1493 – Christopher Columbus discovered Puerto Rico on his 2nd voyage. Populated for centuries by aboriginal peoples, the island was claimed by the Spanish Crown in 1493 following Columbus’ second voyage to the Americas. In 1898, after 400 years of colonial rule that saw the indigenous population nearly exterminated and African slave labor introduced, Puerto Rico was ceded to the US as a result of the Spanish-American War. Puerto Ricans were granted US citizenship in 1917. Popularly-elected governors have served since 1948. In 1952, a constitution was enacted providing for internal self government. In plebiscites held in 1967, 1993, and 1998, voters chose to retain commonwealth status.
1620 – The Pilgrims reached Cape Cod. Mariner Bartholomew Gosnold (1572-1607) sailed the New England coast in 1602, naming things as he went. He gave the name ‘Cape Cod’ to the sandy, 105km/65mi-long peninsula that juts eastward from mainland Massachusetts into the Atlantic. When the Pilgrims first set foot in the New World in November 1620, it was at the site of Provincetown, at the tip of Cape Cod. They rested only long enough to draw up rules of governance (the Mayflower Compact) before setting sail westward in search of a more congenial place for their settlement, which they found at Plymouth. Later settlers stayed on the Cape, founding fishing villages along the coasts. The fishing industry drew boat builders and salt makers. Soon there were farmers working the cranberry bogs as well, and whaling ships bringing home rich cargoes of oil and whalebone.
1752 – George Rogers Clark, frontier military leader in Revolutionary War, was born. George Rogers Clark was the second son of John and Ann Rogers Clark. Both families were Virginia landholders, and after their marriage they moved to a 400 acre farm left to Clark by his father, Jonathan. This land was located on the Rivanna River, two miles east of Charlottesville and two and one-half miles northwest of Shadwell, where Thomas Jefferson was born. Their first son, Jonathan, was born in 1750, and their second son, George, in 1752. In 1757 the Clarks sold their land and moved to a small plantation in the southwest corner of Caroline County, VA, which had been left to them by an uncle, John Clark. George’s boyhood was probably typical of rural Virginia at the time. He would have learned to plant, trap, hunt, ride and wrestle. He probably received most of his schooling at home from relatives. From his later journals, we learn that he almost invariably bought some books when he returned to Williamsburg, so he must have been well-read, and his writing is well above average for the period. Although the facts are not proven by records of the school, some historians contend that when George was 11, he and Jonathan were sent to live with their grandfather, John Rogers, in order to attend a private school on the Mattapony River run by Donald Robertson, and that George was sent home after six or eight months. (Others known to have been enrolled at the time were James Madison and John Tyler.) If these tales are true, this schooling was probably the only formal education Clark received. In 1770, when George was 18 his youngest brother, William, was born. This brother would later win fame as a leader of the Lewis and Clark expedition. The family consisted of six sons and four daughters and was closely knit, maintaining affectionate ties throughout their lives. At about this time, George learned surveying from his grandfather. Despite the British rules and laws against settlement west of the Allegheny Mountains, many young men in Virginia were crossing over to Kentucky in quest of land and adventure. In 1772, just turning 20 years of age, Clark left on a surveying trip to the West. During the next four years, he located land for himself, his family and other friends in Virginia and acted as a guide for settlers. He participated in Lord Dunmore’s War and gained recognition as a formidable Indian fighter. Increased Indian harassment of the Kentucky settlers led Clark to call a meeting of representatives from all the forts at Harrodsburg, KY in June 1776. He and another delegate were elected to go to Virginia to seek a more definite connection between Kentucky and Virginia. They wanted recognition and protection as a county, and failing this, Clark advocated a separate state. Gov. Patrick Henry and the Executive Council granted him 500 pounds of gunpowder for the defense of Kentucky, and the General Assembly made Kentucky a county of Virginia. The fact that the Kentucky settlers entrusted Clark with such great responsibility at the age of 24, and that he was sufficiently persuasive to bring the General Assembly and a number of important men around to his way of thinking was indicative of his personal charisma, speaking abilities, leadership and qualities of mind. He was well over six feet tall, had red hair and was reliably reported to have been rugged and handsome. The fear and respect which he inspired in his Indian enemies indicated that he was a formidable warrior. Contemporary records show that he enjoyed an unusual rapport with his men, inspiring them to believe that they were unbeatable and firing them with an eagerness for battle. Even after he had lost favor in the East, he was still the leader of choice on the frontier among the men who knew his abilities best. He was also a leader in setting up the forms of government on the frontier, and whenever possible he used diplomacy and bluff rather than battle in dealing with the Indians. When he retired to Clarksville in later life, the Indian chiefs and warriors still came to smoke the pipe of peace and friendship with their conqueror, calling him “the first man living, the great and invincible long-knife.” In the year of the “Bloody ’77s” Clark returned the gunpowder to Kentucky settlements. The settlements were attacked continually and had difficulty planting or harvesting crops to sustain them through the coming winter. Clark learned that the “hair buyer” Lt. Gov. Henry Hamilton was paying the Indians for prisoners and scalps in Detroit and supplying them from posts in the Illinois country. After receiving reports from two spies he had sent to the Illinois country, Clark returned to Virginia to outline a plan of attack to Governor Henry. He received authority from the General Assembly to raise a force for the defense of Kentucky and a commission as Lieutenant Colonel over a force of seven companies with 50 men each. Secretly, Henry gave him written orders to attack Kaskaskia and posts in the Illinois Country. With battles raging in the East, Clark had difficulty raising the authorized force and finally set out from Redstone and Fort Pitt with only 150 frontiersmen and some 20 settlers and their families. Reaching the Falls of Ohio, they established a supply base on Corn Island and were joined by a handful of reinforcements from the Holston River settlements. Clark revealed his plan to attack Kaskaskia and was hard-pressed to prevent desertions. On June 26, 1778, 175 men left for Kaskaskia. They “shot the falls” during a total eclipse of the sun and concluded that this was a good omen for the campaign (perhaps at Clark’s suggestion?). With oars double-manned they avoided detection and reached the mouth of the Tennessee River where they hid the boats and marched overland for six days. They were dressed in Indian fashion and proceeded single-file in order to leave fewer tracks to reveal their presence. They surprised Kaskaskia on the night of July 4, occupying the fort and the town without a shot being fired. Clark offered the French inhabitants “all of the privileges of American citizenship” in return for their oath of allegiance of safe conduct out of the area. This offer and the news of the recent French-American alliance won their support. Captain Bowman was then dispatched to Cahokia, Prairie du Rocher and St. Phillip. These communities also accepted Clark’s terms without resistance. Kaskaskia’s priest, Father Gibault, went to Vincennes and secured the allegiance of the French there to Clark, and Captain Helm was sent to take command of Fort Sackville. Meanwhile, at Kaskaskia, Clark used August and September to gather Indian tribes from as far as 500 miles away. He offered them the red belt of war or the white belt of peace, and by his understanding of the Indian concept of manhood and some skillfully applied “bluff” he succeeded in winning their neutrality during the coming campaign. Learning of Clark’s occupation of Kaskaskia, Hamilton gathered his forces and traveled down the Maumee and Wabash Rivers from Detroit, reaching Vincennes on December 17. Helm was forced to surrender. Hamilton made an ill-fated decision to postpone an attack on Kaskaskia until spring and used the time to strengthen the fortifications at Sackville. He sent his Indian allies home for the winter. A Spanish trader, Francis Vigo, was permitted to leave Vincennes for St. Louis, and he promptly reported Hamilton’s plans to Clark. Clark realized that his small force could not hold the Illinois posts if Hamilton was given sufficient time to gather his forces, and he boldly decided to move on Vincennes immediately during “the depth of winter.” He wrote to Patrick Henry, saying that if he failed “this country and also Kentucky is lost.” On February 6, 1779, Clark outfitted and supplied the armed galley “Willing,” which was to rendezvous with the rest of the force on the Wabash down river from Vincennes. Mounted on a handsome horse, Clark led 172 men, nearly half of which were French volunteers, from Kaskaskia. They marched the 240 miles through flooded country, often shoulder high in water, sending out hunting parties for food and sleeping on the bare ground. It required 17 days to make what was normally a five or six day trip. Clark kept the spirits of the men high, encouraging them to sing, and regaling them with the actions of “an antic drummer boy who floated by on his drum.” On February 23, they surprised Vincennes. Clark ordered that all of the company’s flags be marched back and forth behind a slight rise to convince the British that there were 600 men rather than under 200. They opened fire on the fort with such accuracy that the British were prevented from opening their gunports. On the morning of the third day, February 25, Hamilton surrendered and was sent to Williamsburg as a prisoner. The British never regained control of these posts, and the American claims in the old Northwest served as the basis of the cession of these lands to the United States at the Treaty of Paris in 1783. The British withdrew from Detroit, and the Great Lakes became the northern boundary of the United States. Clark continued to lead military actions in the Northwest until the end of the War in 1783, and in 1784 he was named as a principal surveyor of public lands set aside for the men who served in the Virginia state military forces. Much of the time until 1813 he acted as chairman of the Board of Commissioners, which supervised the allotment of lands in the Illinois grant and promoted improvements. He was consulted on the subject of Indian affairs all along the Ohio. Clark had assumed personal responsibility for many expenses incurred in his campaigns and was never able to obtain full repayment from Virginia or the United States Congress. He was hounded by creditors for the remainder of his life and finally held in his own name only the land he retired to in Clarksville, IN in 1803. He built a two-room cabin on a beautiful point of land overlooking the Falls of the Ohio, where he lived with two servants, operating a grist mill in the town. He corresponded frequently with Jefferson and over the years sent him many specimens of his private museum from this area. In 1809 he suffered a stroke which necessitated the amputation of his right leg. This was performed without anesthetic, and at Clark’s request two fifers and two drummers played outside for two hours during the operation. He lived thereafter at Locust Grove, eight miles from Louisville, KY, with his sister Lucy and her husband, Maj. William Croghan, until he suffered a third stroke and died at the age of 66 on February 13, 1818. His body was moved from the family plot to Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville in 1869. In his funeral oration, Judge John Rowan said, “The mighty oak of the forest has fallen, and now the scrub oaks may sprout all around …. The father of the western country is no more.”
1794 – The United States and Britain signed the Jay Treaty, which resolved some issues left over from the Revolutionary War. This was the 1st US extradition treaty.
1813 – Capt. David Porter took formal possession of Nuku Hiva, one of the Marquesas Islands, but this act was not recognized by the U.S. government.
1831 – James Abram Garfield (d.1881) the 20th Pres. of the US, was born in Orange, Ohio in a log cabin, the youngest of five children. His father, Abram Garfield, was a native of New York, but of Massachusetts ancestry, descended from Edward Garfield, an English Puritan, who in 1630 was one of the founders of Watertown. His mother, Eliza Ballou, was born in New Hampshire, of a Huguenot family that fled from France to New England in 1685. Abram Garfield moved his family to Ohio in 1830, and settled in what was then known as “The Wilderness”. Abram made a prosperous beginning as a farmer and a canal construction worker in his new home, but died at the age of thirty-three after a sudden illness. Eliza Garfield brought up her young family unaided in a lonely cabin and impressed on them he high standard of moral and intellectual worth. She displayed almost heroic courage. Hers was a life of struggle and poverty, but the poverty of her home differed from that of cities or settled communities – it was the poverty of the frontier and all shared it. James A. Garfield started school at the age of three, attending classes in a log hut and learned to read and began a habit of reading that would only end with his life. At ten years of age he was helping out his mother’s meager income by working at home or on the farm of the neighbors. Labor was play to the healthy boy and he did it cheerfully, for his mother’s hymns and songs sent her children to their tasks with a feeling that the work was honorable. By the time he was fourteen, young Garfield was fairly knowledgeable in arithmetic and grammar and was particularly interested in the facts of American history, having eagerly gathered information from the meager treaties that circulated in that remote section of Ohio. In fact, he read and reread every book the scanty libraries of his part of the wilderness supplied, and many he learned by heart. The tales of the sea especially thrilled Garfield and a love for adventure took over him. In 1848, at the age of seventeen, Garfield went to Cleveland and planned to work as a sailor on board a lake schooner. He soon realized that the life was not the romance he had envisioned. He did not want to return home without adventure and without money, so he drove for a few months for a boat on the Ohio canal. Little is known of this experience except that young Garfield secured a promotion from the towpath to the boat, and a story that he was strong enough and brave enough to hold his own against his fellow workers, who were naturally a rough group. In 1849, Garfield’s mother persuaded him to enter Geauga Academy in Chester, Ohio, which was about ten miles from his home. During his vacations he learned and practiced carpentry and helped at harvest, he taught and did anything and everything to get money to pay for his schooling. After his first term, he needed no aid from home, he had reached the point were he was self-sufficient. While at Chester, he met a Miss Lucretia Rudolph, his future wife. He was attracted at first by her interest in the same intellectual pursuits, and he quickly discovered sympathy in other tastes and a congeniality of disposition, which paved the way for the one great love of his life. He was himself attractive at this time, and he exhibited many signs of intellectual superiority and was physically a splendid specimen of vigorous young manhood. He studied hard, worked hard, cheerfully ready for any emergency, even that of the prize ring; for, finding it a necessity, he one day thrashed the bully of the school in a stand up fight. His nature, always religious, was at this period profoundly stirred in that direction. He was converted under the instructions of a Campbellite preacher, was baptized and received into that denomination. They called themselves “The Disciples” condemned all doctrines and forms and sought to direct their lives by the Scriptures, simply interpreted, as any plain man would read them. This sanction to independent thinking given by religion itself had great influence in this young man that kept his earnest nature out of the ruts of bigotry. From this moment, his zeal to get the best education heightened and he began to take wider views, to look beyond the present and into the future. In 1851, after finishing his studied in Chester, he entered the principal educational institution of the Campbellites, Hiram Eclectic Institute (later Hiram College). He was not a very quick study, but he was determined and he soon had an excellent knowledge of Latin and was fairly adept in algebra, natural philosophy and botany. He read with appreciation, but his superiority was easily recognized in the debating societies of the college, where he was industrious and outstanding. Living at Hiram was inexpensive, and he easily made his expenses by teaching in the English departments, and also gave instruction in the ancient languages. After three years, Garfield was well prepared to enter the junior class of any eastern college, and he had saved $350 toward the expense. He hesitated between Yale, Brown and Williams colleges, finally choosing Williams on the kindly promise of encouragement sent him by its president, Mark Hopkins. It was natural to expect Garfield would choose Bethany College, in West Virginia, an institution largely controlled and patronized by the Campbellites. Garfield himself felt the need to explain his choice, giving the reasons that Bethany was too friendly in opinion to slavery, that Bethany was not as extended as were the New England colleges; and most significant of all – that he had both by birth and by association, held a strong bias toward the religious views of Bethany, he ought to examine other faiths. James A. Garfield entered Williams in the autumn of 1854 and graduated with the highest honors in the class of 1856. His classmates joined with President Hopkins in testifying that in college he was warm hearted, large minded and possessed a great earnestness of purpose and a singular poise of judgment. But outside of these and other like qualities such as industry, perseverance, courage, modesty, unassuming manners, and conscientiousness, Garfield hand exhibited up to this time no signs of the superiority that was to make him a conspicuous figure. The effects of twenty-five years of the most varied discipline, cheerfully accepted and faithfully used, begin to show themselves and to give to history one of its most striking examples of what education – the education of books and circumstances – can accomplish. Garfield was not born, but made; and he made himself by persistent, strenuous, conscientious study and work. In the next six years, he was a college president, a state senator, a major general in the National army, and a representative-elect to the National congress. No other American president had received so many rapid and varied promotions. On his return to Ohio after his graduation in 1856, he resumed his place as a teacher of Latin and Greek at Hiram, and the next year (1857) being then only twenty-six years of age, he was made its president. He was a successful officer, and ambitious beyond his allotted tasks. He discussed with his interested classes almost every subject of current interest in science, religion, education and art. The story spread, and his influence with it; he became an intellectual and moral force in the Western Reserve. His influence was greatest, however, over the young. They became infected with his thirst of knowledge, his sympathy, his manliness and his veneration for the truth when it was found. As an educator, he was, and always would have been eminently successful; he had the knowledge, the art to impart it, and the personal magnetism that impressed his love for it upon his pupils. His intellectual activity at this time was intense. The laws of his church permitted him to preach, and he used the permission. He also pursued the study of law, entering his name, in 1858 as a student in a law office in Cleveland, but studied in Hiram. On November 11, 1858, James A. Garfield married Lucretia Rudolph, his fellow student at Geauga Academy. The couple had seven children: Eliza A. Garfield (1860-63); Harry A. Garfield (1863-1942); James R. Garfield (1865-1950); Mary Garfield (1867-1947); Irvin M. Garfield (1870-1951); Abram Garfield (1872-1958); and Edward Garfield (1874-76). To one ignorant of the slow development of Garfield in all directions, it would seem incredible that he now for the first time began to show any noticeable interest in politics. He seems never to have even voted before the autumn of 1856. No one who knew the man could doubt that he would then cast his vote for the first Republican candidate for the presidency, John Fremont. As moral questions entered more and more into politics, Garfield’s interest grew apace, and he sought frequent occasions to discuss these questions in debate. In advocating the cause of freedom against slavery, he showed for the first time a skill in discussion that afterward bore good fruit in the House of Representatives. Without solicitation or thought on his part, in 1859, he was sent to represent the counties of Summit and Portage in the senate of Ohio. Again in this new field his versatility and industry are outstanding. He makes exhaustive investigations and reports on such widely different topics as geology, education, finance and parliamentary law. Always looking to the future, and apprehensive that the impending contest might leave the halls of legislation and seek the arbitrage of war, he gave special study to the militia system of his state and the best methods of equipping and disciplining it. The Civil War came, and Garfield, who had been a farmer, carpenter, student, teacher, lawyer, preacher and legislator, was to show himself an excellent soldier. In August 1861, Governor William Dennison commissioned him lieutenant colonel in the 42nd regiment of Ohio volunteers. The men were his old pupils at Hiram College, whom he had persuaded to enlist. Promoted to the command of this regiment, he drilled it into military efficiency while awaiting orders to the front. In December, 1861, he reported to General Buell in Louisville, Kentucky. General Buell was so impressed by the soldierly condition of the regiment that he gave Colonel Garfield a brigade, and assigned him the difficult task of driving the confederate general Humphrey Marshall from eastern Kentucky. Buell’s confidence was such that he allowed the young soldier to lay his own plans, though on their success hung the fate of Kentucky. The undertaking itself was difficult. General Marshall had 5,000 men, while Garfield had only half that number, and must march through a state where the majority of the people were hostile, to attack an enemy strongly entrenched in a mountainous country. Garfield, not daunted at all, concentrated his little force and moved it with such rapidity, sometimes here and sometimes there, that General Marshall was deceived by his moves and still more by false reports which were skillfully prepared for him. Marshall abandoned his position and many of his supplies at Paintville, and was caught in retreat by Garfield, who charged the full force of the enemy and maintained a hand-to-hand fight with it for five hours. The enemy had 5,000 men and 12 cannons; Garfield had no artillery and but 1,100 men. Garfield held his own until reinforced by Generals Graner and Sheldon, when Marshall gave way, leaving Garfield the victor at Middle Creek, January 10, 1862, one of the most important of the minor battles of the war. Shortly afterward the Confederates lost the state of Kentucky. In recognition of his service, President Lincoln made the young Garfield a Brigadier General dating his commission from the battle of Middle Creek. During Garfield’s campaign of the Big Sandy, he was engaged in breaking up some scattered Confederate encampments, his supplies gave out and he was faced with starvation. Going himself to the Ohio River, Garfield seized a steamer, loaded it with provisions and on the refusal of any pilot to undertake a perilous voyage (the river was high and running very fast), he took the helm and for forty-eight hours piloted the craft through the dangerous channel. In order to surprise Marshall who was then entrenched in Cumberland Gap, Garfield marched his soldiers 100 miles in four days through a blinding snowstorm. Returning to Louisville, he found that Buell was away, and overtook him at Columbia Tennessee and was assigned to the command of the 20th Brigade. He reached Shiloh in time to take part in the second day’s fight, was engaged in all the operation in front of Corinth, and in June, 1862, rebuilt the bridges on the Memphis and Charleston railroad, and exhibited noticeable engineering skill in repairing the fortifications of Huntsville. The unhealthful ness of this region overcame Garfield, and on July 30, 1862, he returned to Hiram, under leave of absence, where he lay ill for two months. After regaining his strength, Garfield reported to Washington and was ordered to court-martial duty, and gained a very respectful reputation in this practice. Garfield was retuned to duty under General Rosencrans who made him his chief of staff, with responsibilities beyond those usually given to this office. After the Union loss at the Battle of Chickamauga, Garfield volunteered to take news of the defeat to General George H. Thomas, who held the left of the line. It was a bold ride, under constant fire, but he reached Thomas and gave the information that saved the Army of the Cumberland. For this action he was made a major general on September 19, 1863, promoted for gallantry on a field that was lost. With a future military career so bright before him, Garfield, always unselfish, yielded his own ambition to a request by Mr. Lincoln that he hasten to Washington to sit in Congress. Garfield had been chosen fifteen months before as the successor of Joshua R. Giddings. James A. Garfield was thirty-two years old when he entered congress. In December 1863, he started his first term as a representative for his home district. He was reelected for eight successive terms to the same office. His military reputation had preceded him and secured for him a place in the Committee on Military Affairs, then the most important in congress. Garfield was a loyal Republican. He favored a policy of “hard money” the principle that all paper money issued by the government should be secured by gold or silver. After the Civil War he sided with the radical faction of the Republican Party, supporting seizure of the property of those who had served the Confederacy and demanding voting rights for blacks. In 1865, Garfield, at his own request, was changed from the Committee on Military Affairs to the influential Ways and Means Committee. He soon became a power in his party. In 1876, James G. Blaine of Massachusetts resigned his seat to serve in the Senate. James A. Garfield assumed the Republican leadership in the House. During his rise to power, Garfield was connected to two incidents that tarnished his record, one involving an alleged bribe to delay a congressional investigation of Credit Mobilier Company, which had made illegal profits fro government contracts. The other involved accepting fees from a company trying to obtain a paving contract for Washington, D.C. Garfield denied all charges but remained his own harshest critic that he had not shown his usual cautiousness in avoiding any connection with any matter which could come up for congressional review. His Ohio constituents knew both scandals in 1874, but he was reelected for another term. James A. Garfield was elected the United States Senator from Ohio in 1880. Before his term began, he became involved in the presidential campaign of 1880. He supported Secretary of the Treasury, John Sherman, another Ohioan, and was head of his state’s delegation and manager of the Sherman campaign at the Republican national convention. He worked hard to win convention delegates for Sherman. He was chairman of the rules committee and he persuaded the convention to permit delegates to vote individually rather than in state blocks. This system freed many delegates from party dictated support, however, no candidate was able to muster a majority. Garfield addressed the convention on behalf of Sherman, but he spoke for 15 minutes before he mentioned Sherman’s name. Many suspected that Garfield was placing himself in nomination and he probably won more cheers for himself than for his candidate. There is no evidence to suggest that he was disloyal to Sherman but finally on the 36th ballot on the convention’s sixty day, Garfield himself was nominated for president. Chester A. Arthur, a former customs collector of the Port of New York was nominated for vice president. Garfield won the election but he did not have a majority of the popular vote. He received 214 electoral votes to Democrat Winfield S. Hancock’s 155, however, his electoral margin came mainly for Northern states as he received 4,454,416 popular votes compared to Hancock’s 4,444,952. After the election Garfield surrendered his Senate seat to which he had been elected and he resigned from the House. He was inaugurated on March 4, 1881. Once in office, Garfield took a stand against political corruption. In May he won a showdown with a powerful New York Senator, Roscoe Conkling, with his choice of Conkling’s rival to head the New York Customs House. The early summer came and peace and happiness and the growing strength and popularity of his administration cheered Garfield’s heart. On the morning of July 2, 1881, the president was setting out on a trip to New England. He was passing through the waiting room of the Baltimore and Potomac railroad depot at nine o’clock in the morning with Mr. James G. Blaine, his close friend. Charles Guiteau, a lawyer who’s application to be the U. S. ambassador to France was denied, fired two shots at President Garfield. One bullet grazed the President’s arm but the other one had entered his back, fractured a rib and lodged itself somewhere inside Garfield’s body. Guiteau, a religious fanatic stated that he shot Garfield in order “to unite the Republican Party and save the Republic”. Guiteau readily gave himself up after the shooting – he reportedly had arranged to have a hansom cab wait for him outside to take him to jail because he was afraid that an angry mob would form and lynch him. The Washington police arrested him. Garfield, who never lost consciousness, was taken to the White House. Under the highest medical skill of the day, Garfield lingered between life and death for more than ten weeks. There were two methods of treatment at the time for bullet wounds. First, if the bullet had penetrated an organ, it would mean certain death without surgery to remove it. Second if the bullet hadn’t penetrated an organ it would be better to delay surgery until the condition of the patient stabilized. The first doctor to see the President, Dr. Willard Bliss stuck his finger into the wound (unsterilized) trying to probe and find the bullet. He never found it but the passageway that he dug through the President later confused physicians as to the bullet’s path. They concluded that the bullet had penetrated the liver and surgery would be of no help. They were wrong. In an effort to find the bullet, Alexander Graham Bell devised a crude metal detector. On July 26, Bell and his assistant, Tainter and Simon Newcomb (who originally had the idea of the metal detector) made their first attempt to locate the bullet in Garfield’s body. There were also five White House doctors and several aides present for the experiment. Garfield expressed fear of being electrocuted and Bell reassured him. The results of the experiment were inconclusive as there was a hum no matter where the wand was placed on the president’s body. Bell was unaware that the White House was one of the few that had a coil spring mattress that had just been invented. Very few people had even heard of them. If Bell had moved Garfield off the bed, their apparatus would have detected where the bullet was and likely, knowing this, the surgeons could have saved James A. Garfield’s life. In the end, the doctors had taken a three-inch wound and turned it into a twenty-inch gouge that was massively infected. On September 15, 1881, symptoms of blood poisoning appeared. Garfield lingered until September 19, 1881 when, after a few hours of unconsciousness, he died.
1835 – Fitzhugh Lee (d.1905), Major General (Confederate Army), was born. The son of a U.S. (and later Confederate) naval officer, Lee was born in Virginia. He attended the West Point Military Academy from 1852-1856, flirting with expulsion for pranks before graduating 45 out of a class of 49. Following graduation, Lee served as a cavalry officer in Texas for two and a half years before being appointed an assistant instructor of tactics at West Point in late 1860. While in Texas, Lee saw his first combat in battles against Indians. He was seriously wounded in a skirmish on May 19, 1859. Lee’s tenure as an instructor at his alma mater would last only 6 months. Like many Southern officers (including Lee’s famous uncle, Robert E. Lee) he resigned his commission in May, 1861 and was named a first lieutenant in the regular Confederate army shortly after. Promotion in the Confederate army was fast for young Lee (far faster than it would have been in a peacetime US Army!); he rose to lieutenant-colonel in August, then to brigadier-general the following July. His highest rank, major-general, would be attained in September, 1863; after achieving his greatest notoriety in the Battle of Chancellorsville where, leading the only full brigade of Confederate cavalry, he guarded the Confederate’s flanking march around Union General Hooker’s exposed right wing. Lee saw much more action throughout the war. In September, 1864 he was wounded again and out of action for four months. By the time of his return, however, the Southern fate was all but certain. Lee surrendered on April 11, 1865. Following a short stint as a Union prisoner, Lee turned his efforts to farming, taking pride in his success in the endeavor. In addition to farming Lee wrote several books in this period. He also began improving his political skills. Lacking any boastfulness and quick-witted, with an excellent sense of humor, the above-average soldier was an even better politician. The unusual mix of abilities would serve him well. The public arena beckoned a return in 1885, as Lee’s famous name and popular personality gained him election as governor of Virginia. Though his single term was relatively uneventful, it served to cast him in the political arena. In 1893 he was defeated for the Democratic nomination to the United States Senate. The following year he wrote his finest book, a biography of Uncle Robert E. Lee. Democratic President Grover Cleveland, battling the continued economic woes of the 1890’s, diplomatic troubles with Spain and England, and harsh congressional critics such as conservative Henry Cabot Lodge, appointed Lee consul-general to Havana in 1896. Lee arrived in June to an island torn by civil war and mass poverty. Three weeks after his arrival he informed the State Department that Cuban rebels did not have the strength to drive the Spanish out, but that the Spanish were equally unable to subdue the rebellion. He railed against the Spanish tactics to suppress the rebels and fought for the rights of American citizens in Cuba (including some suspected by the Spanish of aiding the rebels and held captive in Cuba, such as crewmen of the filibustering vessel COMPETITOR, and Dr. Ricardo Ruiz de Ugarrio y Salvador, a naturalized American citizen). Ironically, Lee won the praise of Cleveland’s staunchest critics, who used Lee’s strong stance against Spain as further fuel against the more benevolent President. Lodge wrote of Lee’s “good sense and firm courage,” while lamenting that Lee “was not sustained by the (Cleveland) Administration as he should have been.” December, 1897 saw more unrest in Havana. While much of the violence wasactually caused by the Cuban rebels (often directed toward American-owned sugar plantations), Lee’s concern was chiefly the safety of Americans in Cuba, thus causing him to exaggerate the threat he feared from Cubans loyal to Spain. Lee requested a warship be ready in Key West in case violence erupted. The MAINE was ordered to Florida in January, and Captain Sigsbee maintained steady communication with the consul-general’s office. Early that month, the situation appeared to Lee to have taken aturn for the worse. He sent a preliminary signal to Sigsbee, prompting him to ready hisship. Whether Lee felt he had over-estimated the danger or the situation calmed, he never sent a further call for the MAINE. President McKinley and Navy Secretary John Long, however, did order MAINE to Havana. Though Lee was unnerved by the MAINE’s sudden arrival when he had specifically advised against it’s visit at that time, months later he would recall the arrival as “a beautiful sight and one long to be remembered.” Perhaps this underscored his own uncertainty of the situation. Adding to the uncertainty was the prospect of growing German influence in the Caribbean (which, some speculate, was McKinley’s motivation in sending the MAINE to Cuba). Whatever the reasoning, late 1897-early-1898 saw Lee take a step back from his earlier blatant criticism of the Spanish. Proponents of Lee in 1896-8 saw his actions as decisive and pro-American, leading nicely to the “splendid little war,” while later critics would charge that his misreading of the Cuban situation (which, some would believe was intentional) moved both sides closer to war. In spite of Lee’s misgivings, MAINE arrived in Havana on January 25. Lee and Sigsbee were treated to a bullfight by hosting Spanish officers as part of the “good will” visit. Underneath it all, however, was an undeniable tension. Washington soon began to realize that the presence of the MAINE would only serve temporary goals, and many wondered how long she should remain in Havana. One of those who worried about overstaying his welcome was Secretary of Navy Long. Nearly the opposite of his fiery assistant, Theodore Roosevelt, Long openly considered pulling the MAINE out of Cuba. Upon that suggestion, Lee threw away earlier objections to the ships visit, and both he and Sigsbee strongly opposed withdrawing the MAINE, unless it was relieved by another warship. “Many will claim Spain demanded it should go,” Lee wrote Washington,” we are master of the situation here and I would not disturb or alter it.” The explosion of the MAINE on February 15 suddenly changed everything. While McKinley and Washington moved closer to war by the day, Lee’s chief concern was the safety and evacuation of Americans in Cuba. As threats and ultimatums grew more intense, Lee cabled the President for more time, stating that he could not assure the safety of all Americans by Tuesday, April 5, a deadline previously set for Spanish agreement to terms set forth by the White House. He requested McKinley delay any statements until at least Saturday the 9th. Under intense pressure McKinley stalled, delaying the message that would lead to war until Monday, April 11, a day after Lee’s arrival in Florida. Following his return to a hero’s welcome in the U.S., Lee was commissioned major-general of volunteers and assigned the VII Army Corps. The appointment was largely political, as McKinley had made it a point to place a few well known former Confederate officers in key commands to unite the nation (Joe Wheeler was another). VII Corps trained in preparation of a major role in a fall offensive, though the war’s quick end (quicker than many thought, that is) kept VII Corps from any action. Lee’s logistical and planning abilities and previous military experience exhibited itself through the VII Corp’s few health and administrative problems; problems which plagued many of the other army corps. After the war he commanded what amounted to an army of occupation in Havana and was charged with the restoration of order on the island. Fitzhugh Lee retired a brigadier-general on March 2, 1901. He died four years later. Lee was buried in his U.S. Army uniform, which caused one ex-Confederate to say “What’ll Stonewall think when Fitz turns up in heaven wearing that!”
1863 – President Abraham Lincoln delivers one of the most famous speeches in American history at the dedication of the military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Using just 272 words, Lincoln brilliantly and movingly articulated the meaning of the conflict for a war-weary public. For some time, Lincoln had been planning to make a public statement on the significance of the war and the struggle against slavery. In early November, he received an invitation to speak at the dedication of part of the Gettysburg battlefield, which was being transformed into a cemetery for the soldiers who had died in battle there from July 1 to 3, 1863. A popular myth suggests that Lincoln hastily scribbled his speech on the back of an envelope during his trip to Gettysburg, but he had actually begun crafting his words well before the trip. At the dedication, the crowd listened for two hours to Edward Everett before Lincoln approached the podium. His address lasted just two minutes, and many in the audience were still making themselves comfortable when he finished. Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met here on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled, here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
1911 – New York received the first Marconi wireless transmission from Italy.
1919 – The Senate rejected the Treaty of Versailles by a vote of 55 in favor to 39 against, short of the two-thirds majority needed for ratification.
1923 – Oklahoma Governor Walton was ousted by state senate for anti-Ku Klux Klan measures. The conflict between the Klan and the Farmer-Labor Reconstruction League/Democratic Governor John “Our Jack ” Walton is near legendary in Oklahoma history. Between 1923 and 1925 the Klan’s rise dominated politics in Oklahoma. Outraged by Walton’s use of martial law to quell racial violence in Tulsa, putting down a riot in May 1921, Klansman and other reactionaries urged Walton’s impeachment, and were successful in obtaining it. Socialists increasingly became the objects of Klan scorn, spurred by conservative newspapers, which would publish the names of “undesirables”; giving the Klan a clue as to who to accost. Socialist-leaning papers put up valiant resistance and attacked the Klan and won a few skirmishes but ultimately lost the war when unprecedented social change would force them to migrate elsewhere.
1942 – French forces at Medjez el Bab, Tunisia hold off the German attacks and are reinforced by British and American troops. The German are now led by General Nehring. French General Barre as planned turns his forces over to the Allies. Meanwhile in Libya, The British 8th Army enters Benghazi.
1942 – US troops coming from Pongani, New Guinea begin their attack on the well fortified Japanese positions at Buna, believing that it is lightly held. The Australians are closing on Gona and a mixed Allied force is moving toward the Japanese positions at Sanananda.
1943 – CG Air Station at Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, New York, designated as helicopter training base.
1943 – Carrier aircraft of US Task Force 50 (Admiral Pownall) raid Mili, Tarawa, Makin and Nauru as a prelude to landings. Four carrier groups are engaged in the operation. There are 11 carriers, 5 battleships and 6 cruisers in the American task force.
1943 – USS Nautilus (SS-168) enters Tarawa lagoon in first submarine photograph reconnaissance mission.
1944 – Forces of US 9th Army defeat a counterattack by German forces and occupy Geilenkirchen, north of Aachen. US 3rd Army completes the encirclement of Metz. Farther south, French 1st Army forces reach the outskirts of Belfort as well as the Swiss border north of Basle.
1944 – US Task Force 38 continues air strikes against targets on Luzon and shipping in Manila Bay. Japanese losses are claimed to be 1 cruiser and 3 other vessels.
1944 – It is estimated that the cost of the war is now about $250 million per day. Looking for ways to fund World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced the 6th War Loan Drive on this day. The Loan Drive flooded the market with war bonds intended to meet Roosevelt’s goals of “immediately” raising $14 billion for the war.
1950 – US General Eisenhower became supreme commander of NATO.
1950 – X Corps First Marine Division commander, Major General O.P. Smith moved his units carefully northward toward the Chosin Reservoir.
1953 – US VP Richard Nixon visited Hanoi. Nixon’s first of four visits to Vietnam, prior to his own presidency was part of his extensive Asian tour undertaken on behalf of President Eisenhower. The French colonial presence would soon end in defeat at Dien Bien Phu. Vice President Nixon came away convinced that the French failure to adequately train and inspire the Indochinese to defend themselves against Communist aggression would be their undoing.
1961 – At the request of President of Dominican Republic, U.S. Naval Task Force sails to Dominican Republic to bolster the country’s government and to prevent a coup.
1962 – Fidel Castro accepted the removal of Soviet weapons.
1963 – Cambodia declares an end to all US military and economic aid. Sihanouk charges that the CIA is trying to oust him from power.
1967 – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously passes a resolution to curb the commitment of U.S. armed forces and a resolution urging the President Johnson to take the initiative to have the Vietnamese conflict brought before the United Nations Security Council.
1969 – Navy astronauts CDR Charles Conrad Jr. and CDR Alan L. Bean are 3rd and 4th men to walk on the moon. They were part of Apollo 12 mission. CDR Richard F. Gordon, Jr., the Command Module Pilot, remained in lunar orbit. During the mission lasting 19 days, 4 hours, and 36 minutes, the astronauts recovered 243 lbs of lunar material. Recovery by HS-4 helicopters from USS Hornet (CVS-12). Conrad not a tremendously tall person; the one-meter jump down from the bottom rung of the ladder was a bit intimidating, but now it gave him a chance to set the tone for the mission. The time for historic phrases had past; now it was time to have fun. “Whoopie!” he said as he made the plunge. “Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that’s a long one for me.” Bean soon joined Conrad on the surface and they got busy deploying the scientific gear. As on Apollo 11, there was a TV camera, a seismometer, and a laser reflector. And they also had a more-sophisticated solar-wind analyzer and a number of other physics packages that made up the ALSEP (Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package) that had gotten bumped off Apollo 11. Most of the equipment, together with a central power station and transmitter, was stowed in two compact packages tucked away in the Descent Stage. Bean lifted them down with a pulley and attached them to the ends of a carrying bar – which would double as a radio antenna mast – in dumbbell fashion. The complete ALSEP weighed 250 pounds on Earth, but only about 40 pounds on the Moon, and Bean had no particular trouble hauling the load to the deployment site about one hundred fifty meters west of the LM. The two experiment packages tended to bounce up and down as he walked and that made gripping the bar a little difficult; but, generally, he and Conrad had very few problems with this first major set of tasks.
1971 – Cambodians appeal to Saigon for help as communist forces move closer to Phnom Penh. Saigon officials revealed that in the previous week, an eight-person Cambodian delegation flew to the South Vietnamese capital to officially request South Vietnamese artillery and engineer support for beleaguered Cambodian government troops. Cambodian Premier Lon Nol and his troops were involved in a life or death struggle with the communist Khmer Rouge force and their North Vietnamese allies for control of the country.
1979 – Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini orders the release of 13 female and black American hostages being held at the US Embassy in Tehran.
1984 – The Coast Guard accepts the new HH-65A Dolphin helicopter for service. The HH-65A is used to perform search and rescue; enforcement of laws and treaties (including drug interdiction), polar ice-breaking, marine environmental protection including pollution control, and military readiness missions. Though normally stationed ashore, the HH-65A can land and take-off from 210-foot WMEC, 270-foot WMEC, and 378-foot WHEC Coast Guard Cutters. These cutters are capable of refueling and supporting the helicopter for the duration of a cutter patrol.
1985 – For the first time in eight years, the leaders of the Soviet Union and the United States hold a summit conference. Meeting in Geneva, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev produced no earth-shattering agreements. However, the meeting boded well for the future, as the two men engaged in long, personal talks and seemed to develop a sincere and close relationship. The meeting came as somewhat of a surprise to some in the United States, considering Reagan’s often incendiary rhetoric concerning communism and the Soviet Union, but it was in keeping with the president’s often stated desire to bring the nuclear arms race under control. For Gorbachev, the meeting was another clear signal of his desire to obtain better relations with the United States so that he could better pursue his domestic reforms. Little of substance was accomplished. Six agreements were reached, ranging from cultural and scientific exchanges to environmental issues. Both Reagan and Gorbachev, however, expressed satisfaction with the summit, which ended on November 21. The next summit was held in October 1986 in Reykjavik and ended somewhat disastrously, with Reagan’s commitment to the Strategic Defense Initiative (the so-called “Star Wars” missile defense system) providing a major obstacle to progress on arms control talks. However, by the time of their third summit in Washington, D.C. in 1987, both sides made concessions in order to achieve agreement on a wide range of arms control issues.
1990 – Leaders of 16 NATO members and the remaining six Warsaw Pact nations signed treaties in Paris making sweeping cuts in conventional arms throughout Europe and pledging non-aggression toward one another.
1994 – The U.N. Security Council, anxious to stop Serb attacks on the “safe area” of Bihac in northwest Bosnia, authorized NATO to bomb rebel Serb forces striking from neighboring Croatia.
1996 – The US voted alone against the other 14 members of the UN Security Council against the re-election of Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.
1996 – The space shuttle Columbia lifted off with the oldest crew member to date, 61-year-old Story Musgrave. STS-80 marked the third flight of the WSF that flew on STS-60 and STS-69 and the third flight to use the German-built Orbiting and Retrievable Far and Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrograph-Shuttle Pallet Satellite II (ORFEUS-SPAS II). The ASTRO-SPAS program was a cooperative endeavor between NASA and the German Space Agency, DARA. Both satellites were deployed and retrieved during the mission. STS-80 was the seventh and last Space Shuttle mission of 1996, the 21st flight of the orbiter Columbia and the 80th flight overall in NASA’s Space Shuttle program. Columbia’s previous mission was STS-78 in the summer of this year.
1997 – The space shuttle Columbia zoomed into orbit on a two-week science mission. STS-87 flew the United States Microgravity Payload (USMP-4), the Spartan-201, the Orbital Acceleration Research Experiment (OARE), the EVA Demonstration Flight Test 5 (EDFT-05), the Shuttle Ozone Limb Sending Experiment (SOLSE), the Loop Heat Pipe (LHP), the Sodium Sulfur Battery Experiment (NaSBE), the Turbulent GAS Jet Diffusion (G-744) experiment and the Autonomous EVA Robotic Camera/Sprint (AERCam/Sprint) experiment. Two middeck experiments were the Middeck Glovbox Payload (MGBX) and the Collaborative Ukrainian Experiment (CUE).
1998 – The US Air Force tested the Centurion flying wing, a 206-foot battery powered robotic craft. Solar panels were planned to replace the batteries. Centurion was a unique remotely piloted, solar-powered airplane developed under NASA’s Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor (ERAST) Program at the Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California. Dryden joined with AeroVironment, Inc., Monrovia, California, under an ERAST Joint Sponsored Research Agreement, to design, develop, manufacture, and conduct flight development tests for the Centurion. The airplane was believed to be the first aircraft designed to achieve sustained horizontal flight at altitudes of 90,000 to 100,000 feet. Achieving this capability would meet the ERAST goal of developing an ultrahigh-altitude airplane that could meet the needs of the science community to perform upper-atmosphere environmental data missions.
1998 – The United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee begins impeachment hearings against U.S. President Bill Clinton.
2001 – President Bush signs the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, creating the Transportation Security Administration. It also required programs for the inspection of air travel checked baggage within 60 days and a requirement for security screeners to be US citizens within a year.
2001 – The United States accused Iraq and North Korea of developing germ warfare programs.
2001 – Some Taliban began secret negotiations for the surrender of Kandahar. They said outside forces had taken over their movement and named: the int’l. drug mafia, int’l. terrorists, the puritanical Wahabi school of Sunni Islam, and Pakistan intelligence.
2001 – Egypt and Syria confirmed the extradition of Rifai Ahmed Taha, a former aide to Osama bin Laden, from Syria to Egypt.
2002 – UN weapons inspectors wrapped up a two-day visit to Iraq.
2003 – An American guided missile frigate sailed into Ho Chi Minh City flying the US and Vietnamese flags, becoming the first US warship to dock in the communist country since the Vietnam War.
2008 – NASA successfully tests the first deep-space communications protocol to pave the way for Interplanetary Internet.
2011 – The United States successfully tests a new hypersonic weapon system, capable of striking targets 3,700 kilometres (2,300 mi) away in under 30 minutes, as part of its Prompt Global Strike program.
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