1643 – Delegates from four New England colonies, Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut and New Harbor, met in Boston to form a confederation: the United Colonies of New England.
1749 – King George II of England grants the Ohio Company a charter of several hundred thousand acres of land around the forks of the Ohio River, thereby promoting westward settlement by American colonists from Virginia. France had claimed the entire Ohio River Valley in the previous century, but English fur traders and settlers contested these claims. The royal chartering of the Ohio Company, an organization founded primarily by Virginian planters in 1747, directly challenged the French claim to Ohio and was a direct cause of the outbreak of the French and Indian War in 1754. With the defeat of the French in 1763, the Ohio River and the Great Lakes areas were placed within the boundaries of Canada, and the Ohio Company was merged with another land company to better exploit the region. Settlers in Ohio resented these acts and joined the patriots in their struggle against the British in the American Revolution. In 1783, Ohio was ceded to the United States with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. In 1788, Marietta became the first permanent American settlement in what was known as the Old Northwest. During the next decade, Native Americans were suppressed and British traders were pushed out, and in 1799 Ohio became a U.S. territory. In 1803, it entered the Union as the 17th state.
1774 – Ann Lee and eight Shakers sailed from Liverpool to New York. The religious group originated in Quakerism and fled England due to religious persecution. They become the first conscientious objectors on religious grounds and were jailed during the American Revolution in 1776. In 1998 Suzanne Skees published “god Among the Shakers.” The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing is the full, proper name for the 19th-century religious group better known as the Shakers. Although they were the largest and best-known communal society a century ago, the Shakers were rarely referred to by their proper name. Outsiders dubbed them “Shakers” for the movements in their ritualistic dance.
1776 – American Revolutionary War: A Continental Army garrison surrenders in the Battle of The Cedars. The Battle of The Cedars (French: Les Cèdres) was a series of military confrontations early in the American Revolutionary War during the Continental Army’s invasion of Quebec that had begun in September 1775. The skirmishes, which involved limited combat, occurred in May 1776 at and around The Cedars, 45 km (28 mi) west of Montreal, Quebec. Continental Army units were opposed by a small number of British troops leading a larger force of Indians (primarily Iroquois), and militia. Brigadier General Benedict Arnold, commanding the American military garrison at Montreal, had placed a detachment of his troops at The Cedars in April 1776, after receiving rumors of British and Indian military preparations to the west of Montreal. The garrison surrendered on May 19 after a confrontation with a combined force of British and Indian troops led by Captain George Forster. American reinforcements on their way to The Cedars were also captured after a brief skirmish on May 20. All of the captives were eventually released after negotiations between Forster and Arnold, who was bringing a sizable force into the area. The terms of the agreement required the Americans to release an equal number of British prisoners. However, the deal was repudiated by Congress, and no British prisoners were freed. Colonel Timothy Bedel and Lieutenant Isaac Butterfield, leaders of the American force at The Cedars, were court-martialed and cashiered from the Continental Army for their roles in the affair. After distinguishing himself as a volunteer, Bedel was given a new commission in 1777. News of the affair included greatly inflated reports of casualties, and often included graphic but false accounts of atrocities committed by the Iroquois that made up the majority of the British forces.
1796 – A game protection law was passed by Congress to restrict encroachment by whites on Indian hunting grounds.
1846 – Secretary of Treasury Walker assigned Revenue Captain John A. Webster, USRCS, to control movements of vessels assigned to Army and to cooperate with the Navy in the War with Mexico.
1848 – Mexico ratifies the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo thus ending the war and ceding California, Nevada, Utah and parts of four other modern-day U.S. states to the United States for US$15 million.
1858 – A pro-slavery band led by Charles Hameton executed unarmed Free State men near Marais des Cygnes on the Kansas-Missouri border.
1862 – Homestead Act became law and provided cheap land for settlement of West.
1863 – Union commander Major General Ulysses S. Grant fails in his first attempt to take the strategic Confederate city of Vicksburg, which sits on a bluff overlooking (and thereby controlling boat traffic on) the Mississippi River. After substantial causalities, he calls off the attack. Instead he develops a plan to encircle and besiege the city. Grant was a West Point trained engineer who had served in the Mexican War (1846-1848) but resigned from the Army in the 1850s. When the Civil War started, he was appointed by the governor of Illinois as the colonel of the 21st Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He soon proved his value as a battlefield commander and by 1864 would be placed in command of all Union armies. In 1868 he was elected as the 18th President of the United States.
1864 – A dozen days of fighting around Spotsylvania ends with a Confederate attack against the Union forces. The epic campaign between the Army of the Potomac, under the effective direction of Ulysses S. Grant, and Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia began at the beginning of May when Union forces crossed the Rapidan River. After a bloody two-day battle in the Wilderness forest, Grant moved his army further south toward Spotsylvania Court House. This move was a departure from the tactics of the previous three years in the eastern theater of the Civil War. Since 1861, the Army of the Potomac had been coming down to Virginia under different commanders only to be defeated by the Army of Northern Virginia, usually under Lee’s direction, and had always returned northward. But Grant was different than the other Union generals. He knew that by this time Lee could not sustain constant combat. The numerical superiority of the Yankees would eventually wear Lee down. When Grant ordered his troops to move south, a surge of enthusiasm swept the Union veterans; they knew that in Grant they had an aggressive leader who would not allow the Confederates time to breathe. Nevertheless, the next stop proved to be more costly than the first. After the battle in the Wilderness, Grant and Lee waged a footrace for the strategic crossroads at Spotsylvania. Lee won the race, and his men dug in. On May 8, Grant attacked Lee, initiating a battle that raged for 12 awful days. The climax came on May 12, when the two armies struggled for nearly 20 hours over an area that became known as the Bloody Angle. The fighting continued sporadically for the next week as the Yankees tried to eject the Rebels from their breastworks. Finally, when the Confederates attacked on May 19, Grant prepared to pull out of Spotsylvania. Convinced he could never dislodge the Confederates from their positions, he elected to try to circumvent Lee’s army to the south. The Army of the Potomac moved, leaving behind 18,000 casualties at Spotsylvania to the Confederates’ 12,000. In less than three weeks Grant had lost 33,000 men, with some of the worst fighting yet to come.
1864 – Battle of Port Walthall Junction, VA (Bermuda Hundred).
1864 – U.S.S. General Price, Acting Lieutenant Richardson, engaged a Confederate battery on the banks of the Mississippi River at Tunica Bend, Louisiana. The Southerners, who had been attempting to destroy transport steamer Superior, were forced to evacuate their river position. Richardson put ashore a landing party which burned a group of buildings used by the Confederates as a headquarters from which attacks against river shipping were launched.
1865 – President Jefferson Davis was captured by Union Cavalry in Georgia.
1882 – Commodore Shufeldt (USS Swatara) lands in Korea to negotiate first treaty between Korea and Western power.
1890 – Ho Chi Minh, revolutionist and leader of North Vietnam (1946-1969), was born. He fought the Japanese, French and United States to gain independence for his country.
1918 – Raoul Lufbery, one of the top-scoring US fighter pilots of the war with 17 victories, is killed during air combat. He had served with other American volunteers in the French Escadrille Lafayette (originally the Escadrille Americaine and credited with 38 air victories) before the United States’ entry into the war. Lufbery was the commander of the famed 94th “Hat in the Ring” Aero Squadron at the time of his death.
1921 – Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act, which established national quotas for immigrants entering the United States.
1927 – The 11th Marine Regiment arrived at Esteli, Nicaragua, for garrison duty.
1941 – Viet Minh, a communist coalition, formed at Cao Bằng Province, Vietnam.
1942 – In the aftermath of the Battle of the Coral Sea, Task Force 16 heads to Pearl Harbor.
1943 – British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt set Monday, May 1, 1944 as the date for the Normandy landings (“D-Day”). It would later be delayed over a month due to bad weather.
1943 – On Attu, American forces advance along Clevesy Pass toward Chicagof.
1944 – Allied forces of US 5th Army continue to make advances. The US 2nd Corps captures Gasta Itri and Monte Grande. The French Expeditionary Corps nearly reaches Pico and battle for Campodimele. Meanwhile, British armor and infantry overrun the Aquino airfield, in the Liri Valley but German antitank guns repulse an attempt to seize the town.
1944 – American aircraft the carriers of Task Group 58.2 (Admiral Montgomery) conduct a raid on Marcus Island.
1945 – On Luzon, in the Ipoh dam area north of Manila, where the US 43rd Division of US 11th Corps is operating, Japanese resistance ends. The US 152nd Division is holding its positions near Woodpecker Ridge. The US 25th Division, part of US 1st Corps, begins mopping up in the area north and west of Santa Fe.
1945 – On Okinawa, the US 77th Division suffers heavy casualties while fighting for the Ishimmi ridge and withdraws.
1945 – Some 272 American B-29 Superfortress bombers strike Hamamatsu, 120 miles (192 km) from Tokyo. Bombs are dropped through the clouds from medium altitude.
1945 – The UN Charter committee met in Muir Woods. The meeting was planned by Roosevelt on a suggestion by Sec. of the Interior Ickes: one of the sessions “might be held among the giant redwoods in Muir Woods. Not only would this focus attention upon the nation’s interest in preserving these mighty trees for posterity, but in such a “temple of peace” the delegates would gain a perspective and sense of time that could be obtained nowhere better than in such a forest.”
1951 – The 2nd Infantry Division, with attached French and Dutch battalions, fought their way out of a Chinese trap in the mountains of central Korea, inflicting heavy losses on the enemy. The 38th Field Artillery Battalion fired 12,000 rounds in a 24-hour period in support of the division.
1958 – The United States and Canada formally established the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD).
1959 – The Peoples’ Army of Vietnam’s Military Transportation Group 559 formed on the 69th birthday of Vietnamese revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh. It ultimately resulted in the creation of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The trail was intended to facilitate the infiltrating of troops and transporting supplies from North Vietnam to support the revolution in South Vietnam.
1960 – USAF Maj. Robert M White took the X-15 to 33,222 m.
1964 – The State Department announced the U.S. embassy in Moscow had been bugged. A network of more than 40 microphones embedded in the walls had been found.
1964 – The United States initiates low-altitude target reconnaissance flights over southern Laos by U.S. Navy and Air Force aircraft. Two days later, similar flights were commenced over northern Laos. These flights were code-named Yankee Team and were meant to assist the Royal Lao forces in their fight against the communist Pathet Lao and their North Vietnamese and Viet Cong allies.
1965 – 30th Naval Construction Regiment activated at Danang, Vietnam.
1967 – The first U.S. air strike on central Hanoi was launched.
1967 – One of the first major treaties designed to limit the spread of nuclear weapons goes into effect as the Soviet Union ratifies an agreement banning nuclear weapons from outer space. The United States, Great Britain, and several dozen other nations had already signed and/or ratified the treaty. With the advent of the so-called “space race” between the United States and the Soviet Union, which had begun in 1957 when the Russians successfully launched the Sputnik satellite, some began to fear that outer space might be the next frontier for the expansion of nuclear weapons. To forestall that eventuality, an effort directed by the United Nations came to fruition in January 1967 when the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and dozens of other nations signed off on a treaty banning nuclear weapons from outer space. The agreement also banned nations from using the moon, other planets, or any other “celestial bodies” as military outposts or bases. The agreement was yet another step toward limiting nuclear weapons. In 1959, dozens of nations, including the United States and the Soviet Union, had agreed to ban nuclear weapons from Antarctica. In July 1963, the Limited Test Ban Treaty was signed, banning open-air and underwater nuclear tests. With the action taken in May 1967, outer space was also officially declared off-limits for nuclear weapons.
1972 – Units of South Vietnam’s 9th and 21st Divisions, along with several South Vietnamese airborne battalions, open new stretches of road south of An Loc and come within two miles of the besieged city. In the Central Highlands, North Vietnamese troops, preceded by heavy shelling, tried to break through the lines of South Vietnam’s 23rd Division defending Kontum, but the South Vietnamese troops held firm. These actions were part of the North Vietnamese Nguyen Hue Offensive (later called the “Easter Offensive”), a massive invasion by North Vietnamese forces on March 30 to strike the blow that would win them the war. The attacking force included 14 infantry divisions and 26 separate regiments, with more than 120,000 troops and approximately 1,200 tanks and other armored vehicles. The main North Vietnamese objectives, in addition to Quang Tri in the north and Kontum in the Central Highlands, included An Loc farther to the south. Initially, the South Vietnamese defenders were almost overwhelmed, particularly in the northernmost provinces, where they abandoned their positions in Quang Tri and fled south in the face of the enemy onslaught. At Kontum and An Loc, the South Vietnamese were more successful in defending against the attacks, but only after weeks of bitter fighting. Although the defenders suffered heavy casualties, they managed to hold their own with the aid of U.S. advisors and American airpower. Fighting continued all over South Vietnam into the summer months, but eventually the South Vietnamese forces prevailed against the invaders and retook Quang Tri in September. With the communist invasion blunted, President Nixon declared that the South Vietnamese victory proved the viability of his Vietnamization program, which he had instituted in 1969 to increase the combat capability of the South Vietnamese armed forces.
1970 – To commemorate Ho Chi Minh’s 80th birthday, Communist forces shell more than 60 allied positions.
1971 – Hanoi initiates three days of heavy rocket and mortar attacks on US positions along the DMZ.
1976 – The US Senate established congressional oversight over the CIA with the permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
1979 – R.C., “In The Navy” by Village People peaked at #3 on the pop singles chart.
1987 – President Reagan defended America’s presence in the Persian Gulf, two days after 37 American sailors were killed when an Iraqi warplane attacked the U.S. frigate Stark.
1990 – Secretary of State James A. Baker III concluded an agreement with the Soviet Union to destroy chemical weapons and settle longstanding disputes over limits on nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.
1995 – NASA’s administrator unveiled plans to slash thousands of aerospace jobs and to overhaul virtually every part of the agency.
1996 – The Endeavour Shuttle rocketed into orbit with six astronauts. One task was to deploy an experimental antennae that would inflate and swell to the size of a tennis court.
1999 – Ali A. Mohamed, a former US Army sergeant, was indicted for conspiring with Osama bin Laden to kill Americans abroad.
1999 – As NATO’s Operation Allied Force entered its ninth week, Russia’s special envoy to the Balkans called on both NATO and Yugoslavia to suspend hostilities.
2000 – The shuttle Atlantis lifted off with 7 astronauts on a mission to fix the Int’l. Space Station.
2000 – Nine countries banded together to petition entry into NATO in 2002. They included Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
2002 – In Afghanistan, Operation Mountain Lion began in an attempt to seal off the border.
2002 – A team of 50 US Green Berets landed in Tbilisi for a 2-year training program for Georgia’s army.
2003 – In central Iraq 4 US Marines on a resupply mission were killed when their Ch-46 Sea-Knight helicopter crashed into a canal and a fifth drowned trying to save them.
2004 – US Army Spc. Jeremy C. Sivits received the maximum penalty, one year in prison, reduction in rank and a bad conduct discharge, in the first court-martial stemming from mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison.
2006 – The case of Khaled el-Masri, who says he was abducted and tortured by the CIA because he was mistaken for another person, is dismissed by a district court in Alexandria, Virginia, as it would be a “grave risk” of damage to U.S. national security by exposing government secrets. The court rules that if the claims are true he “deserves a remedy” but this cannot be found in the court.
2006 – A riot takes place at the United States prison camp at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba after several inmates attempted suicide.
2013 – US Navy dolphins find a rare nineteenth-century torpedo off the coast of California.
2014 – The United States Department of Justice charges five Chinese military officers with hacking into private-sector American companies in a bid for competitive advantage.
2014 – Three supervisors at the Gainesville, Florida, VA hospital are placed on paid leave after investigators find a list of patients requiring follow-up care kept on paper, not in the VA’s computerized scheduling system.
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
BROWN, JOHN H.
Rank and organization: First Sergeant, Company A, 47th Ohio Infantry. Place and date: At Vicksburg, Miss., 19 May 1863. Entered service at: Cincinnati, Ohio. Birth: Boston, Mass. Date of issue: 24 August 1896. Citation: Voluntarily carried a verbal message from Col. A. C. Parry to Gen. Hugh Ewing through a terrific fire and in plain view of the enemy.
HOWE, ORION P.
Rank and organization: Musician, Company C, 55th Illinois Infantry. Place and date: At Vicksburg, Miss., 19 May 1863. Entered service at: Woken, Ill. Birth: Portage County, Ohio. Date of issue: 2 3 April 1896. Citation: A drummer boy, 14 years of age, and severely wounded and exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy, he persistently remained upon the field of battle until he had reported to Gen. W. T. Sherman the necessity of supplying cartridges for the use of troops under command of Colonel Malmborg.
Rank and organization: Private, Company C, 13th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At Vicksburg, Miss., 19 May 1863. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Venango County, Pa. Date of issue: 13 May 1899. Citation: Voluntarily and at the risk of his life, under a severe fire of the enemy, aided and assisted to the rear an officer who had been severely wounded and left on the field.