This Day in U.S. Military History…… November 28

28 November
1729 – Natchez Indians massacred most of the 300 French settlers and soldiers at Fort Rosalie, Louisiana.
1745 – French troops attacked Indians at Saratoga, NY. The Saratoga of 1745 was on the site of the present Schuylerville, NY, on the west bank of the Hudson River about eleven miles east of the present Saratoga Springs NY, and only about thirty miles north of Albany. The raiders were four hundred French troops and two hundred and twenty Indians of the Abnaki and Caughnawaga tribes. The Caughnawagas were a breakaway group from the Mohawk tribe. The Mohawks – eastern most among the six nations of the Iroquois League – were constrained by their proximity if nothing else to prefer the English, but at the time the official Iroquois position was one of neutrality. The Caughnawagas were a group of Mohawks who preferrred the French and had moved north and adopted the Caughnawaga name, but the Mohawks still considered them as wayward brothers. Thus it was unthinkable that the Mohawks would stop these raiders as they came through Mohawk territory on this raid. There was no serious opposition to the attack on Saratoga, which came at dawn. The town was burned so completely that the only structure left standing was a sawmill somewhat apart from the main part of town. The raiders killed or captured one hundred and one individuals, incluging the salves of the residents. The terrified citizens had helped the raiders by burning their own fort and fleeing down the Hudson. The Iroquois, no fools, had given a promise of alliance to the English, when the massive English Army they had been told was coming to crush the French appeared – of course there was never a plan to send any such English Army to NY. The debacle of Saratoga was further proof to the Iroquois that the English were not committed to fighting the French but were instead trying to get the Iroquois to do it for them.
1775 – The 2nd Continental Congress adopts first rules for regulation of the “Navy of the United Colonies.”
1785 – The first Treaty of Hopewell is signed. The Treaty of Hopewell is the title of any of three different treaties signed at Hopewell Plantation. The plantation was owned by Andrew Pickens, and was located on the Seneca River in northwestern South Carolina. The first treaty was signed between the Confederation Congress of the United States of America and the Cherokee people. The historic site of the ‘Treaty Oak’, where the signings took place, is on Old Cherry Road in Pickens County, South Carolina.
1795 – US paid $800,000 and a frigate as tribute to Algiers and Tunis.
1861 – The Confederate Congress admitted Missouri to the Confederacy, although Missouri had not yet seceded from the Union.
1862 – Union troops under General John Blunt drive Confederates under General John Marmaduke back into the Boston Mountains in northwestern Arkansas. The Battle of Cane Hill was part of a Confederate attempt to drive the Yankees back into Missouri and recapture ground lost during the Pea Ridge campaign of early 1862, when Union forces secured parts of northern Arkansas. Now, Confederate General Thomas Hindman moved his army of 11,000 soldiers into Fort Smith, Arkansas, and prepared to move across the Boston Mountains into the extreme northwestern corner of the state. Awaiting him there was Blunt with 5,000 troops. Hindman hoped to attack Blunt’s force, which was over 70 miles from the nearest Union reinforcements. Hindman dispatched Marmaduke and 2,000 cavalry troopers to hold Blunt in place while Hindman moved the rest of his force through the mountains. Blunt disrupted the Confederate plan by advancing south when he heard of Marmaduke’s approach. Marmaduke was not prepared to meet Blunt, who was 35 miles further south than expected. Marmaduke’s troops were surprised and outnumbered when Blunt suddenly attacked on November 28. Marmaduke began a hasty retreat and ordered General Joseph Shelby to fight a delaying action while the rest of the Confederates headed for the mountains. Blunt pursued Marmaduke’s forces for 12 miles before the Confederates reached the safety of the hills. Though the conflict lasted for nine hours, casualties were light. The Yankees suffered 41 men killed or wounded, while the Confederates lost 45. This small engagement was a prelude to a much larger clash at Prairie Grove, Arkansas, nine days later. Blunt’s advance left him dangerously isolated from Union forces in Springfield, Missouri, but when Hindman attacked again on December 7, he still failed to expel Blunt from northwestern Arkansas.
1871 – Ku Klux Klan trials began in Federal District Court in SC.
1872 – The Modoc War of 1872-73 began in Siskiyou County, northern California when fighting broke out between Modoc Chief Captain Jack and a cavalry detail led by Captain James Jackson. Brutally harsh conduct characterized white-Indian struggles in the Northwest, such as the 1,000-mile saga of the 1877 Nez Percé War and the Modoc War. Harvesters of fish and waterfowl, game, seeds and bulbs, the Modoc were a tribe of the I,utuamian stock. They lived on lava plateaus dotted with sage and the forested mountains of northern California and southern Oregon. Their houses, which resembled beehives, lined the banks of Lost River and the shores of Tule Lake. White settlers began to populate the attractive area in the 1860s. The Modoc resisted the encroachment at great cost and by 1864 the tribe had been reduced to about 250. Subsequently they surrendered their lands to the U.S. government and entered the former Klamath reservation in southern Oregon. They barely survived on the hardscrabble reservation. In 1870 Chief Kintpuash, also known as Captain Jack, directed some of his band to California. When the group subsequently refused to return to the reservation, attempts were made to force the Modocs’ return, which precipitated the war of 1872-1873. U.S. soldiers pursued the Indians to Tule Lake. There, lava beds and caves furnished nearly perfect fortifications for the quarry. The small band of about 150 poorly armed Indians held out for six months. Repeatedly repulsed, the soldiers enlarged their ranks to 1,000 by March 1873. In the course of peace talks, negotiators General E. R. S. Canby and Eleazer Thomas were killed. The soldiers grimly stepped up their struggle to overpower the Modoc. In 1873 Captain Jack and his whittled-down band of approximately 30 surrendered; he and three others were hanged. A number of the rebellious group were returned to Klamath Reservation, and the rest were sent to Quapaw Reservation in Oklahoma. The Klamath Reservation was disbanded in 1963, and the Native Americans on the Quapaw Reservation merged with other tribes.
1914 – Following a war-induced closure in July, the New York Stock Exchange re-opens for bond trading.
1929 – Commander Richard E. Byrd completed the first South Pole flight.
1941 – The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise departed Pearl Harbor to deliver F4F Wildcat fighters to Wake Island. This mission saved the carrier from destruction when the Japanese attacked.
1942 – Coffee rationing went into effect in the U.S., lasting through World War II.
1942 – British and American forces of the brigade strength take Djedeida. However German forces are advancing from St. Cyprien at their rear.
1942 – The first production Ford bomber, the B-24 Liberator, rolled off the assembly line at Ford’s massive Willow Run plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Two years before, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had urged an isolationist America to prepare for its inevitable involvement in the war, declaring that U.S. industry must become “the great arsenal of democracy.” Roosevelt established the Office of Production Management (OPM) to organize the war effort, and named a former automotive executive co-director of the OPM. Most Detroit automobile executives opposed the OAW during its first year, and were dubious of the advantages of devoting their entire production to war material. However, on December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and American citizens mobilized behind the U.S. declaration of war against the Axis powers. Since profit ruled Detroit, the government made Ford and America’s other automakers an economic offer they could not refuse. For their participation in the war effort, automakers would be guaranteed profits regardless of production costs, and $11 billion would be allocated to the building of war plants–factories that would be sold to private industry at a substantial discount after the war. In February of 1942, the last Ford automobile rolled off the assembly line for the duration of the war, and soon afterward the Willow Run plant was completed in Michigan. Built specifically for Ford’s war production, Willow Run was the largest factory in the world. Using the type of assembly line production that had made Ford an industrial giant, Ford hoped to produce 500 B-24 Liberator bombers a month. After a gradual start, that figure was reached in time for the Allied invasion of Western Europe, and by July of 1944, the Willow Plant was producing one B-24 every hour. By the end of the war, the 43,000 men and women who had worked at Ford’s Willow Run plant had produced over 8,500 bombers, which unquestionably had a significant impact on the course of the war.
1943 – The Teheran Conference begins. Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin and their staffs meet for the first time. The Americans appear to be attempting to distance themselves from the British during the discussions.
1944 – The first Allied convoy reaches Antwerp which is now operational after extensive repairs and mine clearing. Distribution of supplies to the Allied armies in the field remains a difficulty.
1944 – On Leyte, Japanese night attacks continue. There is heavy fighting at Kilay Ridge in the north and around Buri and Burauen.
1950 – Lieutenant General Walton Walker announced that the Eighth Army offensive was at an end. In Tokyo, General Douglas MacArthur announced an “entirely new war.”
1954 – Nobel Prize-winning physicist Enrico Fermi, the first man to create and control a nuclear chain reaction, and one of the Manhattan Project scientists, dies in Chicago at the age of 53. Fermi was born in Rome on September 1, 1901. He made his career choice of physicist at age 17, and earned his doctorate at the University of Pisa at 21. After studying in Germany under physicist Max Born, famous for his work on quantum mechanics, which would prove vital to Fermi’s later work, he returned to Italy to teach mathematics at the University of Florence. By 1926, he had been made a full professor of theoretical physics and gathered around him a group of other young physicists. In 1929, he became the youngest man ever elected to the Royal Academy of Italy. The theoretical became displaced by the practical for Fermi upon learning of England’s Sir James Chadwick’s discovery of the neutron and the Curies’ production of artificial radioactivity. Fermi went to work on producing radioactivity by means of manipulating the speed of neutrons derived from radioactive beryllium. Further similar experimentation with other elements, including uranium 92, produced new radioactive substances; Fermi’s colleagues believed he had created a new, “transuranic” element with an atomic number of 93, the result of uranium 92 capturing a neuron while under bombardment, thus increasing its atomic weight. Fermi remained skeptical, despite his fellow physicists’ enthusiasm. He became a believer in 1938, when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for “his identification of new radioactive elements.” Although travel was restricted for men whose work was deemed vital to national security, Fermi was given permission to go to Sweden to receive his prize. He and his wife, Laura, who was Jewish, never returned; both feared and despised Mussolini’s fascist regime. Fermi left Sweden for New York City, Columbia University, specifically, where he recreated many of his experiments with Niels Bohr, the Danish-born physicist, who suggested the possibility of a nuclear chain reaction. Fermi and others saw the possible military applications of such an explosive power, and quickly composed a letter warning President Roosevelt of the perils of a German atomic bomb. The letter was signed and delivered to the president by Albert Einstein on October 11, 1939. The Manhattan Project, the American program to create its own atomic bomb, was the result. It fell to Fermi to produce the first nuclear chain reaction, without which such a bomb was impossible. He created a jury-rigged laboratory, complete with his own “atomic pile,” in a squash court in the basement of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago. It was there that Fermi, with other physicists looking on, produced the first controlled chain reaction on December 2, 1942. The nuclear age was born. “The Italian navigator has just landed in the new world,” was the coded message sent to a delighted President Roosevelt. The first nuclear device, the creation of the Manhattan Project scientists, was tested on July 16, 1945. It was followed less than a month later by the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the war, Fermi, now an American citizen, became a Distinguished Service Professor of Nuclear Studies at the University of Chicago, consulting on the construction of the first large-particle accelerator. He went on to receive the Congressional Medal of Merit and to be elected a foreign member of the Royal Society of London. Among other honors accorded to Fermi: The element number 100, fermium, was named for him. Also, the Enrico Fermi Award, now one of the oldest and most prestigious science and technology awards given by the U.S. government, was created in his honor.
1958 – The US reported the first full-range firing of an ICBM.
1963 – Just six days after the assassination of President Kennedy, President Johnson announced that the Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida, would be renamed “The John F. Kennedy Space Center.” Residents voted in 1973 to change the name back to Cape Canaveral.
1964 – The US Mariner IV space probe was launched from Cape Kennedy on a course to Mars. It later flew by Mars in Jul 1965 and saw craters but no canals.
1964 – President Lyndon Johnson’s top advisers–Maxwell Taylor, Dean Rusk, Robert McNamara, and other members of the National Security Council–agree to recommend that the president adopt a plan for a two-stage escalation of the bombing of North Vietnam. The purpose of this bombing was three-fold: to boost South Vietnamese morale, to cut down infiltration of Communist troops from the north, and to force Hanoi to stop its support of the insurgency in South Vietnam. While his advisors agreed that bombing was necessary, there was a difference of opinion about the best way to go about it. Johnson’s senior military advisers pressed for a “fast and full squeeze,” massive attacks against major industries and military targets in the north. His civilian advisers advocated a “slow squeeze,” a graduated series of attacks beginning with the infiltration routes in Laos and slowly extending to the targets in North Vietnam. Ultimately, the civilian advisers convinced Johnson to use the graduated approach. The bombing campaign, code-named Rolling Thunder, began in March 1965 and lasted through October 1968.
1965 – President Elect Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines states that he will send troops to South Vietnam, in response to President Lyndon Johnson’s call for “more flags” in Vietnam. Johnson hoped to enlist other nations to send military aid and troops to support the American cause in South Vietnam. The level of support was not the primary issue; Johnson wanted to portray international solidarity and consensus for U.S. policies in Southeast Asia. The Philippines sent a 1,500-man civic action force in 1966; the United States paid for the group’s operating costs and also provided additional military and economic aid to Marcos in return for sending his troops. Several other countries–including Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, and Thailand–responded to Johnson’s call and sent troops to South Vietnam. Collectively, these troops were known as the Free World Military Forces, and they fought alongside American and South Vietnamese troops.
1983 – The space shuttle Columbia blasted into orbit, carrying six astronauts who conducted experiments using the $1 billion Spacelab in the shuttle’s cargo bay.
1985 – Astronauts aboard the space shuttle Atlantis celebrated Thanksgiving with a dinner of irradiated turkey and freeze-dried vegetables, and launched a satellite from the cargo bay.
1986 – The United States under the Reagan administration violated ceilings in the unratified SALT II nuclear arms treaty for the first time as another Air Force B-52 bomber capable of carrying atomic-tipped cruise missiles became operational.
1995 – President Clinton continued to press his case for sending 20,000 US ground troops to Bosnia. President Clinton signed a $6 billion road bill that ended the federal 55 mile-an-hour speed limit.
1996 – A stuck hatch on the space shuttle Columbia prevented two astronauts from going on a spacewalk. A second planned spacewalk also had to be canceled; engineers later discovered a loose screw had jammed the hatch mechanism.
2001 – Officials recovered the body of CIA officer Johnny “Mike” Spann from a prison compound in Mazar-e-Sharif after northern alliance rebels backed by U.S. airstrikes and special forces quelled an uprising by Taliban and al-Qaida prisoners.
2001 – Ahmed Abdel-Rahman (35), a top al Qaeda operative and son of the blind sheik linked to the 1993 WTC bombing, was captured by anti-Taliban forces. The Taliban said some 600 people including 450 prisoners were killed in the uprising at Qala Jangi. US bombing continued with intermittent strikes.
2013 – The US offers to destroy Syria chemical weapons at sea using the US Navy auxiliary vessel MV Cape Ray (T-AKR-9679).

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