Today in History
July 18

1789   Robespierre, a deputy from Arras, France, decides to back the French Revolution.
1812   Great Britain signs the Treaty of Orebro, making peace with Russia and Sweden.
1830   Uruguay adopts a liberal constitution.
1861   Union and Confederate troops skirmish at Blackburn’s Ford, Virginia, in a prelude to the Battle of Bull Run.
1863   The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first formal African American military units in the Civil War, supported by several white regiments, attempts an unsuccessful assault on Confederate-held Battery Wagner.

Some 1,500 Union soldiers are killed, captured, or wounded in what will become known as the Second Battle of Fort Wagner. [From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]

1877   Inventor Thomas Edison records the human voice for the first time.
1872   The Ballot Act is passed in Great Britain, providing for secret election ballots.
1935   Ethiopian King Haile Selassie urges his countrymen to fight to the last man against the invading Italian army.
1936   General Francisco Franco of Spain revolts against the Republican government, starting the Spanish Civil War.
1942   The German Me-262, the first jet-propelled aircraft to fly in combat, makes its first flight.
1971   New Zealand and Australia announce they will pull their troops out of Vietnam.
1994   In Buenos Aires, a massive car bomb kills 96 people.
Born on July 18
1811   William Makepeace Thackeray, English novelist and satirist.
1887   Vidkun Quisling, Norwegian politician and Nazi collaborator during World War II.
1902   Jessamyn West, American author (The Friendly Persuasion).
1906   Clifford Odets, playwright (Waiting for Lefty).
1913   “Red” Skelton, American comedian and actor.
1918   Nelson Mandela, civil rights activist, first black president of South Africa.
1921   John Glenn, Jr., American pilot, astronaut and politician.
1929   Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, American blues singer.
1933   Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Russian poet.
1939   Hunter S. Thompson, journalist.

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