Notes of American History

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September 13, 1862
Union soldiers find a copy of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s orders detailing the Confederates’ plan for the Antietam campaign under a locust tree near Frederick, MD. But Union Gen. George B. McClellan was slow to act, & the advantage the intelligence provided was lost.

On the morning of Sept. 13, the 27th Indiana rested in a meadow which had served as the site of a Confederate camp a few days before. Sgt. John Bloss & Cpl. Barton W. Mitchell found a piece of paper wrapped around 3 cigars. Carelessly left behind as Lee's army marched north, the copy was spotted in a field by the Indianans. The handwritten paper was addressed to Confederate Gen. D.H. Hill & Lee's name jumped out Mitchell & Bloss read it. Its title read, “Special Order No. 191, Headquarters, Army of Northern Virginia.” Realizing that they had discovered a copy of the Confederate operation plan, Bloss & Mitchell quickly passed it up the chain of command. By chance, the division adjutant general, Samuel Pittman, recognized the handwriting on the orders as that of a colleague from the prewar army, Robert Chilton, who was the adjutant general to Robert E. Lee.

Pittman took the order to McClellan. The Union commander had spent the previous week mystified by Lee’s operations, but now the Confederate plan was clear. He reportedly gloated, “Here is a paper with which if I cannot whip Bobbie Lee, I will be willing to go home.” McClellan now knew that Lee’s forces were split into 5 parts & scattered over a 30-mile stretch, with the Potomac River in between. At least 8 miles separated each piece of Lee’s army, & McClellan was just a dozen miles from the nearest Confederate unit at South Mountain. Bruce Catton, the noted Civil War historian, observed that no general in the war “was ever given so fair a chance to destroy the opposing army one piece at a time.”

Yet McClellan squandered the opportunity. His initial jubilation was overtaken by his caution. He believed that Lee possessed a far greater number of troops than the Confederates actually had, despite the fact that the Maryland invasion resulted in a high rate of desertion among the Southerners. McClellan was also excruciatingly slow to respond to the information in the so-called Lost Order. He took 18 hours to set his army in motion, marching toward Turner’s Gap & Crampton’s Gap in South Mountain, a 50-mile long ridge that was part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Lee, who was alerted to the approaching Federals, sent troops to plug the gaps, allowing him time to gather his scattered units.
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The handwritten copy of Gen. Robert E. Lee's secret Special Orders No. 191 found in 1862.
 

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September 14, 1901
US President William McKinley dies after being shot by a deranged anarchist during the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY.

McKinley won his 1st Congressional seat at the age of 34 & spent 14 years in the House, becoming known as the leading Republican expert on tariffs. After losing his seat in 1890, McKinley served 2 terms as governor of Ohio. By 1896, he had emerged as the leading Republican candidate for president, aided by the support of the wealthy Ohio industrialist Mark Hanna. That fall, McKinley defeated his Democratic rival, William Jennings Bryan, by the largest popular margin since the Civil War.

As president, McKinley became known as a protector of big businesses, which enjoyed unprecedented growth during his administration. He advocated the protective tariff as a way of shielding US business & labor from foreign competition, & he successfully argued for using the gold standard of currency. Above all, however, McKinley’s presidency was dominated by his foreign policy.

In April 1898, he was pushed by Congress & American public opinion to intervene in Cuba’s struggle for independence from Spanish colonial rule. The US handily defeated Spain in just 3 months, freeing Cuba–although the island did become a US protectorate until independence in 1902–& annexing Puerto Rico, Guam & the Philippines. For the 1st time, the US had become a colonial power.

America’s growing interests in the Pacific led McKinley’s administration to greatly increase its involvement in Asian politics. In 1900, McKinley sent thousands of US troops to China to help put down the Boxer Rebellion (https://www.southeasttraders.com/threads/notes-of-american-history.21636/post-581558) , aimed at driving out foreigners. His aggressive “Open Door” policy declared US support for an independent China & argued that all nations with commercial interests in China should be able to compete on equal footing.

The popular McKinley won a 2nd term by even greater margins over Bryan, who attacked him on his “imperialism” in the Pacific &, domestically, on the growth of illegal monopolies, or trusts. There was little time to see what his 2nd term would bring, however. On Sept. 6, 1901, while standing in a receiving line at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, McKinley was approached by Leon Czolgosz, a Polish-American anarchist carrying a concealed .32 revolver in a handkerchief. Drawing his weapon, Czolgosz shot McKinley twice at close range. One bullet deflected off a suit button, but the other entered his stomach, passed through the kidneys, & lodged in his back. When he was operated on, doctors failed to find the bullet, & gangrene soon spread throughout his body. McKinley died 8 days later. Czolgosz was convicted of murder & executed soon after the shooting.
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September 15, 1959
Nikita Khrushchev becomes the 1st Soviet head of state to visit the US. During the next 2 weeks, Khrushchev’s visit dominated the news & provided some dramatic & humorous moments in the history of the Cold War.

Khrushchev came to power in the Soviet Union after winning a year-long power struggle following the death of long-time dictator Joseph Stalin in 1954. Many observers believed that Khrushchev, a devoted follower of Stalin during the 1930s & 1940s, would not provide much difference in leadership. He surprised them, however, by announcing that he sought “peaceful coexistence” with the US & denouncing the “excesses” of Stalinism. During the late 1950s, Khrushchev continued to court a closer relationship with the US & often praised President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a man who also sought peace. In 1959, the US & Soviet governments shocked the world by announcing that Khrushchev would visit America in September and meet with Eisenhower face to face.

Khrushchev’s 1st day in America was mostly taken up with formal receptions & a motorcade from the airport to downtown Washington. At the airport, Khrushchev announced that he had arrived in America “with open heart & good intentions. The Soviet people want to live in friendship with the American people.” Groups of spectators & several military bands lined the way of the motorcade procession from the airport, & Eisenhower, Khrushchev, & Mme. Khrushchev sat together in the back of a convertible to wave at the crowds. Once in town, Khrushchev almost immediately sat for a nearly -hour talk with Eisenhower & his advisers. Longer & more involved talks were scheduled for later in the Soviet leader’s visit. “Because of our importance in the world, it is vital that we understand each other better,” Eisenhower declared at a state dinner that night. Khrushchev agreed, adding that friendship was necessary “because our 2 countries are much too strong & we cannot quarrel with each other.”

During the next few days, Khrushchev took the opportunity to tour the US before his summit meeting with Eisenhower. Although Khrushchev’s trip was more of a goodwill visit than an opportunity for significant negotiations, the tour provided some moments of high drama & low comedy, particularly during the Soviet leader’s trip through California.

Some of the high drama came when, during the visit, Los Angeles mayor Norris Poulson addressed Khrushchev's "We will bury you" made at the Embassy of Poland in Moscow 3 years prior when delivering welcome remarks. Poulson stated the following: "We do not agree with your widely quoted phrase 'We shall bury you.' You shall not bury us & we shall not bury you. We are happy with our way of life. We recognize its shortcomings & are always trying to improve it. But if challenged, we shall fight to the death to preserve it". Poulson's comments came after the Soviet premier constantly touted Soviet superiority to LA during his tour of the city.

The low comedy resulted because Khrushchev was supposed to visit Disneyland on Sept. 19. The visit was canceled for security reasons, which made Khrushchev very angry. Later, while visiting IBM's new research campus in San Jose, CA, Khrushchev expressed little interest in computer technology, but he greatly admired the self-service cafeteria, &, on his return, introduced self-service in the Soviet Union.

The visit took place during period in time in which the ongoing-Cold War at the time was feared to be the force that causes nuclear war. The visit helped alleviate these fears. Khrushchev & Eisenhower reached an informal agreement that there would not be any firm deadline over the fate of Berlin & that any solution would be developed at a four-power summit. This summit would be postponed until 1960 due to actions by French President Charles de Gaulle. The friendly American audiences convinced Khrushchev that he had achieved a strong personal relationship with Eisenhower & that he could achieve détente with the Americans. Eisenhower was actually unimpressed by the Soviet leader.
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Soviet Premier Khrushchev, Nina Khrushcheva, Mamie Eisenhower, & President Dwight Eisenhower at a state dinner at the White House on Sept. 27, 1959.
 

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September 16, 1845
Phineas Wilcox is stabbed to death by fellow members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo, IL, because he is believed to be a Christian spy. The murder of Wilcox reflected the serious & often violent conflict between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints & the surrounding communities. Joseph Smith, who founded the religion in 1830, had been living with his followers in Missouri, where they had various conflicts with locals, including an armed skirmish with the state militia.

In 1838, Governor Lilburn Boggs signed a military order directing that the Latter-day Saints be expelled or exterminated: “The Mormons must be treated as enemies & must be exterminated or driven from the state, if necessary, for the public good.”

Smith & his followers fled across the Mississippi & founded Nauvoo, IL, which quickly became the 2nd most populous town in the state. At 1st, an undeveloped swamp. Epidemics of cholera, malaria & typhoid took their toll on the struggling Mormons until the swamp was drained. The smaller community of Commerce had few buildings, so construction began promptly to meet the immediate demand for housing. Elements of Joseph Smith's generalized city plan, known as the "plat of Zion" (1st introduced in 1833) were used in the street layout & lot allotments in Nauvoo. The community was characterized by wood frame homes with outbuildings, gardens, orchards & grazing plots on large lots laid out on an orderly grid system.

But there were conflicts & tensions in Nauvoo as well. In 1844, when a local newspaper printed editorials claiming that the religious leader was a fraud, Smith held a meeting of the city council which, after full days of meeting, condemned the Expositor as "a public nuisance" & empowered him to order the press destroyed. A portion of the Nauvoo Legion, Smith's militia, marched into the office, wrecked the press & burned every copy of the Nauvoo Expositor that could be found. The destruction of the press was seen as an opportunity by critics such as Thomas Sharp, whose paper in nearby Warsaw had been openly calling for destruction of the Church. Fanned by Sharp & others, public sentiment held that the action was illegal & unconstitutional. Some non-Mormons & disaffected church members in & around Hancock County began to call for Smith's arrest. Smith, his brother Hyrum, & several other church leaders submitted to arrest. While awaiting trial in Carthage, the county seat, under assurance of safety from Illinois Gov. Ford, Joseph & Hyrum Smith were assassinated when a vigilante mob attacked the jail.

Brigham Young, who quickly took command of the church & its followers, tried to stifle any dissent & banish his rivals. The killing of Phineas Wilcox was part of his consolidation of power. Tensions with other communities continued to escalate, &, a year later, over 2,000 armed men marched on Nauvoo. Young decided that it no longer was wise to stay in the area. He led his flock west & settled in the Salt Lake Valley, where he & his followers would become instrumental in founding the state of Utah.
 

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September 17, 1868
A large band of Cheyenne, Arapaho & Sioux stage an early morning surprise attack on Maj. George A. Forsyth & a volunteer force of 50 frontiersmen near present-day Wray, CO.

In the summer and fall of 1868, continuing their annual seasonal raiding activities between the Arkansas & Platte Rivers in what was also the region of their best buffalo hunting, bands of Cheyenne & Arapaho Indians conducted raids against whites throughout the western Great Plains in Kansas. In addition, they found incentive in the warfare that had been waged specifically against their clans by the military in 1867 & by memories of such atrocities as the Sand Creek massacre (https://www.southeasttraders.com/threads/notes-of-american-history.21636/post-457981). Finally, the westward movement of the transcontinental railroad had stretched all the way across Kansas, bringing with it many permanent white settlements.

As the Indians fought dispersed battles composed of small bands of warriors all over the frontier, US Army troops & units were at a premium. Gen. Sheridan decided to try an unusual tactic. He ordered his aide, Maj. George Alexander Forsyth of the 9th Cavalry, a Civil War veteran, to raise a company of "50 1st-class hardy frontiersmen, to be used as scouts against the hostile Indians." They were to seek out & engage the marauders using their tactics, rather than those of the traditional Army. Forsyth hand-picked 48 men at Forts Harker & Hays & armed them with Spencer repeating rifles. Forsyth's executive officer was Lt. Fredrick H. Beecher of the 3rd Infantry, a decorated veteran of the Battle of Gettysburg. His company rode northwest nearly to Nebraska, then turned southwest & reached Fort Wallace the night of Sept. 5, 1868 without finding any trace of Indians.

On the morning of Sept. 10, the troops at Fort Wallace received information that Indians had attacked a freighter's train 13 miles east of Ft. Wallace, near the railhead of the Kansas Pacific Railroad at the (since-abandoned) town of Sheridan, KS. Forsyth & his group of scouts departed Fort Wallace with orders to counter the raid. They learned that a force of about 25 Indians had taken part in the attack. They followed their trail into what is now Yuma County, CO.

At dawn on the 17th, Forsyth sensed trouble & spotted the silhouette of a feathered head against the skyline. He fired his weapon, instantly killing the Indian warrior. Simultaneously, other Indians, who, having moved nearer to where the scouts' horses were tied up, attempted to stampede them, but the scouts immediately responded to the sound of Forsyth's gunshot & only the pack mules were lost. Forsyth gave orders to saddle the horses, but quickly realized that no escape route was open.

Retreating to a small sandbar in the Arikaree River that thereafter became known as Beecher’s Island, Forsyth & his men succeeded in repulsing 3 massed Indian charges. Thanks to the rapid fire capability of their 7-shot Spencer rifles, Forsyth’s volunteers were able to kill or wound many of the Indian attackers, including the war chief Roman Nose. But as evening came & the fighting temporarily halted, Forsyth found he had 22 men either dead or wounded, & he estimated the survivors were surrounded by a force of 600 Native Americans. The white settlers faced certain annihilation unless they could somehow bring help. Two men—Jack Stilwell & Pierre Trudeau—volunteered to attempt a daring escape & silently melted into the night.

The battle raged for 5 more days. Forsyth’s effective fighting force was reduced to 10 men before the Native American forces finally withdrew. Miles from help & lacking wagons & horses, Forsyth knew that many of his wounded would soon be dead if they didn’t get help. Fortunately, on Sept. 25, the 10th Cavalry—one of the Army’s 2 African American units nicknamed the “Buffalo Soldiers”—came riding to their rescue with a field ambulance & medical supplies. Miraculously, Stilwell & Trudeau had managed to make it through the Sioux & Cheyenne & bring help. Thanks to the timely arrival of the Buffalo Soldiers, the lives of many men were saved.
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Map of the Republican River area with the location of Beecher Island highlighted in red.
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M1865 Spencer Rifle
 

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September 18. 1862
Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s army pulls away from Antietam Creek, near Sharpsburg, MD & heads back to Virginia. The day before, at the Battle of Antietam, Lee’s force had engaged in the bloodiest one-day battle of the Civil War against the army of Gen. George B. McClellan. The armies struggled to a standstill, but the magnitude of losses forced Lee to abandon his invasion of Maryland.

The significance of the battle was not Lee’s withdrawal, but McClellan’s inexplicable lack of pursuit, especially after McClellan delayed engaging Lee's forces even after having found a copy of Lee's orders detailing his Antietam campaign plans on Sept. 16.(https://www.southeasttraders.com/threads/notes-of-american-history.21636/post-619868) When Lee settled into a defensive line above Antietam Creek on Sept. 16, he had only about 43,000 troops. McClellan had around 50,000 in position on Sept. 17, with many more on the way.

The Battle of Antietam on Sept. 17, 1862, was the single bloodiest day in American military history. McClellan developed a complex battle plan to defeat Lee's army, as Ethan Rafuse in McClellan's War outlines "It was an excellent tactical plan that took advantage of the merits of attacks on both the left & the right, ensured that McClellan had the ability to control his army & the flexibility to respond to events and cover all contingencies." The outnumbered Confederate forces however fought desperately & well. Lee was able to shift his defenders to parry each of 3 Union thrusts, launched separately & sequentially against the Confederate left, center, & finally the right. Union efforts were also frustrated by the wounding of 2 corps commanders & difficult terrain. Some classic historians such as James M. McPherson have criticized McClellan for keeping 2 corps in reserve during the battle.

On Sept. 18, the armies remained in their positions without fighting. By this point, Lee was highly vulnerable. His army had its back to the Potomac River, just a few miles away, & a quarter of his force had been lost in the previous day’s battle. After more than 2 weeks of marching, his men were tired. McClellan, on the other hand, welcomed thousands of additional troops on Sept. 18. But, although he outnumbered Lee’s troops by almost 3 times, McClellan did not pursue Lee. In fact, despite constant urging from President Abraham Lincoln & Chief of Staff Henry Halleck, McClellan did not move toward Virginia for over a month. McClellan overestimated the size of Lee’s force, assuming that Lee had nearly 100,000 troops in his command, & insisted that the fall of Harpers Ferry, VA, on Sept. 15 allowed an additional 40,000 Confederate troops—in his inflated estimation—to fight at Antietam.

In McClellan’s defense, it should be noted that his soldiers were extremely fatigued after the Battle of Antietam, which was the bloodiest day of the war. (Though Lee's soldiers were obviously just as fatigued.) It would be difficult to rally them for another attack; but certainly not impossible. Instead, Lee was allowed to escape with his command intact. A chance to destroy the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia was lost, & the war lasted another 2 & a half years.

Despite being a tactical draw, Antietam is considered a turning point of the war and a victory for the Union because it ended Lee's strategic campaign (his 1st invasion of the North) & it allowed President Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation on Sept. 22, taking effect on Jan. 1, 1863. Although Lincoln had intended to issue the proclamation earlier, he was advised by his Cabinet to wait until a Union victory to avoid the perception that it was issued out of desperation.
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Overview of the Battle of Antietam
 

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September 19, 1957
The US detonates a 1.7-kiloton nuclear weapon in an underground tunnel at the Nevada Test Site (NTS), a 1,375-square-mile research center located 65 miles north of Las Vegas. The test, known as Rainier, was the 1st fully contained underground detonation & produced no radioactive fallout. A modified W-25 warhead weighing 218 pounds & measuring 25.7 inches in diameter & 17.4 inches in length was used for the test. Rainier was part of a series of 29 nuclear weapons & nuclear weapons safety tests known as Operation Plumbbob that were conducted at the NTS between May 28 & Oct. 7, 1957.

In Dec. 1941, the US government committed to building the world’s 1st nuclear weapon when President Franklin Roosevelt authorized $2 billion in funding for what came to be known as the Manhattan Project. The 1st nuclear weapon test took place on July 16, 1945, at the Trinity site near Alamogordo, NM. A few weeks later, on Aug. 6, 1945, with the US at war against Japan, President Harry Truman authorized the dropping of an atomic bomb named Little Boy over Hiroshima, Japan. After the Japanese refused a call to surrender, 3 days later, on Aug. 9, a nuclear bomb called Fat Man was dropped over Nagasaki. On Aug. 15, 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers.

1957’s Operation Plumbbob took place at a time when the US was engaged in a Cold War & nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. In 1963, the US signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which banned nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere, underwater & outer space. A total of 928 tests took place at the Nevada Test Site between 1951 & 1992, when the US conducted its last underground nuclear test. In 1996, the US signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits nuclear detonations in all environments.

On September 19, 1957, the United States detonates a 1.7-kiloton nuclear weapon in an underground tunnel at the Nevada Test Site (NTS), a 1,375-square-mile research center located 65 miles north of Las Vegas. The test, known as Rainier, was the first fully contained underground detonation and produced no radioactive fallout. A modified W-25 warhead weighing 218 pounds and measuring 25.7 inches in diameter and 17.4 inches in length was used for the test. Rainier was part of a series of 29 nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons safety tests known as Operation Plumbbob that were conducted at the NTS between May 28, 1957, and October 7, 1957.

In December 1941, the U.S. government committed to building the world’s first nuclear weapon when President Franklin Roosevelt authorized $2 billion in funding for what came to be known as the Manhattan Project. The first nuclear weapon test took place on July 16, 1945, at the Trinity site near Alamogordo, New Mexico. A few weeks later, on August 6, 1945, with the U.S. at war against Japan, President Harry Truman authorized the dropping of an atomic bomb named Little Boy over Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, on August 9, a nuclear bomb called Fat Man was dropped over Nagasaki. Two hundred thousand people, according to some estimates, were killed in the attacks on the two cities and on August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers.

1957’s Operation Plumbbob took place at a time when the U.S. was engaged in a Cold War and nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. In 1963, the U.S. signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which banned nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere, underwater and outer space. A total of 928 tests took place at the Nevada Test Site between 1951 and 1992, when the U.S. conducted its last underground nuclear test. In 1996, the U.S signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits nuclear detonations in all environments.
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Operation Plumbbob, Test Rainier, shot tunnel.
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Operation Plumbbob, Test Rainier, dust cloud. The test itself was totally contained.
 

Grunk

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Sorry I didn't get this post up on time yesterday, gentlemen. Suz still can't stand or walk on her own & my broke-down worthless old self is barely hanging on right now.

September 20, 1777
Near Paoli, PA, Gen. Charles Grey & nearly 5,000 British soldiers launch a surprise attack on a small regiment of Patriot troops commanded by Gen. Anthony Wayne in what becomes known as the Paoli Massacre. Not wanting to lose the element of surprise, Grey ordered his troops to empty their muskets & to use only bayonets or swords to attack the sleeping Americans under the cover of darkness.

Following the American retreats at the Battle of Brandywine & the Battle of the Clouds, George Washington left a force under Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne behind to monitor & harass the British as they prepared to move on the revolutionary capital of Philadelphia. Wayne assumed that his presence was undetected & camped close to the British lines. The British heard rumors that Wayne was in the area, & Gen. Howe sent out scouts who reported his location near the Paoli Tavern on Sept. 19. Since his position was just 4 miles from the British camp at Tredyffrin, PA, Howe immediately planned an attack on Wayne's relatively exposed camp.

With the help of a Loyalist spy who provided a secret password & led them to the camp, Gen. Grey & the British launched the successful attack on the unsuspecting men of the Pennsylvania regiment, stabbing them to death as they slept. It was also alleged that the British soldiers took no prisoners during the attack, stabbing or setting fire to those who tried to surrender. Before it was over, nearly 200 Americans were killed or wounded. The Paoli Massacre became a rallying cry for the Americans against British atrocities for the rest of the Revolutionary War.

Less than 2 years later, Wayne became known as “Mad Anthony” for his bravery leading an impressive Patriot assault on British cliff-side fortifications at Stony Point on the Hudson River, 12 miles from West Point. Like Grey’s attack at Paoli, Wayne’s men only used bayonets in the 30-minute night attack, which resulted in 94 dead & 472 captured British soldiers.
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Paoli Battlefield Site & Parade Grounds. This shows parts of the old obelisk, & in the background the new obelisk that replaced it. The wall supposedly encloses the graves of the "Paoli Massacre".
 

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September 21, 1942
The U.S. B-29 Superfortress makes its debut flight in Seattle, WA. It was the largest bomber used in the war by any nation.

The B-29 was conceived in 1939 by Gen. Hap Arnold, who was afraid a German victory in Europe would mean the US would be devoid of bases on the eastern side of the Atlantic from which to counterattack. A plane was needed that would travel faster, farther, & higher than any then available, so Boeing set to creating the 4-engine heavy bomber. The plane was extraordinary, able to carry loads almost equal to its own weight at altitudes of 30,000 to 40,000 feet. It contained a pilot console in the rear of the plane, in the event the front pilot was knocked out of commission. It also sported the 1st radar bombing system of any US bomber.

The Superfortress made its test run over the continental US on Sept. 21, but would not make its bombing-run debut until June 5, 1944, against Bangkok, in preparation for the Allied liberation of Burma from Japanese hands. A little more than a week later, the B-29 made its 1st run against the Japanese mainland. On June 14, 60 B-29s based in Chengtu, China, bombed an iron & steel works factory on Honshu Island. While the raid was less than successful, it proved to be a morale booster to Americans, who were now on the offensive.

Meanwhile, the Marianas Islands in the South Pacific were being recaptured by the US, primarily to provide air bases for their new B-29s—a perfect position from which to strike the Japanese mainland on a consistent basis. Once the bases were ready, the B-29s were employed in a long series of bombing raids against Tokyo. Although capable of precision bombing at high altitudes, the Superfortresses began dropping incendiary devices from a mere 5,000 feet, firebombing the Japanese capital in an attempt to break the will of the Axis power. One raid, in March 1945, killed more than 80,000 people. But the B-29's most lethal missions would come in August, as it was the only plane capable of delivering a 10,000-pound bomb—the atomic bomb. The Enola Gay & the Bock’s Car took off from the Marianas, on Aug. 6 & 9, respectively, & flew into history.
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September 21, 1942
The U.S. B-29 Superfortress makes its debut flight in Seattle, WA. It was the largest bomber used in the war by any nation.

The B-29 was conceived in 1939 by Gen. Hap Arnold, who was afraid a German victory in Europe would mean the US would be devoid of bases on the eastern side of the Atlantic from which to counterattack. A plane was needed that would travel faster, farther, & higher than any then available, so Boeing set to creating the 4-engine heavy bomber. The plane was extraordinary, able to carry loads almost equal to its own weight at altitudes of 30,000 to 40,000 feet. It contained a pilot console in the rear of the plane, in the event the front pilot was knocked out of commission. It also sported the 1st radar bombing system of any US bomber.

The Superfortress made its test run over the continental US on Sept. 21, but would not make its bombing-run debut until June 5, 1944, against Bangkok, in preparation for the Allied liberation of Burma from Japanese hands. A little more than a week later, the B-29 made its 1st run against the Japanese mainland. On June 14, 60 B-29s based in Chengtu, China, bombed an iron & steel works factory on Honshu Island. While the raid was less than successful, it proved to be a morale booster to Americans, who were now on the offensive.

Meanwhile, the Marianas Islands in the South Pacific were being recaptured by the US, primarily to provide air bases for their new B-29s—a perfect position from which to strike the Japanese mainland on a consistent basis. Once the bases were ready, the B-29s were employed in a long series of bombing raids against Tokyo. Although capable of precision bombing at high altitudes, the Superfortresses began dropping incendiary devices from a mere 5,000 feet, firebombing the Japanese capital in an attempt to break the will of the Axis power. One raid, in March 1945, killed more than 80,000 people. But the B-29's most lethal missions would come in August, as it was the only plane capable of delivering a 10,000-pound bomb—the atomic bomb. The Enola Gay & the Bock’s Car took off from the Marianas, on Aug. 6 & 9, respectively, & flew into history.
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View attachment 100912

Fun facts to know and share...the B29 program cost more than the Manhattan Project - the first atomic bombs.

Also, there are only two examples flying today. Fifi and Doc.
 

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September 21, 1942
The U.S. B-29 Superfortress makes its debut flight in Seattle, WA. It was the largest bomber used in the war by any nation.

The B-29 was conceived in 1939 by Gen. Hap Arnold, who was afraid a German victory in Europe would mean the US would be devoid of bases on the eastern side of the Atlantic from which to counterattack. A plane was needed that would travel faster, farther, & higher than any then available, so Boeing set to creating the 4-engine heavy bomber. The plane was extraordinary, able to carry loads almost equal to its own weight at altitudes of 30,000 to 40,000 feet. It contained a pilot console in the rear of the plane, in the event the front pilot was knocked out of commission. It also sported the 1st radar bombing system of any US bomber.

The Superfortress made its test run over the continental US on Sept. 21, but would not make its bombing-run debut until June 5, 1944, against Bangkok, in preparation for the Allied liberation of Burma from Japanese hands. A little more than a week later, the B-29 made its 1st run against the Japanese mainland. On June 14, 60 B-29s based in Chengtu, China, bombed an iron & steel works factory on Honshu Island. While the raid was less than successful, it proved to be a morale booster to Americans, who were now on the offensive.

Meanwhile, the Marianas Islands in the South Pacific were being recaptured by the US, primarily to provide air bases for their new B-29s—a perfect position from which to strike the Japanese mainland on a consistent basis. Once the bases were ready, the B-29s were employed in a long series of bombing raids against Tokyo. Although capable of precision bombing at high altitudes, the Superfortresses began dropping incendiary devices from a mere 5,000 feet, firebombing the Japanese capital in an attempt to break the will of the Axis power. One raid, in March 1945, killed more than 80,000 people. But the B-29's most lethal missions would come in August, as it was the only plane capable of delivering a 10,000-pound bomb—the atomic bomb. The Enola Gay & the Bock’s Car took off from the Marianas, on Aug. 6 & 9, respectively, & flew into history.
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For as much as I've heard about the Enola Gay, this is the first time I've ever heard mention of Bock's Car.

Thanks for sharing!
 
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September 22, 1975
Sara Jane Moore aims a gun at President Gerald Ford as he leaves the Saint Francis Hotel in San Francisco. The attempt on the president’s life came only 17 days after another woman had tried to assassinate Ford while he was on his way to give a speech to the California legislature in Sacramento.

At 3:30 pm, after speaking to the World Affairs Council, Ford emerged from the Post Street entrance of the St. Francis Hotel in Union Square, then walked toward his limousine. Before boarding the vehicle, he stopped & waved to the crowd that had gathered across the street. Sara Jane Moore was standing in the crowd 40 feet away from Ford when she fired 2 shots with her .38 Special revolver. The 1st shot missed Ford's head by 5 inches & passed through the wall above the doorway Ford had just walked out of. A bystander named Oliver Sipple heard the sound of the 1st shot & dove at Moore, grabbing her shooting arm before she pulled the trigger a 2nd time. The 2nd shot struck John Ludwig, a 42-year-old taxi driver standing inside the hotel, in the groin. Ludwig survived his wound.

San Francisco Police Capt. Timothy Hettrich grabbed Moore & wrestled the gun from her hand. Many other officers immediately joined in subduing Moore. In the meantime, the president’s Secret Service team pushed Ford into his waiting limousine where the Secret Service & White House Chief of Staff (& future Secretary of Defense from 1975-77 & again from 2001-2006) Donald Rumsfeld lay on top of him. The limousine raced to San Francisco International Airport where Ford boarded Air Force One, after being joined by the First Lady, flew back to Washington, DC.

17 days earlier, on Sept. 5, 1975, in Sacramento, a woman named Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme had also attempted to shoot Ford. Fromme, a drug-addled Charles Manson cult follower, & Moore, a mentally unstable former FBI informant & accountant who fell into fringe revolutionary politics, both targeted Ford as a symbol of their hatred for the political establishment. Moore served time in the same prison in West Virginia as Fromme. Fromme escaped the prison in 1979, but was caught & transferred to a higher-security facility. Moore escaped in 1989, but turned herself in 2 days later &, like Fromme, was transferred to a more secure penitentiary. On Dec. 31, 2007, Moore was released on parole.

Sipple, a former Marine & Vietnam War veteran, received a written letter of thanks form Ford.
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This photograph was taken within seconds of the assassination attempt. From this vantage point, Ford is standing directly behind the man wearing the spotted necktie.