07 July 2007

This day in history: 7 Jul

1307: Edward II became King of England on the death of his father, King Edward I "Longshanks."

1456: 25 years after her death, Jeanne d'Arc was acquitted of heresy in a retrial.

1798: The U.S. Congress rescinded treaties with France, starting the Quasi-War. Action started that very day, with USS Delaware (commanded by Captain Stephen Decatur Sr) capturing the French privateer La Croyable off Great Egg Harbour, New Jersey.*

1846: Commodore John D Sloat hoisted the US flag over Monterey, California, thus beginning the annexation of California.

1865: Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold and George Atzerodt were hanged in the Old Arsenal Penitentiary, Washington DC, for conspiracy in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

1898: President William McKinley signed the Newlands Resolution, annexing Hawai`i as a territory of the United States.

1915: The First Battle of the Isonzo**, which had begun on 23 June, ended in an Austro-Hungarian victory over the Italians.

1944: When the Japanese launched a counterattack against US positions on Saipan and overran a neighboring artillery battalion, Private First Class Harold C Agerholm, 10th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, appropriated an abandoned ambulance jeep and repeatedly drove out under heavy fire, single-handedly loading and evacuating approximately 45 casualties during a period of more than 3 hours. Despite intense enemy fire, he ran out to aid two more men, whom he believed to be wounded Marines, but was himself mortally wounded by a Japanese sniper.

1946: Howard Hughes was nearly killed when the prototype Hughes XF-11 crashed whilst attempting an emergency landing near Los Angeles.

1947: The wreckage of a flying saucer may or may not have been found near Roswell, New Mexico.

1948: AK1/c Kay L Langdon, CY Wilma J Marchal, SK2/c Frances T Dovaney, Y2/c Edna E Young, TE2/c Doris R Robertson and HM1/c Ruth Flora, US Navy WAVES in Naval Reserve, became the first six enlisted women sworn into the Regular Navy.***

1958: President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Alaska Statehood Act into law.

In addition to Edward I (1239-1307), Henri NestlĂ© (1814–1890), Johanna Spyri (1827-1901), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle DL (1859–1930), Ub Iwerks (1901–1971), Veronica Lake (1919–1973) and Bill Cullen (1920–1990) died on this date.

And happy birthday to Giuseppe Piazzi (1746-1826), Gustav Mahler (1860–1911), Robert A Heinlein (1907-1988), Jon Pertwee (1919–1996), David McCullough (1933-TBD) and Richard Starkey MBE (1940-TBD).

* La Croyable was purchased by the US Navy, and served briefly as USS Retaliation.

** There were eleven or twelve, depending on who's counting.

*** If you aren't familiar with the US Navy rating system, ZUI this.

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