Today in History 8/2


Today’s Highlight in History:

On Aug. 2, 1862, the Ambulance Corps for the Army of the Potomac was created at the order of Maj. Gen. George McClellan during the Civil War.

On this date:

• In 216 B.C., during the Second Punic War, Carthaginian forces led by Hannibal defeated the Roman army in the Battle of Cannae.

• In 1776, members of the Continental Congress began attaching their signatures to the Declaration of Independence.

• In 1876, frontiersman “Wild Bill” Hickok was shot and killed while playing poker at a saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, by Jack McCall, who was later hanged.

• In 1909, the original Lincoln “wheat” penny first went into circulation, replacing the “Indian Head” cent.

• In 1922, Alexander Graham Bell, generally regarded as the inventor of the telephone, died in Nova Scotia, Canada, at age 75.

• In 1923, the 29th president of the United States, Warren G. Harding, died in San Francisco; Vice President Calvin Coolidge became president.

• In 1934, German President Paul von Hindenburg died, paving the way for Adolf Hitler’s complete takeover.

• In 1943, during World War II, Navy boat PT-109, commanded by Lt. John F. Kennedy, sank after being rammed by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri off the Solomon Islands.

• In 1964, the destroyer USS Maddox suffered light damage from North Vietnamese patrol torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin.

• In 1974, former White House counsel John W. Dean III was sentenced to one to four years in prison for obstruction of justice in the Watergate coverup. (Dean ended up serving four months.)

• In 1985, 135 people were killed when a Delta Air Lines jetliner crashed while attempting to land at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

• In 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait, seizing control of the oil-rich emirate. (The Iraqis were later driven out in Operation Desert Storm.)

Ten years ago:

• A federal judge ruled the U.S. government had to reveal the names of people detained in the investigation of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks (an appeals court later sided with federal authorities).

• Pope John Paul II returned to Rome after ending an 11-day pilgrimage to Canada, Guatemala and Mexico.

Five years ago:

• Mattel apologized to customers as it recalled nearly a million Chinese-made toys from its Fisher-Price division that were found to have excessive amounts of lead.

• A Marine Corps squad leader was convicted at Camp Pendleton, Calif., of murdering an Iraqi man during a frustrated search for an insurgent. (Sgt. Lawrence G. Hutchins III was sentenced to 15 years in prison; he spent four years behind bars before his conviction was overturned on grounds he hadn’t received a fair trial.)

• Two small Russian submarines completed a voyage below the North Pole where they planted the country’s flag on the Arctic Ocean floor.

One year ago:

• The Senate passed, and President Barack Obama signed, legislation to avoid an unprecedented national default.

• New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira set a major league record when he homered from both sides of the plate for the 12th time in his career during a 6-0 win over the Chicago White Sox.

Today’s Birthdays:

Former Sen. Paul Laxalt, R-Nev., is 90. Actor Peter O’Toole is 80. Rock musician Garth Hudson (The Band) is 75. Movie director Wes Craven is 73. Singer Kathy Lennon (The Lennon Sisters) is 69. Actor Max Wright is 69. Actress Joanna Cassidy is 67. Actress Kathryn Harrold is 62. Actor Butch Patrick (“The Munsters”) is 59. Singer Mojo Nixon is 55. Actress Victoria Jackson is 53. Actress Apollonia is 53. Actress Cynthia Stevenson is 50. Actress Mary-Louise Parker is 48. Rock musician John Stanier is 44. Writer-actor-director Kevin Smith is 42. Actor Sam Worthington is 36. Figure skater Michael Weiss is 36. Actor Edward Furlong is 35. Rock musician Devon Glenn is 32. Actress Hallie Eisenberg is 20.