On This Day … 13 January


  • 1797 – French Revolutionary Wars: A naval battle between a French ship of the line and two British frigates off the coast of Brittany ends with the French vessel running aground, resulting in over 900 deaths.
  • 1815 – War of 1812: British troops capture Fort Peter in St. Marys, Georgia, the only battle of the war to take place in the state.
  • 1842 – Dr. William Brydon, an assistant surgeon in the British East India Company Army during the First Anglo-Afghan War, becomes famous for being the sole survivor of an army of 4,500 men and 12,000 camp followers when he reaches the safety of a garrison in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
  • 1847 – The Treaty of Cahuenga ends the Mexican–American War in California.
  • 1849 – Second Anglo-Sikh War – Battle of Tooele: British forces retreat from the Sikhs.
  • 1893 – U.S. Marines land in Honolulu, Hawaii from the USS Boston to prevent the queen from abrogating the Bayonet Constitution.
  • 1895 – First Italo-Ethiopian War: the war’s opening battle, the Battle of Coatit, occurs; it is an Italian victory.
  • 1935 – A plebiscite in Saarland shows that 90.3% of those voting wish to join Nazi Germany.
  • 1942 – World War II: First use of an aircraft ejection seat by a German test pilot in a Heinkel He 280 jet fighter.
  • 1950 – British submarine HMS Truculent collides with an oil tanker in the Thames Estuary, killing 64 men.
  • 1950 – Finland forms diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China.
  • 1951 – First Indochina War: The Battle of Vĩnh Yên begins.
  • 1958 – The Moroccan Army of Liberation ambushes a Spanish patrol in the Battle of Edchera.
  • 1963 – Coup d’état in Togo results in the assassination of president Sylvanus Olympio.
  • 1991 – Soviet Union troops attack Lithuanian independence supporters in Vilnius, killing 14 people and wounding around 1000 others.
  • 2018 – A false emergency alert warning of an impending missile strike in Hawaii caused widespread panic in the state.

People (Births)

  • 1651 – Henry Booth, 1st Earl of Warrington, English soldier and politician, Chancellor of the Exchequer (d. 1694).
  • 1926 – Michael Bond, English soldier and author, created Paddington Bear (d. 2017).
  • 1927 – Brock Adams, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 5th United States Secretary of Transportation (d. 2004).
  • 1938 – Dave Edwards, American captain and politician (d. 2013).
  • 1949 – Rakesh Sharma, Indian commander, pilot, and astronaut.

People (Deaths)

  • 86 BC – Gaius Marius, Roman general and politician (b. 157 BC).
  • 858 – Æthelwulf, king of Wessex.
  • 1147 – Robert de Craon, Grand Master of the Knights Templar.
  • 1790 – Luc Urbain de Bouëxic, French admiral (b. 1712).
  • 1916 – Victoriano Huerta, Mexican military officer and president, 1913–1914 (b. 1850).
  • 2013 – Rodney Mims Cook, Sr., American lieutenant and politician (b. 1924).
  • 2015 – Robert White, American soldier and diplomat, United States Ambassador to Paraguay (b. 1926).

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