1775 – George Washington ordered recruiting officers to accept free blacks into the army.
1775 – During the American Revolution, Patriot forces under generals Benedict Arnold and Richard Montgomery are defeated by the British defenders of the city of Quebec in Canada. On December 2, Arnold and Montgomery met on the outskirts of Quebec and demanded the surrender of the city. Governor Sir Guy Carleton rejected their demand, and on December 9 the Patriots commenced a bombardment of Quebec, which was met by a counterbattery by the British defenders that disabled several of the Patriots’ guns. At approximately 4 a.m. on December 31, the Patriot forces advanced on the city under the cover of a blizzard. The British defenders were ready, however, and when Montgomery’s forces came within 50 yards of the fortified city they opened fire with a barrage of artillery and musket fire. Montgomery was killed in the first assault, and, after several more attempts at penetrating Quebec’s defenses, his men were forced into retreat. Meanwhile, Arnold’s division suffered a similar fate during their attack of the northern wall of the city. A two-gun battery opened fire on the advancing Americans, killing a number of Americans and wounding Benedict Arnold in the leg. Patriot Daniel Morgan assumed command, made progress against the defenders, but halted at the second wall of fortifications to wait for reinforcements. By the time the rest of Arnold’s army finally arrived, the British had reorganized and the attack was called off. Of the 900 Americans who participated in the siege, 60 were killed and wounded and more than 400 were captured. The remaining Patriot forces then retreated from the invasion of Canada. As the Americans crossed the St. Lawrence River to safety, Benedict Arnold remained in Canadian territory until the last of his soldiers had escaped. With the pursuing British forces almost in firing range, Arnold checked one last time to make sure all his men had escaped. He then shot his horse and fled down the St. Lawrence in a canoe. Less than five years later, Benedict Arnold, as commander of West Point, famously became a traitor when he agreed to surrender the important Hudson River fort to the British for a bribe of ý20,000. The plot was uncovered after British spy John Andrý was captured with incriminating papers, forcing Arnold to flee to British protection and join in their fight against the country that he once so valiantly served.
1783 – Import of African slaves was banned by all of the Northern American states.
1796 – The Baltimore is incorporated as a city.
1815 – George Gordon Meade (d.1872), Union general, was born. He defeated Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg.
1861 – Biloxi, Mississippi, surrendered to a landing party of seamen and Marines covered by U.S.S. Water Witch, New London, and Henry Lewis; a small Confederate battery was destroyed, two guns and schooner Captain Spedden captured.
1861 – Naval squadron under Commander C. R. P. Rodgers, including gunboats Ottawa, Pembina, and Seneca and four armed boats carrying howitzers, joined General Stevens’ troops in successful amphibious attack on Confederate positions at Port Royal Ferry and on Coosaw River. Gunboat fire covered the troop advance, and guns and naval gunners were landed as artillery support. Army signal officers acted as gunfire observers and coordinators on board the ships. The action disrupted Confederate plans to erect batteries and build troop strength in the area intending to close Coosaw River and isolate Federal troops on Port Royal Island. General Stevens wrote: “I would do great injustice to my own feelings did I fail to express my satisfaction and delight with the recent cooperation of the command of Captain Rodgers in our celebration of New Year’s Day. Whether regard be had to his beautiful working of the gunboats in the narrow channel of Port Royal, the thorough concert of action established through the signal officers, or the masterly handling of the guns against the enemy, nothing remained to be desired. Such a cooperation . . . augurs everything, propitious for the welfare of our cause in this quarter of the country.”
1862 – President Abraham Lincoln signs an act that admits West Virginia to the Union, thus dividing Virginia in two. West Virginia is a U.S. state located in the Appalachian region of the Southern United States. It is bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the north (and, slightly, east), and Maryland to the northeast. West Virginia became a state following the Wheeling Conventions of 1861, in which 50 northwestern counties of Virginia decided to break away from Virginia during the American Civil War. The new state was admitted to the Union as a key Civil War border state. West Virginia was the only state to form by seceding from a Confederate state and was one of two states formed during the American Civil War (the other being Nevada, which separated from Utah Territory).
1862 – Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest narrowly escapes capture during a raid in western Tennessee. Despite the close call, the raid was instrumental in forcing Union General Ulysses S. Grant to abandon his first attempt to capture Vicksburg, Mississippi. Forrest set out from Columbus, Tennessee, on December 11 to raid Union supply lines. He defeated a Union force at Lexington, Tennessee, on December 18 and spent the week of Christmas destroying Federal rail lines north of Jackson, Tennessee. By the end of December, several Union forces were bearing down on Forrest’s cavalry. As the Confederates approached Parker’s Crossroads, they detected a Yankee force ahead and Forrest decided to attack. Forrest approached the Union troops and sent part of his force around their flank. His dismounted cavalry were enjoying great success when firing suddenly sounded behind Forrest’s troops. Another Yankee detachment had surprised the Confederates. The men assigned to hold the horses of the attacking Confederates were now fleeing in panic right past Forrest. At one point, Forrest himself came upon Union troops, who demanded that he surrender. He agreed and rode off to gather his force. The Rebel commander then calmly surveyed the situation and reportedly said, “Charge them both ways.” He diverted part of his men from the initial attack to turn against the Federals coming from behind. Though 300 of Forrest’s men were captured, the bulk of his forces escaped. The close call only served to enhance Forrest’s reputation as a brilliant battlefield commander. Despite the loses, the raid–combined with General Earl Van Dorn’s raid on Union supply lines further to the west–convinced Grant to abort his attempt on Vicksburg.
1862 – The Battle of Stones River (Murfeesboro) begins in central Tennessee begins. The armies struggled in the bitter cold for three days before the Union army, commanded by General William Rosecrans, defeated the Confederates under Braxton Bragg. The Battle of Stones River or Second Battle of Murfreesboro (in the South, simply the Battle of Murfreesboro), was fought until January 2, 1863, in Middle Tennessee, as the culmination of the Stones River Campaign in the Western Theater of the American Civil War. Of the major battles of the Civil War, Stones River had the highest percentage of casualties on both sides. Although the battle itself was inconclusive, the Union Army’s repulse of two Confederate attacks and the subsequent Confederate withdrawal were a much-needed boost to Union morale after the defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg, and it dashed Confederate aspirations for control of Middle Tennessee. Union Maj. Gen. William S. Rosecrans’s Army of the Cumberland marched from Nashville, Tennessee, on December 26, 1862, to challenge General Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee at Murfreesboro. Each army commander planned to attack his opponent’s right flank, but Bragg struck first. A massive assault by the corps of Maj. Gen. William J. Hardee, followed by that of Leonidas Polk, overran the wing commanded by Maj. Gen. Alexander M. McCook. A stout defense by the division of Brig. Gen. Philip Sheridan in the right center of the line prevented a total collapse and the Union assumed a tight defensive position backing up to the Nashville Turnpike. Repeated Confederate attacks were repulsed from this concentrated line, most notably in the cedar “Round Forest” salient against the brigade of Col. William B. Hazen. Bragg attempted to continue the assault with the corps of Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge, but the troops were slow in arriving and their multiple piecemeal attacks failed. Fighting resumed on January 2, 1863, when Bragg ordered Breckinridge to assault the well-fortified Union position on a hill to the east of the Stones River. Faced with overwhelming artillery, the Confederates were repulsed with heavy losses. Aware that Rosecrans was receiving reinforcements, Bragg chose to withdraw his army on January 3 to Tullahoma, Tennessee.
1879 – In the first public demonstration of his incandescent lightbulb, American inventor Thomas Alva Edison lights up a street in Menlo Park, New Jersey. The Pennsylvania Railroad Company ran special trains to Menlo Park on the day of the demonstration in response to public enthusiasm over the event. Although the first incandescent lamp had been produced 40 years earlier, no inventor had been able to come up with a practical design until Edison embraced the challenge in the late 1870s. After countless tests, he developed a high-resistance carbon-thread filament that burned steadily for hours and an electric generator sophisticated enough to power a large lighting system. Born in Milan, Ohio, in 1847, Edison received little formal schooling, which was customary for most Americans at the time. He developed serious hearing problems at an early age, and this disability provided the motivation for many of his inventions. At age 16, he found work as a telegraph operator and soon was devoting much of his energy and natural ingenuity toward improving the telegraph system itself. By 1869, he was pursuing invention full-time and in 1876 moved into a laboratory and machine shop in Menlo Park, New Jersey. Edison’s experiments were guided by his remarkable intuition, but he also took care to employ assistants who provided the mathematical and technical expertise he lacked. At Menlo Park, Edison continued his work on the telegraph, and in 1877 he stumbled on one of his great inventions–the phonograph–while working on a way to record telephone communication. Public demonstrations of the phonograph made the Yankee inventor world famous, and he was dubbed the “Wizard of Menlo Park.” Although the discovery of a way to record and play back sound ensured him a place in the annals of history, the phonograph was only the first of several Edison creations that would transform late 19th-century life. Among other notable inventions, Edison and his assistants developed the first practical incandescent lightbulb in 1879 and a forerunner of the movie camera and projector in the late 1880s. In 1887, he opened the world’s first industrial research laboratory at West Orange, where he employed dozens of workers to investigate systematically a given subject. Perhaps his greatest contribution to the modern industrial world came from his work in electricity. He developed a complete electrical distribution system for light and power, set up the world’s first power plant in New York City, and invented the alkaline battery, the first electric railroad, and a host of other inventions that laid the basis for the modern electrical world. One of the most prolific inventors in history, he continued to work into his 80s and acquired 1,093 patents in his lifetime. He died in 1931 at the age of 84.
1880 – George Catlett Marshall, Chief of Staff who led the U.S. Army to victory in World War II and later became Secretary of State for President Harry Truman, was born. He won Nobel Peace Prize in 1953 for the Marshall Plan.
1887 – The French have formed the Indochinese Union, administered by a governor general under the ministry of colonies in Paris. The Union consists of Tonkin, Annam, Cochin China, and Cambodia. Laos is added in 1893.
1919 – During the Versailles Peace Conference, a few Vietnamese residing in Paris draw up an eight-point program for their homeland’s independence. They have their program printed and send it to the conference secretariat, and one of the initiators, Nguyen Ai Quoc (‘Nguyen the Patriot’) who will later be better known as Ho Chi Minh, tries to meet with President Woodrow Wilson, who has inspired them with his 14-point program calling for independence for all peoples. But Nguyen is turned away and the eight points are never officially acknowledged.
1941 – American and Filipino forces form a new defense line north of the Bataan Peninsula, on Luzon.
1941 – General Brett takes command of US forces in Australia.
1941 – Admiral Chester W. Nimitz assumes command of U.S. Pacific Fleet.
1941 – America’s last automobiles with chrome-plated trim were manufactured on this day. Starting in 1942, chrome plating became illegal. It was part of an effort to conserve resources for the American war effort. The chrome wasn’t missed too much. Virtually no automobiles were produced in the U.S. from 1942 through the end of World War II.
1942 – Commissioning of USS Essex (CV-9), first of new class of aircraft carriers, at Norfolk, VA
1942 – After five months of battle, Emperor Hirohito allowed the Japanese commanders at Guadalcanal to retreat.
1943 – Both the US 5th Army and the British 8th Army continue their offensive operation in Italy without significant success.
1944 – Operation Nordwind, the last major German offensive on the Western Front begins. The goal of the offensive was to break through the lines of the U.S. 7th Army and French 1st Army in the Upper Vosges mountains and the Alsatian Plain, and destroy them. This would leave the way open for Operation Dentist (Unternehmen Zahnarzt), a planned major thrust into the rear of the U.S. 3rd Army which would lead to the destruction of that army. Operation Nordwind, although costly for both sides, was ultimately unsuccessful, and the failure of the offensive allowed the U.S. 7th Army to contain the German push towards Strasbourg. Any gains attained by the offensive were negated by the later Operation Undertone.
1944 – On Leyte, various Japanese counterattacks in the northwest are repulsed by American forces. Up to this point, the Japanese have suffered about 70,000 casualties, almost all killed, in the battles on Leyte. American casualties number 15,500 dead and wounded. The US 6th Army is being withdrawn from the island, in preparation for the invasion of Luzon, and the US 8th Army is replacing it.
1944 – The British 30th Corps (part of US 1st Army) captures Rochefort on the western tip of the German-held Ardennes salient.
1945 – The ratification of the UN Charter was completed.
1946 – President Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II.
1948 – Last annual report by a Secretary of the Navy to Congress and the President filed by SECNAV John L. Sullivan. Thereafter the Secretary of Defense would report annually to Congress.
1950 – The Chinese began their Third-Phase Offensive.
1950 – The 726th Transportation Truck Company, the first Army National Guard unit in Korea, arrived at Pusan.
1951 – The U.S. Navy destroyer USS Marshall fired over 5,600 five-inch shells at enemy positions in eastern Korea during the month of December. This was more than she had fired against the enemy during all of her service in World War II.
1951 – The Marshall Plan expires after distributing more than US$13.3 billion in foreign aid to rebuild Europe.
1957 – The Diem government is able to announce that at least 300,000 refugees from the North have been settled in 300 new villages in the South. Local leadership, notably organized by refugee Catholic priests, plays an important role, along with US assistance and the natural wealth of one million acres of abandoned rice land, in achieving the most universally acknowledged success of the Diem regime.
1958 – The CIA has come into possession of a directive from Hanoi to its headquarters for the Central Highlands stating that the Lao Dong (Communist) Party Central Committee has decided to ‘open a new stage of the struggle’ and move into overt insurgency.
1958 – Cuba’s dictator Juan Batista fled as Rebels under Fidel Castro marched into Havana.
1960 – An estimated 4,500 former South Vietnamese living in the North have infiltrated back to the South during the year. US forces in Vietnam now number 900.
1961 – According to the Military Advisory Assistance Group, US military forces in South Vietnam have reached 3,200. the number of US servicemen in November was 948. Total insurgent forces are estimated at 26,700. Fourteen Americans have been killed or wounded in combat. To Army helicopter units are flying combat missions. ‘Jungle Jim’ air commandos are instructing the South Vietnamese Air Force. US Navy Mine Division 73, a tender and five sweepers, is sailing from Thailand and Seventh Fleet carriers are flying surveillance and reconnaissance missions over Vietnam. Six C-123 aircraft have received ‘diplomatic clearance’ to enter South Vietnam. $65 million in US military equipment and $136 million in economic aid have been delivered to South Vietnam during 1961.
1961 – The Marshall Plan expired after distributing more than $12 billion in foreign aid.
1964 – Syrian-based al-Fatah guerrillas of Yasser Arafat launched their 1st raid on Israel with the aim of provoking a retaliation and sparking an Arab war against Israel. Fatah, a Palestinian movement for independence, made the first terror attack on Israel and initiated the armed struggle for a state.
1968 – The bloodiest year of the war comes to an end. At year’s end, 536,040 American servicemen were stationed in Vietnam, an increase of over 50,000 from 1967. Estimates from Headquarters U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam indicated that 181,150 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese were killed during the year. However, Allied losses were also up: 27,915 South Vietnamese, 14,584 Americans (a 56 percent increase over 1967), and 979 South Koreans, Australians, New Zealanders, and Thais were reported killed during 1968. Since January 1961, more than 31,000 U.S. servicemen had been killed in Vietnam and over 200,000 U.S. personnel had been wounded. Contributing to the high casualty number was the Tet Offensive launched by the communists. Conducted in the early weeks of the year, it was a crushing military defeat for the communists, but the size and scope of the attacks caught the American and South Vietnamese allies completely by surprise. The early reporting of a smashing communist victory went largely uncorrected in the media and this led to a psychological victory for the communists. The heavy U.S. casualties incurred during the offensive coupled with the disillusionment over the earlier overly optimistic reports of progress in the war accelerated the growing disenchantment with President Johnson’s conduct of the war. Johnson, frustrated with his inability to reach a solution in Vietnam, announced on March 31, 1968, that he would neither seek nor accept the Democratic nomination for president. Johnson’s announcement did not dampen the wave of antiwar protests that climaxed with the bloody confrontation between protesters and police outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in August.
1970 – Congress authorized the Eisenhower dollar coin.
1971 – The gradual U.S. withdrawal from the conflict in Southeast Asia is reflected in reduced annual casualty figures. The number of Americans killed in action dropped to 1,386 from the previous year total of 4,204. South Vietnam losses for the year totalled 21,500 men, while the combined Viet Cong and North Vietnamese total was estimated at 97,000 killed in action. After 10 years of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, a total of 45,627 American soldiers had been killed. The U.S. troop levels, which started the year at 280,000, were down to 159,000. This troop reduction was a direct result of the shifting American goal for the Vietnam War-no longer attempting a military victory, the U.S. was trying to gracefully extricate itself from the situation by transferring responsibility for the war to the South Vietnamese.
1972 – With the end of Linebacker II, the most intense U.S. bombing operation of the Vietnam War, U.S. and communist negotiators prepare to return to the secret Paris peace talks scheduled to reconvene on January 2. In a statement issued in Paris, the Hanoi delegation to the public peace talks asserted that the U.S. bombing did not succeed in “subjugating the Vietnamese people,” and called attention to the losses of U.S. planes and the unfavorable world reaction to the raids. Despite the public denial that the Linebacker II raids forced them back, the communists returned to the negotiating table. When the negotiators met in January, the talks moved along quickly and on January 23, 1973, the United States, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), and the Viet Cong signed a cease-fire agreement that took effect five days later. In 1972, the American troop level in South Vietnam was reduced from 159,000 to only 24,000. Under the terms of the Paris Peace Accords, all of the personnel would be withdrawn by March 1973.
1974 – Private U.S. citizens were allowed to buy and own gold for the first time in more than 40 years.
1978 – Flags at both the American embassy in Taipei and the Taiwanese embassy in the United States are lowered for the last time as U.S. relations with Taiwan officially come to an end. On January 1, 1979 the United States officially recognized the government of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing. The American decision to sever relations with Taiwan and grant recognition to the People’s Republic of China was hotly resented by representatives of the Chinese Nationalist government. In a brief ceremony accompanying the lowering of the Taiwanese flag, a Chinese Nationalist official declared that the action “did not mean that we are giving up our fight against communism.” He strongly criticized American President Jimmy Carter for cutting off ties with “a loyal friend and ally of the United States” in exchange for normalizing relations with “our enemy, the Chinese Communist regime.” American officials had little comment, except to assure those seeking visas and other services in Taiwan that the U.S. embassy would continue to help them until March 1, 1979. At that time, a “nongovernmental” office would take over those duties. It was a rather quiet end to nearly 30 years of American refusal to grant official recognition to the communist government of mainland China. The U.S. decision to maintain strong relations with the Nationalist government on Taiwan had been the main roadblock to diplomatic relations between America and the People’s Republic of China. By the late 1970s, the desire for closer economic relations with communist China and the belief that diplomatic relations with the PRC might act as a buffer against Soviet aggression led U.S. officials to view continued relations with Taiwan as counterproductive. President Carter’s decision to sever relations with Taiwan removed that obstacle. One of the oldest and most antagonistic relationships of the Cold War seemed to be thawing.
1991 – This was the last day of existence for the USSR.
1992 – President Bush visited Somalia, where he saw firsthand the famine racking the east African nation. He praised U.S. troops that provided relief to the starving population.
1994 – Bosnian government officials and Bosnian Serb leaders signed a U.N.-brokered cease-fire agreement.
1995 – The first US tanks crossed a pontoon bridge over the Sava River from Croatia to Bosnia to start the deployment of 20,000 US troops under IFOR, the Implementation Force under NATO command.
1995 – Bosnian government officials and Bosnian Serb leaders signed a UN-brokered cease-fire agreement.
1997 – The US State Dept. reported that Iraq had ordered the summary execution of “hundreds if not thousands” of political detainees in recent weeks. The exiled Iraqi Communist party in London said 1,500 prisoners were killed on Nov 21. The exiled Iraqi National Congress said 800 prisoners were recently executed. A former Dutch foreign minister and UN Human Rights investigator said about 200 were reportedly executed. Iraq denied the charges.
1999 – The United States Government hands control of the Panama Canal (as well all the adjacent land to the canal known as the Panama Canal Zone) to Panama. This act complied with the signing of the 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties.
2000 – The US signed a treaty for the creation of the 1st permanent int’l. court despite objections by conservatives and the Pentagon.
2001 – The US designated 6 more entities as suspected terrorist organizations. 5 groups were active in the UK, the 6th was active in Spain.
2001 – The US planned to deploy elements of the 101st Airborne Division to replace Marines near Kandahar. US troops moved by helicopter to Helmand province, the region where Mohammed Omar was suspected to be.
2002 – President Bush told reporters an attack by Saddam Hussein or a terrorist ally “would cripple our economy.”
2002 – Two U.N. nuclear inspectors expelled by North Korea arrived in China, leaving the communist nation’s nuclear program isolated from international scrutiny.
2003 – In Iraq gunfire erupted in Kirkuk as hundreds of Arabs and Turkmen marched in protest over fears of Kurdish domination in the oil-rich northern city.
2003 – The U.S. Department of Defense says that the task of importing gasoline for civilian use in Iraq will be handled by the Defense Energy Support Center, a Department of Defense agency that supplies fuel to the military, instead of a subsidiary of Halliburton Company. Halliburton had been criticized for allegedly overcharging the government under its no-bid contract. Almost a year later those allegations will be found groundless.
2004 – Simón Trinidad (born July 30, 1950) a.k.a. Juvenal Ovidio Ricardo Palmera Pineda became the first leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, to be sent to face prosecution in a U.S. federal court.
2011 – NASA succeeds in putting the first of two Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory satellites in orbit around the Moon.
2011 – President Barack Obama signs a law providing for new sanctions against Iran.
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
BOURKE, JOHN G.
Rank and organization: Private, Company E, 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Place and date: At Stone River, Tenn., 31 December 1862-1 January 1863. Entered service at: Chicago, Ill. Birth: Philadelphia, Pa. Date of issue: 16 November 1887. Citation: Gallantry in action.
FARQUHAR, JOHN M.
Rank and organization: Sergeant Major, 89th Illinois Infantry. Place and date: At Stone River, Tenn., 31 December 1862. Entered service at: Chicago, Ill. Birth: Scotland. Date of issue: 6 August 1902. Citation: When a break occurred on the extreme right wing of the Army of the Cumberland, this soldier rallied fugitives from other commands, and deployed his own regiment, thereby checking the Confederate advance until a new line was established.
FOLLETT, JOSEPH L.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company G, 1st Missouri Light Artillery. Place and date: At New Madrid, Mo., 3 March 1862; at Stone River, Tenn., 31 December 1862. Entered service at: St. Louis, Mo. Birth: Newark, N.J. Date of issue: 19 September 1890. Citation: At New Madrid, Mo., remained on duty though severely wounded. While procuring ammunition from the supply train at Stone River, Tenn., was captured, but made his escape, secured the ammunition, and in less than an hour from the time of his capture had the batteries supplied.
FREEMAN, HENRY B.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, 18th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At Stone River, Tenn., 31 December 1862. Entered service at: Mount Vernon, Ohio. Birth: Mount Vernon, Ohio. Date of issue: 17 February 1894. Citation: Voluntarily went to the front and picked up and carried to a place of safety, under a heavy fire from the enemy, an acting field officer who had been wounded, and was about to fall into enemy hands.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, 18th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At Stone River, Tenn., 31 December 1862. Entered service at: Medina County, Ohio. Birth: Germany. Date of issue: 12 December 1894. Citation: Voluntarily conveyed, under a heavy fire, information to the commander of a battalion of regular troops by which the battalion was saved from capture or annihilation.
PRENTICE, JOSEPH R.
Rank and organization: Private, Company E, 19th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At Stone River, Tenn., 31 December 1862. Entered service at: ——. Born: 6 December 1838, Lancaster, Ohio. Date of issue: 3 February 1894. Citation: Voluntarily rescued the body of his commanding officer, who had fallen mortally wounded. He brought off the field his mortally wounded leader under direct and constant rifle fire.
Rank and organization: Private, Company B, 21st Ohio Infantry. Place and date: At Stone River, Tenn., 31 December 1862. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Hancock County, Ohio. Date of issue: 17 September 1897. Citation: Voluntarily and under a heavy fire, while his command was falling back, rescued a wounded and helpless comrade from death or capture.
Rank and organization: Coxswain, U.S. Navy. Born: 1837, England. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: Served on board the U.S.S. Rhode Island, which was engaged in saving the lives of the officers and crew of the Monitor off Hatteras, 31 December 1862. Participating in the hazardous task of rescuing the officers and crew of the sinking Monitor, Wagg distinguished himself by meritorious conduct during this operation.
WHITEHEAD, JOHN M.
Rank and organization: Chaplain, 15th Indiana Infantry. Place and date: At Stone River, Tenn., 31 December 1862. Entered service at: Westville, Ind. Born: 6 March 1823, Wayne County, Ind. Date of issue: 4 April 1898. Citation: Went to the front during a desperate contest and unaided carried to the rear several wounded and helpless soldiers.
*COOK, DONALD GILBERT
Rank and organization: Colonel, United States Marine Corps, Prisoner of War by the Viet Cong in the Republic of Vietnam. Place and date: Vietnam, 31 December 1964 to 8 December, 1967. Entered Service at: Brooklyn, New York. Date and place of birth: 9 August 1934, Brooklyn New York. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while interned as a Prisoner of War by the Viet Cong in the Republic of Vietnam during the period 31 December 1964 to 8 December 1967. Despite the fact that by so doing he would bring about harsher treatment for himself, Colonel (then Captain) Cook established himself as the senior prisoner, even though in actuality he was not. Repeatedly assuming more than his share of their health, Colonel Cook willingly and unselfishly put the interests of his comrades before that of his own well-being and, eventually, his life. Giving more needy men his medicine and drug allowance while constantly nursing them, he risked infection from contagious diseases while in a rapidly deteriorating state of health. This unselfish and exemplary conduct, coupled with his refusal to stray even the slightest from the Code of Conduct, earned him the deepest respect from not only his fellow prisoners, but his captors as well. Rather than negotiate for his own release or better treatment, he steadfastly frustrated attempts by the Viet Cong to break his indomitable spirit. and passed this same resolve on to the men whose well-being he so closely associated himself. Knowing his refusals would prevent his release prior to the end of the war, and also knowing his chances for prolonged survival would be small in the event of continued refusal, he chose nevertheless to adhere to a Code of Conduct far above that which could be expected. His personal valor and exceptional spirit of loyalty in the face of almost certain death reflected the highest credit upon Colonel Cook, the Marine Corps, and the United States Naval Service.