November 21, 1620 - Leaders of the Mayflower expedition framed the “Mayflower Compact,” designed to bolster unity among the settlers. The Pilgrims reached Provincetown Harbor, Mass.
November 21, 1789 - North Carolina became the 12th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
November 21, 1794 - Honolulu Harbor was discovered.
November 21, 1817 - Richard Brooke Garnett (dthe 8th, with which he served creditably at Sharpsburg and Fredericksburg. Garnett then took part in Longstreet's Suffolk campaign, returning to Richmond after the fatal wounding of General Jackson, May 2. Richard Garnett always felt that his reputation had been wrongfully slighted by Jackson's accusations following Kernstown. Yet, against Jackson personally, Garnett held no grudge. After learning that the great "Stonewall" was dead, Garnett went to the executive mansion in Richmond where Jackson's body lay in state, Major Sandy Pendleton and Captain Kyd Douglas watched Garnett as he cried beside the casket. He then spoke so tenderly of Jackson that Pendleton asked if the general would serve as a pallbearer in Jackson's funeral procession through the capital on the 1863." Colonel Eppa Hunton, who was to succeed Garnett, said of him: “He was one of the noblest and bravest men I ever knew.” He had given his life to erase forever the one blight on his distinguished record.
November 21, 1818 - Frenchman Hipolito Bouchard and Englishman Peter Corney led a 2-ship attack against the presidio at Monterey, Ca. Gov. Pablo de Sola and his soldiers and families fled as some 400 rebels pulled to shore. The presidio was ransacked and burned. Bouchard and Corney days later plundered Mission San Juan Capistrano and the rancho at El Refugio.
November 21, 1836 - Marines and Soldiers took action against the Seminole Indians at Wahoo Swamp, Florida. General Call set out with a large force of 2500 regular Army soldiers, Florida militia, Tennessee militia, and a Creek Indian Regiment to destroy Seminole strongholds. The force left Fort Drane and went into the Cove of the Withlacoochee. They found no Indians, and the best they could do was burn three abandoned villages. The command split up with plans to meet at the Dade Battleground a few days later. On 17 November, the American force found a large Indian encampment. They charged it, the Indians fled, and the soldiers got stuck in the typical deep Florida swamp mud. On 18 November, Creek scouts found the Seminoles entrenched in a hammock. The area had been cleared out by the Seminoles, a typical strategy to trap the soldiers in the open area. After a hard but quick fight, Call's forces were able to drive away the Seminole force, estimated at five to seven hundred. A Creek Regiment fought at the Battle of Wahoo Swamp. There were 759 Creeks with the regiment, and they enlisted under a promise of favorable treatment from the government, but still ended up in Oklahoma like those they were employed against. They were employed a year in Florida and lost 110 men, mostly to sickness; a high casualty rate. They would also act as spies and would wear white turbans in the field so the Army could tell them apart from the Seminoles. The Seminoles especially hated them, considering them traitors, and would go out of their way during battle to kill a Creek Scout. On 21 November, the combined force of General Call left the Dade Battleground for the biggest battle that they would face; the Battle of Wahoo Swamp. The Seminoles made their stand in a dense hammock with an open field before them. General Call's line that faced them extended a mile in length. The forces engaged when they were only fifty yards apart. They Seminoles fell back from their position. The Americans recognized Seminole leaders Yaholoochee (Cloud), Osuchee (Cooper), and a former slave leading fire. The Florida Militia was especially shocked at the presence of a former slave leading an armed force against the Americans. The Army troops ran into trouble. The line became disorganized and ended up bogged down in the mud and thickly wooded hammock. The Creek scouts advanced on the Indian position and received heavy fire. The Seminoles would often make it a point to first attack the Creek Indians in any battle, since they considered the Creek Indians traitors who gave away their position. There was a small stream between the American and Seminole forces, and the Americans failed to cross this stream because they did not know the depth. This was one of the main failures that caused the American defeat, since they did not cross this stream which turned out to be only three feet deep. One of the American officers, Major David Moniac, was shot and killed while trying to cross the stream. He was a Creek Indian, and the first Indian to graduate from West Point. He was related to both sides of the Fort Mims Massacre, and his wife is said to have been the cousin of Osceola. It is said that the Seminoles considered him a traitor and had specifically targeted him for death. Recently a marker has been erected in his honor at a nearby Veteran's cemetery by his descendants. After a hard battle, the Army force decided to withdraw. They were low on supplies and decided against trying to cross the stream. No resupply point had been established. It was later discovered that if the Army had crossed the stream, they would have been able to capture a large Indian and Negro force of over 600 warriors, along with women and children.
November 21, 1860 - The notorious hired killer Tom Horn is born on this day in 1860, in Memphis, Missouri. "Killing is my specialty," Horn reportedly once said. "I look at it as a business proposition, and I think I have a corner on the market." Horn was raised on a farm, and like many young farm boys, Horn loved to roam the woods with his dog and rifle, hunting for game and practicing his marksmanship. He was an unusually skilled rifleman, an ability that may have later encouraged him to gravitate towards a career as a professional killer. That his father was a violent man, who severely beat his son, might also explain how Horn came to be such a remorseless killer. However, the young Horn did not immediately begin his adult life as a professional murderer. Fleeing his home in Memphis after a particularly savage beating from his father, the 14-year-old boy first worked as a teamster in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he demonstrated a quick intelligence and learned Spanish. Horn's packing and language skills later won him a job with the U.S. Army, where he served as an interpreter with the Apache Indians, learned to be a skilled scout and tracker, and tracked the cunning movements of the famous Apache warrior Geronimo. Ironically, Horn's career as a hired gunman began legitimately when he signed up with the well-known Chicago-based Pinkerton Detective Agency, which supplied agents to serve as armed guards and private police forces. Though Pinkerton detectives generally stopped short of carrying out actual murders, they were sometimes called on to fight gun battles with everyone from striking miners to train robbers. Horn's four-year stint with the Pinkertons doubtlessly impressed his next employer, the giant Wyoming ranching operation, Swan Land and Cattle Company. Swan and other big ranches funded Horn's reign of terror in Wyoming, where he assassinated many supposed rustlers and other troublemakers. To take only one example, a Wyoming homesteader named William Lewis had stubbornly claimed his right to farm on what had previously been open range for cattle. He openly bragged about stealing and eating the cattle he found there. The big ranchers warned Lewis to leave the territory, but he refused to back down. In August 1895, he was shot to death with three bullets fired from a distance of at least 300 yards. Few doubted that the sharpshooting Horn killed Lewis. Horn's reign of terror ended in 1903, when he was hanged for killing a 14-year-old boy.
November 21, 1861 - Confederate President Jefferson Davis names Judah Benjamin the secretary of war. A Sephardic Jew from South Carolina, Judah Benjamin was an exception to the rule in the Protestant South. As a young man, he moved to New Orleans and lived in a largely Jewish community. He married the daughter of a wealthy Catholic couple, but the marriage was distant--Natalie Benjamin moved to Paris soon after the birth of their daughter and the couple spent little of their fifty-plus-year marriage together. Benjamin practiced law and bought a sugar plantation near New Orleans. He became a representative in the Louisiana state legislature in 1842, and he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1852. While there, he became a close friend of Jefferson Davis, who was then a Mississippi senator. Benjamin resigned during the secession crisis of 1860 and 1861, even before Louisiana officially left the Union. Davis selected Benjamin as the Confederacy's first attorney general, and he quickly became the president's most trusted advisor. After the Battle of First Bull Run, Secretary of War Leroy Walker resigned amid criticism that the Confederate army did not pursue the defeated Yankees. Davis appointed Benjamin to the position. Although Benjamin had no military experience, his appointment allowed Davis to dominate Confederate military affairs. Placing his trusted friend in the position of secretary of war ensured that Davis would not be challenged on important military decisions. Benjamin efficiently managed the day-to-day work of the war department, but he began to quarrel with some of the top generals who resented taking orders from a non-military bureaucrat. Benjamin also drew unfair criticism because of his religion--many openly questioned his loyalty because of his Jewish faith. When Roanoke Island fell to the Yankees in March 1862, criticism of Benjamin peaked. Many censured him for not sending men and supplies to the island's garrison. Furthermore, the war was going badly for the Confederates in the West. Davis recognized that the storm of complaints was crippling Benjamin's ability to perform his duty, so he appointed Benjamin secretary of state when Robert M. T. Hunter resigned that position. As the outlook for the Confederacy grew bleaker in 1863 and 1864, Benjamin floated the idea that the South could obtain foreign recognition only by promising emancipation. This radical concept fell on deaf ears until the last weeks of the war. When the Confederacy finally collapsed, Benjamin fled with the rest of the Confederate government to Danville, Virginia. When President Lincoln was assassinated, it was discovered that Benjamin had ties to the Surratt family, which was implicated in the conspiracy. Fearing capture and prosecution, Benjamin fled the country. He settled in England and practiced law there, often visiting his wife and daughter in Paris. During the rest of his life, Benjamin rarely spoke of his service to the Confederacy. He died in Paris in 1884.
November 21, 1864 - From Georgia, Confederate General John Bell Hood launched the Franklin-Nashville Campaign into Tennessee. Hood led the Army of the Tennessee in its offensive into Tennessee, which was decisively broken in the battles of Franklin and Nashville. Hood, a graduate of West Point, had been in the U.S. Cavalry until the Civil War broke out. He was seriously wounded attacking Little Round Top during the Battle of Gettysburg and later lost a leg at Chickamauga in September of that year. In 1864, he was appointed a Lieutenant General under Joseph E. Johnston‘s command in defense of Atlanta. In July, Confederate president Jefferson Davis put Hood in command who promptly attacked Sherman‘s Union army and was repulsed. Hood then attempted a long march to the north and west to assault Sherman‘s rear and ran into Union Army of the Cumberland. The November Battle of Franklin and December Battle of Nashville decisively defeated Hood‘s Army which was harassed and almost destroyed in its retreat. Hood‘s own request to end his command was granted the following month. After the war he lived in New Orleans.
November 21, 1864 - Nov 21-22, Battle at Griswoldville, Georgia. Brig. General Charles Walcutt was ordered to make a demonstration, with the six infantry regiments and one battery that comprised his brigade, toward Macon to ascertain the disposition of enemy troops in that direction. He set out on the morning of November 22, and after a short march he ran into some of Maj. General Joseph Wheeler’s cavalry and drove them beyond Griswoldville. Having accomplished his mission, Walcutt retired to a position at Duncan’s Farm and fortified it with logs and rails to meet an expected Rebel attack force composed of three brigades of Georgia State Militia. The Georgia Militia had been ordered from Macon to Augusta, thinking the latter was Sherman’s next objective, and accidentally collided with Walcutt’s force. The Union force withstood three determined charges before receiving reinforcements of one regiment of infantry and two regiments of cavalry. The Rebels did not attack again and soon retired.
November 21, 1906 - In San Juan, President Theodore Roosevelt pledged citizenship for Puerto Rican people.
November 21, 1918 - U.S. battleships witness surrender of German High Seas fleet at Rosyth, Firth of Forth, Scotland, to U.S. and British fleets.
November 21, 1921 - The 1st mid-air refueling was done by hand over Long Beach on a Curtiss JN-4.
November 21, 1929 - Hoping to pick up the pieces after the stock market's dramatic free-fall, President Herbert Hoover sat down for two closed-door meetings with the nation's business leaders, as well as trade union representatives. Each session saw the president and respective groups hash out a broad plan for righting the economy and reassuring the panicked public. Two weeks later, both the business and labor factions gave the green light to a general directive that Hoover hoped would help steer the nation away from fiscal turmoil.
November 21, 1938 - Nazi forces occupied western Czechoslovakia and declared its people German citizens. This annexation of Sudetenland was the first major belligerent action by Hitler. The allies chose to sit still for it in return for a promise of "peace in our time," which Hitler later broke.
November 21, 1940 - The Dies report on German and Communist espionage and subversive activities is published. As in the similar investigations which have been made in Britain, the strength of these disruptive elements is wildly overestimated and accompanied with call for preventive measures. The Dies Commission will eventually become the House Un-American Activites Committee.
November 21, 1943 - On Tarawa Atoll, more American troops (of the 2nd Marine Divison) land on Betio Island. There are heavy casualties initially. However, by noon some progress is being made in successfully landing more troops. Other American units land on Bairiki Island. On Makin Atoll, elements of the US 27th Infantry Division begin to advance on Butaritari Island.
November 21, 1944 - On Leyte, the US 32nd Division, advancing from the north coast, is held in the Ormoc Valley by Japanese forces. US 7th Division begins attacks north from Baybay toward Ormoc.
November 21, 1944 - Northeast of Formosa, the US submarine Sealion sinks the Japanese battleship Kongo and a destroyer.
November 21, 1944 - US 1st and 9th Armies meet firm resistance from German forces west of the Roer River. The US 3rd Army continues the siege of Metz while other elements gain ground near Saarebourg. Metz has never been taken by siege.1945- The last residents of the US Japanese-American internment left their camps.
November 21, 1945 - When World War II finally ended, business and labor resumed their own struggle over power, profits and better working conditions. The first blow in the renewed battle was struck on this day in 1945, as the United Auto Workers staged the first postwar strike at the General Motors plant in Detroit, Michigan.
November 21, 1950 - The 17th Infantry Regiment of the 7th Infantry Division reached the Yalu River near its source at Hyesanjin, "Ghost City of Broken Bridges." This was the northernmost progress achieved by any U.S. unit operating in the east under X Corps.
November 21, 1950 - The battleship USS New Jersey was recommissioned and re-entered active service under the command of Captain David M. Tyree.
November 21, 1952 - The USS New Jersey was relieved in the Korean Theater of operations.
November 21, 1967 - General William Westmoreland, commander of U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam, tells U.S. news reporters: "I am absolutely certain that whereas in 1965 the enemy was winning, today he is certainly losing." Having been reassured by the general, most Americans were stunned when the communists launched a massive offensive during the Vietnamese Tet New Year holiday on January 30, 1968. During this offensive, communist forces struck 36 of 44 provincial capitals, 5 of 6 autonomous cities, 64 of 242 district capitals and about 50 hamlets. At one point during the initial attack on Saigon, ommunist troops actually penetrated the ground floor of the U.S. Embassy. The fighting raged all over South Vietnam and lasted almost until the end of February. Overcoming the initial surprise of the attack, the U.S. and South Vietnamese forces recovered and ultimately inflicted a major military defeat on the communists. Nevertheless, Hanoi won a great psychological victory by launching such a widespread attack after Westmoreland assured the American people that the corner had been turned in South Vietnam. As a result of the unexpected Tet Offensive, many Americans came out forcefully against the war.
November 21, 1970 - U.S. planes conduct widespread bombing raids in North Vietnam.
November 21, 1970 - Two 378-foot cutters, USCGC Sherman and Rush combined with USS Endurance to sink a North Vietnamese trawler attempting to smuggle arms into South Vietnam.
November 21, 1970 - A combined Air Force and Army team of 40 Americans--led by Army Colonel "Bull" Simons--conducts a raid on the Son Tay prison camp, 23 miles west of Hanoi, in an attempt to free between 70 and 100 Americans suspected of being held there. Planning for the mission--code-named Operation Ivory Coast--began in June 1970. The plan called for Army Rangers to be flown to Son Tay by helicopter and crash-land inside the compound. The plan was for Rangers to pour out of the helicopter and neutralize any opposition while Rangers in other helicopters, landing outside the walls, would break in and complete the rescue operation. At 11:30 p.m. on November 20, the raiding force departed Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand. As the force approached the camp, U.S. Air Force and Navy warplanes struck North Vietnamese troop installations and antiaircraft sites in the area. Part of the force initially landed at the wrong compound, but otherwise the mission came off without a hitch. Unfortunately, the Rangers could not locate any prisoners in the huts. After a sharp firefight with the North Vietnamese troops in the area, the order was given to withdraw--27 minutes after the raid began, the force was in the air headed back to Thailand. The raid was accomplished in a superb manner and all Americans returned safely, but it was learned later that the prisoners had been moved elsewhere in July. Despite that disappointment, the raid was a tactical success and sent a message to the North Vietnamese that the United States was capable of inserting a combat force undetected only miles from their capital. Stunned by the raid, high Hanoi officials ordered all U.S. POWs moved to several central prison complexes. This was actually a welcome change-the move afforded the prisoners more contact with each other and boosted their morale.
November 21, 1973 - President Nixon's attorney, J. Fred Buzhardt, revealed the existence of an 18 1/2- minute gap in one of the White House tape recordings related to Watergate.
November 21, 1975 - A Senate committee issues a report charging that U.S. government officials were behind assassination plots against two foreign leaders and were heavily involved in at least three other plots. The shocking revelations suggested that the United States was willing to go to murderous levels in pursuing its Cold War policies. The Senate Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, chaired by Senator Frank Church, alleged that U.S. officials instigated plots to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Patrice Lumumba of the Congo. In addition, the U.S. officials "encouraged or were privy to" plots that led to the assassinations of Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam, General Rene Schneider of Chile, and Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic. The attempts against Castro failed, but the other four leaders were killed. There was also evidence suggesting U.S. involvement in a number of other assassination plots against foreign leaders. The committee indicated that it had no specific evidence that an American president ever authorized an assassination. However, it went on to declare that "whether or not the President in fact knows about the assassination plots, and even if their subordinates failed in their duty of full disclosure, it still follows that the President should have known about the plots." The Central Intelligence Agency came in for special condemnation for its efforts to recruit Mafia hit men to kill Castro and mercenaries to assassinate Lumumba. In the report's conclusion, the committee declared that, "We condemn the use of assassination as a tool of foreign policy [and] find that assassination violates moral precepts fundamental to our way of life." President Gerald Ford criticized the decision to release the report, claiming that it would do "grievous damage to our country" and would be used by "groups hostile to the United States in a manner designed to do maximum damage to the reputation and foreign policy of the United States."
November 21, 1979 - A mob attacked the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, killing two Americans. Rumors that the United States had participated in the seizure of the Grand Mosque in Mecca provoked the attack. Four people died, two of them U.S. nationals. The American Cultural Center in Lahore also was destroyed by fire.
November 21, 1985 - Jonathan Jay Pollard, a civilian U.S. Navy intelligence analyst and Jewish American, is arrested on charges of illegally passing classified U.S. security information about Arab nations to Israel. Pollard, an employee at the navy intelligence center in Suitland, Maryland, was eventually convicted and sentenced to life in prison under the recommendation of Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger. The Israeli government did not officially object to the sentencing and most of Israel regarded the incident as an unfortunate embarrassment. However, Israeli calls for Pollard's release mounted during the next decade, and top Israeli officials complained that Pollard received a far stiffer sentence than other individuals found in the past to have been passing information to "friendly" nations.
November 21, 1986 - National Security Council member Oliver North and his secretary, Fawn Hall, begin shredding documents that would have exposed their participation in a range of activities regarding the sale of arms to Iran and the diversion of the proceeds to a rebel Nicaraguan group. On November 25, North was fired but Hall continued to sneak documents to him by stuffing them in her skirt and boots. The Iran-Contra scandal, as it came to be known, became an embarrassment and a sticky legal problem for the Reagan administration. Only six years earlier, Iran had become an enemy of the United States after taking hostages at the U.S. embassy in Tehran. At the time, President Reagan had repeatedly insisted that the United States would never deal with terrorists. When the revelation surfaced that his top officials at the National Security Council had begun selling arms to Iran, it was a public relations disaster. During the televised Iran-Contra hearings, the public learned that the money received for the arms was sent to support the Contras in Nicaragua, despite Congress' Boland Amendment, which expressly prohibited U.S. assistance to the Contras. Though the communist Sandinistas had been legitimately elected in Nicaragua, the Reagan administration sought to oust them by supporting the Contras, an anti-Communist group. During the Iran-Contra hearings, North claimed that the entire Reagan administration had known about the illegal plan. After admitting that he had lied to Congress, he was convicted of shredding documents, obstruction of justice, and illegally receiving a security fence for his own residence. He received a light sentence of a fine and probation. A year later in July 1990, an appellate court voted 2-1 to overturn his conviction based on the possibility that some of the evidence may have come from testimony that Congress had immunized in their own hearings on the matter.
November 21, 1987 - An eight-day siege began at a detention center in Oakdale, La., as Cuban detainees, alarmed over the possibility of being returned to Cuba, seized the facility and took hostages.
November 21, 1989 - A Soviet-East German commission met in East Berlin to discuss the transfer to East German control of Soviet functions and end its occupation status in Berlin.1963- President Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, began a two-day tour of Texas.
November 21, 1990 - President Bush arrived in Saudi Arabia, where he conferred with Saudi King Fahd and Kuwait’s exiled emir.
November 21, 1994 - NATO retaliated for repeated Serb attacks on a U.N. safe haven by bombing an airfield in a Serb-controlled section of Croatia.
November 21, 1995 - A Peace Pact, the Dayton Peace Accord, was initialed by the leaders of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia. US Sec. of State, Warren Christopher and chief mediator Richard Holbrooke manage to keep the parties talking for over 3 weeks to reach this agreement to end three and a-half years of ethnic fighting in Bosnia-Herzegovina. One year deployment of 20,000 US troops as one-third of a NATO peace keeping force was estimated to cost about $1.5 bil. The US also planned to contribute $600 mil over three years to help rebuild Bosnia.
November 21, 1995 - Israel granted jailed US spy Jason Pollard, citizenship.
November 21, 1997 - U.N. arms inspectors returned to Iraq after Saddam Hussein's three-week standoff with the United Nations over the presence of Americans on the team.
November 21, 1998 - President Clinton, visiting South Korea, warned North Korea to forsake nuclear weapons and urged the North to seize a "historic opportunity" for peace with the South.
November 21, 2000 - President Clinton agreed not to punish China for exporting missile components to Iran and Pakistan after China promised to end future technological cooperation with countries seeking to develop missile weaponry.
November 21, 2001 - Ottilie Lundgren, a 94-year-old resident of Oxford, Conn., died of inhalation anthrax in a case that baffled investigators.
November 21, 2001 - In Afghanistan the Taliban in Kandahar pledged to continue their fight.
November 21, 2002 - The United States and the Philippines signed a controversial agreement which would allow U.S. forces to use the Asian country as a supply point for military operations.
November 21, 2002 - The 19 NATO leaders demanded that Iraq "fully and immediately" comply with a U.N. resolution to disarm.
November 21, 2002 - The Baltic nations of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania joined former communist states Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia as the next wave of NATO states.
November 21, 2002 - Al-Qaida leader Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the network's chief of operations in the Persian Gulf, was reported to have been captured earlier in the month.
November 21, 2002 - In Indonesia Imam Samudra (35), the suspected mastermind of last month's devastating Bali bombings was arrested near Jakarta.
November 21, 2002 - In Sidon, Lebanon, Bonnie Witherall (31), an American missionary, was shot and killed at a Christian center that provides medical care and aid to Palestinian refugees.
November 21, 2003 - The Air Force conducted a 2nd test of the "Mother of All Bombs," officially the Massive Ordnance Air Blast, in Florida. It was 1st tested Mar 11.
November 21, 2003 - In northern Afghanistan at least 60 suspected Taliban and Taliban sympathizers were released from Shibergan jail in Jawzjan province.
November 21, 2003 - In Bolivia assailants shot and killed Jessica Nicole Borda (22), the daughter of an American consular official, during a carjacking attempt in the eastern city of Santa Cruz.