1738 – A treaty between Pennsylvania and Maryland ends the Conojocular War with settlement of a boundary dispute and exchange of prisoners. Cresap’s War (also known as the Conojocular War—from the Conejohela Valley where it was located (mainly) along the south (right) bank) was a border conflict between Pennsylvania and Maryland, fought in the 1730s. Hostilities erupted in 1730 with a series of violent incidents prompted by disputes over property rights and law enforcement, and escalated through the first half of the decade, culminating in the deployment of military forces by Maryland in 1736 and by Pennsylvania in 1737. The armed phase of the conflict ended in May 1738 with the intervention of King George II, who compelled the negotiation of a cease-fire. A final settlement was not achieved until 1767 when the Mason–Dixon line was recognized as the permanent boundary between the two colonies.
1787 – Four years after the United States won its independence from England, 55 state delegates, including George Washington, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin, convene in Philadelphia to compose a new U.S. constitution. The Articles of Confederation, ratified several months before the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781, provided for a loose confederation of U.S. states, which were sovereign in most of their affairs. On paper, Congress–the central authority–had the power to govern foreign affairs, conduct war, and regulate currency, but in practice these powers were sharply limited because Congress was given no authority to enforce its requests to the states for money or troops. By 1786, it was apparent that the Union would soon break up if the Articles of Confederation were not amended or replaced. Five states met in Annapolis, Maryland, to discuss the issue, and all the states were invited to send delegates to a new constitutional convention to be held in Philadelphia. On May 25, 1787, delegates representing every state except Rhode Island convened at Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania State House for the Constitutional Convention. The building, which is now known as Independence Hall, had earlier seen the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the signing of the Articles of Confederation. The assembly immediately discarded the idea of amending the Articles of Confederation and set about drawing up a new scheme of government. Revolutionary War hero George Washington, a delegate from Virginia, was elected convention president. During three months of debate, the delegates devised a brilliant federal system characterized by an intricate system of checks and balances. The convention was divided over the issue of state representation in Congress, as more populated states sought proportional legislation, and smaller states wanted equal representation. The problem was resolved by the Connecticut Compromise, which proposed a bicameral legislature with proportional representation in the lower house (House of Representatives) and equal representation of the states in the upper house (Senate). On September 17, 1787, the Constitution of the United States of America was signed by 38 of the 41 delegates present at the conclusion of the convention. As dictated by Article VII, the document would not become binding until it was ratified by nine of the 13 states. Beginning on December 7, five states–Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut–ratified it in quick succession. However, other states, especially Massachusetts, opposed the document, as it failed to reserve undelegated powers to the states and lacked constitutional protection of basic political rights, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press. In February 1788, a compromise was reached under which Massachusetts and other states would agree to ratify the document with the assurance that amendments would be immediately proposed. The Constitution was thus narrowly ratified in Massachusetts, followed by Maryland and South Carolina. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the document, and it was subsequently agreed that government under the U.S. Constitution would begin on March 4, 1789. On September 25, 1789, the first Congress of the United States adopted 12 amendments to the U.S. Constitution–the Bill of Rights–and sent them to the states for ratification. Ten of these amendments were ratified in 1791. In November 1789, North Carolina became the 12th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Rhode Island, which opposed federal control of currency and was critical of compromise on the issue of slavery, resisted ratifying the Constitution until the U.S. government threatened to sever commercial relations with the state. On May 29, 1790, Rhode Island voted by two votes to ratify the document, and the last of the original 13 colonies joined the United States. Today the U.S. Constitution is the oldest written constitution in operation in the world.
1862 – Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson notches a victory on his brilliant campaign in the Shenandoah Valley. Jackson, with 17,000 troops under his command, was sent to the Shenandoah to relieve pressure on the Confederate troops near Richmond, who were facing the growing force of George McClellan on the James Peninsula. In early May, Jackson struck John C. Fremont’s force at McDowell, in western Virginia. After driving Fremont out of the area, Jackson turned his attention to an army under the command of Nathaniel Banks, situated at the north end of the Shenandoah Valley. With only 10,000 troops, Banks had the unenviable task of holding off the fast-moving Jackson. On May 25, Jackson found Banks outside of Winchester. He attacked the Union force but was initially repulsed. The Confederates then struck each Union flank, and this time the Yankee line broke. A confused retreat ensued through the town of Winchester, and even some residents fired on the departing Yankees. Banks fled the Shenandoah into Maryland, and Jackson continued his rampage. The Union lost 62 killed, 243 wounded, and over 1,700 captured or missing, while Jackson’s men lost 68 killed and 329 wounded. The numbers from Jackson’s 1862 valley campaign are stunning. His men marched 350 miles in a month; occupied 60,000 Yankee troops, preventing them from applying pressure on Richmond; won four battles against three armies; and inflicted twice as many casualties as they suffered. Jackson’s record cemented his reputation as one of the greatest generals of all time.
1863 – Federal authorities in Tennessee turned over former Ohio congressman Clement L. Vallandigham to the Confederates. President Abraham Lincoln had changed his sentence to banishment from the United States after his conviction of expressing alleged pro-Confederate sentiments.
1864 – Battle of New Hope Church, Ga. Joseph E. Johnston tried to halt Sherman’s advance on Atlanta at the Hell Hole.
1864 – Boat crew from U.S.S. Mattabesett, Captain M. Smith, made an unsuccessful attempt to destroy C.S.S. Albemarle in the Roanoke River near Plymouth, North Carolina. After ascending the Middle River with two 100-pound torpedoes, Charles Baldwin, coal heaver, and John W. Lloyd, coxswain, swam across the Roanoke carrying a towline with which they hauled the torpedoes to the Plymouth shore. Baldwin planned to swim down to the ram and position a torpedo on either side of her bow. Across the river, Alexander Crawford, fireman, would then explode the weapons. However, Baldwin was discovered by a sentry when within a few yards of Albemarle and the daring mission had to be abandoned. John Lloyd cut the guidelines and swam back across the river to join John Laverty, fireman, who was guarding the far shore. They made their way to the dinghy in which they had rowed upriver and, with Benjamin Lloyd, coal heaver, who had acted as boatkeeper, made their way back to the Mattabesett. On 29 May Baldwin and Crawford, exhausted, returned to the ship.
1865 – In Mobile, Alabama, 300 are killed when an ordnance depot explodes. The depot was a warehouse on Beauregard Street, where the troops had stacked some 200 tons of shells and powder. Some time in the afternoon of May 25, a cloud of black smoke rose into the air and the ground began to rumble. Flames shot up into the sky and bursting shells were heard throughout the city. In the nearby Mobile River, two ships sank, and a man standing on a wharf was blown into the river. Several houses collapsed from the concussion.
1877 – Training of first class of Revenue Cutter cadets began on the school-ship Dobbin at Curtis Bay, Maryland, with nine cadets, three officers, one surgeon, six warrant officers and 17 crew members.
1898 – 1st US troop transport to Manila left San Francisco.
1942 – American submarines move into patrol positions as part of the countermeasures to the expected Japanese attack on Midway.
1943 – The Trident Conference ends. Roosevelt and Churchill, and their staffs, reach compromises on all of the significant differences. Among the decisions taken is the target date for the invasion of western Europe (D-Day) — May 1, 1944. British General Morgan is appointed to prepare plans for the invasion. His is designated Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander (COSSAC).
1943 – There was a riot at Mobile, Al., shipyard over upgrading 12 black workers.
1944 – Patrols of the US 2nd Corps link up with forces of the US 6th Corps from Anzio near Latina (Pontine Marshes). In its advance, the US 6th Corps captures Cisterna and Cori. The German 10th Army is in danger of being cut off and Army Group C (Kesselring) sends its last reserve, the “Hermann Goring” Division, for reinforcement. The US 5th Army (Clark), however, now puts the weight of its forces into the capture of Rome. Meanwhile, the British 8th Army crosses the Melfa River in strength.
1944 – American forces advancing from Arare cross the Tirfoam River after engaging Japanese defenders.
1945 – The American armed forces Chiefs of Staff set November 1, 1945 as the start date for the invasion of Japan — Operation Olympic.
1945 – On Okinawa, the US 4th Marine Regiment eliminates the Japanese casemates and underground positions on Machishi Hill. The US 29th Regiment secures Naha.
1951 – Eighteen U.S. Marines and one U.S. Army infantryman captured during the Chosin/Changjin Reservoir campaign were returned to U.N. control.
1952 – ROK President Syngman Rhee declared martial law in Pusan and arrested members of the Korean National Assembly.
1952 – The USS Iowa made its heaviest attack to date against the industrial seaport of Chongjin.
1953 – The first atomic cannon was fired at Frenchman Flat, Nevada. Fired as part of Operation Upshot-Knothole and codenamed Shot GRABLE, a 280 mm (11 inch) shell with a gun-type fission warhead was fired 10,000 m (6.2 miles) and detonated 160 m (525 ft) above the ground with an estimated yield of 15 kilotons. This was the only nuclear artillery shell ever actually fired in the U.S. nuclear weapons test program. The shell was 1384 mm (4.5 ft) long and weighed 365 kg (805 lb). It was fired from a special, very large artillery piece, nicknamed “Atomic Annie”, built by the Artillery Test Unit of Fort Sill, Oklahoma. About 3,200 soldiers and civilians were present. The warhead was designated the W9 nuclear warhead and 80 were produced in 1952 to 1953 for the T-124 shell. It was retired in 1957.
1961 – President Kennedy asked the nation to work toward putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
1961 – NASA civilian pilot Joseph A. Walker took the X-15 to 32,770 meters.
1962 – US performed an atmospheric nuclear test at Christmas Island.
1962 – A report of the International Control Commission (ICC) for Vietnam charges North Vietnam with subversion and aggression into South Vietnam. It also charges that the United States is violating the Geneva Agreements with its military buildup in South Vietnam, and accuses South Vietnam of violating the 1954 Geneva Accords by accepting US military aid and establishing ‘a factual military alliance’ with the US. The report is adopted by the Indian and Canadian members of the ICC but is opposed by the Polish member.
1967 – Fighting resumes in the southeastern section of the DMZ when two Marine battalions assault a North Vietnamese position on Hill 117, three miles west of the base at Conthien. They withdraw after blowing up enemy bunkers there on the 27th.
1968 – The Gateway Arch, part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, was dedicated.
1968 – The communists launch their third major assault of the year on Saigon. The heaviest fighting occurred during the first three days of June, and again centered on Cholon, the Chinese section of Saigon, where U.S. and South Vietnamese forces used helicopters, fighter-bombers, and tanks to dislodge deeply entrenched Viet Cong infiltrators. A captured enemy directive, which the U.S. command made public on May 28, indicated that the Viet Cong saw the offensive as a means of influencing the Paris peace talks in their favor.
1969 – South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu assumes personal leadership of the National Social Democratic Front at its inaugural meeting in Saigon. Thieu said the establishment of this coalition party was “the first concrete step in unifying the political factions in South Vietnam for the coming political struggle with the communists,” and emphasized that the new party would not be “totalitarian or despotic.” The six major parties comprising the NSDF coalition were: the Greater Union Force, composed largely of militant Roman Catholic refugees from North Vietnam; the Social Humanist Party, successor to the Can Lao party, which had held power under the Ngo Dinh Diem regime; the Revolutionary Dai Viet, created to fight the French; the Social Democratic Party, a faction of the Hoa Hao religious sect; the United Vietnam Kuomintang, formed as an anti-French party; and the People’s Alliance for Social Revolution, a pro-government bloc formed in 1968.
1972 – US performed a nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.
1973 – Launch of Skylab 2 mission, which was first U.S. manned orbiting space station. It had an all Navy crew of CAPT Charles Conrad, Jr., USN. (commanding), CDR Joseph P. Kerwin, USN and CDR Paul J. Weitz, USN. During the 28 day mission of 404 orbits, the craft rendezvoused with Skylab to make repairs and conduct science experiments. Recovery by USS Ticonderoga (CVS-14)
1977 – US performed a nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.
1978 – A package bomb injured Terry Marker, a Northwestern Univ. security guard. It was later attributed to the Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski.
1990 – A congressional report cast doubts on the US Navy’s official finding that a troubled sailor probably had caused the blast that killed 47 servicemen aboard the battleship USS “Iowa.”
1995 – NATO warplanes struck Bosnian Serb headquarters. Serbs answered with swift defiance, storming UN weapons depots, attacking safe areas and taking peacekeepers as hostages.
1996 – President Clinton, honoring the men and women who died in military service, used his weekly radio address to defend America’s global military role, saying it “is making our people safer and the world more secure.”
1999 – The US government released a bipartisan congressional report that said China stole design secrets for nuclear warheads that included every weapon in the current US nuclear arsenal. The systematic espionage campaign was dated back to the 1970s. Stolen technology included data on an Army antitank weapon, fighter airplanes and all the elements needed to launch a major nuclear attack. President Clinton responded that his administration was already “moving aggressively to tighten security.”
1999 – NATO approved plans for 50,000 ground soldiers to move into Kosovo.
2004 – U.S. warplanes helped Afghan forces pound Taliban militants in the mountains of southern Afghanistan, killing some 20 suspected insurgents at a recently discovered camp.
2005 – Voyager 1, the most distant man-made object, has entered the heliosheath and is on the cusp of leaving the Solar System and entering the interstellar medium.
2008 – NASA’s Phoenix lander lands in Green Valley region of Mars to search for environments suitable for water and microbial life.
2009 – North Korea allegedly tests its second nuclear device. Following the nuclear test, Pyongyang also conducted several missile tests building tensions in the international community.
2012 – The Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial spacecraft to successfully rendezvous with the International Space Station.
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
Rank and organization: Coal Heaver, U.S. Navy. Born: 30 June 1839, Delaware. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Wyalusing and participating in a plan to destroy the rebel ram Albermarle in Roanoke River, 25 May 1864. Volunteering for the hazardous mission, C.H. Baldwin participated in the transfer of 2 torpedoes across an island swamp. Weighted by a line which was used to transfer the torpedoes, he swam the river and, when challenged by a sentry, was forced to abandon the plan after erasing its detection and before it could be carried to completion. Escaping the fire of the muskets, C.H. Baldwin spent 2 days and nights of hazardous travel without food, and finally arrived, fatigued, at the mother ship.
Rank and organization: Fireman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1842, Pennsylvania. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864 Citation: On board the U.S.S. Wyalusing, Crawford volunteered 25 May 1864, in a night attempt to destroy the rebel ram Albemarle in the Roanoke River. Taking part in a plan to explode the rebel ram Albemarle, Crawford executed his part in the plan with perfection, but upon being discovered, was forced to abandon the plan and retire leaving no trace of the evidence. After spending two hazardous days and nights without food, he gained the safety of a friendly ship and was then transferred back to the Wyalusing. Though the plan failed his skill and courage in preventing detection were an example of unfailing devotion to duty.
Rank and organization: Fireman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1842, New York, N.Y. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: Served on board the U.S.S. Wyalusing and participated in a plan to destroy the rebel ram Albemarle in Roanoke River, 25 May 1864. Volunteering for the hazardous mission, Lafferty participated in the transfer of two torpedoes across an island swamp and then served as sentry to keep guard of clothes and arms left by other members of the party. After being rejoined by others of the party who had been discovered before the plan could be completed, Lafferty succeeded in returning to the mother ship after spending 24 hours of discomfort in the rain and swamp.
Rank and organization: Coal Heaver, U.S. Navy. Born: 1839. England. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Wyalusing and participating in a plan to destroy the rebel ram Albemarle in Roanoke River, 25 May 1864. Volunteering for the hazardous mission, Lloyd participated in the transfer of two torpedoes across an island swamp. Serving as boatkeeper, he aided in rescuing others of the party who had been detected before the plan could be completed, but who escaped, leaving detection of the plan impossible. By his skill and courage, Lloyd succeeded in returning to the mother ship after spending 24 hours of discomfort in the rain and swamp.
LLOYD, JOHN W.
Rank and organization: Coxswain, U.S. Navy. Born. 1831, New York, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Wyalusing during an attempt to destroy the rebel ram Albemarle in Roanoke River, 25 May 1864, Lloyd participated in this daring plan by swimming the Roanoke River heavily weighted with a line which was used for hauling torpedoes across. Thwarted by discovery just before the completion of the plan, Lloyd cut the torpedo guiding line to prevent detection of the plan by the enemy and again swam the river, narrowly escaping enemy musket fire and regaining the ship in safety.
*ADAMS, WILLIAM E.
Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Army, A/227th Assault Helicopter Company, 52d Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade. Place and Date: Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam, 25 May 1971. Entered Service at: Kansas City, Mo. Born: 16 June 1939, Casper, Wyo. Citation: Maj. Adams distinguished himself on 25 May 1971 while serving as a helicopter pilot in Kontum Province in the Republic of Vietnam. On that date, Maj. Adams volunteered to fly a lightly armed helicopter in an attempt to evacuate 3 seriously wounded soldiers from a small fire base which was under attack by a large enemy force. He made the decision with full knowledge that numerous antiaircraft weapons were positioned around the base and that the clear weather would afford the enemy gunners unobstructed view of all routes into the base. As he approached the base, the enemy gunners opened fire with heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms. Undaunted by the fusillade, he continued his approach determined to accomplish the mission. Displaying tremendous courage under fire, he calmly directed the attacks of supporting gunships while maintaining absolute control of the helicopter he was flying. He landed the aircraft at the fire base despite the ever-increasing enemy fire and calmly waited until the wounded soldiers were placed on board. As his aircraft departed from the fire base, it was struck and seriously damaged by enemy anti-aircraft fire and began descending. Flying with exceptional skill, he immediately regained control of the crippled aircraft and attempted a controlled landing. Despite his valiant efforts, the helicopter exploded, overturned, and plummeted to earth amid the hail of enemy fire. Maj. Adams’ conspicuous gallantry, intrepidity, and humanitarian regard for his fellow man were in keeping with the most cherished traditions of the military service and reflected utmost credit on him and the U S. Army.