American schooner Lyman M. Law is sunk - HISTORY
Year
1917

American schooner Lyman M. Law is sunk

On this day in 1917, the Austrian submarine U-35 bombs and sinks the American schooner Lyman M. Law in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Cagliari, Sardinia. The Lyman M. Law, captained by S.W. McDonough, had embarked on its final journey from Stockton, Maine, with a crew of 10 on January 6, 1917, carrying a cargo of 60,000 bundles of lemon-box staves.

The schooner was traveling across the Atlantic bound for Palermo, Italy, when it was captured on the morning of February 12. The Austrians ordered the crew of eight Americans and two British sailors off the schooner before a bomb was detonated, setting fire to the 1,300-ton wooden vessel prior to its sinking. The crew was uninjured and transported to the coastal town of Cagliari, where they were released.

On February 26, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson referred to the unprovoked sinking of the Lyman M. Law and the February 3, 1917, sinking of the American steamship Housatonic by the German submarine U-53, in his request for Congressional authorization to arm U.S. merchant ships so that they could defend themselves against possible German attacks. In his address, Wilson insisted repeatedly that the American people did not desire war, but merely sought to “defend our commerce and the lives of our people in the midst of the present trying circumstances.” Less than two months later, however, angered by continued German submarine aggression against American interests at sea, Wilson would go before Congress again, this time to deliver his message of war. The U.S. would formally enter World War I on April 6, 1917.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Judy Blume, popular young-adult author, is born

On this day in 1938, best-selling author Judy Blume, known for her children’s books and young-adult novels, including “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” and “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” is born in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Blume’s books have been beloved by several ...read more

Last emperor of China abdicates

On February 12, 1912, Hsian-T’ung, the last emperor of China, is forced to abdicate following Sun Yat-sen’s republican revolution. A provisional government was established in his place, ending 267 years of Manchu rule in China and 2,000 years of imperial rule. The former emperor, ...read more

Scharansky released

After spending eight years in Soviet prisons and labor camps, human rights activist Anatoly Scharansky is released. The amnesty deal was arranged by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan at a summit meeting three months earlier.Scharansky was imprisoned ...read more

President Clinton acquitted

On February 12, 1999, the five-week impeachment trial of Bill Clinton comes to an end, with the Senate voting to acquit the president on both articles of impeachment: perjury and obstruction of justice.In November 1995, Clinton began an affair with Monica Lewinsky, a 21-year-old ...read more

Milosevic goes on trial for war crimes

On this day in 2002, former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic goes on trial at The Hague, Netherlands, on charges of genocide and war crimes in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo. Milosevic served as his own attorney for much of the prolonged trial, which ended without a verdict when ...read more

Rommel in Africa

On this day, German General Erwin Rommel arrives in Tripoli, Libya, with the newly formed Afrika Korps, to reinforce the beleaguered Italians’ position.In January 1941, Adolf Hitler established the Afrika Korps for the explicit purpose of helping his Italian Axis partner maintain ...read more

Release of U.S. POWs begins

The release of U.S. POWs begins in Hanoi as part of the Paris peace settlement. The return of U.S. POWs began when North Vietnam released 142 of 591 U.S. prisoners at Hanoi’s Gia Lam Airport. Part of what was called Operation Homecoming, the first 20 POWs arrived to a hero’s ...read more

Basketball great Bill Russell born

Bill Russell, the legendary center for the Boston Celtics during the 1960s, is born in Monroe, Louisiana. During his 13-year career with the Celtics, Russell helped the team to 11 NBA championships.As a child, Russell’s family moved from Louisiana to California to escape racism ...read more

Abraham Lincoln is born

On this day in 1809, Abraham Lincoln is born in Hodgenville, Kentucky. Lincoln, one of America’s most admired presidents, grew up a member of a poor family in Kentucky and Indiana. He attended school for only one year, but thereafter read on his own in a continual effort to ...read more

Lorne Greene is born

Lorne Greene, the actor who played Ben Cartwright on the immensely popular television Western Bonanza, is born in Ontario, Canada. An only child, Greene later said he based his portrayal of Ben Cartwright on his own father, Daniel Greene.Greene’s rise to national stardom in ...read more

Writers’ strike ends after 100 days

Hollywood’s longest work stoppage since 1988 ends on this day in 2008, when members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) vote by a margin of more than 90 percent to go back to work after a walkout that began the previous November 5.The writers’ strike began during the ...read more

Iranian jet slams into mountain

On this day in 2002, an Iranian passenger jet crashes into the side of a mountain, killing all 117 people on board.Iran Air Tours, a subsidiary of Iran Air, scheduled the Russian-built Tupolev 154 jet to leave Tehran, Iran’s capital city, at 6:30 a.m. It was to be a short flight ...read more

Actor Sal Mineo is killed in Hollywood

Actor Sal Mineo is stabbed to death in Hollywood, California. Mineo was parking his car behind his apartment when neighbors heard his cries for help. Some described a white man with brown hair fleeing the scene. By the time they reached Mineo, he was almost dead from a deep wound ...read more