This Day In History – August 28


General John Stark

August 28, 1728 – American Revolution

Future “Hero of Bennington” John Stark born in Londonderry, New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s most famous soldier, Gen. John Stark, the hero of Bunker Hill and Bennington, was the right man in the right place at the right time. His early training with his father in heavy farm work and lumbering operations, his later practice in hunting and trapping, his capture by the Indians and his study of their language and customs, all led to his success as a member of Rogers’ Rangers in the French and Indian Wars. This in turn fostered the soldierly quality of leadership that he showed so strongly in the Revolution. He developed an ability to foresee what the enemy would do and to forestall him, thus gaining distinction among Revolutionary officers. Stark’s life encompassed the whole revolutionary period, and he was instrumental in the cataclysmic events that produced a free and independent nation.

The Bennington Battle Monument in Bennington, Vermont

On April 28, 1752, while on a hunting and trapping trip along the Baker River, a tributary of the Pemigewasset River, he was captured by Abenaki warriors and brought back to Canada but not before warning his brother William to paddle away in his canoe, though David Stinson was killed. While a prisoner of the Abenaki, he and his fellow prisoner Amos Eastman were made to run a gauntlet of warriors armed with sticks. Stark grabbed the stick from the first warrior’s hands and proceeded to attack him, taking the rest of the warriors by surprise. The chief was so impressed by this heroic act that Stark was adopted into the tribe, where he spent the winter. Alternatively, in The Invasion Within, Axtell describes how colonists were often abducted by Indians and inducted into their tribes as members through such a ceremony of running the gauntlet.

Source “Framers of Freedom” – John Stark and John Stark – Wikipedia

Further reading:
Capitol Campus Art – John Stark
Battle of Bennington

Battle of Bennington


Alfred Howe Terry

August 28, 1864 – American Civil War

Union General Alfred Terry is promoted

Union General Alfred Terry is promoted from brigadier general to major general of the United State Volunteers.

A native of Connecticut, Terry studied law and became a clerk of the New Haven Superior Court before the war. He was a colonel in the Second Connecticut when the war began, and his regiment fought at the First Battle of Bull Run, Virginia, in July 1861. Terry and his regiment fought at Port Royal, South Carolina, in the fall of 1861. He spent the next two and a half years fighting along the southern coast. For his service, he was promoted to brigadier general and given temporary command of the captured Fort Pulaski in Georgia.

Fort Fisher (painting/excerpt 1890): shows stylized earthen walls along the Northern Bastion.

At the end of 1863, Terry was assigned to General Benjamin Butler’s Army of the James. He participated in the early stages of the siege of Petersburg, Virginia, before his promotion to major general, and assumed temporary command of the Tenth Corps when General David Birney died of malaria.

At the end of 1864, Terry participated in an attempt to capture Fort Fisher in North Carolina, a stronghold that protected the approach to Wilmington, the Confederacy’s most important blockade-running port. Led by General Benjamin Butler, the expedition was a dismal failure. General-in-chief Ulysses S. Grant was so disappointed with Butler that he removed him from command and placed Terry in charge of the next attempt.

Read more at This Day In History

Further reading:
Fort Fisher – Wikipedia
Fort Fisher Union Command Gallery

Gun with muzzle shot away, 1865


Powell as he appears at the National Portrait Gallery in

August 28, 1869 – Old West

Three leave Powell’s Grand Canyon expedition

Convinced they will have a better chance surviving the desert than the raging rapids that lay ahead, three men leave John Wesley Powell’s expedition through the Grand Canyon and scale the cliffs to the plateau above.

Though it turned out the men had made a serious mistake, they can hardly be faulted for believing that Powell’s plan to float the brutal rapids was suicidal. Powell, a one-armed Civil War veteran and self-trained naturalist, had embarked on his daring descent of the mighty Colorado River three months earlier. Accompanied by 11 men in four wooden boats, he led the expedition through the Grand Canyon and over punishing rapids that many would hesitate to run even with modern rafts.

The worst was yet to come. Near the lower end of the canyon, the party heard the roar of giant rapids. Moving to shore, they explored on foot and saw, in the words of one man, “the worst rapids yet.” Powell agreed, writing that, “The billows are huge and I fear our boats could not ride them…There is discontent in the camp tonight and I fear some of the party will take to the mountains but hope not.”

Read more at This Day In History

Further reading:
Powell Geographic Expedition of 1869
John Wesley Powell – Wikipedia
The Powell Expedition – The National Park System



Policewoman arrests Florence Youmans (left) of Minnesota and Annie Arniel (center) of Delaware for refusing to give up their banners. June 1917.

August 28, 1917 – Women’s Suffrage

President Woodrow Wilson picketed by women suffragists

On this day in 1917, President Woodrow Wilson is picketed by woman suffragists in front of the White House, who demand that he support an amendment to the Constitution that would guarantee women the right to vote.

Wilson had a history of lukewarm support for women’s suffrage, although he paid lip service to suffragists’ demands during political campaigns and greeted previously peaceful suffrage demonstrators at the White House with decorum. He was also a former teacher at a women’s college and the father of two daughters who considered themselves “suffragettes.” During the 1912 presidential campaign against Theodore Roosevelt, Wilson and his opponent agreed on many reform measures such as child-labor laws and pro-union legislation. They differed, however, on the subject of women’s suffrage, as Roosevelt was in favor of giving women the vote.

According to the Library of Congress’ American Memory archives, Wilson rode out of the White House gates on the morning of August 28 with his wife at his side and tipped his hat toward the protestors as usual. By this time, though, the suffragists had become increasingly disruptive and brandished anti-World War I slogans on their placards in addition to pleas for the vote and later that day the protestors and outraged bystanders who supported the war clashed. Many of the women were arrested and thrown in jail. Some of the jailed suffragists went on a hunger strike and were force-fed by their captors. Wilson, appalled by the hunger strikes and worried about negative publicity for his administration, finally agreed to a suffrage amendment in January 1918. Two years later, toward the end of Wilson’s second presidential term, Congress passed the 19th Amendment, officially giving women the right to vote.

Source This Day In History

Further reading:
Silent Sentinels
Alice Paul’s Fight For Suffrage
Brief Timeline of the National Woman’s Party 1912-1997 (and images)

Silent Sentinels picketing the White House.


Commodore Roger Keyes, who devised the attack

August 28, 1914 – World War I

First Major WWI Sea Battle – Battle of Heligoland Bight

On August 28, 1914, World War I spreads from land to sea when the first major naval battle of the conflict breaks out between British and German ships in the North Sea, near the northern coast of Germany.

The battle occurred in a partially enclosed body of water known as Heligoland Bight, which was used to shelter several bases of the German High Seas Fleet and also offered a good starting-off point for attacks against the British Isles. The German fleet had rarely ventured far from port, however, when British commander Reginald Tyrwhitt was given the task of leading a small fleet of British ships, including two light cruisers, Fearless and Arethusa, and a number of destroyers, into the bight in order to lure German ships to chase them out to sea, where a larger British force, commanded by Vice Admiral Sir David Beatty, would be waiting to confront them.

Around seven o’clock on the morning of August 28, 1914, Tyrwhitt’s squadron began the operation by sinking two German torpedo boats. As the British attack had not caught the German fleet entirely by surprise, its defense was ready, and Tyrwhitt soon found his men outgunned by a German force, including six light cruisers, who used the thick fog hanging over the bight to partially conceal themselves and fire unexpectedly on the British ships. At 11: 25 am, Tyrwhitt called on Beatty for immediate assistance; Beatty’s First Battle Cruiser Squadron rushed to his aid from some 40 kilometers away, reaching the bight at 12:40 pm. The powerful British squadron subsequently sank three German cruisers and damaged three more, causing a total of 1,200 German casualties. Britain, on the other hand, lost only 35 sailors, and all of their ships remained afloat.

Read more at This Day In History

Further reading:
Battle of Heligoland – Wikipedia
Background to Battle of Heligoland

Sinking of the German cruiser Mainz from a British warship


Members of an unidentified German paramilitary group, operated by the Nazis, watched as Jewish men and women were forced to dig their own graves. Many Ukrainians were forced to carry out tasks for the Nazis.Photo: The Federal Archive of Koblenz, Germany

August 28, 1941 – World War II

Mass Murder In Ukraine

On this day in 1941, more than 23,000 Hungarian Jews are murdered by the Gestapo in occupied Ukraine.

The German invasion of the Soviet Union had advanced to the point of mass air raids on Moscow and the occupation of parts of Ukraine. On August 26, Hitler displayed the joys of conquest by inviting Benito Mussolini to Brest-Litovsk, where the Germans had destroyed the city’s citadel. The grand irony is that Ukrainians had originally viewed the Germans as liberators from their Soviet oppressors and an ally in the struggle for independence. But as early as July, the Germans were arresting Ukrainians agitating and organizing for a provisional state government with an eye toward autonomy and throwing them into concentration camps. The Germans also began carving the nation up, dispensing parts to Poland (already occupied by Germany) and Romania.

But true horrors were reserved for Jews in the territory.

Read more at This Day In History

Further reading:
The Holocaust Chronicles
Babi Yar – Wikipedia

Babi Yar Monument in Kiev


August 28, 1966 – Vietnam War

North Vietnamese pilots being trained in Soviet Union

It is reported in three Soviet newspapers that North Vietnamese pilots are undergoing training in a secret Soviet air base to fly supersonic interceptors against U.S. aircraft. This only confirms earlier reports that the Soviets had initiated close relations with North Vietnam after a visit by Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin to Hanoi in February 1965 during which he signed economic and military treaties with the North, pledging full support for their war effort.


The Soviets and North Vietnamese leadership planned military strategy and discussed North Vietnam’s needs to prosecute such a strategy. The Soviets agreed to supply the necessary war materials, to include air defense weapons for the North and offensive weapons to be employed in the South. At one point in the war, the Soviets would supply 80 percent of all supplies reaching North Vietnam.

Source This Day In History

Further reading:
Vietnam People’s Air Force

North Vietnamese pilots run towards their MiG-17s to take off and engage US aircraft.


To me history ought to be a source of pleasure. It isn’t just part of our civic responsibility. To me it’s an enlargement of the experience of being alive, just the way literature or art or music is. —David McCullough (July 7, 1933) is an American author, narrator, historian, and lecturer.


America remember and honor your history – it will give direction, purpose and security to your future.


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