1675 – New England colonial authorities officially declared war on the Wampanoag Indians. War soon spread to include the Abenaki, Norwottock, Pocumtuck and Agawam warriors.
1739 – A slave revolt in Stono, SC, led by an Angolan slave named Jemmy, killed 20-25 whites. Three slave uprisings occurred in South Carolina in 1739. Whites soon passed black codes to regulate every aspect of slave life.
1753 – The 1st steam engine arrived in US colonies.
1776 – The term “United States” was adopted by the second Continental Congress to be used instead of the “United Colonies.”
1786 – George Washington called for the abolition of slavery.
1791 – Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States, is named after President George Washington.
1825 – USS Brandywine sails for France to carry the Marquis de Lafayette home after his year long visit to America.
1841 – First iron ship authorized by Congress.
1850 – Though it had only been a part of the United States for less than two years, California becomes the 31st state in the union (without ever even having been a territory) on this day in 1850. Mexico had reluctantly ceded California and much of its northern territory to the United States in the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo,. When the Mexican diplomats signed the treaty, they pictured California as a region of sleepy mission towns with a tiny population of about 7,300-not a devastating loss to the Mexican empire. Their regret might have been much sharper had they known that gold had been discovered at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California, nine days before they signed the peace treaty. Suddenly, the greatest gold rush in history was on, and “forty-niners” began flooding into California chasing after the fist-sized gold nuggets rumored to be strewn about the ground just waiting to be picked up. California’s population and wealth skyrocketed. Most newly acquired regions of the U.S. went through long periods as territories before they had the 60,000 inhabitants needed to achieve statehood, and prior to the Gold Rush, emigration to California had been so slow that it would have been decades before the population reached that number. But with gold fever reaching epidemic proportions around the world, more than 60,000 people from around the globe came to California in 1849 alone. Faced with such rapid growth, as well as a thorny congressional debate over the question of slavery in the new territories, Congress allowed California to jump straight to full statehood without ever passing through the formal territorial stage. After a rancorous debate between the slave-state and free-soil advocates, Congress finally accepted California as a free-labor state under the Compromise of 1850, beginning the state’s long reign as the most powerful economic and political force in the far West.
1850 – Territories of New Mexico and Utah were created.
1850 – The Compromise of 1850 transfers a third of Texas’s claimed territory (now parts of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Wyoming) to federal control in return for the U.S. federal government assuming $10 million of Texas’s pre-annexation debt.
1861 – Sally Louisa Tompkins (b.1833) was commissioned as a Confederate captain of cavalry. Born into a wealthy and altruistic family in coastal Mathews County, Virginia, Tompkins was destined for a life of philanthropy. After moving to Richmond, she spent much of her time and a considerable portion of her fortune assisting causes she considered worthy. With the onset of civil war, she labored on the behalf of the South’s wounded soldiers, and for this she became the first and only woman to receive an officer’s commission in the Confederate army.
1862 – Gen’l. Lee split his army and sent Jackson to capture Harpers Ferry.
1863 – Union General William Rosecrans completes a brilliant campaign against the army of Confederate General Braxton Bragg when his forces capture Chattanooga, Tennessee. The capture of Chattanooga followed a campaign in which there was little fighting but much maneuvering. On June 23, Rosecrans marched his troops out of their camp in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, just south of Nashville. Bragg, who hoped his defensive line could keep Rosecrans out and protect the rich agricultural resources of south central Tennessee, had his army arrayed northwest of Tullahoma. When Rosecrans moved his army to Bragg’s right flank, the Confederates found themselves in a dangerous position and so Bragg pulled his forces further south to Tullahoma. But Rosecrans then feinted toward Chattanooga, forcing Bragg to give up Tullahoma and retreat into Chattanooga. At the cost of only 560 Yankee casualties, Rosecrans had taken south central Tennessee from Bragg. Approaching Chattanooga from the west on September 8, Union forces began crossing Lookout Mountain above the city. Again, Bragg was outmaneuvered and was forced to leave Chattanooga with only minor skirmishing. On September 9, triumphant Union troops entered the city. Bragg finally gathered his troops and dug in his heels in northern Georgia, just south of Chattanooga. The two armies collided again at Chickamauga on September 19 and 20, when Bragg finally sent Rosecrans in the other direction. The Union force then retreated back into Chattanooga.
1863 – Rear Admiral Dahlgren mounted a boat attack on Fort Sumter late at night. Commander Stevens led the assault comprising more than thirty boats and some 400 sailors and Marines. The Confederates, appraised in advance of the Union’s intentions because they had recovered a key to the Northern signal code from the wreck of U.S.S. Keokuk, waited until the boats were nearly ashore before opening a heavy fire and using hand grenades. C.S.S. Chicora contributed a sweep-ing, enfilading fire. Dahlgren noted that “Moultrie fired like the devil, the shells breaking around us and screaming in chorus.” The attack was repulsed, and more than 100 men were captured. For the next several weeks, a period of relative quiet at Charleston prevailed.
1864 – Acting under orders from Rear Admiral Farragut, 500-ton screw steamer U.S.S. Kanawha, Lieutenant Commander Taylor, reinstituted the blockade of Brownsville, Texas. The blockade had been lifted in mid-February by Presidential proclamation (see 18 February 1864), but on 15 August Secretary of State Seward had informed Secretary Welles that it should be re-enforced once more because of the withdrawal of Union troops stationed in the area. Three days later, Welles directed Farragut to resume the blockade “as early as practicable”. On 3 September the Admiral reported to Welles that, ”I am now increasing the blockading force off the coast of Texas, the recent operations here now enabling me to spare vessels for that purpose. ‘ Farragut relayed the Department’s message to his senior subordinate on the Texas coast, Commander Melancthon B. Woolsey, who on 8 September replied: “The Kanawha sailed hence last night with orders to blockade the Brazos Santiago (one of the points of approach to Brownsville). She also bore orders to the Aroostook to blockade the Rio Grande . . . the blockade of those places will be resumed from to-morrow morning (9th).” At this point in the war Union strength at sea was such that specific ports like Brownsville could be reclosed as necessary, while at the same time the iron ring of the entire coastal blockade tightened.
1919 – The infamous Boston Police Strike of 1919 begins, causing an uproar around the nation and confirming the growing influence of unions on American life. Using the situation to their advantage, criminals took the opportunity to loot the city. As society changed in the 20th century, police were expected to act more professionally. Some of their previous practices were no longer countenanced. Explanations such as that given by the Dallas chief of police in defense of their unorthodox tactics-“Illegality is necessary to preserve legality”-was no longer acceptable to the public. Police forces were brought within the civil service framework and even received training for the first time. Soon, the American Federation of Labor (AFL) began to create local police unions. When the Boston Police went on strike on September 9, the country’s leading newspapers sounded the alarm bells. Some falsely reported that gangs were running wild and attacking women throughout the city. Others saw it as evidence of the spread of communism. In actuality, the strike prompted a lot of property damage but did not seriously endanger the safety of the community-partly due to the quick response of the government. Calvin Coolidge, governor of Massachusetts at the time, called out the militia to assist Harvard students and faculty who were acting as a volunteer force. (He later used the incident to boost himself to the presidency.) While the Boston Police Strike proved disastrous for unions in the short term, police were eventually allowed to form unions. However, it is illegal for police to go on strike, and even informal work actions such as the “Blue Flu,” whereby large numbers of police officers call in sick at the same time, are seriously discouraged.
1940 – A new $5,500,000,000 appropriations bill becomes law in the United States. Contracts are placed for 210 vessels for the navy, including seven battleships and 12 carriers.
1940 – The first of the 50 old destroyers given to Britain is taken over by a Royal Navy crew.
1940 – George Stibitz pioneers the first remote operation of a computer.
1942 – USS Muskeget (Coast Guard-manned) was sunk without trace while on weather patrol. Her entire crew of 9 officers and 111 enlisted men were lost. It was learned after the war that she had been torpedoed by the U-755.
1942 – A Japanese floatplane drops incendiary bombs on an Oregon state forest-the first and only attack on the U.S. mainland in the war. Launching from the Japanese sub I-25, Nobuo Fujita piloted his light aircraft over the state of Oregon and firebombed Mount Emily, alighting a state forest–and ensuring his place in the history books as the only man to ever bomb the continental United States. The president immediately called for a news blackout for the sake of morale. No long-term damage was done, and Fujita eventually went home to train navy pilots for the rest of the war.
1942 – Japanese General Hyakutake, commander of the 17th Army, with elements of the 2nd Infantry Division lands at Tassafaronga as part of the Japanese build up for the attack on the main American position at Guadalcanal.
1943 – Operation Avalanche, Western Naval Task Force under VADM Hewitt, USN, lands Allied forces at Salerno, Italy. The US 5th Army (General Clark) lands at on beaches to the south of Salerno. His forces include the British 10th Corps (General McCreery) — the Northern Assault force, and US 6th Corps (General Dawley) — the Southern Assault Force. Naval support for the operation is under British Admiral Cunningham and a covering force (4 battleships and 2 carriers) under Admiral Willis, a support group (5 small carriers) under Admiral Vian and Admiral Hewitt commands the landing ships. There is some resistance to the landings. To the north of the main landing, US Rangers and British Commandos land at Maiori and Vietri to secure mountain passes. In addition, the British 1st Airborne Division comes ashore at Taranto and seizes the port. To the south, the British 8th Army continues a slow advance. German forces near Rome engage the Italian garrison. The Italian government is forced to flee, leaving Rome under German occupation. Coast Guard units, including LCI(L) Flotilla 4 (a landing craft force manned and commanded entirely by the Coast Guard) participated. As part of the Allied invasion of Italy the Americans land four divisions south of Naples. Three of these were the Guard’s 34th (IA, MN, ND, SD), 36th (TX) and 45th (AZ, CO, NM, OK) infantry divisions. Little resistance was expected since the Italian government had surrendered just prior to the landings. However strong German forces contest the invasion and inflicted heavy causalities on the Americans. During this operation the 3rd Battalion, 141st Infantry, 36th Infantry Division earns a Presidential Unit Citation for its determined advance in spite of concentrated enemy fire. The 36th and 45th divisions would later take part in the invasion of southern France and end the war deep inside of Germany, while the 34th Division would continue fighting up the Italian “boot” securing the Po River Valley by war’s end.
1944 – Three groups of US Task Force 38, with 12 carriers, conduct air strikes on Japanese airfields on Mindanao Island.
1944 – Beaune, Le Cresot and Autun are all captured by French elements of US 7th Army.
1945 – Japanese in S. Korea, Taiwan, China, Indochina surrendered to Allies.
1945 – American servicemen begin to returning to the United States (Operation Magic Carpet). The effort is marred, on this first day, by a Typhoon Louisa which batters the Okinawa area. Up to March 1946, a total of 1,307,859 troops are brought home aboard a fleet that eventually totals 369 ships.
1947 – A “computer bug” is first identified and named by LT Grace Murray Hopper while she was on Navy active duty in 1945. It was found in the Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator at Harvard University. The operators affixed the moth to the computer log, where it still resides, with the entry: “First actual case of bug being found.” They “debugged” the computer, first introducing the term.
1950 – Captain Leslie E. Brown became the first Marine Corps aviator to a fly a jet in combat.
1951 – Fourth Fighter-Interceptor Wing Captains Richard S. Becker and Ralph D. Gibson became the second and third aces of the Korean War, with five kills each. On this day, they each shot down a MiG-15 in an air battle that pitted 28 Sabres against 70 MiGs.
1970 – U.S. Marines launched Operation Dubois Square, a 10-day search for North Vietnamese troops near DaNang. Marine pilots in their diminutive Douglas A-4 Skyhawks provided vital close air support for ground forces in Vietnam.
1971 – The four-day Attica Prison riot begins, which eventually results in 39 dead, most killed by state troopers and New York National Guard retaking the prison.
1972 – U.S. Air Force Capt. Charles B. DeBellevue (Weapons Systems Officer) flying with his pilot, Capt. John A. Madden, in a McDonnell Douglas F-4D, shoots down two MiG-19s near Hanoi. These were Captain DeBellevue’s fifth and sixth victories, which made him the leading American ace (an unofficial designation awarded for having downed at least five enemy aircraft in air-to-air combat) of the war. All of his victories came in a four-month period. Captain Madden would record a third MiG kill two months later.
1976 – Mao Zedong, who led the Chinese people through a long revolution and then ruled the nation’s communist government from its establishment in 1949, dies. Along with V.I. Lenin and Joseph Stalin, Mao was one of the most significant communist figures of the Cold War. Mao was born in China in 1893. During the 1910s, he joined the nationalist movement against the decadent and ineffective royal government of China and the foreigners who used it to exploit China. By the 1920s, however, Mao began to lose faith in the leaders of the nationalist movement. He came to believe that only a revolutionary change of Chinese society could bring freedom from Western domination and subjugation. In 1921, he became one of the founding members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Mao’s early years as a communist were not easy. He was constantly in danger of arrest and execution by Chinese government forces. More importantly, he often split with his communist colleagues, many of whom favored slavishly copying the Bolshevik Revolution that brought communism to power in Russia. Mao insisted that revolution in China would come from the country peasants, not the urban workers. In 1935, Mao took control of the CCP. On the verge of defeat by Chinese Nationalist forces, the CCP came under scathing attack by Mao for its lack of revolutionary zeal and poor military strategy. Desperate, a majority of the CCP members relinquished control to Mao. Throughout the 1930s and into World War II, Mao’s forces continued their attacks on the Chinese government. They were ultimately victorious in 1949, and the communist People’s Republic of China was declared in that year. Mao made clear his dedication to constant battle with the West when, in 1950, he sent hundreds of thousands of Chinese troops into North Korea to battle U.S. troops during the Korean War. For nearly three years the war raged, ending with a cease-fire in 1953. In the late 1950s, Mao began to withdraw from an active role in the Chinese government, but he returned with a vengeance in the mid-1960s when he led the “Cultural Revolution,” which was designed to reinvigorate what he saw as the nation’s flagging revolutionary spirit. The “revolution” amounted to frenzied calls from Mao and his supporters for greater dedication to the true ideals of communism and increasingly vociferous verbal assaults against both the Soviet Union (because of its “revisionist” tendencies) and the “imperialism aggression” of the United States. Thousands of Chinese were killed or imprisoned by Mao’s young supporters, called the Red Guards. Internationally, forces were pushing Mao to seek a closer relationship with the United States. Since the early 1960s, relations between China and the Soviet Union deteriorated steadily, and there were frequent border clashes between their respective armed forces. By the late 1960s, Mao came to see the Soviet Union as a more dangerous threat to China than the United States. He therefore sought closer relations with the Americans, hoping to use them as allies in his battle with the Soviets. Mao’s efforts resulted in a dramatic change in relations between the U.S. and China, climaxing in President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China in 1972. The meeting with Nixon was one of Mao’s last great public successes. Nearing 80 years of age, Mao began to make less frequent appearances. He also began to suffer the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s disease. Mao died in 1976, still holding the position of Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party.
1986 – Frank Reed, American director of a private school in Lebanon, was taken hostage; he was released 44 months later.
1990 – President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev held a one-day summit in Helsinki, Finland, after which they joined in condemning Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.
1993 – About a hundred Somali gunmen and civilians were killed when U.S. and Pakistani peacekeepers fired on Somalis attacking other peacekeepers.
1994 – The space shuttle Discovery blasted off on an 11-day mission.
1998 – The Tripartite Gold Commission closed. It was set up in 1946 by Britain, France and the United States to oversee the return of some $4 billion in gold plundered by the Nazis from European treasuries.
1998 – In response to Iraq’s decision to break off cooperation with U.N. arms inspectors, the UN Security Council unanimously agrees to Resolution 1194 suspending periodic reviews of economic sanctions imposed on Iraq.
2001 – In Afghanistan Ahmed Shah Masood (48), the opposition leader (Lion of Panjshir), was injured and a close aide killed from an explosion triggered by agents posing as journalists. Massood died shortly after the explosion.
2001 – EU foreign ministers agreed on the need for a new int’l. military force to provide security in Macedonia after NATO withdrawal.
2002 – In Egypt a military court convicted 51 men in one of the country’s biggest cases against Muslim militants in years and sentenced them to two to 15 years in prison. The group was dubbed al-Wa’ad (the Promise).
2002 – Iraq challenged the United States to produce “one piece of evidence” that it was producing weapons of mass destruction. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the Security Council must be allowed to have its say on a possible attack against Iraq.
2004 – It was reported that a munitions plant in Oklahoma had suspended production of “bunker buster” bombs after workers there developed anemia.
2004 – Ayman al-Zawahri said in an al Qaeda videotape that the US will be ultimately defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan.
2004 – US jets pounded the rebel stronghold of Fallujah, and American and Iraqi forces entered the central city of Samarra for the first time in months to try to reseat the city council and regain control. US and Iraqi security forces launched attacks to flush out insurgents in northern Iraq, killing 12 people.
2004 – Pakistani jets pounded a suspected training facility for foreign militants in a two-hour barrage in tribal South Waziristan, killing 50 people. Pakistani troops assaulted a suspected terror hideout, killing at least six militants. Five of the six dead were foreigners.
2005 – United States Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff appoints Vice Admiral Thad W. Allen, chief of staff of the United States Coast Guard, to direct Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in New Orleans, in place of Federal Emergency Management Agency director Michael D. Brown, who returns to Washington to direct planning for future disaster relief.
2006 – Space Shuttle Atlantis lifts off from John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida to begin STS-115. mission to the International Space Station (ISS) flown by Space Shuttle Atlantis. It was the first assembly mission to the ISS after the Columbia disaster, following the two successful Return to Flight missions, STS-114 and STS-121. The mission delivered the second port-side truss segment (ITS P3/P4), a pair of solar arrays (2A and 4A), and batteries. A total of three spacewalks were performed, during which the crew connected the systems on the installed trusses, prepared them for deployment, and did other maintenance work on the station.
2008 – US President George W. Bush pledges 4,500 troops to Afghanistan over the next few months and orders 8,000 troops currently stationed in Iraq to be home by February.
2010 – United States Marines board and seize control of a German-owned vessel, Magellan Star, previously captured by pirates off the coast of Somalia.