Fw: 22 DEC ~~ TODAY IN HISTORY
- Merry Christmas Group....
Read below ... another GREAT "Today In History" gleaned
for you from Sally Pavia.
.......and remember to keep a notebook handy, (or tape recorder), during all
of the Holidays Family Gatherings to glean as much "family history" as you
can. Ask questions... record the answers ... or document it on paper
..... we think we'll remember .... but (chuckle) ... best to have the
information recorded or written down!
GenealogyPITT Co NC Friends In Research
(Serving all Eastern/Coastal NC Counties)
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----- Original Message -----
Sent: Thursday, December 22, 2011 8:48 AM
Subject: 22 DEC ~~ TODAY IN HISTORY
1775: Continental Congress creates a Continental Navy
On Friday, December 22, 1775, the Continental Congress creates a Continental
Navy, naming Esek Hopkins, Esq., as commander in chief of the fleet.
Congress also named four captains to the new service: Dudley Saltonstall,
Abraham Whipple, Nicholas Biddle and John Burrows Hopkins. Their respective
vessels, the Alfred, Columbus,Andrew Doria and Cabot, became the first ships
of the Navy's fleet. Five first lieutenants, including future American hero
John Paul Jones, five second lieutenants, and three third lieutenants also
received their commissions.
The new Admiral Hopkins, as he was dubbed by George Washington, was a Rhode
Islander of some standing. His brother was Stephen Hopkins, the state's
governor. Esek Hopkins had married well and used his wife's fortune to buy a
ship. It proved a wise investment. He added to his wealth working as a
privateer during the Seven Years' War. In his new position, Congress
promised to pay him 125 dollars per calendar month; they also informed that
he could look forward to some share of the prizes allotted to the captors.
Christopher Gadsden of South Carolina designed Hopkins' personal standard,
which flew from the first navy fleet. The yellow flag bore the image of a
coiled snake and the Patriot motto, Don't Tread on Me.
Hopkins' first assignment was to assess the feasibility of an attack on
British naval forces in the Chesapeake Bay. After sailing south with his
meager force of eight ships, Hopkins decided that victory in such an
encounter was impossible. He sailed to the Bahamas instead, where he
attacked the British port of Nassau, a decision for which he was relieved of
his command upon returning to the continent.
1894: Dreyfus affair begins in France
French officer Alfred Dreyfus is convicted of treason by a military
court-martial and sentenced to life in prison for his alleged crime of
passing military secrets to the Germans. The Jewish artillery captain,
convicted on flimsy evidence in a highly irregular trial, began his life
sentence on the notorious Devil's Island Prison in French Guyana four months
The Dreyfus case demonstrated the anti-Semitism permeating France's military
and, because many praised the ruling, in France in general. Interest in the
case lapsed until 1896, when evidence was disclosed that implicated French
Major Ferdinand Esterhazy as the guilty party. The army attempted to
suppress this information, but a national uproar ensued, and the military
had no choice but to put Esterhazy on trial. A court-martial was held in
January 1898, and Esterhazy was acquitted within an hour.
In response, the French novelist Émile Zola published an open letter
entitled "J'Accuse" on the front page of the Aurore, which accused the
judges of being under the thumb of the military. By the evening, 200,000
copies had been sold. One month later, Zola was sentenced to jail for libel
but managed to escape to England. Meanwhile, out of the scandal a perilous
national division was born, in which nationalists and members of the
Catholic Church supported the military, while republicans, socialists, and
advocates of religious freedom lined up to defend Dreyfus.
In 1898, Major Hubert Henry, discoverer of the original letter attributed to
Dreyfus, admitted that he had forged much of the evidence against Dreyfus
and then Henry committed suicide. Soon afterward, Esterhazy fled the country
The military was forced to order a new court-martial for Dreyfus. In 1899,
he was found guilty in another show trial and sentenced to 10 years in
prison. However, a new French administration pardoned him, and in 1906 the
supreme court of appeals overturned his conviction. The debacle of the
Dreyfus affair brought about greater liberalization in France, a reduction
in the power of the military, and a formal separation of church and state.
1941: Churchill and Roosevelt discuss war and peace
On this day, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrives in Washington,
D.C. for a series of meetings with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on a
unified Anglo-American war strategy and a future peace.
Now that the United States was directly involved in both the Pacific and
European wars, it was incumbent upon both Great Britain and America to
create and project a unified front. Toward that end, Churchill and Roosevelt
created a combined general staff to coordinate military strategy against
both Germany and Japan and to draft a future joint invasion of the Continent
Roosevelt also agreed to a radical increase in the U.S. arms production
program: the 12,750 operational aircraft to be ready for service by the end
of 1943 became 45,000; the proposed 15,450 tanks also became 45,000; and the
number of machine guns to be manufactured almost doubled, to 500,000.
Among the momentous results of these U.S.-Anglo meetings was a declaration
issued by Churchill and Roosevelt that enjoined 26 signatory nations to use
all resources at their disposal to defeat the Axis powers and not sue for a
separate peace. This confederation called itself the "United Nations." Lead
by the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union, all 26 nations
declared a unified goal to "ensure life, liberty, independence and religious
freedom, and to preserve the rights of man and justice." The blueprint for
the destruction of fascism and a future international peacekeeping
organization was born.