1621 – The Plymouth Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe lead by Chief Massassoit reach a treaty agreement. They form a defensive alliance. Squanto, who speaks English because he had been captured by the English in 1615 and spent two years in England, brokers the pact.
1622 – The Powhattan Confederacy massacred 347-350 colonists in Virginia, a quarter of the population. On Good Friday over 300 colonists in and around Jamestown, Virginia, were massacred by the Powhatan Indians. The massacre was led by the Powhatan chief Opechancanough and began a costly 22-year war against the English. Opechancanough hoped that killing one quarter of Virginia’s colonists would put an end to the European threat. The result of the massacre was just the opposite, however, as English survivors regrouped and pushed the Powhattans far into the interior. Opechancanough launched his final campaign in 1644, when he was nearly 100 years old and almost totally blind. He was then captured and executed.
1630 – The Massachusetts Bay Colony outlaws the possession of cards, dice, and gaming tables.
1638 – Religious dissident Anne Hutchinson was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. With encouragement from Providence founder Roger Williams, Hutchinson and many of her supporters established the settlement of Portsmouth in what became the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.
1664 – Charles II gave large tracks of land from west of the Connecticut River to the east of Delaware Bay in North America to his brother James, the Duke of York and Albany. The entire Hudson Valley and New Amsterdam was given to James.
1713 – The Tuscarora War comes to an end with the fall of Fort Neoheroka, effectively opening up the interior of North Carolina to European colonization. The Tuscarora War began in North Carolina during the autumn of 1711 between the British, Dutch, and German settlers and the Tuscarora Native Americans. The Europeans enlisted the Yamasee and Cherokee as Indian allies against the Tuscarora, who had amassed several allies themselves. This was considered the bloodiest colonial war in North Carolina. Defeated, the Tuscarora signed a treaty with colonial officials in 1718 and settled on a reserved tract of land in what became Bertie County. The first successful and permanent settlement of North Carolina by Europeans began in earnest in 1653. The Tuscarora lived in peace with the European settlers who arrived in North Carolina for over 50 years at a time when nearly every other colony in America was actively involved in some form of conflict with Native Americans. However, the settlers increasingly encroached on Tuscarora land, raided villages to take slaves, and introduced epidemic diseases. After their defeat, most of the Tuscarora migrated north to New York where they joined their Iroquoian cousins, the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. They were accepted as the sixth nation. Their chief said that Tuscarora remaining in the South after 1722 were no longer members of the tribe.
1765 – Hoping to scrounge up funds to maintain a military presence in the colonies, the British government passed the notorious Stamp Act. The legislation levied a direct tax on all materials printed for commercial and legal use in the colonies, including everything from broadsides and insurance policies to playing cards and dice. Though the Stamp Act was a common fundraising vehicle in England, it stirred a storm of protest in the colonies. The colonists’ anger was partially grounded in fears that the Stamp Act would open the gates to a flood of taxes. They also felt that, as English citizens, their consent, as meted out through representative assemblies, was mandatory for the passage of tax legislation. In response, the colonists rioted, staged demonstrations, and refused to comply with the tax. Under pressure from British business interests, Parliament eventually repealed the legislation. However, the fracas over the Stamp Act had helped plant seeds for a far larger movement against the British government and the struggle for independence.
1775 – British statesman Edmund Burke made a speech in the House of Commons, urging the government to adopt a policy of reconciliation with America.
1778 – Captain Cook sighted Cape Flattery in Washington state.
1794 – Congress passed laws prohibiting slave trade with foreign countries, although slavery remained legal in the United States. Congress banned US vessels from supplying slaves to other countries.
1817 – Confederate General Braxton Bragg is born in Warrenton, North Carolina. Bragg commanded the Army of Tennessee for 17 months, leading them to several defeats and losing most of the state of Tennessee to the Yankees. Bragg graduated from West Point in 1837, fifth in a class of 50. He fought in the Seminole War of the 1830s and the Mexican War in 1846 and 1847. In Mexico, he earned three promotions but also survived two assassination attempts by soldiers in his command. Bragg was temperamental and acerbic, a capable soldier but a difficult personality. These character flaws would later badly damage the Confederate war effort. When the Civil War began, Bragg was appointed commander of the Gulf Coast defenses but was soon promoted to major general and attached to General Albert Sidney Johnston’s Army of Tennessee. Bragg fought bravely at the Battle of Shiloh on April 6-7, 1862, leading attacks while having two horses shot out from under him. When Johnston was killed during the battle, Bragg became second in command to Pierre G. T. Beauregard. Beauregard was forced to relinquish his command for health reasons, and President Jefferson Davis turned to Bragg. Bragg’s record as army commander was dismal. He marched northward in the fall of 1862 to regain Kentucky, but he was turned back at the Battle of Perryville in October. On New Year’s Eve, Bragg clashed with the army of General William Rosecrans at the Battle of Stones River. They fought to a standstill, but Bragg was forced to retreat and leave the Union in control of central Tennessee. In the summer of 1863, Rosecrans outmaneuvered Bragg, backing the Confederates entirely out of the state. Only at Chickamauga, Georgia, in September did Bragg finally win a battle, but the victory came in spite of Bragg’s leadership rather than because of it. Bragg followed up his victory by pinning the Yankees in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Union forces, now led by General Ulysses S. Grant, broke the siege in November and nearly destroyed Bragg’s army. Bragg was finished, having now alienated most of his generals and lost the confidence of his soldiers. He resigned his command and went to Richmond to be a military advisor to President Davis. Bragg fled southward with Davis at the end of the war but both men were captured in Georgia. Bragg was soon released, and he worked as an engineer and a railroad executive after the war before his death in 1876. He is remembered as one of the primary reasons for the Confederate defeat.
1820 – U.S. Navy officer Stephen Decatur, hero of the Barbary Wars, is mortally wounded in a duel with disgraced Navy Commodore James Barron at Bladensburg, Maryland. Although once friends, Decatur sat on the court-martial that suspended Barron from the Navy for five years in 1808 and later opposed his reinstatement, leading to a fatal quarrel between the two men. Born in Maryland in 1779, Stephen Decatur was reared in the traditions of the sea and in 1798 joined the United States Navy as a midshipman aboard the new frigate, United States. That year, he saw action in the so-called quasi-war with France and in 1799 was commissioned a lieutenant. Five years later, during the Tripolitan War, he became the most lauded American naval hero since John Paul Jones. In 1801, President Thomas Jefferson ordered U.S. Navy vessels to the Mediterranean Sea in protest of continuing raids against U.S. ships by pirates from the Barbary states–Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, and Tripolitania. Sustained action began in June 1803, and in October the U.S. frigate Philadelphia ran aground near Tripoli and was captured by Tripolitan gunboats. The Americans feared that the well-constructed warship would be used as a model for building future Tripolitan frigates, and on February 16, 1804, Stephen Decatur led a daring expedition into Tripoli harbor to destroy the captured vessel. After disguising himself and his men as Maltese sailors, Decatur’s force sailed into Tripoli harbor and boarded the Philadelphia, which was guarded by Tripolitans who were quickly overpowered by the Americans. After setting fire to the frigate, Decatur and his men escaped without the loss of a single American. The Philadelphia subsequently exploded when its gunpowder reserve was lit by the spreading fire. Famed British Admiral Horatio Nelson hailed the exploit as the “most bold and daring act of the age,” and Decatur was promoted to captain. In August 1804, Decatur returned to Tripoli Harbor as part of a larger American offensive and emerged as a hero again during the Battle of the Gunboats, which saw hand-to-hand combat between the Americans and the Tripolitans. In 1807, Commodore James Barron, who fought alongside Decatur in the Tripolitan War, aroused considerable controversy when he failed to resist a British attack on his flagship, the Chesapeake. Decatur sat on the court-martial that passed a verdict expelling Barron from the Navy for five years. This began the dispute between Decatur and Barron that would end 13 years later on the dueling grounds in Maryland. In the War of 1812, Decatur distinguished himself again when, as commander of the USS United States, he captured the British ship of war Macedonian off the Madeira Islands. Barron, meanwhile, was overseas when his Navy expulsion ended in 1813 and did not return to the United States to fight in the ongoing war with England. This led to fresh criticism of Barron from Decatur, who later used his influence to prevent Barron’s reinstatement in the Navy. In June 1815, Decatur returned to the Mediterranean to lead U.S. forces in the Algerian War, the second Barbary conflict. By December, Decatur forced the dey (military ruler) of Algiers to sign a peace treaty that ended American tribute to Algeria. Upon his return to the United States, he was honored at a banquet in which he made a very famous toast: “Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong!” Appointed to the Navy Board of Commissioners, Decatur arrived in Washington in 1816, where he became a prominent citizen and lived a satisfying life politically, economically, and socially. In 1818, however, dark clouds began to gather when he vocally opposed Barron’s reinstatement into the Navy. The already strained relations between the two men deteriorated, and in March 1820 Decatur agreed to Barron’s request to meet for a duel. Dueling, though generally frowned on, was still acceptable among Navy men. On March 22, at Bladensburg in Maryland, Decatur and Barron lifted their guns, fired, and each man hit his target. Decatur died several hours later in Washington, and the nation mourned the loss of the great naval hero. Barron recovered from his wounds and was reinstated into the Navy in 1821 with diminished rank.
1865 – Assistant Secretary Fox directed Commodore Montgomery, Commandant of the Washington Navy Yard, to have U.S.S. Bat ready to convoy steamer River Queen at noon the next day: “The President will be in the River Queen, bound to City Point.” Lincoln was headed for a conference with his top commanders. In a hard fought battle (19-22 March), General Sherman had just defeated a slashing attack by General Johnston at Bentonville, mid-way between his two river contacts with the sea at Fayetteville and Goldsboro. At Goldsboro Sherman was joined by General Schofield’s army, which had been brought to Wilmington by ships. Confident of the security of his position, Sherman could leave his soldiers for a few days and take steamer Russia to City Point and the meeting with Lincoln, Grant, and Porter.1882 – Congress outlawed polygamy. The Edmunds Act was adopted by the US to suppress polygamy in the territories.
1907 – James Gavin, U.S. Army General, was born. He commanded the 82nd Airborne Division on D-Day, Operation Market-Garden and the Battle of the Bulge.
1915 – The term “Naval Aviator” replaces former “Navy Air Pilot” for officers qualified as aviators.
1917 – The U.S. became the first to recognize the Kerensky Government in Russia.
1917 – The first Coast Guard aviators graduated from Pensacola Naval Aviation Training School. Third Lieutenant Elmer Stone became Naval Aviator #38 (and later Coast Guard Aviator #1).
1929 – A US Coast Guard vessel sank a Canadian schooner suspected of carrying liquor.
1929 – Navy ships protect Americans and their property during Mexican revolution.
1933 – During Prohibition, President Roosevelt signed a measure to make wine & beer containing up to 3.2 percent alcohol legal.
1934 – Philippine independence was granted by the US and was guaranteed to begin in 1945. 1944 – Admiral Doenitz orders all U-boats to disperse from groups and work singly. This decision represents the final victory of the Allied escort forces over the German U-boats. The Germans have decided to give up on convoy attacks until new U-boat designs become available.
1944 – The forces of the New Zealand Corps (part of US 5th Army) makes a final attack on German-held Cassino. It fails. General Freyberg, commanding the corps, then calls off the attack. Allied troops are withdrawn from the most advance positions and the remainder consolidate recent agains.
1945 – Representatives from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Yemen meet in Cairo to establish the Arab League, a regional organization of Arab states. Formed to foster economic growth in the region, resolve disputes between its members, and coordinate political aims, members of the Arab League formed a council, with each state receiving one vote. When the State of Israel was created in 1948, the league countries jointly attacked but were repulsed by the Israelis. Two years later, Arab League nations signed a mutual defense treaty. Fifteen more Arab nations eventually joined the organization, which established a common market in 1965.
1945 – The US 5th Division (an element of US 3rd Army) establishes a bridgehead over the Rhine River near Nierstein. Other US 3rd Army units are completing the mopping up west of the Rhine and preparing to make crossings of their own.
1945 – The carriers of US Task Force 58 (Admiral Mitscher) are attacked by Japanese Kamikaze aircraft that fail to achieve significant success. However, it is noted that many of the attacks are made by manned rocket bombs. Admiral Spruance, commanding the US 5th Fleet, is present for the operations.
1946 – First U.S. built rocket to leave the earth’s atmosphere reached a 50-mile height.
1946 – USS Missouri departs U.S. to return body of deceased Turkish ambassador to the U.S. back to Turkey for burial. Missouri arrived in Istanbul on 5 April.
1947 – In response to public fears and Congressional investigations into communism in the United States, President Harry S. Truman issues an executive decree establishing a sweeping loyalty investigation of federal employees. As the Cold War began to develop after World War II, fears concerning communist activity in the United States, particularly in the federal government, increased. Congress had already launched investigations of communist influence in Hollywood, and laws banning communists from teaching positions were being instituted in several states. Of most concern to the Truman administration, however, were persistent charges that communists were operating in federal offices. In response to these fears and concerns, Truman issued an executive order on March 21, 1947, which set up a program to check the loyalty of federal employees. In announcing his order, Truman indicated that he expected all federal workers to demonstrate “complete and unswerving loyalty” the United States. Anything less, he declared, “constitutes a threat to our democratic processes.” The basic elements of Truman’s order established the framework for a wide-ranging and powerful government apparatus to perform loyalty checks. Loyalty boards were to be set up in every department and agency of the federal government. Using lists of “totalitarian, fascist, communist, or subversive” organizations provided by the attorney general, and relying on investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, these boards were to review every employee. If there existed “reasonable grounds” to doubt an employee’s loyalty, he or she would be dismissed. A Loyalty Review Board was set up under the Civil Service Commission to deal with employees’ appeals. Truman’s loyalty program resulted in the discovery of only a few employees whose loyalty could be “reasonably” doubted. Nevertheless, for a time his order did quiet some of the criticism that his administration was “soft” on communism. Matters changed dramatically in 1949-1950. The Soviets developed an atomic bomb, China fell to the communists, and Senator Joseph McCarthy made the famous speech in which he declared that there were over 200 “known communists” in the Department of State. Once again, charges were leveled that the Truman administration was “coddling” communists, and in response, the Red Scare went into full swing.
1951 – Eighth Army reached the 38th parallel, as it had in fall 1950, after the Inchon invasion.
1952 – Six new Marine battalions and Marine air groups were activated on the West Coast, giving the Corps the full authorized limit of three divisions and three wings.
1953 – Chinese forces, supported by artillery and mortar fire, assaulted Hill Hedy and Bunker Hill. Hand-to-hand combat ensued before the enemy was finally forced to disengage.
1965 – The State Department acknowledges that the United States had supplied the South Vietnamese armed forces with a “non-lethal gas which disables temporarily” for use “in tactical situations in which the Viet Cong intermingle with or take refuge among non-combatants, rather than use artillery or aerial bombardment.” This announcement triggered a storm of criticism worldwide. The North Vietnamese and the Soviets loudly protested the introduction of “poison gas” into the war. Secretary of State Dean Rusk insisted at a news conference on March 24 that the United States was “not embarking upon gas warfare,” but was merely employing “a gas which has been commonly adopted by the police forces of the world as riot-control agents.”
1968 – President Lyndon B. Johnson announces the appointment of Gen. William Westmoreland as Army Chief of Staff; Gen. Creighton Abrams replaced him as commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam. Westmoreland had first assumed command of U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam in June 1964, and in that capacity was in charge of all American military forces in Vietnam. One of the war’s most controversial figures, General Westmoreland was given many honors when the fighting was going well, but when the war turned sour, many Americans blamed him for problems in Vietnam. Negative feeling about Westmoreland grew particularly strong following the Tet Offensive of 1968. As Westmoreland’s successor, Abrams faced the difficult task of implementing the Vietnamization program instituted by the Nixon administration. This included the gradual reduction of American forces in Vietnam while attempting to increase the combat capabilities of the South Vietnamese armed forces.
1972 – Congress sent the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution to the states for ratification. It fell three states short of the 38, two-thirds, needed for approval. The U.S. Senate passed the Equal Rights Amendment.
1974 – The Viet Cong proposed a new truce with the United States and South Vietnam, which includes general elections.
1982 – NASA’s Space Shuttle Columbia, is launched from the Kennedy Space Center on its third mission, STS-3. STS-3 was NASA’s third Space Shuttle mission, and was the third mission for the Space Shuttle Columbia. It landed eight days later on 30 March. STS-3 was the first shuttle launch with an unpainted external tank, and the only mission to land at the White Sands Space Harbor near Las Cruces, New Mexico. The shuttle was forced to land at White Sands due to flooding at its originally planned landing site, Edwards Air Force Base.
1989 – Fawn Hall, Oliver North’s former secretary, began two days of testimony at North’s Iran-Contra trial in Washington.
1991 – A US warplane shot down a second Iraqi jet fighter that had violated the cease-fire ending the Persian Gulf War.
1993 – The launch of the space shuttle Columbia was scrubbed with three seconds left in the countdown.
1993 – The Intel Corporation ships the first Pentium chips (80586), featuring a 60 MHz clock speed, 100+ MIPS, and a 64 bit data path.
1996 – Shannon Lucid, astronaut, went into space on the shuttle Atlantis. She transferred to the Russian Mir space station and broke the US space endurance record of 115 days on 7/15/96.
1997 – Iraqi Oil Minister Amer Rashid announces the establishment of a new Iraq/Russian oil company which will work independently of Iraq’s national oil company, and reports that other agreements would be signed with France and China. Russia and France were Iraq’s main arms suppliers before the Gulf War.
1999 – Serb attacks on ethnic Albanians continued after envoy Richard Holbrooke failed to convince Pres. Milosevic to stop.
2001 – Pres. Bush met with Chinese Deputy Premier Qian Qichen and said the US would support Taiwan’s military needs.
2001 – Russia threatened to expel 50 American personnel in response to US expulsions of Russian intelligence agents.
2001 – The Russian Duma was expected to pass a bill to allow the storage of spent nuclear fuel for projected earnings of some $20 billion.
2002 – The US State Dept. ordered all non-essential Embassy and Consulate personnel in Pakistan to return home.
2003 – U.S. forces reported seizing a large weapons cache in Afghanistan.
2003 – In the 4th day of Operation Iraqi Freedom intermittent explosions were heard throughout the day in Baghdad and by late afternoon at least 12 huge columns of smoke could be seen rising from all along the southern horizon of the city. US and British forces reached half way to Baghdad and British forces were left surrounding Basra. Special operations forces have taken control of an airfield in western Iraq and secured several border positions. Major-General Stanley McChrystal of the Joint Chiefs of Staff announces that US ships and warplanes have hit Iraq with 500 cruise missiles and several hundred precision weapons.
2003 – Two British Royal Navy helicopters collided over the Persian Gulf, killing all 7 on board including a US Navy officer.
2003 – Turkey opens its air space to US warplanes for operations against Iraq.
2003 – A US soldier threw grenades into three tents at Camp Pennsylvania, a 101st Airborne command center in Kuwait, killing one fellow serviceman and wounding 13.
2003 – Three Iraqi sailors were captured in the northern Persian Gulf, the first Prisoners of War (POWs) taken by Coast Guard forces deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 24-member crew of the CGC Adak plucked the Iraqi sailors from the sea. The Iraqis had jumped overboard as their patrol boat was destroyed by coalition forces operating in the Gulf. The POWs were taken aboard the Adak and later transferred to an undisclosed location.
2004 – Afghan soldiers deployed to the western city of Herat after some of the fiercest factional fighting since the 2001 fall of the Taliban killed a Cabinet minister and as many as 100 others.
2005 – In Afghanistan US warplanes killed five suspected Taliban or al-Qaida militants near the Pakistani border after guerrillas launched an overnight rocket and gun attack on American and Afghan military positions.
2005 – Iraqi and US forces killed 80 militants in a battle west of Tikrit.
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
McNERNEY, DAVID H.
Rank and organization: First Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company A, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division. place and date: polei Doc, Republic of Vietnam, 22 March 1967. Entered service at: Fort Bliss, Tex. Born: 2 June 1931, Lowell, Mass. Citation: 1st Sgt. McNerney distinguished himself when his unit was attacked by a North Vietnamese battalion near polei Doc. Running through the hail of enemy fire to the area of heaviest contact, he was assisting in the development of a defensive perimeter when he encountered several enemy at close range. He killed the enemy but was painfully injured when blown from his feet by a grenade. In spite of this injury, he assaulted and destroyed an enemy machinegun position that had pinned down 5 of his comrades beyond the defensive line. Upon learning his commander and artillery forward observer had been killed, he assumed command of the company. He adjusted artillery fire to within 20 meters of the position in a daring measure to repulse ??enemy assaults. When the smoke grenades used to mark the position were gone, he moved into a nearby clearing to designate the location to friendly aircraft. In spite of enemy fire he remained exposed until he was certain the position was spotted and then climbed into a tree and tied the identification panel to its highest branches. Then he moved among his men readjusting their position, encouraging the defenders and checking the wounded. As the hostile assaults slackened, he began clearing a helicopter landing site to evacuate the wounded. When explosives were needed to remove large trees, he crawled outside the relative safety of his perimeter to collect demolition material from abandoned rucksacks. Moving through a fusillade of fire he returned with the explosives that were vital to the clearing of the landing zone. Disregarding the pain of his injury and refusing medical evacuation 1st Sgt. McNerney remained with his unit until the next day when the new commander arrived. First Sgt. McNerney’s outstanding heroism and leadership were inspirational to his comrades. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.