Archive for April 9th, 2008

09
Apr
08

On This Day, 4-9-08, Lee Surrenders

Robert E. Lee surrenders

At Appomattox, Virginia, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrenders his 28,000 troops to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, effectively ending the American Civil War. Forced to abandon the Confederate capital of Richmond, blocked from joining the surviving Confederate force in North Carolina, and harassed constantly by Union cavalry, Lee had no other option.

“Robert E. Lee surrenders.” 2008. The History Channel website. 8 Apr 2008, 02:23 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4904.

0193 – In the Balkans, the distinguished soldier Septimius Seversus was proclaimed emperor by the army in Illyricum.

1241 – In the Battle of Liegnitz, Mongol armies defeated the Poles and the Germans.

1682 – Robert La Salle claimed the lower Mississippi River and all lands that touch it for France.

1831 – Robert Jenkins lost an ear. The event started a war between Britain and Spain.

1867 – The U.S. Senate ratified the treaty with Russia that purchased the territory of Alaska by one vote.

1900 – British forces routed the Boers at Kroonstadt, South Africa.

1921 – The Russo-Polish conflict ended with signing of Riga Treaty.

1940 – Germany invaded Norway and Denmark.

1942 – In the Battle of Bataan, American and Filipino forces were overwhelmed by the Japanese Army.

1947 – 169 people were killed and 1,300 were injured by a series of tornadoes in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

1959 – NASA announced the selection of America’s first seven astronauts.

1968 – Murdered civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., was buried.

1984 – Nicaragua asked the World Court to declare U.S. support for guerilla raids illegal.

1998 – The National Prisoner of War Museum opened in Andersonville, GA, at the site of an infamous Civil War camp.

Billy the Kid convicted of murder

After a one-day trial, Billy the Kid is found guilty of murdering the Lincoln County, New Mexico, sheriff and is sentenced to hang.

There is no doubt that Billy the Kid did indeed shoot the sheriff, though he had done so in the context of the bloody Lincoln County War, a battle between two powerful groups of ranchers and businessmen fighting for economic control of Lincoln County. When his boss, rancher John Tunstall, was murdered before his eyes in February 1878, the hotheaded young Billy swore vengeance. Unfortunately, the leader of the men who murdered Tunstall was the sheriff of Lincoln County, William Brady. When Billy and his partners murdered the sheriff several months later, they became outlaws, regardless of how corrupt Brady may have been.

“Billy the Kid convicted of murder.” 2008. The History Channel website. 8 Apr 2008, 02:25 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4483.

“Chicago Eight” plead not guilty

The Chicago Eight, indicted on federal charges of conspiracy to incite a riot at the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, plead not guilty. The trial for the eight antiwar activists had begun in Chicago on March 20. The defendants included David Dellinger of the National Mobilization Committee (NMC); Rennie Davis and Thomas Hayden of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS); Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, founders of the Youth International Party (“Yippies”); Bobby Seale of the Black Panthers; and two lesser known activists, Lee Weiner and John Froines.

They were charged with conspiracy to cross state lines with intent to incite a riot. Attorneys William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass represented all but Seale. The trial, presided over by Judge Julius Hoffman, turned into a circus as the defendants and their attorneys used the court as a platform to attack Nixon, the war, racism, and oppression. Their tactics were so disruptive that at one point Judge Hoffman ordered Seale gagged and strapped to his chair. (Seale’s disruptive behavior eventually caused the judge to try him separately). When the trial ended in February 1970, Hoffman found the defendants and their attorneys guilty of 175 counts of contempt of court and sentenced them to terms ranging from two to four years. Although declaring the defendants not guilty of conspiracy, the jury found all but Froines and Weiner guilty of intent to riot. The others were each sentenced to five years and fined $5,000. However, none of the defendants served time because in 1972 a Court of Appeals overturned the criminal convictions and eventually most of the contempt charges were also dropped.

“Chicago Eight” plead not guilty.” 2008. The History Channel website. 8 Apr 2008, 02:27 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1780.

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