Year
1865

Lincoln, Sherman and Grant meet

On this day in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln meets with Union generals Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman at City Point, Virginia, to plot the last stages of the Civil War.

Lincoln went to Virginia just as Grant was preparing to attack Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s lines around Petersburg and Richmond, an assault that promised to end the siege that had dragged on for 10 months. Meanwhile, Sherman’s force was steamrolling northward through the Carolinas. The three architects of Union victory convened for the first time as a group–Lincoln and Sherman had never met—at Grant’s City Point headquarters at the general-in-chief’s request.

As part of the trip, Lincoln went to the Petersburg lines and witnessed a Union bombardment and a small skirmish. Prior to meeting with his generals, the president also reviewed troops and visited wounded soldiers. Once he sat down with Grant and Sherman, Lincoln expressed concern that Lee might escape Petersburg and flee to North Carolina, where he could join forces with Joseph Johnston to forge a new Confederate army that could continue the war for months. Grant and Sherman assured the president the end was in sight. Lincoln emphasized to his generals that any surrender terms must preserve the Union war aims of emancipation and a pledge of equality for the freed slaves.

After meeting with Admiral David Dixon Porter on March 28, the president and his two generals went their separate ways. Less than four weeks later, Grant and Sherman had secured the surrender of the Confederacy.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Khrushchev becomes Soviet premier

On March 27, 1958, Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev replaces Nicolay Bulganin as Soviet premier, becoming the first leader since Joseph Stalin to simultaneously hold the USSR’s two top offices.Khrushchev, born into a Ukrainian peasant family in 1894, worked as a mine ...read more

Earthquake rocks Alaska

The strongest earthquake in American history, measuring 8.4 on the Richter scale, slams southern Alaska, creating a deadly tsunami. Some 125 people were killed and thousands injured.The massive earthquake had its epicenter in the Prince William Sound, about eight miles northeast ...read more

FDA approves Viagra

On this day in 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves use of the drug Viagra, an oral medication that treats impotence.Sildenafil, the chemical name for Viagra, is an artificial compound that was originally synthesized and studied to treat hypertension (high blood ...read more

Germans launch last of their V-2s

On this day, in a last-ditch effort to deploy their remaining V-2 missiles against the Allies, the Germans launch their long-range rockets from their only remaining launch site, in the Netherlands. Almost 200 civilians in England and Belgium were added to the V-2 casualty ...read more

Bombing of Cambodia to continue

The White House announces that, at the request of Cambodian President Lon Nol, the bombing of Cambodia will continue until communist forces cease military operations and agree to a cease-fire.In March 1970, Lon Nol had overthrown Prince Norodom Sihanouk in a bloodless coup. ...read more

March Madness is born

The University of Oregon defeats The Ohio State University 46–33 on this day in 1939 to win the first-ever NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The Final Four, as the tournament became known, has grown exponentially in size and popularity since 1939. By 2005, college basketball had ...read more

Mexicans execute defenders of Goliad

In a disastrous setback for the Texans resisting Santa Anna’s dictatorial regime, the Mexican army defeats and executes 417 Texas revolutionaries at Goliad.Long accustomed to enjoying considerable autonomy from their Mexican rulers, many Anglo Texan settlers reacted with alarm ...read more

Pattie Boyd and Eric Clapton are married

In early decades of the 20th century, the Viennese beauty Alma Mahler inspired groundbreaking works by a quartet of husbands and lovers drawn from nearly every creative discipline: music (Gustav Mahler); literature (Franz Werfel); art (Oskar Kokoschka); and architecture (Walter ...read more

Poet Louis Simpson born

On this day in 1923, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louis Simpson is born in Jamaica, West Indies.Simpson, of Scottish and Russian descent, was the son of a lawyer. He emigrated to the U.S. at the age of 17 and began studying at Columbia University in New York City. However, World ...read more

Marlon Brando declines Best Actor Oscar

On this day in 1973, the actor Marlon Brando declines the Academy Award for Best Actor for his career-reviving performance in The Godfather. The Native American actress Sacheen Littlefeather attended the ceremony in Brando’s place, stating that the actor “very regretfully” could ...read more

Jumbo jets collide at Canary Islands airport

On this day in 1977, two 747 jumbo jets crash into each other on the runway at an airport in the Canary Islands, killing 582 passengers and crew members.Both Boeing 747s were charter jets that were not supposed to be at the Los Rodeos Airport on Santa Cruz de Tenerife that day. ...read more

TV Marti begins broadcasting to Cuba

The U.S. government begins the operation of TV Marti, which broadcast television programs into communist Cuba. The project marked yet another failed attempt to undermine the regime of Cuban leader Fidel Castro.TV Marti was put together under the auspices of the Voice of America, ...read more

Toyota founder dies

Kiichiro Toyoda, founder of the Toyota Motor Corporation, which in 2008 surpassed America’s General Motors as the world’s largest automaker, dies at the age of 57 in Japan on this day 1952.Toyoda was born in Japan on June 11, 1894. His father Sakichi Toyoda was an inventor of ...read more