History: October 3, 2018

1777

An early-morning clash between Patriot and British troops at Germantown, Pennsylvania leave hundreds of troops on each side dead.

The Americans were undertrained and under-rationed, and probably not ready for a fight against professional warriors. A thick fog separated the four columns that General Washington had sent toward the British forces. Though the Americans were forced to retreat, both sides suffered hundreds of casualties.

The battle was one of only a few before Washington hunkered his troops down for a cold winter at Valley Forge.

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1795

Napoleon Bonaparte is tasked with protecting the National Convention from an approaching counter-revolutionary mob.

At Tuileries (TOO-ee-Larry) Palace, anti-monarchists were designing their new government, having successfully executed King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette in the preceding years. But loyalists to the French Crown were still in discontent, and amassed to lay siege to the new government.

Bonaparte rallied artillery around the compound to disperse the incoming riot. The cannon operators used grapeshot, a lethal pouch of small pellets that dispersed upon firing, unlike a cannonball which fired in one single shot.

The impact was clear: an estimated 1,400 royalists were killed, and hundreds more ran off. This was one of Napoleon’s first strategic and dynamic military victories that would eventually contribute to his empire.

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1849

Mystery writer and poet Edgar Allen Poe is found wandering the streets of Baltimore, delirious, under unknown circumstances.

A man noticed that Poe was in need of help, and took him to a local hospital. The macabre poet reportedly yelled the name “Reynolds!” repeatedly, but no one is sure who Reynolds was.

Poe died 4 days later. Fittingly mysterious, there are no surviving copies of his medical records.

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1863

President Lincoln makes Thanksgiving an official federal holiday, but it would not be celebrated until November 26th of that year.

The declaration came in a speech to Union troops near Gettysburg. The proclamation said that the fourth Thursday of every November would be a national holiday for giving thanks.

In 1939, President Roosevelt meekly tried to boost the economy during the depression by allowing some more time for food buying and shopping before Christmas, moving the holiday back a week. But 2 years later, Congress moved Thanksgiving permanently back to the fourth Thursday of the month.

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1895

Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage is published as a book for the first time. It was the first novel to depict the Civil War from the perspective of an average soldier. Previously, it appeared as a serialized story in the Philadelphia Press in December of the previous year and ran only 18,000 words.

The complete novel tallied 55,000 words. Comparatively, the first Harry Potter book contains roughly 77,000.

Since The Red Badge of Courage’s initial run, it has never gone out of print.

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1951

New York Giants 3rd Baseman Bobby Thomson nails a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Brooklyn Dodgers for the National League pennant.

At the beginning of the inning, the Giants were trailing 4-1. Many of the fans were already packing up and leaving the stadium.

Then Al Dark scored a run, bringing the score to 4-2, with runners on second and third bases.

Thomson’s homer propelled the Giants to victory – and a trip to the World Series, which they would lose to the Yankees.

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1995

A jury acquits OJ Simpson of murdering his wife and her friend, Ron Goldman.

The verdict culminated an exhaustive 252-day trial. The prosecution amassed a “mountain of evidence” against Simpson; the defense called “racism” and pulled apart technicalities in the forensic evidence presented.

In February 1997, Simpson was found liable in a civil trial, and was ordered to award $33.5 million to the victims’ families. But Simpson was broke from the first trial; the Brown and Goldman families haven’t actually received much of anything.