Today in History
October 4

1777   At Germantown, Pa., British General Sir William Howe repels George Washington‘s last attempt to retake Philadelphia, compelling Washington to spend the winter at Valley Forge.
1795   Napoleon Bonaparte rises to national prominence by suppressing armed counter-revolutionary rioters threatening the National Convention.He will change his surname to Bonaparte in 1796 following his first military victories. [From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]
1853   The Ottoman Empire declares war on the Russian Empire. The Ottoman Empire declares war on the Russian Empire.[From MHQ—The Quarterly Journal of Military History]
1861   The Union ship USS South Carolina captures two Confederate blockade runners outside of New Orleans, La.
1874   Kiowa leader Satanta, known as “the Orator of the Plains,” surrenders in Darlington, Texas. He is later sent to the state penitentiary, where he commits suicide on October 11, 1878.
1905   Orville Wright pilots the first flight longer than 30 minutes. The flight lasted 33 minutes, 17 seconds and covered 21 miles.
1914   The first German Zeppelin raids London.
1917   The Battle of Broodseinde takes place near Ypres, Flanders, as a part of the larger Battle of Passchendaele, between the British 2nd and 5th armies and the defenders of the German 4th Army; it is the most successful Allied attack of the Passchendaele offensive.
1927   Gutzon Borglum begins sculpting the heads of 4 US presidents on Mount Rushmore.
1940   Germany’s Adolf Hitler and Italy’s Benito Mussolini meet at the Brenner Pass.
1941   Willie Gillis Jr., a fictional everyman created by illustrator Norman Rockwell, makes his first appearance, on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post; a series of illustrations on several magazines’ covers would depict young Gillis throughout World War II.
1943   The US captures the Solomon Islands in the Pacific.
1957   Sputnik 1, the first man-made satellite, is launched, beginning the “space race.” The satellite, built by Valentin Glushko, weighed 184 pounds and was launched by a converted Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Sputnik orbited the earth every 96 minutes at a maximum height of 584 miles. In 1958, it reentered the earth’s atmosphere and burned up.
1963   Hurricane Flora storms through the Caribbean, killing 6,000 in Cuba and Haiti.
1965   Pope Paul VI arrives in New York, the first Pope ever to visit the US and the Western hemisphere.
1968   Cambodia admits that the Viet Cong use their country for sanctuary.
1972   Judge John Sirica imposes a gag order on the Watergate break-in case.
1976   In Gregg v. Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court lifts the ban on the death sentence in murder cases. This restores the legality of capital punishment, which had not been practiced since 1967. The first execution following this ruling was of Gary Gilmore in 1977.
1985   The Free Software Foundation is founded to promote universal freedom to create, distribute and modify computer software.
1992   Mozambique’s 16-year civil war ends with the Rome General Peace Accords.
1993   Russia’s constitutional crisis over President Boris Yeltsin’s attempts to dissolve the legislature takes place: the army violently arrests civilian protesters occupying government buildings.
2004   SpaceShipOne, which had achieved the first privately funded human space flight on June 21, wins the Ansari X Prize for the first non-government organization to successfully launch a reusable manned spacecraft into space.
Born on October 4
1822   Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th president of the U.S. (1877-1881).
1861   Frederic Remington, Western painter and sculptor.
1862   Edward Stratemeyer, author, creator of the Hardy Boys, Rover Boys, Nancy Drew and the Bobbsey Twins.
1879   Edward Murray East, botanist whose research led to the development of hybrid corn.
1884   Damon Runyon, journalist and short story writer.
1895   Buster (Joseph F.) Keaton, star of silent film comedies including Sherlock, Jr. and The General.
1919   Rene Marques, Puerto Rican playwright and short story writer.
1923   Charlton Heston, American film actor.
1928   Alvin Toffler, writer and futurist.
1934   Sam Huff, pro football player; star of CBS TV special The Violent World of Sam Huff (1961) narrated by Walter Cronkite that is frequently credited with the surge of pro football’s popularity in the US.
1937   Jackie Collins, novelist whose books have sold over 500 million copies (Hollywood Wives, Drop Dead Beautiful).
1941   Anne Rice, author of gothic fiction, erotica and Christian literature (Interview with the Vampire, Queen of the Damned, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt); also known by her pen names Anne Rampling and A. N. Roquelaure.
1946   Susan Sarandon, actress; won an Academy Award for Dead Man Walking (1995).
1946   Chuck Hagel; current US Secretary of Defense (2013).
1947   Jim Fielder, bassist with the band Blood, Sweat & Tears.
1957   Russell Simmons, businessman; founded Def Jam Hip hop music label and Phat Farm clothing line.

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