1607 – Some 100 English colonists settle along the west bank of the James River in Virginia to found Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America. Dispatched from England by the London Company, the colonists had sailed across the Atlantic aboard the Sarah Constant, Godspeed, and Discovery. Upon landing at Jamestown, the first colonial council was held by seven settlers whose names had been chosen and placed in a sealed box by King James I. The council, which included Captain John Smith, an English adventurer, chose Edward Wingfield as its first president. After only two weeks, Jamestown came under attack from warriors from the local Algonquian Native American confederacy, but the Indians were repulsed by the armed settlers. In December of the same year, John Smith and two other colonists were captured by Algonquians while searching for provisions in the Virginia wilderness. His companions were killed, but he was spared, according to a later account by Smith, because of the intercession of Pocahontas, Chief Powhatan’s daughter. During the next two years, disease, starvation, and more Native American attacks wiped out most of the colony, but the London Company continually sent more settlers and supplies. The severe winter of 1609 to 1610, which the colonists referred to as the “starving time,” killed most of the Jamestown colonists, leading the survivors to plan a return to England in the spring. However, on June 10, Thomas West De La Warr, the newly appointed governor of Virginia, arrived with supplies and convinced the settlers to remain at Jamestown. In 1612, John Rolfe cultivated the first tobacco at Jamestown, introducing a successful source of livelihood. On April 5, 1614, Rolfe married Pocahontas, thus assuring a temporary peace with Chief Powhatan. The death of Powhatan in 1618 brought about a resumption of conflict with the Algonquians, including an attack led by Chief Opechancanough in 1622 that nearly wiped out the settlement. The English engaged in violent reprisals against the Algonquians, but there was no further large-scale fighting until 1644, when Opechancanough led his last uprising and was captured and executed at Jamestown. In 1646, the Algonquian Confederacy agreed to give up much of its territory to the rapidly expanding colony, and, beginning in 1665, its chiefs were appointed by the governor of Virginia.
1787 – Arthur Phillip set sail with 11 ships of criminals to Botany Bay, Australia. By year’s end some 50,000 British convict servants were transported to the American colonies in commutation of death sentences. After the American Revolution, Britain continued dumping convicts in the U.S. illegally into 1787. Australia eventually replaced America for this purpose.
1801 – Tripoli declares war against the United States
1804 – Forces sent by Yusuf Karamanli of Tripoli to retake Derna from the Americans attack the city. They attacked the city and drove the Arabs back, almost capturing the governor’s palace. The Argus and Eaton’s captured batteries pounded the attackers, who fled under continued bombardment. By nightfall, both sides were back to their original positions. Skirmishes and several other minor attempts were made on the city in the following weeks, but the city remained in American control.
1828 – US passed the Tariff of Abominations.
1836 – U.S. Exploring Expedition authorized to conduct exploration of Pacific Ocean and South Seas, first major scientific expedition overseas. LT Charles Wilkes USN, would lead the expedition in surveying South America, Antarctica, Far East, and North Pacific.
1846 – The US under Pres. Polk declared that a state of war already existed against Mexico, 2 months after fighting began. This was in response to an incident where the Mexican cavalry surrounded a scouting party of American dragoons. $10 million was appropriated for war expenses by Congress. 50, 000 volunteers responded to the war effort and Gen. Taylor used his forces to capture the Mexican town of Monterey [in California] and then moved south to defeat Santa Anna’s armies at the Battle of Buena Vista.
1861 – Queen Victoria proclaimed British neutrality and forbade British subjects to endeavor to break a blockade “lawfully and effectually established.” This “proclamation of neutrality” recognized the breakaway states as having belligerent rights.
1861 – Union troops occupy Baltimore
1862 – Confederate steamer Planter, with her captain ashore in Charleston, was taken out of the harbor by an entirely Negro crew under Robert Smalls and turned over to U.S.S. Onward, Acting Lieutenant Nickels, of the blockading Union squadron. “At 4 in the morning,” Flag Officer Du Pont reported,”. . . she left her wharf close to the Government office and headquarters, with palmetto and Confederate flag flying, passed the successive forts, saluting as usual by blowing her steam whistle. After getting beyond the range of the last gun she quickly hauled down the rebel flags and hoisted a white one . . . The steamer is quite a valuable acquisition to the squadron.
1862 – U.S.S. Iroquois, Commander Palmer, and U.S.S. Oneida, Commander S. P. Lee, occupied Natchez, Mississippi, as Flag Officer Farragut’s fleet moved steadily toward Vicksburg.
1863 – The persistent Army-Navy siege and assault on Vicksburg compelled Confederate strategists to withdraw much needed troops from the eastern front in an effort to bring relief to their beleaguered forces in the west. General Beauregard and others warned repeatedly of the possible disasters such loss of strength in the Charleston area and elsewhere might bring. This date, Confederate Secretary of War James A. Seddon wrote to those objecting to the transfer of troops from Charles-ton to Vicksburg: I beg you to reflect on the vital importance of the Mississippi to our cause, to South Carolina, and to Charleston itself. Scarce any point in the Confederacy can be deemed more essential, for the ’cause of each is the cause of all,’ and the sundering of the Confederacy [along the line of the Mississippi] would be felt as almost a mortal blow to the most remote parts.”
1863 – Union General Ulysses S. Grant advances toward the Mississippi capital of Jackson during his bold and daring drive to take Vicksburg, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River. In April, Grant had moved his troops down the Mississippi River and around the Vicksburg defenses, landing south of the city before moving east into the interior of Mississippi. He intended to approach Vicksburg from the east to avoid the strong Confederate defenses on the riverfront. Grant, however, had to contend with two Rebel forces. John C. Pemberton had an army defending Vicksburg, and Joseph Johnston was mustering troops in Jackson, 40 miles east of Vicksburg. Grant’s advance placed him between the two Southern commands. He planned to strike Johnston in Jackson, defeat him, and then focus on Vicksburg when the threat to his rear was eliminated. On May 12, Grant’s troops encountered a Rebel force at Raymond, Mississippi, which they easily defeated. The following day, he divided his force at Raymond, just 15 miles from Jackson, and sent two corps under William T. Sherman and James McPherson to drive the Confederates under Johnston out of Jackson, which they did by May 14. Grant also sent John McClernand’s corps west to close in on Pemberton in Vicksburg. A few days later, on May 16, Grant defeated Pemberton at Champion’s Hill and drove the Rebels back into Vicksburg. With the threat from the east neutralized, Grant sealed Vicksburg shut and laid siege to the city. Vicksburg surrendered on July 4, and the Confederacy was severed in two.
1864 – Battle of Resaca commenced as Union General Sherman fought towards Atlanta. The Battle of Resaca was part of the Atlanta Campaign of the American Civil War. The battle was waged in both Gordon and Whitfield counties, Georgia, May 13–15, 1864. It ended inconclusively with the Confederate Army retreating. The engagement was fought between the Military Division of the Mississippi (led by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman) on the side of the Union and the Army of Tennessee (Gen. Joseph E. Johnston) for the Confederates.
1864 – Climaxing two weeks of unceasing effort to save the gunboats and bring to a close the unsuccessful Red River campaign, U.S.S. Louisville, Chillicothe, and Ozark, the last ships of Rear Admiral Porter’s stranded fleet, succeeded in passing over the rapids above Alexandria, Louisiana. By mid-afternoon the gunboats steamed down the river, convoying Army transports; thus ended one of the most dramatic exploits of the war, as Lieutenant Colonel Bailey’s ingenuity and the inexhaustible energy of the men working on the obstructions raised the level of the river enough to save the Mississippi Squadron. Porter later wrote to Secretary Welles: “The water had fallen so low that I had no hope or expectation of getting the vessels out this season, and as the army had made arrangements to evacuate the country I saw nothing before me but the destruction of the best part of the Mississippi squadron. . . .” He rightly praised the work of Colonel Bailey: “Words are inadequate to express the admiration I feel for the abilities of Lieutenant Colonel Bailey. This is without a doubt the best engineering feat ever performed . . . he has saved to the Union a valuable fleet, worth nearly $2,000,000. . . .” Bailey’s services received prompt recognition, for in June he was promoted and he later received the formal thanks of Congress.
1864 – Small sidewheel steamer U.S.S. Ceres, Acting Master Henry H. Foster, with Army steamer Rockland and 100 embarked soldiers in company, conducted a raiding expedition on the Alligator River, North Carolina. They captured Confederate schooner Ann S. Davenport and disabled a mill supplying ground corn for the Southern armies.
1865 – The last battle of the Civil War, fought near the Rio Grande River, ends in a Confederate victory. Soon after, word arrives of the surrender of the Confederate armies in the east and these men give themselves up to Union forces on June 2nd. The Civil War is officially over at the cost of more than 600,000 dead.
1905 – An Executive Order extended the jurisdiction of the Lighthouse Service to the noncontiguous territory of Guam Island.
1928 – Marines participated in the Battle of Coco River in Nicaragua. A Marine-Guardia patrol under Captain Robert S. Hunter collided with an aggressive band of rebels. Apparently neither side was expecting an encounter. While pushing through a ravine, Captain Hunter’s point met a part of the enemy advance guard. Once this small group had been driven off, the Marines again pushed forward; but the rebels had gained time to deploy along the trail. The enemy opened fire with everything he had. Captain Hunter was seriously wounded, and command devolved upon 2d Lieutenant Earl S. Piper. The attackers pulled back before sunset, which enabled the young lieutenant to establish a perimeter defense. After dawn of 14 May, Lieutenant Piper sent a patrol to reconnoiter the positions which the enemy had abandoned. When it encountered no resistance, he concluded correctly that the rebels had divided their force to block the trail in either direction from his defensive perimeter. Concern for his wounded left him no alternative but to try to break through to the south toward La Flor and Quilali. Piper’s route of withdrawal carried him between two hills, Cinco and Ocho; and here the enemy lay in wait. Forty-five minutes of bitter fighting followed. The patrol reached La Flor coffee plantation on 15 May, and established a strong defensive position. All in all, Piper’s men had come through their ordeal in excellent condition. As soon as reinforcements arrived, they would be able to move northward once more; but help was slow in coming. Not until 22 May did a column commanded by Major K. M. Rockey arrive at the plantation.
1939 – The first commercial FM radio station in the United States is launched in Bloomfield, Connecticut. The station later becomes WDRC-FM.
1942 – A helicopter made its 1st cross-country flight.
1943 – US forces now outnumber the Japanese defenders on Attu Island by 4 to 1. However, the Americans are unable to extend their front beyond the landing areas. Bad weather and the terrain hinder progress.
1944 – Forces of the US 5th Army continue to attack. The Polish 2nd Corps suffers heavy losses in unsuccessful attacks against the German 1st Parachute Division holding Cassino. The French Expeditionary Corps, however, captures Castelforte as well as Monte Maio and advance to the Liri River at Sant’Appollinaire. The US 2nd Corps and British 13th Corps make limited advances during the day.
1944 – An American escort destroyer sinks the Japanese submarine I-501 (formerly U-1224) off the Azores. The submarine had been presented to the Japanese by the German Kriegsmarine.
1945 – On Okinawa, fierce fighting continues along the Shuri Line. The US 6th Marine Division suffers heavy losses but completes the capture of Dakeshi Ridge. On the east coast, elements of the US 96th Division penetrate the strip east of the Shuri line and take part of Conical Hill.
1945 – In Czechoslovakia, German forces continue to attempt to evade capture by Soviet forces and seek to surrender to American forces instead. Active resistance ends.
1945 – After more heavy fighting on Mindanao, the Del Monte airfield is captured by units of the US 40th Division. The US 24th Division advances northwards along the Talomo track in the river valley. On Luzon, the force of the US 1st Corps complete the occupation of the Balete Pass, clearing the way into the Cagayan valley. The US 43rd Division, part of US 11th Corps, comes within sight of the Ipoh dam.
1946 – US condemned 58 camp guards of Mauthausen concentration camp to death.
1952 – The Coast Guard announced the establishment of an Organized Reserve Training Program, the first in U.S. Coast Guard history. Morton G. Lessans was sworn in as the first member of the Organized Air Reserve on 12 December 1951.
1952 – Naval Task Force 77 began Operation INSOMNIA – a series of abbreviated night attacks.
1953 – General Clark authorized the mobilization of four more ROK divisions.
1953 – The Air Force’s 58th Fighter-Bomber Wing attacked Toksan Dam in North Korea and destroyed this major irrigation system.
1958 – The trademark Velcro is registered.
1960 – The 1st US launch of the Delta satellite launching vehicle failed.
1965 – President Johnson in a nationally televised address, accuses Communist China of opposing a political solution that could be in the best interests of North Vietnam, because China’s goal is to dominate ‘all of Asia.’
1965 – The US begins a five day suspension of air raids on North Vietnam, claiming, at first, operational reasons, but it is soon clear that the US hopes to give North Vietnam a chance to call for peace negotiations. North Vietnam and China will charge that the United States did not, in fact, stop the raids.
1968 – Peace talks between the U.S. and North Vietnam began in Paris.
1968 – Three additional Air Guard units are mobilized to join the 11 called up in January in response to the growing tensions in Korea and increased operational tempo in Vietnam. None of these three units deployed overseas. However, also mobilized on this date were 34 Army Guard units, including two infantry brigades; the 29th in HI and the 69th in KS/IA. This was the only involuntary call up of Army Guard personnel during the Vietnam War. Eight Army Guard units, composed of about 2,700 Guardsmen, saw combat in Vietnam; they were: 107th Signal Co. (RI), 116th Engineer BN (ID), 126th Service & Supply Co. (IL), 131st Engineer Co. (VT), 2nd Battalion, 138th Artillery (KY), Company D, 151st Infantry, Rangers (IN), 3rd Battalion, 197th Artillery (NH) and the 650th Medical Detachment (AL). In addition, over 4,300 Army Guardsmen mobilized in units which did not deploy, were levied and saw service in Vietnam as individual replacements. The first Army Guard unit to deploy to Vietnam, the 650th Medical Detachment (Dental Service), arrived just three months after being mobilized on this date. Shown is Captain Sidney T. Kellon, DDS, being observed working on a patient by the unit’s commander, Colonel Daniel T. Meadows, DDS. Of the eight Army Guard units deployed to Vietnam, at least six had African American Guard members in their ranks.
1971 – Still deadlocked, the Vietnam peace talks in Paris enter their fourth year. The talks had begun with much fanfare in May 1968, but almost immediately were plagued by procedural questions that impeded any meaningful progress. Even the seating arrangement was disputed: South Vietnamese Premier Nguyen Cao Ky refused to consent to any permanent seating plan that would appear to place the National Liberation Front (NLF) on an equal footing with Saigon. North Vietnam and the NLF likewise balked at any arrangement that would effectively recognize the Saigon as the legitimate government of South Vietnam. After much argument and debate, chief U.S. negotiator W. Averell Harriman proposed an arrangement whereby NLF representatives could join the North Vietnamese team but without having to be acknowledged by Saigon’s delegates; similarly, South Vietnamese negotiators could sit with their American allies without having to be acknowledged by the North Vietnamese and the NLF representatives. Such seemingly insignificant matters became fodder for many arguments between the delegations at the negotiations and nothing meaningful came from this particular round of the ongoing peace negotiations.
1972 – There was a burglary at the Chilean Embassy in Washington DC. Two members of Pres. Nixon’s secret White House team, known as the plumbers, were involved. Nixon later blamed the robbery on White House counsel John Dean.
1972 – Seventeen U.S. helicopters land 1,000 South Vietnamese marines and their six U.S. advisors behind North Vietnamese lines southeast of Quang Tri City in the first South Vietnamese counterattack since the beginning of the communist Nguyen Hue Offensive. The marines reportedly killed more than 300 North Vietnamese before returning to South Vietnamese-controlled territory the next day. Farther to the south, North Vietnamese tanks and troops continued their attacks in the Kontum area. On May 1, North Vietnamese troops had captured Quang Tri City, the first provincial capital taken during their ongoing offensive. The fall of the city effectively gave the North Vietnamese control of the entire province of Quang Tri. Farther south along the coast, three districts of Binh Dinh Province also fell, leaving about one-third of that province under communist control. These attacks were part of the North Vietnamese Nguyen Hue Offensive (later called the “Easter Offensive”), a massive invasion by North Vietnamese forces on March 30 to strike the blow that would win them the war. The attacking force included 14 infantry divisions and 26 separate regiments, with more than 120,000 troops and approximately 1,200 tanks and other armored vehicles. The main North Vietnamese objectives, in addition to Quang Tri in the north and Kontum in the Central Highlands, included An Loc farther to the south. The situation at Quang Tri would not be rectified until President Nguyen Van Thieu relieved the I Corps commander and replaced him with Maj. Gen. Ngo Quang Truong, whom Gen. Bruce Palmer, Jr., later described as “probably the best field commander in South Vietnam.” Truong effectively stopped the ongoing rout of South Vietnamese forces, established a stubborn defense, and eventually launched a successful counterattack against the North Vietnamese, retaking Quang Tri in September.
1979 – Shah and his family was sentenced to death in Teheran.
1986 – CGC Manitou stopped the 125-foot Sun Bird in 7th District waters and her boarding team discovered 40,000 pounds of marijuana hidden aboard. The boarding team then located the vessel’s builder’s plate and learned that the Sun Bird was the decommissioned “buck-and-a-quarter” cutter Crawford. The former cutter and her 14-man crew were taken into custody. A newspaper article describing the incident noted: “If Crawford was a person, Miami would have probably seen it blush . . . The ex-Coast Guard cutter received more publicity for smuggling the drugs than for its 20-year Coast Guard career.”
1987 – President Reagan said his personal diary confirmed that he’d talked with Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd about Saudi help for the Nicaraguan Contras at a time when Congress banned military aid, but Reagan said he did not solicit secret contributions.
1988 – The U.S. Senate voted 83-6 to order the U.S. military to enter the war against illegal drug trafficking, approving a plan to give the Navy the power to stop drug boats on the high seas and make arrests.
1989 – In unusually strong language, President Bush called on the people of Panama and the country’s defense forces to overthrow their military leader, Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega.
1992 – A trio of astronauts from the space shuttle Endeavour captured a wayward Intelsat-6 communications satellite during the first-ever three-person spacewalk.
1996 – Britain’s last Polaris submarine, the HMS Repulse, came home for good. The Polaris subs have been replaced by the US Trident nuclear subs.
2002 – President Bush announced that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin would sign a treaty to shrink their countries’ nuclear arsenals by two-thirds to 1,700-2,200 active warheads at the end of 10 years.
2003 – L. Paul Bremer, the new US administrator in Iraq, reportedly authorized troops to shoot looters on sight. Rumsfeld said muscle would be used to stop looting.
2003 – Algerian army commandos freed 17 European tourists kidnapped in the Sahara Desert by an al-Qaida-linked terror group. 9 captors were killed and 15 hostages remained.
2004 – The SpaceShipOne rocket climbed to 211,400 feet, becoming the 1st privately funded vehicle to reach the edge of space.
2008 – The United States Department of Defense drops charges against Mohammed al Qahtani, who was suspected of being the “20th hijacker” in the September 11, 2001 attacks. New charges will be filed in November.
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