On This Day in History: April 19

On April 19, the British Army was excused for the deaths that occurred three months earlier during “Bloody Sunday.” What else happened today in history?

1775: The Official Start of the American Revolutionary War

American’s War of Independence officially started today in history. However, tensions had grown and there were various smaller outbreaks leading up to this point. At 5am on April 19, 1775, 700 British troops were sent on a mission to capture and seize Patriot arsenal and leaders. They found themselves under the fire of 77 armed men, as Captain John Parker has expected them. Major John Pitcairn ordered the Patriots of the town’s common green, and at first they left. However, the first shot was fired and the battle commenced. Eight Americans were killed with 10 American Civil Warwounded by the end, with just one British soldier injured. That first shot is now known as “the first shot heard around the world.”

1861: First Civil War Blood Spilled

The first drop of blood was spilled during the American Civil War on this day in history. A secessionist mob attack Massachusetts troops in Baltimore, as the troops tried to get to Washington D.C. Twelve rioters and four soldiers were killed. The war had officially started a week earlier when Confederates fired upon the Union’s Fort Sumter.

1897: The First Boston Marathon

April 19 saw the first Boston Marathon, now an annual event. John J. McDermott won the 24.5-mile course in the all-male event, with a time of 2:55:10. The first modern marathon had only been introduced into the Olympic Games in Athens a year earlier, and the course was based on Pheidippides run from Marathon to Athens to share the news of the Greek victory over Persia. The date of the Boston Marathon was decided as a way to honor the beginning of the Revolutionary War. When Patriots’ Day was moved to the third Monday in April, the Boston Marathon moved to that date, too.

1972: British Army Excused for “Bloody Sunday”Roger Sherman

A report looking into the events of Bloody Sunday, which led to the deaths of 14 Northern Irish civilians, was deemed as the fault of the civil rights marches. The British Army had been exonerated, saying all actions were justified. Lord Widgery, the Lord Chief Justice overseeing the report, said that had the illegal march not taken place, the deaths would not have happened. He also accepted that some of the rioters were armed, and the British Army had been under fire before retaliation. He did, however, criticized some of the soldiers, saying their firing had almost been reckless.

Famous Birthdays on April 19

King Pedro I of Portugal–1320

Lutheran reformer, Erasmus Sarcerius–1501

Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine–1658

Diarist Sarah Kemble Knight—1666

Declaration of Independence signer Roger Sherman—1721

Painter, Heinrich Maria von Hess–1798

Former First Lady Lucretia Rudoph—1832

President and dictator of Brazil, Getulio Vargas–1883

A High Wind in Jamaica writer Richard Hughes—1900

Prohibition treasury agent Eliot Ness—1903

Poet Etheridge Knight—1933

IT actor Tim Curry—1946

Oz the Great and Powerful actor James Franco—1978

Tennis player Maria Sharapova—1987

TheFLICKpick YouTube star John Flickinger—1987

Sources:

Birthdays from HistoryNet.com, OnThisDay.com and FamousBirthdays.com

Featured image from Deposit Photos

Image of the American Civil War: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Civil_War#/media/File:Bayonet-charge-1250.jpg

Image of Roger Sherman: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Sherman#/media/File:RogerShermanPortrait.jpg


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