On Dec. 13, 1862, Union forces suffered a major defeat to the Confederates in the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg.
On this date:
In 1642, Dutch navigator Abel Tasman sighted present-day New Zealand.
In 1835, Phillips Brooks, the American Episcopal bishop who wrote the words to “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” was born in Boston.
In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson arrived in France, becoming the first chief executive to visit Europe while in office.
In 1928, George Gershwin’s musical work “An American in Paris” had its premiere, at Carnegie Hall in New York.
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 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 ended in 1983.)