1776 – Continental Marines were ordered to reinforce General George Washington in New York.
1779 – During the American Revolution, the U.S. ship Bonhomme Richard, commanded by John Paul Jones, wins a hard-fought engagement against the British ships of war Serapis and Countess of Scarborough off the east coast of England. Scottish-born John Paul Jones first sailed to America as a cabin boy and lived for a time in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where his brother had a business. He later served on slave and merchant ships and proved an able seaman. After he killed a sailor while suppressing a mutiny, he went to the American colonies to escape possible British prosecution. With the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in 1775, he traveled to Philadelphia and was commissioned a senior lieutenant in the new Continental Navy. He soon distinguished himself in actions against British ships in the Bahamas, the Atlantic, and the English Channel. In August 1779, Jones took command of the Bonhomme Richard and sailed around the British Isles. On September 23, the Bonhomme Richard engaged the Serapis and the smaller Countess of Scarborough, which were escorting the Baltic merchant fleet. After inflicting considerable damage to the Bonhomme Richard, Richard Pearson, the captain of the Serapis, asked Jones if he had struck his colors, the naval sign indicating surrender. From his disabled ship, Jones replied, “I have not yet begun to fight,” and after three more hours of furious fighting the Serapis and Countess of Scarborough surrendered to him. After the victory, the Americans transferred to the Serapis from the Bonhomme Richard, which sunk the following day. Jones was hailed as a great hero in France, but recognition in the United States was somewhat belated. He continued to serve the United States until 1787 and then served briefly in the Russian navy before moving to France, where he died in 1792 at the age of 45, amid the chaos of the French Revolution. He was buried in an unmarked grave. In 1905, his remains were located under the direction of the U.S. ambassador to France and then escorted back to America by U.S. warships. His body was later enshrined in a crypt at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
1780 – British spy John Andre was captured along with papers revealing Benedict Arnold’s plot to surrender West Point to the British.
1805 – Lieutenant Zebulon Pike paid $2,000 to buy from the Sioux a 9-square-mile tract at the mouth of the Minnesota River that would be used to establish a military post, Fort Snelling.
1806 – Amid much public excitement, American explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark return to St. Louis, Missouri, from the first recorded overland journey from the Mississippi River to the Pacific coast and back. The Lewis and Clark Expedition had set off more than two years before to explore the territory of the Louisiana Purchase. Even before the U.S. government concluded purchase negotiations with France, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned his private secretary Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, an army captain, to lead an expedition into what is now the U.S. Northwest. On May 14, the “Corps of Discovery,” featuring 28 men and one woman–a Native American named Sacagawea–left St. Louis for the American interior. The expedition traveled up the Missouri River in six canoes and two longboats and wintered in Dakota before crossing into Montana, where they first saw the Rocky Mountains. On the other side of the Continental Divide, they were met by Sacagawea’s tribe, the Shoshone Indians, who sold them horses for their journey down through the Bitterroot Mountains. After passing through the dangerous rapids of the Clearwater and Snake rivers in canoes, the explorers reached the calm of the Columbia River, which led them to the sea. On November 8, 1805, the expedition arrived at the Pacific Ocean, the first European explorers to do so by an overland route from the east. After pausing there for winter, the explorers began their long journey back to St. Louis. After two and a half years, the expedition returned to the city, bringing back a wealth of information about the largely unexplored region, as well as valuable U.S. claims to Oregon Territory.
1863 – President Lincoln meets with Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, several cabinet members, and military planners on September 23 to discuss the desperate situation at Chattanooga, Tennessee. Three days before, General William Rosecrans’s army had been dealt a serious defeat at Chickamauga, Georgia, just south of Chattanooga. The Yankees suffered 16,000 casualties, and there was fear that a Confederate attack on Chattanooga would place the Union army in grave danger. Reinforcements were needed quickly, but there weren’t any in the immediate vicinity. Lincoln and his advisors settled on a bold plan to ship General Joseph Hooker and his men, who were in Virginia with the Army of the Potomac, to relieve Rosecrans’ army. Some observers thought it would take at least a month, but the troops were moving within two days. Railroads and military officials received notification by telegraph, and the troops were given the highest priority. One of Hooker’s corps arrived in Chattanooga, while the other was shipped to nearby northern Alabama. It took just a week and a half to ship an entire army of soldiers, animals, and equipment. The move of Hooker’s army, which underscored the Union’s ability to effectively utilize the rail network, was the most impressive logistical accomplishment of the war.
1864 – Confederate and Union forces clashed at Mount Jackson, Front Royal and Woodstock in Virginia during the Valley campaign.
1899 – American Asiatic Squadron destroys a Filipino battery at the Battle of Olongapo. The Battle of Olongapo was began on September 18, 1899, during the Philippine–American War. The battle featured both land and sea fighting of which the objective was the destruction of the single Filipino artillery gun in Olongapo, a menace to American ships crossing the nearby sea.
1931 – LT Alfred Pride pilots Navy’s first rotary wing aircraft, XOP-1 autogiro, in landings and takeoffs on board USS Langley while underway.
1938 – British premier Neville Chamberlain flew to Munich.
1941 – US President Roosevelt announces the possibility of arming American merchant vessels against German attacks.
1942 – The Australians go on the offensive as more American reinforcements arrive at Port Moresby. The Australian Commander in Chief, General Blamey, takes personal charge. His orders from General Douglas MacArthur are to intensify and invigorate the campaign.
1942 – At Auschwitz Nazis began experimental gassing executions.
1942 – World War II: The Matanikau action on Guadalcanal begins U.S. Marines attack Japanese units along the Matanikau River. Sometimes referred to as the Second and Third Battles of the Matanikau—were two separate but related engagements, which took place in the months of September and October 1942, among a series of engagements between the United States and Imperial Japanese naval and ground forces around the Matanikau River on Guadalcanal during the Guadalcanal campaign. The first took place between 23 and 27 September. The Matanikau River area on Guadalcanal included a peninsula called Point Cruz, the village of Kokumbona, and a series of ridges and ravines stretching inland from the coast. Japanese forces used the area to regroup from attacks against U.S. forces on the island, to launch further attacks on the U.S. defenses that guarded the Allied airfield (called Henderson Field) located at Lunga Point on Guadalcanal, as a base to defend against Allied attacks directed at Japanese troop and supply encampments between Point Cruz and Cape Esperance on western Guadalcanal, and as a location for watching and reporting on Allied activity around Henderson Field. In this first action, elements of three U.S. Marine battalions under the command of U.S. Marine Major General Alexander Vandegrift attacked Japanese troop concentrations at several points around the Matanikau River. The Marine attacks were intended to “mop-up” Japanese stragglers retreating towards the Matanikau from the recent Battle of Edson’s Ridge, to disrupt Japanese attempts to use the Matanikau area as a base for attacks on the Marine Lunga defenses, and to destroy any Japanese forces in the area. The Japanese—under the overall command of Major General Kiyotake Kawaguchi—repulsed the Marine attacks. During the action, three U.S. Marine companies were surrounded by Japanese forces, took heavy losses, and barely escaped with assistance from a U.S. Navy destroyer and landing craft manned by U.S. Coast Guard personnel.
1943 – Benito Mussolini, deposed dictator of Italy, fashions a new fascist republic–by the leave of his new German masters–which he “rules” from his headquarters in northern Italy. In July 1943, after a Grand Council vote of “no confidence,” Mussolini was thrust from power and quickly placed under house arrest. The Italian masses, who had so enthusiastically embraced him for his promises of a new Italian “empire,” now despised him for the humiliating defeat they had suffered during the war. But Mussolini still had one fan–Adolf Hitler. Gen. Pietro Badoglio, who had assumed authority in Mussolini’s absence, knew there might be an attempt to break the former Duce out of his confinement, and so moved him to a hotel in the Apennine Mountains. Despite the presence of an entire army of armed police, German commandos in a bold move swept onto an Apennine mountain peak from the air, overran the hotel, and flew Mussolini to Hitler’s headquarters on the Russian front. Mussolini could not sit still long and wanted to return to Italy to reassume power. But his German “patrons” had no intention of allowing him, whom they regarded as incompetent, to return to the scene of the disaster. So in order to pacify–and control–him, he was set up in a German-controlled area of northern Italy, Gargnano, on Lake Garda. Mussolini set about creating a reformed version of fascism, one that supposedly had learned from past mistakes and included elections and a free press. His “Verona Manifesto” was the blueprint for this new fascist republic-the Republic of Salo–where his government departments had fled in light of the Italian surrender to the Allies. Of course, there were never any elections in the new fascist republic, and no freedom of anything. Salo was little more than a police state clogged with aging Black Shirts–corrupt, viscous, and delusional. And Mussolini, geographically removed from Salo, ensconced at Lake Garda as he was, controlled nothing. He was little more than a puppet of the Germans, spewing anti-Allied propaganda and avenging himself and his masters on traitors to the party by ordering the executions of former Grand Council members–including his own son-in-law, Count Ciano. Eventually, the Allied advance into northern Italy, and the brave guerilla warfare waged by the Italian partisans, spelled the end of Salo-and its paper ruler.
1943 – The British 10th Corps (part of the US 5th Army) begins attacks to clear the passes to Naples. The German defenders amount to little more than a regiment.
1944 – To the north of Palau Islands, part of the US 81st Division occupies Ulithi Atoll after naval reconnaissance suggests it is not in use by the Japanese. Work begins on converting the atoll into a major American naval base.
1944 – USS West Virginia (BB-48) reaches Pearl Harbor and rejoins the Pacific Fleet, marking the end of the salvage and reconstruction of 18 ships damaged at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.
1944 – US 5th Army attacks clear the Futa Pass through the Appenine Mountains, to the north of Florence.
1945 – The first American died in Vietnam during the fall of Saigon to French forces.
1949 – In a surprisingly low-key and carefully worded statement, President Harry S. Truman informs the American people that the Soviets have exploded a nuclear bomb. The Soviet accomplishment, years ahead of what was thought possible by most U.S. officials, caused a panic in the American government. The United States developed the atomic bomb during the latter stages of World War II and dropped two bombs on Japan in August 1945. By the time of the bombings in Japan, relations between the United States and the Soviet Union were already crumbling. Many U.S. officials, including President Truman, came to see America’s atomic monopoly as a valuable asset in the developing Cold War with Russia. Most American officials, and even the majority of scientists in the United States, believed that it would be many years before the Soviets could develop an atomic bomb of their own, and by that time the United States would have achieved a vast numeric superiority. On September 3, 1949, however, U.S. scientists recorded seismic activity from inside the Soviet Union that was unmistakably the result of an underground nuclear test. Truman, informed of this development, at first refused to believe it. He ordered his scientific and military advisers to recheck their data. Once they confirmed the results, however, Truman had to face the fact that America’s nuclear monopoly was gone. He also had to face the task of informing the American people, for the news was sure to leak. On September 23, he issued a brief statement to the media. “We have evidence,” the statement read, “within recent weeks an atomic explosion occurred in the USSR.” The president attempted to downplay the seriousness of the event by noting that “The eventual development of this new force by other nations was to be expected. This probability has always been taken into account by us.” What had not been taken into account by the U.S. government was the fact that the Soviets, like the Americans, had captured many German scientists after World War II who had been working on nuclear development. In addition, the United States was unaware of the scope of Soviet spy efforts to gain valuable information. Years ahead of what Americans thought possible, the Soviets had exploded a nuclear device. Truman reacted by requesting an intensive re-evaluation of America’s Cold War policies by the National Security Council. The report, issued to the president in early 1950, called for massive increases in military spending and a dramatic acceleration in the program to develop the next stage of nuclear weaponry–the hydrogen bomb.
1950 – Congress adopted the Internal Security Act, which provided for registration of communists. The Act was ruled later unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. US Sen. Pat McCarran (Nevada) legislated the Internal Security Act, which included a jumble of restrictions on speech and association. Pres. Truman attempted an unsuccessful veto of the McCarran Act, which gave the government unprecedented powers.
1950 – IX Corps, commanded by Lieutenant General John R. Coulter, became operational at Miryang with the 2nd and 25th Infantry Divisions attached. This brought the total number of corps in Korea to three.
1950 – A 160-person Red Cross field hospital unit from Sweden arrived in Pusan as part of the U.N. commitment to the war. Initially a 200-bed capacity hospital, it was soon expanded to 450 beds. After the fighting ended in July 1953, the Swedish Red Cross Hospital continued to render humanitarian assistance to the Republic of Korea until April 1957.
1950 – The Battle of Hill 282 the first US friendly-fire incident on British military personnel since World War II occurred. US Mustangs accidentally bombed British troops on Hill 282 Korea, 17 killed.
1965 – The South Vietnamese government executes three accused Viet Cong agents held at Da Nang. They did it at night to prevent foreign photographers from recording it, but nevertheless, the story got out. Three days later, a clandestine Viet Cong radio station announced North Vietnam’s execution of two U.S. soldiers held captive since 1963, as “war criminals.”
1990 – Two Hospital ships (USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort) steam together for first time in Arabian Gulf.
1991 – UN weapons inspectors in Baghdad discovered documents detailing Iraq’s secret nuclear weapons program and said Iraq was close to building a bomb. This triggered a standoff with Iraqi authorities.
1995 – Guillermo Gaede, an Intel engineer, was arrested in Phoenix. He had used his computer to tap into plans for the Pentium & 486 chip manufacturing process and video taped the information in May 1993. He sent the info to his former employer Advanced Micro Devices who notified federal authorities. He claimed to have been double-crossed by the FBI and also to have passed info from AMD to Cuba, China, North Korea and Iran.
1996 – Space shuttle Atlantis left Russia’s orbiting Mir station with astronaut Shannon Lucid, who ended her six-month visit with tender goodbyes to her Russian colleagues.
1999 – The $125 million Mars Climate Orbiter was presumed lost after it hit the Martian atmosphere. The crash was later blamed on navigation confusion due to 2 teams using conflicting English and metric units.
1999 – In a joint statement, the foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council pledge to continue to work toward a consensus on a new policy toward Iraq. All five permanent members have accepted that on-site weapons inspections must resume in Iraq, though there is still disagreement over how much cooperation Iraq would haveto give international inspectors before economic sanctions could be lifted.
2001 – President George W. Bush returned the American flag to full staff at Camp David, symbolically ending a period of national mourning.
2001 – NASA reported that its Deep Space I craft took pictures of the comet Borrelly.
2001 – Osama bin Laden issued a statement that called for Muslim brothers to resist the “Christian-Jewish crusade led by the big crusader Bush under the flag of the Cross…”
2001 – The 6-member Persian “Gulf Cooperation Council” (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAR) met in Jidda and pledged support for an int’l. coalition against terrorism.
2002 – The United States military gives President George Bush a highly detailed military plan for ousting Saddam Hussein.
2002 – The first public version of the web browser Mozilla Firefox (“Phoenix 0.1”) is released.
2003 – Puerto Rico’s congressional delegate said the United States will close its Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in eastern Puerto Rico within the next six months.
2003 – A raid in Saudi Arabia on Islamic militants left three suspects dead, including an Sultan Jubran Sultan al-Qahtani (aka as Zubayr al-Rimi), an al-Qaida figure wanted by the US.
2004 – US warplanes fired on insurgent targets in the east Baghdad slum of Sadr City. Gunmen in Mosul killed a senior official of Iraq’s North Oil Co.
2004 – In Iraq kidnappers seized 2 more Egyptian construction engineers working for the country’s mobile phone company.
2005 – Filiberto Ojeda Rios, Puerto Rican nationalist movement leader, is killed following a shootout with the FBI.
2005 – Earl Krugel, a leader of the Jewish Defence League, is sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to a plot to blow up a mosque in Los Angeles and Lebanese-American congressman Darrell Issa’s office. His co-accused, Irv Rubin, committed suicide in 2002.
2010 – Pakistani scientist Aafia Siddiqui is sentenced to 86 years in jail in a New York federal court for trying to kill United States soldiers in Afghanistan.
2014 – The United States and its allies commence air strikes against Islamic State in Syria. Warplanes, drones and Tomahawk missiles were used to targeted several areas including IS stronghold Raqqa. Support and participation were undertaken by coalition members, Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken this Day
Rank and organization: Corporal, Company D, 8th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Red Creek, Ariz., 23 September 1869. Entered service at: Montgomery County, Ohio. Birth: New York, N.Y. Date of issue: 23 November 1869. Citation: Gallantry in action.
HARRIS, CHARLES D.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company D, 8th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Red Creek, Ariz., 23 September 1869. Entered service at:——. Birth: Albion, N.Y. Date of issue: 23 November 1869. Citation: Gallantry in action.
Rank and organization: Private, Company D, 8th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Red Creek, Ariz., 23 September 1869. Entered service at: ——. Birth: France. Date of issue: 23 November 1869. Citation: Gallantry in action with Indians.
SLATON, JAMES D.
Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, 157th Infantry, 45th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Oliveto, Italy, 23 September 1943. Entered service at: Gulfport, Miss. Born: 2 April 1912, Laurel, Miss G.O. No.: 44, 30 May 1944. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy in the vicinity of Oliveto, Italy, on 23 September 1943. Cpl. Slaton was lead scout of an infantry squad which had been committed to a flank to knock out enemy resistance which had succeeded in pinning 2 attacking platoons to the ground. Working ahead of his squad, Cpl. Slaton crept upon an enemy machinegun nest and, assaulting it with his bayonet, succeeded in killing the gunner. When his bayonet stuck, he detached it from the rifle and killed another gunner with rifle fire. At that time he was fired upon by a machinegun to his immediate left. Cpl. Slaton then moved over open ground under constant fire to within throwing distance, and on his second try scored a direct hit on the second enemy machinegun nest, killing 2 enemy gunners. At that time a third machinegun fired on him 100 yards to his front, and Cpl. Slaton killed both of these enemy gunners with rifle fire. As a result of Cpl. Slaton’s heroic action in immobilizing 3 enemy machinegun nests with bayonet, grenade, and rifle fire, the 2 rifle platoons which were receiving heavy casualties from enemy fire were enabled to withdraw to covered positions and again take the initiative. Cpl. Slaton withdrew under mortar fire on order of his platoon leader at dusk that evening. The heroic actions of Cpl. Slaton were far above and beyond the call of duty and are worthy of emulation.