Daily History Lesson … May 1

“My plans are perfect, and when I start to carry them out, may God have mercy on Bobby Lee, for I shall have none.”
~General Joseph Hooker

That didn’t turn out the way Joe intended. Read on…


1863 – The first shots of the Battle of Chancellorsville were fired at 11:20 a.m. as the armies of Union Army Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker’s Army of the Potomac and General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia collided.
Hooker intended to avoid the Confederate trenches that protected a long stretch of the Rappahannock River around Fredericksburg. Placing two-thirds of his forces in front of Fredericksburg to feign a frontal assault and keep the Confederates occupied, he marched the rest of his army up the river, crossed the Rappahannock, and began to move behind Lee’s army. The well-executed plan placed the Army of Northern Virginia in grave danger.
But Lee’s tactical brilliance and gambler’s intuition saved him. He split his force, leaving 10,000 troops under Jubal Early to hold the Federals at bay in Fredericksburg, and then marched the rest of his army west to meet the bulk of Hooker’s force. Surprisingly, Hooker ordered his forces to fall back into defensive positions after only limited combat, effectively giving the initiative to Lee, despite the fact that his army far outnumbered Lee’s, and had the Confederates clamped between two substantial forces.


1898 – The American Asiatic Squadron under Commodore George Dewey engaged and destroyed the Spanish Pacific Squadron under Admiral Patricio Montojo. The battle took place in Manila Bay in the Philippines, and was the first major engagement of the Spanish–American War. The battle was one of the most decisive naval battles in history. In less than six hours, the Spanish lost 7 cruisers while the Americans suffered minor damage to one of their ships.

1926 – Ford Motor Company became one of the first companies in America to adopt a five-day, 40-hour week for workers in its automotive factories.


1931 – New York City’s Empire State Building, at 102 stories and 1,250 feet high, making it the tallest structure in the world (at the time), was formally dedicated.


1936 – The FBI captured Alvin Karpis, Public Enemy #1, in New Orleans, supposedly by FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover. A couple of versions of the arrest have been reported. Karpis’ version was that Hoover showed up only after all the other agents had seized him. Only then did the agents call to Hoover that it was safe to approach the car. The official FBI version stated that Hoover reached into the car and grabbed Karpis before he could reach a rifle in the back seat. In fact, the car, a Plymouth coupe, had no back seat. I’m leaning to Karpis’ side on that one.


1941 – Citizen Kane premiered at the RKO Palace Theater in New York City. The film was initially a failure at the box office. It was only years later that Citizen Kane began to garner well-deserved accolades for its pioneering camera and sound work. It consistently ranks at the top of film critics’ lists, most notably grabbing the No. 1 spot on the American Film Institute’s poll of America’s 100 Greatest Films.


1945 – Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s Reich Minister of Propaganda, took his own life, as did his wife. Before the joint suicide, Goebbels’ wife administered cyanide to their six children.


1945 – Hundreds of people committed mass suicide in the town of Demmin, in the Province of Pomerania (now in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern), Germany. The suicides occurred during a mass panic that was provoked by atrocities committed by soldiers of the Soviet Red Army, who had sacked the town the day before. Between 700 to 1,000 died, making it the largest mass suicide ever recorded in Germany.


1952 – Mr. Potato Head was “born” on this date. The original toy cost 98 cents and contained hands, feet, ears, two mouths, two pairs of eyes, four noses, three hats, eyeglasses, a pipe, and eight felt pieces resembling facial hair. However, he did not come with a “body” so parents had to provide their own potato.


1960 – An American U-2 spy plane was shot down while conducting espionage over the Soviet-Union. The incident derailed an important summit meeting between President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev that was scheduled for later that month. The pilot, Francis Gary Powers, was released in 1962 in exchange for a captured Soviet spy.


2000 – Steve Reeves, bodybuilder and actor (Hercules and Hercules Unchained) died from a blood clot after having surgery two days earlier. He was 74.


2003 – President George W. Bush, standing on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln – and directly in front of a “Mission Accomplished” banner – stated, “My fellow Americans, major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”
Bush also said, “Our mission continues. Al Qaida is wounded, not destroyed,” but it was his opening statement and that banner that people will remember.
In January 2009, Bush said, “Clearly, putting ‘Mission Accomplished’ on an aircraft carrier was a mistake.”

Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2017 RayLemire.com. / Streamingoldies.com. All Rights Reserved.

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