Today in History with a Twist: November 25, 2013
1926 - The deadliest November tornado outbreak (The Great Tri-State Tornado of Wednesday, March 18, 1925, is the deadliest tornado outbreak all time in the U.S.) in U.S. history strikes on Thanksgiving Day. Twenty-seven twisters of great strength are reported in the Midwest, including the strongest November tornado, an estimated F4 (F5 is the highest, 80% of all tornadoes in the U.S. are F1 or less, only 1% are F4 or higher), that devastates Heber Springs, Arkansas. There are 51 deaths in Arkansas alone, 76 deaths and over 400 injuries in all. - Where's Dorothy?
It’s cold outside today but that's no excuse not to celebrate National Parfait Day! Did you know that the word "parfait" means "perfect" in French? It’s no wonder that this dish makes a perfect snack, meal, or dessert! Although parfaits were originally served on decorative plates, today they are typically layered in tall, thin glasses. There are also many variations on the original parfait recipe, which originated in France in the 19th century. American parfaits are made by layering ice cream with granola, nuts, yogurt, fresh fruits, and whip cream. Whip up your own version to celebrate National Parfait Day! (punchbowl.com)
1177 - Baldwin IV of Jerusalem, only 16 but suffering from leprosy, and Raynald of Châtillon defeat Saladin at the Battle of Montgisard. Baldwin had come to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage and had hoped to launch an invasion of Egypt in alliance with the Byzantine Empire; however, this failed to materialize. At the same time Saladin launched an invasion of the Kingdom of Jerusalem from Egypt. Baldwin gathered a small force and moved to block them. Saladin did not take that threat seriously and only sent a small part of his army to deal with them and continued to march on Jerusalem. Though outnumbered, by possibly as much as ten to one, Baldwin attacked and destroyed the blocking force and then went on to destroy Saladin's army which, by not taking the threat seriously, had been allowed to become widely dispersed. Saladin would return to Egypt, rebuild his army and return to capture Jerusalem, eventually leading to the Third Crusade. Saladin was only able to maintain his control over Egypt by telling the people he had won the battle. - That's why you need a free press.
1758 - During the French and Indian War (Seven Year's War in Europe) British forces capture Fort Duquesne from French control. Fort Pitt is built nearby and it grows into modern Pittsburgh. Despite having defeated two previous attacks, one in 1755 and the other earlier in 1758, the French abandoned the fort under threat of another British attack. The French withdrew due to the English arranging for several of tribes allied with the French to withdraw from the war greatly reducing the size of their force defending the fort. - The old Northwest, the 'wild west' of the 1700's.
1863 - Union forces led by General Ulysses S. Grant break the Siege of Chattanooga by routing Confederate troops under General Braxton Bragg at the Battle of Missionary Ridge in Tennessee. The battle was won when the attack against the Confederate center, which was only supposed to be a diversion against a part of the line that was considered impregnable, broke the Rebel line. The victory routed the Confederate's main force, the Army of the Tennessee, and opened the door for Sherman's march through the South. - I can't top this: When a chaplain asked General Thomas, who led the assault on the center, whether the dead should be sorted and buried by state, Thomas replied "Mix 'em up. I'm tired of states' rights."
1864 - In a lesser-known event during the Civil War, a group of eight Confederate operatives calling themselves the Confederate Army of Manhattan started fires in more than 20 locations in New York City in an unsuccessful attempt to burn down the city. The plot was orchestrated by Jacob Thompson, who had been the United States Secretary of the Interior at the outbreak of the American Civil War; he resigned and became the Inspector General of the Confederate States Army. The operatives infiltrated Union territory from Canada and made their way to New York. On Friday night, November 25, beginning around 8:45pm, the group attempted to simultaneously start fires in 19 hotels, a theater, and P.T. Barnum's museum. The objective was to overwhelm the city's firefighting resources by distributing the fires around the city. Most of the fires failed to start or were easily dealt with and the Rebels fled the city. - Seems Sherman paid better attention in the fire starting class.
1876 - In retaliation for the American defeat at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, United States Army troops sack Chief Dull Knife's sleeping Cheyenne village at the headwaters of the Powder River. Dull Knife did ally with the Sioux after their victory thus becoming involved in the war. The army came across the camp as they were celebrating a recent victory over the Shoshone. They waited until dawn to launch the attack to take advantage of the Indians sleeping off the previous night's activities. The victory was so decisive it ended the Northern Cheyenne as being an effective fighting force. - Hard to fight with a hangover.
1947 - The "Hollywood Ten" are blacklisted by Hollywood movie studios during the Red Scare. - The first systematic Hollywood blacklist was instituted on November 25, 1947, the day after ten writers and directors were cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to give testimony to the House Committee on Un-American Activities. A group of studio executives, acting under the aegis of the Motion Picture Association of America, announced the firing of the artists - the so-called Hollywood Ten - in what has become known as the Waldorf Statement. On June 22, 1950, a pamphlet called Red Channels appeared, focusing on the field of broadcasting. It named 151 entertainment industry professionals in the context of "Red Fascists and their sympathizers"; soon most of those named, along with a host of other artists, were barred from employment in much of the entertainment field. The blacklist was effectively broken in 1960 when Dalton Trumbo, an unrepentant communist member of the Hollywood Ten, was publicly acknowledged as the screenwriter of the films Spartacus and Exodus. A number of those blacklisted, however, were still barred from work in their professions for years afterward. (Wikipedia)
1844 - Karl Benz - German engineer and businessman, inventor of the automobile and founder of Mercedes-Benz (d. 1929) - Henry Ford knew a good thing when he saw it.
1944 - Ben Stein - Actor, lawyer, author and Presidential speech writer. - And we best know him for: "Bueller, Bueller, Bueller....."
1983 - Joey Chestnut - American competitive eater. - Wait, you can make a living just by eating!?!
To learn more about the above topics check out the following books from the Library's collection: