedition to Japan in 1852-‘4, and commanded the battalion of marines at the landing on 14 July, 1853. He was stationed at Norfolk in 1854-‘7, and at Washington in 1857, and there commanded the first; company of marines which quelled the riot of Baltimore roughs, 1 June, 1857. When the civil war began he took command of the right company in the marine battalion in co-operation with the army in 1861, participated in the battle of Bull Run on 21 July, and was slightly wounded, he was commissioned major in the marine corps, 26 July, 1861, was commandant at New York barracks in 18(i2-‘3, and in August, 1863, had command of the marine battalion that sailed from New York and landed on Morris island, Charleston harbor, to participate in the operations of the South Atlantic blockading squadron under Admiral Dahlgren. In March, 1864, he returned to the north and took command of the marine barracks at Portsmouth, New Hampshire He was appointed colonel commandant of the marine corps, 10 June, 1864, and assumed control at headquarters at Washington, D. C. He was commissioned brigadier-general commandant, 2 March, 1867. General Zeilin was retired on account of age and long and faithful service, 1 November, 1876.
1876 – Birthday of Civil Engineer Corps.
1877 – Congress accepts an electoral commission’s decision that Republican Rutherford B. Hayes won the disputed presidential election of the previous November. Three days later, Hayes was inaugurated as the 19th U.S. president. The result was greeted with outrage by some Northern Democrats, who thereafter referred to Hayes as “His Fraudulency.” One of President Hayes’ first acts was to end the federal military occupation of the South and to recognize Democratic control over the region, thus bringing the Reconstruction era to a close. On November 7, 1876, Democratic presidential candidate Samuel J. Tilden received more popular votes than Hayes, and early returns indicated a Democratic victory in the electoral college as well. However, Republicans refused to concede on the grounds that returns from Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina were still in dispute, and because a presidential elector in Oregon, who voted for Hayes, was found ineligible. The Oregon elector, John Watts, served in the appointive position of postmaster for one week after learning he was chosen to be an elector. Although he resigned well before the December electoral vote, Democrats claimed he violated the constitutional clause that no elected or appointed official may serve as a presidential elector. A candidate needed 185 electoral votes to win, and with these 20 electoral votes still undecided Tilden had 184 votes to Hayes’ 165 votes. Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina each sent two sets of electors to the electoral college, and the Republicans and Democrats each claimed the disputed Oregon vote. The Republican-controlled Senate and the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives could not decide how to count the votes, and a deadlock ensued. Finally, at the end of January 1877, Congress voted to establish a special electoral commission to decide the disputed presidential election, with five members from each house of Congress and five members from the Supreme Court. There were seven Democrats, seven Republicans, and one independent, Supreme Court Justice David Davis. However, before any voting occurred, Davis resigned from the commission when he was elected a U.S. senator from Illinois. The justice who replaced him was Joseph Bradley, a staunch Republican. The commission voted along party lines, with Hayes receiving eight votes to Tilden’s seven, and Democrats in Congress launched filibusters and other delay tactics to block approval of the decision. Finally, in late February, some House Democrats began to support Hayes’ claim. Although no bargain was publicly revealed, it is known that Southern Democrats were assured of a conciliatory attitude toward the South under a Hayes administration, including acceptance of Democratic governors and a withdrawal of federal troops. In the early morning of March 2, Congress agreed to award the contested votes to Hayes, giving him a bare majority over Tilden, and he won the presidency. Shortly after Hayes’ inauguration, the Republican Party’s radical Reconstruction policies, which dominated Southern politics for nearly a decade, all but collapsed. If Tilden had been elected, however, the result would likely have much been the same. During Hayes’ four years in the White House, the Southern Republican Party vanished, as Southern state governments effectively nullified the 14th and 15th Amendments, stripping Southern African Americans of the right to vote. It would be nearly a century before the nation would again attempt to establish equal rights for African Americans in the South.
1889 – Congress passed the Indian Appropriations Bill, proclaiming unassigned lands in the public domain; the first step toward the famous Oklahoma Land Rush.
1899 – President McKinley signed a measure creating the rank of Admiral of the Navy for Adm. George Dewey.
1901 – Congress passed the Platt amendment, which limited Cuban autonomy as a condition for withdrawal of U.S. troops and makes Puerto Rico a protectorate.
1908 – An international conference on arms reduction opened in London.
1917 – Congress passes the Jones Act, making Puerto Rico a United States Territory and Puerto Ricans, US citizens.
1925 – The first nationwide highway numbering system was instituted by the joint board of state and federal highway officials appointed by the secretary of agriculture. In order to minimize confusion caused by the array of multiform state-appointed highway signs, the board created the shield-shaped highway number markers that have become a comforting sight to lost travelers in times since. Later, interstate highway numbering would be improved by colored signs and the odd-even demarcation that distinguishes between north-south and east-west travel respectively. As America got its kicks on Route 66, it did so under the aegis of the trusty shield. For instance, in the east, there is U.S. 1 that runs from New England to Florida and in the west, the corresponding highway, U.S. 101, from Tacoma, WA to San Diego, CA.
1929 – The Jones Act, the last gasp of the Prohibition, is passed by Congress. Since 1920 when the Eighteenth Amendment went into effect, the United States had banned the production, importation and sale of alcoholic beverages. But the laws were ineffective at actually stopping the consumption of alcohol. The Jones Act strengthened the federal penalties for bootlegging. Of course, within five years the country ended up rejecting Prohibition and repealing the Eighteenth Amendment. Prohibition was never particularly popular across the nation and when the people slowly realized that it had other ramifications, it rapidly fell by the wayside. The chief problem with Prohibition is that it didn’t stop the public’s demand for alcohol. Although consumption did drop in raw numbers, it remained substantial. In order to fill this demand, an entire criminal infrastructure was created virtually overnight. The enormous amounts of money that were available in illegal trafficking helped established organized crime. The nation’s major cities were dominated by criminal syndicates that could afford to bribe officials throughout the criminal justice system. This, in turn, produced a significant change in law enforcement. For the first time, the federal government became a major player in policing and prosecuting law breakers. Many feel that Prohibition also caused a major breakdown in the social fabric because of its effect on the national psyche. With so many of the people brazenly ignoring the law, an atmosphere of cynicism and hypocrisy was established. When the Eighteenth Amendment was finally repealed, Prohibition was widely viewed as a total failure.
1939 – The Massachusetts legislature voted to ratify the Bill of Rights, 147 years after the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution had gone into effect.
1943 – U.S. and Australian land-based planes begin an offensive against a convoy of Japanese ships in the Bismarck Sea, in the western Pacific. On March 1, U.S. reconnaissance planes spotted 16 Japanese ships en route to Lae and Salamaua in New Guinea. The Japanese were attempting to keep from losing the island and their garrisons there by sending 7,000 reinforcements and aircraft fuel and supplies. But a U.S. bombing campaign, beginning March 2 and lasting until the March 4, consisting of 137 American bombers supported by U.S. and Australian fighters, destroyed eight Japanese troop transports and four Japanese destroyers. More than 3,000 Japanese troops and sailors drowned as a consequence, and the supplies sunk with their ships. Of 150 Japanese fighter planes that attempted to engage the American bombers, 102 were shot down. It was an utter disaster for the Japanese–the U.S. 5th Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force dropped a total of 213 tons of bombs on the Japanese convoy. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill chose March 4, the official end of the battle, to congratulate President Franklin D. Roosevelt, since that day was also the 10th anniversary of the president’s first inauguration. “Accept my warmest congratulations on your brilliant victory in the Pacific, which fitly salutes the end of your first 10 years.”
1943 – US forces recover Sbeitla, Tunisia and advance toward Feriana. To their north, the British hold against Axis attacks.
1944 – A second 1000 men from the US 5th Cavalry Regiment arrives at Los Negros. Meanwhile, the American forces already on the island capture Momote airfield with fire support from destroyers offshore.
1944 – Lend-Lease aid to Turkey is cut off because it is reluctant to join the war on the Allied side or make any other contribution to the war effort.
1945 – Trier is captured by units of US 20th Corps, part of US 3rd Army. The US 1st Army, to the north, is extending its advance beyond the Erft River toward Cologne and to the south. US 9th Army captures Roermond and Venlo on the Maas on the left flank of its advance while on the right, the Rhine River is reached opposite Dusseldorg.
1945 – Elements of US Task Force 58, consisting of 4 cruisers and 15 destroyers, under the command of Admiral Whiting, bombard Okino Daito Jima.
1946 – Ho Chi Minh was elected president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
1949 – The Lucky Lady II (USAF B-50 Superfortress), landed at Fort Worth , Texas, after completing the first non-stop, round-the-world flight: 23,452-mis in 94 hours.
1950 – Silly Putty was introduced as a toy. Silly Putty was accidentally invented by Earl Warrick, a Dow scientist, while searching for a silicone-based rubber substance during WW II. [see Mar 6]
1951 – The U.S. Navy launched the K-1, the first modern submarine designed to hunt enemy submarines.
1953 – The United Nations Command continued to reaffirm that it never engaged in germ warfare in Korea.
1962 – JFK announced US will resume above ground nuclear testing.
1965 – Operation Rolling Thunder begins with more than 100 United States Air Force jet bombers striking an ammunition depot at Xom Bang, 10 miles inside North Vietnam. Simultaneously, 60 South Vietnamese Air Force propeller planes bombed the Quang Khe naval base, 65 miles north of the 17th parallel. Six U.S. planes were downed, but only one U.S. pilot was lost. Capt. Hayden J. Lockhart, flying an F-100, was shot down and became the first Air Force pilot to be taken prisoner by the North Vietnamese. Lockhart was released in 1973 when U.S. POWs were returned under provisions of the Paris Peace Accords. The raid was the result of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s decision in February to undertake the sustained bombing of North Vietnam that he and his advisers had been considering for more than a year. The goal of Rolling Thunder was to interdict North Vietnamese transportation routes in the southern part of North Vietnam and the slow infiltration of personnel and supplies into South Vietnam. In July 1966, Rolling Thunder was expanded to include North Vietnamese ammunition dumps and oil storage facilities as targets and in the spring of 1967 it was further expanded to include power plants, factories, and airfields in the Hanoi-Haiphong area. The White House closely controlled Operation Rolling Thunder and President Johnson occasionally selected the targets himself. From 1965 to 1968, about 643,000 tons of bombs were dropped on North Vietnam. A total of nearly 900 U.S. aircraft were lost during Operation Rolling Thunder. The operation continued, with occasional suspensions, until President Johnson halted it on October 31, 1968, under increasing domestic political pressure.
1966 – There were some 215,000 US soldiers in Vietnam.
1967 – US performed a nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.
1968 – The siege of Khe Sanh ended in Vietnam, the U.S. Marines stationed there were still in control of the mountain top.
1968 – USAF displayed Lockheed C-5A Galaxy, biggest plane in the world.
1970 – Supreme Court ruled draft evaders can not be penalized after 5 years.
1972 – Pioneer 10, the world’s first outer-planetary probe, is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a mission to Jupiter, the solar system’s largest planet. In December 1973, after successfully negotiating the asteroid belt and a distance of 620 million miles, Pioneer 10 reached Jupiter and sent back to Earth the first close-up images of the spectacular gas giant. In June 1983, the NASA spacecraft left the solar system and the next day radioed back the first scientific data on interstellar space. NASA officially ended the Pioneer 10 project on March 31, 1997, with the spacecraft having traveled a distance of some six billion miles. Headed in the direction of the Taurus constellation, Pioneer 10 will pass within three light years of another star–Ross 246–in the year 34,600 A.D. Bolted to the probe’s exterior wall is a gold-anodized plaque, 6 by 9 inches in area, that displays a drawing of a human man and woman, a star map marked with the location of the sun, and another map showing the flight path of Pioneer 10. The plaque, intended for intelligent life forms elsewhere in the galaxy, was designed by astronomer Carl Sagan.
1973 – Women begin pilot training in U.S. Navy.
1973 – Federal forces surrounded Wounded Knee, South Dakota, which was occupied by members of the militant American Indian Movement who were holding at least 10 hostages.
1973 – Arab commandos, “Black September” terrorists, led by Abu Jihad executed 3 hostages in Khartoum, Sudan, after Pres. Nixon refused their demands. US ambassador Cleo A. Noel, deputy George Curtis Moore and Belgian charge d’affaires Guy Eid. The operation was later reported to have been organized by Yasser Arafat.
1974 – A grand jury in Washington, D.C. concluded that President Nixon was indeed involved in the Watergate cover-up.
1981 – The United States planned to send 20 more advisors and $25 million in military aid to El Salvador.
1988 – The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to order the United States to submit to binding arbitration its plan to close the observer mission of the Palestine Liberation Organization. A federal court later stopped the U.S.
1989 – A grenade attack in downtown Panama killed a U.S. soldier and injured 28 other people at the My Place discotheque on Via Espania and Calle 50.
1991 – The United Nations Security Council passes Security Council Resolution 686 establishing cease-fire terms. The United Nations requires Iraq to rescind its annexation of Kuwait, to accept in principle liability for damages and injuries caused by the invasion and occupation of Kuwait, to release coalition POWs immediately, to release all Kuwaitis, third country nationals, and remains in Iraqi government possession, to return all stolen Kuwaiti property, to end all military action, to identify mines and booby traps (and disclose information on any chemical or biological weapons stored) in areas of Iraq occupied by coalition forces.
1991 – Iraq released CBS newsman Bob Simon and his crew, held captive for nearly six weeks.
1991 – Shiite Muslims in southern Iraq and the Kurds rose up against Iraqi forces but were crushed by Iraqi armor that killed 50,000 and forced more than a million Kurds to flee to Turkey and Iran.
1993 – Members of 10th Mountain Divisions Bravo Company 2/87 Infantry fight their way out of a crossfire in Kismaayo. 4 grunts, while pinned down, kill 9 Somalis. No US casualties.
1995 – The space shuttle STS-67 (Endeavour 8) blasted off to study the far reaches of the universe.
1995 – The last U.N. peacekeepers in Somalia were evacuated.
1998 – The United Nations Security Council unanimously approves Resolution 1154 endorsing Secretary Kofi Annan’s agreement with Iraq on weapons inspections which includes the controversial presidential palaces. The Resolution threatens any Iraqi violation of the agreement with the “severest consequences.”
1998 – Data sent from the Galileo spacecraft indicates that Jupiter’s moon Europa has a liquid ocean under a thick crust of ice.
1999 – In Uganda Hutu rebels killed 8 hostages and 4 Ugandans. Among the dead were Americans Robert Haubner and Susan Miller of Hillsboro, Ore. They were there to track the mountain gorillas. Uganda insisted that the 2 Americans, 4 Britons and 2 New Zealanders died in a police rescue bid.
2000 – Dr. Larry C. Ford committed suicide just days after a botched assassination attempt on his business partner at Biofem Inc., of Irvine, Calif. Ford had met with scientists from South Africa’s Project Coast in the 1980s to discuss chemical and biological warfare under Wouter Basson, head of the project. Project Coast, which has been accused of trying to create deadly bacteria that would only affect blacks, poisoning opponents’ clothing and stockpiling cholera, HIV and anthrax, opened an offshore bank account to pay Ford. In 2002 former FBI informant Peter Fitzpatrick told “60 Minutes” that Ford passed a bag filled with cholera, typhoid, botulism, anthrax and bubonic plague to a South African military doctor during a meeting at the house of the South African trade attache in California.
2001 – In Afghanistan the Taliban began the destruction of the giant Buddha of Bamiyan despite int’l. protests. The United Nations tried in vain to persuade Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban to reverse its decision to destroy a pair of giant, ancient statues of Buddha and other Buddhist relics that the regime considered idolatrous.
2002 – U.S. and Afghan forces launched an offensive, Operation Anaconda, on al-Qaeda and Taliban forces entrenched in the mountains of Shahi-Kot southeast of Gardez. The Mujahideen forces, who used small arms, rocket-propelled grenades, and mortars, were entrenched into caves and bunkers in the hillsides at an altitude that was largely above 10,000 feet (3,000 m). They used “hit and run” tactics, opening fire on the U.S. and Afghan forces and then retreating back into their caves and bunkers to weather the return fire and persistent U.S. bombing raids. To compound the situation for the coalition troops, U.S. commanders initially underestimated the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces as a last isolated pocket numbering fewer than 200. It turned out that the guerrillas numbered between 1,000–5,000 according to some estimates and that they were receiving reinforcements..
2003 – UN weapons inspectors returned to an Iraqi military compound to supervise the disposal of more outlawed Al Samoud 2 rockets.
2003 – North Korea deployed 4 MiGs to intercept a US RC-135S spy plane some 150 miles off its coast.
2003 – The United Arab Emirates won support from Kuwait and Bahrain in its call for Saddam Hussein to quit power to avert a war.
2003 – US officials say that US warplanes patrolling the southern no-fly zone in Iraq have attacked four military communications facilities and one air defence facility after Iraqi forces fired at US and British planes.
2004 – NASA scientists reported that the Mars rover Opportunity had discovered evidence that water was once present on the surface.
2005 – President Bush demanded in blunt terms that Syria get out of Lebanon.
2005 – In Florida dozens of dolphins beached on the Florida Keys. Sonar from a US submarine was later suspected.
2005 – Pakistani police arrested a man wanted in the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and already sentenced to death in absentia for a hotel bombing that killed 11 French engineers.
2006 – Just two days before U.S. President George W. Bush is scheduled to visit Pakistan, a car bomb exploded in the Marriott Hotel Karachi parking lot adjacent to a United States consulate in Karachi, killing at least four people including a US diplomat and his driver and injuring at least fifty others.
2007 – The Bush administration selects a design from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for a new generation of nuclear warheads scheduled to replace the Trident missile on submarines by 2012.
2007 – The United States Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey resigns over poor conditions at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. President Bush later orders a full review of health care available to returning soldiers.
2011 – Two United States Air Force personnel are killed and two others injured after a gunman opens fire at Frankfurt Airport in Germany.
2011 – The United States military files new charges against Private Bradley Manning in relation to the leak of the WikiLeaks cables.
2011 – Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of US politician Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, is denied parole again in California.
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