On this day in 1812, the U.S. Navy frigate Constitution defeats the British frigate Guerrière in a furious engagement off the coast of Nova Scotia. Witnesses claimed that the British shot merely bounced off the Constitution‘s sides, as if the ship were made of iron rather than wood. By the war’s end, “Old Ironsides” destroyed or captured seven more British ships. The success of the USS Constitution against the supposedly invincible Royal Navy provided a tremendous boost in morale for the young American republic.
On this day in 1794, General “Mad Anthony” Wayne proves that the fragile young republic can counter a military threat when he puts down Shawnee Chief Blue Jacket’s confederacy near present-day Toledo, Ohio, with the newly created 3,000-man strong Legion of the United States at the Battle of Fallen Timbers.
On this day in 1914, the second and third of what will be four “Battles of the Frontiers” fought between German and Allied forces on the Western Front during a four-day period in August 1914 begin near Ardennes and Charleroi in northern France.
On this day in 1776, close to 24,000 British soldiers arrived off the coast of Long Island, between Gravesend and New Utrecht to begin operations in the Northern Colonies.
On August 23, 1914, in their first confrontation on European soil since the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, four divisions of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), commanded by Sir John French, struggle with the German 1st Army over the 60-foot-wide Mons Canal in Belgium, near the French frontier.
On this day in 1814, British forces under General Robert Ross overwhelm American militiamen at the Battle of Bladensburg, Maryland, and march unopposed into Washington, D.C.
On this day in 1944, French General Jacques Leclerc enters the free French capital triumphantly. Pockets of German resistance remained, but Paris was free from German control.