1713 – The capture of the Tuscarora tribe’s stronghold of Fort Nohuke by South Carolinian forces ends Tuscarora raids. The tribe moves northward and joins the Iroquois Confederacy as the Sixth Indian Nation.
1775 – During a speech before the second Virginia Convention, Patrick Henry responds to the increasingly oppressive British rule over the American colonies by declaring, “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” Following the signing of the American Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, Patrick Henry was appointed governor of Virginia by the Continental Congress. The first major American opposition to British policy came in 1765 after Parliament passed the Stamp Act, a taxation measure to raise revenues for a standing British army in America. Under the banner of “no taxation without representation,” colonists convened the Stamp Act Congress in October 1765 to vocalize their opposition to the tax. With its enactment on November 1, 1765, most colonists called for a boycott of British goods and some organized attacks on the customhouses and homes of tax collectors. After months of protest, Parliament voted to repeal the Stamp Act in March 1765. Most colonists quietly accepted British rule until Parliament’s enactment of the Tea Act in 1773, which granted the East India Company a monopoly on the American tea trade. Viewed as another example of taxation without representation, militant Patriots in Massachusetts organized the “Boston Tea Party,” which saw British tea valued at some 10,000 pounds dumped into Boston harbor. Parliament, outraged by the Boston Tea Party and other blatant destruction of British property, enacted the Coercive Acts, also known as the Intolerable Acts, in the following year. The Coercive Acts closed Boston to merchant shipping, established formal British military rule in Massachusetts, made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in America, and required colonists to quarter British troops. The colonists subsequently called the first Continental Congress to consider a united American resistance to the British. With the other colonies watching intently, Massachusetts led the resistance to the British, forming a shadow revolutionary government and establishing militias to resist the increasing British military presence across the colony. In April 1775, Thomas Gage, the British governor of Massachusetts, ordered British troops to march to Concord, Massachusetts, where a Patriot arsenal was known to be located. On April 19, 1775, the British regulars encountered a group of American militiamen at Lexington, and the first volleys of the American Revolutionary War were fired.
1780 – British forces under Banastre Tarleton, moving to Charleston, scatter Colonial Militia at Bee’s Plantation, SC.
1806 – After passing a wet and tedious winter near the Pacific Coast, Lewis and Clark happily leave behind Fort Clatsop and head east for home. The Corps of Discovery arrived at the Pacific the previous November, having made a difficult crossing over the rugged Rocky Mountains. Their winter stay on the south side of the Columbia River-dubbed Fort Clatsop in honor of the local Indians-had been plagued by rainy weather, thieving Indians, and a scarcity of fresh meat. No one in the Corps of Discovery regretted leaving Fort Clatsop behind. In the days before their departure, Captains Lewis and Clark prepared for the final stage of their journey. Lewis recognized the possibility that some disaster might still prevent them from making it back east and he prudently left a list of the names of all the expedition’s men with Chief Coboway of the Clatsops. Lewis asked the chief to give the list to the crew of the next trading vessel that arrived so the world would learn that the expedition did reach the Pacific. The previous few days had been stormy, but on March 22, the rain began to ease. The captains agreed to depart the next day, and they made a parting gift of Fort Clatsop and its furniture to Chief Coboway. At 1 p.m. on this day in 1806, the Corps of Expedition set off up the Columbia River in canoes. After nearly a year in the wilderness, they had severely depleted the sizeable cache of supplies with which the expedition had begun–they set off on their return trip with only canisters of gunpowder, some tools, a small cache of dried fish and roots, and their rifles. The expedition had expended almost all of its supplies. Ahead loomed the high, rugged slopes of the Rocky Mountains that had proved so difficult to cross in the other direction the previous year. This time, however, Lewis and Clark had the advantage of knowing the route they would take. Still, they knew the passage would be difficult, and they were anxious to find the Nez Perce Indians, whose help they would need to cross the mountains. The months to come would witness some of the most dangerous moments of the journey, including Lewis’ violent confrontation with Blackfeet Indians near the Marias River of Montana in July. Nonetheless, seven months later to the day, on September 23, 1806, the Corps of Discovery arrived at the docks of St. Louis, where their long journey had begun nearly two and a half years before.
1810 – In France, Napoleon Bonaparte signs the Rambouillet Decree which mandates the seizure, confiscation and sale of any US ship in French ports. The Decree is published 14 May and is to be retroactive to 20 May 1809.
1815 – USS Hornet captures HMS Penguin in battle lasting 22 minutes.
1829 – The Creek Indians receive a message from President Jackson ordering them to either conform to the laws of Alabama or to relocate across the Mississippi River.
1839 – 1st recorded use of “OK” [oll korrect] was in Boston’s Morning Post.
1862 – Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson suffers a rare defeat when his attack on Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley fails. Jackson was trying to prevent Union General Nathaniel Banks from sending troops from the Shenandoah to General George McClellan’s army near Washington. McClellan was preparing to send his massive army by water to the James Peninsular southeast of Richmond for a summer campaign against the Confederate capital. When Turner Ashby, Jackson’s cavalry commander, detected that Yankee troops were moving out of the valley, Jackson decided to attack and keep the Union troops divided. Ashby attacked at Kernstown on March 22. He reported to Jackson that only four Union regiments were present–perhaps 3,000 men. In fact, Union commander James Shields actually had 9,000 men at Kernstown but kept most of them hidden during the skirmishing on March 22. The rest of Jackson’s force arrived the next day, giving the Confederates about 4,000 men. The 23rd was a Sunday, and the religious Jackson tried not to fight on the Sabbath. The Yankees could see his deployment, though, so Jackson chose to attack that afternoon. He struck the Union left flank, but the Federals moved troops into place to stop the Rebel advance. At a critical juncture, Richard Garnett withdrew his Confederate brigade due to a shortage of ammunition, and this exposed another brigade to a Union attack. The northern troops poured in, sending Jackson’s entire force in retreat. Jackson lost 80 killed, 375 wounded, and 263 missing or captured, while the Union lost 118 dead, 450 wounded, and 22 missing. Despite the defeat, the battle had positive results for the Confederates. Unnerved by the attack, President Lincoln ordered McClellan to leave an entire corps to defend Washington, thus drawing troops from McClellan’s Peninsular campaign. The battle was the opening of Jackson’s famous Shenandoah Valley campaign. Over the following three months, Jackson’s men marched hundreds of miles, won several major battles, and kept three separate Union forces occupied in the Shenandoah.
1865 – General Sherman and Cox’s troops reached Goldsboro, NC.
1867 – Congress passed a 2nd Reconstruction Act over President Johnson’s veto.
1882 – SECNAV Hunt issues General Order No. 292 creating Office of Naval Intelligence.
1889 – President Harrison opened Oklahoma for white colonization.
1901 – A group of U.S. Army soldier led by Brig. Gen. Frederick Funston captured Emilio Aguinaldo, the leader of the Philippine Insurrection of 1899.
1908 – American diplomat Durham Stevens is attacked by Korean assassins Jeon Myeong-un and Jang In-hwan, leading to his death in a hospital two days later.
1912 – Werner von Braun, rocket expert (I Aim at the Stars), was born in Wirsitz, Germany. He led the development of the V-2 rocket during World War II.
1917 – Launching of USS New Mexico, first dreadnought with turboelectric drive.
1919 – In Milan, Italy, Benito Mussolini founds his Fascist political movement.
1920 – Britain denounced the U.S. because of their delay in joining the League of Nations.
1921 – Arthur G. Hamilton set a new parachute record, safely jumping 24,400 feet.
1922 – 1st airplane landed at the US Capitol in Washington DC.
1932 – The executive committee of the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) ruled to exclude blacks from appearing at Constitution Hall.
1933 – The German Reichstag adopted the Enabling Act, which effectively granted Adolf Hitler dictatorial legislative powers, i.e. the power to rule by decree. Hitler seized power in early 1933.
1942 – During World War II, the U.S. government began moving Japanese-Americans from their West Coast homes to detention centers.
1943 – Axis forces manage to hold the American advance near El Guettar. The German 10th Panzer Division suffers heavy losses attempting to exploit early successes. Montgomery decides to alter his main attack to the Tebaga Gap. He sends the 1st Armored Division (commanded by General Horrocks) to join the New Zealander Corps. This move is delayed by traffic control problems.
1944 – On Bougainville, Japanese forces attack American positions without making any progress. Heavy Japanese losses are reported.
1944 – US destroyers shell the Japanese seaplane base on Elouae in the St. Matthias Islands.
1945 – US Task Force 58 (Admiral Mitscher) conduct air raids on Okinawa. The American force includes 14 carriers organized in three groups. Japanese submarines make unsuccessful attacks on the American ships.
1945 – US 1st Army and the elements of US 3rd Army are extending their bridgeheads over the Rhine.
1945 – Throughout March there have been small attacks by both US 2nd and 4th Corps of US 5th Army in the area around the Pistoia-Bologna road and to the west.
1945 – On Luzon, San Fernando is taken by US 1st Corps with help from Filipino guerrillas.
1951 – Operation TOMAHAWK, the second airborne operation of the war and the largest in one day, involved 120 C-119s and C-46s, escorted by sixteen F-51s. The 314th TCG and the 437th TCW air transports flew from Taegu to Munsan-ni, an area behind enemy lines some twenty miles northwest of Seoul, and dropped the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team and two Ranger companies-more than 3,400 men and 220 tons of equipment and supplies. Fifth Air Force fighters and light bombers had largely eliminated enemy opposition. UN forces advanced quickly to the Imjin River, capturing 127 communist prisoners. Some of the prisoners waved safe-conduct leaflets that FEAF aircraft had dropped during the airborne operation. Helicopters evacuated only sixty-eight injured personnel from the drop zone. One C-119, possibly hit by enemy bullets, caught fire and crashed on the way back.
1957 – US army sold its last homing pigeons.
1958 – First launching of simulated Polaris missile from submerged tactical launcher facility off CA.
1960 – Explorer 8 failed to reach Earth orbit.
1961 – One of the first American casualties in Southeast Asia, an intelligence-gathering plane en route from Laos to Saigon is shot down over the Plain of Jars in central Laos. The mission was flown in an attempt to determine the extent of the Soviet support being provided to the communist Pathet Lao guerrillas in Laos. The guerrillas had been waging a war against the Royal Lao government since 1959. In a television news conference, President John F. Kennedy warned of communist expansion in Laos and said that a cease-fire must precede the start of negotiations to establish a neutral and independent nation.
1965 – America’s first two-person space flight began as Gemini 3 blasted off from Cape Kennedy with astronauts Virgil I. Grissom and John W. Young aboard. Gemini 3 completed 3 orbits in 4 hours., 53 minutes at an altitude of 224 km. Recovery was by helicopters from USS Intrepid (CVS-11).
1970 – US performed a nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.
1970 – From Peking, Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia issues a public call for arms to be used against the Lon Nol government in Phnom Penh and requests the establishment of the National United Front of Kampuchea (FUNK) to unite all opposition factions against Lon Nol. North Vietnam, the National Liberation Front (Viet Cong), and the communist Pathet Lao immediately pledged their support to the new organization. Earlier in March, Sihanouk had been overthrown in a bloodless coup led by Cambodian Gen. Lon Nol. Between 1970 and 1975, Lon Nol and his army, the Forces Armees Nationale Khmer (FANK), with U.S. support and military aid, fought the Khmer Rouge and Sihanouk’s supporters for control of Cambodia. During the five years of bitter fighting, approximately 10 percent of Cambodia’s 7 million people died. When the U.S. forces departed South Vietnam in 1973, both the Cambodians and South Vietnamese found themselves fighting the communists alone. Without U.S. support, Lon Nol’s forces succumbed to the communists in April 1975. The victorious Khmer Rouge evacuated Phnom Penh and began reordering Cambodian society, which resulted in a killing spree and the notorious “killing fields.” Eventually, hundreds of thousands of Cambodians were murdered or died from exhaustion, hunger, and disease.
1972 – The U.S. called a halt to the peace talks on Vietnam being held in Paris.
1973 – US performed a nuclear test at Nevada Test Site. 1978 – US performed nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.
1983 – In an address to the nation, President Ronald Reagan proposes that the United States embark on a program to develop antimissile technology that would make the country nearly impervious to attack by nuclear missiles. Reagan’s speech marked the beginning of what came to be known as the controversial Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). Despite his vigorous anticommunist rhetoric, Reagan made nuclear arms control one of the keynotes of his administration. By 1983, however, talks with the Soviets were stalled over issues of what kinds of weapons should be controlled, what kind of control would be instituted, and how compliance with the controls would be assured. It was at this point that Reagan became enamored with an idea proposed by some of his military and scientific advisors, including Dr. Edward Teller, the “father of the hydrogen bomb.” What they proposed was a massive program involving the use of antimissile satellites utilizing laser beams or other means to knock Soviet nuclear missiles out of the sky before they had a chance to impact the United States. Reagan therefore called upon the nation’s scientists to “turn their great talents” to this “vision of the future which offers hope.” He admitted that such a highly sophisticated program might “not be accomplished before the end of this century.” Reagan’s speech formed the basis for what came to be known as the Strategic Defense Initiative, though pundits immediately dubbed it the “Star Wars Initiative.” Some scientists indicated that even if the SDI were able to destroy 95 percent of Soviet missiles, the remaining five percent would be enough to destroy the entire planet. Nevertheless, Congress began funding the program, which ran up a bill of over $30 billion by 1993 (with little to show for the effort). The Soviets were adamantly opposed to SDI, and a 1986 summit meeting between Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev ended acrimoniously when Gorbachev demanded that talks on arms control were contingent on the United States dropping the SDI program. By December 1987, Gorbachev-desperately in need of a foreign policy achievement and eager to reduce his nation’s burdensome defense budget-dropped his resistance to the SDI program and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was signed. The Strategic Defense Initiative never really got off the ground–by the mid-1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union and with costs skyrocketing, it was quietly shelved.
1985 – US performed nuclear test at Nevada Test Site. 1987 – US offered military protection to Kuwaiti ships in the Persian Gulf.
1988 – President Reagan announced he would visit the Soviet Union for the first time, from May 29 until June 2, for his fourth summit meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev.
1989 – Fawn Hall, former secretary to onetime National Security Council aide Oliver North, completed two days of testimony at North’s Iran-Contra trial.
1991 – Iraqi President Saddam Hussein shuffled his Cabinet, but kept in place his hard-line ministers of interior and defense to direct a crackdown on rebellion against his rule. A popular uprising had been prompted by Pres. Bush and 15 of 18 provinces were liberated, but no American help followed and Hussein’s forces crushed the intifada.
1992 – The president of the U.N. Security Council announced that Libya had offered to surrender two men suspected in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 to the Arab League. Libya reversed itself two days later; however, the suspects surrendered for trial seven years later. One was subsequently convicted, the other found innocent.
1994 – Twenty-three paratroopers were killed when a F-16 fighter jet and C-130 transport collided while landing at Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina and the F-16 skidded into another transport on the ground.
1997 – In Belarus American diplomat Serge Alexandrov, first secretary at the US embassy in Minsk, was ordered to leave the country for participating in an anti-government march. The Foreign Ministry accused him of being a CIA agent.
1999 – The US Senate voted 58-41 to support US participation in a NATO bombing of Serbia.
1999 – NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana gave the formal go-ahead for airstrikes against Serbian targets following the failure of Kosovo peace talks.
1999 – Russia’s Prime Minister Primakov turned his plane home and cancelled talks in Washington following the NATO decision to bomb Serbia.
2000 – Vice Admiral Charles Moore, who oversees United States naval operations in the Persian Gulf, briefs the United Nations Sanctions Committee on the increased smuggling of Iraqi oil. Iraq is expected to earn in excess of $500 million from oil smuggling, and possibly up to double that amount, in the absence of strong action by Iran to prevent the use of its territorial waters by smugglers.
2001 – Moscow expelled 4 US diplomats for “activities incompatible with their status.” Russia said it was expelling 50 U.S. diplomats in retaliation for the expulsion of 50 Russians by the U.S.
2002 – It was reported a the Air Force Academy had implicated 38 cadets in a drug scandal that began in Dec 2000.
2002 – Girls in Afghanistan celebrated their return to school for the first time in years.
2003 – US and allied Afghan forces clashed with militiamen loyal to a renegade warlord in a battle that left up to 10 rebels dead. A US Air Force helicopter on a mercy mission to help 2 injured Afghan children crashed in southeastern Afghanistan, killing all 6 people on board.
2003 – In the 5th day of Operation Iraqi Freedom US-led warplanes and helicopters attacked Republican Guard units defending Baghdad while ground troops advanced to within 50 miles of the Iraqi capital. Pres. Bush put a $75 billion price tag on a down payment for the war. The 507th Maintenance Company was ambushed after it made a wrong turn into Nasiriya; 11 soldiers were killed, seven were captured. US and Iraqi officials say that Iraqi troops have halted an advance by US forces up the Euphrates river, engaging them in battle near the city of Najaf, 100 miles south of Baghdad. Iraqi state television says that an official of Iraq’s ruling Baath party has been killed in the fighting.
2003 – President George Bush says that “massive amounts” of humanitarian aid are poised to move into Iraq in the next 36 hours.
2003 – A British Royal Air Force Tornado jet was shot down by a U.S. Patriot missile in the first reported incident of “friendly” fire in Iraq.
2004 – The US Coast Guard said it had seized over 14.5 tons of cocaine from 3 fishing boats off Mexico and Ecuador over the last 2 months.
2005 – The Lake Tharthar Raid, an Iraqi commando raid on a large insurgent training camp at Lake Tharthar, was begun. Lake Tharthar, which is next to the Sunni Anbar and Salahuddin provinces, was the largest guerrilla training camp that had been discovered in the war by then, according to Iraqi officials. The camp was shared by Ba’ath party loyalists and members of Al-Qaeda. Between 75 and 100 Iraqi commandos as well as 9 American Cavalry Scouts from 3/69 Armor Battalion/1BCT/3ID and one local national interpreter were involved in the raid. As they approached the camp and came to only about a 400 meters from the camp the commandos encountered heavy fire from around 100 insurgents. The Iraqi commandos called in support from the American military, which sent in troop reinforcements and attack helicopters. The battle lasted one hour. The American air support killed 50 insurgents and the commandos killed another 34 during the battle. Many of those killed were reportedly Saudis and Syrians. The insurgents evacuated their positions about two hours into the battle. After entering the camp, Iraqi commandos found non-Iraqi passports, training publications, propaganda documents, weapons and ammunition. According to the papers found some of the insurgents were: Moroccans, Algerians, Sudanese, Saudi, Syrian and there was even one Egyptian. Iraqi forces also seized 30 boats at the camp which were used at the lake.
2006 – In western Baghdad, Iraq, US and British troops found and freed three hostages. The Swords of Righteousness Brigades had claimed responsibility.
2008 – Two Coast Guard helicopters worked with the F/V Alaska Warrior to save 42 of 47 crewmen from the sinking F/V Alaska Ranger in an Easter Sunday blizzard amidst 20-foot waves. There was flooding in aft steerage of Ranger and the doors would not close. The ship’s shell was rusty and flat-bottomed, built for Gulf of Mexico. It was located 120 miles west of Dutch Harbor in the Bering Sea. CGC Munro’s HH-65 Dolphin pulled five fishermen from the water, three of whom had to be cut free from the netting and ropes. The HH-60 Jayhawk from St. Paul Station in the Pribiloff Islands lifted 15 sailors out of the sea and onto the sister ship, F/V Alaska Warrior. Warrior also saved 22 lives on its own. The crew of Munro received the Coast Guard Unit Commendation and aviators LT Brian J. McLaughlin, LT Timothy L. Schmitz, LT Steven M. Bonn, LT Greg S. Gedemer, Petty Officer 2nd Class O’Brien Hollow, Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert R. DeBolt and Petty Officer 2nd Class Alfred V. Musgrave received Air Medals.
2010 – Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo is shown on its maiden flight from the Mojave Air and Spaceport in Mojave, California, United States.
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken this Day
SPURLING, ANDREW B.
Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, 2d Maine Cavalry. Place and date: At Evergreen, Ala., 23 March 1865. Entered service at: Maine. Birth: Cranberry Isles, Maine. Date of issue: 10 September 1897. Citation: Advanced alone in the darkness beyond the picket line, came upon 3 of the enemy, fired upon them (his fire being returned), wounded 2, and captured the whole party.
CARTER, EDWARD A., JR.
Rank: Staff Sergeant. Citation: For extraordinary heroism in action on 23 March 1945, near Speyer, Germany. When the tank on which he was riding received heavy bazooka and small arms fire, Sergeant Carter voluntarily attempted to lead a three-man group across an open field. Within a short time, two of his men were killed and the third seriously wounded. Continuing on alone, he was wounded five times and finally forced to take cover. As eight enemy riflemen attempted to capture him, Sergeant Carter killed six of them and captured the remaining two. He then crossed the field using as a shield his two prisoners from which he obtained valuable information concerning the disposition of enemy troops. Staff Sergeant Carter’s extraordinary heroism was an inspiration to the officers and men of the Seventh Army Infantry Company Number 1 (Provisional) and exemplify the highest traditions of the Armed Forces.
FITZMAURICE, MICHAEL JOHN
Rank and organization: Specialist Fourth Class, U.S. Army, Troop D, 2d Squadron, 17th Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division. Place and date: Khe Sanh, Republic of Vietnam, 23 March 1971. Entered service at: Jamestown, N. Dak. Born: 9 March 1950, Jamestown, N. Dak . Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Fitzmaurice, 3d Platoon, Troop D, distinguished himself at Khe Sanh. Sp4c. Fitzmaurice and 3 fellow soldiers were occupying a bunker when a company of North Vietnamese sappers infiltrated the area. At the onset of the attack Sp4c. Fitzmaurice observed 3 explosive charges which had been thrown into the bunker by the enemy. Realizing the imminent danger to his comrades, and with complete disregard for his personal safety, he hurled 2 of the charges out of the bunker. He then threw his flak vest and himself over the remaining charge. By this courageous act he absorbed the blast and shielded his fellow-soldiers. Although suffering from serious multiple wounds and partial loss of sight, he charged out of the bunker, and engaged the enemy until his rifle was damaged by the blast of an enemy hand grenade. While in search of another weapon, Sp4c. Fitzmaurice encountered and overcame an enemy sapper in hand-to-hand combat. Having obtained another weapon, he returned to his original fighting position and inflicted additional casualties on the attacking enemy. Although seriously wounded, Sp4c. Fitzmaurice refused to be medically evacuated, preferring to remain at his post. Sp4c. Fitzmaurice’s extraordinary heroism in action at the risk of his life contributed significantly to the successful defense of the position and resulted in saving the lives of a number of his fellow soldiers. These acts of heroism go above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflect great credit on Sp4c. Fitzmaurice and the U.S. Army.