History is more than the living record of nations, leaders, and wars. It’s also the story of us. It’s packed with tales of how someone stood up for what they believed in, or died for love, or worked hard to make their dreams come true. All those things are concepts we can relate to; it’s enriching to know that so could the likes of Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, or Martin Luther King.
Plus, history is plain interesting. Everything you like about your favorite movies, television shows, and fiction novels is yours to experience right here in reality when you study history. Explore the possibilities today and step into a whole new world that will change who you are forever.
Let’s discuss a few major Historical events in Today’s History.
1862: Union General George B. McClellan lets Confederates retreat from Antietam.
On September 17, 1862, the single bloodiest day of the Civil War, the Army of the Potomac under George B. McClellan clashed with Lee’s invading Army of Northern Virginia at Antietam Greek. General Francis W. Palfrey (1831-1889), then lieutenant colonel of the 20th Massachusetts and later a founding member of the Military Historical Society of Massachusetts, was wounded in the savage struggle that forced the Confederates to retreat across the Potomac. The Union victory, though costly and indecisive, was enough for Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. But less than three months later, the Battle of Fredericksburg (where droves of Union soldiers were slaughtered in Ambrose Burnside’s vain, reckless attempt to storm the impregnable Confederate positions on Marye’s Heights) ended the year with a resounding, grisly defeat. The Antietam and Fredericksburg (1882), part of the landmark Campaigns of the Civil War series, is invaluable for Palfrey’s unique eyewitness perspective; his unsparing, provocative appraisals of Generals McClellan, Burnside, Hooker, and others; his careful, detailed description of the Antietam terrain (altered over time); and his incisive analyses of the folly and fighting that determined two of the most pivotal, murderous battles of the Civil War.
1797: Coal is officially discovered in New South Wales, Australia, providing the foundation for the establishment of Newcastle.
Newcastle is the second-largest city in New South Wales, Australia. It was not a settlement at the time when a group of convict escapees discovered the first-known coal deposits in 1791. The discovery was not made known, as the convicts sought obscurity rather than notoriety. It was a British soldier, Lieutenant John Shortland, who found a coal seam while looking for the escapees in 1797.
Shortland first found a river that had been overlooked by Captain Cook who had charted the eastern coast 27 years earlier. Shortland named this river the “Hunter”, after Governor Hunter, but then discovered a rich seam of coal, on 18 September 1797. For some time after this, the river was known as the Coal River. Shortland took a sample of the coal back to Sydney. Within a year, workers on ships began collecting coal from the riverbanks and selling it in Sydney. The first export of local coal took place in 1799.
To have enough workers to mine the coal and cut timber, a convict camp for particularly hardened criminals was established in 1801. It was initially known as King’s Town, after Governor King. From this settlement came the thriving city of Newcastle.