1774 – A congress of colonial leaders criticized British influence in the colonies and affirmed their right to “Life, liberty and property.”
1778 – Captain Cook discovered Maui in the Sandwich Islands, later named Hawaii.
1783 – The city of Annapolis, Maryland, was the first peacetime U.S. capital. The U.S. Congress met at Annapolis November 26, 1783-June 3, 1784, following the signing of the Treaty of Paris on September 3, 1783, formally ending hostilities between Great Britain and her former colony. New York was the capital from 1785 until 1790, followed by Philadelphia until 1800 and then Washington, D.C.
1789 – George Washington proclaimed this a National Thanksgiving Day in honor of the new Constitution. He made it clear that the day should be one of prayer and giving thanks to God, to be celebrated by all the religious denominations. This date was later used to set the date for Thanksgiving.
1847 – Navy LT William Lynch in Supply sails from New York to Haifa for an expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea. His group charted the Jordan River from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea and compiled reports of the flora and fauna of the area.
1861 – West Virginia was created as a result of dispute over slavery with Virginia.
1863 – The first of our modern annual Thanksgivings was held following the Oct 3 proclamation of Pres. Lincoln to assign the last Thursday in Nov for this purpose.
1863 – Union General George Meade moves against General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia after months of inaction following the Battle of Gettysburg. Meade’s troops found no weaknesses in Lee’s lines, and the offensive was abandoned after only five days. Meade was under pressure from the Lincoln administration to act before the end of 1863. For months after Gettysburg, the two battered armies nursed their wounds and gazed warily at one another across the Rappahannock River. In October 1863, Lee attempted to move his army between the Union force and Washington, D.C., but his offensive failed at Bristoe Station. Now, Meade hoped to attack part of Lee’s army. On November 26, Meade sent three corps against Lee’s right flank around a small valley called Mine Run. Unfortunately for the Union, William French’s Third Corps took the wrong road and did not cross the Rapidan River (just south of the Rappahannock) on time. Lee moved part of his army east to meet the threat. While French’s corps wandered in the Virginia wilderness, Confederate General Edward Johnson moved to block their advance. French’s men fought Johnson’s at Payne’s Farm; French suffered 950 men killed and wounded to Johnson’s 545. The blunder cost the Union heavily. Lee’s men took up strong positions along Mine Run, and Meade realized that to attack head on would be foolish. By December 1, Meade began pulling his men back across the Rappahannock River and into winter quarters. There would be no further activity between the two great armies until spring.
1864 – Skirmish at Sylvan Brutal and Waynesboro, Georgia.
1864 – Colonel Kit Carson led the attack in the First Battle of Adobe Walls. Col. Christopher (Kit) Carson, commanding the First Cavalry, New Mexico Volunteers, was ordered to lead an expedition against the winter campgrounds of the Comanches and Kiowas, believed to be somewhere on the south side of the Canadian. On November 10 he arrived at Fort Bascom with fourteen officers, 321 enlisted men, and seventy-five Ute and Jicarilla Apache scouts and fighters he had recruited from Lucien Maxwell’s ranch near Cimarron, New Mexico. Two days later the column, supplied with two mountain howitzers under the command of Lt. George H. Pettis, twenty-seven wagons, an ambulance, and forty-five days’ rations, marched down the Canadian into the Panhandle of Texas. Carson’s destination was Adobe Walls, where he had been employed by Bent nearly twenty years earlier. After a delay caused by snowstorms the column set up camp for the night of November 25 at Mule Springs, in what is now Moore County, thirty miles west of Adobe Walls. Two of Carson’s scouts reported the presence of a large group of Indians, who had recently moved into and around Adobe Walls with many horses and cattle. Carson immediately ordered all cavalry units and the two howitzers to move forward, leaving the infantry under Lt. Col. Francisco P. Abreau to follow later with the supply train. After covering fifteen miles Carson halted to await the dawn. No loud talking or fires were permitted, and a late-night frost added to the men’s discomfort. At about 8:30 A.M. Carson’s cavalry attacked Dohäsan’s Kiowa village of 150 lodges, routing the old chief and most of the other inhabitants, who spread the alarm to several Comanche groups. Pushing on to Adobe Walls, Carson forted up about 10 A.M., using one corner of the ruins for a hospital. One of the several Indian encampments in the vicinity, a Comanche village of 500 lodges, was within a mile of Adobe Walls. The Indians numbered between 3,000 and 7,000, far greater opposition than Carson had anticipated. Sporadic attacks and counterattacks continued during the day, but the Indians were disconcerted by the howitzers, which had been strategically positioned atop a small rise. Dohäsan led many charges, ably assisted by Stumbling Bear and Satanta; indeed, Satanta was said to have sounded bugle calls back to Carson’s bugler. With supplies and ammunition running low by late afternoon, Carson ordered his troops to withdraw to protect his rear and keep the way open to his supply train. Seeing this, the Indians tried to block his retreat by torching the tall bottomland grass near the river, but Carson set his own fires and withdrew to higher ground, where the battery continued to hold off the attacking warriors. At dusk Carson ordered a force to burn the Kiowa and Kiowa-Apache lodges, which the soldiers had attacked that morning. The Kiowa-Apache chief, Iron Shirt, was killed when he refused to leave his tepee. Concerned with protecting the supply wagons and Abreau’s infantry column moving up from Mule Springs, Carson decided to retreat. The reunited forces encamped for the night, and on the morning of November 27 Carson ordered a general withdrawal from the area. In all, Carson’s troops and Indian scouts lost three killed and twenty-five wounded, three of whom later died. Indian casualties were estimated at 100 to 150. In addition 176 lodges, along with numerous buffalo robes and winter provisions, as well as Dohäsan’s army ambulance wagon, had been destroyed. One Comanche scalp was reported taken by a young Mexican volunteer in Carson’s expedition, which disbanded after returning to Fort Bascom without further incident. General Carleton lauded Carson’s retreat in the face of overwhelming odds as an outstanding military accomplishment; though the former mountain man was unable to strike a killing blow, he is generally credited with a decisive victory. Carson afterward contended that if Adobe Walls was to be reoccupied, at least 1,000 fully equipped troops would be required. The first eyewitness account of the battle other than Carson’s military correspondence was published in 1877 by George Pettis, who had served as the expedition’s artillery officer.
1917 – Bolsheviks offered armistice between Russian and the Central Powers.
1933 – Fifteen thousand people in San Jose, California, storm the jail where Thomas Thurmond and John Holmes are being held as suspects in the kidnapping and murder of Brooke Hart, the 22-year-old son of a local storeowner. The mob of angry citizens proceeded to lynch the accused men and then pose them for pictures. On November 9, Brooke Hart was abducted by men in a Studebaker. His family received a $40,000 ransom demand and, soon after, Hart’s wallet was found on a tanker ship in a nearby bay. The investigative trail led to Holmes and Thurmond, who implicated each other in separate confessions. Both acknowledged, though, that Hart had been pistol-whipped and then thrown off the San Mateo Bridge. After Hart’s body washed ashore on November 25, a vigilante mob began to form. Newspapers reported the possibility of a lynching and local radio stations broadcast the plan. Not only did Governor James Rolph reject the National Guard’s offer to send assistance, he reportedly said he would pardon those involved in the lynching. On November 26, the angry mob converged at the jail and beat the guards, using a battering ram to break into the cells. Thurmond and Holmes were dragged out and hanged from large trees in a nearby park. The public seemed to welcome the gruesome act of vigilante violence. After the incident, pieces of the lynching ropes were sold to the public. Though the San Jose News declined to publish pictures of the lynching, it condoned the act in an editorial. Eighteen-year-old Anthony Cataldi bragged that he had been the leader of the mob but he was not held accountable for his participation. At Stanford University, a professor asked his students to stand and applaud the lynching. Perhaps most disturbing, Governor Rolph publicly praised the mob. “The best lesson ever given the country,” said Governor Rolph. “I would like to parole all kidnappers in San Quentin to the fine, patriotic citizens of San Jose.”
1940 – Sixth and last group of ships involved in Destroyers-for-Bases Agreement transferred to British at Nova Scotia.
1941 – President Roosevelt and Secretary Hull decide to present a 10 point note to the Japanese Government requiring their withdrawal from Indochina and China, and their recognition of the Chinese Nationalist Government. The tone of the note is uncompromising on these points, but promises to negotiate new trade and raw material agreements.
1941 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a bill officially establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day. The tradition of celebrating the holiday on Thursday dates back to the early history of the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies, when post-harvest holidays were celebrated on the weekday regularly set aside as “Lecture Day,” a midweek church meeting where topical sermons were presented. A famous Thanksgiving observance occurred in the autumn of 1621, when Plymouth governor William Bradford invited local Indians to join the Pilgrims in a three-day festival held in gratitude for the bounty of the season. Thanksgiving became an annual custom throughout New England in the 17th century, and in 1777 the Continental Congress declared the first national American Thanksgiving following the Patriot victory at Saratoga. In 1789, President George Washington became the first president to proclaim a Thanksgiving holiday, when, at the request of Congress, he proclaimed November 26, a Tuesday, as a day of national thanksgiving for the U.S. Constitution. However, it was not until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to fall on the last Thursday of November, that the modern holiday was celebrated nationally. With a few deviations, Lincoln’s precedent was followed annually by every subsequent president–until 1939. In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt departed from tradition by declaring November 23, the next to last Thursday that year, as Thanksgiving Day. Considerable controversy surrounded this deviation, and some Americans refused to honor Roosevelt’s declaration. For the next two years, Roosevelt repeated the unpopular proclamation, but on November 26, 1941, he admitted his mistake and signed a bill into law officially making the last Thursday in November the national holiday of Thanksgiving Day.
1941 – Adm. Chuichi Nagumo leads the Japanese First Air Fleet, an aircraft carrier strike force, toward Pearl Harbor, with the understanding that should “negotiations with the United States reach a successful conclusion, the task force will immediately put about and return to the homeland.” Negotiations had been ongoing for months. Japan wanted an end to U.S. economic sanctions. The Americans wanted Japan out of China and Southeast Asia-and to repudiate the Tripartite “Axis” Pact with Germany and Italy as conditions to be met before those sanctions could be lifted. Neither side was budging. President Roosevelt and Secretary of State Cordell Hull were anticipating a Japanese strike as retaliation-they just didn’t know where. The Philippines, Wake Island, Midway-all were possibilities. American intelligence reports had sighted the Japanese fleet movement out from Formosa (Taiwan), apparently headed for Indochina. As a result of this “bad faith” action, President Roosevelt ordered that a conciliatory gesture of resuming monthly oil supplies for Japanese civilian needs canceled. Hull also rejected Tokyo’s “Plan B,” a temporary relaxation of the crisis, and of sanctions, but without any concessions on Japan’s part. Prime Minister Tojo considered this an ultimatum, and more or less gave up on diplomatic channels as the means of resolving the impasse. Nagumo had no experience with naval aviation, having never commanded a fleet of aircraft carriers in his life. This role was a reward for a lifetime of faithful service. Nagumo, while a man of action, did not like taking unnecessary risks-which he considered an attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor to be. But Chief of Staff Rear Adm. Isoruku Yamamoto thought differently; while also opposing war with the United States, he believed the only hope for a Japanese victory was a swift surprise attack, via carrier warfare, against the U.S. fleet. And as far as the Roosevelt War Department was concerned, if war was inevitable, it desired “that Japan commit the first overt act.”
1942 – President Roosevelt ordered nationwide gasoline rationing, beginning Dec. 1.
1942 – The German held airfield at Djedeida, Tunisia is raided by a US tank battalion.
1942 – Despite the lose of a destroyer to air attack, the Japanese provide reinforcement of their troops at Buna, New Guinea.
1943 – During World War II, the HMT Rohna, a British transport ship carrying American soldiers, was hit by a German missile off Algeria; 1,138 men were killed, including 1,015 American troops.
1943 – Edward H “Butch” O’Hare, US pilot, lt-comdr (Chicago Airport named for him), died in battle.
1944 – Heinrich Himmler ordered the destruction of Auschwitz and Birkenau crematoriums.
1944 – The US 8th Air Force attacks Hanover (nominally the Misburg oil plant), Hamm (nominally the marshalling yards) and Bielefeld (nominally the railway viaduct). The Americans claim to have destroyed 138 German fighters for the loss of 36 bombers and 7 fighters.
1944 – The US 1st Army captures Weisweiler to the west of Cologne.
1944 – On Leyte, Japanese forces launch night attacks against US forces west of Burauen.
1950 – In some of the fiercest fighting of the Korean War, thousands of communist Chinese troops launch massive counterattacks against U.S. and Republic of Korea (ROK) troops, driving the Allied forces before them and putting an end to any thoughts for a quick or conclusive U.S. victory. When the counterattacks had been stemmed, U.S. and ROK forces had been driven from North Korea and the war settled into a grinding and frustrating stalemate for the next two-and-a-half years. In the weeks prior to the Chinese attacks, ROK and U.S. forces, under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, had succeeded in driving deeper into North Korea and were nearing the border with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The PRC issued warnings that the Allied forces should keep their distance, and beginning in October 1950 troops from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army began to cross the border to assist their North Korean ally. Their numbers grew to around 300,000 by early November. Some bloody encounters occurred between the Chinese and ROK and U.S. forces, but the Chinese troops suddenly broke off offensive operations on November 6. This spurred MacArthur, who had always discounted the military effectiveness of the Chinese troops, to propose a massive new offensive by U.S. and ROK forces. Alternately referred to as the “End the War” or “Home by Christmas” offensive, the attack began on November 24. The offensive almost immediately encountered heavy resistance, and by November 26 the Chinese were launching destructive counterattacks along a 25-mile front. By December, U.S. and ROK forces had been pushed out of North Korea. Eventually, U.S. and ROK forces stopped the Chinese troops and the war settled into a military stalemate. The massive Chinese attack brought an end to any thoughts that U.S. boys would be “home by Christmas.” It also raised the specter of the war expanding beyond the borders of the Korean peninsula, something U.S. policymakers-leery of becoming entangled in a land war in Asia that might escalate into a nuclear confrontation with the Soviets-were anxious to avoid.
1968 – While returning to base from another mission, Air Force 1st Lt. James P. Fleming and four other Bell UH-1F helicopter pilots get an urgent message from an Army Special Forces team pinned down by enemy fire. Although several of the other helicopters had to leave the area because of low fuel, Lieutenant Fleming and another pilot pressed on with the rescue effort. The first attempt failed because of intense ground fire, but refusing to abandon the Army green berets, Fleming managed to land and pick up the team. When he safely arrived at his base near Duc Co, it was discovered that his aircraft was nearly out of fuel. Lieutenant Fleming was later awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.
1969 – Lottery for Selective Service draftees bill was signed by President Nixon.
1973 – President Nixon’s personal secretary, Rose Mary Woods, told a federal court that she’d accidentally caused part of the 18 1/2-minute gap in a key Watergate tape.
1975 – A federal jury in Sacramento, Calif., found Lynette Fromme, a follower of Charles Manson, guilty of trying to assassinate President Ford.
1985 – Movie-star-turned-conservative-hero President Ronald Reagan added the title of record-setting author to his resume, as Random House handed the president an unprecedented $3 million for the rights to publish his autobiography.
1986 – President Reagan appointed a commission headed by former Sen. John Tower to investigate his National Security Council staff in the wake of the Iran-Contra affair.
1987 – Cuban detainees concerned about the possibility of being sent back to Cuba continued to hold hostages at a prison in Atlanta and a detention center in Oakdale, La.
1990 – The Delta II rocket makes its maiden flight. Delta II is an American space launch system, originally designed and built by McDonnell Douglas. Delta II is part of the Delta rocket family and entered service in 1989. Delta II vehicles included the Delta 6000, and two Delta 7000 variants (“Light” and “Heavy”).
1991 – The Stars and Stripes were lowered for the last time at Clark Air Base in Angeles City, Philippines, as the United States abandoned one of its oldest and largest overseas installations, which was damaged by a volcano.
1993 – A U.S. diplomat was kidnapped by Yemeni tribesmen. Government officials negotiate for his release in the first known kidnapping of a diplomat in faction-ridden Yemen.
1997 – In a small but symbolic step, the United States and North Korea held high-level discussions at the State Department for the first time.
1997 – In Iraq Sadam Hussein invited foreign diplomats but not weapons inspectors to examine his presidential palaces. Under heavy international pressure Saddam Hussein said he would allow visits to presidential palaces where U.N. weapons experts suspected he might be hiding chemical and biological weapons.
2000 – In Florida Sec. of State Katherine Harris certified Gov. George W. Bush as winner in the state’s presidential election, 2,912,790 to 2,912,253, a 537-vote margin.
2001 – After nine days of heavy fighting and American aerial bombardment, Taliban fighters surrendered to Northern Alliance forces. Shortly before the surrender, Pakistani aircraft arrived ostensibly to evacuate a few hundred intelligence and military personnel who had been in Afghanistan previous to the U.S. invasion for the purpose of aiding the Taliban’s ongoing fight against the Northern Alliance.
2001 – The Taliban surrendered the border town of Spin Buldak as US Marines directed air attacks on a column of enemy vehicles. Fighting continued with prisoners at Qala Jangi and most were reported killed along with 40-50 Northern Alliance soldiers.
2001 – French and Belgian police arrested 14 people suspected of organizing the Sep 9 assassination of Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Masood. Belgium released 12 of its suspects the next day.
2001 – 15 Taliban armored vehicles approached Camp Rhino, south of Kandahar, and were attacked by helicopter gunships, destroying many of them. Meanwhile, airstrikes continued to pound Taliban positions inside the city, where Mullah Omar remained. Omar remained defiant although his movement controlled only 4 out of 30 Afghan provinces by the end of November. He called on his forces to fight to the death.
2002 – Iraqi air defense units fired at American and British warplanes that carried out dozens of sorties in the country.
2002 – President George W. Bush signed into law a bill that created the Department of Homeland Security, the largest reorganization of the federal government in fifty years. The Coast Guard was one of a number of agencies that transferred to the new Department; the transfer is scheduled to go into effect on 1 March 2003.
2003 – The UN nuclear watchdog agency, IAEA, condemned Iran over an 18-year cover-up of its nuclear energy program and said future violations of non-proliferation obligations would not be tolerated.
2005 – In Baghdad, Iraq, assailants kidnapped four humanitarian aid workers (one US national, one UK national, and two Canadian nationals). On 7 March 2006, a video of the hostages was shown by al-Jazeera TV, dated 28 February 2006, showing only the UK and Canadian hostages.
2005 – At about 11:00 AM, in Baghdad, Iraq, assailants detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) as a US military patrol passed, killing four civilians, wounding four others and one US contractor, and damaging two civilian vehicles and several nearby homes, but leaving the patrol unharmed. No group claimed responsibility.
2011 – NASA launches the robotic Mars Science Laboratory, the largest rover yet sent to Mars, with the aim of finding evidence for past or present life on Mars
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