This Day in U.S. Military History…… September 19

19 September
1676 – Rebels under Nathaniel Bacon set Jamestown, Va., on fire, burning it to the ground.
1737 – Charles Carroll (d.1832), American patriot and legislator, was born. He was the only Roman Catholic signer of the Declaration and his signature read Charles Carroll of Carrollton. He lived in Maryland where, as a Roman Catholic he was forbidden from voting and holding public office. However, the wealthy Carrolls moved in the highest social circle and entertained George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette at their estate.
1777 – During the Revolutionary War, American soldiers won the first Battle of Saratoga, aka Battle of Freeman’s Farm (Bemis Heights). The battle began when British General John Burgoyne moved some of his troops in an attempt to flank the entrenched American position on Bemis Heights. Benedict Arnold, anticipating the maneuver, placed significant forces in his way. While Burgoyne did gain control of Freeman’s Farm, it came at the cost of significant casualties. Skirmishing continued in the days following the battle, while Burgoyne waited in the hope that reinforcements would arrive from New York City. Militia forces continued to arrive, swelling the size of the American army. Disputes within the American camp led Gates to strip Arnold of his command.
1778 – The Committee on Finance of the Continental Congress made history by presenting the nation’s first budget on this day.
1796 – President Washington’s farewell address was published. In it, America’s first chief executive advised, “Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.” Washington wrote the letter near the end of his second term as President, before his retirement to his home Mount Vernon. Originally published in Daved Claypole’s American Daily Advertiser on September 19, 1796, under the title “The Address of General Washington To The People of The United States on his declining of the Presidency of the United States,” the letter was almost immediately reprinted in newspapers across the country and later in a pamphlet form. The work was later named a “Farewell Address,” as it was Washington’s valedictory after 20 years of service to the new nation. It is a classic statement of republicanism, warning Americans of the political dangers they can and must avoid if they are to remain true to their values.
1862 – Union troops under General William Rosecrans defeat a Confederate force commanded by General Sterling Price at Iuka in northern Mississippi. The Battle of Iuka was part of a Confederate attempt to prevent General Ulysses S. Grant from reinforcing General Don Carlos Buell in central Tennessee. In the fall of 1862, Confederate General Braxton Bragg had invaded Kentucky to prevent the Rebels from losing any more territory in the West. The Confederates hoped to keep Union forces in western Tennessee and northern Mississippi occupied to prevent any transfer of troops to Buell, who had moved north to stop the invasion of Kentucky. Sterling Price and Earl Van Dorn commanded the two small Confederate armies operating in northern Mississippi, while Ulysses S. Grant led the Union forces in the area. In addition to preventing Yankee reinforcements in Kentucky, the Confederates also hoped to invade western Tennessee. Grant effectively thwarted both of these objectives by sending troops under General William Rosecrans to move on Price’s army at Iuka from the south. He also dispatched another force under General Edward Ord to approach Iuka from the west. But poor communication and delays prevented a combined attack, and Price launched a preemptive assault on Rosecrans on September 19. Despite the intense fighting, Rosecrans was able to hold Price’s force at bay. Repeated Confederate attacks resulted in heavy losses for the Rebels: 1,500 of 14,000 troops engaged. Yankee losses amounted to 790 out of 17,000 present. With Ord’s force nearby, Price realized he was in danger of being trapped, and so he abandoned Iuka that evening. Ord may have joined in the battle, but a strange quirk of nature known as an “acoustic shadow” prevented him from hearing the sounds of battle just a few miles away. Acoustic shadows form when sound is unable to reach certain locations due to atmospheric conditions or terrain features. Although he saw smoke, Ord assumed Rosecrans was burning captured supplies.
1862 – Ram Queen of the West, Medical Cadet Charles R. Ellet, escorting two troop transports, had a sharp engagement with Confederate infantry and artillery above Bolivar, Mississippi.
1863 – The Confederate Army of Tennessee under General Braxton Bragg soundly defeats General William Rosecrans’ Army of the Cumberland in a two-day engagement at Chickamauga that proved almost as costly as the larger battles fought in the eastern theater. Bragg’s army suffered 18,000 causalities from his 66,300 men (27%) while Rosecrans’ army had 16,000 losses out of 58,000 men engaged (28%). The net effect was the Union forces had to quickly fall back to Chattanooga, TN. Bragg was slow to follow up and lost an opportunity to decisively eliminate this Union army from the field.
1864 – Confederates under Acting Master John Yates Beau captured and burned steamers Philo Parsons and Island Queen on Lake Erie. Captain Charles H. Cole, CSA, a Confederate secret agent in the Lake Erie region, conceived the plan and received the assistance of Jacob Thompson, Southern agent in Canada, and the daring Beall. The plan was for Cole to aid in the capture of iron side-wheeler U.S.S. Michigan, which was then guarding the Confederate prisoners at Johnson’s Island, near Sandusky, Ohio, by befriending her officers and attempting to bribe them. Beall was to approach with a captured steamer from the mouth of Sandusky Bay and board Michigan, after which the prisoners would be released and the whole force would embark on a guerrilla expedition along the lake. Beall and his 19 men came on board Philo Parsons as passengers but soon seized the steamer and took her to Middle Bass Island, on the way from Detroit to Sandusky. While there, Beall was approached by an unsuspecting steamer, Island Queen, which he quickly captured and burned. He then landed the passengers and cargoes of the two ships and proceeded with his improvised man-of-war to Sandusky. Meanwhile, Commander J. C. Carter of Michigan had discovered Cole’s duplicity and had him arrested, along with his assistant in the plot. As Beall and his men approached Sandusky, the prearranged signals were not made. Confronted with uncertain circumstances and overwhelming odds, Beall and his men reluctantly but wisely aban-doned their part in the plan and took Philo Parsons to Sandwich, Canada, where she was stripped and burned. The Confederates then dispersed.
1864 – Union General Philip Sheridan routs a Confederate force under General Jubal Early in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. This battle was part of Sheridan’s pacification of the valley.
1881 – Eighty days after a failed office seeker shot him in Washington, D.C., President James A. Garfield dies of complications from his wounds. Born in a log cabin in Ohio, Garfield was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives while serving as a Union colonel in the Civil War. He later became a U.S. senator and in 1880 was unexpectedly nominated as the presidential candidate of the Republican Party. Successfully appealing to his humble roots, he was elected the 20th U.S. president over his Democratic opponent, General Winfield Scott Hancock. On July 2, 1881, only four months into his administration, President Garfield was shot as he walked through a railroad waiting room in Washington. His assailant, Charles J. Guiteau, was a disgruntled and possibly insane man who had unsuccessfully sought an appointment to the U.S. consul in Paris. The president was shot in the back and the arm, and Guiteau immediately surrendered. Garfield, mortally ill, was treated at the White House and then taken to the seashore at Elberon, New Jersey, where he attempted to recuperate with his family. The president never left his sickbed and performed only one official act during the 80 days before he died: the signing of an extradition paper. While Garfield was attempting to get well, Vice President Chester A. Arthur generally served as acting president, but there was confusion over whether he had the authority to do so, as the Constitution was ambiguous on the matter of presidential succession. On September 19, President Garfield died of blood poisoning. The following day, Arthur was inaugurated as the 21st president of the United States. Garfield had three funerals: one in Elberon; another in Washington, where his body rested in state in the Capitol for three days; and a third in Cleveland, where he was buried. Charles Guiteau was convicted of murder and hanged in jail in Washington in 1882.
1912 – Marines participated in the Battle of Masaya during the Nicaraguan Campaign.
1915 – SECNAV Josephus Daniels organizes the Naval Consulting Board to mobilize the scientific resources of U.S. for national defense.
1918 – American troops of the Allied North Russia Expeditionary Force received their baptism of fire near the town of Seltso against Soviet forces.
1927 – Battle of Telpaneca, Nicaragua.
1943 – American land-based Liberator bombers attack the island of Tarawa.
1944 – Operation Market Garden continues. In the morning the British 30th Corps reaches troops of the US 82nd Airborne Division at Grave. The combined force advances toward Nijmegen. At Arnhem, the British 1st Airborne Division continues to hold. Meanwhile, in Brittany, the last German resistance in Brest comes to an end.
1944 – The Battle of Hürtgen Forest (German: Schlacht im Hürtgenwald) is the name given to the series of fierce battles fought between U.S. and German forces during World War II in the Hürtgen Forest, which became the longest battle on German ground during World War II, and the longest single battle the U.S. Army has ever fought. The battles went on to 16 December 1944, over barely 50 sq mi (130 km2), east of the Belgian–German border. The U.S. commanders’ initial goal was to pin down German forces in the area to keep them from reinforcing the front lines further north in the Battle of Aachen, where the Allies were fighting a trench war between a network of fortified towns and villages connected with field fortifications, tank traps and minefields. A secondary objective may have been to outflank the front line. The Americans’ initial objectives were to take Schmidt and clear Monschau. In a second phase the Allies wanted to advance to the Rur River as part of Operation Queen. Generalfeldmarshall Walter Model intended to bring the Allied thrust to a standstill. While he interfered less in the day-to-day movements of units than at Arnhem, he still kept himself fully informed on the situation, slowing the Allies’ progress, inflicting heavy casualties and taking full advantage of the fortifications the Germans called the Westwall, better known to the Allies as the Siegfried Line. A few days later, the Battle of the Bulge began, leaving the battle of Hürtgen Forest largely forgotten. The Hürtgen Forest cost the U.S. First Army at least 33,000 killed and incapacitated, including both combat and noncombat losses; German casualties were 28,000. Aachen eventually fell on 22 October, again at high cost to the U.S. Ninth Army. The Ninth Army’s push to the Rur fared no better, and did not manage to cross the river or wrest control of its dams from the Germans. The Rur triangle was later cleared during Operation Blackcock between 14 and 26 January 1945. Hürtgen was so costly that it has been called an Allied “defeat of the first magnitude”, with specific credit being assigned to Model.
1944 – On Peleliu there is heavy fighting around Mount Umurbrogol. Japanese forces are continuing to hold against the US marine attacks. On Angaur, there is intensive fighting between American troops and the small Japanese garrison.
1945 – Kim Il-sung arrives Port Wonsan onboard the Soviet warship Pugachev and begins to organize the Workers’ Party of Korea (which is formally announced on October 10, 1945).
1945 – In Japan, American occupation forces issue a press code, totally banning reports or publications about the atomic bombing.
1948 – Moscow announced it would withdraw all soldiers from Korea by the end of the year.
1957 – The United States conducted its first underground nuclear test, in the Nevada desert. Part of Operation Plumbbob, a series of nuclear tests conducted between May 28 and October 7, 1957 at the Nevada Test Site. It was the biggest, longest, and most controversial test series in the continental United States.
1957 – Bathyscaph Trieste, in a dive sponsored by the Office of Naval Research in the Mediterranean, reaches record depth of 2 miles.
1966 – The Johnson administration and its handling of the war in Vietnam comes under attack from several quarters. A group of 22 eminent U.S. scientists, including seven Nobel laureates, urged the President to halt the use of antipersonnel and anti-crop chemical weapons in Vietnam. In Congress, House Republicans issued a “White Paper” that warned that the United States was becoming “a full-fledged combatant” in a war that was becoming “bigger than the Korean War.” The paper urged the President to end the war “more speedily and at a smaller cost, while safeguarding the independence and freedom of South Vietnam.” Johnson’s handling of the war was also questioned in the United Nations, where Secretary General U Thant proposed a three-point plan for peace in Vietnam, which included cessation of U.S. bombing of the North; de-escalation of the ground war in South Vietnam; and inclusion of the National Liberation Front in the Paris peace talks. In Rome, Pope Paul VI appealed to world leaders in a papal encyclical to end the Vietnam War. Despite such calls, the United States launched extensive bombing raids by B-52s that lasted for four days against a mixture of targets in the DMZ, including infiltration trails, troop concentrations, supply areas, and base camps.
1969 – President Nixon announces the cancellation of the draft calls for November and December. He reduced the draft call by 50,000 (32,000 in November and 18,000 in December). This move accompanied his twin program of turning the war over to the South Vietnamese concurrent with U.S. troop withdrawals and was calculated to quell antiwar protests by students returning to college campuses after the summer.
1991 – UN Resolution 712 allowed a partial lifting of the embargo against Iraq for humanitarian purposes.
1994 – 20,000 U.S. troops land unopposed in Haiti to oversee the country’s transition to democracy. In 1991, Roman Catholic priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the first freely elected leader in Haitian history, was deposed in a bloody military coup. He escaped to exile, and a three-man junta took power. In 1994, reacting to evidence of atrocities committed by Haiti’s military dictators, the United Nations authorized the use of force to restore Aristide. On September 18, the eve of the American invasion, a diplomatic delegation led by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter brokered a last-minute agreement with Haiti’s military to give up power. Bloodshed was prevented, and on October 15 Aristide returned. Aristide served as president until the expiration of his term in 1996. In 2000, he was again elected Haitian president in an election marked by violence and corruption.
1995 – The US ambassador and the commander of American forces in Japan apologized for the rape of an Okinawan schoolgirl committed by three US servicemen.
1996 – American astronaut Shannon Lucid, on board the Russian Mir space station since March, eagerly greeted the crew of Atlantis hours after their arrival and docking.
1997 – A US Air Force B-1 bomber crashed on a training mission in Montana and all 4 crew members were killed.
2000 – Nine Cubans were rescued at sea after their Antonov AN-2 biplane plunged into the Gulf of Mexico. The cargo ship Chios Dream pulled found the survivors and a 10th body. Immigration officials soon granted their legal entry to the US.
2001 – Pres. Bush warned Afghanistan that he would not negotiate to take custody of Osama bin Laden. The Pentagon began deploying troops, ships and planes to the Persian Gulf under code name “Operation Infinite Justice.” The title became a working name after Islamic scholars objected that “infinite justice” is reserved for God.
2001 – In Indonesia Ayip Syafrudin, leader of the Laskar Jihad (Holy War Warriors), said he would declare a jihad against the US if it attacks Muslim countries.
2001 – Japan’s PM Koizumi promised to push legislative changes to permit Japanese troops to provide logistical support for a US-led war on terrorism.
2002 – President Bush asked Congress for authority to “use all means,” including military force if necessary, to disarm and overthrow Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein if he did not quickly meet United Nations demands to abandon all weapons of mass destruction.
2002 – The Iraqi foreign minister Naji Sabri appeals to the U.N. that his country is free of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. He quotes from a letter from the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein: “Our country is ready to receive any scientific experts accompanied by politicians you choose to represent any one of your countries to tell us which places and scientific installations they would wish to see…I hereby declare before you that Iraq is clear of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.” President Saddam’s letter also called on the U.N. to help protect Iraq’s sovereignty in the face of possible U.S. military action.
2003 – In Iraq former Gen. Sultan Hashim Ahmad, Saddam Hussein’s last defense minister, surrendered to an American commander after weeks of negotiations. He was no. 27 on the most-wanted list.
2004 – President George W. Bush has decided to lift sanctions against Libya, which he expects to trigger release of more than $1 billion US to families of Pan Am 103 victims.
2004 – US warplanes and artillery pounded the guerrilla stronghold of Fallujah. A militant group posted a video showing the beheading of 3 Kurdish hostages.
2006 – The return of the space shuttle Atlantis is delayed by one day after a mysterious object is found floating near the shuttle.
2010 – The United States Army charges 5 US soldiers, the self-styled “Kill Team”, with murdering 3 Afghan civilians earlier this year.
2013 – Jihadis belonging to the al-Qaida offshoot known as the ISIL overrun the town of Azaz, after driving out the Free Syrian Army

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