A number of very significant things happened later in October.
The Mason-Dixon Line was created; the last major battle of our Revolutionary War was fought as was the Charge of the Light Brigade. Protestors against the Vietnam War chanted hoping the Pentagon would levitate and turn orange (it didn’t). And the Statue of Liberty was dedicated.
Here are some of the more interesting events:
On 16 Oct 1859, Abolitionist John Brown led a small group on a raid against an arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia, in an attempt to incite an insurrection and destroy the institution of slavery.
On 17 Oct 1777, British general and playwright John Burgoyne surrendered 5,000 British and Hessian troops to American General Horatio Gates at Saratoga, NY.
On 18 Oct 1767, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon completed their survey of the boundary between the colonies of Pennsylvania and Maryland as well as areas that would eventually become the states of Delaware and West Virginia. The Penn and Calvert families had hired Mason and Dixon, English surveyors, to settle their dispute over the boundary between their two proprietary colonies, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The Mason-Dixon Line also became the reference point between the north and the south in our Civil War.
On 18 October 1989, the Iron Curtain nations of East Germany and Hungary took significant steps toward ending the communist domination of their countries and to replace it with more democratic politics and free market economies. In Hungary, the Communist Party had disbanded on 7 October. This action was followed by the razing of the barbed wire fence that had for years separated Hungary from Austria. The destruction of the fence effectively marked the end of the Berlin Wall as an impediment to travel between East and West Germany, since East Germans could now simply travel to Hungary, enter Austria, and go on from there to West Germany. Not surprisingly, the Berlin Wall came down shortly thereafter.
On 19 October 1781, the British Army at Yorktown surrendered.
On 21 August 1781, General George Washington quietly began moving his army, along with his French allies, with a goal of crushing British Gen. Cornwallis’ isolated force at Yorktown, VA. As any success would be dependent upon the French navy’s ability to prevent Cornwallis being resupplied, this movement was supported by the fleet of Rear Admiral Comte de Grasse, whose ships assumed a blockading position and defeated the reinforcing British fleet.
As Washington’s force reached Williamsburg, they joined with the forces of Gen Layfayette, who had been shadowing Cornwallis’ movements.
In Yorktown, Cornwallis was expecting heavy reinforcements.
The first major attack on two positions began after dark on 14 Oct.
Cornwallis shifted 1,000 men and his wounded to Gloucester Point with the goal of transferring his army across the river and breaking out to the north. As the boats returned to Yorktown, they were scattered by a storm. Out of ammunition for his guns and unable to shift his army, Cornwallis decided to open negotiations with Washington. At 9:00 AM on October 17, a single drummer mounted the British works and beat the long roll as a lieutenant waved a white flag.
Cornwallis’ 7,018 men were taken prisoner. The final surrender documents were signed on October 19. At noon the French and American armies lined up to await the British surrender. Two hours later the British marched out with flags furled and their bands playing “The World Turned Upside Down.”
On 20 Oct 1944, after advancing island by island across the Pacific Ocean, General Douglas MacArthur waded ashore onto the Philippine island of Leyte, fulfilling his promise to return to the area he was ordered to leave in 1942.
On 21 Oct 1967, in Washington, DC nearly 100,000 people gather to protest the American war effort in Vietnam. More than 50,000 of the protesters marched to the Pentagon to ask for an end to the conflict. The protest was the most dramatic sign of waning support for President Lyndon Johnson’s war in Vietnam. Polls taken in the summer of 1967 revealed that, for the first time, American support for the war had fallen below 50%.
A group of hippies tried to exorcist the Pentagon. The brainchild of Abby Hoffman, the plan was for people to sing and chant until it levitated and turned orange, driving out the evil spirits and ending the Vietnam war. The Pentagon didn’t move.
On 22 Oct 1797, the first parachute jump of note was made by André-Jacques Garnerin from a hydrogen balloon 3,200 feet above Paris. Leonardo da Vinci conceived the idea of the parachute in his writings, and the Frenchman Louis-Sebastien Lenormand fashioned a kind of parachute out of two umbrellas and jumped from a tree in 1783, but André-Jacques Garnerin was the first to design and test parachutes capable of slowing a man’s fall from a high altitude.
On 23 October 1921, in the French town of Chalons-sur-Marne, an American officer selected the body of the first “Unknown Soldier” to be honored among the approximately 77,000 US servicemen killed on the Western Front during WWI.
On 23 Oct 1983, a suicide bomber drove a truck filled with 2,000 pounds of explosives into a US Marine Corps barracks at the Beirut International Airport. The explosion killed 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers. A few minutes after that bomb went off, a second bomber drove into the basement of the nearby French paratroopers’ barracks, killing 58 more people. Intelligence determined that the instructions for the attack came from Iran. Four months after the bombing, American forces left Lebanon without retaliating.
On 25 Oct 1854, in an event alternately described as one of the most heroic or disastrous episodes in British military history, Lord James Cardigan led a charge of the Light Brigade cavalry against well-defended Russian artillery during the Crimean War. The British were winning the Battle of Balaclava when Cardigan received his order to attack the Russians. His cavalry gallantly charged down the valley and were decimated by the heavy Russian guns, suffering 40% casualties. It was later revealed that the order was the result of confusion and was not given intentionally. Lord Cardigan, who survived the battle, was hailed as a national hero in Britain.
On 25 Oct 1944, during the WWII Battle of the Leyte Gulf, the Japanese deployed kamikaze (“divine wind”) suicide bombers against American warships for the first time. It proved costly–to both sides.
On 25 Oct 1971, in a dramatic reversal of its long-standing commitment to the Nationalist Chinese government of Taiwan, and a policy of non-recognition of the communist People’s Republic of China (PRC), America’s UN representatives voted to seat the PRC as a permanent member. Over American objections, Taiwan was expelled.
On 28 Oct 1886, the Statue of Liberty, a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the US, was dedicated in New York Harbor by President Grover Cleveland.
On 29 Oct 1956, Israeli armed forces pushed into Egypt toward the Suez Canal, initiating the Suez Crisis. They would soon be joined by French and British forces, creating a serious Cold War problem in the Middle East.
On 31 Oct 1952, the US exploded the first hydrogen bomb at Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific. The first H-bomb ever ‘Mike’ was exploded at 7.15 am local time on November 1st 1952. The mushroom cloud was 8 miles across and 27 miles high. The canopy was 100 miles wide. Radioactive mud fell out of the sky followed by heavy rain. 80 million tons of earth was vaporized. Mike was the first ever megaton yield explosion.
On 31 Oct 1998, the US and Israel signed a strategic cooperation agreement to protect the Jewish state from ballistic missiles. The Arrow “anti-tactical ballistic missile” program is one of the centerpieces of the US-Israel strategic relationship. It is one of the most advanced missile defense systems currently in existence. The Arrow will offer Israel an essential capability against Scud-type ballistic missiles, and provides the US with key research and technology for other “theater missile defense” programs.
On 31 Oct 2000, American astronaut Bill Shepherd and two Russian cosmonauts rocketed into orbit aboard a Soyuz rocket on a quest to become the first residents of the international space station.
~ Humor/Puns ~
Never Squat With Your Spurs On!
Will Rogers, who died in a 1935 plane crash in Alaska with bush pilot Wiley Post, was one of the Greatest political country/cowboy sages this country has ever known. Some of his sayings:
1. Never slap a man who’s chewing tobacco.
2. Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.
3. There are two theories to arguing with a woman. Neither works.
4. Never miss a good chance to shut up.
5. Always drink upstream from the herd.
6. If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
7. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it and put it back into your pocket.
8. There are three kinds of men:
The ones that learn by reading.
The few who learn by observation.
The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves.
9. Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
10. If you’re riding’ ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there.
11. Lettin’ the cat outta’ the bag is a whole lot easier’n puttin’ it back.
12. After eating an entire bull, a mountain lion felt so good he started roaring. He kept it up until a hunter came along and shot him. The moral: When you’re full of bull, keep your mouth shut.
The Frontlines of Freedom Newsletter is published twice monthly; the dates of publication each month depend on the events and history of that month.