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December 13, 2012

Today in History

Today is Thursday, Dec. 13, the 348th day of 2012. There are 18 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Dec. 13, 1862, Union forces led by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside launched futile attacks against entrenched Confederate soldiers during the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg; the soundly defeated Northern troops withdrew two days later. (It was during this battle that Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee is said to have remarked: "It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.")

On this date:

  • In 1642, Dutch navigator Abel Tasman sighted present-day New Zealand.
  • In 1769, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire received its charter.
  • In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson arrived in France, becoming the first chief executive to visit Europe while in office.
  • In 1928, George Gershwin's "An American in Paris" had its premiere at Carnegie Hall in New York.
  • In 1937, the Chinese city of Nanjing fell to Japanese forces; what followed was a massacre of war prisoners, soldiers and citizens. (China maintains as many as 300,000 people died; Japan says the toll was far less.)
  • In 1944, during World War II, the U.S. cruiser Nashville was badly damaged in a Japanese kamikaze attack that claimed more than 130 lives.
  • In 1962, the United States launched Relay 1, a communications satellite which retransmitted television, telephone and digital signals.
  • In 1978, the Philadelphia Mint began stamping the Susan B. Anthony dollar, which went into circulation in July 1979.
  • In 1981, authorities in Poland imposed martial law in a crackdown on the Solidarity labor movement. (Martial law formally ended in 1983.)
  • In 1994, an American Eagle commuter plane crashed short of Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina, killing 15 of the 20 people on board.
  • In 2000, Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore conceded to Republican George W. Bush, a day after the U.S. Supreme Court shut down further recounts in Florida.
  • In 2003, Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. forces while hiding in a hole under a farmhouse in Adwar, Iraq, near his hometown of Tikrit.

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