"You may fire when you are ready, Gridley"
With this command, Commodore George Dewey opened the first major engagement of the Spanish American War in the Battle of Manila Bay on May 1, 1898. Commanding from his flagship USS Olympia, Dewey’s American Asiatic Squadron would destroy the Spanish Pacific Fleet in little more than 7 hours. The battle was the beginning of the end for Spain’s aspirations in the Pacific, and would allow the United States to emerge as a global power.
Months earlier Dewey had earlier received coded orders from then-Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt to seek out and engage the Spanish.
150 years ago the Battle of Chancellorsville pitted the Union Army of the Potomac, under Major General Joseph Hooker, against the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, under General Robert E. Lee. Lee decided to divide his forces in the face of a larger Union army, which resulted in a major Confederate victory, Lee’s “perfect battle”. Despite having a reputation as an aggressive division commander, Hooker’s failure to take the initiative during the engagement lost him not only the battle but also President Lincoln’s confidence and he was replaced soon afterwards as commander of the Army of the Potomac.
- Map of Field of Occupation, Army of the Potomac, [from Dumfries south to Port Royal and west to Chancellorsville]. Prepared by order of Gen. Hooker from reconnoisances made under Capt. R. S. Williamson, Lt. N. Bowen, Gen. D. P. Woodbury, and others. From the Civil Works Map File
- Wilderness, near Chancellorsville, Va, ca. 1860 - ca. 1865. From the Matthew Brady Photographs series.
Now, therefore, I, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States of America, do hereby call upon the people of the United States…to observe Friday, May 1, 1959 as Loyalty Day…