This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
April 9 is the 99th day of the year (100th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 266 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia at the McLean House in the village of Appomattox Court House. In an untraditional gesture and as a sign of Grant’s respect and anticipation of peacefully restoring Confederate states to the Union, Lee was permitted to keep his sword and his horse, Traveller.
At Appomattox, Virginia, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrenders his 28,000 troops to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, effectively ending the American Civil War. Forced to abandon the Confederate capital of Richmond, blocked from joining the surviving Confederate force in North Carolina, and harassed constantly by Union cavalry, Lee had no other option.
In retreating from the Union army’s Appomattox Campaign, the Army of Northern Virginia had stumbled through the Virginia countryside stripped of food and supplies. At one point, Union cavalry forces under General Philip Sheridan had actually outrun Lee’s army, blocking their retreat and taking 6,000 prisoners at Sayler’s Creek. Desertions were mounting daily, and by April 8 the Confederates were surrounded with no possibility of escape. On April 9, Lee sent a message to Grant announcing his willingness to surrender. The two generals met in the parlor of the Wilmer McLean home at one o’clock in the afternoon.
Lee and Grant, both holding the highest rank in their respective armies, had known each other slightly during the Mexican War and exchanged awkward personal inquiries. Characteristically, Grant arrived in his muddy field uniform while Lee had turned out in full dress attire, complete with sash and sword. Lee asked for the terms, and Grant hurriedly wrote them out. All officers and men were to be pardoned, and they would be sent home with their private property–most important, the horses, which could be used for a late spring planting. Officers would keep their side arms, and Lee’s starving men would be given Union rations.
Shushing a band that had begun to play in celebration, General Grant told his officers, “The war is over. The Rebels are our countrymen again.” Although scattered resistance continued for several weeks, for all practical purposes the Civil War had come to an end
193 – Septimius Severus is proclaimed Roman Emperor by the army in Illyricum (in the Balkans).
475 – Byzantine Emperor Basiliscus issues a circular letter (Enkyklikon) to the bishops of his empire, supporting the Monophysite christological position.
1241 – Battle of Liegnitz: Mongol forces defeat the Polish and German armies.
1388 – Despite being outnumbered 16 to 1, forces of the Old Swiss Confederacy are victorious over the Archduchy of Austria in the Battle of Näfels.
1413 – Henry V is crowned King of England.
1440 – Christopher of Bavaria is appointed King of Denmark.
1511 – St John’s College, Cambridge, England, founded by Lady Margaret Beaufort, receives its charter.
1609 – Eighty Years’ War: Spain and the Dutch Republic sign the Treaty of Antwerp to initiate twelve years of truce.
1682 – Robert Cavelier de La Salle discovers the mouth of the Mississippi River, claims it for France and names it Louisiana.
1782 – American War of Independence: Battle of the Saintes begins.
1860 – The oldest audible sound recording of a human voice is made.
1852 – At a general conference of the Mormon Church, Brigham Young explains the Adam-God doctrine, an important part of the theology of Mormon fundamentalism.
1865 – American Civil War: Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia (26,765 troops) to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia, effectively ending the war.
1867 – Alaska purchase: Passing by a single vote, the United States Senate ratifies a treaty with Russia for the purchase of Alaska.
1909 – The U.S. Congress passes the Payne-Aldrich Tariff Act.
1914 – Mexican Revolution: One of the world’s first naval/air skirmishes takes place off the coast of western Mexico.
1916 – World War I: The Battle of Verdun – German forces launch their third offensive of the battle.
1917 – World War I: The Battle of Arras – the battle begins with Canadian Corps executing a massive assault on Vimy Ridge.
1918 – World War I: The Battle of the Lys – the Portuguese Expeditionary Corps is crushed by the German forces during what is called the Spring Offensive on the Belgian region of Flanders.
1937 – The Kamikaze arrives at Croydon Airport in London – it is the first Japanese-built aircraft to fly to Europe.
1939 – Marian Anderson sings at the Lincoln Memorial, after being denied the right to sing at the Daughters of the American Revolution’s Constitution Hall.
1940 – World War II: Operation Weserübung – Germany invades Denmark and Norway.
1942 – World War II: The Battle of Bataan/Bataan Death March – United States forces surrender on the Bataan Peninsula. The Japanese Navy launches an air raid on Trincomalee in Ceylon (Sri Lanka); Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Hermes and Royal Australian Navy Destroyer HMAS Vampire are sunk off the island’s east coast.
1945 – World War II: The German pocket battleship Admiral Scheer is sunk.
1945 – World War II: The Battle of Königsberg, in East Prussia, ends.
1945 – The United States Atomic Energy Commission is formed.
1947 – The Glazier-Higgins-Woodward tornadoes kill 181 and injure 970 in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.
1947 – The Journey of Reconciliation, the first interracial Freedom Ride begins through the upper South in violation of Jim Crow laws. The riders wanted enforcement of the United States Supreme Court’s 1946 Irene Morgan decision that banned racial segregation in interstate travel.
1948 – Jorge Eliecer Gaitan’s assassination provokes a violent riot in Bogota (the Bogotazo), and a further ten years of violence in Colombia known as La violencia.
1948 – Massacre at Deir Yassin.
1952 – Hugo Ballivian’s government is overthrown by the Bolivian National Revolution, starting a period of agrarian reform, universal suffrage and the nationalisation of tin mines
1957 – The Suez Canal in Egypt is cleared and opens to shipping.
1959 – Project Mercury: NASA announces the selection of the United States’ first seven astronauts, whom the news media quickly dub the “Mercury Seven”.
1961 – The Pacific Electric Railway in Los Angeles, once the largest electric railway in the world, ends operations.
1965 – Astrodome opens. First indoor baseball game is played.
1967 – The first Boeing 737 (a 100 series) makes its maiden flight.
1968 – Funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr.
1969 – The “Chicago Eight” plead not guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to incite a riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois.
1969 – The first British-built Concorde 002 makes its maiden flight from Filton to RAF Fairford.
1975 – The first game of the Philippine Basketball Association, the second oldest professional basketball league in the world.
1975 – 8 people in South Korea, who were involved in People’s Revolutionary Party Incident, are hanged.
1980 – The Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein kills philosopher Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr and his sister Bint al-Huda after three days of torture.
1981 – The U.S. Navy nuclear submarine USS George Washington (SSBN-598) accidentally collides with the Nissho Maru, a Japanese cargo ship, sinking it.
1989 – The April 9 tragedy in Tbilisi, Georgian SSR an anti-Soviet peaceful demonstration and hunger strikes, demanding restoration of Georgian independence is dispersed by the Soviet army, resulting in 20 deaths and hundreds of injuries.
1992 – A U.S. Federal Court finds former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega guilty of drug and racketeering charges. He is sentenced to 30 years in prison.
1992 – John Major’s Conservative Party wins an unprecedented fourth general election victory in the United Kingdom.
2003 – 2003 invasion of Iraq: Baghdad falls to American forces;Saddam Hussein statue topples as Iraqis turn on symbols of their former leader, pulling down the statue and tearing it to pieces.
2005 – Wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; Charles, Prince of Wales marries Camilla Parker Bowles in a civil ceremony at Windsor’s Guildhall.
2009 – In Tbilisi, Georgia, up to 60,000 people protest against the government of Mikheil Saakashvili.
* Christian Feast Day
* Day of the Finnish Language (Finland)
* Day of Valor, also known as the “Bataan Day” (the Philippines)
* Vimy Ridge Day, commemorating the Battle of Vimy Ridge. (Canada)