1780 – The Battle of Rantowle’s Bridge. Two companies of British Light Infantry, American Loyalist Volunteers, and one company of Dragoons, crossed at Rantowle’s in scows; the rest of the army crossed yesterday. Col. Hamilton, of the North Carolinians, and Dr. Smith, of the Hospital, proceeding about a mile in front of the army, to Gov. Rutledge’s house, were immediately surrounded by three hundred Continental Light Horse, and they consequently made prisoners. The British Dragoons fell in with them soon after, and had a skirmish; the Rebels soon gave way. Qr. Master Sergeant Mcintosh, of the Georgia Dragoons was badly wounded in the face by a broadsword. Several Dragoons of the Legion were wounded. How many of the Rebels got hurt we can’t learn; but they did not keep up the combat long enough for many to receive damage. This morning, Capt. Saunders, who came in with the flag on the 24th, was sent out; his attendant, Capt. Wilkinson, not being mentioned in the body of the flag, is detained as a prisoner of war. We took up our ground on Gov. Rutledge’s plantation, about one mile from his house, where we remained all night.
1794 – President Washington and Congress authorized creation of the U.S. Navy. The bill authorizes construction of 6 frigates, including Constitution. In the early stages of the American Revolutionary War, Massachusetts had its own navy. The establishment of a national navy was an issue of debate among the members of the Continental Congress. Supporters argued that a navy would protect shipping, defend the coast, and make it easier to seek out support from foreign countries. Detractors countered that challenging the British Royal Navy, then the world’s preeminent naval power, was a foolish undertaking. Commander in Chief George Washington resolved the debate when he commissioned seven ocean-going cruisers, starting with the schooner USS Hannah, to interdict British supply ships, and reported the captures to the Congress. The Continental Navy achieved mixed results; it was successful in a number of engagements and raided many British merchant vessels, but it lost 24 of its vessels and at one point was reduced to two in active service.
1794 – James Monroe is appointed the American minister to France replacing Governeur Morris, whose recall the French have requested because of his royalist sympathies and meddling.
1799 – USS Constitution recaptures American sloop Neutrality from France.
1802 – The Treaty of Aliens between France, Spain, England, and the Netherlands ends European hostilities, offering US shipping a break from trade restraints.
1813 – In a US attack on Fort George, near the mouth of the Niagra River, LTC Winfield Scott with a 4000-man force captures the 1600-man British garrison under General John Vincent. The British withdraw from Lake Erie. This action permits Captain Oliver Hazard Perry to surreptitiously remove five vessels form the Black Rock shipyard and take them to Presque Isle in order to reinforce the flotilla under construction there.
1814 – General Jackson led U.S. soldiers who killed 700 Creek Indians at Horseshoe Bend, La. [in Northern Alabama] Jackson lost 49 men. The Battle of Horseshoe Bend (also known as Tehopeka, Tohopeka, Cholocco Litabixbee, or The Horseshoe), was fought during the War of 1812 in the Mississippi Territory, now central Alabama. United States forces and Indian allies under Major General Andrew Jackson defeated the Red Sticks, a part of the Creek Indian tribe who opposed American expansion, effectively ending the Creek War.
1836 – In a disastrous setback for the Texans resisting Santa Anna’s dictatorial regime, the Mexican army defeats and executes 417 Texas revolutionaries at Goliad. Long accustomed to enjoying considerable autonomy from their Mexican rulers, many Anglo Texan settlers reacted with alarm when Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna proclaimed himself dictator of Mexico in 1835. Santa Anna immediately imposed martial law and attempted to disarm the Texans. Yet, this move merely fed the flames of Texan resistance. In November 1853, Texan leaders proclaimed their resistance to Santa Anna’s dictatorship, though they stopped short of calling for independence. The next month, the Texans managed to defeat 800 Mexican soldiers stationed in San Antonio. However, the rebel leaders remained deeply divided over what to do next, making them vulnerable to Santa Anna’s ruthless determination to suppress dissension. While the Texas rebels dallied, Santa Anna moved decisively. In mid-February he led a massive Mexican army across the Rio Grande, and after a 13-day siege of the Alamo, crushed the rebels in San Antonio. Meanwhile, to the south, Santa Ann’s chief lieutenant, General Urrea, moved to destroy another faction of the rebel army attempting to defend the town of Goliad. Disagreements among the Texans had led to a division of the rebel forces. James W. Fannin was left with only slightly more than 300 Texans to protect Goliad, a position the rebels needed in order to maintain their supply routes to the Gulf Coast. As Urrea’s much larger 1400-man army approached, Fannin acted with indecision, wondering if he should go to the aid of the besieged men at the Alamo. Belatedly, Fannin attempted to fall back from the approaching Mexican army, but his retreat order came too late. On March 19, Urrea surrounded the small column of rebel soldiers on an open prairie, where they were trapped without food, water, or cover. After repulsing one Mexican assault, Fannin realized there was no chance of escape. Rather than see his force annihilated, Fannin surrendered. Apparently, some among the Texans who surrendered believed they would be treated as prisoners of war. Santa Anna, however, had clearly stated several months before that he considered the rebels to be traitors who would be given no quarter. In obedience to Santa Anna’s orders, on this day in 1836 Urrea ordered his men to open fire on Fannin and his soldiers, along with about 100 other captured Texans. More than 400 men were executed that day at Goliad. Ironically, rather than serving to crush the Texas rebellion, the Goliad Massacre helped inspire and unify the Texans. Now determined to break completely from Mexico, the Texas revolutionaries began to yell “Remember Goliad!” along with the more famous battle cry, “Remember the Alamo!” Less than a month later, Texan forces under General Sam Houston dealt a stunning blow to Santa Anna’s army in the Battle of San Jacinto, and Texas won its independence.
1862 – Flag Officer Du Pont reported to Secretary of the Navy Welles that Confederate batteries on Skiddaway and Green Islands, Georgia, had been withdrawn and placed nearer Savannah. This gives Union forces complete control of Wassaw and Ossabaw Sounds and the mouths of the Vernon and Wilmington Rivers, important approaches to the city.
1863 – Confederate Pres. Jefferson Davis called for this to be a day of fasting and prayer.
1863 – U.S.S. Pawnee, Commander Balch, supported an Army landing on Cole’s Island, South Carolina; Balch joined the Army command ashore for a reconnaissance of the island.
1865 – Combined Army-Navy operations, the latter commanded by Rear Admiral Thatcher, aimed at capturing the city of Mobile commenced. The objective was Spanish Fort, located near the mouth of the Blakely River and was the key to the city’s defenses. Six tinclads and supporting gun-boats steamed up the Blakely River to cut the fort’s communications with Mobile while the army began to move against the fort’s outworks. The river had been thickly sown with torpedoes which necessitated sweeping operations ahead of the advancing ironclads. These efforts, directed by Commander Peirce Crosby of U.S.S. Metacomet, netted 150 torpedoes. Nevertheless, a number of the Confederate weapons eluded the Union with telling results. In the next five days three Northern warships would be sunk in the Blakely.
1865 – President Lincoln meets with Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman at City Point, Virginia, to plot the last stages of the war. Lincoln came to Virginia just as Grant was preparing to attack Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s lines around Petersburg and Richmond, an assault that promised to end the siege that had dragged on for 10 months. Meanwhile, Sherman’s force was steamrolling northward through the Carolinas. The three architects of Union victory met for the first time as a group–Sherman and Lincoln had never met–to plot the final destruction of the Confederacy. Lincoln came to Grant’s headquarters at City Point at the general-in-chief’s request. Lincoln boarded the River Queen with his wife Mary and son Tad on March 23, and the first family had a hectic visit. Lincoln went to the Petersburg lines and witnessed a Union bombardment and a small skirmish. He also reviewed troops, visited wounded soldiers, and then met with Grant and Sherman. Sherman had traveled from Goldsboro, North Carolina, to the coast before catching a steamer to Virginia. During the meeting, Lincoln expressed his concern that that Confederate armies might slip away. He was worried that Lee might escape Petersburg and flee to North Carolina, where he could join forces with Joseph Johnston to forge a new Confederate army that could continue the war for months. Grant and Sherman confidently assured the president that the end was in sight. Lincoln emphasized to his generals that any surrender terms must preserve the Union war aims of emancipation and a pledge of equality for the freed slaves. After meeting the next day with Admiral David Dixon Porter, the three went their separate ways. In less than four weeks, Grant and Sherman had secured the surrender of the Confederacy.
1866 – President Andrew Johnson vetoed the civil rights bill, which later became the 14th amendment.
1880 – USS Constellation departs New York with food for famine victims in Ireland.
1884 – The first long-distance telephone call was made, between Boston and New York City.
1886 – Famous Apache warrior, Geronimo, surrenders to the U.S. Army, ending the main phase of the Apache Wars.
1898 – Following an antiwar policy in the face of great pressure for what John Hay calls “a splendid little war,” McKinley instructs the US minister to Spain to demand the following: a temporary truce with the Cuban rebels, revocation of the reconcentrado order, US arbitration of a peaceful settlement, and relief to be sent to Cuba.
1899 – The first international radio transmission between England and France was achieved by the Italian inventor G. Marconi.
1899 – Emilio Aguinaldo leads Filipino forces for the only time during the Philippine–American War at the Battle of Marilao River. The Battle of Marilao River was fought in Marilao, Bulacan, Philippines, during the Philippine–American War. It was one of the most celebrated river crossings of the whole war, wherein American forces crossed the Marilao River, which was 80 yards wide and too deep to ford, while under Filipino fire from the opposite bank. The American official account had admitted that Aguinaldo acted with a great sense of military strategy, averting disastrous routs while succeeding to sustain heavy damage on the enemy (that is, the Americans). The losses in the American drive to Malolos, the account also stated, had proved the Filipinos’ effective fighting quality.
1912 – In Washington, D.C., Helen Taft, wife of President William Taft, and the Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, plant two Yoshina cherry trees on the northern bank of the Potomac River, near the Jefferson Memorial. The event was held in celebration of a gift, by the Japanese government, of 3,020 cherry trees to the U.S. government. The planting of Japanese cherry trees along the Potomac was first proposed by socialite Eliza Scidmore, who raised money for the endeavor. Helen Taft had lived in Japan while her husband was president of the Philippine Commission, and knowing the beauty of cherry blossoms she embraced Scidmore’s idea. After learning of the first lady’s interest, the Japanese consul in New York suggested making a gift of the trees to the U.S. government from the city of Tokyo. In January 1910, 2,000 Japanese cherry trees arrived in Washington from Japan but had fallen prey to disease during the journey. In response, a private Japanese citizen donated the funds to transport a new batch of trees, and 3,020 specimens were taken from the famous collection on the bank of the Arakawa River in Adachi Ward, a suburb of Tokyo. In March 1912, the trees arrived in Washington, and on March 27 the first two trees were planted along the Potomac River’s Tidal Basin in a formal ceremony. The rest of the trees were then planted along the basin, in East Potomac Park, and on the White House grounds. The blossoming trees proved immediately popular with visitors to Washington’s Mall area, and in 1934 city commissioners sponsored a three-day celebration of the late March blossoming of the trees, which grew into the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. After World War II, cuttings from Washington’s cherry trees were sent back to Japan to restore the Tokyo collection that was decimated by American bombing attacks during the war.
1930 – 1st US radio broadcast from a ship at sea.1933 – Japan left the League of Nations.
1941 – Roosevelt’s $7,000,000,000 Appropriations Bill for Lend-Lease passes into law.
1941 – Britain leased defense bases in Trinidad to the U.S. for a period of 99 years.
1941 – Tokeo Yoshikawa arrived in Oahu, Hawaii, to begin spying for Japan on the U.S. Fleet at Pearl Harbor.
1942 – All RAF aircraft and the remainder of Chennault’s American volunteer air force are withdrawn from Burma.
1943 – US began an assault on Fondouk-pass, Tunisia.1945 – General Dwight D. Eisenhower told reporters in Paris that German defenses on the Western Front had been broken.
1943 – Battle of the Komandorski Islands – In the Aleutian Islands the battle begins when United States Navy forces intercept Japanese attempting to reinforce a garrison at Kiska. The Battle of the Komandorski Islands was a naval battle between American and Japanese forces in the North Pacific area of the Pacific Ocean, south of the Soviet Komandorski Islands. It is considered one of the most unusual naval engagements of World War II being one of the few entirely between surface vessels–neither force had submarine or air escort.
1945 – Iwo Jima was occupied, after 22,000 Japanese and 6,000 US killed.
1945 – US 9th Army begins to penetrate south into the Ruhr industrial area. US 3rd Army has now crossed the Main both west of Frankfurt, where Wiesbaden is attacked, and to the east.
1945 – The last German V2 rocket lands southeast of London at Orpington. The V2 campaign has killed over 2700 British civilians and injured 6500. As well as the 1115 launched at British targets, a further 2050 were aimed at Antwerp, Brussels and Liege.
1945 – Cebu City is captured by the US landing force. As on the other islands, the Japanese are beginning to withdraw to inland strongholds where they will be confined and worn down by Filipino forces. Only on Luzon, Mindanao and Negros will the prolonged presence of US troops be necessary. In Manila Bay, an American force lands on Caballo Island, better known to the Americans as Fort Hughes, where they encounter strong Japanese resistance.
1945 – US naval forces, including TF58 and TF52, continue air strikes on Okinawa and TF54 continues bombarding the island. The British Pacific Fleet (Admiral Rawlings), also designated Task Force 57, again attacks airfields and other targets on Sakashima Gunto. A Japanese attack by explosive boats fails. Unsuccessful submarine attacks continue.
1945 – Operation Starvation, the aerial mining of Japan’s ports and waterways begins.
1951 – Carrier Group 101, the first all-Reserve naval air group, entered the war aboard the USS Boxer. Two days later, the group flew its first combat missions.
1952 – Elements of the U.S. Eighth Army reached the 38th parallel in Korea, the original dividing line between the two Koreas.
1953 – The 5th Marines, supported by the 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, in the first full day of fighting after the Chinese assault the previous evening of Outpost Vegas on Korea’s western front, counterattacked to regain enemy-held positions. Companies E and F of 2/7, down to only three platoons between them, managed to regain partial control of Outpost Vegas that day.
1953 – U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel James P. Hagerstrom, 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing, flying his F-86 Sabre “MiG Poison,” qualified as the 28th ace of the Korean War and his wings only ace.
1956 – US seized the US communist newspaper “Daily Worker.”
1958 – The U.S. announced a plan to explore space near the moon.
1965 – Following several days of consultations with the Cambodian government, South Vietnamese troops, supported by artillery and air strikes, launch their first major military operation into Cambodia. The South Vietnamese encountered a 300-man Viet Cong force in the Kandal province and reported killing 53 communist soldiers. Two teams of U.S. helicopter gunships took part in the action. Three South Vietnamese soldiers were killed and seven wounded.
1973 – The White House announces that, at the request of Cambodian President Lon Nol, the bombing of Cambodia will continue until communist forces cease military operations and agree to a cease-fire. In March 1970, Lon Nol had overthrown Prince Norodom Sihanouk in a bloodless coup. Between 1970 and 1975, Lon Nol and his army, the Forces Armees Nationale Khmer (FANK), with U.S. support and military aid, fought the Khmer Rouge and Sihanouk’s supporters for control of Cambodia. During the five years of bitter fighting, approximately 10 percent of Cambodia’s 7 million people died. When the U.S. forces departed South Vietnam in 1973, both the Cambodians and South Vietnamese found themselves fighting the communists alone. Without U.S. support, Lon Nol’s forces succumbed to the Khmer Rouge, surrendering to the communists in April 1975. The victorious Khmer Rouge evacuated Phnom Penh and began reordering Cambodian society, which resulted in a killing spree and the notorious “killing fields.” Eventually, hundreds of thousands of Cambodians were murdered or died from exhaustion, hunger, and disease.
1975 – The 1st pipe of the Alaska oil pipeline was laid at Tonsina River.
1984 – Tanker war” begins with Iraqi attacks on shipping near the Iranian coast. In coming months, many tankers are attacked by both Iran and Iraq, war risk insurance premiums for tankers soar, and oil tanker traffic in the Gulf (particularly to Iran’s Kharg Island terminal) is reduced.
1987 – The Marine Corps charged that Sgt. Clayton J. Lonetree, a Marine guard, had escorted Soviet agents through the U.S. Embassy in Moscow — an accusation that was later dropped, although Lonetree was convicted of espionage.
1988 – The U.S. Senate ratified the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
1990 – The The U.S. government begins the operation of TV Marti, which broadcast television programs into communist Cuba. The project marked yet another failed attempt to undermine the regime of Cuban leader Fidel Castro. TV Marti was put together under the auspices of the Voice of America, the U.S. radio and television broadcasting system established in the 1940s to beam news and propaganda throughout the world, particularly directed toward communist nations. The new addition to this propaganda arsenal, TV Marti, was primarily the result of intense lobbying by Cuban-American interest groups and a handful of senators and representatives from south Florida and New Jersey (areas with large Cuban-American populations). TV Marti programming tried to give Cubans an accurate look at American life. The legality and effectiveness of TV Marti were immediately issues for debate. International law forbade the transmitting of television signals into another nation if the transmission interfered with regular programming. TV Marti representatives argued that the signal was being sent on unused channels in Cuba. As for how effective it was, Cuba immediately worked to jam the signal as soon as TV Marti launched, so only a few people on the outskirts of Havana could conceivably see the broadcasts. The first day’s programming included some footage of old World Series games, music videos, and replays of the old “Kate and Allie” sitcom. TV Marti was a powerful indication of the strength of Cold War animosities and the Cuban-American lobby in the United States. The United States and Cuba had been locked in a diplomatic war since Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, and the United States resorted to a number of different schemes to try to unseat the dictator during the following decades. During that time, the Cuban-American lobby, which was well organized and well funded, became a powerful voice in Washington. Despite the fact that TV Marti was a dismal failure in terms of weakening the Castro regime, it continues to receive funding and is still in operation.
1991 – In a surprising flap, President Bush publicly disagreed with General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who claimed he had urged further fighting in the Persian Gulf War at the time Bush ordered a cease-fire. Schwarzkopf later apologized to Bush.
1996 – The UN Security Council (Resolution 1051) established an export-import monitoring system for Iraq and demanded full cooperation.
1998 – In Columbia rebels under Comandante Romana freed 9 Columbian hostages but held 4 American birdwatchers and an Italian businessman for ransom.
1999 – NATO expanded its air assault on Yugoslavia in the fourth straight day of attacks. A $42 million US F-117A stealth fighter was downed over Yugoslavia during continued NATO airstrikes. The downed American pilot was rescued by US forces. The wreckage was later believed to have been sold.
2001 – In its first specific accusation against a detained U.S.-based scholar, China said Gao Zhan had confessed to spying for foreign intelligence agencies. The US denied employing her as a spy. Gao, who had been detained on Feb. 11, was released the following July. In 2003 Gao Zhan admitted to illegal profits of over $539,000 from selling 80 microprocessors to the Chinese government.
2002 – The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, “The Stick”, returns to Norfolk Naval yards after participating in combat and support operations in and over Afghanistan. The Stick now holds the record for a carrier’s continuous days at sea with 159, beating the USS Eisenhower’s previous record of 152 set in 1982.
2003 – The Bush administration seized $1.62 billion in Iraqi assets already frozen in the US. The money would be used to help rebuild Iraq once Saddam Hussein is ousted.
2003 – In the 9th day of Operation Iraqi Freedom a British armored unit destroyed 14 Iraqi tanks trying to break out of the besieged city of Basra. A sea-borne relief operation was postponed after discovering Iraqi mines in the shipping channel leading to the recently captured Iraqi port of Umm Qasr. Heavy bombing on Baghdad destroyed a main telephone exchange.
2003 – Coast Guard cutter Wrangell, homeported in Portland, Maine, along with a Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Honolulu, escorted the first waterborne humanitarian aid shipment into the port of Umm Qasr without incident, while members of Coast Guard Port Security Unit 311, from San Pedro, Calif., assisted other coalition forces protecting the harbor. The shipment, consisting of vital aid donated by numerous countries, was carried aboard the British ship RFA Sir Galahad.
2004 – The 15-nation Caribbean Community withheld recognition from Haiti’s U.S.-backed interim government as leaders closed a summit renewing calls for a U.N. investigation into the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
2006 – Zacarias Moussaoui testifies in an American court that he and Richard Reid planned to fly a passenger jet into the White House as part of the September 11, 2001 attacks, contradicting his previous testimony.
2007 – United States District Court Judge Thomas Hogan dismisses a case of alleged torture against former United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld brought by nine former prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan.
2011 – NATO assumes control of military operations in Libya.
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