At Waterloo in Belgium, Napoleon Bonaparte suffers defeat at the hands of the Duke of Wellington, bringing an end to the Napoleonic era of European history.
The most successful and feared Confederate commerce raider of the war, the CSS Alabama, sinks after a spectacular battle off the coast of France with the USS Kearsarge.
On this day in 1943, British bombers perform the first “shuttle bombing” raid of the war, attacking sites in Germany and Italy.
Taking off from airbases in Britain, bombers made for the southwestern German city of Friedrichshafen, at one time the home to Zeppelin airship construction. It now was the site of steel construction works, which were heavily damaged in the British attack. The Brits then flew, not back to Britain, but to airbases in Algeria. Refueled, they then headed north for the Italian naval base in La Spezia, in Liguria. This “shuttle” strategy enabled the bombers to kill two enemies with one operation-Bellicose.
New Hampshire becomes the ninth and last necessary state to ratify the Constitution of the United States, thereby making the document the law of the land.
On this day in 1944, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the G.I. Bill, an unprecedented act of legislation designed to compensate returning members of the armed services–known as G.I.s–for their efforts in World War II.
On this day, Confederate General Robert E. Lee meets with his corps commanders to plot an attack on General George McClellan’s Army of the Potomac. Launched on June 26, the attack would break the stalemate of the Peninsular campaign in Virginia and trigger the Seven Days’ Battles.
Following the rejection of his Continental System by Czar Alexander I, French Emperor Napoleon orders his Grande Armee, the largest European military force ever assembled to that date, into Russia. The enormous army, featuring some 500,000 soldiers and staff, included troops from all the European countries under the sway of the French Empire.