On this day in 1862, General Henry W. Halleck assumes the role of general-in-chief of all Union forces in an effort to better coordinate the overall Union war effort, which is floundering.
On this day in 1943, British bombers raid Hamburg, Germany, by night in Operation Gomorrah, while Americans bomb it by day in its own “Blitz Week.”
On this day in 1780, American General Horatio Gates takes command of the southern army from Major General Johann DeKalb at Coxe’s Mill, North Carolina. When Gates took command, the Patriots numbered about 1,200 regulars, who were severely debilitated by hunger and in need of equipment, as well as a large group of militia, whose exact number is unknown. DeKalb, a German-born soldier who had served in both the French and German armies before volunteering his services to the Patriots, remained with the force as part of Gates’ headquarters staff.
On July 26, 1916, during the epic Battle of the Somme, Australian troops taking part in their first offensive action on the Western Front battle the Germans at Pozieres, near the Somme River in France.
After three years of a bloody and frustrating war, the United States, the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, and South Korea agree to an armistice, bringing the Korean War to an end. The armistice ended America’s first experiment with the Cold War concept of “limited war.”
On this day in 1864, at the Battle of Ezra Church, Georgia, Confederates under General John Bell Hood make a third attempt to break General William T. Sherman’s hold on Atlanta. Like the first two, this attack failed, destroying the Confederate Army of Tennessee’s offensive capabilities.
The first 4,000 paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division arrive in Vietnam, landing at Cam Ranh Bay. They made a demonstration jump immediately after arriving, observed by Gen. William Westmoreland and outgoing Ambassador (formerly General) Maxwell Taylor. Taylor and Westmoreland were both former commanders of the division, which was known as the “Screaming Eagles.” The 101st Airborne Division has a long and storied history, including combat jumps during the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, and the subsequent Market-Garden airborne operation in the Netherlands. Later, the division distinguished itself by its defense of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge.