Archive for April 22nd, 2008

22
Apr
08

On This Day, 4-22-08: Earth Day

John Paul Jones leads American raid on Whitehaven, England

At 11 p.m. on this day in 1778, Commander John Paul Jones leads a small detachment of two boats from his ship, the USS Ranger, to raid the shallow port at Whitehaven, England, where, by his own account, 400 British merchant ships are anchored. Jones was hoping to reach the port at midnight, when ebb tide would leave the shops at their most vulnerable.

Jones and his 30 volunteers had greater difficulty than anticipated rowing to the port, which was protected by two forts. They did not arrive until dawn. Jones’ boat successfully took the southern fort, disabling its cannon, but the other boat returned without attempting an attack on the northern fort, after the sailors claimed to have been frightened away by a noise. To compensate, Jones set fire to the southern fort, which subsequently engulfed the entire town.

Commander Jones, one of the most daring and successful naval commanders of the American Revolution, was born in Scotland on July 6, 1747. He was apprenticed to a merchant at the age of 13 and soon went to sea from Whitehaven, the very port he returned to attack on this day in 1778. In Virginia at the onset of the revolution, Jones sided with the Patriots and received a commission as a first lieutenant in the Continental Navy on December 7, 1775.

After the raid on Whitehaven, Jones continued to his home territory of Kirkcudbright Bay, where he intended to abduct the earl of Selkirk, then exchange him for American sailors held captive by Britain. Although he did not find the earl at home, Jones’ crew was able to steal all his silver, including his wife’s teapot, still containing her breakfast tea. From Scotland, Jones sailed across the Irish Sea to Carrickfergus, where the Ranger captured the HMS Drake after delivering fatal wounds to the British ship’s captain and lieutenant.

“John Paul Jones leads American raid on Whitehaven, England.” 2008. The History Channel website. 22 Apr 2008, 10:45 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=471.

1509 – Henry VIII ascended to the throne of England upon the death of his father Henry VII.

1792 – U.S. President George Washington proclaimed American neutrality in the war in Europe.

1861 – Robert E. Lee was named commander of Virginia forces.

1864 – The U.S. Congress mandated that all coins minted as U.S. currency bear the inscription “In God We Trust”.

1889 – At noon, the Oklahoma land rush officially started as thousands of Americans race for new, unclaimed land.

1898 – The first shot of the Spanish-American war occurred when the USS Nashville captured a Spanish merchant ship.

1915 – At the Second Battle Ypres the Germans became the first country to use poison gas.

1930 – The U.S., Britain and Japan signed the London Naval Treaty, which regulated submarine warfare and limited shipbuilding.

1944 – During World War II, the Allies launched a major attack against the Japanese in Hollandia, New Guinea.

1952 – An atomic test conducted in Nevada was the first nuclear explosion shown on live network television.

1970 – The first “Earth Day” was observed by millions of Americans.

1976 – Barbara Walters became first female nightly network news anchor.

1993 – The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum was dedicated in Washington, DC.

1997 – In Lima, Peru government commandos storm and capture the residence of the Japanese ambassador ending a 126-day hostage crisis. In the rescue 71 hostages were saved. Those killed: one hostage (of a heart attack), two soldiers, and all 14 rebels.

2000 – Elian Gonzalez was reunited with his father. He had to be taken from his Miami relatives by U.S. agents in a predawn raid.

 

McCarthy Army hearings begin

Senator Joseph McCarthy begins hearings investigating the United States Army, which he charges with being “soft” on communism. These televised hearings gave the American public their first view of McCarthy in action, and his recklessness, indignant bluster, and bullying tactics quickly resulted in his fall from prominence.

“McCarthy Army hearings begin.” 2008. The History Channel website. 22 Apr 2008, 10:47 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2645.

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