27
Mar
09

On This Day, March 27: Alaskan Earthquake

March 27, 1964

Earthquake rocks Alaska

The strongest earthquake in American history, measuring 8.4 on the Richter scale, slams southern Alaska, creating a deadly tsunami. Some 125 people were killed and thousands injured.

The massive earthquake had its epicenter in the Prince William Sound, about eight miles northeast of Anchorage, but approximately 300,000 square miles of U.S., Canadian, and international territory were affected. Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, sustained the most property damage, with about 30 blocks of dwellings and commercial buildings damaged or destroyed in the downtown area. Fifteen people were killed or fatally injured as a direct result of the three-minute quake, and then the ensuing tsunami killed another 110 people. The tidal wave, which measured over 100 feet at points, devastated towns along the Gulf of Alaska and caused carnage in British Columbia, Canada; Hawaii; and the West Coast of the United States, where 15 people died. Total property damage was estimated in excess of $400 million. The day after the quake, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared Alaska an official disaster area.

“Earthquake rocks Alaska.” 2009. The History Channel website. 27 Mar 2009, 04:34 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=4868.

On This Day

1794 – The U.S. Congress and President Washington authorized the creation of the U.S. Navy.

1814 – U.S. troops under Gen. Andrew Jackson defeated the Creek Indians at Horshoe Bend in Northern Alabama.

1836 – The Mexican army massacred about 400 Texan rebels at Goliad, TX, under the order of Santa Anna.

1866 – U.S. President Andrew Johnson vetoed the civil rights bill, which later became the 14th amendment.

1901 – Filipino rebel leader Emilio Aguinaldo was captured by the U.S.

1904 – Mary Jarris “Mother” Jones was ordered by Colorado state authorities to leave the state. She was accused of stirring up striking coal miners.

1941 – Tokeo Yoshikawa arrived in Oahu, HI, and began spying for Japan on the U.S. Fleet at Pearl Harbor.

1958 – Nikita Khrushchev became the chairman of the Soviet Council of Ministers in addition to First Secretary of the Communist Party.

1958 – The U.S. announced a plan to explore space near the moon.

1968 – Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit the earth, died in a plane crash.

2004 – NASA successfully launched an unpiloted X-43A jet that hit Mach 7 (about 5,000 mph).

March 27, 1865

Lincoln, Sherman, and Grant meet

President Lincoln meets with Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman at City Point, Virginia, to plot the last stages of the war.

Lincoln came to Virginia just as Grant was preparing to attack Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s lines around Petersburg and Richmond, an assault that promised to end the siege that had dragged on for 10 months. Meanwhile, Sherman’s force was steamrolling northward through the Carolinas. The three architects of Union victory met for the first time as a group–Sherman and Lincoln had never met–to plot the final destruction of the Confederacy.

Lincoln came to Grant’s headquarters at City Point at the general-in-chief’s request. Lincoln boarded the River Queen with his wife Mary and son Tad on March 23, and the first family had a hectic visit. Lincoln went to the Petersburg lines and witnessed a Union bombardment and a small skirmish. He also reviewed troops, visited wounded soldiers, and then met with Grant and Sherman. Sherman had traveled from Goldsboro, North Carolina, to the coast before catching a steamer to Virginia. During the meeting, Lincoln expressed his concern that that Confederate armies might slip away. He was worried that Lee might escape Petersburg and flee to North Carolina, where he could join forces with Joseph Johnston to forge a new Confederate army that could continue the war for months. Grant and Sherman confidently assured the president that the end was in sight. Lincoln emphasized to his generals that any surrender terms must preserve the Union war aims of emancipation and a pledge of equality for the freed slaves.

After meeting the next day with Admiral David Dixon Porter, the three went their separate ways. In less than four weeks, Grant and Sherman had secured the surrender of the Confederacy.

“Lincoln, Sherman, and Grant meet.” 2009. The History Channel website. 27 Mar 2009, 04:37 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2148.

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