This Day in U.S. Military History…… October 27

27 October
1682 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is founded. William Penn founded the city to serve as capital of Pennsylvania Colony. By the 1750s, Philadelphia had surpassed Boston to become the largest city and busiest port in British America, and second in the British Empire, behind London. During the American Revolution, Philadelphia played an instrumental role as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States, who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787. Philadelphia was one of the nation’s capitals during the Revolutionary War, and the city served as the temporary U.S. capital while Washington, D.C., was under construction. During the 19th century, Philadelphia became a major industrial center and railroad hub that grew from an influx of European immigrants. It became a prime destination for African Americans during the Great Migration and surpassed two million occupants by 1950.
1728 – Captain James Cook (d.1779), explorer, was born in Scotland. His discoveries included the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii).
1787 – The first of the Federalist Papers, a series of 77 essays calling for ratification of the U.S. Constitution, was published in a New York newspaper. The essays by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay were later published as “The Federalist Papers.”
1795 – In Madrid, the United States and Spain signed the Treaty of San Lorenzo (also known as Pinckney’s Treaty), which provided for free navigation of the Mississippi River. The Treaty of San Lorenzo between Spain and the United States played a major role in the expansion of the infant nation’s boundaries. Preceded by the acquisition of lands set forth by the Northwest Ordinance eight years earlier, and soon-to-be followed by the Louisiana Purchase eight years later, the Treaty of San Lorenzo (also known as Pinckney’s Treaty) opened up the Mississippi River to American navigation. Negotiated by Thomas Pinckney, America’s special envoy to Spain, the agreement also allowed western settlers the “right to deposit” their exports in New Orleans and to engage in commercial transactions within that city. This was of vital importance to the more than 100,000 westerners who lived in Kentucky and Tennessee, and to the many thousands of settlers who lived in what is now Ohio. Under the treaty Spain officially recognized the southern and western boundaries of the U.S. as the 31st parallel and the Mississippi River. Thus, the treaty allowed the U.S. to gain access to the area now known as the states of Mississippi and Alabama.
1810 – President James Madison ordered the annexation of the western part of West Florida. Settlers there had rebelled against Spanish authority. A group of U.S. citizens captured the Spanish Fort San Carlos in Baton Rouge. They declared the independence of the “Republic of West Florida.” That same year, President James Madison claimed Florida from the Mississippi River to the Perdido River as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Spain criticized the action, but because it was involved in war with France, did not take action. In 1813, the United States took another piece of West Florida by annexing the land between the Pearl and the Perdido rivers.
1838 – Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs issues the Extermination Order, which orders all Mormons to leave the state or be exterminated. Missouri Executive Order 44, also known as the Extermination Order in Latter Day Saint history, was an executive order issued on October 27, 1838 by the governor of Missouri, Lilburn Boggs. It was issued in the aftermath of the Battle of Crooked River, a clash between Mormons and a unit of the Missouri State Guard in northern Ray County, Missouri, during the 1838 Mormon War. Claiming that the Mormons had committed “open and avowed defiance of the laws”, and had “made war upon the people of this State,” Boggs directed that “the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace—their outrages are beyond all description”. While Executive Order 44 is often referred to as the “Mormon Extermination Order” due to the phrasing used by Boggs, no one is known to have been killed by the militia or anyone else specifically because of it.
1858 – Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States (1901-1909) who was the namesake of the “Teddy” bear, was born in New York City. Today a reconstruction of the house is a National Historic Site and open to the public. The 26th president of the U.S., Roosevelt died on January 6, 1919. He wrote the 4-volume “The Winning of the West.” In 1996 The American Experience series broadcast a 4-hr. TV special that covered his life. His pursuit of boxing left him blind in one eye. He put 230 million acres of land under federal protection. “Death is always and under all circumstances a tragedy, for if it is not, then it means that life itself has become one.”
1862 – A Confederate force was routed at the Battle of Labadieville, near Bayou Lafourche in Louisiana. Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Butler, commanding Union forces in the Department of the Gulf, launched an expedition into the Bayou Lafourche region to eliminate the Rebel threat from that area, to make sure that sugar and cotton products from there would come into Union hands and, in the future, to use it as a base for other military operations. He organized a brigade of about 4,000 men under the command of his protege Brig. Gen. Godfrey Weitzel to accomplish the missions. On October 25, Weitzel and his men arrived at Donaldsonville, where the Lafourche meets the Mississippi, and began an advance up the east bank of the bayou. The Confederates under the command of Brig. Gen. Alfred Mouton attempted to concentrate to meet the threat. By the 27th, the Confederates had occupied a position on the bayou above Labadieville. A little more than half the force was on the east bank while the rest of the men were on the west bank near Georgia Landing, generally without means of concentrating on one side or the other. As the Federal troops continued down the east bank, they encountered the Rebels at about 11:00 am and began skirmishing. The Confederates fell back quickly. Weitzel then began crossing his men to the west bank to attack the Rebel troops there. For some time, these Confederate troops fought resolutely and brought the Union assault to a standstill. The Rebels, however, ran out of artillery ammunition and had to withdraw to Labadieville, opening up this portion of the Lafourche to the Union.
1864 – Battle of Boydton Plank Road, Va. (Burgess’ Mill, Southside Railroad). Directed by Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock, divisions from three Union corps (II, V, and IX) and Gregg’s cavalry division, numbering more than 30,000 men, withdrew from the Petersburg lines and marched west to operate against the Boydton Plank Road and South Side Railroad. The initial Union advance on October 27 gained the Boydton Plank Road, a major campaign objective. But that afternoon, a counterattack near Burgess’ Mill spearheaded by Maj. Gen. Henry Heth’s division and Maj. Gen. Wade Hampton’s cavalry isolated the II Corps and forced a retreat. The Confederates retained control of the Boydton Plank Road for the rest of the winter.1864 – Battle of Fair Oaks, Va. In combination with movements against the Boydton Plank Road at Petersburg, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler attacked the Richmond defenses along Darbytown Road with the X Corps. The XVIII Corps marched north to Fair Oaks where it was soundly repulsed by Field’s Confederate division. Confederate forces counterattacked, taking some 600 prisoners. The Richmond defenses remained intact. Of Grant’s offensives north of the James River, this was repulsed most easily.
1864 – LT William Cushing, USN, sinks Confederate ram Albemarle with a spar torpedo attached to the bow of his launch.
1873 – Farmer Joseph F. Glidden applied for a patent on barbed wire. Glidden eventually received five patents and is generally considered the inventor of barbed wire. [see Nov 24, 1874] Joseph Glidden and Isaac Ellwood formed a company in De Kalb, Illinois to manufacture barbed wire, an essential product of old West. Patents on barbed wire were granted as early as 1867, but Glidden was the first to devise a commercially viable way of producing it after seeing a sample of barbed wire at a fair in 1873. Glidden and Ellwood’s product greatly increased the use of barbed wire to protect crops and livestock from roaming cattle. Open ranges dramatically dwindled in the face of new fencing over the next two decades.
1913 – Pres. Wilson said US will never attack another country.
1918 – French 4th Army to the left [west] of the US 1st Army catches up to American front line. This is made possible by the success of two U.S. divisions, the 2nd and 36th, successfully capturing Blanc Mont Ridge in the Champagne and pursuing the enemy to the River Aisne.
1920 – League of Nations moved headquarters in Geneva.
1922 – Navy League of U.S. sponsors first annual celebration of Navy Day to focus public attention on the importance of the U.S. Navy. That date was selected because it was Theodore Roosevelt’s birthday.
1922 – In Italy, liberal Luigi Facta’s cabinet resigned after threats from Mussolini that “either the government will be given to us or we will seize it by marching on Rome.” Mussolini called for a general mobilization of all Fascists.
1930 – Ratifications exchanged in London for the first London Naval Treaty, signed in April modifying the 1925 Washington Naval Treaty and the arms limitation treaty’s modified provisions, go into effect immediately, further limiting the expensive naval arms race among its five signatories.
1939 – King Leopold III, in a broadcast to the USA, declares that Belgium is determined to defend its neutrality.
1939 – The US Senate approves amendments to the Neutrality Act, repealing the arms embargo provision.
1941 – In a broadcast to the nation on Navy Day, President Franklin Roosevelt declared: “America has been attacked, the shooting has started.” He did not ask for full-scale war yet, realizing that many Americans were not yet ready for such a step.
1941 – The Chicago Daily Tribune dismissed the possibility of war with Japan, editorializing, “She cannot attack us. That is a military impossibility. Even our base at Hawaii is beyond the effective striking power of her fleet.”
1942 – At Guadalcanal, the Japanese halt the offensive. They have suffered 3500 casualties with entire units being destroyed. Both sides are exhaustive by the heavy day and night fighting, but the initiative has passed to the Americans.
1943 – First women Marines report for duty on West Coast, Camp Pendleton.
1944 – On land, the US 7th Division (part of US 24th Corps) captures Buri Airfield. Meanwhile, the Tacloban airstrip, on Leyte, becomes operational and the US 9th Fighter Squadron flies the first mission by Philippines based American fighters since 1942. At sea, a group of 3 carriers commanded by Admiral Sherman attacks Japanese shipping around Luzon, sinking 2 destroyers. There are also air strikes on Luzon. The battleship USS California is damaged.
1952 – The 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing recorded its 50,000th combat sortie of the war.
1954 – Pres. Eisenhower offered aid to S. Vietnam Pres. Ngo Dinh Diem.
1954 – Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. becomes the first African-American general in the United States Air Force. Benjamin Oliver Davis Jr. (December 18, 1912 – July 4, 2002) was an American United States Air Force general and commander of the World War II Tuskegee Airmen. He was the first African-American general officer in the United States Air Force. On December 9, 1998, he was advanced to four-star general by President Bill Clinton. During World War II, Davis was commander of the 99th and the 332nd Fighter Group, which escorted bombers on air combat missions over Europe. Davis himself flew sixty missions in P-39, Curtiss P-40, P-47 and P-51 Mustang fighters. Davis followed in his father’s footsteps in breaking racial barriers, as Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. was the first African-American general in the United States Army.
1961 – The 1st Saturn launch vehicle made an unmanned flight test from Cape Canaveral. The Saturn rocket evolved from the idea of clustering a number of Jupiter engines around Redstone and Jupiter propellant tanks to build a large launch vehicle. These engines, whose thrust would total 1.5 million pounds (6.7 million newtons), would be mounted on a structure consisting of eight 70-inch (178-centimeter)-diameter tanks clustered around a single 105-inch (267-centimeter) Jupiter tank. The Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA) gave its approval to develop such a structure in August 1958. Development of the three-stage Saturn 1 began in December 1959. In early 1960, the second stage was changed so that six less powerful engines replaced the four 20,000-pound second-stage engines, and the third stage was eliminated. Assembly of the first flight vehicle began in May 1960.
1962 – Negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union finally result in a plan to end the two-week-old Cuban Missile Crisis. Since President John F. Kennedy’s October 22 address warning the Soviets to cease their reckless program to put nuclear weapons in Cuba and announcing a naval “quarantine” against additional weapons shipments into Cuba, the world held its breath waiting to see whether the two superpowers would come to blows. U.S. armed forces went on alert and the Strategic Air Command went to a Stage 4 alert (one step away from nuclear attack). On October 24, millions waited to see whether Soviet ships bound for Cuba carrying additional missiles would try to break the U.S. naval blockade around the island. At the last minute, the vessels turned around and returned to the Soviet Union. On October 26, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev responded to the quarantine by sending a long and rather disjointed letter to Kennedy offering a deal: Soviet ships bound for Cuba would “not carry any kind of armaments” if the United States vowed never to invade Cuba. He pleaded, “let us show good sense,” and appealed to Kennedy to “weigh well what the aggressive, piratical actions, which you have declared the U.S.A. intends to carry out in international waters, would lead to.” He followed this with another letter the next day offering to remove the missiles from Cuba if the United States would remove its nuclear missiles from Turkey. Kennedy and his officials debated the proper U.S. response to these offers. Attorney General Robert Kennedy ultimately devised an acceptable plan: take up Khrushchev’s first offer and ignore the second letter. Although the United States had been considering the removal of the missiles from Turkey for some time, agreeing to the Soviet demand for their removal might give the appearance of weakness. Nevertheless, behind the scenes, Russian diplomats were informed that the missiles in Turkey would be removed after the Soviet missiles in Cuba were taken away. This information was accompanied by a threat: If the Cuban missiles were not removed in two days, the United States would resort to military action. It was now Khrushchev’s turn to consider an offer to end the standoff.
1962 – Major Rudolf Anderson of the United States Air Force becomes the only direct human casualty of the Cuban missile crisis when his U-2 reconnaissance airplane is shot down in Cuba by a Soviet-supplied SA-2 Guideline surface-to-air missile.
1966 – U.S. Ambassador-at-Large Averell Harriman visits 10 nations to explain the results of the Manila conference and the current U.S. evaluation of the situation in Southeast Asia. Harriman, acting as Johnson’s personal emissary, visited leaders in Ceylon, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Iran, Italy, France, West Germany, Britain, and Morocco to explain the results of the Manila conference and the “Declaration of Peace” signed there by Allied leaders with troops in Vietnam. They pledged they would pull their troops out of Vietnam within six months after all North Vietnamese troops were withdrawn from South Vietnam. Harriman reported to the president on November 11 that the pledge was received favorably and “Every country in the world wants to see peace, with the exception of Red China and North Vietnam.” The Communist Chinese news agency Hsinhua had already denounced the Manila pledge as “out-and-out blackmail and shameless humbug.” The North Vietnamese did not respond favorably to the Manila pledge and it had no impact on the conduct of the war, which continued unabated.
1966 – Women Marines serve in WestPac – first time west of Hawaii.
1967 – Operation Coronado VIII begins in Rung Sat Zone.
1988 – Ronald Reagan decides to tear down the new U.S. Embassy in Moscow because of Soviet listening devices in the building structure.
1995 – William Kreutzer, US Army sergeant, opened fire on a field of 1300 soldiers. He killed a fellow 82nd Airborne soldier, Major Stephen Badger and wounded several others. Defense lawyers in 1996 pleaded that he suffered from depression. He was convicted of pre-meditated murder on 6/11/96. The next day he was sentenced to death.
1997 – The crew of the CGC Baranof confiscated two .50-caliber sniper rifles, ammunition and other military supplies that were allegedly to be used in an assassination attempt against Cuban President Fidel Castro. Four Cuban exiles were arrested for illegal possession of firearms after the 46-foot La Esperanza was ordered into Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, by the Baranof. There a search of the vessel turned up the weapons. One suspect confessed that the sniper rifles were to be used to assassinate Castro on his arrival on Venezuela’s Margarita Island for the Ibero-American Summit Conference. A magistrate in the U.S. District Court in San Juan later dismissed the charge of conspiracy to assassinate Castro but let the charges of illegal importation of firearms and making false statements stand.
1998 – Serb forces drew back from former Kosovo battlefronts, holding off the immediate threat of NATO airstrikes.
1999 – The Clinton administration authorized the first direct military training for opponents of Iraqi Pres. Saddam Hussein.
2001 – In Washington, the search for deadly anthrax widened to thousands of businesses and 30 mail distribution centers.
2001 – US warplanes hit frontline Taliban positions in the heaviest attacks to date. 10 people were reported killed from an errant bomb in the village of Ghanikhel in Kapisa province. 2001 – Ruue Lubbers, the UN refugee chief, said some 150,000 Afghans had crossed into Pakistan in recent weeks.
2001 – Jamil Qasim Saeed Mohammed (27), a Yemeni microbiology student, was turned over to US authorities in Pakistan. He was said to be an active al Qaeda member and was suspected of involvement in the Oct 12, 2000 bombing of the Cole in Aden.
2003 – UN police and NATO-led peacekeepers near Pristina, Serbia, arrested 5 former ethnic Albanian rebels for alleged war crimes in Kosovo.

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