Happy 240th Marine Corps Birthday
1674 – The Dutch formally ceded New Netherlands (NY) to English as provision of the Treaty of Westminster at the End of the Third Anglo-Dutch War.
1702 – English colonists under the command of James Moore besiege Spanish St. Augustine during Queen Anne’s War. The Siege of St. Augustine was an action in Queen Anne’s War during November and December 1702. It was conducted by English provincial forces from the Province of Carolina and their native allies, under the command of Carolina’s governor James Moore, against the Spanish colonial fortress of Castillo de San Marcos at St. Augustine, in Spanish Florida. After destroying coastal Spanish communities north of St. Augustine, Moore’s forces arrived at St. Augustine and immediately began siege operations. The Spanish governor, Joseph de Zúñiga y Zérda, had advance warning of their arrival, and withdrew civilians and food supplies into the fortress, and also sent messengers to nearby Spanish and French communities for relief. The English guns did little damage to the fortress walls, prompting Governor Moore to send an appeal to Jamaica for larger guns. The Spanish calls for relief were successful; a fleet sent from Havana, Cuba landed troops nearby on 29 December. Moore lifted the siege the next day, and was forced to burn many of his boats before retreating to Charles Town in disgrace.
1775 – During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress passes a resolution stating that “two Battalions of Marines be raised” for service as landing forces for the recently formed Continental Navy. The resolution, drafted by future U.S. president John Adams and adopted in Philadelphia, created the Continental Marines and is now observed as the birth date of the United States Marine Corps. Serving on land and at sea, the original U.S. Marines distinguished themselves in a number of important operations during the Revolutionary War. The first Marine landing on a hostile shore occurred when a force of Marines under Captain Samuel Nicholas captured New Province Island in the Bahamas from the British in March 1776. Nicholas was the first commissioned officer in the Continental Marines and is celebrated as the first Marine commandant. After American independence was achieved in 1783, the Continental Navy was demobilized and its Marines disbanded. In the next decade, however, increasing conflict at sea with Revolutionary France led the U.S. Congress to establish formally the U.S. Navy in May 1798. Two months later, on July 11, President John Adams signed the bill establishing the U.S. Marine Corps as a permanent military force under the jurisdiction of the Department of Navy. U.S. Marines saw action in the so-called Quasi-War with France and then fought against the Barbary pirates of North Africa during the first years of the 19th century. Since then, Marines have participated in all the wars of the United States and in most cases were the first soldiers to fight. In all, Marines have executed more than 300 landings on foreign shores. Today, there are more than 200,000 active-duty and reserve Marines, divided into three divisions stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; Camp Pendleton, California; and Okinawa, Japan. Each division has one or more expeditionary units, ready to launch major operations anywhere in the world on two weeks’ notice. Marines expeditionary units are self-sufficient, with their own tanks, artillery, and air forces. The motto of the service is Semper Fidelis, meaning “Always Faithful” in Latin.
1782 – In the last battle of the American Revolution, George Rodgers Clark attacked Indians and Loyalists at Chillicothe, in Ohio Territory.
1808 – In a decision that would eventually make them one of the wealthiest surviving Indian nations, the Osage Indians agree to abandon their lands in Missouri and Arkansas in exchange for a reservation in Oklahoma. The Osage were the largest tribe of the Southern Sioux Indians occupying what would later become the states of Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska. When the first Anglo explorers and settlers moved into this region, they encountered a sophisticated society of Native Americans who lived in more or less permanent villages made of sturdy earthen and log lodges. The Osage-like the related Quapaw, Ponca, Omaha, and Kansa peoples-hunted buffalo and wild game like the Plains Indians, but they also raised crops to supplement their diets. Although the Southern Sioux warred among themselves almost constantly, Americans found it much easier to understand and negotiate with these more sedentary tribes than with the nomadic Northern Sioux. American negotiators convinced the Osage to abandon their traditional lands and peacefully move to a reservation in southern Kansas in 1810. When American settlers began to covet the Osage reservation in Kansas, the tribe agreed to yet another move, relocating to what is now Osage County, Oklahoma, in 1872. Such constant pressure from American settlers to push Native Americans off valuable lands and onto marginal reservations was all too common throughout the history of western settlement. Most Indian tribes were devastated by these relocations, including some of the Southern Sioux tribes like the Kansa, whose population of 1,700 was reduced to only 194 following their disastrous relocation to a 250,000-acre reservation in Kansas. The Osage, though, proved unusually successful in adapting to the demands of living in a world dominated by Anglo-Americans, thanks in part to the fortunate presence of large reserves of oil and gas on their Oklahoma reservation. In concert with their effective management of grazing contracts to Anglos, the Osage amassed enormous wealth during the twentieth century from their oil and gas deposits, eventually becoming the wealthiest tribe in North America.
1827 – Alfred Howe Terry (d.1890), Major General (Union volunteers), was born. Alfred Howe Terry was born in Hartford, Connecticut. After attended Yale Law School in 1848, he withdrew from the Connecticut bar, and served as clerk of the New Haven County Superior Court until the Civil War. When the war began, he joined the Union forces, and commanded the 2d Connecticut at the First Battle of Bull Run. Terry recruited troops for three years, and took part in the capture of Port Royal, South Carolina and Fort Pulaski, Georgia. Promoted to brigadier general on April 26, 1862, he led a corps in the in the operations against Petersburg and Richmond. He was part of the force that tried to capture Fort Fisher, North Carolina. Later placed in command of the effort, he succeeded in capturing the fort and sealing off the Confederacy’s last port on the East Coast, Wilmington. Terry won a Thanks of Congress for this achievement, and was promoted to major general of volunteers, and brigadier general in the Regular Army, as of January 15, 1865. He spent the last section of the war in the Carolinas in the Army of the Ohio, under Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman. After the Civil War, Terry led a department in the West and fought Native Americans. After serving on the military board that reexamined the Fitz John Porter casein 1878, he was promoted to major general in the Regular Army in 1886; one of the few people to obtain that rank in the volunteers and the Regulars without having attended West Point. Terry died on December 16, 1890, in New Haven, Connecticut.
1865 – Henry Wirz, a Swiss immigrant and the commander of Andersonville prison in Georgia, is hanged for the murder of soldiers incarcerated at his prison. Wirz was born in Switzerland in 1823 and immigrated to the United States in 1849. He lived in several Southern locations, mostly in Louisiana, and studied medicine. Eventually, he became a physician to slaves. When the war broke out, he joined the Fourth Louisiana Battalion. After the First Battle of Bull Run, Wirz guarded prisoners in Richmond and was noticed by Inspector General John Winder. Winder had Wirz transferred to his department, and Wirz spent the rest of the war working with prisoners of war. He commanded a prison in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; escorted prisoners around the Confederacy; handled exchanges with the Union; and was wounded in a stagecoach accident. After returning to duty, he traveled to Europe and likely delivered messages to Confederate envoys. When Wirz arrived back in the Confederacy in early 1864 he was assigned the responsibility for Andersonville prison. While both sides incarcerated prisoners under horrible conditions, Andersonville deserves special mention for the inhumane circumstances under which its inmates were kept. A stockade held thousands of men inside a barren and polluted patch of ground. Barracks were planned but never built; the men slept in makeshift housing, called “shebangs,” constructed from scrap wood and blankets that offered little protection from the elements. A small stream flowed through the compound and provided water for the Union soldiers, but this became a cesspool of disease and human waste. Erosion caused by the prisoners turned the stream into a huge swamp. The prison was designed to hold 10,000 men but the Confederates had packed it with more than 31,000 inmates by August 1864. Wirz oversaw an operation in which nearly a third of its 46,000 inmates died. Partly a victim of circumstance, Wirz was given few resources with which to work, and the Union ceased prisoner exchanges in 1864. As the Confederacy began to dissolve, food and medicine for prisoners were difficult to obtain. When word about Andersonville leaked out, Northerners were understandably horrified. Poet Walt Whitman saw some of the survivors of the camp and wrote, “There are deeds, crimes that may be forgiven, but this is not among them.” Wirz was charged with conspiracy to injure the health and lives of Union soldiers and murder. His trial began on August 23, 1865, and ran for two months. During the trial, 160 witnesses were called to testify. Though Wirz did demonstrate indifference towards Andersonville’s prisoners, he was, in part, a scapegoat–some evidence against him was fabricated entirely. On the scaffold, Wirz said to the officer in charge, “I know what orders are, Major. I am being hanged for obeying them.” He was found guilty on October 24 and sentenced to die on November 10. Wirz was the only person executed for crimes committed during the war.
1879 – Little Bighorn participant Major Marcus Reno was caught window-peeping at the daughter of his commanding officer–an offense for which he would be court-martialed.
1898 – A race riot in Wilmington, NC, left 8 blacks killed. The Wilmington race riot claimed the lives of over 20 African-Americans. In the days preceding the election of 1898 Waddell, a former Confederate officer and U.S. Congressman, called for the removal of the Republicans and Populists then in power in Wilmington and proposed in a speech at Thalian Hall that the white citizens, if necessary, “choke the Cape Fear with carcasses.” What had particularly incensed Waddell and others was the publication in August of an editorial in the Wilmington Daily Record, a local black-owned newspaper. Alex Manly, the editor, charged that, “poor white men are careless in the matter of protecting their women,” and that, “our experience among poor white people in the country teaches us that women of that race are not any more particular in the matter of clandestine meetings with colored men than the white men with the colored women.” The sexually charged editorial, reprinted across the state, provided Democrats with an issue to inflame racial tensions as election day approached. Yet the day passed without notable incident. At 8:00 A.M. two days later about 500 white men assembled at the armory of the Wilmington Light Infantry and, after several others declined, Waddell took on the task of leading them to the Daily Record office in Free Love Hall four blocks south on Seventh Street between Nun and Church Streets. The crowd swelled to perhaps 2,000 as they moved across town. Manly, in the meantime, had fled the city, as had numerous other African Americans in expectation of violence. The mob broke into the building, a fire broke out, and the top floor of the building was consumed. The crowd posed for a photograph in front of the burned-out frame. Dr. Silas P. Wright, the white Republican mayor, resigned under pressure as did members of the city council and other officers, both black and white. Waddell then took office as mayor. The revolt had the support of many of the most powerful men in the city, among them William Rand Kenan and Hugh McRae. George Roundtree, an attorney and advisor to the coup leaders, in 1899 served as chairman of the state legislative committee on constitutional reform that drafted and sponsored the so-called “Grandfather Clause,” providing that the male citizens could vote if they could read and write or if their grandfather voted, thereby denying most African Americans the right to vote.
1910 – The date of Thomas A. Davis’ opening of the San Diego Army and Navy Academy, though the official founding date is November 23, 1910.
1915 – Great fire at Bethlehem Steel Co., German incendiaries suspected. Many guns destroyed.
1918 – French and Americans cross Meuse, capture Hirson, and advance towards Montmedy; surround Mezieres.
1918 – Retired German Kaiser Wilhelm II fled to the Netherlands.
1918 – The Western Union Cable Office in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, receives a top-secret coded message from Europe (that would be sent to Ottawa and Washington, D.C.) that said on November 11, 1918, all fighting would cease on land, sea and in the air.
1919 – The American Legion held its first national convention, in Minneapolis.
1928 – Hirohito was enthroned as Emperor of Japan. Two years after the death of his father, Michinomiya Hirohito is enthroned as the 124th Japanese monarch in an imperial line dating back to 660 B.C. Emperor Hirohito presided over one of the most turbulent eras in his nation’s history. From rapid military expansion beginning in 1931 to the crushing defeat of Japan by Allied forces in 1945, Hirohito ruled the Japanese people as an absolute monarch whose powers were nevertheless sharply limited in practice. After U.S. atomic bombs destroyed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was Hirohito who argued for his country’s surrender, explaining to the Japanese people in his first-ever radio address that the “unendurable must be endured.” Under U.S. occupation and postwar reconstruction, Hirohito was formally stripped of his powers and forced to renounce his alleged divinity, but he remained his country’s official figurehead until his death in 1989. He was the longest-reigning monarch in Japanese history.
1939 – The US consulate advises Americans to leave the Netherlands.1941 – Churchill promised to join the U.S. “within the hour” in the event of war with Japan.
1941 – U.S. escorted convoy WS 12, carrying 20,000 British troops to Singapore, sails from Halifax.
1942 – German troops occupy Vichy France, which had previously been free of an Axis military presence. Since July 1940, upon being invaded and defeated by Nazi German forces, the autonomous French state had been split into two regions. One was occupied by German troops, and the other was unoccupied, governed by a more or less puppet regime centered in Vichy, a spa region about 200 miles southeast of Paris, and led by Gen. Philippe Petain, a World War I hero. Publicly, Petain declared that Germany and France had a common goal, “the defeat of England.” Privately, the French general hoped that by playing mediator between the Axis power and his fellow countrymen, he could keep German troops out of Vichy France while surreptitiously aiding the antifascist Resistance movement. Petain’s compromises became irrelevant within two years. When Allied forces arrived in North Africa to team up with the Free French Forces to beat back the Axis occupiers, and French naval crews, emboldened by the Allied initiative, scuttled the French fleet off Toulon, in southeastern France, to keep it from being used by those same Axis powers, Hitler retaliated. In violation of the 1940 armistice agreement, German troops moved into southeastern-Vichy–France. From that point forward, Petain became virtually useless, and France merely a future gateway for the Allied counteroffensive in Western Europe, namely, D-Day.
1942 – Oran falls to the American attack. In the east, troops under General Patton begin to move into the town. Admiral Darlan, takes up the Allied cause and broadcasts orders for all the French forces to cease fighting and join the Allies. A similar appeal is sent to the powerful French Fleet at Toulon.
1942 – On Guadalcanal, the Japanese forces around Koli Point are dispersed by the American attacks. American attacks to the west are renewed.
1944 – On Leyte, heavy fighting is reported near Carigara. Elements of the US 24th Division (part of US 10th Corps) are amphibiously transported west along the north coast from Carigara toward Belen.
1944 – Forces of US 3rd Army continue to advance beyond the Moselle River to the south of Thionville and farther south beyond Metz.
1944 – The ammunition ship USS Mount Hood explodes at Seeadler Harbour, Manus, Admiralty Islands, killing at least 432 and wounding 371.
1951 – Direct-dial, coast-to-coast telephone service began as Mayor M. Leslie Denning of Englewood, N.J., called his counterpart in Alameda, Calif.
1951 – At Panmunjom, the U.N. Command proposed that the demarcation line should be that of the line of contact at the time of the signing of the armistice.
1951 – With the rollout of the North American Numbering Plan, direct-dial coast-to-coast telephone service begins in the United States.
1952 – General James A. Van Fleet retired. General Maxwell D. Taylor assumed command of Eighth Army. On the same day, Eighth Army announced the mobilization of two new ROK divisions.
1954 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower dedicates the USMC War Memorial (Iwo Jima memorial) in Arlington National Cemetery.
1954 – Lt. Col. John Strapp traveled 632 MPH in a rocket sled.
1964 – At a news conference, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara says that the United States has no plans to send combat troops into Vietnam. When asked whether the United States intended to increase its activities in Vietnam, he replied, “Wait and see.” By 1969, more than 500,000 American troops were in South Vietnam.
1970 – For the first time in five years, no U.S. combat fatalities in Southeast Asia are reported for the previous week. This was a direct result of President Richard Nixon’s Vietnamization program, whereby the responsibility for the war was slowly shifted from U.S. combat forces to the South Vietnamese. This effort began in 1969 and was accompanied by U.S. troop withdrawals that began in the fall of that year. Although American casualties were down, U.S. forces were still involved in significant combat operations at this time.
1971 – Communist forces bombard the airport at the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, killing 25 persons and wounding 30. This attack was another chapter in the Communist Khmer Rouge war against the government troops of Prime Minister Lon Nol. Nine airplanes were damaged in the attack. At the same time, another Khmer Rouge unit attacked a government radio transmission facility nine miles to the northwest of the city, leaving 19 Cambodians dead. This assault left Phnom Penh without access to international communications networks for several hours.
1972 – Three black men successfully hijack a DC-9 from Birmingham to Cuba with $10 million and 10 parachutes. They are still fugitives. The copilot is wounded. Two are sentenced in Cuba to 20 years, one to 15 years. They threaten to crash the plane into the Oak Ridge nuclear installation. At McCoy Air Force Base, Orlando, the FBI shoots out the tires. The plane finally lands on a foam-covered runway in Havana.
1975 – PLO leader Yasser Arafat addressed the UN in NYC.
1982 – The newly finished Vietnam Veterans Memorial was opened to its first visitors in Washington, D.C.
1982 – After 18 years as general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, Leonid Brezhnev dies. His death signaled the end of a period of Soviet history marked by both stability and stagnation. Brezhnev came to power in 1964 when, along with Alexei Kosygin, he was successful in pushing Nikita Khrushchev out of office. For the next 18 years, he brought a degree of stability to Soviet politics unknown since the Stalinist period. However, his time in office was also marked by forceful repression of political opponents and dissidents, a massive military buildup that bankrupted the Russian economy, and a foreign policy that seemed confusing at best. During Brezhnev’s reign political repression took on more and more ominous overtones. Dissidents such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Andrei Sakharov were harassed and sometimes sentenced to internal exile. His program to bring the Soviet military to parity with the United States drove the Russian economy to the breaking point; by the late 1970s economic growth was almost at a standstill. His foreign policy was often confusing for U.S. officials. On the one hand, he seemed to approve of the idea of “peaceful coexistence,” pushed for control of nuclear weapons, and helped the United States in its negotiations with North Vietnam. On the other, he unleashed Soviet forces against Czechoslovakia in 1968, became involved with revolts in Ethiopia and Angola in the 1970s, reacted in a threatening manner during the Arab-Israeli conflict of 1973, and ordered the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. By the end of his rule, discussions about nuclear arms control had almost completely lapsed. Upon his death in November 1982, Yuri Andropov took control of the Soviet Union.
1983 – Bill Gates introduces Windows 1.0.
1986 – President Ronald Reagan refused to reveal details of the Iran arms sale. 1989 – Workers began punching a hole in the Berlin Wall, a day after East Germany abolished its border restrictions.
1990 – Secretary of State James A. Baker the Third returned to Washington, claiming success in his weeklong diplomatic tour aimed at shoring up the anti-Iraq coalition.
1994 – Officials said the United States would lift the arms embargo against the Bosnian government, despite opposition of the U.N. Security Council.
1994 – Iraq, hoping to win an end to trade sanctions, recognized the independence and boundaries of Kuwait.
1995 – Dario Kordic, ex-chairman of the Croatian Party in Bosnia, and Gen’l. Tihomir Blaskic, former leader of the Bosnian Croat militia, were indicted for genocide by the UN War Crimes Tribunal for commanding forces responsible that killed hundreds of Muslims in Central Bosnia in 1992-93.
1997 – A jury in Fairfax, Va., convicted Mir Aimal Kasi of one count of capital murder, one count of first-degree murder and eight additional charges stemming from a shooting attack outside CIA headquarters in January 1993.
1997 – The U-2 surveillance flights over Iraq were resumed by the UN. The plane flew out of range of Iraqi gunners.
1998 – The US military moved warships into the Persian Gulf in anticipation of a possible attack on Iraq over cancellation of weapons inspections.
1999 – President Clinton decided to delay and shorten a trip to Greece in reaction to growing security concerns and the prospect of violent anti-American demonstrations.
2000 – The battle over Florida’s disputed presidential election continued, with George W. Bush’s camp pressing Al Gore to concede without pursuing multiple recounts, and Democrats pressing ahead with protests, determined to find enough votes to erase Bush’s razor-thin lead in initial counting. An unofficial tally gave Bush a 327-vote lead.
2001 – Pres. Bush made his 1st address to the UN. He warned that all nations were possible targets of terrorism and urged them to join with the United States in a campaign to prevent more attacks. Bush also met with Gen. Musharraf of Pakistan and pledged to boost aid there.
2001 – Traces of anthrax were reported in offices of the Hart and Longworth government buildings in Washington DC.
2001 – Northern Alliance forces swept through five northern provinces, Shibarghan, Meimanah, Aybal, Taloqan, and Kunduz, in a rapid advance. The fall of Mazari Sharif had triggered a complete collapse of Taliban positions. Many local commanders switched sides rather than fight. The regime was beginning to unravel at the seams throughout the north. Many of their front line troops were outflanked and then surrounded in the northern city of Kunduz as the Northern Alliance drove past them southwards. Even in the south, their hold on power seemed tenuous at best. The religious police stopped their regular patrols. A complete implosion of the Taliban regime seemed imminent.
2002 – Bush administration officials promised “zero-tolerance” if Saddam Hussein refused to comply with international calls to disarm.
2002 – U.S. warplanes flying from an aircraft carrier in the Gulf struck missile sites in southern Iraq in response to hostile acts.
2003 – The US State Dept. distanced itself from a congressional push to capture toppled Liberian leader Charles Taylor in Nigeria via a $2 million reward.
2003 – In Burundi Hutu rebels bombarded the capital with rockets, killing 5 people, destroying part of the Chinese Embassy and striking the home of a U.S. military attache.
2003 – A top Iranian official said that his country had suspended its enrichment of uranium and sent a letter to the IAEA accepting additional inspections of its nuclear facilities.
2006 – The National Museum of the Marine Corps is opened and dedicated by U.S. President George W. Bush and announces that Marine Corporal Jason Dunham will receive the Medal of Honor in Quantico, Virginia.
2006 – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft records a hurricane-like storm on the south pole of Saturn which is the first time such an event has been observed on another planet.
2008 – Over five months after landing on Mars, NASA declares the Phoenix mission concluded after communications with the lander were lost.
2011 – Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs of the United States Army is convicted of murder in relation to the 2010 Maywand District killings in Afghanistan.