1254: Birth of Venetian explorer Marco Polo.
1676: At the climax of three months of agitation by 29 year old planter Nathaniel Bacon, a makeshift “army” of nearly a thousand angry Virginia frontiersmen and farmers, furious that Governor William Berkeley will not stand with them against Indian harassment and raids, storm into the colonial capital at Jamestown and burn the city to the ground. Although Bacon’s Revolt (a.k.a. Bacon’s Rebellion) represented a clear danger to the colonial government, it rapidly fell apart when Bacon himself contracted dysentery and died in late October. The colony’s dismissive policy as it related to the political challenges of its western frontier, along with other challenges including leaving Bacon out of his inner circle, refusing to allow Bacon to be a part of his fur trade with the Indians, and Doeg American Indian attacks, helped to motivate a popular uprising against Berkeley, who had failed to address the demands of the colonists regarding their safety.A thousand Virginians of all classes and races rose up in arms against Berkeley, attacking Indians, chasing Berkeley from Jamestown, Virginia, and ultimately torching the capital. The rebellion was first suppressed by a few armed merchant ships from London whose captains sided with Berkeley and the loyalists. Government forces from England arrived soon after and spent several years defeating pockets of resistance and reforming the colonial government to be once more under direct royal control.
It was the first rebellion in the American colonies in which discontented frontiersmen took part. A somewhat similar uprising in Maryland involving John Coode and Josias Fendall took place shortly afterwards. The alliance between indentured servants and Africans (most enslaved until death or freed), united by their bond-servitude, disturbed the ruling class, who responded by hardening the racial caste of slavery in an attempt to divide the two races from subsequent united uprisings with the passage of the Virginia Slave Codes of 1705. While the farmers did not succeed in their initial goal of driving the Indians from Virginia, the rebellion did result in Berkeley being recalled to England.
1793: George Washington lays the first cornerstone for the capitol building in the District of Columbia.
1812: A week after his victory over the Russian army at Borodino (DLH 9/7), Napoleon Bonaparte and his Grande Armee enter Moscow and take possession of the Kremlin.
1812: A day after Napoleon’s entry into Moscow, a series of fires begin just after midnight, spreading and building into a three day firestorm that consumes nearly ¾ of the mostly wooden city. The French evacuate until the fire is contained, but remain in occupation of the Russian capital.
1835: HMS Beagle arrives in the Galapagos Islands with naturalist Charles Darwin aboard.
1850: As part of the Compromise of 1850 Congress passes the Fugitive Slave Act.
1862: As part of the plan exposed by Robert E. Lee’s “lost dispatch” (DLH 9/13), a Confederate detachment under Stonewall Jackson captures the town of Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, snagging with it a huge number of U.S. forces (12,419 Federals), the largest capture of American soldiers until the Japanese overwhelmed Bataan in 1942.
1863: The Battle of Chickamauga is fought on the approaches to Chattanooga, Tennessee. The huge clash is a pyrrhic Confederate victory that halts a major Union advance, but at such a cost that the Confederates never really recovered their full fighting capability in the Western theater. The battle carries the distinction of creating the second-highest number of casualties in the entire Civil War, (Union 16,170 (1,67 KIA), Confederate 18,454 (2,312 KIA)), second only to the casualty count at Gettysburg in July
1875: Birth of James C. Penny (d.1971), who opened his first dry-goods store in Kemmerer, Wyoming, in 1902. In 1940, visiting one of his stores in Iowa, he trained a young employee named Sam Walton how to tie a package with a minimal amount of ribbon.
1881: Death of President James Garfield (b.1831), eighty days after being shot by a disgruntled federal employee. Garfield’s major accomplishment during his short term as President was initiating a massive civil service reform program, beginning with the post office.
1891: Birth of Karl Donitz (d.1980), German submariner and intellect behind the highly effective “Wolfpack” strategy in World War II. Donitz had the dubious distinction of being named in Hitler’s will as his successor as head of the Third Reich; as such, he issued the surrender order to the German armed forces after a week in office, carefully working the timing of the event so that the bulk of the German armed forces would fall under the control of the Western Allies instead of the Soviet Union
1916: After two and a half months of unrelenting combat in the Battle of the Somme (DLH 7/1 and Addendum), British forces introduce the “tank” to the battlefield. The machine is impervious to barbed wire and rifle & machine gun fire, but is very slow moving (3 mph) and notoriously unreliable. That being said, it does the job of creating a clear path for supporting infantry to break through German defenses in several portions of the battle line.
1919: Congress officially authorizes U.S. veterans of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), fresh from their victorious return from the Great War, to incorporate The American Legion as a veterans support group under Title 36 U.S.C.
1939: First broadcast by Nazi propagandist Lord Haw Haw, who railed against British combat and diplomatic activities across the European continent.
1940: The most active day of the Battle of Britain- the first day of Germany’s final “decisive” air assault on England.
1945: Opening assault in the brutal Battle of Pelileu in the South Pacific. The recent HBO mini-series The Pacific centered its narrative on 1st Marine Division that spearheaded this campaign.
1948: The North American Aviation F-86 Sabrejet sets a world speed record of 671 mph. The design, particularly the swept-back wings, was derived from captured German aerodynamic research dating from 1940.
1952: American silent film icon and long-time leftist political advocate Charlie Chaplin leaves for a trip to England, and is immediately barred from re-entry by the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the behest of the House Un-American Activities Committee and J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI.
1970: Jordan’s King Hussein declares martial law in response to an attempted fedeyeen coup against his Hashemite throne. The conspirators, organized around Yassir Arafat’s Fatah movement, vow revenge over their failure and form a new militant group known as Black September Organization in memory of this day. Two years later, the Black September kidnapped and assassinated eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team in Munich, ensuring that the terms “Palestinian” and “terrorist” would be forever linked.
1970: Death of guitarist Jimmie Hendrix.
1975: Kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst is arrested a year after her inclusion on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.
1991: Discovery of 5,300-year-old Copper Age mummy, “Otzi the Iceman” by German mountaineers. The preserved natural mummy is of a man who lived between 3400 and 3100 BCE. Ötzi was found on 19 September 1991 by two German tourists, at an elevation of 3,210 metres (10,530 ft) on the east ridge of the Fineilspitze in the Ötztal Alps on the Austrian–Italian border. The tourists, Helmut and Erika Simon, were walking off the path between the mountain passes Hauslabjoch and Tisenjoch. They believed that the body was of a recently deceased mountaineer. The next day, a mountain gendarme and the keeper of the nearby Similaunhütte first attempted to remove the body, which was frozen in ice below the torso, using a pneumatic drill and ice-axes, but had to give up due to bad weather. The next day, eight groups visited the site, among whom happened to be the famous mountaineers Hans Kammerlander and Reinhold Messner. The body was semi-officially extracted on 22 September and officially salvaged the following day. It was transported to the office of the medical examiner in Innsbruck, together with other objects found. On 24 September the find was examined there by archaeologist Konrad Spindler of the University of Innsbruck. He dated the find to be “about four thousand years old”, based on the typology of an axe among the retrieved objects