March 9, 1454 – Italian cartographer and explorer Amerigo Vespucci was born in Florence, Italy. Matthias Ringmann, a German mapmaker, named the American continent in his honor.
March 9, 1772 – Ferdinand Claiborne was born in Sussex County, Va.
March 9, 1781 - After successfully capturing British positions in Louisiana and Mississippi, Spanish General Bernardo de Galvez, commander of the Spanish forces in North America, turned his attention to the British-occupied city of Pensacola, Fla. Galvez and a Spanish naval force of more than 40 ships and 3,500 men landed at Santa Rosa Island and begin a two-month siege of British occupying forces that becomes known as the Battle of Pensacola.
March 9, 1788 - Connecticut became the fifth state to join the United States.
March 9, 1814 – Edmund P. Gaines, who arrested Aaron Burr near Fort Stoddert in 1807, was promoted to brigadier general during the War of 1812 and commanded the post at Fort Erie after the U.S. capture.
March 9, 1818 – Following the creation of the Alabama Territory in 1817, Col. John Crowell, then a Creek Indian agent, was chosen (without opposition) to represent the territory in Congress. His term would expire on March 3, 1819.
March 9, 1832 - Abraham Lincoln announced that he would run for a political office for the first time. He was unsuccessful in his run for a seat in the Illinois state legislature.
March 9, 1840 – Confederate soldier Arthur B. Hale, who would go on to serve in Co. F of the 36th Alabama Infantry, was born.
March 9, 1841 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the United States v. The Amistad case that captive Africans who had seized control of the ship carrying them had been taken into slavery illegally.
March 9, 1859 - The National Association of Baseball Players adopted the rule that limited the size of bats to no more than 2-1/2 inches in diameter.
March 9, 1862 – During the five-hour Battle of Hampton Roads, Va., the USS Monitor dueled to a standstill with the C.S.S. Virginia (originally the C.S.S. Merrimack) in one of the most famous moments in naval history - the first time two ironclads faced each other in a naval engagement. During the battle, the two ships circled one another, jockeying for position as they fired their guns. The cannon balls simply deflected off the iron ships. In the early afternoon, the Virginia pulled back to Norfolk. Neither ship was seriously damaged, but the Monitor effectively ended the short reign of terror that the Confederate ironclad had brought to the Union navy.
March 9, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought on Big Creek and Mountain Grove, Mo.; on Granny White’s Pike, in the vicinity of Nashville, Tenn.; and at Sangster’s Station, Va. A five-day Federal operation moving toward Purdy and Crump’s Landing, Tenn. began.
March 9, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Fort Peyton, seven miles southwest of Saint Augustine, Fla.; at Fort McAllister, Ga.; at Hazle Green, Ky.; on the Comite River in Louisiana, near the Montesano Bridge; and at Thompson’s Station, Tenn.
March 9, 1863 - While most of the time the War of Southern Secession was a seemingly endless succession of battles, bitterness and bloodshed, there were nevertheless moments of frivolity. U.S. Grant had one such moment today when he sent a “Quaker” gunboat down the Mississippi River in front of Vicksburg. The understandably nervous defenders of the Vicksburg works poured a rain of shot at this vessel, but did not sink her. She was made of logs, with stacked barrels for smokestacks. Other barrels which had formerly contained rations, primarily pork, had black circles painted on their lids to make them resemble mortars. The time would come when real gunboats would need to run the Vicksburg gauntlet.
March 9, 1863 – During the Civil War, a six-day Federal operation encompassing Bloomfield, Gum Slough, Kennett and Hornersville, Mo., and Chalk Bluff, Ark. began. A five-day Federal reconnaissance from Salem to Versailles, Tenn. began. Captain John Mosby’s Confederate force captured Union Brigadier General Edwin Henry Stoughton in his bed at Fairfax Courthouse, Va.
March 9, 1864 - U.S. President Abraham Lincoln appointed General Ulysses S. Grant to command all of the armies of the United States. General Willam T. Sherman succeeded Grant as the commander in the western theater.
March 9, 1864 – After getting captured by the Union at Campbell’s Station, Noah Dallas Peacock (Lewis Lavon Peacock’s older brother) was transferred from Fort Delaware to Camp Chase, just outside of Columbus, Ohio.
March 9, 1864 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought in the vicinity of Nickajack Gap, Ga.; in the vicinity of Greenwich, Va.; near Suffolk, Va.; and at Cricket Hill, Va. A three-day Federal operation into King and Queen County, Va. began, and a nine-day Federal operation to the Piankatank, Va. began.
March 9, 1865 – During the Civil War, a six-day Federal reconnaissance against Indians from Fort Larned to Coon Creek, Mulberry Creek and then on to Crooked Creek, Kansas began. A skirmish was fought at Howard’s Mill, Ky. A six-day Federal operation departing Cape Girardeau into Bollinger, Wayne, and Stoddard Counties, Mo. began. Federals occupied Columbia, Va.
March 9, 1871 – After the Alabama state legislature was petitioned to incorporate the City of Greenville, the legislature granted a charter on this day, which was accepted by a vote of the people on May 20, 1871. John B. Lewis was elected the first Mayor of the City of Greenville. (In other words, Greenville was officially incorporated as a municipality on this day.)
March 9, 1892 – Novelist and poet Vita Sacville-West was born near Sevenoaks, England.
March 9, 1905 – The Monroe Journal reported that The Demopolis Express-Dispatch had been succeeded by The Demopolis Times, which was published by a stock company of such men as Benj. F. Elmore, W.M. Tucker, E.B. McCarty and H.W. Hayden.
March 9, 1913 – Virginia Woolf delivered the manuscript for her first novel, “The Voyage Out,” to the Duckworth Publishing House.
March 9, 1916 – The Conecuh Record reported that M.A. Travis was running a saw mill at Owassa, Ala.
March 9, 1916 – The Conecuh Record reported that the field day at the Agricultural School during the previous week “was a success in every particular, and Prof. Lewis is due much credit for the manner in which he conducted the exercises.”
March 9, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that W.J. Henderson had removed his “tonsorial parlor” to the Yarbough building on the southside of the square in Monroeville, Ala., where “he will be pleased to accommodate his friends and patrons.”
March 9, 1916 – The Monroe Journal reported that one of the largest audiences ever assembled in the Monroe County High School auditorium was present to greet Ralph Bingham, the master humorist in the concluding attraction of the Lyceum course for the season. Bingham “rendered a varied program which was hugely enjoyed.”
March 9, 1918 – One of the 20th Century’s best-selling novelists, Mickey Spillane, was born in New York City.
March 9, 1934 - Yuri Gagarin was born in Klushino, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union. Gagarin would go on to become the first human to both enter space and orbit the Earth. Seven years following his historic achievements, Gagarin died in a helicopter crash, the cause of which remains a mystery to this day.
March 9, 1941 - Mrs. George T. Jackson, wife of a conservation employee connected with the local C.C.C. camp, was fatally injured early on this Sunday morning, five miles south of Castleberry, in Escambia County, when struck by an automobile said to have been driven by James Stallworth, Evergreen businessman. According to information received from a member of the Highway Patrol, Mr. and Mrs. Jackson were standing near the scene of an accident which had occurred just a few minutes before in which Mr. C.A. McGowin, Evergreen automobile dealer, and a party from Castleberry were involved. According to reports, this accident took place at the foot of a hill, and very soon after the Jackson car stopped, the car driven by Stallworth came over the crest of the hill. The exact manner in which the unfortunate accident happened could not be learned, but it is said that Stallworth evidently was unable to stop his car in time to miss the wreckage. Witnesses, according to information obtainable, were unable to say whether the Stallworth car hit Mrs. Jackson first or whether it hit the wreckage and then hit Mrs. Jackson. Mrs. Jackson was placed in a car and rushed to the Memorial Hospital in Brewton where she died about 6 a.m. Mon., March 10. The body was sent to her home in Travis City, Mich. for burial.
March 9, 1943 – An 81-foot-long, two-man Japanese “suicide” submarine that was captured at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941 was put on display from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. in front of Greenville City Hall on Commerce Street in Greenville, Ala. During a U.S. Treasury Deparment tour of the state, the sub was also show in Mobile (March 8), Montgomery (March 10, Sylacauga, Birmingham and Anniston. On its way from Mobile to Greenville, the sub passed through Evergreen, McKenzie and Georgiana.
March 9, 1960 – Major League Baseball catcher Benito Santiago was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. He would go on to play for the San Diego Padres, the Florida Marlins, the Cincinnati Reds, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Chicago Cubs, the San Francisco Giants, the Kansas City Royals and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
March 9, 1964 - In the Alabama case New York Times v. Sullivan, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a landmark free speech decision. A Montgomery city commissioner, L. B. Sullivan, had sued the Times for running a factually inaccurate ad that criticized the city's handling of civil rights demonstrators. Citing the First Amendment the court ruled against Sullivan, thereby strengthening the right to freely criticize government.
March 9, 1965 - The 3,500 Marines of the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade under Brig. Gen. Frederick J. Karch continued to land at Da Nang. The Marines had begun disembarking from the USS Henrico, Union, and Vancouver on March 8 and were the first U.S. combat troops in South Vietnam. Among the arrivals on this day were the first U.S. armor in Vietnam—a tank of the 3rd Marine Tank Battalion. More tanks, including those with flame-throwing capability, followed in a few days. There was scattered firing from Viet Cong soldiers hidden ashore as the Marines landed, but no Marines were hit. The Marines were at once assigned to protect the U.S. base at Da Nang, both from the immediate perimeter and from the high ground along a ridge to the west.
March 9, 1970- The U.S. Marines turned over control of the five northernmost provinces in South Vietnam to the U.S. Army. The Marines had been responsible for this area since they first arrived in South Vietnam in 1965. The change in responsibility for this area was part of President Richard Nixon’s initiative to reduce U.S. troop levels as the South Vietnamese accepted more responsibility for the fighting. After the departure of the 3rd Marine Division from Vietnam in late 1969, the 1st Marine Division was the only marine division left operating in South Vietnam.
March 9, 1972 – Bruce Dale Jones, 20, of Evergreen, Ala., was killed in action at Tan Son Nhut Airbase in Gia Dinh, South Vietnam, where he was serving as a sergeant in the Air Force’s 377th Security Police Squadron.
March 9, 1973 – Major League Baseball third baseman Aaron Boone was born in La Mesa, Calif. He would go on to play for the Cincinnati Reds, the New York Yankees, the Cleveland Indians, the Florida Marlins, the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros.
March 9, 1978 – The Evergreen Courant reported that former Evergreen High School basketball star David Thomas, a 6-foot-5 senior at Jacksonville State, “closed out a brilliant basketball career” by scoring 32 points to lead his team to a win over arch-rival North Alabama at Pete Matthews Coliseum. He made 13-of-15 shots from the floor, including two slam dunks, and made six-of-nine free throws. He also had nine rebounds and blocked two shots.
March 9, 1985 - "Gone With The Wind" went on sale in video stores across the U.S. for the first time.
March 9, 2001 - A movie version of Alabama author Linda Howard's “Loving Evangeline” was released.
March 9, 2004 – The Alabama Senate voted, two to one (14-6), to approve House Joint Resolution No. 100, which proposed designating Conecuh Ridge Alabama Fine Whiskey as the Alabama State Spirit.