Posts Tagged ‘Fort Sumter

13
Apr
09

On This Day, April 13: Fort Sumter Surrenders

April 13, 1861

Fort Sumter surrenders

After a thirty-three hour bombardment by Confederate cannon, Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor surrenders. The first engagement of the war ended in Rebel victory.

The surrender concluded a standoff that began with South Carolina’s secession from the Union on December 20, 1860. When President Lincoln sent word to Charleston in early April that he planned to send food to the beleaguered garrison, the Confederates took action. They opened fire on Sumter in the predawn of April 12. Over the next day, nearly 4,000 rounds were hurled toward the black silhouette of Fort Sumter.

Inside Sumter was its commander, Major Robert Anderson, 9 officers, 68 enlisted men, 8 musicians, and 43 construction workers who were still putting the finishing touches on the fort. Captain Abner Doubleday, the man often inaccurately credited with inventing the game of baseball, returned fire nearly two hours after the barrage began. By the morning of April 13, the garrison in Sumter was in dire straits. The soldiers had sustained only minor injuries, but they could not hold out much longer. The fort was badly damaged, and the Confederate’s shots were becoming more precise. Around noon, the flagstaff was shot away. Louis Wigfall, a former U.S. senator from Texas, rowed out without permission to see if the garrison was trying to surrender. Anderson decided that further resistance was futile, and he ran a white flag up a makeshift flagpole.

The first engagement of the war was over, and the only casualty had been a Confederate horse. The Union force was allowed to leave for the north; before leaving, the soldiers fired a 100-gun salute. During the salute, one soldier was killed and another mortally wounded by a prematurely exploding cartridge. The Civil War had officially begun.

“Fort Sumter surrenders,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2171 [accessed Apr 13, 2009]

On This Day

1598 – King Henry IV of France signed the Edict of Nantes which granted political rights to French Protestant Huguenots.

1775 – Lord North extended the New England Restraining Act to South, Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland. The act prohibited trade with any country other than Britain and Ireland.

1829 – The English Parliament granted freedom of religion to Catholics.

1919 – British forces killed hundreds of Indian nationalists in the Amritsar Massacre.

1941 – German troops captured Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

1945 – Vienna fell to Soviet troops.

1954 – Hank Aaron debuted with the Milwaukee Braves.

1970 – An oxygen tank exploded on Apollo 13, preventing a planned moon landing.

1990 – The Soviet Union accepted responsibility for the World War II murders of thousands of imprisoned Polish officers in the Katyn Forest. The Soviets had previously blamed the massacre on the Nazis.

April 13, 1939

USS Astoria attempts pre-war reconnaissance

On this day, the USS Astoria arrives in Japan under the command of Richard Kelly Turner in an attempt to photograph the Japanese battleships Yamato and Musashi.

U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Turner, whose motto was “If you don’t have losses, you’re not doing enough,” saw the cruiser Astoria through many assignments, from assessing Japanese naval strength before U.S. entry in the war, to returning the ashes of a Japanese ambassador to Japan, to the amphibious assault at Guadalcanal. The Astoria was unfortunately sunk, along with the Quincy and the Vincennes, during Operation Watchtower, the landing of 16,000 troops on Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands, in August 1942.

“USS <I>Astoria</I> attempts pre-war reconnaissance,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=6417 [accessed Apr 13, 2009]

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12
Apr
09

On This Day, April 12: FDR Dies

April 12, 1945

President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies

While on a vacation in Warm Springs, Georgia, President Roosevelt suffers a stroke and dies. His death marked a critical turning point in U.S. relations with the Soviet Union, as his successor, Harry S. Truman, decided to take a tougher stance with the Russians.

By April 1945, Roosevelt had been elected president of the United States four times and had served for over 12 years. He had seen the United States through some of its darkest days, from the depths of the Great Depression through the toughest times of World War II. In early 1945, shortly after being sworn in for his fourth term as president, Roosevelt was on the verge of leading his nation to triumph in the Second World War. Germany teetered on the brink of defeat, and the Japanese empire was crumbling under the blows of the American military. In February 1945, Roosevelt traveled to Yalta in the Soviet Union to meet with Russian leader Joseph Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to discuss the postwar world. Roosevelt returned from these intense meetings drawn and sick. He vacationed in Warm Springs, Georgia, but the rest did not lead to recuperation. On April 12, 1945, he suffered a massive stroke and died.

Roosevelt left a controversial legacy in terms of U.S.-Soviet relations. Critics charged that the president had been “soft” on the communists and naive in dealing with Stalin. The meetings at Yalta, they claimed, resulted in a “sellout” that left the Soviets in control of Eastern Europe and half of Germany. Roosevelt’s defenders responded that he made the best of difficult circumstances. He kept the Grand Alliance between the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain intact long enough to defeat Germany. As for Eastern Europe and Germany, there was little Roosevelt could have done, since the Red Army occupied those areas. Roosevelt’s successor, Harry S. Truman, decided that a “tougher” policy toward the Soviets was in order, and he began to press the Russians on a number of issues. By 1947, relations between the two former allies had nearly reached the breaking point and the Cold War was in full swing.

“President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2635 [accessed Apr 12, 2009]

 

On This Day

1204 – The Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople.

1782 – The British navy won its only naval engagement against the colonists in the American Revolution at the Battle of Saints, off Dominica.

1811 – The first colonists arrived at Cape Disappointment, Washington.

1861 – Fort Sumter was shelled by Confederacy, starting America’s Civil War.

1864 – Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest captured Fort Pillow, in Tennessee and slaughters the black Union troops there.

1944 – The U.S. Twentieth Air Force was activated to begin the strategic bombing of Japan.

1961 – Soviet Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin became first man to orbit the Earth.

1963 – Police used dogs and cattle prods on peaceful civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham, AL.

1981 – The space shuttle Columbia blasted off from Cape Canaveral, FL, on its first test flight.

1989 – In the U.S.S.R, ration cards were issued for the first time since World War II. The ration was prompted by a sugar shortage.

April 12, 1861

Fort Sumter fired upon

The American Civil War begins when Confederates fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

The fort had been the source of tension between the Union and Confederacy for several months. After South Carolina seceded, the state demanded the fort be turned over but Union officials refused. A supply ship, the “Star of the West,” tried to reach Fort Sumter on January 9, but the shore batteries opened fire and drove it away. For both sides, Sumter was a symbol of sovereignty. The Union could not allow it to fall to the Confederates, although throughout the Deep South other federal installations had been seized. For South Carolinians, secession meant little if the Yankees still held the stronghold. The issue hung in the air when Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office on March 4, stating in his inauguration address: “You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors.”

Lincoln did not try to send reinforcements but he did send in food. This way, Lincoln could characterize the operation as a humanitarian mission, bringing, in his words, “food for hungry men.” He sent word to the Confederates in Charleston of his intentions on April 6. The Confederate Congress at Montgomery, Alabama, had decided on February 15 that Sumter and other forts must be acquired “either by negotiation or force.” Negotiation, it seemed, had failed. The Confederates demanded surrender of the fort, but Major Robert Anderson, commander of Fort Sumter, refused.

At 4:30 a.m. on April 12, the Confederate guns opened fire. For thirty-three hours, the shore batteries lobbed 4,000 shells in the direction of the fort. Finally, the garrison inside the battered fort raised the white flag. No one on either side had been killed, although two Union soldiers died when the departing soldiers fired a gun salute, and some cartridges exploded prematurely. It was a nearly bloodless beginning to America’s bloodiest war.

“Fort Sumter fired upon,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2168 [accessed Apr 12, 2009]

21
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-21-08: Stonewall

The First Battle of Bull Run

In the first major land battle of the Civil War, a large Union force under General Irvin McDowell is routed by a Confederate army under General Pierre G.T. Beauregard.

Three months after the Civil War erupted at Fort Sumter, Union military command still believed that the Confederacy could be crushed quickly and with little loss of life. In July, this overconfidence led to a premature offensive into northern Virginia by General McDowell. Searching out the Confederate forces, McDowell led 34,000 troops–mostly inexperienced and poorly trained militiamen–toward the railroad junction of Manassas, located just 30 miles from Washington, D.C. Alerted to the Union advance, General Beauregard massed some 20,000 troops there and was soon joined by General Joseph Johnston, who brought some 9,000 more troops by railroad.

On the morning of July 21, hearing of the proximity of the two opposing forces, hundreds of civilians–men, women, and children–turned out to watch the first major battle of the Civil War. The fighting commenced with three Union divisions crossing the Bull Run stream, and the Confederate flank was driven back to Henry House Hill. However, at this strategic location, Beauregard had fashioned a strong defensive line anchored by a brigade of Virginia infantry under General Thomas J. Jackson. Firing from a concealed slope, Jackson’s men repulsed a series of Federal charges, winning Jackson his famous nickname “Stonewall.”

Meanwhile, Confederate cavalry under J.E.B. Stuart captured the Union artillery, and Beauregard ordered a counterattack on the exposed Union right flank. The rebels came charging down the hill, yelling furiously, and McDowell’s line was broken, forcing his troops in a hasty retreat across Bull Run. The retreat soon became an unorganized flight, and supplies littered the road back to Washington. Union forces endured a loss of 3,000 men killed, wounded, or missing in action while the Confederates suffered 2,000 casualties. The scale of this bloodshed horrified not only the frightened spectators at Bull Run but also the U.S. government in Washington, which was faced with an uncertain military strategy in quelling the “Southern insurrection.”

“The First Battle of Bull Run.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Jul 2008, 05:00 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5195.

 

On This Day

1733 – John Winthrop was granted the first honorary Doctor of Law Degree in the U.S. The honor was given by Harvard College in Cambridge, MA.

1873 – Jesse James and his gang pulled off the first train robbery in the U.S. They took $3,000 from the Rock Island Express at Adair, IA.

1930 – The Veterans’ Administration of the United States was established.

1940 – Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia were annexed by the Soviet Union.

1944 – American forces landed on Guam during World War II.

1947 – Loren MacIver’s portrait of Emmett Kelly as Willie the Clown appeared on the cover of “LIFE” magazine.

1949 – The U.S. Senate ratified the North Atlantic Treaty.

1954 – The Geneva Conference partitioned Vietnam into North Vietnam and South Vietnam.

1957 – Althea Gibson became the first black woman to win a major U.S. tennis title when she won the Women’s National clay-court singles competition.

1959 – A U.S. District Court judge in New York City ruled that “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” was not a dirty book.

1980 – Draft registration began in the United States for 19 and 20-year-old men.

1997 – The U.S.S. Constitution, which defended the United States during the War of 1812, set sail under its own power for the first time in 116 years.

 

 

Monkey Trial ends

In Dayton, Tennessee, the so-called “Monkey Trial” ends with John Thomas Scopes being convicted of teaching evolution in violation of Tennessee law. Scopes was ordered to pay a fine of $100, the minimum the law allowed.

“Monkey Trial ends.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Jul 2008, 05:01 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5196.

Hitler to Germany: “I’m still alive.”

On this day in 1944, Adolf Hitler takes to the airwaves to announce that the attempt on his life has failed and that “accounts will be settled.”

Hitler had survived the bomb blast that was meant to take his life. He had suffered punctured eardrums, some burns and minor wounds, but nothing that would keep him from regaining control of the government and finding the rebels. In fact, the coup d’etat that was to accompany the assassination of Hitler was put down in a mere 11 1/2 hours. In Berlin, Army Major Otto Remer, believed to be apolitical by the conspirators and willing to carry out any orders given him, was told that the Fuhrer was dead and that he, Remer, was to arrest Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda. But Goebbels had other news for Remer-Hitler was alive. And he proved it, by getting the leader on the phone (the rebels had forgotten to cut the phone lines). Hitler then gave Remer direct orders to put down any army rebellion and to follow only his orders or those of Goebbels or Himmler. Remer let Goebbels go. The SS then snapped into action, arriving in Berlin, now in chaos, just in time to convince many high German officers to remain loyal to Hitler.

Arrests, torture sessions, executions, and suicides followed. Count Claus von Stauffenberg, the man who actually planted the explosive in the room with Hitler and who had insisted to his co-conspirators that “the explosion was as if a 15-millimeter shell had hit. No one in that room can still be alive.” But it was Stauffenberg who would not be alive for much longer; he was shot dead the very day of the attempt by a pro-Hitler officer. The plot was completely undone.

Now Hitler had to restore calm and confidence to the German civilian population. At 1 a.m., July 21, Hitler’s voice broke through the radio airwaves: “I am unhurt and well…. A very small clique of ambitious, irresponsible…and stupid officers had concocted a plot to eliminate me…. It is a gang of criminal elements which will be destroyed without mercy. I therefore give orders now that no military authority…is to obey orders from this crew of usurpers…. This time we shall settle account with them in the manner to which we National Socialists are accustomed.”

“Hitler to Germany: “I’m still alive.”.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Jul 2008, 05:10 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6526.

Eisenhower presents his “Open Skies” plan

President Dwight D. Eisenhower presents his “Open Skies” plan at the 1955 Geneva summit meeting with representatives of France, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union. The plan, though never accepted, laid the foundation for President Ronald Reagan’s later policy of “trust, but verify” in relation to arms agreements with the Soviet Union.

“Eisenhower presents his “Open Skies” plan.” 2008. The History Channel website. 20 Jul 2008, 05:03 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2735.

12
Apr
08

On This Day, 4-12-08: FDR

President Roosevelt dies

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the longest serving president in American history, dies of a cerebral hemorrhage three months into his fourth term.

In 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, Governor Roosevelt of New York was elected the 32nd president of the United States. In his inaugural address in March 1933, President Roosevelt promised Americans that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” and outlined his “New Deal”–an expansion of the federal government as an instrument of employment opportunity and welfare. Although criticized by the business community, Roosevelt’s progressive legislation improved America’s economic climate, and in 1936 he swept to re-election.

During his second term, he became increasingly concerned with German and Japanese aggression and so began a long campaign to awaken America from its isolationist slumber. In 1940, with World War II raging in Europe and the Pacific, Roosevelt agreed to run for an unprecedented third term. Re-elected by Americans who valued his strong leadership, he proved a highly effective commander in chief during World War II. Under Roosevelt’s guidance, America became, in his own words, the “great arsenal of democracy” and succeeded in shifting the balance of power in World War II firmly in the Allies’ favor. In 1944, with the war not yet won, he was re-elected to a fourth term.

Three months after his inauguration, while resting at his retreat in Warm Springs, Georgia, Roosevelt died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 63. Following a solemn parade of his coffin through the streets of the nation’s capital, his body was buried in a family plot in Hyde Park, New York. Millions of Americans mourned the death of the man who led the United States through two of the greatest crises of the 20th century: the Great Depression and World War II. Roosevelt’s unparalleled 13 years as president led to the passing of the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which limited future presidents to a maximum of two consecutive elected terms in office.

“President Roosevelt dies.” 2008. The History Channel website. 12 Apr 2008, 07:47 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4913.

Roosevelt left a controversial legacy in terms of U.S.-Soviet relations. Critics charged that the president had been “soft” on the communists and naive in dealing with Stalin. The meetings at Yalta, they claimed, resulted in a “sellout” that left the Soviets in control of Eastern Europe and half of Germany. Roosevelt’s defenders responded that he made the best of difficult circumstances. He kept the Grand Alliance between the United States, the Soviet Union, and Great Britain intact long enough to defeat Germany. As for Eastern Europe and Germany, there was little Roosevelt could have done, since the Red Army occupied those areas. Roosevelt’s successor, Harry S. Truman, decided that a “tougher” policy toward the Soviets was in order, and he began to press the Russians on a number of issues. By 1947, relations between the two former allies had nearly reached the breaking point and the Cold War was in full swing.

“President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies.” 2008. The History Channel website. 12 Apr 2008, 07:48 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2635.

1204 – The Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople.

1770 – The British Parliament repealed the Townsend Acts.

1782 – The British navy won its only naval engagement against the colonists in the American Revolution at the Battle of Saints, off Dominica.

1861 – Fort Sumter was shelled by Confederacy, starting America’s Civil War.

The Civil War begins

The bloodiest four years in American history begin when Confederate shore batteries under General P.G.T. Beauregard open fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Bay. During the next 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort. On April 13, U.S. Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort. Two days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to quell the Southern “insurrection.”

“The Civil War begins.” 2008. The History Channel website. 12 Apr 2008, 07:42 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4911.

1864 – Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest captured Fort Pillow, in Tennessee and slaughters the black Union troops there.

The Fort Pillow Massacre

During the American Civil War, Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederate raiders attack the isolated Union garrison at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, overlooking the Mississippi River. The fort, an important part of the Confederate river defense system, was captured by federal forces in 1862. Of the 500-strong Union garrison defending the fort, more than half the soldiers were African-Americans.

“The Fort Pillow Massacre.” 2008. The History Channel website. 12 Apr 2008, 07:44 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4912.

1892 – Voters in Lockport, New York, became the first in the U.S. to use voting machines.

1927 – The British Cabinet came out in favor of women voting rights.

1944 – The U.S. Twentieth Air Force was activated to begin the strategic bombing of Japan.

1955 – The University of Michigan Polio Vaccine Evaluation Center announced that the polio vaccine of Dr. Jonas Salk was “safe, effective and potent.”

1961 – Soviet Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin became first man to orbit the Earth.

On April 12, 1961, aboard the spacecraft Vostok, Soviet Major Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human being to travel into space. During the flight, the 27-year-old test pilot and industrial technician also became the first man to orbit the planet, a feat accomplished by his space capsule in 89 minutes. The only statement attributed to Gagarin during his historic one hour and 48 minutes in space was, Flight is proceeding normally; I am well.

http://www.thehistorychannel.co.uk/site/this_day_in_history/this_day_April_12.php

1963 – Police used dogs and cattle prods on peaceful civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham, AL.

1966 – Emmett Ashford became the first African-American major league umpire.

1969 – Lucy and Snoopy of the comic strip “Peanuts” made the cover of “Saturday Review.”

1981 – The space shuttle Columbia blasted off from Cape Canaveral, FL, on its first test flight.

1983 – Harold Washington was elected the first black mayor of Chicago.

1985 – U.S. Senator Jake Garn of Utah became the first senator to fly in space as the shuttle Discovery lifted off from Cape Canaveral, FL.

1989 – In the U.S.S.R, ration cards were issued for the first time since World War II. The ration was prompted by a sugar shortage.

1993 – NATO began enforcing a no-fly zone over Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Galileo is convicted of heresy

On this day in 1633, chief inquisitor Father Vincenzo Maculano da Firenzuola, appointed by Pope Urban VIII, begins the inquisition of physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei. Galileo  was ordered to turn himself in to the Holy Office to begin trial for holding the belief that the Earth revolves around the Sun, which was deemed heretical by the Catholic Church. Standard practice demanded that the accused be imprisoned and secluded during the trial.

The Judgement:

“We pronounce, judge, and declare, that you, the said Galileo . . . have rendered yourself vehemently suspected by this Holy Office of heresy, that is, of having believed and held the doctrine (which is false and contrary to the Holy and Divine Scriptures) that the sun is the center of the world, and that it does not move from east to west, and that the earth does move, and is not the center of the world.”

The Penalty:

“We order that by a public edict the book of Dialogues of Galileo Galilei be prohibited, and We condemn thee to the prison of this Holy Office during Our will and pleasure; and as a salutary penance We enjoin on thee that for the space of three years thou shalt recite once a week the Seven Penitential Psalms.”

“Galileo is convicted of heresy.” 2008. The History Channel website. 12 Apr 2008, 07:25 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=970.

First gentile governor arrives in Utah

Salt Lake City offers an uneasy welcome to Alfred Cummings, its first non-Mormon governor, which signals the end of the so-called “Utah War.”

The Mormon acceptance of a gentile governor came after more than a year of tensions and military threats between the U.S. government and Brigham Young’s Utah theocracy. Sometimes referred to as the Utah War, this little-known conflict arose out of fundamental questions about the autonomy of the Mormon-controlled territory of Utah. Was Utah an American state or an independent nation? Could the Mormon Church maintain its tight controls over the political and economic fate of the territory while still abiding by the laws and dictates of the United States?

“First gentile governor arrives in Utah.” 2008. The History Channel website. 12 Apr 2008, 07:32 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4486.




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