Sunday, January 29, 2012

Learn Our History Today: January 29

January 29, 1777...After beginning an assault on Fort Independence on January, 18, 1777, under orders from General George Washington, Major General William Heath and an army of 6,000 abandoned their siege. 

Washington had believed that an attack on Fort Independence would force the British to move troops from New Jersey (where Washington was under attack) to Fort Independence, which was located in Bronx County, New York.

But on January 25, the Bronx River flooded as a result of a rainstorm, which made the battlefield nearly impossible for the Patriots to navigate.  What’s more, the British staged a counterassault, forcing General Health to admit defeat and abandon the battlefield on January 29.

The Patriots, who built the Fort in 1776, burned it as they retreated from New York City.  But the British partially rebuilt it after taking control of the city.  While the Fort withstood the Patriots’ attacks in 1777, it was destroyed when the British evacuated in 1779.

Also on this day in 1843, William McKinley—the 25th U.S. president—was born in Niles, Ohio.  William McKinley served in the white house from 1897 to 1901, when the American automotive industry was just getting started.  Consequently, President McKinley became the very first president to ride in an automobile!  The automobile was a steam-powered Stanley Steamer, built by the Stanley Motor Carriage Company.  When McKinley was assassinated in 1901, his successor’s administration, President Theodor Roosevelt, had a Stanley Steamer.  However, it’s believed that President Roosevelt preferred horses to the Steamer.

And here’s one for baseball fans...On this day in 1936, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, inducted its first members, Christy Mathewson, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, Ty Cobb and, of course, Babe Ruth.  The charter members were elected by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

And on January 29, 2002, President George W. Bush gave his first State of the Union Address following the attacks of 9/11.  In the address, the president denounced countries suspected of harboring terrorists and developing weapons of mass destruction.

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