1773 – William Henry Harrison, the 9th president of the United States (March 4- April 4, 1841), was born in Charles City County, Va.
1775 – English Parliament declared the Mass. colony was in rebellion.
1799 – The USS Constellation captured the French frigate Insurgente off the coast of Wisconsin.
1825 – As no presidential candidate received a majority of electoral votes in the election of 1824, the U.S. House of Representatives votes to elect John Quincy Adams, who won fewer votes than Andrew Jackson in the popular election, as president of the United States. Adams was the son of John Adams, the second president of the United States. In the 1824 election, 131 electoral votes, just over half of the 261 total, were necessary to elect a candidate president. Although it had no bearing on the outcome of the election, popular votes were counted for the first time in this election. On December 1, 1824, the results were announced. Andrew Jackson of Tennessee won 99 electoral and 153,544 popular votes; John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts received 84 electoral and 108,740 popular votes; Secretary of State William H. Crawford, who had suffered a stroke before the election, received 41 electoral votes; and Representative Henry Clay of Virginia won 37 electoral votes. As dictated by the U.S. Constitution, the presidential election was then turned over to the House of Representatives. The 12th Amendment states that if no electoral majority is won, only the three candidates who receive the most popular votes will be considered in the House. Representative Henry Clay, who was disqualified from the House vote as a fourth-place candidate, agreed to use his influence to have John Quincy Adams elected. Clay and Adams were both members of a loose coalition in Congress that by 1828 became known as the National Republicans, while Jackson’s supporters were later organized into the Democratic Party. Thanks to Clay’s backing, on February 9, 1825, the House elected Adams as president of the United States. When Adams then appointed Clay to the top Cabinet post of secretary of state, Jackson and his supporters derided the appointment as the fulfillment of a corrupt bargain. With little popular support, Adams’ time in the White House was for the most part ineffectual, and the so-called Corrupt Bargain continued to haunt his administration. In 1828, he was defeated in his reelection bid by Andrew Jackson, who received more than twice as many electoral votes than Adams.
1861 – Confederate Provisional Congress declared all laws under the US Constitution were consistent with constitution of Confederate states. The Congress elected Jefferson Davis president and Alexander H. Stephens vice president. Jefferson Davis’ Mexican War exploits led him to the Confederate White House.
1861 – Tennessee voted against secession.
1863 – The Intl. Committee of Red Cross (Nobel 1917, 1944, 1963) was formed in Geneva, Switz.
1864 – Union General George Armstrong Custer marries Elizabeth Bacon in Monroe, Michigan, while the young cavalry officer is on leave. “Libbie,” as she was known to her family, was a tireless defender of her husband’s reputation after his death at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876, and her work helped establish him as an American hero. The two met in November 1862 at a party in Monroe. They courted while George was on winter furlough. After he retuned to service in 1863, Custer became, at 23 years old, the youngest general in the Union army. George and Libbie continued their correspondence, and when he returned to Monroe that winter, their relationship intensified. George recognized that Libbie’s good judgment balanced the young general’s brash and impulsive behavior. They were engaged by Christmas. The bride wore a white satin dress for the nuptials, which were held in Monroe’s packed First Presbyterian Church. They honeymooned in New York, where they visited West Point, Custer’s alma mater. After spending time in New York City, they settled in Washington and the attractive couple soon became darlings of the social scene. While her husband was in the field, Libbie worked to advance his career by hobnobbing with prominent Republican politicians. Her influence with some prominent members of Congress was helpful, and possible crucial, for Custer’s promotion to major general on April 15, 1865. After the war, Custer became a lieutenant colonel in the downsized postwar frontier army. On June 25, 1876, he and the 210 men under his command were wiped out by Lakota and Northern Cheyenne Indians at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in Montana. Libbie spent the remainder of her life building Custer’s reputation and defending his actions during his last battle. Not until after her death in 1933 did the first iconoclastic biography of her husband appear. The enduring legend of George Custer was due in large part to the tireless efforts of his widow.
1864 – 109 Union prisoners escaped through a tunnel from the Confederate Libby Prison in Richmond, Va., including Lt. James M. Wells of Michigan. In 1904 Wells published an account of the escape in the Jan. issue of McClure’s Magazine.
1865 – U.S.S. Pawnee, Commander George B. Balch, U.S.S. Sonoma, Lieutenant Commander Thomas S. Fillebrown, and U.S.S. Daffodil, Acting Master William H. Mallard, engaged Confederate batteries on Togodo Creek, neat the North Edisto River, South Carolina. Pawnee took ten hits and the other ships two each, but the naval bombardment successfully silenced the Southern emplacements. The action was one of several attacks along the coast that helped to clear the way and keep the South’s defenses disrupted while General Sherman’s army advanced northward. With assurance of aid from the sea when needed, Sherman could travel light and fast. On this date he was matching toward Orangeburg, on the north side of the Edisto River, and would capture it on the 12th.
1870 – The first National Weather Bureau is established by Act of Congress. It is designated as a part of the US Army Signal Corps. On July 1, 1891 it will be transferred to the Agriculture Department; on June 30, 1940 it will be merged into the Commerce Department.
1886 – President Cleveland declared a state of emergency in Seattle because of anti-Chinese violence.
1898 – Senor de Lome, Spanish Minister to the US is forced to resign when a private letter he has written to a Cuban friend is published in Hearst’s New York Journal. In the letter de Lome characterizes President McKinley as feebleminded. Publication arouses great indignation in the US.
1904 – Captain A. W. Catlin’s 49 Marines established the first permanent Marine garrison in Honolulu.
1909 – The 1st US federal legislation prohibiting narcotics was directed at opium.
1918 – Army chaplain school organized at Ft. Monroe, Va.
1922 – World War I left a mountain of debt in its wake: Great Britain owed the U.S. government over four billion dollars, while France and Italy racked up war-related loans of roughly $3 billion and $1.6 billion, respectively. Alhough President Woodrow Wilson blindly insisted on full repayment of all debts to the U.S., the reality was far thornier, as the European governments were simply too strapped for cash to make good on their loans. Britain attempted to broker a deal for the reciprocal remittance of the debts, but Wilson rebuffed the offer. The debt dilemma festered into the early 1920s, stirring-up bitter and often anti-foreign feelings on both sides of the Atlantic. In hopes of resolving the issue, Congress convened on February 9, 1922, and voted in favor of establishing the World War Foreign Debt Commission. The Commission rounded the money owed to the U.S. to $11.5 billion and established a sixty-two-year term, at 2 percent interest, for the repayment of the debts. However, by 1925, the U.S. could no longer ignore fiscal reality: the loans would never be repaid in full. Despite his initial refusal to scuttle the debts, President Calvin Coolidge relented and cancelled good chunks of various governments’ outstanding debts.
1940 – Sumner Welles, US Under-Secretary of State, is to visit the belligerent countries in Europe with the aim of trying to negotiate a peace settlement.
1942 – The Normandie, regarded by many as the most elegant ocean liner ever built, burns and sinks in New York Harbor during its conversion to an Allied trip transport ship. Built in France in the early 1930s, the Normandie ruled the transatlantic passenger trade in its day. The first major liner to cross the Atlantic in less than four days, its masterful engineering was only surpassed by its design excellence. The 1,000-foot ship’s distinctive clipper-ship bow was immediately recognizable, and its elaborate architecture and decorations popularized the Moderne style. After the American entrance into World War II, it was seized by the U.S. Navy for the Allied war effort and renamed the U.S.S. Lafayette. However, on February 9, 1942–just days before it was to be completed for trooping–a welder accidentally set fire to a pile of flammable life preservers with his torch, and by early the next morning the ship lay capsized in the harbor, a gutted wreck. It was later towed south to New Jersey and scrapped.
1942 – Chiang Kai-shek met with Sir Stafford Cripps, the British viceroy in India. Detachment 101 harried the Japanese in Burma and provided close support for regular Allied forces.
1942 – Congress pushes ahead standard time for the United States by one hour in each time zone, imposing daylight saving time–called at the time “war time.” Daylight saving time, suggested by President Roosevelt, was imposed to conserve fuel, and could be traced back to World War I, when Congress imposed one standard time on the United States to enable the country to better utilize resources, following the European model. The 1918 Standard Time Act was meant to be in effect for only seven months of the year–and was discontinued nationally after the war. But individual states continued to turn clocks ahead one hour in spring and back one hour in fall. The World War II legislation imposed daylight saving time for the entire nation for the entire year. It was repealed Sept. 30, 1945, when individual states once again imposed their own “standard” time. It was not until 1966 that Congress passed legislation setting a standard time that permanently superceded local habits.
1943 – FDR ordered a minimal 48 hour work week in war industry.
1943 – Allied authorities declare Guadalcanal secure after Imperial Japan evacuates its remaining forces from the island, ending the Battle of Guadalcanal.
1943 – The US 161st and 132nd Regiments link up at Tenaro, too late to prevent the Japanese evacuation. The Japanese have lost 10,000 killed and the Americans have lost 1600 killed. Losses in ships and planes have been about equal. Guadalcanal has be a strategic defeat for the Japanese.
1944 – At the Anzio beachhead, German forces capture Aprilia from the British 1st Division which continues to hold “The Factory”.
1945 – As well as the fighting in Manila, there is an attack by the US 11th Airborne Division southeast of the city near Nichols and Nielsen Fields.
1945 – American USAAF B-24 and B-29 bombers raid Iwo Jima in preparation for the landings later in the month. They drop a daily average of 450 tons of bombs over the course of 15 days (6800 tons).
1945 – The US 3rd Army is attacking near Prum on its northern flank (US 8th Corps) while US 12th Corps to the south also makes gains. Farther south still, the resistance of the German forces around Colmar comes to an end.
1948 – The first Marine helicopters (HO3S-1s) were delivered to the Corps.
1950 – During a speech in Wheeling, West Virginia, Senator Joseph McCarthy (Republican-Wisconsin) claims that he has a list with the names of over 200 members of the Department of State that are “known communists.” The speech vaulted McCarthy to national prominence and sparked a nationwide hysteria about subversives in the American government. Speaking before the Ohio County Women’s Republican Club in Wheeling, West Virginia, Senator McCarthy waved before his audience a piece of paper. According to the only published newspaper account of the speech, McCarthy said that, “I have here in my hand a list of 205 [State Department employees] that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department.” In the next few weeks, the number fluctuated wildly, with McCarthy stating at various times that there were 57, or 81, or 10 communists in the Department of State. In fact, McCarthy never produced any solid evidence that there was even one communist in the State Department. Despite McCarthy’s inconsistency, his refusal to provide any of the names of the “known communists,” and his inability to produce any coherent or reasonable evidence, his charges struck a chord with the American people. The months leading up to his February speech had been trying ones for America’s Cold War policies. China had fallen to a communist revolution. The Soviets had detonated an atomic device. McCarthy’s wild charges provided a ready explanation for these foreign policy disasters: communist subversives were working within the very bowels of the American government. To be sure, McCarthy was not the first to incite anxiety about subversive communists. Congress had already investigated Hollywood for its supposed communist influences, and former State Department employee Alger Hiss was convicted of perjury in January 1950 for testimony dealing with accusations that he spied for the Soviet Union during the 1930s. But McCarthy went a step further, claiming that the U.S. government, and the Department of State in particular, knew that communists were working in their midst. “McCarthyism,” as the hunt for communists in the United States came to be known during the 1950s, did untold damage to many people’s lives and careers, had a muzzling effect on domestic debate on Cold War issues, and managed to scare millions of Americans. McCarthy, however, located no communists and his personal power collapsed in 1954 when he accused the Army of coddling known communists. Televised hearings of his investigation into the U.S. Army let the American people see his bullying tactics and lack of credibility in full view for the first time, and he quickly lost support. The U.S. Senate censured him shortly thereafter and he died in 1957.
1951 – US, British, Australian, New Zealand and Dutch warships pounded the east and west coasts of Korea. The 1st Regiment of the ROK Capital Division entered Chumunjin.
1953 – General Walter Bedell Smith, USA, ended term as 4th director of CIA. Allen W. Dulles, became acting director of CIA and served to 1961.
1953 – The carriers USS Kearsarge, Philippine Sea and Oriskany renewed heavy air attacks against Wonsan with additional warships from the United States, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands in support.
1964 – The U.S. embassy in Moscow was stoned by Chinese and Vietnamese students.
1965 – A U.S. Marine Corps Hawk air defense missile battalion is deployed to Da Nang. President Johnson had ordered this deployment to provide protection for the key U.S. airbase there. This was the first commitment of American combat troops in South Vietnam and there was considerable reaction around the world to the new stage of U.S. involvement in the war. Predictably, both communist China and the Soviet Union threatened to intervene if the United States continued to apply its military might on behalf of the South Vietnamese. In Moscow, some 2,000 demonstrators, led by Vietnamese and Chinese students and clearly supported by the authorities, attacked the U.S. Embassy. Britain and Australia supported the U.S. action, but France called for negotiations.
1968 – USCG vessels helped thwart a Communist attempt to run four trawlers through the Market Time blockade off the coast of South Vietnam. The defeat of this attempted re-supply was hailed as “the most significant naval victory of the Vietnam campaign.”
1971 – The “Apollo 14” spacecraft returned to Earth after man’s third landing on the moon.
1972 – The aircraft carrier USS Constellation joins aircraft carriers Coral Sea and Hancock off the coast of Vietnam. From 1964 to 1975, there were usually three U.S. carriers stationed in the water near Vietnam at any given time. Carrier aircraft participated in the bombing of North Vietnam and also provided close air support for U.S. and South Vietnamese forces in South Vietnam. In 1972, the number of U.S. carriers off Vietnam increased to seven as part of the U.S. reaction to the North Vietnamese Eastertide Offensive that was launched on March 30–carrier aircraft played a major role in the air operations that helped the South Vietnamese defeat the communist invasion.
1986 – Iran crosses the Shatt al-Arab and captures the southern Faw peninsula. Saddam Hussein vows to repulse Iran “at all costs.”
1990 – The Galileo satellite flew by Venus.
1991 – Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin L. Powell met with military commanders in Saudi Arabia to evaluate a possible ground assault against Iraqi forces.
1994 – NATO delivered an ultimatum to Bosnian Serbs to remove heavy guns encircling Sarajevo, or face air strikes. Hours before the ultimatum was issued, the Bosnian Serbs agreed to withdraw their artillery and mortars from around Sarajevo.
1998 – The Pentagon announced that some 3,000 ground troops from Fort Hood, Texas, were to be sent to the Persian Gulf region over the next 10 days. The move was to discourage “creative thinking” on the part of Saddam Hussein of Iraq.
1998 – In a letter to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf informs the U.N. that Iraq can only export up to $4 billion of oil in six months. In addition, al-Sahhaf writes that a larger share of the oil sales should go towards humanitarian aid, while the amounts funding U.N. programs and a compensation fund for Persian Gulf war victims should be reduced.
2001 – The US nuclear submarine Greeneville struck the Japanese fishing boat, Ehime Maru, near Oahu with 35 people on board including 13 students. Nine people were missing. The sub was practicing a rapid ascent and had 15 civilian guests onboard. It was later revealed that civilian visitors sat at 2 of the subs 3 main controls when it surfaced. Capt. Scott Waddle, the sub skipper, was relieved of duty pending investigation.
2002 – The US and Pakistan signed an agreement to enhance defense cooperation.
2002 – The Afghan government released 320 captured Taliban fighters and gave each soldier the equivalent of $15 as a gesture of reconciliation.
2003 – Operation Eagle Fury, a military operation led by the United States in Afghanistan involving Bravo Company, 2nd BN, 7th SFG(A) US Army Special Forces, and USN SEALs, members of the QRF 82nd Airborne Division, and loyal Afghan fighters through 28 February, began. The aim of the operation was to corner Taliban fighters and leaders in the Bahgran Valley, located in Helmand Province, in the mountains of south-east Afghanistan. As part of this operation, in mid-February 2003, the 82nd conducted the first airdrop of fuel to support Operation Enduring Freedom. They dropped 38,088 gallons of fuel, almost certainly the first combat fuel drop since the Vietnam War.
2003 – President Bush told congressional Republicans at a policy conference that Iraq had fooled the world for more than a decade about its banned weapons and the United Nations was now facing “a moment of truth” in disarming Saddam Hussein.
2003 – The U.S. Navy ended its last planned bombing exercises on Puerto Rico’s Vieques Island.
2003 – Iran reported the discovery of uranium reserves and planned production facilities for peaceful use of nuclear energy.
2003 – The United States announces the closure of its Interests Section in the Polish Embassy in Baghdad and urges all US citizens to get out of the country.
2012 – The United States Department of Defense issues new guidelines removing restrictions on use of women in combat.
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
*CICCHETTI, JOSEPH J.
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company A, 148th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division. Place and date: South Manila, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 9 February 1945. Entered service at: Waynesburg, Ohio. Birth: Waynesburg, Ohio. G.O. No.: 115, 8 December 1945. Citation: He was with troops assaulting the first important line of enemy defenses. The Japanese had converted the partially destroyed Manila Gas Works and adjacent buildings into a formidable system of mutually supporting strongpoints from which they were concentrating machinegun, mortar, and heavy artillery fire on the American forces. Casualties rapidly mounted, and the medical aid men, finding it increasingly difficult to evacuate the wounded, called for volunteer litter bearers. Pfc. Cicchetti immediately responded, organized a litter team and skillfully led it for more than 4 hours in rescuing 14 wounded men, constantly passing back and forth over a 400-yard route which was the impact area for a tremendous volume of the most intense enemy fire. On 1 return trip the path was blocked by machinegun fire, but Pfc. Cicchetti deliberately exposed himself to draw the automatic fire which he neutralized with his own rifle while ordering the rest of the team to rush past to safety with the wounded. While gallantly continuing his work, he noticed a group of wounded and helpless soldiers some distance away and ran to their rescue although the enemy fire had increased to new fury. As he approached the casualties, he was struck in the head by a shell fragment, but with complete disregard for his gaping wound he continued to his comrades, lifted 1 and carried him on his shoulders 50 yards to safety. He then collapsed and died. By his skilled leadership, indomitable will, and dauntless courage, Pfc. Cicchetti saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers at the cost of his own.
*BENNETT, THOMAS W.
Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, 2d Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry. Place and date: Chu Pa Region, Pleiku Province, Republic of Vietnam, 9-11 February 1969. Entered service at: Fairmont, W. Va. Born: 7 April 1947, Morgantown, W. Va. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Cpl. Bennett distinguished himself while serving as a platoon medical aidman with the 2d Platoon, Company B, during a reconnaissance-in-force mission. On 9 February the platoon was moving to assist the 1st Platoon of Company D which had run into a North Vietnamese ambush when it became heavily engaged by the intense small arms, automatic weapons, mortar and rocket fire from a well fortified and numerically superior enemy unit. In the initial barrage of fire, 3 of the point members of the platoon fell wounded. Cpl. Bennett, with complete disregard for his safety, ran through the heavy fire to his fallen comrades, administered life-saving first aid under fire and then made repeated trips carrying the wounded men to positions of relative safety from which they would be medically evacuated from the battle position. Cpl. Bennett repeatedly braved the intense enemy fire moving across open areas to give aid and comfort to his wounded comrades. He valiantly exposed himself to the heavy fire in order to retrieve the bodies of several fallen personnel. Throughout the night and following day, Cpl. Bennett moved from position to position treating and comforting the several personnel who had suffered shrapnel and gunshot wounds. On 11 February, Company B again moved in an assault on the well fortified enemy positions and became heavily engaged with the numerically superior enemy force. Five members of the company fell wounded in the initial assault. Cpl. Bennett ran to their aid without regard to the heavy fire. He treated 1 wounded comrade and began running toward another seriously wounded man. Although the wounded man was located forward of the company position covered by heavy enemy grazing fire and Cpl. Bennett was warned that it was impossible to reach the position, he leaped forward with complete disregard for his safety to save his comrade’s life. In attempting to save his fellow soldier, he was mortally wounded. Cpl. Bennett’s undaunted concern for his comrades at the cost of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
*PROM, WILLIAM R.
Rank and organization: Lance Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, Company 1, 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, 3d Marine Division (Rein), FMF. Place and date: Near An Hoa, Republic of Vietnam. 9 February 1969. Entered service at: Pittsburgh, Pa. Born: 17 November 1948, Pittsburgh, Pa. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a machinegun squad leader with Company 1, in action against the enemy. While returning from a reconnaissance operation during Operation TAYLOR COMMON, 2 platoons of Company 1 came under an intense automatic weapons fire and grenade attack from a well concealed North Vietnamese Army force in fortified positions. The leading. element of the platoon was isolated and several marines were wounded. L/Cpl. Prom immediately assumed control of 1 of his machineguns and began to deliver return fire. Disregarding his safety he advanced to a position from which he could more effectively deliver covering fire while first aid was administered to the wounded men. Realizing that the enemy would have to be destroyed before the injured marines could be evacuated, L/Cpl. Prom again moved forward and delivered a heavy volume of fire with such accuracy that he was instrumental in routing the enemy, thus permitting his men to regroup and resume their march. Shortly thereafter, the platoon again came under heavy fire in which 1 man was critically wounded. Reacting instantly, L/Cpl. Prom moved forward to protect his injured comrade. Unable to continue his fire because of his severe wounds, he continued to advance to within a few yards to the enemy positions. There, standing in full view of the enemy, he accurately directed the fire of his support elements until he was mortally wounded. Inspired by his heroic actions, the marines launched an assault that destroyed the enemy. L/Cpl. Prom’s indomitable courage, inspiring initiative and selfless devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.