“The person I’m interviewing has not been subpoenaed. He’s in charge of himself, and he lives with his subject matter every day. All I’m armed with is research.”
1712 – A group of more than twenty black slaves set fire to a building on Maiden Lane in New York City.
While the white colonists tried to put out the fire, the enslaved blacks, armed with guns, hatchets, and swords, attacked the whites – killing nine and wounding six – before fleeing.
Local militias and soldiers from a nearby fort quickly hunted them down. 27 were captured hiding in a swamp near modern-day Canal Street.
Though a handful of the captured slaves were spared, the majority were sentenced to brutal, public executions, including being burned alive and being hung by chains in the center of town.
1865 – Following their retreat from Sailor’s Creek, Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s corps arrived in Farmville, VA, followed closely by Union Major General George Crook’s cavalry division.
Longstreet’s troops were in desperate need of rations, but after receiving them, the soldiers were told to march to the north side of the river to avoid the advancing forces of Crook and Major General John Gibbon’s XXIV Corps.
Confederate troops of Lieutenant General Richard Anderson and Major General John Gordon, meanwhile, headed for the High Bridge, a double-deck structure with a railroad bridge on top and a lower wagon road bridge over the Appomattox River. They were to cross the bridge and reunite with Longstreet’s troops on the north bank.
The Confederates then intended to burn the bridge, but through mistakes and delays, did not start to do so until Union troops of Major General Andrew Humphreys’ II Corps arrived on the scenes. The Union troops led by the 19th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment were able to preserve the wagon bridge portion for passage in their pursuit.
At the ensuing Battle of Cumberland Church, the Confederates held back the Union Army, but General Robert E. Lee, realizing that the Union forces could soon close in on his men, withdrew his army in another night march to the west.
They were delayed in their march, which helped Union forces south of the Appomattox River to get past them to cut them off at Appomattox Court House.
Grant wrote to Lee from Farmville at 5:00 p.m. on April 7:
The results of the last week must convince you of the hopelessness of further resistance on the part of the Army of Northern Virginia in this struggle. I feel that it is so, and regard it as my duty to shift from myself the responsibility of any further effusion of blood, by asking of you the surrender of that portion of the C.S. Army known as the Army of Northern Virginia.
Lee’s reply to Grant stated that he disagreed with Grant about the hopelessness of his situation but he also was hoping to avoid “the useless effusion of blood” and asked Grant for the terms he would offer on condition of his army’s surrender.
The story continues tomorrow…
1922 – President Warren G. Harding’s Interior Secretary, Albert B. Fall, set in motion the Teapot Dome scandals.
Fall leased the Teapot Dome oil reserves in Wyoming to Harry Sinclair of Mammoth Oil, a subsidiary of Sinclair Oil Corporation. He also leased the Elk Hills reserve to Edward L. Doheny of Pan American Petroleum and Transport Company.
Both leases were issued without competitive bidding.
The lease terms were very favorable to the oil companies, which also made Fall a rich man. He received a no-interest loan from Doheny of $100,000 (about $1.4 million today), and other gifts from Doheny and Sinclair totaling about $404,000 (about $5.67 million today).
An investigation, led by Senator Thomas Walsh of Montana, slowly but surely led to Fall’s downfall.
He was subsequently convicted on charges of accepting a bribe from Doheny. The first Cabinet member convicted of a crime committed while in office, Fall was fined $100,000 and sentenced to a year in prison.
1945 – The Yamato, the largest battleship ever constructed, was sunk by American aircraft.
With a length of 862 feet and armed with nine 18.1 inch Type 94 main guns – the largest guns ever mounted on a warship, capable of firing missiles a distance of 25 miles – Yamato was commissioned one week after the attack on Pearl Harbor, spending most of its time moving between the major Japanese naval bases of Truk and Kure in response to American threats.
By early 1945, the Japanese fleet was depleted and badly hobbled by critical fuel shortages. In a desperate attempt to slow the Allied advance, Yamato was dispatched on a one-way mission to Okinawa in April 1945, with orders to beach herself and fight until destroyed protecting the island.
It never got the chance.
The battleship, along with nine other Japanese warships, were attacked by U.S. carrier-borne aircraft before reaching Okinawa.
Yamato was hit by at least 11 torpedoes and eight bombs. It sank rapidly, losing an estimated 2,500 of her 2,750 man crew.
1947 – Auto pioneer Henry Ford died at age 83.
He was the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and the sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production.
That’s the good part.
Ford was also widely known for his pacifism during the first years of World War I, and for promoting anti-Semitic content, including The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, through his newspaper The Dearborn Independent and the book The International Jew, having an influence on the development of Nazism and Adolf Hitler.
1954 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower described his “domino theory” – referring to communism in Indochina – during a news conference.
“Finally, you have broader considerations that might follow what you would call the “falling domino” principle. You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. So you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences.“
1970 – At the 42nd Academy Awards, Midnight Cowboy won Best Picture and Best Director (John Schlesinger).
It became the first – and so far, the only – X-rated film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Its rating has since been downgraded to R.
John Wayne (True Grit) won Best Actor and Maggie Smith (The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie) won Best Actress.
The Duke Factoid: I have to include the clip of John Wayne winning his first – and only – Academy Award. He may not have delivered the best performance of the five nominees that year – Dustin Hoffman clearly did for Midnight Cowboy – but in a career that included 142 films, it was about time he was recognized.
1999 – Shania Twain’s third album Come On Over was certified Diamond (10 million in sales) by the RIAA.
The distinction made her the first female artist with back-to-back Diamond albums; her second album, The Woman In Me, had been certified in 1997.
2001 – Academy Award winning actress Beatrice Straight died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. She was 86.
In her long career, she actually did little work in films, preferring to perform on the stage. She debuted on Broadway in 1935 and was awarded the Best Supporting Actress Tony Award for her performance in The Crucible.
Although her film credits were few, she is best remembered for her role as Louise Schumacher in Network, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
She was on screen for only five minutes and two seconds – the shortest performance to win an Academy Award for acting – but her performance as the devastated wife confronting her husband for his infidelity was nothing short of amazing.
2012 – Hard hitting journalist Mike Wallace died of natural causes at the age of 93.
One of the original correspondents for CBS’ 60 Minutes, which debuted in 1968. Wallace retired as a regular full-time correspondent in 2006.
A reporter with the presence of a performer, Wallace went head to head with chiefs of state, celebrities and con artists for more than 50 years.
His 60 Minutes colleague Harry Reasoner once said, “There is one thing that Mike can do better than anybody else. With an angelic smile, he can ask a question that would get anyone else smashed in the face.”
Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2020 RayLemire.com / Streamingoldies.com. All Rights Reserved.