1780 – British spy John Andre was hanged in Tappan, N.Y., for conspiring with Benedict Arnold. The Andre Monument in Tappan commemorates the hanging of Maj. John Andre, the British spymaster who was captured shortly after he was given the plans to West Point by Benedict Arnold.
1789 – Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton asked collectors of customs to report on expediency of employing boats for the “security of the revenue against contraband.” Hamilton’s plan proposed customs duties and tonnage taxes that discriminated against foreign goods and ships. This Tariff would need to be enforced due to smuggling and to ensure proper duties and taxes were paid. (Alternately known as the system of cutters, Revenue Service, and Revenue-Marine this service would officially be named the Revenue Cutter Service and would eventually become the United States Coast Guard.
1799 – Establishment of Washington Navy Yard. The Washington Navy Yard is the U.S. Navy’s oldest shore establishment, in operation since the first decade of the 19th century. It evolved from a shipbuilding center to an ordnance plant and then to the ceremonial and administrative center for the Navy. The yard is home to the Chief of Naval Operations and is headquarters for the Naval Historical Center, the Marine Corps Historical Center, and numerous naval commands.
1800 – Nat Turner was born in Southampton County, Virginia. As a young boy, Turner was recognized as being highly intelligent. His keen sense was noticed when he was about three or four years old. While he was playing with other children, his mother overheard him telling them about something that had happened before he was born. She asked him details about the incident, and it confirmed that he knew about this past event. Thereafter, other slaves believed that in addition to his unique perception, his physical markings were a sign that he would be a prophet. In adulthood, he became a preacher. As a young man, he began having visions that he believed were from God. Turner had three visions prior to the rebellion in 1831. His first vision occurred in 1821, after he had run away. While hiding out in the woods, he was prompted to return after a vision from the Spirit who directed him to “return to the service of my earthly master.” After thirty days in the woods, he returned to his master. His second vision came in 1825 after he had seen “lights in the sky.” He prayed to find out what it meant. His prayers were answered when “. . . while laboring in the field, I discovered drops of blood on the corn, as though it were dew from heaven . . . I then found on the leaves in the woods hieroglyphic characters and numbers, with the forces of men in different attitudes, portrayed in blood, and representing the figures I had seen before in the heavens.” On May 12, 1828 he had his third vision. He “. . . heard a loud noise in the heavens, and the Spirit instantly appeared to me and said the Serpent was loosened, and Christ had laid down the yoke he had borne for the sins of men, and that I should take it on and fight against the Serpent, for the time was fast approaching when the first should be last and the last should be first. . . . And by signs in the heavens that it would make known to me when I should commence the great work . . .” Then in February of 1831, an eclipse of the sun occurred, and Turner believed that this was a sign to begin planning. He told four other slaves, and they planned the attack for the 4th of July, but they had to cancel due to Turner being ill. Plans were postponed until August 20th. On that evening, Turner and six other men met in the woods, and at 2:00 a.m. they set out for the house of Turner’s master. There they killed his master’s entire family and proceeded to go house-to-house, sparing no one. In the process, they had gained the assistance of 40 slaves who helped kill at least 55 white people. The rebellion came to an end when Turner and the other slaves were pursued by the militia. During the pursuit, some slaves were captured, and about 15 were hanged. Turner escaped and hid out for about six weeks until he was captured, imprisoned, and on November 5, 1831, he was sentenced to execution. While in prison, he dictated his confession to Thomas R. Gray. On November 11, he was hanged and skinned. As a result of the insurrection, Virginia debated about ending slavery but decided against it. Instead, more stringent laws were imposed upon both free blacks and slaves.
1835 – The first battle of the Texas Revolution took place as American settlers defeated a Mexican cavalry near the Guadalupe River. When Domingo de Ugartechea, military commander in Texas, received word that the American colonists of Gonzales refused to surrender a small cannon that had been given that settlement in 1831 as a defense against the Indians, he dispatched Francisco de Castañeda and 100 dragoons to retrieve it. Ugartechea realized that, given the tensions between the Texans and Antonio López de Santa Anna’s Centralist government, the slightest provocation might ignite hostilities. He therefore instructed Castañeda to use force if necessary but to avoid open conflict if possible. The company rode out of San Antonio de Béxar on September 27, 1835. When Castañeda’s troops reached the Guadalupe River opposite Gonzales on September 29 they found their path blocked by high water and eighteen militiamen (later called the Old Eighteen). Castañeda announced that he carried a dispatch for alcalde Andrew Ponton but was informed that he was out of town and that the Mexican dragoons would have to wait on the west side of the river until he returned. Unable to proceed, Castañeda pitched camp 300 yards from the ford. As he awaited word from the absent alcalde, the men of Gonzales summoned reinforcements from several of the surrounding settlements. Later, a Coushatta Indian entered the Mexican camp and informed Castañeda that the number of Texan volunteers now numbered at least 140 and more were expected. Knowing he could not force the guarded crossing, Castañeda abandoned his campsite near the ford and marched his troops in search of another place not so well defended, where he could “cross without any embarrassment.” Around sundown on October 1 he ordered his dragoons to pitch camp seven miles upriver from the contested ford on land belonging to colonist Ezekiel Williams. The Texans were also on the move. On the night of October 1 their troops crossed to the west bank of the Guadalupe and marched upriver toward Castañeda’s new camp. On the morning of October 2 they attacked the Mexicans, and Castañeda ordered his men to fall back to a low rise behind their camp. During a lull in the fighting Castañeda arranged a parley with Texan commander John Henry Moore. Castañeda inquired why he and his men had been attacked without provocation, and Moore replied that the Texans were fighting to keep their cannon and to uphold the Constitution of 1824. Castañeda then assured Moore that he was himself a Federalist and personally opposed to the policies of Santa Anna. He added that he had no wish to fight colonists; he only had orders to reclaim the cannon. Moore then invited Castañeda to join the Texans in their fight for the federal Constitution of 1824. Castañeda explained that as a soldier he was obliged to follow his orders, whether or not he agreed with the politics behind them. At that point negotiations broke down, and the two commanders returned to their respective units. When the fighting resumed, Castañeda, finding himself outnumbered and outgunned, ordered a withdrawal toward Bexar. He may also have been mindful of his orders not to participate in actions that were likely to bring about a conflict. In his report to Ugartechea, Castañeda stated that “since the orders from your Lordship were for me to withdraw without compromising the honor of Mexican arms, I did so.” Despite Castañeda’s efforts to avoid war, the so-called battle of Gonzales (which was really only a brief skirmish) marked a clear break between the American colonists and the Mexican government.
1862 – An Army under Union General Joseph Hooker arrived in Bridgeport, Alabama to support the Union forces at Chattanooga.
1864 – Union forces attack Saltville, Virginia, but are defeated by Confederate troops. The First Battle of Saltville was fought near the town of Saltville, Virginia, during the American Civil War. The battle was fought by both regular and Home Guard Confederate units against regular Union troops, including one of the few black cavalry units, over an important saltworks in the town. The Union troops were led by Brig. Gen. Stephen G. Burbridge. The battle was a Confederate victory, but it has become better known for a massacre that happened afterward. Irregular guerrilla forces under the notorious Champ Ferguson murdered white and black Union soldiers, who had been wounded and captured. Ferguson was tried after the war in Nashville, Tennessee, for these and other non-military killings. He was found guilty and executed. A second battle occurred two months later at Saltville. In that encounter, Union general George Stoneman defeated Confederate defenders and burned the saltworks.
1865 – Former Confederate General Robert E. Lee became president of Washington and Lee University in Virginia.
1889 – In Colorado, Nicholas Creede strikes it rich in silver during the last great silver boom of the American Old West.
1918 – Marines participated in the Battle of Blanc Mont in France.
1919 – President Wilson suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed and Vice-President Thomas R. Marshall was urged to assume the presidency but he refused. It was Marshall who had earlier said: “What this country needs is a really good five-cent cigar.”
1939 – Foreign ministers of countries of the Western Hemisphere agree to establish a neutrality zone around the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North and South America to be enforced by the U. S. Navy. All belligerent actions by hostile powers are supposed to be forbidden in this zone.
1942 – Enrico Fermi and others demonstrated the 1st self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction under Stagg Field at the University of Chicago.
1942 – Major J. L. Smith shot down 18th Zero. He becomes the highest scoring ace to this date.
1942 – President Roosevelt is granted power to control wages, salaries and agricultural prices.
1942 – American forces begin to build a base on Funafuti Atoll in the Ellice Islands of the South Pacific.
1950 – The ROK Capital and 3rd Divisions seized Yangyang on the East Coast while in the southeast ROK Marines took the port of Mokpo. Chinese Foreign Minister Chou En-lai warned the Indian Ambassador in Beijing that if the Americans cross the 38th parallel China would enter the war.
1951 – Future jet ace Colonel Francis S. “Gabby” Gabreski, Vice Commander of the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, downed his third MiG-15 of the war in an F-86 Sabre jet. Colonel Gabreski was a leading World War II ace with 28 German aircraft kills while flying a P-47 Thunderbolt.
1963 – Defense Sec. Robert McNamara told Pres. Kennedy in a cabinet meeting that: “We need a way to get out of Vietnam.” McNamara proposed to replace the 16,000 US advisers with Canadian personnel.
1963 – Kennedy cables Lodge, based on information from General Taylor that the dissident generals have called off their coup plans, that no encouragement of a coup should be made.
1978 – Syrians and Palestinians on a shooting spree in East Beirut kill 1,300.
1982 – A carbomb attack in Teheran killed 60 and injured 700.
1986 – Sikhs attempted to assassinate Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
1990 – Allies ceded any remaining rights as occupiers of Germany.
1991 – Ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide asked the Organization of American States in Washington to send a delegation to his homeland to demand that the newly installed military junta surrender power immediately.
1994 – U.S. soldiers in Haiti detained several leaders of the country’s pro-army militias as part of an effort to dismantle armed opposition to restoration of elected rule.
1996 – The US Army prepared to shift 5,000 troops to Bosnia from Germany for 6-months to protect troops slated to leave.
1996 – The US meeting between Benjamin Netanyahu, Yasser Arafat and King Hussein ended with no specific issues resolved in the recent Middle East flare-up between Palestinians and Jews.
1997 – A Navy F-14 Tomcat fighter jet crashed off the coast of N. Carolina. One crew member was rescued but the pilot was still missing.
1999 – Russian troops engaged Chechen guerrilla defenders as armored columns rolled into the villages of Alpatova and Chernokosova.
2000 – Israeli troops fired on protesting Arabs. 19 people were killed in the West Bank and Gaza and another 7 in Arab towns of northern Galilee. The 5 day toll passed 51 with over 1,300 wounded.
2000 – In the Philippines soldiers freed 12 Christian evangelists from Abu Sayyaf rebels after one escaped and alerted the military. The guerrillas escaped with 5 remaining hostages.
2000 – In Sri Lanka a suspected suicide bomber killed at least 19 people at a political rally.
2001 – NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson said the United States had provided “clear and conclusive” evidence of Osama bin Laden’s involvement in the attacks on New York and Washington.
2001 – Acting Massachusetts Gov. Jane Swift unveiled security measures that included a new security chief at Logan International Airport, where hijackers boarded the two planes that smashed into the World Trade Center.
2001 – A US Treasury Dept official reported that over $100 million of suspected terrorist assets had been frozen in domestic and foreign banks since the Sep 11 attacks.
2001 – India demanded that Pakistan shut down the Jaish-e-Mohammed (Army of the Prophet Mohammad) militant group responsible for the Oct 1 attack in Srinagar that killed 40 people. India also asked the US to outlaw the group and to freeze its assets.
2001 – Palestinian gunmen attacked an Israeli settlement in Gaza and killed a teenage couple. At least 15 others were wounded. 2 gunmen were killed by Israeli sharpshooters.
2002 – James Martin (55) was shot to death by a sniper in Wheaton, Md. He was the 1st to die at the hands of a local serial killer. The next day, five people in the Washington D.C. area were shot dead, setting off a frantic manhunt.
2002 – Iraq said it would not accept any new U.N. resolution to cover the operations of arms inspectors on its soil and vowed it would hit back hard against any U.S. attack on Baghdad.
2002 – In the Philippines a bomb killed an American soldier in Zamboanga and was detonated by a Filipino on a motorcycle who died in the blast that killed one other person.
2003 – In Bahrain assailants hurled gasoline bombs at a busload of police officers, wounding five of them.
2003 – North Korea said it is using plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel rods to make atomic weapons.
2003 – Pakistan’s army launched its largest offensive against al-Qaeda and other militants in a rugged tribal region bordering Afghanistan, killing at least 12 suspects.
2004 – Afghan intelligence agents backed by international peacekeepers arrested 25 people allegedly linked to the Taliban and al-Qaida in an early morning raid in eastern Kabul.
2004 – A militant group in Iraq claimed in an Internet statement that it abducted and beheaded an Iraqi construction contractor who worked on a U.S. military base.
2014 – The United States partially lifts a long-time ban on lethal weapon sales to Vietnam to help it improve maritime security, a historic move that comes nearly 40 years after the end of the Vietnam War.
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