On March 10, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed an order assigning Ulysses S. Grant, who had just received his commission as lieutenant-general, to the command of the Armies of the United States (Grant assumed his new command two days later, relieving General-in-Chief Henry Halleck). The song “Beautiful Dreamer” by the late Stephen Foster was copyrighted by Wm. A. Pond & Co. of New York.
On this date:
In 1785, Thomas Jefferson was appointed America’s minister to France, succeeding Benjamin Franklin.
In 1814, the two-day Battle of Laon in France ended with a Prussian-led victory over the forces of Napoleon I.
In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell’s assistant, Thomas Watson, heard Bell say over his experimental telephone: “Mr. Watson — come here — I want to see you.”
In 1880, the Salvation Army arrived in the United States from England.
In 1914, the Rokeby Venus, a 17th century painting by Diego Velazquez on display at the National Gallery in London, was slashed multiple times by Mary Richardson, who was protesting the arrest of fellow suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst. (The painting was repaired.)
In 1933, a magnitude 6.4 earthquake centered off Long Beach, Calif., resulted in 120 deaths.
In 1949, Nazi wartime broadcaster Mildred E. Gillars, also known as “Axis Sally,” was convicted in Washington, D.C., of treason. (She served 12 years in prison.)
In 1959, the Tennessee Williams play “Sweet Bird of Youth,” starring Paul Newman and Geraldine Page, opened at Broadway’s Martin Beck Theatre.
In 1969, James Earl Ray pleaded guilty in Memphis, Tenn., to assassinating civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. (Ray later repudiated that plea, maintaining his innocence until his death.)
In 1973, the Pink Floyd album “The Dark Side of the Moon” was first released in the U.S. by Capitol Records (the British release came nearly two weeks later).
In 1985, Konstantin U. Chernenko, who was the Soviet Union’s leader for just 13 months, died at age 73.
In 1993, Dr. David Gunn was shot to death outside a Pensacola, Fla., abortion clinic. (Shooter Michael Griffin is serving a life sentence.)
Ten years ago: Teenage sniper Lee Boyd Malvo was sentenced in Chesapeake, Va., to life in prison for his role in the Oct. 2002 killing rampage in the Washington, D.C., area that left 10 people dead. (Malvo, 19, was sentenced a day after sniper mastermind John Allen Muhammad was given the death penalty.)
Five years ago: In his first major speech on education, President Barack Obama called for tying teachers’ pay to student performance and expanding innovative charter schools. A gunman, 28-year-old Michael McLendon, killed 10 people, including his mother, four other relatives and the wife and child of a local sheriff’s deputy across two rural Alabama counties before committing suicide.
One year ago: The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, accused the Taliban and the U.S. of working in concert to convince Afghans that violence would worsen if most foreign troops left — an allegation the top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Joseph Dunford, rejected as “categorically false.”
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