1863: (featured image) Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Tennessee clashes with three Confederate divisions led by Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton in the Battle of Champion Hill (Miss.). Pemberton’s men take heavy casualties and have to retreat 20 miles to Vicksburg, where they will surrender to Grant after a 40-day siege.
1899: 22 U.S. Army scouts come across a group of some 600 Filipino rebels attempting to destroy a bridge during the Philippine Insurrection. While under heavy fire, the scouts charge across the bridge and rout the enemy force. The following day, the Americans cross the bridge and capture San Isidro, the capital of the insurrection. 15 scouts from the Battle of San Isidro are awarded the Medal of Honor.
1919: Eight years before Charles Lindbergh’s famous crossing of the Atlantic, Lt. Cmdr. Albert C. “Puffy” Read and his crew of five depart Newfoundland on the first-ever transatlantic flight. Their Curtiss NC-4 flying boat will land in the Azores the following day and reaches Lisbon, Portugal seven days later.
1927: Although a peace treaty ended the Nicaraguan Civil War earlier in the month, a crowd of 75 Liberal rebels attack a platoon of U.S. Marines, led by Capt. Richard B. Buchanan. Two Marines – including Capt. Buchanan – are killed in the Battle of La Paz Centro. In a few days, the Marines will track down and kill General Cabulla, the man believed responsible for the attack.
1947: 101 B-29 Superfortress bombers conduct Strategic Air Command’s first maximum-effort mission, making a mock mass bomber attack on New York.
1951: 150,000 communist soldiers cross the Soyang River and manage to push back UN forces on the eastern portion of the peninsula some 20 miles. The Chinese Spring Offensive – the last all-out offensive campaign for the Chinese in the Korean War – fails as the Eighth Army, led by new commander Lt. Gen. James Van Fleet, drives the communists back to the 38th Parallel, where the battle lines will remain largely static until the Armistice.
1968: In South Vietnam’s Quang Tri Province, the North Vietnamese Army launches an attack against 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines. After having crossed enemy fire to reach a wounded Marine, Navy corpsman Don E. Ballard spots an enemy grenade that lands in the midst of Ballard, his patient, and four other Marines. Ballard leaps on the grenade, but fortunately for the Americans, the cheaply produced communist explosive fails to detonate.
Ballard calmly gets up and returns to his work – and will be awarded the Medal of Honor. On the 50th anniversary of his action, Ballard is one of only 71 surviving recipients.