1626 – The Pilgrim Fathers, who settled in New Plymouth, bought out their London investors.
1763 – Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon began surveying Mason-Dixon Line between Pennsylvania and Maryland.
1777 – After 16 months of debate, the Continental Congress, sitting in its temporary capital of York, Pennsylvania, agrees to adopt the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. In 1781, with the Revolutionary War still raging, the last of the 13 states ratified the agreement. In 1777, Patriot leaders, stinging from British oppression, were reluctant to establish any form of government that might infringe on the right of individual states to govern their own affairs. The Articles of Confederation provided for only a loose federation of American states. Congress was a single house, with each state having one vote, and a president would be elected to chair the assembly. Although Congress did not have the right to levy taxes, it did have authority over foreign affairs and could regulate a national army and declare war and peace. Amendments to the Articles required approval from all 13 states. On March 2, 1781, following final ratification by the 13th state, the Articles of Confederation became the law of the land. By 1786, defects in the Articles were apparent, such as the lack of central authority over foreign and domestic commerce, and the United States was in danger of breaking apart. In 1787, Congress endorsed a plan to draft a new constitution that would establish a more centralized and effective government. On March 4, 1789, the modern United States was established when the U.S. Constitution formally replaced the Articles of Confederation.
1805 – Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and their party reached the mouth of the Columbia River, completing their trek to the Pacific.
1806 – Approaching the Colorado foothills of the Rocky Mountains during his second exploratory expedition, Lieutenant Zebulon Pike spots a distant mountain peak that looks “like a small blue cloud.” The mountain was later named Pike’s Peak in his honor. Pike’s explorations of the newly acquired Louisiana Territory of the United States began before the nation’s first western explorers, Lewis and Clark, had returned from their own expedition up the Missouri River. Pike was more of a professional military man than either Lewis or Clark, and he was a smart man who had taught himself Spanish, French, mathematics, and elementary science. When the governor of Louisiana Territory requested a military expedition to explore the headwaters of the Mississippi, General James Wilkinson picked Pike to lead it. Although Pike’s first western expedition was only moderately successful, Wilkinson picked him to lead a second mission in July 1806 to explore the headwaters of the Red and Arkansas Rivers. This route took Pike across present-day Kansas and into the high plains region that would later become the state of Colorado. When Pike first saw the peak that would later bear his name, he grossly underestimated its height and its distance, never having seen mountains the size of the Rockies. He told his men they should be able to walk to the peak, climb it, and return before dinner. Pike and his men struggled through snow and sub-zero temperatures before finally taking shelter in a cave for the night, without even having reached the base of the towering mountain. Pike later pronounced the peak impossible to scale. The remainder of Pike’s expedition was equally trying. After attempting for several months to locate the Red River, Pike and his men became hopelessly lost. A troop of Spanish soldiers saved the mission when they arrested Pike and his men. The soldiers escorted them to Santa Fe, thus providing Pike with an invaluable tour of that strategically important region, courtesy of the Spanish military. After returning to the United States, Pike wrote a poorly organized account of his expedition that won him some fame, but little money. Still, in recognition of his bravery and leadership during the western expeditions, the army appointed him a brigadier general during the War of 1812. He was killed in an explosion during the April 1813 assault on Toronto.
1827 – Creek Indians lost all their property in US. The Creek Indians consisted of more than one tribe of Indians. They were a confederacy of tribes banded together for the good of all members. The Creek culture is thought to have started as a defensive strategy against the other larger Indian tribes of the region. The confederacy was always changing in size; it would gain and lose land and people as small tribes joined and withdrew. At the start of the 1500’s the Creeks occupied nearly all of what is the southeast United States. That came to an end in the 1600’s when the Cherokee, and later the Europeans, drove them west to Alabama and finely to what is now Oklahoma. The Creek problem started with a battle in Lumpkin County near Slaughter Gap. It was the first of many defeats that forced the Creeks farther west. A later battle for which Cherokee County is now named, forced the Creeks south and west to the Chattahoochee and Coose Rivers. This is why the names upper and lower were added to the new separate Creek tribes. The fighting only became more intense after the Red sticks, a small faction of Creeks, slaughtered 250 men, women, and children at Fort. Mims, Alabama. The battle started the Creek War. The fitting gave the Democratic party more support to drive the Creeks out. Gov. George Troup finally did just that after the treaty of Indian Springs was singed. By 1827 the Creeks were gone from Georgia.
1862 – President Lincoln, with Secretaries Seward and Chase, drove to the Washington Navy Yard to view the trial of the Hyde rocket. Captain Dahlgren joined the group for the experiment. Though a defective rocket accidentally exploded, the President escaped injury.
1863 – Fort Moultrie opened a heavy, evening bombardment on Union Army positions at Cumming’s Point, Morris Island. Brigadier General Gillmore immediately turned to Rear Admiral Dahlgren for assistance. “Will you have some of your vessels move up, so as to prevent an attack by boats on the sea face of the point,” he wired late at night. The Admiral answered “at once” and ordered the tugs on patrol duty to keep “a good lookout.” U.S.S. Lehigh, Commander Andrew Bryson, grounded while covering Cumming’s Point and was taken under heavy fire the next morning before U.S.S. Nahant, Lieutenant Commander John J. Cornwell, got her off.
1864 – Union General William T. Sherman begins his expedition across Georgia by torching the industrial section of Atlanta and pulling away from his supply lines. For the next six weeks, Sherman’s army destroyed most of Georgia before capturing the Confederate seaport of Savannah, Georgia. Sherman captured Atlanta in early September after a long summer campaign. He recognized that he was vulnerable in the city, however, as his supply lines stretched all the way from Nashville, Tennessee. Confederate raiders such as Nathan Bedford Forrest threatened to cut his lines, and Sherman had to commit thousands of troops to protect the railroads and rivers that carried provisions for his massive army. Sherman split his army, keeping 60,000 men and sending the rest back to Nashville with General George Thomas to deal with the remnants of General John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee, the force Sherman had defeated to take Atlanta. After hearing that President Lincoln had won reelection on November 8, Sherman ordered 2,500 light wagons loaded with supplies. Doctors checked each soldier for illness or injuries, and those who were deemed unfit were sent to Nashville. Sherman wrote to his general in chief, Ulysses S. Grant, that if he could march through Georgia it would be “proof positive that the North can prevail.” He told Grant that he would not send couriers back, but to “trust the Richmond papers to keep you well advised.” Sherman loaded the surplus supplies on trains and shipped them back to Nashville. On November 15, the army began to move, burning the industrial section of Atlanta before they left. One witness reported “immense and raging fires lighting up whole heavens … huge waves of fire roll up into the sky; presently the skeleton of great warehouses stand out in relief against sheets of roaring, blazing, furious flames.” Sherman’s famous destruction of Georgia had begun.
1882 – LCDR French Chadwick reports to American Legation in London as first Naval Attache.
1906 – Curtis E. Le May, air force general and VP candidate, was born. Curtis Emerson Le May graduated from Ohio State University in 1928. He received his pilots wings at the Air Corps Flying School in 1929, the beginning of a thirty-eight year military career from a pilot in the elite First Pursuit Croup to Chief of Staff United States Air Force. “Curt” Le May was respected throughout his service for his vision, high order of discipline, and the professionalism he demanded of himself and his commands. From fighter pilot to bombardment pilot in the mid-1930’s, he pioneered and became a leading expert in aerial celestial navigation. He proved his thesis on the 1938 B-17 Goodwill Flight to South America and the intercept of the ocean liner Rex, 800 miles off the U.S. coast in 1940. As Commander of the 305th Bombardment Group in England in 1942 and later as Commander of the 3rd Air Division, he developed the novel tactic of low altitude, non-evasive bombing. This was to become a major technique of World War II strategic air operations. In 1944, he assumed command of the struggling 20th Air Force B-29 operations in China. Later in 1945, he moved to the Marianas Islands in the Pacific to lead the 21st Air Force B-29’s in low altitude operations in the final air assault on Japan. After the war, he was Deputy Chief of Staff for Research and Development and then Commander U.S. Air Forces in Europe where he organized the historic Berlin Airlift in 1947, employing air power for humanitarism. He led the Strategic Air Command from 1948 to 1957, when he became Vice Chief and then Chief of Staff of the Air Force in 1961. He led the Air Force through its transformation into an all jet force of great mobility, missiles, and high professionalism. General Le May retired from active service in 1965.
1919 – The US Senate 1st invoked cloture to end a filibuster over the Versailles Treaty. Cloture is the only procedure by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter, and thereby overcome a filibuster. Under the cloture rule (Rule XXII), the Senate may limit consideration of a pending matter to 30 additional hours, but only by vote of three-fifths of the full Senate, normally 60 votes.
1920 – Forty-one nations opened the first League of Nations session in Geneva.
1936 – Nazi Germany and Japan signed the Anti-Komintern pact. The Anti-Komintern, ostensibly a defensive treaty opposed to Communism, would define the Axis powers.
1937 – The 1st US congressional session in air-conditioned chambers took place.
1939 – President Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.
1940 – The first 75,000 men were called to Armed Forces duty under peacetime conscription.
1940 – US flying boats begin patrols from bases in Bermuda.
1942 – Although U.S. lost several ships in Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, Naval Force under Rear Admiral Willlis Lee, USS Washington (BB-56), turns back Japanese transports trying to reinforce Guadalcanal. The Japanese never again try to send large naval forces to Guadalcanal.
1942 – US Paratroops take the airfield at Youks les Bains near Tebessa, Algeria.
1943 – British General Alexander calls off the US 5th Army assault on the German-held Reinhard Line. Casualties have been heavy. A determined German defense combined with rugged terrain and poor weather contribute to the decision to end the attack. To the east, elements of the British 8th Army achieve tenuous crossings over the Sangro River.
1944 – Forces of the US 3rd Army advance around Metz. To the south of the city, the Metz-Sarrebourg rail line is cut. To the right, the US 7th Army advances along the line north of St. Die.
1944 – In the Mapia Atoll a regiment of the US 31st Division lands and eliminates the small Japanese garrison. Naval support is provided by an Anglo-American force commanded by British Admiral Lord Ashbourne.
1944 – A number of senior armed forces commanders are promoted to the new ranks of General of the Army and Admiral of the Fleet. The new ranks are identified by a five star insignia.
1957 – US sentenced Soviet spy Rudolf Ivanovich Abel to 30 years and $3,000 fine. William Fischer, better known as Rudolf Abel, was one of the top Soviet spies during the Cold War. In 1948 he entered the United States and immediately began to set up networks of informants. Abel was primarily in charge of atomic spy operations and worked closely with Cohens and the Rosenbergs, all of whom were prominent spies. Abel had contacts within Los Alamos, a nuclear testing facility. Abel’s espionage likely had a huge impact on the Soviet nuclear program. Abel also set up large sabotage networks throughout the US and Latin America. The FBI finally arrested Abel in June of 1957, largely due to information provided by Reino Hayhanen, a Soviet defector. The US sentenced Abel to thirty years in prison. Abel was released in 1960, in exchange for the release of American spy Gary Powers, who was shot down over the Soviet Union. Abel was possibly the most important Soviet spy during the Cold War and his espionage had a great impact on both the US and USSR.
1957 – In a long and rambling interview with an American reporter, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev claims that the Soviet Union has missile superiority over the United States and challenges America to a missile “shooting match” to prove his assertion. The interview further fueled fears in the United States that the nation was falling perilously behind the Soviets in the arms race.The interview elicited the usual mixture of boastful belligerence and calls for “peaceful coexistence” with the West that was characteristic of Khrushchev’s public statements during the late 1950s. He bragged about Soviet missile superiority, claiming that the United States did not have intercontinental ballistic rockets; “If she had,” the Russian leader sneered, “she would have launched her own sputnik.” He then issued a challenge: “Let’s have a peaceful rocket contest just like a rifle-shooting match, and they’ll see for themselves.” Speaking about the future of East-West relations, Khrushchev stated that the American and Soviet people both wanted peace. He cautioned, however, that although the Soviet Union would never start a war, “some lunatics” might bring about a conflict. In particular, he noted that Secretary of State John Foster Dulles had created “an artificial war psychosis.” In the case of war, it “would be fought on the American continent, which can be reached by our rockets.” NATO forces in Europe would also be devastated, and Europe “might become a veritable cemetery.” While the Soviet Union would “suffer immensely,” the forces of communism would ultimately destroy capitalism. Khrushchev’s remarks came just a few days after the Gaither Report had been leaked to the press in the United States. The report supported many of the Russian leader’s contentions, charging that the United States was falling far behind the Soviets in the arms race. Critics of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s foreign policy, particularly from the Democratic Party, went on the attack. The public debate concerning the alleged “missile gap” between U.S. and Soviet rocket arsenals continued through the early 1960s and was a major issue in the 1960 presidential campaign between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.
1960 – The first submarine with nuclear missiles, the USS George Washington, took to sea from Charleston, South Carolina.
1962 – Cuba threatened to down U.S. planes on reconnaissance flights over its territory.
1963 – A US military spokesman in Saigon reports that 1,000 US servicemen will be withdrawn from South Vietnam beginning 3 December.
1965 – In the second day of combat, regiments of the 1st Cavalry Division battle on Landing Zone X-Ray against North Vietnamese forces in the Ia Drang Valley.
1966 – The flight of Gemini 12 ended successfully as astronauts James A. Lovell and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Junior splashed down safely in the Atlantic. Primary object was rendezvous and docking and to evaluate EVA. Secondary objective included: Tethered vehicle operation, perform 14 experiments, rendezvous and dock in 3rd revolution, demonstrate automatic reentry, perform docked maneuvers, practice docking, conduct system tests and to park Gemini Agena target vehicle GATV-12 in 555.6 km (300nm) orbit.
1967 – The only fatality of the North American X-15 program occurs during the 191st flight when Air Force test pilot Michael J. Adams loses control of his aircraft which is destroyed mid-air over the Mojave Desert.
1969 – The Soviet submarine K-19 collides with the American submarine USS Gato in the Barents Sea.
1971 – Intel releases the world’s first commercial single-chip microprocessor, the 4004.
1979 – A package bomb aboard a commercial flight from Chicago exploded and forced an emergency landing at Dulles Airport. It was later attributed to the Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski.
1983 – U.S. Navy CAPT George Tsantes was shot and killed while on his way to work in Athens. His chauffeur also died in the attack. The Greek terrorist organization “November 17” subsequently took credit for the killings.
1985 – A research assistant is injured when a package from the Unabomber addressed to a University of Michigan professor explodes.
1986 – A government tribunal in Nicaragua convicted American Eugene Hasenfus of charges related to his role in delivering arms to Contra rebels, and sentenced him to 30 years in prison. He was pardoned a month later.
1990 – The space shuttle “Atlantis” was launched on a secret military mission. Launch originally scheduled for July 1990. However, liquid hydrogen leak found on orbiter Columbia during STS-35 countdown prompted three precautionary tanking tests on Atlantis at pad June 29, July 13 and July 25. Tests confirmed hydrogen fuel leak on external tank side of external tank/orbiter 17-inch quick disconnect umbilical. Could not repair at pad and Atlantis rolled back to VAB August 9, demated and transferred to OPF. During rollback, vehicle parked outside VAB about a day while COLUMBIA/STS-35 stack transferred to pad for launch. Outside, Atlantis suffered minor hail damage to tiles during thunderstorm. After repairs made in OPF, Atlantis transferred to VAB for mating October 2. During hoisting operations, platform beam that should have been removed from aft compartment fell and caused minor damage which was repaired. Vehicle rolled out to Pad A October 12. Fourth mini-tanking test performed October 24, with no excessive hydrogen or oxygen leakage detected. At Flight Readiness Review, launch date set for November 9. Launch reset for November 15 due to payload problems. Liftoff occurred during classified launch window lying within launch period extending from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. EST, November 15, 1990. Launch Weight: Classified.
1991 – A federal appeals panel threw out former National Security Adviser John M. Poindexter’s felony convictions in the Iran-Contra affair, saying his immunized testimony to Congress was improperly used against him.
1995 – The space shuttle “Atlantis” docked with the orbiting Russian space station “Mir.”
2001 – President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin failed to resolve their dispute over U.S. missile shield plans but pledged to fight terrorism and deepen U.S.-Russian ties as their summit, which began at the White House then shifted to Bush’s Texas ranch, came to a close.
2001 – Investigators in Florida said anthrax was found throughout the 68,000-square-foot America Media building in Boca Raton, where the 1st case was identified.
2001 – Day 40 of the attack on Afghanistan: Osama bin Laden’s Brigade 055 dispersed into the mountains of Afghanistan. US planes struck Taliban positions outside Kunduz, where as many as 20,000 Taliban fighters gathered. Kandahar went under siege by opposition forces. Jalalabad was reported to be under Yunis Khalis of the Northern Alliance. Mullah Omar in a BBC radio interview warned of a larger strategy: the “destruction of America.”
2001 – Two al-Qaeda computers were acquired by a Wall Street journalist in Kabul for $1,100 following US bombing. They were found to contain over 1,750 text and video files of al Qaeda activities including weapons programs. One file contained the names of 170 al Qaeda members.
2001 – The U.S. was able to track and kill al-Qaeda’s number three, Mohammed Atef with a bomb at his Kabul home between 14–16 November 2001, along with his guard Abu Ali al-Yafi’i and six others.
2002 – The FBI warned that al-Qaida may be planning a “spectacular” terrorist attack intended to damage the U.S. economy and inflict large-scale casualties.
2002 – US aircraft exchanged fire with Iraqi ground forces near An Najaf, about 85 miles south of Baghdad.
2003 – The Iraqi Governing Council said the US-led occupation administration in Iraq will end by June after a transitional government is selected and assumes sovereignty.
2003 – Two US Army Black Hawk helicopters collided under fire and crashed in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, killing at least 17 soldiers.
2003 – In Iraq insurgents and looters overran US bases in Samara when soldiers left in an effort to let Iraqis handle security.
2006 – The battle of Turki began after Lt. Col. Andrew Poppas, commander of the 5th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry, a unit of the 82nd Airborne Division, and other soldiers flew over the area on a reconnaissance mission on November 12. From the helicopters, they spotted a white car covered by shrubbery and a hole in the ground that appeared to be a hiding place. The colonel dropped off an eight-man team and later sent other soldiers to sweep the area. Gunfire erupted on November 15 when C Troop paratroopers ran into an ambush near the village of Turki. Several insurgents feigned surrender to lure American troops out of their up-armored humvees and onto the ground. This tactic would be repeated to draw in members from A and B Troops in other locations. Officers said that in this battle, unlike the vast majority of engagements in Diyala, insurgents stood and fought, even deploying a platoon-sized unit that showed remarkable discipline and that one captain said was in “perfect military formation.” Insurgents throughout Iraq usually avoid direct confrontation with the Americans, preferring to use hit-and-run tactics and melting away at the sight of American armored vehicles. The insurgents had built a labyrinth network of trenches in the farmland, with sleeping areas and significant weapons caches. Two anti-aircraft guns had been hidden away. The fighting eventually became so intense that the Americans called in airstrikes, provided by both helicopter gunships and F16s. American commanders said they called in 12 hours of airstrikes while soldiers shot their way through a reed-strewn network of canals in extremely close combat. The fighting lasted for more than 40 hours. High level terrorist leaders were thought to have been present. The stiff resistance from insurgent fighters was believed to have given these leaders time to escape. In the end the 5th Squadron managed to destroy the insurgent trench system established in the area. Six insurgent weapons caches were also uncovered during the battle. The caches included more than 400,000 rounds of small-arms ammunition, 15,000 rounds of heavy machine gun ammunition, five mortar bipods, three heavy machine guns, three anti-tank weapons, two recoilless rifles and numerous mortar rounds, grenades, flares and other artillery rounds. But many more insurgent training camps remain in the area. An American captain and a lieutenant, both West Point graduates, were killed in the battle along with 72 insurgents and 20 insurgents were captured.
2007 – The United States Treasury freezes all assets of the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization, claiming that it acts as a “front to facilitate fundraising” for the Tamil Tigers.
2008 – Mission STS-126 commences with the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour. The spacecraft will deliver equipment required to increase the crew capacity of the International Space Station from three to six members.
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