The pull, the attraction of history, is in our human nature. What makes us tick? Why do we do what we do? How much is luck the deciding factor? —David McCullough (July 7, 1933) is an American author, narrator, historian, and lecturer.
Licinius defeated by Constantine I at the Battle of Cibalae
The Battle of Cibalae was fought on October 8, 314 (or perhaps as late as 316, the chronology is uncertain), between the two Roman emperors Constantine I and Licinius. The site of the battle was approximately 350 kilometers within the territory of Licinius. Constantine won a resounding victory, despite being outnumbered.
The hostilities were prompted by Constantine’s appointment of his brother-in-law, Bassianus, as his Caesar. Bassianus was discovered to be intriguing against Constantine, perhaps at the prodding of his own brother Senecio, a close associate of Licinius. When Constantine demanded that Licinius hand over Senecio, Licinius refused. Constantine marched against Licinius, who responded by elevating another associate, Valens. The date of Valens’ elevation probably occurred after the Battle of Cibalae.The opposing armies met on the plain between the rivers Save and Drave near the town of Cibalae (now Vinkovci, Croatia). The battle lasted all day. Following a period of skirmishing and missile fire at a distance the main bodies of the armies met in close combat. A fierce hand-to-hand fight ensued. This battle of attrition was ended, late in the day, when Constantine personally led a cavalry charge from the right wing of his army. The charge was decisive, Licinius’ ranks were broken. As many as 20,000 of Licinius’ troops were killed in the hard-fought battle. The surviving cavalry of the defeated army accompanied Licinius when he fled the field under the cover of darkness.
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October 8, 1777 – American Revolution
Desperate for food and ammunition, British Gen. Burgoyne retreats
General John Burgoyne (24 February 1722 – 4 August 1792) was a British army officer, politician and dramatist. He first saw action during the Seven Years’ War when he participated in several battles, mostly notably during the Portugal Campaign of 1762.
Burgoyne is best known for his role in the American War of Independence. During the Saratoga campaign he surrendered his army of 5,000 men to the American troops on October 17, 1777. Appointed to command a force designated to capture Albany and end the rebellion, Burgoyne advanced from Canada but soon found himself surrounded and outnumbered. He fought two battles at Saratoga, but was forced to open negotiations with Horatio Gates. Although he agreed to a convention, on 17 October 1777, which would allow his troops to return home, this was subsequently revoked and his men were made prisoners. Burgoyne faced criticism when he returned to Britain, and never held another active command.
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Union troops stop Rebels at the Battle of Perryville
Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg’s autumn 1862 invasion of Kentucky had reached the outskirts of Louisville and Cincinnati, but he was forced to retreat and regroup. On October 7, the Federal army of Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell, numbering nearly 55,000, converged on the small crossroads town of Perryville, Kentucky, in three columns. Union forces first skirmished with Rebel cavalry on the Springfield Pike before the fighting became more general, on Peters Hill, as the grayclad infantry arrived. The next day, at dawn, fighting began again around Peters Hill as a Union division advanced up the pike, halting just before the Confederate line. The fighting then stopped for a time.After noon, a Confederate division struck the Union left flank and forced it to fall back. When more Confederate divisions joined the fray, the Union line made a stubborn stand, counterattacked, but finally fell back with some troops routed. Buell did not know of the happenings on the field, or he would have sent forward some reserves. Even so, the Union troops on the left flank, reinforced by two brigades, stabilized their line, and the Rebel attack sputtered to a halt. Later, a Rebel brigade assaulted the Union division on the Springfield Pike but was repulsed and fell back into Perryville. The Yankees pursued, and skirmishing occurred in the streets in the evening before dark. Union reinforcements were threatening the Rebel left flank by now. Bragg, short of men and supplies, withdrew during the night, and, after pausing at Harrodsburg, continued the Confederate retrograde by way of Cumberland Gap into East Tennessee. The Confederate offensive was over, and the Union controlled Kentucky.
Dora Hand, saloon singer, accidentally shot and killed in feud at Dodge City
The killing of Dora Hand was an accident; still, it was intended for a cold-blooded murder, so was accidental only in the victim that suffered. It seems that Mayor James Kelly and a very rich cattleman’s son, who had marketed many thousand head of cattle in Dodge, during the summer, had a drunken altercation. It did not amount to much, at the time, but, to do the subject justice, they say that Kelly did treat Kennedy badly. Anyhow, Kennedy got the worst of it. This aroused his half-breed nature. He quietly went to Kansas City, bought him the best horse that money could secure, and brought him back to Dodge. In the meantime, Mr. Kelly had left his place of abode, on account of sickness, and Miss Dora Hand was occupying his residence and bed. Kennedy, of course, was not aware of this. During the night of his return, or about four o’clock next morning, he ordered his horse and went to Kelly’s residence and fired two shots through the door, without dismounting, and rode away. The ball struck Miss Hand in the right side under the arm, killing her instantly. She never woke up. Kennedy took a direction just opposite to his ranch.
The officers had reason to believe who did the killing, but did not start in pursuit until the afternoon. The officers in pursuit were Sheriff Masterson, Wyat Erb* (Earp), Charles Bassett, Duffy, and William Tighlman, as intrepid a posse as ever pulled a trigger. They went as far as Meade City, where they knew their quarry had to pass and went into camp in a very careless manner. In fact, they arranged so as to completely throw Kennedy off his guard, and he rode right into them, when he was ordered three times to throw up his hands. Instead of doing so, he struck his horse with his quirt, when several shots were fired by the officers, one shot taking effect in his left shoulder, making a dangerous wound. Three shots struck the horse, killing him instantly. The horse fell partly on Kennedy, and Sheriff Masterson said, in pulling him out, he had hold of the wounded arm and could hear the bones craunch. Not a groan did Kennedy let out of him, although the pain must have been fearful. And all he said was, “You sons of b-, I will get even with you for this.” Under the skillful operation of Drs. McCarty and Tremaine, Kennedy recovered, after a long sickness. They took four inches of the bone out, near the elbow. Of course, the arm was useless, but he used the other well enough to kill several people afterwards, but finally met his death by some one a little quicker on the trigger than himself. Miss Dora Hand was a celebrated actress and would have made her mark should she have lived.Source – Populating Boot Hill, Chapter VIII, The History of Dodge City, by Honorable R. M. Wright, circa late 1800’s Mr. Wright came to the plains country a few years before the civil war. As a young man, active and vigorous, he became imbued with a spirit of chivalry and courage, followed by those traits of character inevitable to this kind of life; charity and benevolence. Many of the narratives in this book are largely his own personal experiences; and they are written without display of rhetoric or fiction.
The Two-Gun Man walked through the town, And found the sidewalk clear;
He looked around, with ugly frown, But not a soul was near.
The streets were silent. Loud and shrill,
No cowboy raised a shout; Like panther bent upon the kill,
The Two-Gun Man walked out. The Two-Gun Man was small and quick;
His eyes were narrow slits; He didn’t hail from Bitter Creek,
Nor shoot the town to bits; He drank, alone, deep draughts of sin,
Then pushed away his glass And silenced was each dance hall’s din,
When by the door he’d pass. One day, rode forth this man of wrath,
Upon the distant plain, And ne’er did he retrace his path,
Nor was he seen again; Thee cow town fell into decay;
No spurred heels pressed its walks; But, through its grass-grown ways, they say,
The Two-Gun Man still stalks.
The History of Dodge City
U.S. soldier Alvin York displays heroics at Argonne
~ 1 Samuel 14:6 ~
On this day in 1918, United States Corporal Alvin C. York reportedly kills over 20 German soldiers and captures an additional 132 at the head of a small detachment in the Argonne Forest near the Meuse River in France. The exploits later earned York the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Born in 1887 in a log cabin near the Tennessee-Kentucky border, York was the third of 11 children in a family supported by subsistence farming and hunting. After experiencing a religious conversion, he became a fundamentalist Christian around 1915. Two years later, when the United States entered World War I, York was drafted into the U.S. Army. After being denied conscientious-objector status, York enlisted in the 82nd Infantry Division and in May 1918 arrived in France for active duty on the Western Front. He served in the successful Saint-Mihiel offensive in September of that year, was promoted to corporal and given command of his own squadron.
The events of October 8, 1918, took place as part of the Meuse-Argonne offensive—what was to be the final Allied push against German forces on the Western Front during World War I. York and his battalion were given the task of seizing German-held positions across a valley; after encountering difficulties, the small group of soldiers—numbering some 17 men—were fired upon by a German machine-gun nest at the top of a nearby hill. The gunners cut down nine men, including a superior officer, leaving York in charge of the squadron.
As York wrote in his diary of his subsequent actions: “[T]hose machine guns were spitting fire and cutting down the undergrowth all around me something awful…. I didn’t have time to dodge behind a tree or dive into the brush, I didn’t even have time to kneel or lie down…. As soon as the machine guns opened fire on me, I began to exchange shots with them. In order to sight me or to swing their machine guns on me, the Germans had to show their heads above the trench, and every time I saw a head I just touched it off. All the time I kept yelling at them to come down. I didn’t want to kill any more than I had to. But it was they or I. And I was giving them the best I had.”
His Medal of Honor citation reads: After his platoon suffered heavy casualties and 3 other noncommissioned officers had become casualties, Cpl. York assumed command. Fearlessly leading 7 men, he charged with great daring a machine gun nest which was pouring deadly and incessant fire upon his platoon. In this heroic feat the machine gun nest was taken, together with 4 officers and 128 men and several guns.
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Germans overrun Mariupol, in southern Russia
On this day in 1941, the German invasion of the Soviet Union begins a new stage, with Hitler’s forces capturing Mariupol. The Axis power reached the Sea of Azov.
Despite the fact that Germany and Russia had signed a “pact” in 1939, each guaranteeing the other a specific region of influence without interference from the other, suspicion remained high. Despite warnings from his advisers that Germany could not fight the war on two fronts (as Germany’s experience in World War I proved), Hitler became convinced that England was holding out against repeated German air assaults, refusing to surrender, because it had struck a secret deal with Russia. Fearing he would be “strangled” from the East and the West, he created, in December 1940, “Directive No. 21: Case Barbarossa“–the plan to invade and occupy the very nation he had actually asked to join the Axis only a month before.
On June 22, 1941, after having postponed the invasion of Russia when Italy’s attack on Greece forced Hitler to bail out his struggling ally in order to keep the Allies from gaining a foothold in the Balkans, three German army groups struck Russia hard by surprise. The Russian army was larger than German intelligence had anticipated, but they were demobilized. Stalin had shrugged off warnings from his own advisers, even Winston Churchill himself, that a German attack was imminent. By the end of the first day of the invasion, the German air force had destroyed more than 1,000 Soviet aircraft. And despite the toughness of the Russian troops, and the number of tanks and other armaments at their disposal, the Red Army was disorganized, enabling the Germans to penetrate up to 300 miles into Russian territory within the next few days.
Hitler’s battle for Stalingrad and Moscow still lay ahead, but the capture of Mariupol, at the sea’s edge, signaled the beginning of the end of Russia-as least as far as Hitler’s propaganda machine was concerned. “Soviet Russia has been vanquished!” Otto Dietrich, Hitler’s press chief, announced to foreign journalists the very next day.
Source This Day In History
Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them. –Thomas Jefferson(April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the third President of the United States (1801–1809). He was an influential Founding Father, and an exponent of Jeffersonian democracy.
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