Today in History
December 13

1789 The National Guard is created in France.
1812 The last remnants of Napoleon Bonaparte‘s Grand Armeé reach the safety of Kovno, Poland, after the failed Russian campaign.
1814 General Andrew Jackson announces martial law in New Orleans, Louisiana, as British troops disembark at Lake Borne, 40 miles east of the city.
1862 Confederate General Robert E. Lee defeats Union Major General Ambrose Burnside at the Battle of Fredericksburg in Virginia. A witness will later describe the battle to President Abraham Lincoln as a “butchery.” [From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]
1902 The Committee of Imperial Defense holds its first meeting in London.
1908 The Dutch take two Venezuelan Coast Guard ships.
1937 The Japanese army occupies Nanking, China.
1940 Adolf Hitler issues preparations for Operation Marita, the German invasion of Greece.
1941 British forces launch an offensive in Libya.
1945 France and Britain agree to quit Syria and Lebanon.
1951 After meeting with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, President Harry S. Truman vows to purge all disloyal government workers.
1968 President Lyndon B. Johnson and Mexico’s President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz meet on a bridge at El Paso, Texas, to officiate at ceremonies returning the long-disputed El Chamizal area to the Mexican side of the border.
1972 Astronaut Gene Cernan climbs into his lunar lander on the moon and prepares to lift off. He is the last man to set foot on the moon.
1973 Great Britain cuts the work week to three days to save energy.
1981 Polish labor leader Lech Walesa is arrested and the government decrees martial law, restricting civil rights and suspending operation of the independent trade union Solidarity.
1985 France sues the United States over the discovery of an AIDS serum.
2001 Terrorists attack the Parliament of India; 15 people are killed, including the terrorists
2003 Deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is captured; he is found hiding near his home town of Tikrit.
Born on December 13
1585 William Drummond, Scottish poet.
1797 Heinrich Heine, German poet, satirist and journalist.
1818 Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of President Abraham Lincoln.
1835 Phillips Brooks, Episcopal clergyman who wrote the lyrics for “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”
1838 Pierre-Marie-Alexis Millardet, botanist who developed the first successful fungicide.
1890 Marc Connelly, playwright, actor, director and journalist (The Green Pastures).
1911 Kenneth Patchen, American poet and author (Before the Brave, Hurrah for Anything).
1923 Sir Terence Beckett, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (1980–1987).
1923 Phillip Anderson, physicist.
1925 Dick Van Dyke, actor, singer, producer; (The Dick Van Dyke TV series, Mary Poppins).
1934 Richard D. Zanuck, film producer; won an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1989 (Driving Miss Daisy).
1948 Jeff Baxter, musician with Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers bands.
1948 Ted Nugent, singer, songwriter, musician, actor.
1954 John Anderson, country singer, musician.
1967 Jamie Foxx, actor, singer.
1989 Taylor Swift, multiple award-winning crossover country singer, actress; she is the youngest-ever Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year and the youngest artist ever to win an Album of the Year Grammy.

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