July 16, 1779 – Anthony Wayne Earns His Nickname
On this day in 1779, American Brigadier General Anthony Wayne launches a coup de main against British fortifications at Stony Point, New York, on the orders of General George Washington. He earns the moniker “Mad” Anthony Wayne for the ensuing maneuver.
The British fort on the cliffs at Stony Point overlooking the Hudson River threatened West Point, which was only 12 miles upriver. Wayne, at the head of 1,200 light infantry, successfully assaulted what the British believed was an impregnable position, losing only 15 killed and 83 wounded while the British lost 94 killed and wounded and 472 captured. Remarkably, the attack took place under cover of darkness, employed only bayonets as weaponry and lasted a mere 30 minutes. Two days later, Wayne, now dubbed “mad” for his enthusiastic and successful undertaking of a mission that had seemed doomed to failure, destroyed the fortifications and evacuated the area. Congress rewarded Wayne’s efforts with a medal.
Hard. Core. Wayne was a local boy, born in Easttown Township, in Chester County, Pa. Wayne, Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia suburb, is named for General Wayne.
Yeah, I know. It has been well over a month since the evil doctor has graced the readers with a post. I have had a lot on my plate recently. My best friend being deathly ill (our beef and beer raised over 15K for him!), the Evil Surgeon and being blissfully in love, searching for a new job as I hear my current one is going bankrupt…real grown up problems. How in the name of Bea Arthur’s sweet ass am I handling it?
July 9, 1947 – The First Female Army Officer
In a ceremony held at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, General Dwight D. Eisenhower appoints Florence Blanchfield to be a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, making her the first woman in U.S. history to hold permanent military rank.
A member of the Army Nurse Corps since 1917, Blanchfield secured her commission following the passage of the Army-Navy Nurse Act of 1947 by Congress. Blanchfield had served as superintendent of the Army Nurse Corps during World War II and was instrumental in securing passage of the Act, which was advocated by Representative Frances Payne Bolton. In 1951, Blanchfield received the Florence Nightingale Award from the International Red Cross. In 1978, a U.S. Army hospital in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, was named in her honor.
And if I may be so bold, Blanchfield was quite a handsome woman. Heh.
Archaeologists may have found the inspiration for Thor’s hammer.
Archaeologists have unearthed a 10th century torshammere in Købelev, on the Danish island of Lolland, that could finally end the debate on how Thor’s legend influenced Viking jewelry. The latest find is unusual as it has runes inscribed that reads ‘Hmar x is’ meaning ‘This is a Hammer’.
‘It was the amulet’s protective power that counted, and often we see torshammere and Christian crosses appearing together, providing double protection’, said Peter Pentz, an archaeologist at the National Museum of Denmark. This object is cast in bronze and has traces of silver or tin and gold plating.
I wonder if they’ll let me use it to fix the shingles atop my shed?
A new book offers readers a colorized glimpse back to the late 1800′s and early 1900′s through postcards.
These postcards are the first color photographs taken of the New World, capturing the majesty of the American landscape, from buzzing city scenes to the dramatic vista of the Grand Canyon.
Dating back to the late 19th century and early 20th century – and now compiled in a book entitled An American Odyssey – they show the people and places of the New World, documenting Native Americans, African Americans, immigrants, cowboys and gold rushers.
The photographs were taken between 1888 and 1924 and were made into postcards celebrating cities, landscapes and everyday life across the country.
The photo of the Georgetown Loop in Colorado is the most fascinating, in my opinion.
June 18, 1778 – British Abandon Philadelphia
On this day in 1778, after almost nine months of occupation, 15,000 British troops under General Sir Henry Clinton evacuate Philadelphia, the former U.S. capital.
The British position in Philadelphia became untenable after France’s entrance into the war on the side of the Americans. To avoid the French fleet, General Clinton was forced to lead his British-Hessian force to New York City by land. Loyalists in the city sailed down the Delaware River to escape the Patriots, who returned to Philadelphia the day after the British departure. U.S. General Benedict Arnold, who led the force that reclaimed the city without bloodshed, was appointed military governor. On June 24, the Continental Congress returned to the city from its temporary quarters at York, Pennsylvania.
Little known fact: the British also fled Philadelphia’s high taxes and sewer rats the size of cannons.
June 11, 1509 – Henry VIII Marries First Wife
King Henry VIII of England marries Catherine of Aragon, the first of six wives he will have in his lifetime. When Catherine failed to produce a male heir, Henry divorced her against the will of the Roman Catholic Church, thus precipitating the Protestant Reformation in England.
Henry went on to have five more wives; two of whom–Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard–he executed for alleged adultery after he grew tired of them. His only surviving child by Catherine of Aragon, Mary, ascended to the throne upon the death of her half-brother, Edward VI, in 1553.
Apparently, drug dealers surfaced in the 1500′s, because any guy who marries six times is obviously smoking crack.
June 4, 1919: Congress passes the 19th Amendment
The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote, is passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification.
In 1919, the 19th Amendment, which stated that “the rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex,” passed both houses of Congress and was sent to the states for ratification. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the amendment, giving it the two-thirds majority of state ratification necessary to make it the law of the land. Eight days later, the 19th Amendment took effect.
Yeah, thanks Tennessee! Because of you, people like Cindy Sheehan. Beyonce’, and ScarJo can cast their ill-informed, idiotic ballots. Oh, sorry for perpetuating the #WarOnWomen.
May 28, 1754 – George Washington Experiences Combat For First Time
George Washington, a young lieutenant colonel in the British Army and future president of the United States, leads an attack on French forces at Jumonville Glen on this day in 1754. The battle is later credited with being the opening salvo in the French and Indian War (1754 to 1763).
In the biography His Excellency: George Washington, historian Joseph Ellis recounts Washington’s first combat experience. Washington and 40 colonial troops had been encamped near the French garrison at Fort Duquesne when he received an urgent message to rescue Indian allies in the area who were threatened by French forces. In his official report of the encounter, Washington described how his troops, aided by warriors under the Indian leader Tanacharison, surrounded a detachment of 32 French soldiers near the fort on May 28 and, within 15 minutes, killed 10 of them, including the garrison’s commander, wounded one and took another 21 prisoner.
Controversy surrounded the attack both at the time and after the war. Historical accounts indicate that the French commander, Joseph Coulon De Jumonville had actually tried to surrender but was slain by Tanacharison. Tanacharison’s rash act incited the other warriors to kill and scalp nine other French soldiers before Washington could intervene.
Washington lost more battles than he won, and make a lot of mistakes, especially early on. That said, he is generally regarded as one of the greatest generals in American history. I thoroughly recommend Ellis’ book, though. It’s fantastic.
The only unofficial photo of the Hiroshima attack is going up for auction this week.
The black-and-white image was taken from the window of one of the U.S bombers on the historic, top-secret raid and is the only unofficial photo of the bombing known to exist. It shows the enormous mushroom cloud rising above the city moments after bomber Enola Gay dropped its catastrophic payload on August 6, 1945.
The poignnat photo was taken by Second Lieutenant Russell Gackenbach, navigator onboard Necessary Evil, one of the three B-29 planes that took part in the attack. As the three bombers banked away from the atomic blast, 2nd Lt Gackenbach took a photo of it on his own camera which he had smuggled onboard the plane.
The photograph is thought to have been taken around a minute after the explosion, from 12 miles away at 30,000 feet.
Fascinating, but I’m still holding out for the photo of Hitler on ice.