1492 – Columbus’ fleet sailed from Gomera, Canary islands, his final port of call before crossing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.
1620 – The Pilgrims sail from Plymouth, England, on the Mayflower to settle in North America.
1628 – Puritans settle Salem, which will later become part of Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1776 – The Turtle, the 1st submarine invented by David Bushnell, attempted to secure a cask of gunpowder to the HMS Eagle, flagship of the British fleet, in the Bay of NY but got entangled with the Eagle’s rudder bar, lost ballast and surfaced before the charge was planted.
1776 – Continental Congress prescribed first Marine uniform.
1781 – The Battle of Groton Heights (also known as the Battle of Fort Griswold, and occasionally called the Fort Griswold massacre) was a battle of the American Revolutionary War between a small Connecticut militia force led by Lieutenant Colonel William Ledyard and the more numerous British forces led by Brigadier General Benedict Arnold and Lieutenant Colonel Edmund Eyre. In an unsuccessful attempt to divert General George Washington from marching against Lord Cornwallis’s army in Virginia, Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton ordered General Arnold to raid the Connecticut port of New London. Although the raid was a success, the Connecticut militia stubbornly resisted British attempts to capture Fort Griswold, across the Thames River in Groton. Several leaders of the attacking British force were killed or seriously wounded, and much of the defending garrison was either killed, mortally wounded, or captured when the fort was stormed. High British casualties led to criticism of General Arnold by some of his superiors. The battle was the last major military encounter of the war in the northern United States, preceding the decisive American victory at Yorktown, Virginia, by about six weeks.
1797 – William “Extra Billy” Smith, Confederacy (Confederate Army), was born.
1819 – William Starke Rosecrans, Maj. General (Union volunteers), was born.
1844 – Western explorer John C. Fremont arrives at the shores of the Great Salt Lake, one of the many areas he will map for the lasting benefit of a westward-moving nation. When Fremont reached the strange saltwater inland lake (a remnant of the much larger prehistoric Lake Bonneville), he was not the first Euro-American to view its shores. As early as the 1820s, fur trappers had returned to the East with tales of a bizarre salt lake where no fish swam, and the French explorer Benjamin Bonneville was the first to map the lake’s outlines in 1837. But for the far-ranging John C. Fremont, the Great Salt Lake was only one small part of a much wider journey of discovery and mapping. Born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1813, Fremont began honing his skills as an explorer and mapmaker in his early twenties. His first major expedition was an 1842 survey of the Platte River for the U.S. Corps of Topographical Engineers. More skilled in cartography and science than trailblazing and wilderness survival, Fremont relied heavily on the abilities of men like Kit Carson as guides and advisers. Fremont reached the Great Salt Lake during his second expedition. His 14 months of western rambling also took him across the Sierra Nevada and resulted in the first comprehensive map of the Great Basin, the region between the Wasatch and the Sierra Nevada mountains where water drains to neither the Pacific nor the Atlantic. After Fremont’s Great Basin map was published, one commentator noted, it “changed the entire picture of the West.” It also made Fremont a national hero. Along with charts resulting from three further expeditions, Fremont’s maps became indispensable guides to thousands of overland immigrants heading westward to begin new lives. He died of peritonitis in New York City on July 13, 1890.
1861 – Union General Ulysses S. Grant’s forces capture Paducah, Kentucky, in a bloodless takeover—allowing the Federals to control the mouth of the Tennessee River, and greatly assisting in the Union campaign in Tennessee in 1862.
1862 – Stonewall Jackson occupied Frederick, Maryland.
1862 – U.S.S. Louisiana, Acting Lieutenant Richard T. Renshaw, joined with Union troops in repelling the Confederate attack on Washington, North Carolina. Major General John G. Foster reported that Louisiana rendered most efficient aid, throwing her shells with great precision, and clearing the streets, through which her guns had range.” U.S. Army gunboat Picket was destroyed by an accidental magazine explosion during engagement.
1863 – After months of campaigning against Battery Wagner on Morris Island in a protracted Yankee effort to capture nearby Charleston, South Carolina, a Confederate garrison finally flees the island. Union Rear Admiral Samuel du Pont was ordered to capture Charleston in January 1863. In April, he launched a naval attack through the mouth of Charleston Harbor but the nine-ship squadron faced heavy fire from the forts that protected the narrow channel, and his ships sustained several hits. Du Pont turned the ships around, and Rear Admiral John Dahlgren assumed command of the effort to capture Charleston. Morris Island protected the southern rim of the harbor, and the Confederates constructed a massive fortress of sand and timber on its beach called Battery Wagner. In July, Dahlgren landed troops and made two major attacks on the fortress. In the second attack on July 18, the 54th Massachusetts, an African-American regiment led by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, was repulsed with heavy losses, and Shaw was killed. The story of the attack later became the subject of the 1990 movie Glory. Waiting until September 4 before renewing his assault, Dahlgren launched a massive bombardment and continued to pound the forts for two days. By September 6, General Pierre G. T. Beauregard, commander of the Confederate defenses around Charleston, realized that the situation at Battery Wagner and nearby Battery Greg was hopeless. He ordered Morris Island and the two forts evacuated, and the job was complete by the end of the day. Although the Yankees captured Morris Island, Charleston was still beyond their grasp. The Confederates continued to defend the harbor and the city where the war began, until they finally evacuated the area in March 1865, just days before the end of the war.
1876 – A race riot took place in Charleston, SC.
1901 – President William McKinley is shot at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. McKinley was greeting the crowd in the Temple of Music when Leon Czolgosz, an anarchist, stepped forward and shot the president twice at point-blank range. McKinley lived for another week before finally succumbing to a gangrene infection on September 14. At the time of the shooting, President McKinley was very popular and America was in the midst of a period of peace and prosperity. Czolgosz, a laborer from Cleveland who fell under the sway of charismatic leaders of anarchy such as Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, became particularly obsessed with Gaetano Bresci, an anarchist who shot and killed King Humbert I of Italy on July 29, 1900. Czolgosz decided to kill McKinley to further the anarchist cause. While Presidents Lincoln and Garfield had been completely unprotected at the time of their assassinations, the newly formed Secret Service was now available to protect President McKinley. But when Czolgosz stepped up to shake McKinley’s hand with a handkerchief covering the .32 revolver in his hand, the agents thought nothing of it. After the shots were fired, the agents grabbed Czolgosz and began pummeling him, but McKinley warned, “Be easy with him, boys,” as he was helped to an ambulance. The president then told his secretary to be careful in telling the First Lady what happened. Working in a building with no electricity, surgeons operated on the president, who seemed to be recovering at first. Legend has it that his recovery diet was raw eggs and whiskey. Before lapsing into a coma and dying, McKinley’s last words were: “It is God’s way. His will, not ours, be done.” McKinley’s assassination led to reprisals against his critics across the country. Those who had spoken poorly of the president were tarred and feathered. Emma Goldman was even arrested for allegedly inspiring the murder. But Czolgosz took full and sole responsibility for the assassination and was sent to the electric chair less than two months later. On October 29, his last words were: “I am not sorry for my crime.”
1915 – The first tank prototype was completed and given its first test drive on this day, developed by William Foster & Company for the British army. Several European nations had been working on the development of a shielded, tracked vehicle that could cross the uneven terrain of World War I trenches, but Great Britain was the first to succeed. Lightly armed with machine guns, the tanks made their first authoritative appearance at the Battle of Cambrai in 1917, when 474 British tanks managed to break through the German lines. The Allies began using the vehicles in increasing numbers throughout the rest of the war. After World War I, European nations on all sides continued to build tanks at a frantic pace, arming them with even heavier artillery and plating. This competitive stockpiling came to a lethal head on the battlefields of World War II.
1918 – Sailors fire first of the 5 railroad batteries at Tergnier, a German rail head in the Comeigne Forest. These 14″-50 caliber guns were originally designed for battleships.
1941 – Prime Minister Konoye bows to military pressure to agree to prepare for war by mid-October, if no agreement is reached with the Americans over the oil-embargo. The American Ambassador Grew cautions the United States that if Konoye’s conciliatory proposals are not considered, the Japanese Prime Minister could well be replaced by a Military Dictatorship.
1943 – The United States asked the Chinese Nationals to join with the Communists to present a common front to the Japanese.
1943 – On Arundel the Japanese begin to resist American attempts to advance.
1944 – USS Independence (CVL-22) begins use of specially trained air group for night work. First time that a fully equipped night carrier operates with fast carrier task force.
1944 – In the advance of US 12th Army Group, US 1st Army crosses the Meuse River at several points south of Namur.
1944 – All four carrier groups of US Task Force 38 (Admiral Mitscher), 16 aircraft carriers, begin air strikes on Japanese positions on the islands. The commander of the US 3rd Fleet, Admiral Halsey, is present on board the battleship USS New Jersey.
1945 – George Weller (d.2002), a Chicago Daily News journalist, wrote his 1st story on the bombing of Nagasaki. Posing as a US Army colonel Weller had slipped into Nagasaki in early September. His stories infuriated MacArthur so much he personally ordered that they be quashed, and the originals were never returned. Carbon copies of his stories, running to about 25,000 words on 75 typed pages, along with more than two dozen photos, were discovered by his son, Anthony, in 2004 at Weller’s apartment in Rome, Italy. In 2005 the national Mainichi newspaper began serializing the stories and photographs for the first time since they were rejected by U.S. military censors.
1945 – U.S. troops begin returning to U.S. when Task Force 11 left Tokyo Bay for U.S.
1945 – General Eisenhower lifts press censorship. Meanwhile, British field security troops, acting on orders of the Allied Control Commission, arrest 44 prominent Ruhr industrialists.
1945 – Vice Admiral John S. McCain, former commander of US Task Force 58, dies of a heart attack at age 61.
1952 – The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a conviction against Harry Bridges as a Communist who lied to obtain US citizenship.1953 – The last American and Korean prisoners were exchanged in Operation Big Switch, the last official act of the Korean War.
1954 – A US plane was shot down above Siberia.
1965 – U.S. Marines and South Vietnamese forces launch Operation Pirahna on the Batangan Peninsula, 23 miles south of the Marine base at Chu Lai. This was a follow-up to Operation Starlight, which had been conducted in August. During the course of the operation, the Allied forces stormed a stronghold of the Viet Cong 1st Regiment, claiming 200 enemy dead after intense fighting.
1966 – A race riot took place in Atlanta, Georgia.
1966 – The Coast Guard’s GM1 Lester K. Gates was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with a combat “V” device for “meritorious service and action against the enemy” while serving on board CGC Point White (WPB-82308) in Vietnam. The Point White attacked and captured a Viet Cong junk while patrolling the Soi Rap River. GM1 Gates was the first enlisted Coast Guardsman to be awarded the Bronze Star since World War II.
1967 – U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara announces plans to build an electronic anti-infiltration barrier to block communist flow of arms and troops into South Vietnam from the north at the eastern end of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The “McNamra Line,” as it became known, would employ state-of-the-art, high-tech listening devices to alert U.S. forces when North Vietnamese troops and supplies were moving south so that air and artillery strikes could be brought to bear on them. It was estimated that the cost of completing and maintaining the project would be more than $800 million per year. Construction on the barrier line, initially code named “Practice Nine” and later changed to “Dye Marker,” began almost at once. But in the end, the concept proved impractical as the North Vietnamese just shifted their infiltration routes to other areas.
1970 – In the Dawson’s Field hijackings four jet aircraft bound for New York City and one for London were hijacked by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and instead landed at the PFLP’s “Revolutionary Airport”. By the end of the incident, one hijacker had been killed and one injury reported. TWA Flight 741 from Frankfurt am Main (a Boeing 707) and Swissair Flight 100 from Zürich-Kloten Airport (a Douglas DC-8) landed at Dawson’s Field, a remote desert airstrip near Zarka, Jordan, formerly used as a British Royal Air Force base. The hijacking of El Al Flight 219 from Amsterdam (another 707) was foiled: hijacker Patrick Argüello was shot and killed, and his partner Leila Khaled was subdued and turned over to British authorities in London; two PFLP hijackers who were prevented from boarding the El Al flight instead hijacked Pan Am Flight 93, a Boeing 747, diverting the large plane first to Beirut and then to Cairo rather than the small Jordanian airstrip. A fifth plane, BOAC Flight 775, a Vickers VC10 coming from Bahrain, was hijacked on 9 September by a PFLP sympathizer and brought to Dawson’s Field in order to pressure the British to free Khaled. While the majority of the 310 hostages were transferred to Amman and freed on 11 September the PFLP segregated the flight crews and Jewish passengers, keeping the 56 Jewish hostages in custody, while releasing the non-Jews. Six hostages in particular were kept because they were men and American citizens, not necessarily Jews. The six men held in particular were Dr. Robert Norman Schwartz, a U.S. Defense Department researcher stationed in Bangkok, Thailand; James Lee Woods, Dr. Schwartz’s assistant and security detail; Geral Berkowitz, an American-born Jew and college chemistry professor; Rabbi Abraham Harrari-Raful and his brother Rabbi Joseph Harrari-Raful, two Brooklyn school teachers; and John Hollingsworth, a U.S. State Department employee. Dr. Schwartz was a catholic. On 12 September prior to their announced deadline, the PFLP used explosives to destroy the empty planes, as they anticipated a counterstrike. The PFLP’s exploitation of Jordanian territory in the drama was another instance of the increasingly autonomous Arab Palestinian activity within the Kingdom of Jordan – a serious challenge to the Hashemite monarchy of King Hussein. Hussein declared martial law on 16 September and from 17 to 27 September his forces deployed into Palestinian-controlled areas in what became known as Black September in Jordan, nearly triggering a regional war involving Syria, Iraq, and Israel with potentially global consequences. Swift Jordanian victory, however, enabled a 30 September deal in which the remaining PFLP hostages were released in exchange for Khaled and three PFLP members in a Swiss prison.
1976 – A Soviet Air Force pilot lands his MIG fighter jet in Japan and asks for asylum in the United States. The incident was a serious embarrassment for the Soviets, and also provided a bit of a surprise for U.S. officials. When the Soviets first put the MIG-25 (known as the Foxbat) into production in the 1960s, U.S. officials became nearly hysterical. The new plane, they claimed, was the fastest, most advanced, and most destructive interceptor jet ever built. Its debut, they argued, meant that the United States was falling dangerously behind in the race to control the skies. On September 6, 1976, those officials got a close-up look at the aircraft. Soviet Air Force Lt. Viktor Belenko took his MIG-25 out of Soviet airspace and landed it at a Japanese airfield at Hakodate on the island of Hokkaido. Japanese police took the pilot into custody, where he immediately asked for asylum in the United States. Experts from the U.S. quickly arrived on the scene to get a firsthand look at the aircraft. After being questioned extensively by both Japanese and U.S. officials, Belenko was flown to the United States and granted political asylum. For the Soviets, the MIG-25 incident was a major diplomatic and military embarrassment. To have one of their most advanced planes delivered into the hands of their enemy was mortifying and was viewed as a serious setback to the Soviet weapons program. U.S. officials were in for a surprise. After a thorough check of the MIG-25, the Americans experts came away less than impressed. The plane was quite fast, but also unwieldy and almost completely incapable of close-quarters combat. In addition, the electronic technology of the plane was deemed to be far behind comparable U.S. aircraft. As one U.S. expert joked, “I guess it could be worse; it might have been made out of wood.” The MIG-25 incident suggested that U.S. officials may have overestimated the Soviet threat in order to push for even higher American defense spending.
1983 – The Soviet Union admits to shooting down Korean Air Lines Flight 007, stating that the pilots did not know it was a civilian aircraft when it violated Soviet airspace.
1983 – Two Marines were killed and two were wounded when rockets hit their compound in Beirut, Lebanon. Heavy fighting continued for the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit peacekeeping force in the area near their positions around the Beirut International Airport.1990 – Iraq increased pressure on trapped Westerners, warning that anyone trying to leave without permission could face life in prison.
1997 – The USS Hopper, the 354th ship in the modern naval fleet, was commissioned. The high-tech destroyer is the 2nd warship to be named after a woman. Grace Hooper (d.1992) was a computer programmer for the Navy until she retired in 1986 at age 79. She coined the term “debugging” when she pulled a moth from her computer.
1998 – In Peshawar, Pakistan, an estimated 15,000 members of the Movement for the Enforcement of Islam in English marched against the American missile attack in Afghanistan. The US did not inform Pakistan of the strikes that crossed Pakistani air space.
2002 – Meeting outside Washington D.C., for only the second time since 1800, Congress convened in New York to pay homage to the victims and heroes of Sept. 11, 2001.
2002 – US officials reported that the assets of Wa’el Hamza Julaidan, alleged al Qaeda financier, had been frozen, and that he had been located in Saudi Arabia.
2002 – A US Navy helicopter crashed in the Persian Gulf, killing an American television cameraman and injuring four sailors.
2002 – Mexico said it was withdrawing from the 1947 Inter-American Reciprocal Defense Treaty designed to protect the Americas against communism, a year after President Vicente Fox called the agreement obsolete.
2004 – Former Pres. Clinton (58) underwent successful quadruple heart bypass surgery in NYC.
2004 – Algeria’s largest Islamic rebel group with ties to al Qaeda said it has appointed a new chief, known as an explosives expert, as it tries to regroup following the loss of key leaders in recent gun battles with authorities.
2004 – Team A, 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry, totaling some 150 men completes its training and prepares to deploy in support of the War on Terror. Like many soldiers before them, the men are a bit nervous, wondering what the future holds. But they are also extremely proud as they become the first Army Guard unit from Guam to ever serve in a combat role. The men will be stationed in Eritrea on the “Horn of Africa,” a prime spot for terrorists fleeing from Afghanistan and Iraq. Guam, a 200-square mile island governed by the U.S. as an American territory since 1898 is located in the western North Pacific Ocean. The Guam Army Guard was only organized in July 1981 and its major component, the 294th Infantry was not organized until in 1987. No mobilized Guam Army Guard units served in theater during Operations Desert Shield/Storm, 1990-1991. And none were ever deployed to Bosnia or Kosovo on peace keeping mission. So this marks the first time a unit from the island was mobilized for service overseas.
2006 – The United States government announces that fourteen suspected terrorists are to be transferred to the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp and admits that these suspects have been held in CIA black sites. These people include Khalid Sheik Mohammed, believed to be the No. 3 al-Qaida leader before he was captured in Pakistan in 2003; Ramzi Binalshibh, an alleged would-be 9/11 hijacker; and Abu Zubaydah, who was believed to be a link between Osama bin Laden and many al-Qaida cells before he was also captured in Pakistan in March 2002.
2014 – The United States says that it will not coordinate with Iran in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
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