Today in History, June 17, 1775:
“Don’t one of you fire until you see the whites of their eyes!”
The Battle of Bunker Hill.
British Gen. William Howe landed his army on the Charlestown Peninsula and attacks colonist (Patriot) positions on Breed’s Hill and Bunker Hill.
Believing they were fighting farmers with pitchforks (the Patriots WERE as yet untrained and unorganized) Howe had his well trained, experienced troops charge the American positions head on, and was repelled by not so inexperienced fire (a poor farmer hunting game can’t afford to waste ammo, and becomes a very good marksman).
The Brits mounted a second attack, and were again sent running back down the hill. A third wave succeeded, however, as the militia was running out of ammunition.
Howe eventually won the battle, but he did so at great expense…nearly half his army lie dead on the field. The British had learned a dear lesson…they were fighting an untrained and poorly disciplined group of citizen soldiers…that were highly motivated and devoted to their cause.
Today in History, June 16, 1779:
Reportedly the largest battle (in terms of troops / sailors involved) of the American Revolutionary War begins….at Gibraltar.
When the French came in to aid the Americans, Spain followed suit. But of course, they had their own motives and designs. Primarily to regain lost territories; but they also drew up plans for the invasion and conquest of Britain.
On today’s date French and British forces began a land and sea siege of the British fortress at Gibralter, which was the keystone of English control of the Mediterranean Sea.
The Great Siege of Gibraltar, with constant bombardment, attacks, counter attacks, Naval reinforcement, Naval battles, starvation and disease would continue for 3 years and 7 months.
Gibraltar never fell.
Today in History, June 14, 1775:
The Continental Congress votes to establish the Continental Army to fight for freedom and independence from England. The next day, the Congress voted unanimously to make George Washington the Commander in Chief of the armed forces. For the next several years Washington would command the Continental Army and the state’s militias. Happy Birthday to the United States Army, and thanks for the service of so many soldiers since that have kept us free.
Today in History, June 11, 1979:
John Wayne, The Duke, Marion Michael Morrison, dies. He was not just an actor, he was an American icon that inspired us to great things. We won’t see his like again.
Yet John Wayne lives on in his legacy. Each time someone tries to emulate him, live like him, the country is all the better for it.
So perhaps the Duke is not gone at all.
Today in History, June 8, 1968:
What a busy news day this must have been?!
James Earl Ray, the assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr is arrested in London, England where he was attempting to make his way to an African nation run by racists (ironic). He would eventually be convicted of assassinating Civil Rights leader King.
On the same day…..
…another civil rights activist is laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Robert F. Kennedy would be laid to rest within 30 yards of his brother John, assassinated only five years earlier.