This Day in U.S. Military History…… September 3

3 September
1609 – Henry Hudson discovered the island of Manhattan.
1709 – The 1st major group of Swiss and German colonists reached the Carolinas.
1752 – The Gregorian Adjustment to the calendar was put into effect in Great Britain and the American colonies followed. At this point in time 11 days needed to be accounted for and Sept. 2 was selected to be followed by Sept. 14. People rioted thinking the government stole 11 days of their lives.
1777 – The American flag is flown in battle for the first time, during a Revolutionary War skirmish at Cooch’s Bridge, Maryland. Patriot General William Maxwell ordered the stars and strips banner raised as a detachment of his infantry and cavalry met an advance guard of British and Hessian troops. The rebels were defeated and forced to retreat to General George Washington’s main force near Brandywine Creek in Pennsylvania. Three months before, on June 14, the Continental Congress adopted a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be thirteen alternate stripes red and white” and that “the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” The national flag, which became known as the “Stars and Stripes,” was based on the “Grand Union” flag, a banner carried by the Continental Army in 1776 that also consisted of 13 red and white stripes. According to legend, Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross designed the new canton for the Stars and Stripes, which consisted of a circle of 13 stars and a blue background, at the request of General George Washington. Historians have been unable to conclusively prove or disprove this legend. With the entrance of new states into the United States after independence, new stripes and stars were added to represent new additions to the Union. In 1818, however, Congress enacted a law stipulating that the 13 original stripes be restored and that only stars be added to represent new states. On June 14, 1877, the first Flag Day observance was held on the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the Stars and Stripes. As instructed by Congress, the U.S. flag was flown from all public buildings across the country. In the years after the first Flag Day, several states continued to observe the anniversary, and in 1949 Congress officially designated June 14 as Flag Day, a national day of observance.
1782 – As a token of gratitude for French aid during American Revolution, the U.S. gives America (first ship-of-the-line built by U.S.) to France to replace a French ship lost in Boston.
1783 – The Treaty of Paris between the United States and Great Britain officially ended the Revolutionary War. The Treaty of 1783, which formally ended the American Revolution, is also known as the Definitive Treaty of Peace, the Peace of Paris and the Treaty of Versailles. Under the treaty, Great Britain recognized the independence of the United States. The treaty bears the signatures of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and John Jay.
1783 – Mackinac Island, Michigan, passed into US hands following the Paris Peace Treaty.
1812 – A war party of Native Americans (mostly Shawnee, but possibly including some Delawares and Potawatomis) made a surprise attack on the village of Pigeon Roost, Indiana, coordinated with attacks on Fort Harrison (near Terre Haute, Indiana) and Fort Wayne the same month. Twenty-four settlers, including fifteen children, were massacred. Two children were kidnapped. Only four of the Indian attackers were killed.
1826 – USS Vincennes left NY to become 1st warship to circumnavigate globe.
1838 – Future abolitionist Frederick Douglass escapes from slavery.
1855 – General William Harney and 700 soldiers take revenge for the Grattan Massacre with a brutal attack on a Sioux village in Nebraska that left 100 men, women, and children dead. The path to Harney’s bloody revenge began a year before near Fort Laramie, Wyoming, when a brash young lieutenant named John Grattan and 30 of his men were killed while attempting to arrest a Teton Sioux brave accused of shooting a white man’s cow. Despite the many eyewitness reports that Lieutenant Grattan had foolishly threatened the Sioux and practically forced them to attack, the incident quickly gained infamy around the nation as the “Grattan Massacre.” Americans demanded swift vengeance, and the army turned to the celebrated Indian fighter, General William Harney, to lead a punitive attack against the Sioux. Harney decided an appropriate target for retribution was a village of 250 Sioux led by Chief Little Thunder encamped near Ash Hollow, Nebraska. Refusing to accept Little Thunder’s offer of immediate surrender, Harney ordered a full-scale attack that completely destroyed the village and killed more than 100 Sioux. After later learning more about what had really happened at the Grattan Massacre, Harney softened his attitude toward the Sioux and eventually convened a successful peace council that temporarily calmed tensions. But for the rest of his life the general was plagued with the nickname of “Squaw Killer Harney,” while the unfortunate pattern of revenge and punishment his attack began would only grow more vicious on both sides of the conflict. One Sioux boy who witnessed the brutal massacre would never forget or forgive and would take his own revenge 21 years later at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. His name was Crazy Horse.
1861 – Confederate General Leonidas Polk commits a major political blunder by marching his troops into Columbus, Kentucky—negating Kentucky’s avowed neutrality and causing the Unionist legislature to invite the U.S. government to drive the invaders away. Kentucky was heavily divided prior to the war. Although slavery was prevalent in the state, nationalism was strong and Unionists prevented the calling of a convention to consider secession after the firing on Fort Sumter in April. Governor Beriah Magoffin refused to send troops to either side, and a special session of the legislature in the summer of 1861 issued a warning to both the Confederate and Union armies not to deploy forces in the state. Union and Confederates alike recognized the folly of entering Kentucky into the war, as it would tip the delicate political balance to the other side. President Lincoln, a Kentucky native who carefully observed the state’s neutrality, soon realized that the Confederates were acquiring resources and recruiting troops from the state. However, in three special elections held that summer, the Union cause had gained support. Kentucky’s geographic location made permanent neutrality nearly impossible. The major rivers of the upper south drained into the Ohio River through Kentucky, and the state had the country’s ninth largest population. Troops from both sides began to build fortifications along the border in the opening months of the war, but the Confederates made a critical blunder when General Polk occupied Columbus, Kentucky, on September 3. This preemptive move against the forces of General Ulysses S. Grant, who waited across the Ohio River in Illinois, proved costly for the Confederates. Kentucky’s Unionist legislature invited Federal troops in to drive away the invaders, and on September 6, Grant occupied Paducah and Southland, at the mouths of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, respectively. These were vital positions that allowed the Union a tremendous advantage in the contest for Kentucky and Tennessee. During the war, some 50,000 white and 24,000 black Kentuckians fought for the North, while 35,000 joined the South.
1862 – U.S.S. Essex, Commodore W. D. Porter, in pursuit of C.S.S. Webb, had a landing party fired on at Natchez, Mississippi, from which Union forces had withdrawn on 25 July. Essex bombarded the town for an hour, after which the mayor “unconditionally surrendered” the city to Porter.
1863 – Boat expedition under Acting Ensign William H. Winslow and Acting Master’s Mate Charles A. Edgcomb from U.S.S. Gem of the Sea, Acting Lieutenant Baxter, reconnoitered Peace Creek, Florida. The expedition was set in motion by Baxter because of “reliable information that there was a band of guerrillas, or regulators, as they style themselves, organizing in the vicinity of Peace Creek, with the intention of coming down this harbor [Charlotte Harbor] for the purpose of capturing the refugees on the islands in this vicinity and also the sloop Rosalie. . . “The Union force destroyed buildings used as a depot for blockade runners and a rendezvous for guerrillas as well as four small boats. Baxter reported: “I think this expedition will have a tendency to break up the blockade running and stop the regulators from coming down here to molest the refugees in this vicinity.”
1864 – Battle of Berryville, VA.
1864 – President Lincoln ordered a 100-gun salute at the Washington Navy Yard at noon on Monday, the 5th of September, and upon receipt of the order, at each arsenal and navy yard in the United States ”for the recent brilliant achievements of the fleet and land forces of the United States in the harbor of Mobile and in the reduction of Fort Powell, Fort Gaines, and Fort Morgan. The President also proclaimed that on the following Sunday thanksgiving should be given for Rear Admiral Farragut’s victory at Mobile and for the capture of Atlanta by General Sherman. These events, said Lincoln, “call for devout acknowledgment to the Supreme Being in whose hands are the destinies of nations.”1865 – Army commander in SC ordered Freedmen’s Bureau to stop seizing land.
1885 – First classes at U.S. Naval War College begin.
1901 – Miss Ellen Stone, a Protestant missionary from Haverhill, Mass., was kidnapped in Bulgaria by a Macedonian revolutionary gang, who demanded $110,000 in gold. Katerina Tsilka, her pregnant Bulgarian companion, was also kidnapped and gave birth during her captivity to a baby girl.
1908 – Orville Wright began two weeks of flight trials that impressed onlookers with his complete control of his new Type A Military Flyer. In addition to setting an altitude record of 310 feet and an endurance record of more than one hour, he had carried aloft the first military observer, Lieutenant Frank Lahm.
1918 – The United States recognized the nation of Czechoslovakia.
1918 – Five soldiers were hanged for alleged participation in the Houston riot of 1917.
1925 – The dirigible “Shenandoah” crashed near Caldwell Ohio, 13 die. The 682-foot Shenandoah, a dirigible built by the U.S. Navy in 1923, broke apart in mid-air, killing 14 persons aboard.
1926 – Marines served at Shanghai, China, and aboard ship during the Yangtze Service Campaign, 3 September 1926 – 21 October 1927.
1939 – In response to Hitler’s invasion of Poland, Britain and France, both allies of the overrun nation declare war on Germany. The first casualty of that declaration was not German-but the British ocean liner Athenia, which was sunk by a German U-30 submarine that had assumed the liner was armed and belligerent. There were more than 1,100 passengers on board, 112 of whom lost their lives. Of those, 28 were Americans, but President Roosevelt was unfazed by the tragedy, declaring that no one was to “thoughtlessly or falsely talk of America sending its armies to European fields.” The United States would remain neutral. As for Britain’s response, it was initially no more than the dropping of anti-Nazi propaganda leaflets-13 tons of them-over Germany. They would begin bombing German ships on September 4, suffering significant losses. They were also working under orders not to harm German civilians. The German military, of course, had no such restrictions. France would begin an offensive against Germany’s western border two weeks later. Their effort was weakened by a narrow 90-mile window leading to the German front, enclosed by the borders of Luxembourg and Belgium-both neutral countries. The Germans mined the passage, stalling the French offensive.
1939 – The British passenger liner, SS Athenia, is torpedoed off the northwest coast of Ireland en route to Canada by U-30 because it is mistakenly identified as an auxiliary cruiser. There are 112 dead including 28 American citizens, of some 1400 passengers including some 316 Americans. The German government is unaware of the action of the U-boat until later in the month. Britain believes that this is the start of unrestricted submarine warfare. At this time, 39 of the German fleet of 58 U-boats are at sea. Doenitz, the submarine chief, had hoped for a fleet of 300 before contemplating war with Britain.
1941 – The Japanese are informed that a meeting between Prince Konoye and President Roosevelt cannot take place.
1943 – Italy surrendered. The Allied invasion of Italy begins on the same day that U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Italian Marshal Pietro Badoglio sign the Armistice of Cassibile aboard the Royal Navy battleship HMS Nelson off Malta.
1944 – US 12th Army Group advances. Forces of US 1st Army take Mon while lead elements of US 3rd Army cross the Moselle River.
1944 – Forces of US 7th Army continue advancing. The French 1st Infantry Division enters Lyons.
1944 – First combat employment of a missile guided by radio and television takes place when Navy drone Liberator, controlled by Ensign James M. Simpson in a PV, flew to attack German submarine pens on Helgoland Island.
1944 – An American force, commanded by Admiral Smith, including 3 heavy cruisers and 3 destroyers, bombards the island. The light carrier USS Monterey provides air cover for the operation.
1945 – General Tomoyuki Yamashita, the Japanese commander of the Philippines, surrendered to Lieutenant General Jonathan Wainwright at Baguio.
1945 – Japanese surrender Wake Island in ceremony on board USS Levy (DE-162).
1950 – A U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) of 35 men arrives in Saigon to screen French requests for American military aid, assist in the training of South Vietnamese troops, and advise on strategy. President Harry Truman had approved National Security Council (NSC) Memorandum 64 in March 1950, proclaiming that French Indochina (Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos) was a key area that could not be allowed to fall to the communists and that the United States would provide support against communist aggression in the area. However, NSC 64 did not identify who would receive the aid, the French or the South Vietnamese. The French did not want the aid to go directly to the South Vietnamese and opposed the presence of any American advisory group. Nevertheless, the U.S. government argued that such a team would be necessary to coordinate requisitioning, procurement, and dissemination of supplies and equipment. Accordingly, an advisory group was dispatched to Saigon. In the long run, however, the French high command ignored the MAAG in formulating strategy, denied them any role in training the Vietnamese, and refused to keep them informed of current operations and future plans. By 1952, the United States would bear roughly one-third of the cost of the war the French were fighting, but find itself with very little influence over French military policy in Southeast Asia or the way the war was waged. Ultimately, the French would be defeated at the battle of Dien Bien Phu and withdraw from Vietnam, passing the torch to the United States. In 1964, MAAG Vietnam would be disbanded and its advisory mission and functions integrated into the U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV), which had been established in February 1962.
1954 – The German U-boat U-505 begins its move from a specially constructed dock to its final site at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.
1954 – The US Espionage & Sabotage Act of 1954 signed.
1956 – Tanks were deployed against racist demonstrators in Clinton, Tennessee.
1967 – In South Vietnam’s national election, General Nguyen Van Thieu wins a four-year term as president with former Premier Nguyen Cao Ky as vice-president. They received only 34.8 percent of the votes cast, but the rest were divided among 10 other candidates. There were many allegations of corruption during the election, including charges of ballot rigging, but a favorable impression of the election process was reported by 22 prominent Americans who visited Vietnam as election observers. The Johnson administration cited the elections, held in the midst of war, as evidence that South Vietnam was maturing as a democratic nation.
1971 – The Watergate team broke into Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office.
1976 – The unmanned U.S. spacecraft Viking 2 landed on Mars to take the first close-up, color photographs of the planet’s surface.
1989 – The United States began shipping a $65 million package of military aircraft and weapons to help Colombia’s war against drug lords.
1995 – Testing Serb will, the United Nations reopened a route to Sarajevo and threatened more air attacks if the rebel stranglehold of the Bosnian capital didn’t end.
1996 – The United States launched 27 cruise missiles at “selected air defense targets” in Iraq as punishment for Iraq’s invasion of Kurdish safe havens.
1998 – Executive Chairman Richard Butler briefs the Security Council on the status of UNSCOM’s work in Iraq, including three incidents where Iraq has placed further limits on the Commission’s rights and activities with respect to monitoring.
1999 – NASA temporarily grounded its space shuttle fleet after inspections had uncovered damaged wires that could endanger a mission.
2002 – The US Senate opened debate on legislation creating a new Homeland Security Department.
2002 – Iraq said it was ready to discuss a return of U.N. weapons inspectors, but only in a broader context of ending sanctions and restoring Iraqi sovereignty over all its territory.
2004 – Libya signed an agreement to pay a total of $35 million US in compensation for 168 non-U.S. victims of a 1986 Berlin disco bombing.
2005 – Over 40,000 military personnel will be deployed along the Gulf Coast in the coming week: President George W. Bush orders 7,023 additional active duty forces to the Gulf Coast to add to the 4,000 active duty personnel and 21,000 National Guard troops already in the area. The Pentagon announced an additional 10,000 troop deployment from the National Guard.
2007 – U.S. President George W. Bush makes a surprise visit to Iraq and addresses military leaders and the troops, saying that with success, a U.S. Iraq troop cut is possible.
2012 – A car bomb explodes near the U.S. consulate in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, killing at least three people and wounding up to 19 others

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