On this day in 1863, The largest military conflict in North American history begins this day when Union and Confederate forces collide at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The epic battle lasted three days and resulted in a retreat to Virginia by Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.
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 1775, George Washington rides out in front of the American troops gathered at Cambridge common in Massachusetts and draws his sword, formally taking command of the Continental Army. Washington, a prominent Virginia planter and veteran of the French and Indian War, had been appointed commander in chief by the Continental Congress two weeks before. In agreeing to serve the American colonies in their war for independence, he declined to accept payment for his services beyond reimbursement of future expenses.
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.
On this day in 1865, President Andrew Johnson signs an executive order that confirms the military conviction of a group of people who had conspired to kill the late President Abraham Lincoln, then commander in chief of the U.S. Army. With his signature, Johnson ordered four of the guilty to be executed.
On this day in 1864, Confederate General Jubal Early’s troops cross the Potomac River and capture Hagerstown, Maryland. Early had sought to threaten Washington, D.C., and thereby relieve pressure on General Robert E. Lee, who was fighting to keep Ulysses S. Grant out of Richmond, Virginia.
On this day in 1941, The neutral United States moves closer to war with Germany when U.S. forces land on Iceland to take over its garrisoning from the British. From thereon, the U.S. Navy had the responsibility of protecting convoys in the nearby sea routes from attack by German submarines. With Iceland and its nearby sea routes under U.S. protection, the British Royal Navy was more free to defend its embattled Mediterranean positions.