Saturday, June 18, 2016

Today in History for June 18, 2016

General John McClernand
June 18, 1178 – Five Canterbury monks saw “two horns of light” on the moon’s surface, what was possibly the Giordano Bruno crater being formed. It is believed that the current oscillations of the Moon's distance from the Earth (on the order of meters) are a result of this collision.

June 18, 1621 - The first duel in America took place in the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts.

June 18, 1684 – The charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony was revoked via a scire facias writ issued by an English court.

June 18, 1767 – Samuel Wallis, an English sea captain, sighted Tahiti and is considered the first European to reach the island.

June 18, 1778 – During the American Revolutionary War, 15,000 British troops under General Sir Henry Clinton abandoned Philadelphia, Pa., the former U.S. capital, after nine months of occupation.

June 18, 1812 – The U.S. Congress declared war on Great Britain, Canada, and Ireland, marking the start of the War of 1812 as President James Madison signed the declaration of war into law. The American war declaration, opposed by a sizable minority in Congress, had been called in response to trade restrictions and the British economic blockade of France, the induction of American seaman into the British Royal Navy against their will, and the British support of hostile Indian tribes along the Great Lakes frontier. Unknown to the United States, Britain had agreed to repeal the offending trade orders two days before, but the news didn't reach our shores for nearly a month.

June 18, 1815 – During the Napoleonic Wars, the Battle of Waterloo in Belgium resulted in the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte by the Duke of Wellington and Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher forcing him to abdicate the throne of France for the second and last time. Napoleon and Michel Ney led the French army of around 69,000 troops against the Duke of Wellington and about 67,000 multi-national - British, Dutch, Belgian, and German - troops, with the added forces of Gebhard von Blücher's 48,000-strong Prussian army, which arrived near the end of the day. Napoleon had surrendered the previous year, and was exiled to the Island of Elba off the coast of Italy; he escaped in March 1815 and regained control of his empire, and the allied forces reassembled to depose him once again.

June 18, 1842 – Monroe County, Alabama’s joint ownership of the Masonic Hall building at Claiborne, Ala. was sold off during a public sale on this date.

June 18, 1842 – Richard Francis Burton sailed for India as an ensign in the British East India Company army.

June 18, 1859 – The first ascent of Aletschhorn, second summit of the Bernese Alps.

June 18, 1860 - Democrats reconvened in Baltimore to select a presidential nominee. Douglas couldn't make the necessary 2/3 majority until the anti-Douglas delegates left on June 22, and the floor rules were changed to require 2/3 vote of the members present. On June 23, the Convention nominated Stephen Douglas and Herschal V. Johnson.

June 18, 1861 – During the Civil War, Col. James W. Riple was the man in charge of munitions production for the United States. Unfortunately, several of his better manufacturing plants were captured and the accompanying machinery relocated by the Confederates in these early days of the war. The plant at Harpers Ferry was dismantled and shipped South in its entirety. Since demand was sky-high to supply all the incoming recruits, Ripley was driven to place huge orders for guns with private manufacturers. Thereby Colt, Remington, and other arms manufacturing companies profited.

June 18, 1862 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought near Fair Oaks and on the Nine Mile Road, Va.; at Apache Pass, Arizona; at Wilson's Gap, Tenn.; at Tallahatchie Bridge, Miss.; and at Hambright's Station, Mo.

June 18, 1862 – During the Civil War, Union forces captured the Cumberland Gap. The Cumberland Gap was an odd geographical feature in more ways than one. Famous since the days of Davy Crockett, and a vital pass through the Cumberland Mountains, it was fought over repeatedly. On this day, it was in the hands of the Union, taken by General George W. Morgan and company. Another oddity of the area was its political affiliation. The Cumberland Gap was close to the parts of eastern Tennessee, Kentucky, western Carolina and north Georgia where sentiment was strongly pro-Union despite being in the heart land of the South.

June 18, 1863 – During the Civil War, skirmishes were fought at Birdsong Ferry, Miss.; at Coldwater Bridge and Belmont, Miss.; and near Plaquemine, La.

June 18, 1863 – During the Civil War, after repeated acts of insubordination, General Ulysses S. Grant relieved General John McClernand on the 31st day of the Vicksburg, Mississippi, siege. McClernand was a politician from Illinois who was commanding the US 13th Corps. He was a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln. McClernand let it be known that he was “furnishing brains” for Grant’s army. McClernand thought it was he, not Grant, who should have been commanding at Vicksburg and he (at times) acted accordingly. Grant wanted him gone. He had his excuse on this day when McClernand sent a message to HIS troops that made it sound like they were they were the only successful soldiers in the siege and all the other Union men were cowards and incompetents. He was relieved of command and sent back to politic at home.

June 18, 1864 - Union hero Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was wounded at Petersburg, Va. while leading an attack against a Confederate position. His wound was pronounced fatal, and Union General Ulysses S. Grant promoted him to brigadier general. However, he survived until 1914 when he died from an infection from the wound he suffered in Petersburg. Grant refrained from futher frontal assaults after the heavy losses the Union suffered on this day.

June 18, 1864 - U.S. Grant was nothing if not realistic. He conceded on this day that he was not going to take Petersburg, Va. by direct assault. Not after Robert E. Lee had moved the entire Army of Northern Virginia in to defensive positions, he wasn’t. Therefore, he settled into siege. Grant’s Union Army controlled two-fifths of the railroad lines and several roads. He concentrated his efforts on gaining possession of the remainder of the transport system and cutting off the flow of supplies.

June 18, 1886 – Mountaineer George Mallory was born in Mobberley, Cheshire, England. He took part in the first three British expeditions to Mount Everest in the early 1920s.

June 18, 1906 – The Grimes School House in Monroe County, Ala. first opened with Miss Annie B. Murphy as teacher.

June 18, 1911 – Len Baggett, the son of J.T. Baggett of Castleberry, Ala., was killed at Jessika, La. Few details about the killing were available.

June 18, 1914 – A shootout occurred on this day around daylight between Handy Randolph and Ed Pleasant, who were both armed with shotguns, near Old Town, Ala. Randolph was shot in the throat and side of the face and was killed instantly. Pleasant was shot just above the knee, shattering the bone.

June 18, 1916 - The National Guard's 4th Alabama Infantry assembled in Montgomery in response to a call for troops from President Woodrow Wilson. The 4th Alabama, under the command of William P. Screws, was one of four state units dispatched to the Mexican border to guard American interests while Gen. John Pershing attempted to capture Mexican revolutionary and bandit Pancho Villa.

June 18, 1916 - Miss Loretta Schwaemmble, the “talented” violinist of Mobile, who had been visiting her sister, Mrs. Clarence Hawkins, left on this Sunday afternoon for North Carolina and Boston, Mass. She was to be the guest of her sister in Evergreen, Ala. when she returned from Boston.

June 18, 1916 – A sizeable crowd of Excel, Ala. residents traveled to New Home on this Sunday to attend the annual communication of the Primitive Baptists.

June 18, 1917 - Author Mary Ward Brown was born in Hamburg, Ala.

June 18, 1923 - Checker Taxi put its first taxi on the streets. The boxy yellow cars were used in many American cities, but they became closely identified with New York City. The last Checker cab was retired in 1999 with almost a million miles on its odometer.

June 18, 1926 – Former Confederate soldier Joseph Franklyn Watson died in Brewton, Ala. and was buried in Union Cemetery in Brewton. Born on April 19, 1840 in Wilcox County, he was taken prisoner at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863 and was forwarded to Point Lookout, Md. He was paroled on Feb. 14, 1865.

June 18, 1928 – Aviator Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly in an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean as she completed a flight from Newfoundland to Wales. She was a passenger. Wilmer Stultz was the pilot and Lou Gordon was the mechanic.

June 18, 1928 – Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, 55, disappeared in the Barents Sea with a crew of five while flying on a rescue mission in the Arctic, seeking missing members of the airship Italia that had crashed while returning from the North Pole. The search for Amundsen and his team was called off in September 1928 by the Norwegian Government and the bodies were never found. Amundsen led the Antarctic expedition (1910–12) that was the first to reach the South Pole on Dec. 14, 1911.

June 18, 1932 – English poet and literary critic Geoffrey Hill was born in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire.

June 18, 1936 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the Evergreen Merchants baseball team had swept a crucial series with Century (Fla.) on the Thursday and Sunday before June 18 to practically cinch the first half banner in the South Alabama league. With a 13-3 record, Evergreen had only four more games to play and two wins was to have put the first half of the season on ice.

June 18, 1936 – In Alabama State Baseball League action, the Evergreen Merchants were scheduled to play the Monroeville Lions in Monroeville on this Thursday, a game that was to mark the return of the “prodigal son,” Skin Hyde, who home from Selma to play for the locals.

June 18, 1936 – The Evergreen Courant reported that the house known as the Wilson “old place,” on West Front Street, was being renovated by the Rutland Hardware Co. and when the work was finished it was to be used by the firm as a funeral home. The Rutland funeral home, when completed, was to be the only exclusive funeral home in Conecuh County.

June 18, 1937 - Author Gail Godwin was born in Birmingham, Ala.

June 18, 1939 – National Baseball Hall of Fame left fielder Lou Brock was born in El Dorado, Ark. He went on to play for the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.

June 18, 1942 – Paul McCartney was born in Liverpool, England.

June 18, 1948 – Novelist and short-story writer Jean McGarry was born in Providence, Rhode Island.

June 18, 1949 – Children’s author and illustrator Chris Van Allsburg was born in Grand Rapids, Mich.

June 18, 1953 – Writer Amy Bloom was born in New York City.

June 18, 1953 - Seventeen Major League Baseball records were tied or broken in a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers.

June 18, 1954 - Albert Patterson, Democratic Party nominee for state attorney general, was assassinated in his hometown of Phenix City, Ala. State and local officials were implicated in the crime, but only Russell County Chief Deputy Albert Fuller was convicted. The murder drew national attention because of Patterson's promise to rid Phenix City, called the "wickedest city in America," of corruption and organized crime. Adding to the drama, John Patterson was elected attorney general in his father's stead, and therefore had charge of the prosecutions in the case.

June 18, 1957 - The annual meeting of Dean Lodge No. 112, F&AM, was held at Brooklyn Masonic Hall on this Tuesday evening. A splendid representation of members was present, including most of the regular officers and visitors from several different states. After business was finished, the following officers were elected to serve the 1957-58 stations: Worshipful Master, J.R. Barnes; Senior Warden, Wm. B. Bradberry; Junior Warden, F.D. Prestwood; Secretary, W.W. Overbey; Treasurer, R.V. McLendon; Senior Deacon, H.O. Moorer; Junior Deacon, J.W. Prestwood; Tyler, Wm. R. Brewer; Senior Steward, O.A. Bradberry; Junior Steward, G.W. Parker; Chaplain, J.C. Hallford; Marshal, J.F. Clements.

June 18, 1960 - Tom Sheehan of the San Francisco Giants became the oldest first-time manager in Major League Baseball. Sheehan was 66 years, two months and 18 days old.

June 18, 1961 - "Gunsmoke" was broadcast for the last time on CBS radio.

June 18, 1961 - Author Angela Johnson was born in Tuskegee, Ala.

June 18, 1963 – Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith was born in Norfolk, Va. He went on to play for Virginia Tech, the Buffalo Bills and the Washington Redskins. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.

June 18, 1965 – During the Vietnam War, for the first time, 28 B-52s fly-bombed a Viet Cong concentration in a heavily forested area of Binh Duong Province northwest of Saigon. Such flights, under the aegis of the Strategic Air Command (SAC), became known as Operation Arc Light. The B-52s that took part in the Arc Light missions had been deployed to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam and more bombers were later deployed to bases in Okinawa and U-Tapao, Thailand.

June 18, 1966 - General William Westmoreland, senior U.S. military commander in Vietnam, sent a new troop request to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Westmoreland stated that he needed 542,588 troops for the war in Vietnam in 1967 – an increase of 111,588 men to the number already serving there. In the end, President Johnson acceded to Westmoreland’s wishes and dispatched the additional troops to South Vietnam, but the increases were done in an incremental fashion. The highest number of U.S. troops in South Vietnam was 543,500, which was reached in 1969.

June 18, 1975 - Fred Lynn of the Boston Red Sox hit three home runs, a triple and a single in a game against the Detroit Tigers. He collected 10 RBIs.

June 18, 1976 – Country music singer Blake Shelton was born in Ada, Okla.

June 18, 1981 – The Evergreen Courant carried a front page photo of the new Evergreen Church of Christ, which was under construction on the Middle Road. The congregation hoped to have its first service in the new building on July 12.

June 18, 1981 – The Evergreen Courant carried a front page photo of Chief Ed Bundy of the Evergreen Police Department standed beside one of the new signs in the city that marked handicapped parking spaces. These signs had been placed in the downtown area and at the Public Library and City Hall. Only vehicles operated by handicapped persons were to be allowed to use these spaces. Vehicles had to have markings, placards, decals or license plates issued to handicapped persons by the State of Alabama. An ordinance adopted by the City Council regarding the signs could be found elsewhere in that issue of The Courant.

June 18, 1982 – Italian banker Roberto Calvi's body was discovered hanging beneath Blackfriars Bridge in London, England.

June 18, 1986 - Don Sutton of Clio, Ala. won his 300th game in Major League Baseball.

June 18, 1996 – Ted Kaczynski, suspected of being the Unabomber, was indicted on 10 criminal counts.

June 18, 1997 - Sirhan Sirhan was denied parole for the 10th time. He had assassinated presidential candidate Robert Kennedy in 1968.

June 18, 2003 – National Baseball Hall of Fame centerfielder and manager Larry Doby passed away at the age of 79 in Montclair, N.J. He went on to play for the Cleveland Indians, the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame ini 1998.

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