October 19, 1739 - England declared war on Spain over borderlines in Florida. The War is known as the War of Jenkins’ Ear because a Member of Parliament waved a dried ear and demanded revenge for alleged mistreatment of British sailors. British seaman Robert Jenkins had his ear amputated following a 1731 barroom brawl with a Spanish Customs guard in Havana and saved the ear in his sea chest.
October 19, 1765 - The Stamp Act Congress, meeting in New York, drew up a declaration of rights and liberties.
October 19, 1781 - Major General Lord Charles Cornwallis, surrounded at Yorktown, Va., by American and French regiments numbering 17,600 men, surrendered to George Washington and Count de Rochambeau. Cornwallis surrendered 7,157 troops, including sick and wounded, and 840 sailors, along with 244 artillery pieces. Losses in this battle had been light on both sides. Cornwallis sent Brig. General Charles O'Hara to surrender his sword. At Washington's behest, Maj. General Benjamin Lincoln accepted it. Washington himself is seen in the right background of “The Surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown” by artist John Trumbull. After conducting an indecisive foray into Virginia, Lt. General Charles Lord Cornwallis retired to Yorktown on August 2, 1781. On August 16, General Washington and Maj. General Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau, began marching their Continental and French armies from New York to Virginia. The arrival of a French fleet, and its victory over a British fleet in Chesapeake Bay, sealed the trap.
October 19, 1800 - Marines participated in a tribute to the Dey of Algiers.
October 19, 1810 - Cassius Marcellus Clay (d.1903), Major General (Union volunteers), was born. Cassius Marcellus Clay was born on his father's plantation, Clermont, in Madison County, Kentucky, the son of Revolutionary War veteran General Green Clay and Sally Lewis. Clay fought for the abolishment of slavery, becoming one of Kentucky's greatest anti-slavery crusaders in the years before the Civil War. While attending Yale University, Clay had been deeply influenced by a pro-emancipation speech of William Lloyd Garrison. Clay became one of the most prominent American abolitionists and statesmen, and was a proponent of Henry Clay's American System. He rejected extreme measures pertaining to slavery and advocated gradual emancipation. In 1845 he founded a leading anti-slavery newspaper the True American, an anti-slavery weekly. When his printing equipment was seized by local opposition, he continued to publish the paper from Cincinnati, Ohio. Later, changing its name to the Examiner, he moved the operation to Louisville, Kentucky. Clay served three terms in the Kentucky Legislature, from 1835-1840. He helped found the Republican Party in 1854, and gave his support to its' Presidential tickets in 1856 and 1860. He was named Minister Plenipotentiary to Russia in 1861, during the Lincoln Administration, returning home for a brief period when he received a commission from the Lincoln Administration to serve as a Major General for the Union Army. Clay returned to St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1863, to continue his diplomatic service as Minister to Russia until 1869. In his late years, he wrote an autobiography: The Life of Cassius Marcellus Clay: Memoirs, Writings, and Speeches. As health failed due to advancing age, Clay confined himself more and more to his estate, White Hall, the remodeled estate built upon the original estate house structure of Clermont. Cassius Marcellus Clay died July 22, 1903, in the older section of the house, where he had been born ninety-three years earlier.
October 19, 1818 - US and Chickasaw Indians signed a treaty. Andrew Jackson and Isaac Shelby represented American interests. The Chickasaws ceded their claims to lands in Tennessee.
October 19, 1843 - CAPT Robert Stockton in Princeton, the first screw propelled naval steamer, challenges British merchant ship Great Western to a race off New York, which Princeton won easily.
October 19, 1848 - John "The Pathfinder" Fremont moved out from near Westport, Missouri, on his fourth Western expedition--a failed attempt to open a trail across the Rocky Mountains along the 38th parallel.
October 19, 1864 - Philip Sheridan and his gelding horse Rienzi made their most famous ride to repulse an attack led by Lt. General Jubal A. Early at Cedar Creek, Virginia. Sheridan had been on his way back from a strategy session in Washington, D.C. when Early attacked. The Union scored a narrow victory which helped it secure the Shenandoah Valley. Thomas Buchanan Read later wrote a poem, “Sheridan‘s Ride,” and created a painting immortalizing the Union general and his steed. The northernmost action of the American Civil War took place in the Vermont town of St. Albans. Some 25 escaped Confederate POWs led by Kentuckian Bennett Young (21) raided the town near the Canadian border with the intent of robbing three banks and burning the town. While they managed to leave town and hide out in Canada with more than $200,000, their attempts to burn down the town failed. Most of the raiders were captured and imprisoned in Canada and later released after a court ruled the robberies in St. Albans were acts of war.
October 19, 1901 - Arleigh A. Burke, admiral (WW II, Solomon Islands, Navy Cross), was born in Colorado. Although unable to complete his high school education because the school was closed during the flu epidemic in 1917, he competed successfully for an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. Convinced that the inadequacies of his secondary education put him behind other Midshipmen in his class, Burke decided that he could only overcome this deficiency by working more diligently at his studies than the others. This plan paid great dividends, and he graduated in 1923 in the top sixth of his class. Taking this lesson strongly to heart, he remained a believer in the benefits of sustained hard work throughout his Navy career. During the interwar years, Arleigh Burke honed his skills as a surface warfare officer, serving initially in the battleship USS Arizona, obtaining a postgraduate degree in ordnance engineering, and rising eventually to command a destroyer. It was in this formative period of his career that he learned the importance of the Navy adage "loyalty up, loyalty down"--if you expect loyalty from your people you must be loyal to them in return. During World War II, Burke commanded Destroyer Squadron 23 (the "Little Beavers") during combat in the South Pacific. Developing successful tactics to overcome Japanese advantages in night surface operations, he earned fame as "31-knot" Burke during the 1943 battles of Empress Augusta Bay and Cape St. George. It was in this period that his belief in the importance of thorough training was validated--as he explained to his subordinates, in combat your outfit could expect to do only about as well as it had trained to do beforehand. During Dwight Eisenhower's terms as President in the 1950s, Arleigh Burke served as Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) for six years. While CNO he initiated efforts such as the submarine-launched Polaris ballistic missile program that tremendously strengthened the U.S. Navy's military capabilities.
October 19, 1915 - Establishment of Submarine Base at New London, Connecticut. In 1868, Connecticut gave the Navy land and, in 1872, two brick buildings and a "T" shaped pier were built and officially declared a Navy Yard. Today the Naval Submarine Base New London (SUBASE NLON), located on the east side of Thames River in Groton, CT, proudly claims its motto to be "The First and Finest."
October 19, 1915 - US recognized General Venustiano Carranza (opposing Pancho Villa) as the president of Mexico, and imposed an embargo on the shipment of arms to all Mexican territories except those controlled by Carranza.
October 19, 1917 - The first doughnut was fried by Salvation Army (who would found the United Service Organization) volunteer women for American troops in France during World War I. The first of a group of 250 Officers and Soldiers of The Salvation Army to be posted to France to serve with General John Pershing's American expeditionary force sailed from New York on August 12th 1917. General Pershing was far from convinced that The Salvation Army's presence at the Front Line would benefit his troops and at first the Salvationists were treated with total indifference. At Demange, in the American first division sector, Salvationists toiled in pouring rain to build a hut 25 feet wide by 100 feet long for the troops benefit. No one gave them the time of day, much less a hand. What swung the troops to The Army's side was their practical example. No task was too menial, none too dangerous or difficult. But The Salvation Army won pride of place in American hearts by a brain wave born of sheer necessity. At Montiers, after 36 days of rain, supplies were almost exhausted. Only flour, lard and sugar remained. Ensign Margaret Sheldon, from the Chicago slums made a suggestion which was to go down in history. "Why don't we make them doughnuts?" They had no rolling pins or cake cutters and gales had blown down their tent but Salvationists thrive on challenges. Along with Ensign Helen Purviance, Margaret Sheldon crouched in the rain to prepare the dough. An empty bottle did duty as a rolling pin and in place of a cutter they used a knife to twist the doughnuts into shape. The first doughnuts cooked over a wood fire were triumph of improvisation. On the first day they served up some 150 doughnuts. The following days batch topped 300. The traditional hole now being punched out with the inner tube of a coffee percolator. The doughnuts made by The Salvation Army Lassies were an instant success with the troops. Some lining up for hours in appalling conditions for their daily supply. Soon the troops came to realize that even in the firing line The Salvationists would not neglect them. When Lassies like Ensign Florence Turkington crawled under shell fire to deliver coffee an doughnuts to troops in the trenches, letters praising the work of The Salvation Army began flooding back home. Over night the bewildered lassies found themselves national heroines. Although often in great danger The Salvationists displayed tremendous courage. At Baccarat they worked so close to the German lines that they couldn't even whisper for fear of being heard by the listening posts. The sermon that came with the coffee and doughnuts was a friendly squeeze on the shoulder.The Doughnut became a symbol of The Salvation Army in the U.S.A. Outside many of The Army rest rooms and hostels were hung giant "doughnuts". The Army, by selfless example, had won the hearts of a nation. At the end of the war the American people subscribed an unprecedented 13 million dollars to meet the debts incurred by The Salvation Army in its' war work.
October 19, 1919 - The US Distinguished Service Medal was awarded to a woman for the 1st time. Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby, the first Director of the WAC, was the first woman to receive The U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal in 1945.
October 19, 1926 - John C. Garand patented a semi-automatic rifle. Civil Service employee John Garand was in a class all by himself, much like the weapons he created. Garand was Chief Civilian Engineer at the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts. Garand invented a semiautomatic .30 caliber rifle, known as the M-1 or "the Garand," which was adopted in 1936 after grueling tests by the Army. It was gas-operated, weighed under 10 pounds, and was loaded by an 8-round clip. It fired more than twice as fast as the Army's previous standard-issue rifle and was praised by General George S. Patton, Jr., as "a magnificent weapon" and "the most deadly rifle in the world."
October 19, 1939 - Reichsmarshal Hermann Goering began plundering art treasures throughout Nazi occupied areas.
October 19, 1942 - The Japanese submarine I-36 launched a floatplane for a reconnaissance flight over Pearl Harbor. The pilot and crew reported on the ships in the harbor, after which the aircraft was lost at sea.
October 19, 1942 - The War Department agrees to provide equipment for another thirty Chinese divisions.
October 19, 1943 - Delegates from the U.S.S.R. met in Moscow with representatives from the Allied nations of Great Britain, the U.S., and China, in an attempt to hammer out a greater consensus on war aims, and to improve the rapidly cooling relations between the Soviet Union and its allies.
October 19, 1943 - German forces defending Dragoni, Italy withdraw before a scheduled attack by elements of the US 5th Army begins.
October 19, 1944 - American attacks on Aachen continue. Farther south, forces of the US 7th Army capture Bruyeres. Nearby, other units prepare to assault St. Die.
October 19, 1944 - Newly promoted Lieutenant General Raymond S. McLain assumes command of the XIX Corps. Two of the three divisions under his command are from the Guard; the 29th (DC, MD, VA) and the 30th (NC, SC, TN). But dealing with Guard units is no problem for McLain, himself a Guardsman who began his military career as a private in the Oklahoma Militia in 1912. In fact, he came from a background of Militia service. Several of his uncles had served in state volunteer units during the Spanish American War, including one who served with the 1st Volunteer Cavalry (commonly known as the “Rough Riders”) in Cuba. McLain’s unit, the 1st Oklahoma Infantry Regiment, deployed to the Mexican Border in 1916. In 1917 as his regiment was assigned to the newly organized 36th Division (TX, OK) for its deployment to France in World War I, McLain was promoted to captain. He saw combat in France, where he was gassed but recovered. In the period between the wars, McLain returned to the Oklahoma Guard. Despite his lack of formal education-he never graduated high school, through determined study and effort, he earned the rank of brigadier general in 1937, commanding the 70th Field Artillery Brigade, which would become the 45th Division Artillery (AZ, CO, NM, OK) in 1942. During the war he had a variety of assignments including commanding the 90th Infantry Division then fighting in Normandy. He found the 90th in complete disarray and worked hard to restore its morale and discipline. When given of the command the XIX Corps he became the only Guard officer to command a Corps. On 6 June 1945, he was promoted to Lieutenant General to be come the first became the first Guardsman\Militiaman since the Civil war to hold this rank. The next Guardsman to hold three-star rank would also be an Oklahoman, Lieutenant General La Vern E. Weber, Chief National Guard Bureau 1974-1982.
October 19, 1944 - The American escort carriers of TG77.4 continue air strikes on Leyte. The US 15th Air Forces raids targets on Mindanao. The Japanese air forces suffer substantial losses in the ongoing American operations. Remaining aircraft are concentrated on Luzon in 1st Air Fleet (Admiral Onishi).
October 19, 1944 - The Navy announced that black women would be allowed into Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES).
October 19, 1950 - Pyongyang, the capital of the People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), fell to the ROK 1st Infantry Division and the US 1st Cavalry Division.
October 19, 1951 - President Truman signed an act formally ending the state of war with Germany.
October 19, 1960 - The United States imposed an embargo on exports to Cuba covering all commodities except medical supplies and certain food products.
October 19, 1968 - Operation Maui Peak, a combined regimental-sized operation which began on 6 October, ended 11 miles northwest of An Hoa, Vietnam. More than 300 enemy were killed in the 13-day operation.
October 19, 1987 - U.S. Navy warships disabled 3 Iranian oil platforms in the Persian Gulf in retaliation for an Iranian missile attack on a U.S.-flagged tanker off Kuwait.
October 19, 1990 - Iraq ordered all foreigners in occupied Kuwait to report to authorities or face punishment.
October 19, 1993 - The United States intercepted its first ship bound for Haiti since an oil and weapons embargo was reimposed by United Nations.
October 19, 1993 - Two US Blackhawk helicopters are fired upon with RPG's over Mogadishu.
October 19, 1998 - In Colorado a series of arson fires were set at Vail. The Earth Liberation Front later claimed responsibility for the fires that caused $12 million in damage.
October 19, 1998 - In Israel an assailant threw 2 hand grenades into the central bus station of Beersheba and injured at least 30 people. 67 people were wounded and the incident cast a pall over the peace negotiations in Washington. A Palestinian from the West Bank, Salem Rajab al-Sarsour (29), was caught and confessed. Israel suspended negotiations with the Palestinians on issues other than security after a bloody attack at an Israeli bus stop.
October 19, 1999 - A 2-year Rand analysis concluded that the drug pyridostigmine bromide could not be excluded as a contributor to Gulf War syndrome. The drug was an experimental nerve gas antidote given to as many as 300,000 US troops during the Persian gulf war.
October 19, 1999 - Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Rossello told a US congressional committee that live firing exercises on Vieques could not be resumed.
October 19, 2000 - In Colombo, Sri Lanka, a suicide bomber detonated the explosives he was wearing near the town hall, killing four persons and wounding 23 others, including two US citizens, according to press reports. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were probably responsible.
October 19, 2001 - EU leaders pledged their continued support for the US-led campaign in Afghanistan.
October 19, 2001 - In Philadelphia luggage, from a baggage locker that was deposited Sep 29, was found to contain C-4 plastic explosives.
October 19, 2001 - The FBI identified the Trenton, NJ, mailbox from which the anthrax letters were sent to NYC and Washington. Two more people were reported to be infected bringing the total to 8.
October 19, 2001 - Two US military personnel were killed in a helicopter accident in Pakistan.
October 19, 2001 - US special forces attacked a Taliban stronghold in Kandahar in the 1st known ground action involving US troops.
October 19, 2002 - In Ashland, Va., a man (37) was shot and seriously wounded in what appeared to be another sniper attack. The sniper left a note that included a request for $10 million and threats to focus on children.
October 19, 2003 - Colombian military killed Edgar Gustavo Navarro, the No. 2 leader of FARC, along with 10 others. The guerrilla commander was accused of kidnapping 3 US military contractors and carrying out a string of assassinations and bombings.
October 19, 2003 - President Bush said he would consider a deal promising not to attack North Korea as long as the guarantee is not a formal treaty.
October 19, 2004 - British prosecutors charged radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri with incitement to murder for allegedly urging followers to kill Jews and other non-Muslims. The indictment pre-empted a U.S. bid to extradite him on terror charges.