On this day in 1863, during the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia attacks General George G. Meade’s Army of the Potomac at both Culp’s Hill and Little Round Top, but fails to move the Yankees from their positions.
On this day in 1863, troops under Confederate General George Pickett begin a massive attack against the center of the Union lines on the climactic third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the largest engagement of the war. For the first two days of the battle, General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia had battered George Meade’s Army of the Potomac. The day before Pickett’s Charge, the Confederates had hammered each flank of the Union line but could not break through.
On this day in 1776, In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims the independence of the United States of America from Great Britain and its king. The declaration came 442 days after the first volleys of the American Revolution were fired at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts and marked an ideological expansion of the conflict that would eventually encourage France’s intervention on behalf of the Patriots.
On this day in 1950, Near Sojong, South Korea, Private Kenneth Shadrick, a 19-year-old infantryman from Skin Fork, West Virginia, becomes the first American reported killed in the Korean War. Shadrick, a member of a bazooka squad, had just fired the weapon at a Soviet-made tank when he looked up to check his aim and was cut down by enemy machine-gun fire.
On this day in 1964, At Nam Dong in the northern highlands of South Vietnam, an estimated 500-man Viet Cong battalion attacks an American Special Forces outpost. During a bitter battle, Capt. Roger C. Donlon, commander of the Special Forces A-Team, rallied his troops, treated the wounded, and directed defenses although he himself was wounded several times. After five hours of fighting, the Viet Cong withdrew. The battle resulted in an estimated 40 Viet Cong killed; two Americans, 1 Australian military adviser, and 57 South Vietnamese defenders also lost their lives. At a White House ceremony in December 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson presented Captain Donlon with the first Medal of Honor of the Vietnam War.
On this day in 1942, Heinrich Himmler, in concert with three others, including a physician, decides to begin experimenting on women in the Auschwitz concentration camps and to investigate extending this experimentation on males.
On this day in 1959, Maj. Dale R. Ruis and Master Sgt. Chester M. Ovnand become the first Americans killed in the American phase of the Vietnam War when guerrillas strike a Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) compound in Bien Hoa, 20 miles northeast of Saigon. The group had arrived in South Vietnam on November 1, 1955, to provide military assistance. The organization consisted of U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps personnel who provided advice and assistance to the Ministry of Defense, Joint General Staff, corps and division commanders, training centers, and province and district headquarters.