August 27

27 August

1776The Americans were defeated by the British at the Battle of Long Island, New York. The American forces, composed of Continental Line and militia regiments from several states, attempted to hold back a well coordinated attack by the British Army. While most state units gave a poor showing, often running away upon the enemy approach, this was not always the case. American General Lord Sterling commanding a brigade of Maryland and Delaware regiments blunted their advance long enough for other troops to safely withdraw.
1780 – Marines guarding workmen cutting masts for the Navy pursued Indians near Reading, Pennsylvania.
1832 – Blackhawk, leader of Sauk-Indians, gave himself up, ending the Blackhawk War.
1859Edwin Drake struck oil at 69 feet near Titusville, Pennsylvania–the world’s first successful oil well. This source of crude oil, or petroleum, opened up a new inexpensive source of power and quickly replaced whale oil in lamps. Within a few decades of Drake’s discovery, oil drilling was widespread in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, and the East Indies. However, it was the development of the automobile that catapulted petroleum into a position of paramount importance, for petroleum is the primary source of gasoline. Asphalt, also derived from petroleum, is used to surface roads and highways.
1861Union ships sail into North Carolina’s Hatteras Inlet, beginning a two-day operation that secures the area for the Federals and denies the Confederates an important outlet to the Atlantic. The Outer Banks is a series of long, narrow islands that separate Pamlico Sound from the Atlantic, with Hatteras Inlet as the only deep-water passage connecting the two. In the first few months of the war, the Outer Banks were a haven for Confederate blockade runners and raiders. During the summer of 1861, one Rebel ship, the Winslow, wreaked havoc on Union shipping off North Carolina, and Federal naval and army officials mounted a combined operation to neutralize the area. To protect the passage, the Confederates erected two fortresses of sand and wood, garrisoned by 350 soldiers. Eight Union warships and 800 troops under the command of Commodore Silas Stringham and General Benjamin Butler anchored off Cape Hatteras on August 27. Butler’s men slogged ashore the next day with wet powder, hardly in shape to attack a fortified position. Fortunately for the Yankee infantry, the squadron off shore began a devastating bombardment that forced the Confederates to abandon one of the strongholds, Fort Clark. The Confederates gathered inside of the larger Fort Hatteras, but the shelling from the Union ships was more than the garrison could stand. The force surrendered on August 29. The capture of Cape Hatteras was an important victory for the Union, especially after the disaster at Bull Run one month earlier. It also gave the Union a toehold on the North Carolina coast, and it sealed an important outlet to the Atlantic.
1862 – As the Second Battle of Bull Run raged, Confederate soldiers attacked Loudoun County, Virginia.
1864In failing health and with the assault on the city of Mobile delayed indefinitely awaiting adequate troops, Rear Admiral Farragut wrote Secretary Welles requesting to be relieved of his duties: “It is evident that the army has no men to spare for this place beyond those sufficient to keep up an alarm, and thereby make a diversion in favor of General Sherman. . . . Now, I dislike to make of show of attack unless I can do something more than make a menace, but so long as I am able I am willing to do the bidding of the Department to the best of my abilities. I fear, however, my health is giving way. I have now been down in this Gulf and the Caribbean Sea nearly five years out of six, with the exception of the short time at home last fall, and the last six months have been a severe drag on me, and I want rest, if it is to he had.” Two months later the great leader set course to the North for a well earned leave.
1864U.S.S. Niphon, Acting Lieutenant Joseph B. Breck, and U.S.S. Monticello, Acting Master Henry A. Phelon, conducted an expedition up Masonboro Inlet, North Carolina, to silence a Confederate battery which was reported to have been erected in the vicinity. The two screw steamers shelled the shoreline and a number of buildings at Masonboro; landing parties went ashore and captured a quantity of rifles, ammunition, foodstuffs.
1896The crew of the Lifesaving Station at Fourth Cliff, Massachusetts, responded to a traffic accident in front of the station. A party of women had been driving by on a horse-drawn buggy when their horse fell, breaking a shaft and the harness. The surfmen repaired the harness and spliced the shaft, “the women being sheltered from the rain in the station until all was ready for them to leave.”
1901In Havana, Cuba, U.S. Army physician James Carroll allowed an infected mosquito to feed on him in an attempt to isolate the means of transmission of yellow fever. Days later, Carroll developed a severe case of yellow fever, helping his colleague, Army Walter Reed, prove that mosquitoes can transmit the sometimes deadly disease.
1908 – Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th president of the United States (1963-1969), was born near Stonewall, Texas.
1917 – Squadron of minesweepers departs U.S. for service off France.
1918The Battle of Ambos Nogales (lit. “The Battle of Both Nogales”), or as it is known in Mexico La batalla del 27 de agosto (lit. “The Battle of 27 August”), was an engagement fought between Mexican forces and elements of United States Army soldiers of the 35th Infantry Regiment, who were reinforced by the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry Regiment, and commanded by Lt. Col. Frederick J. Herman. The American soldiers and militia forces were stationed in Nogales, Arizona and the Mexican soldiers and armed Mexican militia were in Nogales, Sonora. This battle was notable for being a significant confrontation between U.S. and Mexican forces during the Border War which took place in the context of the Mexican Revolution and the First World War. This occurred after the Zimmermann Telegram during World War I when the international border between the two Nogales was a wide open boulevard named International Street. There had been several previous fatal incidents in this area which helped increase international tensions and leading to armed conflict. This included the claim of German military advisors as agitators with Mexican Villa rebels, claims of racism and border politics. As a result of this battle, the U.S. and Mexico agreed to divide the two border communities with a chain-link border fence, the first of many permanent incarnations of the U.S.–Mexico border wall between the two countries.
1928Fifteen nations signed the Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact, also known as the Pact of Paris, outlawing war and calling for the settlement of disputes through arbitration. Forty-seven other countries eventually sign the pact. The pact was developed by French foreign minister Aristide Briand and U.S. Secretary of State Frank Kellogg. The document did not stipulate any sanctions and allowed for so many exceptions—including wars of ‘self-defense‘ and obligations under the League Covenant and Monroe Doctrine—that the pact was quite ineffective.
1941Prince Fumimaro Konoye, prime minister of Japan, announces that he would like to enter into direct negotiations with President Roosevelt in order to prevent the Japanese conflict with China from expanding into world war. Konoye, a lawyer by training and well studied in Western philosophy, literature, and economics, entered the Japanese Parliament’s upper house by virtue of his princely status and immediately pursued a program of reform. High on his agenda was a reform of the army general staff in order to prevent its direct interference in foreign policy decisions. He also sought an increase in parliamentary power. An antifascist, Konoye championed an end to the militarism of Japanese political structures, especially in light of the war in Manchuria, which began in 1931. Appointed prime minister in 1933, Konoye’s first cabinet fell apart after full-blown war broke out between Japan and China. In 1940, Konoye was asked to form a second cabinet. But as he sought to contain the war with China, relations with the United States deteriorated, to the point where Japan was virtually surrounded by a U.S. military presence and threats of sanctions. On August 27, 1941, Konoye requested a summit with President Roosevelt in order to diminish heightening tensions. Envoys were exchanged, but no direct meeting with the president took place. (The U.S. government did not want to send the wrong message to China-and that Japan was on the losing end of that war anyway.) In October, Konoye resigned because of increasing tension with his army minister, Tojo Hideki, who would succeed him as prime minister. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Konoye was put under military surveillance, his political career all but over until 1945, when the emperor considered sending him to Moscow to negotiate peace terms. That meeting never came off either. The grand irony of Prince Konoye’s career came at the war’s conclusion, when he was served with an arrest warrant by the U.S. occupying force for suspicion of war crimes. Rather than submit to arrest, he committed suicide by drinking poison.
1942 – CGC Mojave rescues 293 men from the torpedoed transport, Chatham in the Strait of Belle Isle.
1942 – The Battle of the Eastern Solomons. Japanese submarine I-26 damages the USS Saratoga. It will remain out of action until October. The USS Wasp is now the only operational US carrier in the Pacific.
1943 – American forces land on Arundel. Elements of the 43rd Division occupy Nauro Peninsula in the southeast of the island without oppostion.
1944 – British 21st Army Group and US 12th Army Group continue to advance beyond the Seine River. The US 3rd Army, on the right wing of the army groups, captures Chateau Thierry on the Marne River as well as reaching the Seine River at Troyes, farther inland.
1944 – USS Stingray (SS-186) lands men and supplies on Luzon, Philippines to support guerilla operations against the Japanese.
1945 – B-29 Superfortress bombers began to drop supplies into Allied prisoner of war camps in China.
1945The Allied fleets anchor in Sagami (Tokyo) Bay within sight of Mount Fujiyama. Admiral Halsey, commander of the US 3rd Fleet, is present for what is probably the greatest display of naval might in history. The armada includes 23 aircraft carriers, 12 battleships, 26 cruisers, 116 destroyers and escorts, 12 submarines and 185 other vessels. In addition to the American and British ships, there are ships from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the Netherlands represented.
1945 – President Truman says that the situation in the Pacific continues to have many elements of danger and urges Congress to continue conscription for a further two years.
1950 – Fifth Air Force established a Rescue Liaison Office in the Joint Operations Center at Nagoya Air Base, Japan.
1952As the presidential election of 1952 begins to heat up, so do accusations and counteraccusations concerning communism in America. The “Red Scare”–the widespread belief that international communism was operating in the United States–came to dominate much of the debate between Democrats and Republicans in 1952. On August 27, 1952, the New York Times front page contained three stories suggesting the impact of the Red Scare on the upcoming election. In the first story, the Republican-dominated Senate Internal Security Subcommittee released a report charging that the Radio Writers Guild was dominated by a small number of communists. The Guild, whose members were responsible for producing more than 90 percent of the programs on radio, had purportedly been run by a small clique of communists for at least the last nine years. According to the subcommittee report, communist subversion of the Guild was merely one step in a larger effort to control the media of the United States-including radio, television, movies, and book publishing. The second front-page story was a report that the American Legion was demanding, for the third year in a row, that President Harry S. Truman dismiss Secretary of State Dean Acheson for his lack of vigor in dealing with the communist threat. The Legion report declared that the Department of State was in desperate need of “God-fearing Americans” who had the “intestinal fortitude not to be political puppets.” The organization demanded a quick and victorious settlement of the Korean War, even if this meant expanding the war into China. The third story provided a counter of sorts to the previous two stories. It reported a speech by Democratic nominee for president Governor Adlai E. Stevenson, in which he strongly criticized those who used “patriotism” as a weapon against their political opponents. In an obvious slap at the Senate Subcommittee and others, such as Senator Joseph McCarthy, Stevenson repeated the words of the writer Dr. Samuel Johnson: “Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.” The governor claimed that it was “shocking” that good Americans, such as Acheson and former secretary of state General George C. Marshall, could be attacked on the grounds that they were unpatriotic. The three related stories from the front page of the Times indicated just how deeply the Red Scare had penetrated American society. Accusations about communists in the film, radio, and television industries, in the Department of State and the U.S. Army, in all walks of American life, had filled the newspapers and airwaves for years. By 1952, many Americans were convinced that communists were at work in the United States and must be rooted out and hunted down. Republicans and their allies were obviously planning to use the Red Scare to their advantage in the presidential election of that year, while the Democrats were going to have to battle the perception that they had been “soft” on communism during the administration of President Truman (who came to office in 1945 following the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt). The Republicans were eventually victorious, with Dwight D. Eisenhower scoring a victory over Stevenson.
1959 – Off Cape Canaveral, FL, USS Observation Island (EAG-154) makes first shipboard launching of a Polaris missile.
1962The United States launched the Mariner 2 space probe with an Atlas D booster. On December 14, 1962, Mariner 2 passed within just over 20,000 miles of Venus, reporting an 800F surface temperature, high surface pressures, a predominantly carbon dioxide atmosphere, continuous cloud cover, and no detectable magnetic field.
1972In the heaviest bombing in four years, U.S. aircraft flatten North Vietnamese barracks near Hanoi and Haiphong as part of ongoing Operation Linebacker I, part of President Nixon’s response to the NVA Easter Offensive. Planes also hit bridges on the northeast railroad line to China. In an associated action, four U.S. ships raided the Haiphong port area after dark, shelling to within two miles of the city limits. As the U.S. ships withdrew from the area, the cruiser USS Newport News sank one of two North Vietnamese patrol boats in pursuit, and destroyer USS Rowan set the other on fire.
1984 – President Reagan announced the Teacher in Space project.
1989 – The first U.S. commercial satellite rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., a Delta booster carrying a British communications satellite.
1989 – Chuck Berry performed his tune Johnny B. Goode for NASA staff in celebration of Voyager II’s encounter with the planet Neptune.
1990 – Fifty-two Americans reached freedom in Turkey after they were allowed to leave Iraq; three young men originally in the group, however, were detained by the Iraqis. In Washington, the State Department ordered the expulsion of 36 Iraqi diplomats.
1992 – President Bush ordered federal troops to Florida for emergency relief in the wake of Hurricane Andrew.
1993 – Operation “Eyes Over Mogadishu” steps up helicopter flights over the capitol.
1993 – The U.N. Security Council suspended 2 1/2-month-old economic sanctions against Haiti to spur the country’s return to democracy. They were reimposed the following October.
1997There was a report on the US nuclear arsenal broken down to the number of nuclear weapons in each state. New Mexico was 1st with 2,850, Georgia 2nd with 2,000, and Washington State 3rd with 1,600. The total stockpile was totaled at 12,500 warheads, of which 8,750 were described as “operational.”
1998 – Two suspects in the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya were sent to the United States to face charges.
1999 – A boarding team from the CGC Munro discover 172 illegal Chinese migrants aboard the fishing vessel Chih Yung off the coast of Mexico.
2001 – An unmanned US reconnaissance aircraft, Predator, was reported shot down over southern Iraq near Basra. In northern Iraq US planes attacked a missile and Iraq claimed 1 civilian was killed.
2001 – Intel unveiled a 2-GHz Pentium 4 chip.
2001 – In Macedonia NATO troops began collecting rebel weapons and one British soldier was killed when a suspected block of concrete was thrown at his vehicle by Macedonian youths.
2002 – Pres. Bush met with Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia, who said war with Iraq was not acceptable and that Saudi Arabia would not cooperate. Bush told the Saudi diplomat he had not yet decided whether to attack Iraq.
2003 – American and Afghan forces killed about a dozen insurgents and recaptured a mountain pass in southeastern Afghanistan.
2004Al-Sadr’s followers handed over the keys to the Imam Ali Shrine to religious authorities loyal to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Militants, who had been holed up in the site, left it after Iraq’s top Shiite cleric brokered a peace deal to end three weeks of fighting. Iraqi police discovered about 10 bodies in a maverick religious court run by rebel Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s followers.
2004 – In Iraq saboteurs hit a pipeline that runs within the West Qurna oilfields, 90 miles north of the southern city of Basra.
2004 – Riot police used water cannons to disperse protesters demanding that the Philippines lift its ban on allowing its citizens to go to war-ravaged Iraq for jobs.
2008 – CGC Dallas, while deployed as part of the U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet, delivered 76,000 pounds of humanitarian relief supplies to the port of Bat’umi, Georgia after that country was attacked by Russia as part of “Operation Assured Delivery.” She was the second U.S. military vessel to deliver relief supplies to Georgia.

Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company F, 5th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Davidson Canyon near Camp Crittenden, Ariz., 27 August 1872. Entered service at:——. Birth: Wexford, Ireland. Date of issue: 4 December 1874. Citation: In command of a detachment of 4 men defeated a superior force.

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 143d Infantry, 36th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Montelimar, France, 27 August 1944. Entered service at: Bayonne, N.J. Birth: New York, N.Y. G.O. No.: 31, 17 April 1945. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 27 August 1944, in the vicinity of Montelimar, France. As his platoon advanced upon the enemy positions; the leading scout was fired upon and 2d Lt. Gregg (then a Tech. Sgt.) immediately put his machineguns into action to cover the advance of the riflemen. The Germans, who were at close range, threw hand grenades at the riflemen, killing some and wounding 7. Each time a medical aid man attempted to reach the wounded, the Germans fired at him. Realizing the seriousness of the situation, 2d Lt. Gregg took 1 of the light .30-caliber machineguns, and firing from the hip, started boldly up the hill with the medical aid man following him. Although the enemy was throwing hand grenades at him, 2d Lt. Gregg remained and fired into the enemy positions while the medical aid man removed the 7 wounded men to safety. When 2d Lt. Gregg had expended all his ammunition, he was covered by 4 Germans who ordered him to surrender. Since the attention of most of the Germans had been diverted by watching this action, friendly riflemen were able to maneuver into firing positions. One, seeing 2d Lt. Gregg’s situation, opened fire on his captors. The 4 Germans hit the ground and thereupon 2d Lt. Gregg recovered a machine pistol from one of the Germans and managed to escape to his other machinegun positions. He manned a gun, firing at his captors, killed 1 of them and wounded the other. This action so discouraged the Germans that the platoon was able to continue its advance up the hill to achieve its objective. The following morning, just prior to daybreak, the Germans launched a strong attack, supported by tanks, in an attempt to drive Company L from the hill. As these tanks moved along the valley and their foot troops advanced up the hill, 2d Lt. Gregg immediately ordered his mortars into action. During the day by careful observation, he was able to direct effective fire on the enemy, inflicting heavy casualties. By late afternoon he had directed 600 rounds when his communication to the mortars was knocked out. Without hesitation he started checking his wires, although the area was under heavy enemy small arms and artillery fire. When he was within 100 yards of his mortar position, 1 of his men informed him that the section had been captured and the Germans were using the mortars to fire on the company. 2d Lt. Gregg with this man and another nearby rifleman started for the gun position where he could see 5 Germans firing his mortars. He ordered the 2 men to cover him, crawled up, threw a hand grenade into the position, and then charged it. The hand grenade killed 1, injured 2, 2d Lt. Gregg took the other 2 prisoners, and put his mortars back into action.

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Battery A, 15th Field Artillery Battalion, 2d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Kobangsan-ni, Korea, 27 August 1951. Entered service at: Danbury, Conn. Birth: Philadelphia, Pa. G.O. No.: 16, 1 February 1952. Citation: 1st. Lt. Hartell, a member of Battery A, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an armed enemy of the United Nations. During the darkness of early morning, the enemy launched a ruthless attack against friendly positions on a rugged mountainous ridge. 1st Lt. Hartell, attached to Company B, 9th Infantry Regiment, as forward observer, quickly moved his radio to an exposed vantage on the ridge line to adjust defensive fires. Realizing the tactical advantage of illuminating the area of approach, he called for flares and then directed crippling fire into the onrushing assailants. At this juncture a large force of hostile troops swarmed up the slope in banzai charge and came within 10 yards of 1st Lt. Hartell’s position. 1st Lt. Hartell sustained a severe hand wound in the ensuing encounter but grasped the microphone with his other hand and maintained his magnificent stand until the front and left flank of the company were protected by a close-in wall of withering fire, causing the fanatical foe to disperse and fall back momentarily. After the numerically superior enemy overran an outpost and was closing on his position, 1st Lt. Hartell, in a final radio call, urged the friendly elements to fire both batteries continuously. Although mortally wounded, 1st Lt. Hartell’s intrepid actions contributed significantly to stemming the onslaught and enabled his company to maintain the strategic strongpoint. His consummate valor and unwavering devotion to duty reflect lasting glory on himself and uphold the noble traditions of the military service.

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