On this day in 1967, badly injured after ejecting when his North American F-100F is shot down over North Vietnam, Major George E. Day is captured and severely tortured. He later managed to escape and eventually made it to the DMZ. After several attempts to signal U.S. aircraft, he was ambushed and recaptured, and was later moved to prison in Hanoi, where he continued to strongly resist to his captors. Finally released in 1973, Major Day was awarded the Medal of Honor for his conspicuous gallantry while a POW.
On this day in 1776, British forces under General William Howe and his brother, Admiral Richard viscount Howe, defeat Patriot forces under General George Washington at the Battle of Brooklyn Heights in New York.
On this day in 1972, The U.S. Air Force gets its first ace (a designation traditionally awarded for five enemy aircraft confirmed shot down) since the Korean War. Captain Richard S. Ritchie, flying with his “backseater” (radar intercept officer), Captain Charles B. DeBellevue, in an F-4 out of Udorn Base Air in Thailand, shoots down his fifth MiG near Hanoi.
On this day in 1862, Confederate General Robert E. Lee deals a stinging defeat to Union General John Pope at the Second Battle of Bull Run, Virginia—a battle that arose out of the failure of Union General George McClellan’s Peninsular campaign earlier in the summer.
On this day in 1862, Confederates under Edmund Kirby Smith rout a Union army at Richmond, Kentucky, in one of the most lopsided engagements of the Civil War.
On this day in 1944, the British 8th Army breaks through the Germans’ “Gothic Line,” a defensive line drawn across northern Italy.
On this day in 1864, Union Army General William Tecumseh Sherman lays siege to Atlanta, Georgia, a critical Confederate hub, shelling civilians and cutting off supply lines. The Confederates retreated, destroying the city’s munitions as they went. On November 15 of that year, Sherman’s troops burned much of the city before continuing their march through the South. Sherman’s Atlanta campaign was one of the most decisive victories of the Civil War.