On this day in 1863, the U.S. Congress passes a conscription act that produces the first wartime draft of U.S. citizens in American history.
On this day in 1776, Under the cover of constant bombing from American artillery, Brigadier General John Thomas slips 2,000 troops, cannons and artillery into position at Dorchester Heights, just south of Boston.
On this day in 1770, a group of British colonialists called The Sons Of Liberty, gathers at the Customs House in Boston and begins taunting the British soldiers guarding the building. Shots were fired and when the smoke was cleared, five colonists were dead or dying—Crispus Attucks, Patrick Carr, Samuel Gray, Samuel Maverick, and James Caldwell—and three more were injured. Two British soldiers were tried for firing into the crowd and were found guilty of manslaughter. Both soldiers each had one of their fingers branded with an “M”
On this day in 1836, 189 Texans under the command of Lt. Colonel William B. Travis were killed to the last man when the Mexican army under General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna stormed the Alamo. Thus ending a 13 day siege.
On this day in 1862, Union forces under General Samuel Curtis clash with the army of General Earl Van Dorn at the Battle of Pea Ridge (also called the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern),in northwest Arkansas. The following day, the battle ended in defeat for the Confederates.
On this day in 1965, The USS Henrico, Union, and Vancouver, carrying the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade under Brig. Gen. Frederick J. Karch, take up stations 4,000 yards off Red Beach Two, north of Da Nang.
On this day in 1862, the CSS Virginia, a captured and rebuilt Union steam frigate formerly known as the Merrimac, engages the USS Monitor in the first battle between iron-fortified naval vessels in history.