November 23

23 November

1765 – Frederick County, Md., repudiated the British Stamp Act.
1783 – Annapolis, Md., became the US capital until June 1784.
1785 – John Hancock was elected President of the Continental Congress for the second time.
1804Franklin Pierce, 14th president of the United States (1853-1857), was born in Hillsboro, N.H. Franklin Pierce. The 14th President of the United States, came to office during a period of growing tension between the North and South. A politician of limited ability, Pierce was behind one of the most crucial pieces of legislation in American history. Although he did not author the Kansas-Nebraska Act, he did encourage its passage by Congress. And that piece of legislation set the nation on its path to civil war. Like many American politicians, Franklin Pierce’s career was aided by his father, a two-term governor of New Hampshire. Before he was thirty, Franklin Pierce had served in the New Hampshire legislature and had been elected to the U.S. Congress where he served as both a congressman and senator. Bored and lonely in Washington, the young congressman developed a drinking problem and a reputation as a gossipy Washington insider. In an attempt to settle down, the handsome, socially gregarious Pierce married Jane Means Appleton. Jane Pierce was her husband’s opposite; she was painfully shy, deeply religious, often in bad health, and a strong advocate of the temperance movement. She detested Washington and refused to live there, even after Pierce became a U.S. senator in 1837. Indeed, Jane’s disgust with the political life in Washington must have been behind Pierce’s decision to resign from the Senate in 1841. Subsequently, Franklin Pierce served in the Mexican-American War, and in something of a surprise was elected President in 1852. After his presidency he retired to Concord, New Hampshire, where he died in 1869.
1819Union General Benjamin Prentiss is born in Belleville, Virginia. Prentiss served in a variety of capacities during the war but is best known for defending Arkansas during the Vicksburg campaign. Prentiss was raised in Missouri but moved to Quincy, Illinois, at age 22. He joined the Illinois militia, and he was active when tensions arose between the Mormon and Illinois residents of the area after the Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith, was lynched by a mob. When the Mexican War began, Prentiss raised a company of volunteers and served under General Zachary Taylor at Buena Vista. Upon his return to Illinois, he practiced law until the outbreak of the Civil War. He remained active in the militia and rose to the rank of colonel. At the beginning of the Civil War, Prentiss was placed in charge of Cairo, Illinois, at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. In August 1861, he was promoted to brigadier general and charged with protecting the Hannibal and Saint Joseph Railroad across northern Missouri. His brigade was sent to join General Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Tennessee, and he was elevated to divisional commander. Prentiss fought at Shiloh and was caught in the infamous Hornet’s Nest. He and part of his force were captured, and Prentiss spent six months in a Confederate prison. He was exchanged in October 1862 and served on the court-martial of General Fitz-John Porter, who was tried on charges of insubordination during the Battle of Second Bull Run, when he refused to conduct an attack ordered by his commander, John Pope. Porter was found guilty and cashiered from the army, but he said that Prentiss was “supposed unprejudiced, and acted so.” After the Porter case closed, Prentiss commanded the District of Eastern Arkansas at Helena. He sent raids into the interior of the state and recruited escaped slaves into military service. On July 4, 1863, Prentiss’s command held off an attack by General Sterling Price, who was trying, belatedly, to rescue the Confederate force inside of nearby Vicksburg, Mississippi. That garrison had already surrendered, but Prentiss emerged as the victor in the Battle of Helena. Despite this success, Prentiss found himself without a command when the Union reorganized the theater after the fall of Vicksburg. Prentiss requested a leave from the army, citing ill health and family concerns, as his wife had died in 1860 and he had young children. Prentiss spent the rest of his life as a land agent and postmaster in Missouri until he died in 1901.
1835 – Henry Burden invented the first machine for manufacturing horseshoes. He then made most of the horseshoes for the Union Cavalry in the Civil War. Burden patented a horseshoe manufacturing machine in Troy, NY.
1862Landing party from U.S.S. Ellis, Lieutenant Cushing, captured arms, mail, and two schooners at Jacksonville North Carolina. While under attack from Confederate artillery, Ellis grounded on 24 November. After very effort to float the ship failed, Lieutenant Cushing ordered her set afire on 25 November to avoid capture. Cushing reported: “I fired the Ellis in five places and having seen that the battle flag was still flying, trained the gun on the enemy so that the vessel might fight herself after we had left her.”
1863From the last days of September through October 1863, Gen. Braxton Bragg’s army laid siege to the Union army under Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans at Chattanooga, cutting off its supplies. On October 17, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant received command of the Western armies; he moved to reinforce Chattanooga and replaced Rosecrans with Maj. Gen. George Thomas. A new supply line was soon established. Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman arrived with his four divisions in mid-November, and the Federals began offensive operations. On November 23-24, Union forces struck out and captured Orchard Knob and Lookout Mountain. On November 25, Union soldiers assaulted and carried the seemingly impregnable Confederate position on Missionary Ridge. One of the Confederacy’s two major armies was routed. The Federals held Chattanooga, the “Gateway to the Lower South,” which became the supply and logistics base for Sherman’s 1864 Atlanta Campaign.
1863The threat of Confederate torpedoes (mines) in the rivers and coastal areas became an increasing menace as the war progressed. The necessity of taking proper precautions against this innovation in naval warfare slowed Northern operations and tied up ships on picket duty that might otherwise have been utilized more positively. This date, Secretary Welles wrote Captain Gansevoort, U.S.S. Roanoke, at Newport News: “Since the discovery of the torpedo on James River, near Newport News, the Department has felt some uneasiness with regard to the position of your vessel, as it is evidently the design of the rebels to drift such machines of destruction upon her. . . . Vigilance is demanded.” Upon receipt of this instruction, Gansevoort replied 2 days later: “The Roanoke lies in the deepest water here, and until very lately, when the necessary force has been temporarily reduced by casualties to machinery, a picket boat has been kept underway during all night just above this anchorage to prevent such missiles from approaching the ship. This pre-caution has been renewed now that the Poppy has been added to this disposable force, and in addition I have caused . . . a gunboat to be anchored above us to keep a sharp lookout for torpedoes.”
1874Farmer Joseph Glidden’s patent for barbed wire was granted. Glidden designed a simple wire barb that attached to a double-strand wire, as well as a machine to mass-produce the wire. The invention was a welcome alternative to other types of fencing for farming on the arid Great Plains–wood fences and stone walls were difficult to construct because of the lack of sufficient rocks and trees, and the existing wire fences were easily broken when cattle leaned against them. The use of barbed-wire fences changed ranching and farming life. Farmers could keep roaming cattle and sheep off their land, but open-range cowboys and Native American farmers were restricted to the land and resources not claimed and marked by the new fences. As more settlers moved onto the plains, the amount of public, shared land decreased and open-range farming became obsolete.
1878Ernest King, Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. fleet who designed the United States’ winning strategy in World War II, was born. Ernest King was born in Lorain, Ohio. He attended the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis and graduated in 1901 (4/67). He joined the US Navy and during the First World War was on the staff of Vice Admiral Henry T. Mayo, commander of the Atlantic Fleet. After the war King was head of the navy’s postgraduate school (1919-21) before becoming captain of a refrigerator ship. In 1922 King qualified as a submariner and later took over a sub-division. In 1930 King learnt to fly and was given command of the aircraft carrier Lexington (1930-32) until attending Naval War College. In 1933 he took over the Bureau of Aeronautics. King’s next post was commander of Air Base Force where he was responsible for over 1,000 seaplanes. Promoted to vice admiral he insisted that his pilots trained for night operations. In January 1941 King was made commander of the Atlantic Fleet and after the Pearl Harbor disaster King was given the post of Commander in Chief of the US Fleet. King developed a reputation for being abrasive and argumentative. As a member of the Joint Chief of Staffs he often clashed with General George Marshall. King opposed plans to land the US Army in North Africa. He thought the most important area of concern was the Pacific War. What is more, he thought that the US Navy should play the decisive role in this as long as it was given adequate resources. King, General Douglas MacArthur the Supreme Commander of the Southwest Pacific Area, and Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the US Pacific Fleet, decided that their first objective should be to establish and protect a line of communications across the South Pacific to Australia. This resulted in the battles of Coral Sea and Midway, where the Japanese Navy lost all four of her carriers. King insisted on launching the Guadalcanal campaign although General Douglas MacArthur claimed that the US Army was not ready yet for a major offensive. MacArthur also disagreed with invasion of the Soloman Islands. There was also conflict over King’s view that American forces should bypass the Philippines. King also opposed Russian involvement in the Pacific War. He also objected to the idea that the Royal Navy should be moved to Pacific after gaining control of the Atlantic. In December 1944, King, along with William Leahy and Chester Nimitz, was given the five-star rank of Fleet Admiral. After retiring in December, 1945, King lived in Washington until ill-health forced him to stay in Portsmouth Naval Hospital in New Hampshire. Ernest King died of a heart-attack on 26th June, 1956.
1902Dr. Walter Reed (51) died from a ruptured appendix in Washington DC. His experiments in Cuba had helped prove that yellow fever was transmitted by a mosquitoes. Walter Reed, an American medical doctor had received his medical degree by the time he was 18 years old. He joined the Army and became a captain. For 16 years he had served in an outpost that was far away from other doctors. He wanted to be able to study and learn more about medicine, so he asked for a four month leave. He learned so well that they allowed him to study for seven months at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He continued to study and do experiments at the Army outpost. He and some other doctors studied typhoid fever and discovered that it was carried by flies. Yellow fever was a dreaded disease. 90,000 people in the United States had died of the disease. Many American soldiers in Cuba had died also. Reed noticed that people who cared for the patients with yellow fever didn’t usually get the disease. So he concluded that people didn’t catch it from each other. Reed began looking for answers. He remembered the research they had done on typhoid fever. He wondered if maybe mosquitos might be spreading it. Some of the doctors and soldiers volunteered to take part in the experiment. The mosquitos were put in test tubes. First they bit the arms of men who already had yellow fever. Then they were allowed to bite the arms of people who didn’t have the disease. After many tests, they decided that the mosquito did carry the disease from one person to another. The next step was to get rid of the mosquitos. They sprayed the areas of water where the mosquitos were hatching, with chemicals. This stopped the spread of the disease. The Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. is named in honor of him.
1903Determined to crush the union of the Western Federation of Miners (WFM), Colorado Governor James Peabody sends the state militia into the mining town of Cripple Creek. The strike in the gold mines of Cripple Creek began that summer. William “Big Bill” Haywood’s Western Federation of Miners called for a sympathy strike among the underground miners to support a smelter workers’ strike for an eight-hour day. The WFM, which was founded in 1893 in Montana, had already been involved in several violent strikes in Colorado and Idaho. By the end of October, the call for action at Cripple Creek had worked, and a majority of mine and smelter workers were idle; Cripple Creek operations ground to a halt. Eager to resume mining and break the union, the mine owners turned to Governor Peabody, who agreed to provide state militia protection for replacement workers. Outraged, the miners barricaded roads and railways, but by the end of September more than a thousand armed men were in Cripple Creek to undermine the strike. Soldiers began to round up union members and their sympathizers-including the entire staff of a pro-union newspaper-and imprison them without any charges or evidence of wrongdoing. When miners complained that the imprisonment was a violation of their constitutional rights, one anti-union judge replied, “To hell with the Constitution; we’re not following the Constitution!” Such tyrannical tactics swung control of the strike to the more radical elements in the WFM, and in June 1904, Harry Orchard, a professional terrorist employed by the union, blew up a railroad station, which killed 13 strikebreakers. This recourse to terrorism proved a serious tactical mistake. The bombing turned public opinion against the union, and the mine owners were able to freely arrest and deport the majority of the WFM leaders. By midsummer, the strike was over and the WFM never again regained the power it had previously enjoyed in the Colorado mining districts.
1914The last of U.S. forces withdraw from Veracruz, occupied seven months earlier in response to the Tampico Affair. The U.S. occupation of Veracruz was a cause of Huerta’s resignation in August of that year as his southern armies’ supplies ran out. The Tampico incident had later repercussions, however, stemming from the lingering U.S.-Mexican resentments. These were taken advantage of by Germany in January 1917 when the so-called Zimmermann Telegram intimated that a Mexican alliance with Germany against the U.S. would result in Mexico regaining territory taken from it by the U.S. in prior wars. British interception of Zimmermann’s telegram was effectively the final justification President Wilson needed to request a declaration of war against Germany in April 1917. The anti-American atmosphere produced in Mexico by the Tampico incident was also a decisive factor in favor of keeping Mexican Neutrality in World War I. Mexico refused to participate with the USA in its military excursion in Europe and granted full guaranties to the German companies for keeping their operations open, specifically in Mexico City.
1933FDR recalled Ambassador Welles from Havana and urged stability in Cuba. Horace G. Knowles, former U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia and Nicaragua, had Sumner Welles of “openly helping the counterrevolution,” in Cuba. He suggests that the U.S. should recognize the revolutionary government. The revolutionary President Grau San Martin declared Welles persona non grata.
1934Japan declares its intention to withdraw from the terms of the 1922 Washington Naval Conference. That treaty stipulated that the U.S. and Britain would be allowed to build five million tons of naval ships while Japan can only build three. Japan’s withdrawal will take effect in two years by the terms of the treaty for withdrawal.
1936 – U.S. abandoned the American embassy in Madrid, Spain, which was engulfed by civil war.
1939 – Thanksgiving. Franklin D. Roosevelt had proclaimed Thanksgiving Day a week earlier–on the fourth, not the last, Thursday of November–in an effort to encourage more holiday shopping.
1941 – U.S. troops moved into Dutch Guiana [Surinam] to guard the bauxite mines. Bauxite is the ore that is used to produce aluminum.
1940 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt appoints Admiral William D. Leahy as U.S. Ambassador to Vichy France to try to prevent the French fleet and naval bases from falling into German hands.
1940The new British Ambassador to the United States, Lord Lothian, talks in New York of the possibility of Britain running out of ready money and securities to pay for arms and says that Britain will need financial help in 1941. In fact by April 1941 British reserves of gold and dollars will be as low as $12,000,000 — a mere pittance when set against arms expenditure.
1942 – US Coast Guard Woman’s Auxiliary (SPARS) was authorized.
1943On Tarawa Atoll, the battle ends by noon. The US marines have suffered 1000 killed and 2000 wounded. The Japanese garrison of 4800 troops has been annihilated. A total of 17 wound Japanese troops and 129 Korean laborers are the only survivors. On Makin Atoll, the battle is also completed. American infantry have suffered about 200 dead and wounded. The Japanese have lost about 600 killed, wounded or captured. Meanwhile, the escort carrier Liscomb Bay is sunk offshore by a Japanese resulting in the loss of 600 sailors.
1944 – On the right flank of the German line, the 15th Army falls back in Holland. Meanwhile, the German 7th Army launches attacks on forces of US 9th Army. To the south, French troops of US 7th Army reach Strasbourg.
1945 – Most U.S. wartime rationing of foods, including meat and butter, ended.
1950A battalion from the Netherlands joined the U.N. forces in Korea. Better known as the “Dutch Battalion,” it was attached to the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division and first saw action on Feb. 12, 1951, in the major battle at Wonju, suffering more than 100 casualties and losing its commander, Lieutenant Colonel Marinus P. A. den Ouden. The battalion received the U.S. Distinguished Unit Citation for its action at Wonju. Lieutenant Colonel W. D. H. Eekhout, the new commander, was also killed in action in May 1951.
1963 – President Johnson proclaimed Nov. 25 a day of national mourning as JFK’s body lay in repose in East Room of White House.
1970Simas I. Kudirka, a Soviet fisherman, attempted to defect from his Soviet fishing vessel to the CGC Vigilant, during a meeting between the Soviets and the U.S. on fishing rights. The cutter’s commanding officer allowed other Soviets to board the cutter and forcibly remove Mr. Kudirka.
1971 – The People’s Republic of China was seated in the U.N. Security Council.
1972Secret peace talks resume in Paris between Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho, the North Vietnamese representative, but almost immediately reach an impasse. The sticking points were the implementation of the international supervisory force and Saigon’s insistence on the withdrawal of all North Vietnamese troops from South Vietnam. When the talks became hopelessly deadlocked, President Nixon ordered what became known as the “Christmas bombing” to force the North Vietnamese back to the negotiating table. Nixon halted the bombing when the communists agreed to return to Paris; a peace agreement was signed in January 1973. Because the United States was in such a hurry to end American participation in the war, the insistence on the withdrawal of North Vietnamese troops from South Vietnam ceased to be an issue. More than 100,000 communist troops were left in the south when the cease-fire went into effect. This played a major role in the fall of South Vietnam to the communists in April 1975.
1974Cornelius Ryan (54), war reporter, historian, author, died. His books included “A Bridge Too Far.” Cornlius Ryan was one of the preeminent writers of the history of World War II. he was born in Dublin in 1920 and worked as a reporter covering the battles in Europe for Reuters and the London Daily Telegraph from 1941 to 1945 and then the final months of the Pacific campaign. His first book was The Longest Day, published in 1959, sold 4 million copies in 27 editions and was made into a 1962 film The Longest Day by Darryl Zanuck. His second book was The Last Battle published in 1966. He finished his third book A Bridge Too Far in 1974 while undergoing treatment for cancer that killed him in 1976. The film version of A Bridge Too Far was released in 1977 and re-released in DVD in 1998. In all his books, Ryan stressed realism and was meticulous in attention to detail and his extensive research notes.
1981President Ronald Reagan signs off on a top secret document, National Security Decision Directive 17 (NSDD-17), which gives the Central Intelligence Agency the power to recruit and support a 500-man force of Nicaraguan rebels to conduct covert actions against the leftist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. A budget of $19 million was established for that purpose. NSDD-17 marked the beginning of official U.S. support for the so-called Contras in their struggle against the Sandinistas. The decision came several months after President Reagan directed the CIA to develop a plan to stop what his administration believed to be a serious flow of arms from Nicaragua to rebels in neighboring El Salvador. The administration also believed that the Sandinista regime was merely a cat’s paw for the Soviet Union. CIA officials subsequently set about securing pledges from Honduras to provide training bases and Argentina to give training to about 1,000 rebels (these would be in addition to the 500-man force trained and supplied by the CIA). Beyond the original goal of halting the flow of arms from Nicaragua, the tasks of the rebels were expanded to include spy missions and even paramilitary actions inside Nicaragua. News of the directive leaked out to the press in March 1982, but Reagan administration officials quickly downplayed the significance of the action. They argued that the CIA plan was designed to support Nicaraguan “moderates” who opposed the Sandinista regime, not the disreputable former soldiers and allies of Anastasio Somoza, whom the Sandinista overthrew in 1979. Deputy Director of the CIA Admiral Bobby R. Inman argued that the $19 million allocation provided little buying power for arms and other materials, saying that “Nineteen million or $29 million isn’t going to buy you much of any kind these days, and certainly not against that kind of military force.” In the years to come, U.S. support of the Contras became a highly charged issue among the American public. Congressional and public criticisms of the program eventually drove the Reagan administration to subvert congressional bans on aid to the Contras. These actions resulted in what came to be known as the Iran-Contra scandal of 1986.
1985Retired CIA analyst Larry Wu-tai Chin was arrested and accused of spying for China. He committed suicide a year after his conviction. Chin, a CIA translator, analyst, and document control officer, may have been the most damaging anti-U.S. spy ever; he sold bushels of U.S. secrets to China, altering the course of history. The Chinese government knew about President Richard Nixon’s secret decision to re-establish diplomatic relations two years before Nixon’s historic visit to China, and it leveraged key concessions. The North Vietnamese likely benefited from the secrets that China forwarded from Chin during the Vietnam War. Chin’s spying career began in 1948 when he joined the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai as an interpreter, after a stint at a U.S. military mission in southern China. A former mission roommate introduced Chin to a Communist official, who recruited him. In 1952, the State Department asked Chin to help interrogate Chinese prisoners for the U.S.-allied forces in Korea. Chin promptly sold the Chinese government the names of Chinese prisoners who were anti-Communists. China responded by demanding the forced repatriation of all Chinese prisoners as part of negotiations to halt the fighting. Experts believe Chin’s treachery delayed the end of the Korean War for more than a year. Also in 1952, Chin joined the CIA’s Foreign Broadcast Information Service office in Okinawa and soon hopscotched to the FBIS in California and then in Virginia as a case officer, with access to CIA headquarters in nearby Langley. Chin sold supersensitive National Intelligence Estimates and analyses on China and Southeast Asia to his handlers in London, Hong Kong, and Toronto. Since Chin also translated all the documents stolen by CIA spies in China, he helped the Chinese plug those leaks. “He was extraordinarily devastating,” says former FBI Special Agent I. C. Smith. “More people lost their lives because of his treachery than [because of] Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen.” A gambler and womanizer, Chin made a fortune by putting some of the $1 million China paid him into real estate. The CIA honored him for distinguished service, kept him on as a consultant after he retired in 1981 at age 63, and pestered him to return full time. Chin was arrested after U.S. intelligence received sketchy information from a Chinese source, who later defected to the States, that there was a spy so prolific it took the Chinese two months to translate each batch of secrets. To prepare for Chin’s trial, prosecutor Joseph Aronica asked the CIA to prepare a color-coded chart of every major development in U.S.-Sino relations between 1945 and 1985, onto which he transposed Chin’s movements and access to classified documents. “He admitted doing it, was proud of it,” says Aronica, now an attorney with Duane Morris. Chin committed suicide in his jail cell in February 1986–just two weeks after his conviction on 17 counts of espionage, conspiracy, and tax evasion–while awaiting sentencing. Chin slid a clean brown trash bag over his head, tied it with a shoelace from newly ordered high-tops, crossed his arms over his chest, lay down, and quietly asphyxiated himself. The U.S. government had no apparent desire to pursue Chin’s legacy further.
1987 – Two days after a riot by Cuban inmates erupted at a detention center in Oakdale, La., Cuban detainees at a federal prison in Atlanta also rioted, seizing hostages in a drama that was not resolved until Dec. 4.
1990 – President Bush conferred separately with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo and Syrian President Hafez Assad in Geneva, seeking Arab support for his drive to expel Iraqi troops from Kuwait.
1990 – Iraq ended curfew in occupied Kuwait, but began calling up army reservists in their thirties.
1991 – Yugoslavia’s rival leaders agreed to a new cease-fire, the 14th of the Balkan civil war.
1992 – Iran added a Russian-built submarine to its navy, becoming the first Gulf nation to field a submarine.
1992 – The first smartphone, the IBM Simon, is introduced at COMDEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
1993 – President Clinton signed legislation lifting remaining U.S. sanctions against South Africa, and announced an initiative to spur investment in South Africa’s black private sector.
1994 – NATO warplanes blasted Serb missile batteries in two air raids while Bosnian Serb fighters, for the first time, broke into the U.N.-designated safe haven of Bihac.
1994 – A large cache of bomb-grade uranium was transferred from Kazakhstan to the United States.
1995 – Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic grudgingly accepted the US-backed peace plan for the former Yugoslavia after meeting with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.
1996 – Following a four-day visit to Australia, President Clinton arrived in the Philippines for a summit of Asian-Pacific leaders.
1997 – Jorge Mas Canosa, Cuban exile leader and head of MasTec, died in Miami. He helped create Radio Marti and TV Marti and served as chairman of the US Information Agency stations that beamed uncensored news to Cuba.
1999 – In a plea met with scant applause and silent stares, President Clinton told ethnic Albanians in Kosovo that “you must try” to forgive Serb neighbors and stop punishing them for the terror campaign of Slobodan Milosevic.
1999 – Defense Secretary William Cohen called for a military-wide review of conduct after a Pentagon study said up to 75 percent of blacks and other ethnic minorities reported experiencing racially offensive behavior.
2000 – In Florida the Supreme Court rejected an emergency plea by Al Gore to force Miami-Dade County to resume manual counts. Meanwhile, Gore’s lawyers argued in a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court that the high court should stay out of the Florida election controversy.
2001 – Following eleven days of intense bombing, the enemy began crumbling and General Daoud captured the nearby city of Khanabad. He next prepared to move directly on Kondoz but decided to try a little diplomacy first, initiating talks with the Taliban leaders in that city. Seeing that their position was hopeless, they agreed to surrender. Kondoz, the last Taliban stronghold in northern Afghanistan, was under Northern Alliance control.
2001 – Taliban troop contingents were reported to have dug in at 2 bases near Jalalabad including an estimated 1,200 at Tora Bora. It was also reported that Pakistani airplanes were being used to evacuate pro-Taliban Pakistani fighters in Kunduz.
2001 – In Belgium the UN war crimes tribunal announced that Slobodan Milosevic, former Yugoslav president, would stand trial on charges of genocide in the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia.
2001 – Japan said it would send 1,500 troops to help with relief operations in Afghanistan.
2001 – Spain set terms for extradition of 8 men charged with complicity in the Sep 11 attacks that included trial by a civilian court. 2 policemen were killed in Beasain.
2003 – In Afghanistan a transport helicopter carrying US troops that crashed just north of Kabul, killing five Americans and injuring seven.
2003 – In Iraq the Governing Council named Rend Rahim Francke, an Iraqi-American woman and veteran lobbyist who has criticized Washington as being shortsighted in Iraq, as its ambassador to the United States.
2011 – The United States announces that it will stop observing the 1990 Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. The decision comes four years after Russia withdrew compliance from the treaty.

Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day

Rank and organization: Colonel, 149th New York Infantry. Place and date: At Chattanooga, Tenn., 23 November 1863. Entered service at: Syracuse, N.Y. Born: 24 September 1833, Jamesville, Onondaga County, N.Y. Date of issue: July 1889. Citation: Although suffering severely from wounds, he led his regiment, inciting the men to greater action by word and example until again severely wounded.

Rank and organization: Paymaster’s Steward, U.S. Navy. Place and date: Ship Island Sound, La., 23 November 1863. Entered service at——. Born: 1840, Kittery, Maine. Date of issue: 16 April 1864. Citation: Served as paymaster’s steward on board the U.S.S. Commodore, November 1863. Carrying out his duties courageously, Seward “volunteered to go on the field amidst a heavy fire to recover the bodies of 2 soldiers which he brought off with the aid of others; a second instance of personal valor within a fortnight.” Promoted to acting master’s mate.

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, Company G, 33d New Jersey Infantry. Place and date. At Chattanooga, Tenn., 23 November 1863. Entered service at: Hudson, N.J. Birth: Duchess, N.Y. Date of issue: 10 September 1897. Citation: Although excused from duty on account of sickness, went to the front in command of a storming party and with conspicuous gallantry participated in the assault of Missionary Ridge; was here wounded and permanently disabled.

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, 4th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: Near Nasugbu, Batangas, Philippine Islands, 23 November 1901. Entered service at: Cobleskill, N.Y. Birth: Cobleskill, N.Y. G.O. No.: 33, 1913. Date of issue: Unknown. Citation: While in pursuit of a band of insurgents was the first of his detachment to emerge from a canyon, and seeing a column of insurgents and fearing they might turn and dispatch his men as they emerged one by one from the canyon, galloped forward and closed with the insurgents, thereby throwing them into confusion until the arrival of others of the detachment.

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company E, 398th Infantry, 100th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near St. Pravel, France, 23 November 1944. Entered service at: Johnstown, Pa. Born: 8 June 1916, Johnstown, Pa. G.O. No.: 97, 1 November 1945. citation. 1st Lt. Edward A. Silk commanded the weapons platoon of Company E, 398th Infantry, on 23 November 1944, when the end battalion was assigned the mission of seizing high ground overlooking Moyenmoutier France, prior to an attack on the city itself. His company jumped off in the lead at dawn and by noon had reached the edge of a woods in the vicinity of St. Pravel where scouts saw an enemy sentry standing guard before a farmhouse in a valley below. One squad, engaged in reconnoitering the area, was immediately pinned down by intense machinegun and automatic-weapons fire from within the house. Skillfully deploying his light machinegun section, 1st Lt. Silk answered enemy fire, but when 15 minutes had elapsed with no slackening of resistance, he decided to eliminate the strong point by a l-man attack. Running 100 yards across an open field to the shelter of a low stone wall directly in front of the farmhouse, he fired into the door and windows with his carbine; then, in full view of the enemy, vaulted the wall and dashed 50 yards through a hail of bullets to the left side of the house, where he hurled a grenade through a window, silencing a machinegun and killing 2 gunners. In attempting to move to the right side of the house he drew fire from a second machinegun emplaced in the woodshed. With magnificent courage he rushed this position in the face of direct fire and succeeded in neutralizing the weapon and killing the 2 gunners by throwing grenades into the structure. His supply of grenades was by now exhausted, but undaunted, he dashed back to the side of the farmhouse and began to throw rocks through a window, demanding the surrender of the remaining enemy. Twelve Germans, overcome by his relentless assault and confused by his unorthodox methods, gave up to the lone American. By his gallant willingness to assume the full burden of the attack and the intrepidity with which he carried out his extremely hazardous mission, 1st Lt. Silk enabled his battalion to continue its advance and seize its objective.

One thought on “November 23

  1. r. h. says:

    1946 – A French Navy fire in Haiphong Vietnam kills 6,000.

    1970 – Laird discloses the details of the Son Tay Raid.

    Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird discloses the November 21 U.S. raid on the North Vietnamese prison camp at Son Tay. On November 21, a combined Air Force and Army team of 40 Americans–led by Army Colonel “Bull” Simons–conducted a raid on the Son Tay prison camp, 23 miles west of Hanoi, in an attempt to free between 70 and 100 Americans suspected of being held there. The raid was conducted almost flawlessly, but no prisoners of war were found in the camp. They had been moved earlier to other locations.

    Laird revealed that approximately one hour after the raid took place, U.S. aircraft (200 fighter bombers and 100 support aircraft) inflicted the most severe bombing raids in two years on North Vietnam as retaliation for the shooting down of U.S. reconnaissance aircraft. Hanoi Radio reported that “wave after wave” of U.S. bombers attacked North Vietnam and said that the planes struck at targets ranging from Haiphong to Hoa Binh province, southeast of Hanoi.

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