August 8


1863: After his defeat in the Battle of Gettysburg, Gen. Robert E. Lee sent a letter of resignation to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who refused to accept it.

1885: The funeral of President Ulysses S. Grant at Riverside Park in New York City was attended by 1.5 million people.

      1929: The German airship Graf Zeppelin began its around-the-world flight.              1969: Photographer Iain Macmillan took a photo of the Beatles at a crosswalk in London that became the cover of the album Abbey Road, one of the most famous record album covers in music history.

1990: Iraq invaded and annexed the tiny country of Kuwait. This led to the Persian Gulf War shortly afterward.

2000: Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley was raised to the surface after 136 years on the ocean floor near Charleston, S.C., 30 years after it was discovered by undersea explorer E. Lee Spence, and five years after it was filmed by a dive team funded by novelist Clive Cussler.

August 9


1173: Construction began on what is now known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa (it took two centuries to complete).

1593: Izaak Walton, the first person to write a comprehensive book about fishing (The Compleat Angler) was born in England.

1944: The U.S. Forest Service and the Wartime Advertising Council released posters featuring Smokey Bear for the first time.

1945: The U.S. Army Air  Corps B-29 Bockscar dropped an atomic bomb named Fat Man on Nagasaki, Japan, devastating the city; 39,000 people were killed outright and many thousands more died of injuries and radiation poisoning in the coming days, weeks and years.

1965: Singapore was expelled from Malaysia and became the first country in history to gain its independence unwillingly.

1969: Followers directed by Charles Manson murdered pregnant actress Sharon Tate (wife of Roman Polanski), coffee heiress Abigail Folger, Polish actor Wojciech Frykowski, men’s hairstylist Jay Sebring and recent high-school graduate Steven Parent, in Los Angeles.


August 10


1846: James Smithson donated $500,000 and Congress chartered the Smithsonian Institution.

1969: One day after murdering Sharon Tate and four others, members of Charles Manson’s cult killed grocery store magnate Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary at their home in Los Angeles.

1995: Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were indicted for the Oklahoma City bombing. Michael Fortier pleaded guilty in a plea-bargain for his testimony.

2003: Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko became the first person to marry in outer space.

August 11


1929: Babe Ruth became the first baseball player to hit 500 home runs in his career, with a home run at League Park in Cleveland, Ohio.

1934: The federal prison on Alcatraz Island began receiving prisoners.


August 12


30 BC: Cleopatra VII Philopator, the last ruler of the Egyptian Ptolemaic dynasty, committed suicide. Tradition says she did it by making a poisonous asp bite her breast.

1851: American inventor Isaac Singer was granted a patent for his sewing machine.

1953: The Soviet Union detonated its first thermonuclear weapon.

1960: NASA launched Echo 1A, the agency’s first successful communications satellite.

1981: IBM released the first personal computer.


August 13


1831: Black slave Nat Turner saw a solar eclipse and thought is was a sign from God. Eight days later, he and 70 other slaves killed approximately 55 whites in Southampton County, Va.

1942: Bambi was released to theaters. It was Walt Disney’s fifth full-length, animated film.

1961: East Germany closed the border between the eastern and western sectors of Berlin to thwart residents’ attempts to escape to the West.

1969: The Apollo 11 astronauts (Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins) were released from a three-week quarantine and given a ticker-tape parade in New York City.

2001: The last original episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” was broadcast on TV.


August 14


1848: Oregon Territory was organized by act of Congress.

1935: The Social Security Act was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

player Magic Johnson.

1975: The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the longest-running release in film history, opened at the USA Theatre in Westwood, Los Angeles, Calif.

August 15


1965: The Beatles played to nearly 60,000 fans at Shea Stadium in New York, New York, an event later regarded as the birth of stadium rock.

1977: The Big Ear, a radio telescope operated by Ohio State University as part of the SETI project, received a radio signal from deep space. The event was named the “Wow! signal” from the notation made by a volunteer on the project.

2001: Montana House Majority Leader Paul Sliter, R-Somers, died when an SUV he was riding in rolled over near Helena. Shane Hedges, Gov. Judy Martz’s chief policy advisor, later pleaded guilty to drunken driving and served time in a pre-release center for killing Sliter.