1610 – The Virginia Company takes further steps to instituting absolutist rule when it appoints Thomas West, Lord Delaware, as the first lord-governor and captain-general of the Virginia colony. The broad political and military powers granted to Lord Delaware reflect the growing English concern with placing the colony on a sound footing in terms of both political and economic organization.
1704 – Indians attacked Deerfield, Mass., killing 40 and kidnapping 100. 1708 – A slave revolt in Newton, Long Island, NY, left 11 dead.
1786 – In answer to the November 30, 1785 demand of John Adams, the British respond that they will not vacate their American military garrisons along the northwest frontier—including Detroit, Michilimackinac, Niagra, and Oswego—until the Americans carry out the provisions of the Treaty of Paris with regard to the treatment of Loyalists and the collection of debts.
1825 – Quincy Adams Gillmore (d.1888), Major General (Union volunteers), was born.
1844 – A 12-inch gun aboard the USS Princeton exploded, killing Secretary of State Abel P. Upshur, Navy Secretary Thomas W. Gilmer and several others.
1847 – Colonel Alexander Doniphan and his ragtag Missouri Mounted Volunteers rode to victory at the Battle of Sacramento during the Mexican War.
1848 – The House of Representatives and the Senate, acting on the proposal of President-elect Polk, adopt a joint resolution for the annexation of Texas. This is essentially a procedure to bypass requirement of a two-thirds vote of the Senate alone to ratify a treaty. The resolution also authorizes the President to negotiate a new treaty with Texas, one that could be approved by either procedure, but the President does not immediately exercise this choice.
1861 – With the region’s population booming because of the Pike’s Peak gold rush, Congress creates the new Territory of Colorado. When the United States acquired it after the Mexican War ended in 1848, the land that would one day become Colorado was nearly unpopulated by Anglo settlers. Ute, Arapaho, Cheyenne, and other Indians had occupied the land for centuries, but the Europeans who had made sporadic appearances there since the 17th century never stayed for long. It was not until 1851 that the first permanent non-Indian settlement was established, in the San Luis Valley. As with many other western regions, though, the lure of gold launched the first major Anglo invasion. In July 1858, a band of prospectors working streambeds near modern-day Denver found tiny flecks of gold in their pans. Since the gold-bearing streams were located in the foothills not far from the massive mountain named for the explorer Zebulon Pike, the subsequent influx of hopeful miners was termed the Pike’s Peak gold rush. By the spring of 1859, an estimated 50,000 gold seekers had reached this latest of a long series of American El Dorados. As the first gold-bearing streams to be discovered played out, prospectors moved westward into the rugged slopes of the Rocky Mountains in search of new finds. Wherever sizeable deposits were discovered, ramshackle mining camps like Central City, Nevadaville, and Black Hawk appeared, sometimes almost overnight. Meanwhile, out on the flat plains at the edge of the mountains, Denver became the central supply town for the miners. Although few miners came to Colorado planning to stay long, they were eager to establish some semblance of “law and order” in the region in order to protect their property rights and gold dust. Far from the seats of eastern government, the miners and townspeople cobbled together their own simple governments, usually revolving around a miners’ court that regulated claims. Technically lacking in any genuine legal foundation, the miners’ courts did maintain the minimal order needed for the mineral exploitation of the territory to continue. The unreliable mining operations soon gave way to larger, highly capitalized and relatively permanent lode mining operations. The pioneers recognized that the vast mineral resources of the Rockies could form the foundation of a thriving new state, but the people settling there needed a more formal system of laws and government. The Congressional designation of new western states and territories had been bogged down for several years as southern and northern politicians fought over whether slavery would be permitted in the new western regions. By 1861, the South had seceded, clearing the way for the northern politicians to begin creating free-labor states. On this day in 1861, Congress combined pieces of Nebraska, Kansas, Utah, and New Mexico to make a large rectangle of land it designated Colorado Territory.
1863 – Four Union gunboats destroyed the CSS Nashville near Fort McAllister, Ga. Popular during the Crimean War, the floating battery was revived by hard-pressed Confederates because the popular gunboats were not capable of doing the things that the batteries could do.
1864 – A major Union cavalry raid begins when General Hugh Judson Kilpatrick leads 3,500 troopers south from Stevensburg, Virginia. Aimed at Richmond, the raid sought to free Federal prisoners and spread word of President Lincoln’s Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction in hopes of convincing Confederates to lay down their arms. The president’s proclamation of December 1863 offered a pardon and restoration of property (except slaves, who were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation) to all Confederates. Kilpatrick took with him Colonel Ulrich Dahlgren to conduct the prisoner release while Kilpatrick covered him with the main force. To distract attention, Union infantry under General John Sedgwick and another cavalry detachment under General George Custer would feign an attack towards western Virginia. The forces split after crossing the Rappahannock River. Kilpatrick began tearing up the Virginia Central Railroad while Dahlgren approached Richmond from the west. They were to rendezvous on the outskirts of Richmond. Kilpatrick arrived there on March 1 with General Wade Hampton’s cavalry in hot pursuit. Dahlgren was delayed when a black guide led him to a deep section of the James River. Finding no possibility to cross, Dahlgren hung the guide on the spot. Kilpatrick had to leave for the north before Dahlgren’s arrival, so Dahlgren and his men were cut off. The colonel and about 100 of his men were ambushed as they tried to rejoin Kilpatrick. Dahlgren was killed, and his body fell into Confederate hands. He was allegedly carrying papers that included instructions to burn Richmond and kill Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his cabinet. The papers were published in the Richmond Daily Examiner, but it is not clear where the orders had come from or if they were even authentic. Some historians have suggested that they were forged by the Confederates to stir morale in Virginia. Kilpatrick suffered about 335 men killed, captured, or wounded. The raid accomplished little for the Union and the Confederate victory lifted southern morale.
1893 – Launching of USS Indiana (BB-1), first true battleship in U.S. Navy. USS Indiana (Battleship No. 1) was authorized in 1890 and commissioned five years later, she was a small battleship, though with heavy armor and ordnance. The ship also pioneered the use of an intermediate battery. She was designed for coastal defense and as a result her decks were not safe from high waves on the open ocean. Indiana served in the Spanish–American War (1898) as part of the North Atlantic Squadron. She took part in both the blockade of Santiago de Cuba and the battle of Santiago de Cuba, which occurred when the Spanish fleet attempted to break through the blockade. Although unable to join the chase of the escaping Spanish cruisers, she was partly responsible for the destruction of the Spanish destroyers Plutón and Furor. After the war she quickly became obsolete—despite several modernizations—and spent most of her time in commission as a training ship or in the reserve fleet, with her last commission during World War I as a training ship for gun crews. She was decommissioned for the third and final time in January 1919 and was shortly after reclassified Coast Battleship Number 1 so that the name Indiana could be reused. She was sunk in shallow water as a target in aerial bombing tests in 1920 and her hulk was sold for scrap in 1924.
1916 – Haiti became the first U.S. protectorate.
1917 – AP reported that Mexico and Japan would ally with Germany if US enters WW I.
1924 – U.S. troops were sent to Honduras to protect American interests during an election conflict.
1928 – Marines participated in the Battle of Bromaderos, Nicaragua.
1935 – DuPont scientist Wallace Carothers invents nylon.
1936 – The Japanese Army restored order in Tokyo and arrested officers involved in a coup.
1940 – English divers recover three rotors from the Enigma enciphering machine on board the scuttled U-33.
1942 – There was a race riot at the Sojourner Truth Homes in Detroit.
1942 – Certain duties of former Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation transferred to Coast Guard temporarily by Executive Order 9083. The transfer was made permanent on July 16, 1946. Also, the U.S. Maritime Service was transferred to the Coast Guard from the War Shipping Administration on this date.
1942 – The heavy cruiser USS Houston is sunk in the Battle of Sunda Strait with 693 crew members killed. After a fierce battle of several hours duration, Houston and the Australian light cruiser HMAS Perth were sunk. Five Japanese ships were sunk by friendly fire, of which two were refloated.
1942 – U S. Maritime Service transferred to Coast Guard from War Shipping Administration.
1942 – Japanese landed in Java, the last Allied bastion in Dutch East Indies.
1943 – The Norsk Hydro power station near Ryukan is badly damaged by a sabotage team of Norwegian soldiers who have been parachuted in from Britain. This plant is known to be in use by the Germans to produce “heavy water” for atomic research.
1944 – German forces launch a second offensive against the Anzio beachhead held by forces of the US 6th Corps (Truscott). Four German divisions attack on either side of the Cisterna-Anzio road, defended by the US 3rd Division. German forces fail to break through.
1945 – There are America landings at Puerto Princesa on Palawan by 8000 men of 41st Infantry Division (ORARNG). Admiral Fechteler leads a bombardment group of cruisers and destroyers and there is also support from land-based aircraft. There is little Japanese resistance to the landings.
1945 – U.S. tanks broke the natural defense line west of the Rhine and crossed the Erft River. 1946 – The U.S. Army declared that it would use the V-2 rocket to test radar as an atomic rocket defense system.
1951 – The last communist resistance south of the Han River collapsed.
1954 – The first color television sets using the NTSC standard are offered for sale to the general public.
1959 – Discoverer 1, an American spy satellite that is the first object intended to achieve a polar orbit, is launched. It failed to achieve orbit.
1962 – The 39th Signal battalion, a communications unit, is the first unit of US regular ground forces to arrive in Vietnam.
1968 – Gen. Earle Wheeler, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, returns from his recent round of talks with Gen. William Westmoreland in Saigon and immediately delivers a written report to President Lyndon B. Johnson. Wheeler stated that despite the heavy casualties incurred during the Tet Offensive, North Vietnam and Viet Cong forces had the initiative and were “operating with relative freedom in the countryside.” The communists had pushed South Vietnamese forces back into a “defensive posture around towns and cities,” seriously undermined the pacification program in many areas, and forced General Westmoreland to place half of his battalions in the still imperiled northernmost provinces, thus “stripping the rest of the country of adequate reserves” and depriving the U.S. command of “an offensive capability.” To meet the new enemy threat and regain the initiative, according to Wheeler, Westmoreland would need more men: “The add-on requested totals 206,756 spaces for a new proposed ceiling of 731,756.” It was a major turning point in the war. To deny the request was to concede that the United States could impose no military solution in the conflict, but to meet it would require a call-up of reserves and vastly increased expenditures. Rather than making an immediate decision, President Johnson asked Defense Secretary Clark Clifford to conduct a thorough, high-level review of U.S. policy in Vietnam. A disgruntled staff member in the Johnson White House leaked the Wheeler-Westmoreland proposal for additional troops. The story broke in the New York Times on March 10, 1968. With the images of the besieged U.S. Embassy in Saigon during the Tet Offensive still fresh in their minds, the press and the public immediately concluded that the extra troops must be needed because the U.S. and South Vietnamese had suffered a massive defeat. Secretary of State Dean Rusk was subjected to 11 hours of hearings before a hostile Congress on March 11 and 12. A week later, 139 members of the House voted for a resolution that called for a complete review of Johnson’s Vietnam policy. Discontent in Congress mirrored the general sentiment in the country. In March, a poll revealed that 78 percent of Americans expressed disapproval with Johnson’s handling of the war. On March 22, President Johnson scaled down Westmoreland’s request and authorized 13,500 reinforcements. Shortly after, Johnson announced that Westmoreland would be brought home to be Army Chief of Staff. He was to be replaced by Gen. Creighton Abrams.
1972 – The United States and People’s Republic of China sign the Shanghai Communiqué. The document pledged that it was in the interest of all nations for the United States and China to work towards the normalization of their relations, although this would not occur until the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations seven years later. The US and China also agreed that neither they nor any other power should “seek hegemony in the Asia-Pacific region”. This was of particular importance to China, who shared a militarized border with the Soviet Union. Regarding the political status of Taiwan, in the communiqué the United States acknowledged the One-China policy (but did not endorse the PRC’s version of the policy) and agreed to cut back military installations on Taiwan. This “constructive ambiguity” (in the phrase of US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who oversaw the American side of the negotiations) would continue to hinder efforts for complete normalization. The communiqué included wishes to expand the economic and cultural contacts between the two nations, although no concrete steps were mentioned.
1974 – The United States and Egypt re-established diplomatic relations after a seven-year break.
1980 – Blue crew of USS Francis Scott Key (SSBN-657) launches 4 Trident I (C-4) missiles in first C-4 Operational Test.1982 – The FALN, a Puerto Rican Nationalist Group, bombed Wall Street.
1983 – M*A*S*H, the cynical situation comedy about doctors behind the front lines of the Korean War, airs its final episode on this day in 1983, after 11 seasons. The last episode drew 77 percent of the television viewing audience, the largest audience ever to watch a single TV show up to that time.
1990 – Space shuttle Atlantis blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla. on a secret mission to place a spy satellite in orbit.
1991 – A cease-fire was announced in Kuwait. Allied and Iraqi forces suspended their attacks as Iraq pledged to accept all United Nations resolutions concerning Kuwait. Tariq Aziz announces Iraq’s acceptance of all relevant U.N. Security Council Resolutions. Saddam Hussein calls on his troops to cease fire.
1993 – Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raided the ranch of the Branch Davidian sect under David Koresh in Waco, Texas. A shootout followed when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents tried to serve warrants on the Branch Davidians; four agents and six Davidians were killed as a 51-day standoff began.
1993 – Three U.S. planes carried out the first mission to drop relief supplies over Bosnia-Herzegovina. The US Operations Deny Flight, Provide Promise, Deliberate Force, Decisive Edge, Joint Endeavour and others began in Bosnia and Macedonia. They cost $9.7 billion to date in 1999 and left 4 US casualties with 5 wounded.
1994 – In the first military action in the 45-year history of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), U.S. fighter planes shoot down four Serbian warplanes engaged in a bombing mission in violation of Bosnia’s no-fly zone. The United States, 10 European countries, and Canada founded NATO in 1949 as a safeguard against Soviet aggression. With the end of the Cold War, NATO members approved the use of its military forces for peacekeeping missions in countries outside the alliance and in 1994 agreed to enforce U.N. resolutions enacted to bring about an end to the bloody conflict in the former Yugoslavia. In 1994 and 1995, NATO planes enforced the no-fly zone over Bosnia-Herzegovina and struck at Bosnian Serb military positions and airfields on a number of occasions. On December 20, 1995, NATO began the mass deployment of 60,000 troops to enforce the Dayton peace accords, signed in Paris by the leaders of the former Yugoslavia on December 14. The NATO troops took over from a U.N. peacekeeping force that had failed to end the fighting since its deployment in early 1992, although the U.N. troops had proved crucial in the distribution of humanitarian aid to the impoverished population of Bosnia. The NATO force, with its U.S. support and focused aim of enforcing the Dayton agreement, proved more successful in maintaining the peace in the war-torn region.
1995 – U.S. Marines swept ashore in Somalia to protect retreating U.N. peacekeepers.
1996 – President Clinton and the Congress agreed on a sanctions bill aimed at driving foreign investors from Cuba.
1997 – US Navy medium attack aircraft were retired by order of Pres. Clinton. Any deep-strike mission would be in the hands of the Air Force.
1998 – First flight of RQ-4 Global Hawk, the first unmanned aerial vehicle certified to file its own flight plans and fly regularly in U.S. civilian airspace.
1999 – In Colombia 3 US citizens, Terence Freitas, Ingrid Washinawatok and Lahe’ena’e Gay, were kidnapped by FARC rebels. The 3 belonged to a group that worked to defend the rights of the Uwa Indians in a dispute with Occidental Petroleum. 3 FARC rebels, wanted for the kidnapping, were captured Nov 28, 2002.
2000 – It was reported that Iraq and Syria had established diplomatic ties that were cut in Aug 1980 when Damascus sided with Iran just before the Iran-Iraq war.
2003 – NASA released video taken aboard Columbia that had miraculously survived the fiery destruction of the space shuttle with the loss of all seven astronauts; in the footage, four of the crew members can be seen doing routine chores and admiring the view outside the cockpit.
2003 – Iraq agreed to begin destroying its Al Samoud 2 missiles within 24 hours.
2003 – Pentagon officials say that satellite imagery has detected Iraqi Republican Guard units moving south from Mosul to Tikrit, about 160km north-west of Baghdad, while other units are moving into residential areas of Baghdad.
2004 – Six-nation talks on North Korea’s nuclear program ended without any major breakthrough. The North denounced the United States, saying it wasn’t willing to reach a settlement.
2004 – Coast Guard units responded to an explosion aboard the 570-foot Singapore-flagged tanker Bow Mariner off the coast of Chincoteague, Virginia. The Bow Mariner was carrying 6.5 million gallons of industrial ethanol when it exploded and sank. The Coast Guard rescued six survivors.
2005 – Indonesia welcomed a move by the US to resume a small but high-profile US military training program that was frozen in the 1990s.
2007 – Carlos and Elsa Alvarez are sentenced to five and three year prison terms respectively after being convicted of spying for the Cuban government.
2011 – The United States freezes $30 billion in Libyan assets.
2011 – Frank Buckles, the last surviving veteran of World War I in the United States, passes away in Charles Town, West Virginia, aged 110.
2012 – The United States announces that it will provide $60 million of food and medical aid, but not weapons, to Syrian rebel fighters.
2013 – United States v. Manning: Bradley Manning pleads guilty to 10 counts out of 22 against him for leaking classified material in the WikiLeaks case.
2013 – A temporary third radiation belt is discovered around planet Earth by NASA’s twin Van Allen Probes.
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken this Day
*WILLIS, JOHN HARLAN
Rank and organization: Pharmacist’s Mate First Class, U.S. Navy. Born: 10 June 1921, Columbia, Tenn. Accredited to: Tennessee. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Platoon Corpsman serving with the 3d Battalion, 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division, during operations against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 28 February 1945. Constantly imperiled by artillery and mortar fire from strong and mutually supporting pillboxes and caves studding Hill 362 in the enemy’s cross-island defenses, Willis resolutely administered first aid to the many marines wounded during the furious close-in fighting until he himself was struck by shrapnel and was ordered back to the battle-aid station. Without waiting for official medical release, he quickly returned to his company and, during a savage hand-to-hand enemy counterattack, daringly advanced to the extreme frontlines under mortar and sniper fire to aid a marine Iying wounded in a shellhole. Completely unmindful of his own danger as the Japanese intensified their attack, Willis calmly continued to administer blood plasma to his patient, promptly returning the first hostile grenade which landed in the shell-hole while he was working and hurling back 7 more in quick succession before the ninth 1 exploded in his hand and instantly killed him. By his great personal valor in saving others at the sacrifice of his own life, he inspired his companions, although terrifically outnumbered, to launch a fiercely determined attack and repulse the enemy force. His exceptional fortitude and courage in the performance of duty reflect the highest credit upon Willis and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
*ANDERSON, JAMES, JR.
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, 2d Platoon, Company F, 2d Battalion, 3d Marines, 3d Marine Division. Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 28 February 1967. Entered service at: Los Angeles, Calif. Born: 22 January 1947, Los Angeles, Calif. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Company F was advancing in dense jungle northwest of Cam Lo in an effort to extract a heavily besieged reconnaissance patrol. Pfc. Anderson’s platoon was the lead element and had advanced only about 200 meters when they were brought under extremely intense enemy small-arms and automatic weapons fire. The platoon reacted swiftly, getting on line as best they could in the thick terrain, and began returning fire. Pfc. Anderson found himself tightly bunched together with the other members of the platoon only 20 meters from the enemy positions. As the fire fight continued several of the men were wounded by the deadly enemy assault. Suddenly, an enemy grenade landed in the midst of the marines and rolled alongside Pfc. Anderson’s head. Unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his personal safety, he reached out, grasped the grenade, pulled it to his chest and curled around it as it went off. Although several marines received shrapnel from the grenade, his body absorbed the major force of the explosion. In this singularly heroic act, Pfc. Anderson saved his comrades from serious injury and possible death. His personal heroism, extraordinary valor, and inspirational supreme self-sacrifice reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Rank and organization: platoon Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company B, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. place and date: Near Suoi Da, Republic of Vietnam, 28 February 1967. Entered service at: Birmingham, Ala. Born: 26 November 1929, Eutaw, Ala. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. His platoon was suddenly attacked by a large enemy force employing small arms, automatic weapons, and hand grenades. Although the platoon leader and several other key leaders were among the first wounded, P/Sgt. Leonard quickly rallied his men to throw back the initial enemy assaults. During the short pause that followed, he organized a defensive perimeter, redistributed ammunition, and inspired his comrades through his forceful leadership and words of encouragement. Noticing a wounded companion outside the perimeter, he dragged the man to safety but was struck by a sniper’s bullet which shattered his left hand. Refusing medical attention and continuously exposing himself to the increasing fire as the enemy again assaulted the perimeter, P/Sgt. Leonard moved from position to position to direct the fire of his men against the well camouflaged foe. Under the cover of the main attack, the enemy moved a machine gun into a location where it could sweep the entire perimeter. This threat was magnified when the platoon machine gun in this area malfunctioned. P/Sgt. Leonard quickly crawled to the gun position and was helping to clear the malfunction when the gunner and other men in the vicinity were wounded by fire from the enemy machine gun. P/Sgt. Leonard rose to his feet, charged the enemy gun and destroyed the hostile crew despite being hit several times by enemy fire. He moved to a tree, propped himself against it, and continued to engage the enemy until he succumbed to his many wounds. His fighting spirit, heroic leadership, and valiant acts inspired the remaining members of his platoon to hold back the enemy until assistance arrived. P/Sgt. Leonard’s profound courage and devotion to his men are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and his gallant actions reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.