On this day in 1940, the German army in northern France reaches the English Channel by entering the town of Abbeville.
On this day in 1927, American pilot Charles A. Lindbergh lands at Le Bourget Field in Paris, successfully completing the first solo, nonstop transatlantic flight and the first ever nonstop flight between New York to Paris. His single-engine monoplane, The Spirit of St. Louis, had lifted off from Roosevelt Field in New York 33 1/2 hours before.
On this day in 1781, Major General Nathanael Greene and 1,000 Patriots attempt an attack on the critical village of Ninety-Six in the South Carolina back-country. After failing to seize the fortified settlement, they began a siege of it, which lasted until their retreat on June 18, making it the longest of the War for Independence.
On this day in 1900, Sergeant William Harvey Carney is awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery on July 18, 1863, while fighting for the Union cause as a member of the 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry. He was the first African American to receive the Medal of Honor.
On this day in 1941, Germany’s largest battleship, the Bismarck, sinks the pride of the British fleet, HMS Hood.
On this day in 1862, Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson notches a victory at the First Battle of Winchester, Virginia, as part of his brilliant campaign in the Shenandoah Valley. Jackson, with 17,000 troops under his command, was sent to the Shenandoah to relieve pressure on the Confederate troops near Richmond, Virginia, who were facing the growing force of George McClellan on the James Peninsula.
On this day in 1754, during the Seven Years’ War, a 22-year-old lieutenant colonel in the Virginia militia named George Washington begins construction of a makeshift Fort Necessity. The fort was built to defend his forces from French soldiers enraged by the murder of Ensign Joseph Coulon de Jumonville while in Washington’s custody. One month later, the French, led by Jumonville’s half-brother, won Washington’s surrender and forced confession to Jumonville’s murder.