1691 – Jacob Leisler, American colonist, was hanged for treason. He was a soldier, born in Frankfort on the Main, Germany. He came to this country in 1660 as a soldier in the service of the Dutch West India company. Leaving the army soon after his arrival, he engaged in the Indian trade, and became a comparatively wealthy man. While on a voyage to Europe in 1678 he was captured by Moorish pirates, and was compelled to pay a ransom of 2,050 pieces of eight to obtain his freedom. Previous to this voyage he was a resident of Albany, where he was a magistrate, and had incurred the displeasure of Sir Edmund Andros, the governor, by the arbitrary and high-handed measures that he and his associates had adopted to prevent the spread of popery, the political bugbear of the day. Leisler had also endeared himself to the common people by befriending a family of French Huguenots that had been landed on Manhattan island so destitute that a public tribunal had decided they should be sold into slavery in order to pay their ship-charges. Leisler prevented the sale by purchasing the freedom of the widowed mother and son before it could be held. Under Dongan’s administration in 1683 he was appointed one of the judges, or “commissioners,” of the court of admiralty in New York. In 1688 Governor Dongan was succeeded by Lieutenant-Governor Francis Nicholson. In 1689 the military force of the city of New York consisted of a regiment of five companies, of one of which Leisler was captain. He was popular with the men, and probably the only wealthy resident in the province that sympathized with the Dutch lower classes. At that time much excitement prevailed among the latter, owing to the attempts of the Jacobite office holders to retain power in spite of the revolution in England and the accession of William and Mary to the throne. On a report that the adherents of King James were about to seize the fort and massacre their Dutch fellow citizens, an armed mob gathered on the evening of 2 June, 1689, to overthrow the existing government. The cry of “Leisler” was raised, and the crowd rushed to his house. At first he refused to lead the movement, but when the demand was reiterated by the men of his regiment he acceded, and within an hour received the keys of the fort, which had meanwhile been seized. Fortunately for the revolutionists, the fort contained all the public funds, whose return the lieutenant-governor in vain demanded. Four hundred of the new party signed an agreement to hold the fort ” for the present Protestant power that reigns in England,” while a committee of safety of ten of the city freeholders assumed the powers of a provisional government, of which they declared Jacob Leisler to be the head and commissioned him as “captain of the fort.” In this capacity he at once began to repair that work, and strengthened it with a “battery” of six guns beyond its walls, which was the origin of the public park that is still known as the Battery. Nicholson and the council of the province, with the authorities of the city, headed by Stephanus van Cortlandt, the mayor, attempted by pacific means to prevent the uprising, but without effect. Finally, becoming alarmed for their own safety, the lieutenant-governor sailed for England, and the mayor, with the other officials, retired to Albany. To the latter city, where the Jacobite office holders still held control, Leisler sent his son-in-law, Milbourne, in November, with an armed force to assist in its defence against the Indians, but he was directed to withhold it unless Leisler’s authority was recognized. This was refused, and Milbourne returned unsuccessful. In December a despatch arrived from William and Mary directed “to Francis Nicholson, Esq., or in his absence to such as for the time being takes care for preserving the peace and administering the laws in his majesty’s province of New York.” This Leisler construed as an appointment of himself as the king’s lieutenant-governor. He therefore dissolved the committee of safety, swore in a council, and assumed the style of a royal lieutenant-governor and commander-in-chief. In the spring of 1690, Albany, terrified by an Indian invasion, and rent by domestic factions, yielded to Milbourne. Amid distress and confusion a house of representatives was convened, and the government was constituted by the popular act. After the massacre at Schenectady in February, 1690, Leisler engaged with great vigor in the expeditions against the French, and equipped and despatched against Quebec the first fleet of men-of-war that had been sent from the port of New York. In January, 1691, Major Ingoldesby arrived with the news of Henry Sloughter’s appointment as governor, and demanded possession of the fort, which Leisler refused. On Sloughter’s own demand immediately upon his arrival in the following March, he likewise refused to surrender it until he was convinced of Sloughter’s identity and the latter had sworn in his council. As soon as the latter event occurred, he wrote the governor a letter resigning his command. Sloughter replied by arresting him and nine of his friends. The latter were subsequently released after trial, but Leisler was imprisoned, charged with treason and murder, and shortly afterward tried and condemned to death.
1745 – A force numbering about 4,200 men, all of them drawn from New England militia regiments, under the command of General William Pepperrell of Maine, opens a brisk artillery bombardment against the French fortress of Louisbourg. In a siege operation that would last 47 days before the garrison surrenders, the colonial soldiers maintain a disciplined investment of the walled city and harbor. Built in the 1720s by the French to protect the entrance to the St. Lawrence River and French Canada it was the largest fort anywhere in North America. England and France had gone to war in 1741 and French privateers used Louisbourg’s protected harbor as a base from which to prey on British and colonial fishing and merchant fleets. When colonial authorities asked England for Royal Navy assistance to stop the attacks no help was forthcoming. So the colonial governments decided to launch their own expedition to take Louisbourg and stop the raids. Militiamen from Massachusetts (which also included the present day state of Maine), Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire were gathered for the campaign. They were transported on 19 colonial ships, protected by 13 armed merchant ships. After the capitulation the militia garrisoned the fort until war’s end. Rightfully proud of their achievement the colonies were dismayed to learn that the fortress was returned to France in the peace treaty ending the war. In the next war (the French and Indian War, 1755-1763) it had to be recaptured, this time by regular British troops and ships.
1771 – The Battle of Alamance, a pre-American Revolutionary War battle between local militia and a group of rebels called The “Regulators”, occurs in present-day Alamance County, North Carolina. The Battle of Alamance was the final battle of the War of the Regulation, a rebellion in colonial North Carolina over issues of taxation and local control. In the past, historians considered the battle to be the opening salvo of the American Revolution and locals agreed with this assessment. However, modern historians reject this, since there does not seem to have been any intent to rebel against the king or crown, merely to protest taxation and corrupt local government. Named for nearby Great Alamance Creek, the battle took place in what was then Orange County and has since become Alamance County in the central Piedmont about six miles south of present-day Burlington, North Carolina.
1820 – Congress becomes first U.S. warship to visit China.
1824 – Edmund Kirby-Smith, educator and soldier, was born. He was a Confederate general in the western theater.
1843 – The first major wagon train heading for the Pacific Northwest sets out on the Oregon Trail with one thousand pioneers from Elm Grove, Missouri.
1846 – Eleven cutters were assigned to cooperate with Army and Navy in the Mexican War. USRCs McLane, Legare, Woodbury, Ewing, Forward, and Van Buren were assigned to the Army. USRCs Wolcott, Bibb, Morris, and Polk were assigned to the Navy.
1861 – Confederate government offered war volunteers a $10 premium.
1861 – Commander John Rodgers ordered to report to the War Department to establish naval forces on the western rivers under the command of General John C. Fremont. The importance of controlling the Mississippi and its tributaries which pierced the interior in every direction was recognized immediately by the U.S. Government. This control was not only militarily strategic but was a vital factor in keep¬ing the northwestern states in the Union. Under Rodgers, three river steamers were purchased at Cin¬cinnati. Rodgers, overcoming no little difficulty in obtaining and training crews, getting guns and other equipment, converted the steamers to gunboats Tyler, Lexington, and Conestoga. These three gun¬boats, as stated by Alfred Thayer Mahan, were of inestimable service in keeping alive the attachment to the Union where it existed.”
1861 – Kentucky proclaimed its neutrality.
1861 – Tennessee officially admitted to the Confederacy.
1863 – The Union army seals the fate of Vicksburg by defeating the Confederates at the Battle of Champion’s Hill. General Ulysses S. Grant had successfully run the Confederate gauntlet at Vicksburg and placed the Army of the Tennessee south of the stronghold, the Rebels’ last significant holding on the Mississippi River. But he did not move directly on Vicksburg because he knew Joseph Johnston was assembling a Confederate force in Jackson, 40 miles east of Vicksburg. Instead, Grant advanced toward Jackson and prevented Johnston from uniting with the Vicksburg garrison, headed by John C. Pemberton. After boldly attacking and defeating the Confederates at Jackson, Grant left William T. Sherman’s corps to hold Johnston at bay. The Confederates were divided not only by Grant’s army, but also by conflicting strategy. Johnston wanted Pemberton to head into northern Mississippi to join forces with his own army. But Pemberton insisted on sticking close to Vicksburg and defending the city. Grant sent his other two corps, commanded by James McPherson and John McClernand, to take on Pemberton. They found the Confederates on Champion’s Hill, about halfway between Jackson and Vicksburg. There, some 30,000 Union troops attacked 20,000 Confederates. The battle swayed back and forth, but the Federals eventually gained the upper hand. Pemberton’s men were forced to retreat, and one division was completely cut off from the rest of the army. Although McClernand’s timidity kept the rout from being complete, the engagement was still the decisive action of the Vicksburg campaign. Pemberton fell back into Vicksburg, where Grant followed and soon bottled the Confederates. A six-week siege ensued, and Vicksburg fell on July 4.
1864 – In the Atlanta Campaign, the battle of Resaca, begun May 13, ended.
1864 – Having crossed the rapids of the Red River at Alexandria, Rear Admiral Porter next had to traverse the many bars in the River near its mouth. The Admiral found that the water was higher there than had been anticipated and reported to Secretary Welles: “Providentially we had a rise from the backwater of the Mississippi, that river being very high at that time, the back-water extending to Alexandria, 150 miles distant, enabling us to pass all the bars and obstruc-tions with safety.” After battling low water, rapids, and the harassing forces of General Taylor for two months along the Red River, Porter and his gunboats again entered the Mississippi.
1868 – The U.S. Senate failed by one vote, cast by Edmund G. Ross, to convict President Andrew Johnson as it took its first ballot on one of 11 articles of impeachment against him. Johnson, who came to office on Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in April 1865, was an honest but tactless man who made many enemies in the Radical Republican Congress. In response to Johnson’s recurrent interference with Radical Reconstruction, the U.S. House of Representatives drew up 11 articles of impeachment against the chief executive in March 1868. Although the charges against him were weak, Johnson was tried by the Senate as the Constitution provides.
1899 – One month after the Spanish-American War began in April 1898, an expeditionary force sailed from San Francisco to capture the Spanish colonial capital of Manila, on Luzon Island, Philippines. Because most of the Regular Army was fighting in Cuba and Puerto Rico, three-quarters of this force was composed of state volunteer units, mostly from mid-western and western states. The Spanish surrendered by August and an uneasy peace settled in. The Filipinos wanted independence and when the American government announced it was annexing the islands as a colony, the local people rose up in revolt in February 1899. By spring the American Army, still composed mostly of state units, was on the offensive cleaning out insurgent strongholds north of Manila. During this period a long-time American resident named Henry Young offered his services as a guide to the Army. He organized 25 men into a highly-mobile reconnaissance force called “Young’s Scouts” to patrol ahead of the advance. Most of the men in this unit were volunteers from the 1st North Dakota and 2nd Oregon Volunteer infantry regiments. On May 13th, a patrol of 11 Scouts plus Young charged and routed about 300 insurgents. Young was killed in this attack. Three days later (this date) 22 Scouts rushed across a bridge being set ablaze by enemy soldiers. The Guardsmen, while under a heavy fire from about 600 Filipinos across the river, succeeded in routing the insurgents and saving the bridge from burning. They continued to hold off several assaults to recapture the bridge until relieved by the 2nd Oregon. A total of 15 Medals of Honor were awarded to Guardsmen during the Philippine Insurrection. For their heroic actions in these two events ten Guardsmen of “Young’s Scouts” received the Medal, seven from North Dakota and three from Oregon.
1918 – The Sedition Act of 1918 is passed by the U.S. Congress, making criticism of the government during wartime an imprisonable offense. It will be repealed less than two years later.
1919 – A naval Curtiss aircraft NC-4 commanded by Albert Cushing Read leaves Trepassey, Newfoundland, for Lisbon via the Azores on the first transatlantic flight.
1927 – Marines participated in the Battle of La Paz Centro in Nicaragua.
1940 – Roosevelt asks Congress to authorize the production of 50,000 military planes per year and for a $900,000,000 extraordinary credit to finance this massive operation.
1943 – On Attu, the Japanese are forced to pull back as the Americans continue their attacks near Holtz Bay.
1944 – Most Allied forces of the US 5th Army meet reduced resistance to their ongoing offensive. Only the Polish 2nd Corps, at Cassino, continues to have difficulty. The British 13th Corps and the Canadian 1st Corps, in the Liri Valley, are advancing toward Pontecorvo and Piumarola. The US 2nd Corps advances along the western coast. The French Expeditionary Corps capture Monte Petrella and advance toward Monte Revole.
1944 – American forces move from Hollandia toward Wadke Island.
1945 – The Nazi submarine U-234 surrendered to US forces at Portsmouth, NH. It had been bound for Tokyo with 10 containers of uranium oxide. The atomic material ended up in the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
1945 – On Okinawa, the US 6th Marine Division (part of US 3rd Amphibious Corps) reports heavy casualties in continuing attacks on Sugar Loaf Hill. Japanese antitank guns knock out a number of American tanks supporting an advance, by US 1st Marine Division, along the valley of the Wana River. Attacks by the US 77th Division to the north of Shuri continue to be unsuccessful. The US 96th Division reaches the edge of the village of Yonabaru. Love Hill, to the west of Conical Hill, continues to be held by Japanese forces.
1945 – On Luzon, the US 152nd Division, part of US 11th Corps, attacks Woodpecker Ridge with heavy artillery support and entrenches on the summit. The capture of the Bicol peninsula by forces of the US 14th Corps is declared to be completed. On Mindanao, Japanese forces hold the American advance along the Talomo River.
1951 – Chinese Communist Forces launched a second step, fifth-phase offensive [in Korea] and gained up to 20 miles of territory.
1953 – American journalist William N. Oatis is released after serving 22 months of a ten-year prison sentence for espionage in Czechoslovakia.
1955 – The US signs an agreement with Cambodia to supply direct military aid.
1960 – In the wake of the Soviet downing of an American U-2 spy plane on May 1, Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev lashes out at the United States and President Dwight D. Eisenhower at a Paris summit meeting between the two heads of state. Khrushchev’s outburst angered Eisenhower and doomed any chances for successful talks or negotiations at the summit. On May 1, 1960, the Soviets shot down a CIA spy plane and captured the pilot, Gary Francis Powers. The United States issued public denials that the aircraft was being used for espionage, claiming instead that it was merely a weather plane that had veered off course. The Soviets thereupon triumphantly produced Powers, large pieces of wreckage from the plane, and Powers’ admission that he was working for the CIA. The incident was a public relations fiasco for Eisenhower, who was forced to admit that the plane had indeed been spying on Russia. Tensions from the incident were still high when Eisenhower and Khrushchev arrived in Paris to begin a summit meeting on May 16. Khrushchev wasted no time in tearing into the United States, declaring that Eisenhower would not be welcome in Russia during his scheduled visit to the Soviet Union in June. He condemned the “inadmissible, provocative actions” of the United States in sending the spy plane over the Soviet Union, and demanded that Eisenhower ban future flights and punish those responsible for this “deliberate violation of the Soviet Union.” When Eisenhower agreed only to a “suspension” of the spy plane flights, Khrushchev left the meeting in a huff. According to U.S. officials, the president was “furious” at Khrushchev for his public dressing-down of the United States. The summit meeting officially adjourned the next day with no further meetings between Khrushchev and Eisenhower. Eisenhower’s planned trip to Moscow in June was scrapped. The collapse of the May 1960 summit meeting was a crushing blow to those in the Soviet Union and the United States who believed that a period of “peaceful coexistence” between the two superpowers was on the horizon. During the previous few years, both Eisenhower and Khrushchev had publicly indicated their desire for an easing of Cold War tensions, but the spy plane incident put an end to such talk, at least for the time being.
1963 – After 22 Earth orbits Gordon Cooper returned to Earth in Friendship Seven, ending Project Mercury.
1964 – Governor Nelson Rockefeller accepts President Johnson’s offer to brief all Republican candidates for the presidency; afterwards, he agrees with a questioner that Americans are not getting the full story of the situation. Senator Barry Goldwater openly charges that US pilots have died because of obsolescent planes.
1965 – First US gunfire support in Vietnam by USS Tucker.
1965 – What is described by the United States government as “an accidental explosion of a bomb on one aircraft which spread to others” at the Bien Hoa air base leaves 27 U.S. servicemen and 4 South Vietnamese dead and some 95 Americans injured. More than 40 U.S. and South Vietnamese planes, including 10 B-57s, were destroyed.
1969 – 23rd Infantry and 101st Airborne Divisions conduct Operation Lamar Plain southwest of Tamky in Quangtin Province through 13 August.
1972 – A series of air strikes over five days destroys all of North Vietnam’s pumping stations in the southern panhandle, thereby cutting North Vietnam’s main fuel line to South Vietnam. These strikes were part of Operation Linebacker, an air offensive against North Vietnam that had been ordered by President Richard Nixon in early April in response to a massive communist offensive launched on March 30.
1975 – Congress appropriates $05 million to fund a refugee aid program and authorizes resettlement of South Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees in the US. Over 140,000 refugees are flown to the United States under the program in the next few months.
1991 – Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom addresses a joint session of the United States Congress. She is the first British monarch to address the U.S. Congress.
1992 – The space shuttle Endeavour completed its maiden voyage with a safe landing in the California desert.
1996 – US Navy Admiral Jeremy “Mike” Boorda (57), the nation’s top Navy officer, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after some of his military awards were called into question.
1996 – UN and Iraqi officials reached a tentative agreement to resume oil sales of $4 billion a year to buy food and medicine. The oil for food program mandated that 13% of the UN resources go to northern Kurdish areas. In 2004 it was reported that illicit trade agreements with neighbors netted Iraq nearly $11 billion between 1990 and 2003. In 2004 the estimate for illicit trade was raised to $21.3 billion.
1997 – The space shuttle Atlantis docked with Russia’s Mir station.
1999 – NATO admitted to some 100 casualties from its air strikes but cited executions by Serb forces of at least 4,600 ethnic Albanians.
2001 – Former FBI agent Robert Hanssen was indicted on charges of spying for Moscow. Hanssen later pleaded guilty to 15 counts of espionage and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
2003 – US Special Envoy to Iraq and head of the Coalition Provisional Authority orders De-Baathification, banning ranking members of Hussein’s Baath Party from public service.
2006 – The United States releases a list of 759 former and current inmates of the Guantánamo Bay prison camp in Cuba after a Freedom of Information Act action was filed by the Associated Press.
2007 – A flare dropped from a New Jersey National Guard F-16 Fighting Falcon is believed to be the cause of a wildfire that has burned 20 square miles (52 km2) at the edge of Pinelands National Reserve, New Jersey, burning three homes and causing the evacuation of 2,500 other homes.
2011 – STS-134 (ISS assembly flight ULF6), launched from the Kennedy Space Center on the 25th and final flight for Space Shuttle Endeavour.
2011 – Due to massive flooding along the river, the United States Coast Guard closes 15 miles of the Mississippi River near Natchez, Mississippi.
2011 – The USS Stephen W. Groves exchanged fire with Jih Chun Tsai 68, a known pirate mothership. When a boarding team arrived, they found 3 pirates dead and captured 2 pirates.
2012 – The trial of former Bosnian Serb Army Colonel General Ratko Mladić starts in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands.
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