July 19

19 July

1779 – 300 Continental Marines attacked the British at Fort George, Penobscot Bay.
1812 – USS Constitution escapes from British squadron after 3 day chase off New Jersey.
1862 – Nathan Bedford Forrest made his 1st raid.
1862Naval court martial meeting in Richmond acquitted Flag Officer Tattnall with honor for ordering the destruction of C.S.S. Virginia on 11 May after the evacuation of Norfolk. The court found that “the only alternative was to abandon and burn the ship then and there, which in the judgment of the court, was deliberately and wisely done.
1863Confederate General John Hunt Morgan’s raid on the North is dealt a serious blow when a large part of his force is captured as they try to escape across the Ohio River at Buffington Island, Ohio. Cut off from the south, Morgan fled north with the remnants of his command and was captured a week later at Salineville, Ohio. This was the last and most daring of Morgan’s four raids into Union-held territory. The main purpose of the raid was to take pressure off of Chattanooga, Tennessee, by drawing Union troops away from the army of General William Rosecrans. It began on July 2 at Burkesville, Kentucky, and continued into Indiana. Morgan departed with more than 2,400 troopers, but he split his force on two occasions, and suffered many casualties in skirmishes with Federal detachments. Morgan and his forces rode east into Ohio and feigned an advance toward a panicked Cincinnati, but bypassed the city and continued eastward to Pomeroy, Ohio. His men were worn down by the long days in the saddle, and the Yankee pursuit finally caught up at Buffington Island, just outside of Pomeroy. While Morgan made plans to cross the swollen Ohio River, Federal gunboats guarded the fords and Union cavalry attacked the Confederates. In a short time, Morgan lost 800 men, nearly all of who were captured. Morgan escaped with 400 of his men, and fled north in search of a more suitable place to cross the river—which they never found. Morgan surrendered on July 26.
1863After seeking to intercept the troops of General Morgan for some 10 days and 500 miles, the gun-boat squadron under Lieutenant Commander Fitch engaged the Confederate raiders as they attempted to effect a crossing of the Ohio River at Buffington Island – U.S.S. Moose and steamer Alleghany Belle repeatedly frustrated the Southerners’ attempts to cross. Pressed from the rear by Union troops and subjected to heavy fire from the gunboats, Morgan’s soldiers made a scat-tered retreat into the hills, leaving their artillery on the beach. This audacious Southern thrust into the North was broken up. Some 3,000 Confederates were taken prisoner. Major General Ambrose E. Burnside heralded the “efficient services” of Fitch in achieving the “brilliant success of the engagement. “Too much praise,” he wrote Rear Admiral Porter, cannot be awarded the naval department at this place for the promptness and energy manifested in this movement. And Brigadier General Jacob D. Cox noted: “The activity and energy with which the squadron was used to prevent the enemy recrossing the Ohio, and to assist in his capture, was worthy of the highest praise.”
1867 – The US enacted reconstruction.
1886 – Atlanta, the first steel-hulled American cruiser armed with breechloading rifled guns, is commissioned.
1897 – LT Robert E. Peary departs on year long Arctic Expedition which makes many important discoveries, including one of largest meteorites, Cape York.
1917 – The Reichstag passes a peace resolution which backs the plans for an end to the war as proposed by US President Woodrow Wilson.
1918 – French and Americans advance on Soissons-Thierry line, taking Vierzy (north of Ourcq) and Neuilly St. Front (south of Ourcq).
1918 – U.S. armoured cruiser “San Diego” sunk off Fire Island, off New York, 6 lost.
1918 – Armored cruiser USS San Diego sunk off Fire Island, NY by a mine laid by U-156.
1940 – President Roosevelt signs the “Two-Ocean Navy Expansion Act.” This orders construction of 1,325,000 tons of warships and 15,000 naval planes. Including the existing ships, the fleet will comprise 35 battleships, 20 carriers and 88 cruisers.
1941At midnight there is a BBC broadcast by “Colonel Britton” urging the creation of resistance forces with the slogan “V for Victory.” The BBC has been introducing programs to Europe with the Morse signal for V for some time. Following this resistance members paint V signs on walls and German posters and it becomes a symbol for all Western European resistance movements. Musically it was represented by the opening measure of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.
1941The United States Atlantic Fleet forms TF-1 for the protection of the American forces on Iceland and support for convoys bound there. The carrier Wasp flies a cargo of P-40 fighters to the island. A naval buildup begins. The US Navy has instructions to provide escorts for ships of any nationality sailing to and from Iceland.
1942 – The final two U-boats left operating off of the American eastern seaboard are reassigned. They have had no successes due to improved convoy operations.
1943 – American forces advance quickly to the north and west. On the east coast, the British continue to be held. Montgomery alters the weight of his offensive further inland toward Gerbini, Agira and Leonforte.
1943The United States bombs railway yards in Rome in an attempt to break the will of the Italian people to resist-as Hitler lectures their leader, Benito Mussolini, on how to prosecute the war further. On July 16, President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill appealed to the Italian civilian population to reject Mussolini and Hitler and “live for Italy and civilization.” As an “incentive,” American bombers raided the city, destroying its railways. Panic broke out among the Romans. Convinced by Mussolini that the Allies would never bomb the holy city, civilians poured into the Italian capital for safety. The bombing did more than shake their security in the city-it shook their confidence in their leader. The denizens of Rome were not alone in such disillusion. In a meeting in northern Italy, Hitler attempted to revive the flagging spirits of Il Duce, as well as point out his deficiencies as a leader. Afraid that Mussolini, having suffered successive military setbacks, would sue for a separate peace, leaving the Germans alone to battle it out with Allied forces along the Italian peninsula, Hitler decided to meet with his onetime role model to lecture him on the manly art of war. Mussolini remained uncharacteristically silent during the harangue, partly due to his own poor German (he would request a translated synopsis of the meeting later), partly due to his fear of Hitler’s response should he tell the truth-that Italy was beaten and could not continue to fight. Mussolini kept up the charade for his German allies: Italy would press on. But no one believed the brave front anymore. Just a day later, Hitler secretly ordered Field Marshal Erwin Rommel to take command of the occupied Greek Islands, better to “pounce on Italy” if and when Mussolini capitulated to the United States. But within a week, events would take a stunning turn.
1944 – Some 1,200 8th Air Force bombers bombed targets in SW Germany. Some 500 15th Air Force Liberators (Flying Fortresses) bombed the Munich vicinity.
1944 – Elements of the US 5th Army capture Leghorn.
1945 – The USAAF struck the cities of Choshi, Hitachi, Fukui and Okazaki with 600 B-29 Superfortress bombers dropping some 4000 tons of bombs. It is largest employment of the bomber type yet.
1945 – The American Far East Air Force bombs four Japanese air bases in the Shanghai area.
1945 – Congress ratifies the Bretton Woods monetary agreement.
1950 – The U.S. 24th Division began the defense of Taejon.
1953 – The communists communicated a willingness to conclude an armistice on the existing agreed terms.
1953 – Chinese Communist Forces overran Outposts Berlin and East Berlin. U.N. Command directed that no effort would be made to retake the lost ground.
1953Air Force Captain Ronnie L. Moore and Lieutenant Colonel Vermont Garrison, both of the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, qualified as the ninth and 10th “double aces” of the Korean War, with 10 kills each. Garrison had also achieved ace status during World War II with seven kills in Europe.
1956Secretary of State John Foster Dulles announces that the United States is withdrawing its offer of financial aid to Egypt to help with the construction of the Aswan Dam on the Nile River. The action drove Egypt further toward an alliance with the Soviet Union and was a contributing factor to the Suez Crisis later in 1956. In December 1955, Secretary Dulles announced that the United States, together with Great Britain, was providing nearly $70 million in aid to Egypt to help in the construction of the Aswan Dam on the Nile River. Dulles had agreed to this assistance only reluctantly. He was deeply suspicious of Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser, who he believed to be a reckless and dangerous nationalist. However, others in the Eisenhower administration convinced Dulles that the American aid might pull Nasser back from his relationship with the Soviet Union and prevent the growth of Soviet power in the Middle East. Just seven months after the announcement, however, Dulles declared that the American offer was being revoked. He cited difficulties in arranging the financial details of the U.S. grant with the Egyptian government, but his real motivation was Nasser’s unceasing attacks on Western colonialism and imperialism and Egypt’s continued dalliance with the Soviet Union. Dulles might have believed that without the American aid, the dam project would fold. On this point, he was wrong. The Soviets rushed to Egypt’s aid, and the Aswan Dam was officially opened in 1964. Nasser, of course, was furious with the U.S. action. So, too, were the British, who believed that America’s withdrawal of aid had provided the opening for Soviet penetration of Egypt. In October 1956, British, French, and Israeli forces attacked Egypt, claiming that they were protecting the Suez Canal. The incident nearly provoked a U.S.-Soviet confrontation, but President Dwight D. Eisenhower coupled stern warnings against any Soviet military action with a refusal to support the British, French, and Israeli invasion. The invading forces withdrew from Egypt in early 1957. Nevertheless, the damage to U.S. relations with the Middle East was done and the area would remain a Cold War hotspot throughout the next 35 years.
1964On what the South Vietnamese call the “Day of Shame”–the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Geneva Accords that partitioned Vietnam–South Vietnamese Premier Nguyen Khanh, at a rally in Saigon, calls for an expansion of the war to North Vietnam. Ambassador Maxwell Taylor and other U.S. officials present declined comment on Khanh’s position, but it was known that the United States regarded this as breaking an agreement to consult with Washington before issuing such a call.
1966 – Gov. James Rhodes declared a state of emergency in Cleveland due to a race riot.
1967 – Race riots took place in Durham, NC.
1969 – Apollo 11 and its astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins, went into orbit around the moon.
1972Washington and Hanoi announce that the private Paris peace talks have resumed. Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese negotiator Le Duc Tho conferred for over six hours and, by mutual agreement, neither side revealed details of the meetings. The talks had been suspended when the North Vietnamese had launched their Nguyen Hue Offensive earlier in the year. Though the peace talks resumed, heavy fighting continued in South Vietnam. A force of 8,000 to 10,000 South Vietnamese troops moved north toward the district capital at Hoi An in the communist-controlled Binh Dinh province. The troop movement marked the beginning of a counteroffensive in the coastal province to retake territory lost to the communists in the early days of the Nguyen Hue Offensive. Saigon’s forces succeeded in taking Hoi An two days later, but lost the western half of the city one week after that.
1974 – The House Judiciary Committee recommended that President Richard Nixon should stand trial in the Senate for any of the five impeachment charges against him.
1975 – The Apollo and Soyuz space capsules that were linked in orbit for two days separated.
1979 – The Nicaraguan capital of Managua fell to Sandinista guerrillas, two days after President Anastasio Somoza fled the country.
1980 – The Moscow Summer Olympics began, minus dozens of nations that were boycotting the games because of the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan.
1982 – David Dodge, president of the American University of Beirut, was kidnapped.
1983 – David Dodge, president of the American University of Beirut, was released.
1985 – Christa McAuliffe of New Hampshire was chosen to be the first schoolteacher to ride aboard the space shuttle. McAuliffe and six other crew members died (1/28/96) when the Challenger exploded shortly after liftoff.
1993 – President Clinton announced a compromise allowing homosexuals to serve in the military, but only if they refrained from all homosexual activity.
1993 – Two US MP’s are hit by sniper fire. US soldier WIA during RPG attack on compound.
1997 – Eleven armored carriers from NATO gathered in a show of force near the home of ousted Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, Bosnia’s No. 1 war crimes suspect.
1999 – In Iran the secret police alleged that student leader Manouchehr Mohammadi had confessed to serving US-based “spies and Zionists.”
2001 – Japanese prosecutors charged a U.S. airman with rape in an alleged attack on a woman in Okinawa. Air Force Staff Sgt. Timothy Woodland was later convicted and sentenced to nearly three years in prison.
2001 – The first set of the newly authorized Helicopter Rescue Swimmer insignia, or ‘wings’, were presented to the senior rescue swimmer in the Coast Guard, Master Chief Aviation Survival Technician (AST) Keith Jensen, at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington, D.C.
2002 – US and British warplanes destroyed a military communications facility in southern Iraq.
2003 – In Spinboldak, Afghanistan, US forces, backed by helicopter gunships, killed up to 24 suspected Taliban insurgents after their convoy came under attack.
2004 – An Egyptian truck driver held hostage for two weeks by insurgents in Iraq was freed and taken to the Egyptian Embassy.
2004 – Iraq announced the appointment of 43 new ambassadors in its first move to re-engage with the world.

Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken this Day

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company C, 21st New York Cavalry. Place and date: At Ashbys Gap, Va., 19 July 1864. Entered service at: Rochester, N.Y. Birth: Canada. Date of issue: 11 June 1896. Citation: At great personal risk rescued his wounded captain and carried him from the field to a place of safety.

Rank and organization: Captain, 6th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At Bobong, Negros, Philippine Islands, 19 July 1899. Entered service at: Washington, D.C. Birth: Newport Barracks, Va. Date of issue: 15 July 1902. Citation: Most distinguished gallantry in rallying his men on the bridge after the line had been broken and pushed back.

Rank and organization: Pharmacist’s Mate First Class, U.S. Navy. Place and date: Vierzy, France, and Somme-Py, France, 19 July and 5 October 1918. Entered service at: Kansas City, Mo. Born: 2 January 1896, Edgerton, Kans. Citation: For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, with the 6th Regiment, U.S. Marines, in action at Vierzy, on 19 July 1918. Balch unhesitatingly and fearlessly exposed himself to terrific machinegun and high-explosive fire to succor the wounded as they fell in the attack, leaving his dressing station voluntarily and keeping up the work all day and late into the night unceasingly for 16 hours. Also in the action at Somme-Py on 5 October 1918, he exhibited exceptional bravery in establishing an advanced dressing station under heavy shellfire.

Rank and organization: Lieutenant (Medical Corps), U.S. Navy. Place and date: Vicinity Vierzy, France, 19 July 1918. Entered service at: St. Clair, Pa. Born: 2 August 1889, St. Clair, Pa. Citation: For extraordinary heroism, conspicuous gallantry, and intrepidity while serving with the 6th Regiment, U.S. Marines, in actual conflict with the enemy. With absolute disregard for personal safety, ever conscious and mindful of the suffering fallen, Surg. Boone, leaving the shelter of a ravine, went forward onto the open field where there was no protection and despite the extreme enemy fire of all calibers, through a heavy mist of gas, applied dressings and first aid to wounded marines. This occurred southeast of Vierzy, near the cemetery, and on the road south from that town. When the dressings and supplies had been exhausted, he went through a heavy barrage of large-caliber shells, both high explosive and gas, to replenish these supplies, returning quickly with a sidecar load, and administered them in saving the lives of the wounded. A second trip, under the same conditions and for the same purpose, was made by Surg. Boone later that day.

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company K, 28th Infantry, 1st Division. Place and date: Near Soissons, France, 18-19 July 1918. Entered service at: Monroe, N.C. Birth: Monroe, N.C. G.O. No.: 1, W.D. 1937. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty. During the attack the 2d and 3d Battalions of the 28th Infantry were merged, and after several hours of severe fighting, successfully established a frontline position. In so doing, a gap was left between the right flank of the French 153d Division on their left and the left flank of the 28th Infantry, exposing the left flank to a terrific enfilade fire from several enemy machineguns located in a rock quarry on high ground. 2d Lt. Parker, observing this serious situation, ordered his depleted platoon to follow him in an attack upon the strong point. Meeting a disorganized group of French Colonials wandering leaderlessly about, he persuaded them to join his platoon. This consolidated group followed 2d Lt. Parker through direct enemy rifle and machinegun fire to the crest of the hill, and rushing forward, took the quarry by storm, capturing 6 machineguns and about 40 prisoners. The next day when the assault was continued, 2d Lt. Parker in command of the merged 2d and 3d Battalions was in support of the 1st Battalion. Although painfully wounded in the foot, he refused to be evacuated and continued to lead his command until the objective was reached. Seeing that the assault battalion was subjected to heavy enfilade fire due to a gap between it and the French on its left, 2d Lt. Parker led his battalion through this heavy fire up on the line to the left of the 1st Battalion and thereby closed the gap, remaining in command of his battalion until the newly established lines of the 28th Infantry were thoroughly consolidated. In supervising the consolidation of the new position, 2d Lt. Parker was compelled to crawl about on his hands and knees on account of his painful wound. His conspicuous gallantry and spirit of self-sacrifice were a source of great inspiration to the members of the entire command.

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Troop E, 112th Cavalry Regiment. Place and date: Driniumor River, New Guinea, 16-19 July 1944. Entered service at: Gray, lowa. Birth: Cameron Township, lowa. G.O. No.: 36, 10 May 1945. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty along the Driniumor River, New Guinea, from 16-19 July 1944. 2d Lt. Christensen repeatedly distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty in the continuous heavy fighting which occurred in this area from 16-19 July. On 16 July, his platoon engaged in a savage fire fight in which much damage was caused by 1 enemy machinegun effectively placed. 2d Lt. Christensen ordered his men to remain under cover, crept forward under fire, and at a range of 15 yards put the gun out of action with hand grenades. Again, on 19 July, while attacking an enemy position strong in mortars and machineguns, his platoon was pinned to the ground by intense fire. Ordering his men to remain under cover, he crept forward alone to locate definitely the enemy automatic weapons and the best direction from which to attack. Although his rifle was struck by enemy fire and knocked from his hands he continued his reconnaissance, located 5 enemy machineguns, destroyed 1 with hand grenades, and rejoined his platoon. He then led his men to the point selected for launching the attack and, calling encouragement, led the charge. This assault was successful and the enemy was driven from the positions with a loss of 4 mortars and 10 machineguns and leaving many dead on the field. On 4 August 1944, near Afua, Dutch New Guinea, 2d Lt. Christensen was killed in action about 2 yards from his objective while leading his platoon in an attack on an enemy machinegun position. 2d Lt. Christensen’s leadership, intrepidity, and repeatedly demonstrated gallantry in action at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, exemplify the highest traditions of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S.. Army, Company E, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division. Place and date: A Shau Valley, Republic of Vietnam, 15 to 19 July 1969. Entered service at: Buffalo, N.Y. Born: 29 September 1944, Jersey City, N.J.: Citation: S/Sgt. Gertsch distinguished himself while serving as a platoon sergeant and platoon leader during combat operations in the A Shau Valley. During the initial phase of an operation to seize a strongly defended enemy position, S/Sgt. Gertsch’s platoon leader was seriously wounded and lay exposed to intense enemy fire. Forsaking his own safety, without hesitation S/Sgt. Gertsch rushed to aid his fallen leader and dragged him to a sheltered position. He then assumed command of the heavily engaged platoon and led his men in a fierce counterattack that forced the enemy to withdraw. Later, a small element of S/Sgt. Gertsch’s unit was reconnoitering when attacked again by the enemy. S/Sgt. Gertsch moved forward to his besieged element and immediately charged, firing as he advanced. His determined assault forced the enemy troops to withdraw in confusion and made possible the recovery of 2 wounded men who had been exposed to heavy enemy fire. Sometime later his platoon came under attack by an enemy force employing automatic weapons, grenade, and rocket fire. S/Sgt. Gertsch was severely wounded during the onslaught but continued to command his platoon despite his painful wound. While moving under fire and encouraging his men he sighted an aidman treating a wounded officer from an adjacent unit. Realizing that both men were in imminent danger of being killed, he rushed forward and positioned himself between them and the enemy nearby. While the wounded officer was being moved to safety S/Sgt. Gertsch was mortally wounded by enemy fire. Without S/Sgt. Gertsch’s courage, ability to inspire others, and profound concern for the welfare of his men, the loss of life among his fellow soldiers would have been significantly greater. His conspicuous gallantry, extraordinary heroism, and intrepidity at the cost of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit on him and the Armed Forces of his country.

One thought on “July 19

  1. 1950 – French/Vietnamese offensive against Viet Minh begins.

    1968 – President Johnson and South Vietnam’s President Thieu meet in Hawaii.

    1972 – South Vietnamese troops begin a major counter-offensive against NVA in Binh Dinh Province.

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