On this day in 1779, Congress establishes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to help plan, design and prepare environmental and structural facilities for the U.S. Army. Made up of civilian workers, members of the Continental Army and French officers, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers played an essential role in the critical Revolutionary War battles at Bunker Hill, Saratoga and Yorktown.
On this day in 1864, one of the biggest military fiascos of the Civil War begins as a combined Union force of infantry and river boats, starts moving up the Red River in Louisiana. The month-long campaign was poorly managed and achieved none of the objectives set forth by Union commanders.
On this day in 1954, A force of 40,000 Viet Minh with heavy artillery surround 15,000 French troops at Dien Bien Phu. French General Henri Navarre had positioned these forces 200 miles behind enemy lines in a remote area adjacent to the Laotian border. He hoped to draw the communists into a set-piece battle in which he hoped superior French firepower would destroy the enemy. He underestimated the enemy.
On this day in 1943, German troops re-enter Kharkov, the second largest city in the Ukraine, which had changed hands several times in the battle between the USSR and the invading German forces.
On this day in 44B.C. Julius Caesar, the”dictator for life”of the Roman Empire, is murdered by his own senators at a meeting in a hall next to Pompey’s Theatre. The conspiracy against Caesar encompassed as many as sixty noblemen, including Caesar’s own protege, Marcus Brutus.
On this day in 1945, the west Pacific volcanic island of Iwo Jima is declared secured by the U.S. military after months of fiercely fighting its Japanese defenders.
On this day in 1776, British forces are forced to evacuate Boston following General George Washington’s successful placement of fortifications and cannons on Dorchester Heights, which overlooks the city from the south.