|CSA artillery officer John Pelham|
March 17, 461 A.D. - Bishop Patrick, St. Patrick, died in Saul and now Ireland celebrates March 17 in his honor.
March 17, 1756 - St. Patrick's Day was celebrated in New York City for the first time. The event took place at the Crown and Thistle Tavern.
March 17, 1766 - Britain repealed the Stamp Act that had caused resentment in the North American colonies.
March 17, 1776 – During the American Revolution, British forces evacuated Boston, ending the Siege of Boston, after George Washington and Henry Knox placed fortifications and artillery in positions on Dorchester Heights, which overlooks the city from the south. The British, who had occupied Boston for eight years, evacuated to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
March 17, 1778 - England declared war on France after France's official recognition of the United States as an independent nation.
March 17, 1780 – During the American Revolution, George Washington granted the Continental Army a holiday "as an act of solidarity with the Irish in their fight for independence".
March 17, 1804 - James Felix Bridger, known as Jim Bridger, was born in Richmond, Va. He was among the foremost mountain men, trappers, scouts and guides who explored and trapped the Western United States during the decades of 1820–1850, as well as mediating between native tribes and encroaching whites.
March 17, 1825 - Benjamin Sterling Turner was born a slave in Weldon, North Carolina. In 1830, he was brought to Dallas County, Ala. After freedom, Turner began a mercantile business and was elected Dallas County tax collector in 1867. In 1871, Turner was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming the state’s first African-American congressman.
March 17, 1845 - Stephen Perry patented the first rubber bands.
March 17, 1863 - The Battle of Kelly's Ford occurred as Union cavalry attacked Confederate cavalry at Kelly’s Ford, a crossing of the Rappahannock River east of Culpeper Court House, Va. Although the Yankees were pushed back and failed to take any ground, the engagement proved that the Federal troopers could hold their own against their Rebel counterparts.
March 17, 1863 – John Pelham, a 24-year-old Confederate hero from Calhoun County, Ala., was mortally wounded on the battlefield at Kelley's Ford, Virginia. He died the next day and his body lay in state in the capitol at Richmond before being taken to Alabama for burial. Pelham's skill and daring as an artillery commander distinguished him from the outset of the Civil War and earned him the nickname "the gallant Pelham" from Robert E. Lee.
March 17, 1865 - The Mobile, Ala. Campaign began. Mobile had had Union troops march around it on nearly all sides and all directions, except into it. Union Maj. Gen. E.R.S. Canby planned to change all that. He gathered up his forces, which numbered in the vicinity of 32,000 men, and started marching one group from Mobile Point and another from Pensacola. Available for the defense of the city were perhaps 2,800 Confederates. The campaign ended on April 7, 1865.
March 17, 1865 – Ordered to capture Mobile, Union Gen. E.R.S. Canby led 32,000 men from Forts Gaines and Morgan, while Union Maj. Gen. Frederick Steele moved northwestward from Pensacola with 13,000 troops. The two columns converged at Spanish Fort.
March 17, 1880 - Captain Lawrence Edward Grace "Titus" Oates was born in Putney, London, England. He was an English cavalry officer with the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons, and later an Antarctic explorer, who died during the Terra Nova Expedition. Oates, afflicted with gangrene and frostbite, walked from his tent into a blizzard. His death was seen as an act of self-sacrifice when, aware that his ill health was compromising his three companions' chances of survival, he chose certain death.
March 17, 1894 – Playwright Paul (Eliot) Green was born near Lillington, N.C. His 1924 play “No ‘Count boy” won the Belasco Cup in New York City, and his 1926 play “In Abraham’s Bosom” won the Pulitzer Prize for drama.
March 17, 1901 – Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings were shown at the Bernheim-Jeune Gallery in Paris. It was the first major show for the artist, who had committed suicide 11 years earlier, having sold only one painting in his lifetime. The retrospective featured 71 paintings, all with Van Gogh's characteristic bright colors and textured brush strokes.
March 17, 1915 – The Evergreen Courant reported that R.F. Croom had decided to make his new brick building two stories instead of one as originally planed. The second floor was to be used for meetings of the Knights of Pythias and the Woodmen of the World.
March 17, 1915 – The Evergreen Courant reported that Robert H. Jones and Henry D. Moorer had received their licenses to practice law.
March 17, 1959 – Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, fled Lhasa for India.
March 17, 1970 - The Alabama Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville was dedicated, with Werner von Braun calling it "a graphic display of man's entering into the cosmic age." Now known as the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, visitors tour the museum, which includes rockets and spacecraft, and participate in activities like Space Camp.
March 17, 1971 – Major League Baseball third baseman Bill Mueller was born in Maryland Heights, Mo. He would go on to play for the San Francisco Giants, the Chicago Cubs, the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
March 17, 1985 – Serial killer Richard Ramirez, aka the "Night Stalker", committed the first two murders in his Los Angeles murder spree.
March 17, 2003 – Alabama’s quarter in the “50 State Quarters Program” was released on this date.
March 17, 2003 – Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Robin Cook, resigned from the British Cabinet in disagreement with government plans for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
March 17, 2003 - In a televised presidential address, U.S. President Bush announced that Saddam Hussein had 48 hours to leave Iraq. Also, ABC and NBC ordered their reporters out of Baghdad due to safety concerns related to the rising conflict over Iraq's failure to disarm.
March 17, 2003 - Jose Canseco was released from jail. He was then sentenced to two years of house arrest and three years of probation for his part in a nightclub brawl on Oct. 31, 2001.
March 17, 2005 - Several major league baseball players spoke about steroid use with the House Government Reform Committee. Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro participated. The hearing lasted 11 hours.
March 17, 2006 – The Crichton Leprechaun video was posted to YouTube and fueled media attention to the Crichton Leprechaun Incident and Mobile, Ala.
March 17, 2006 – The “V for Vendetta” movie was released in theaters.