This one is undocumented and unsubstantiated legend but contains enough historical fact to give it substance:
British general William Howe occupied Philadelphia in 1777. His headquarters was located across the street from the Darragh [spelled Darrah in some sources] home. Howe commandeered the large upstairs room of the home for staff meetings, as his headquarters was too small. Unassuming Quaker housewife and nurse Lydia Darragh is said to have sat in a next room and eavesdropped on Howe’s meetings, taking notes and smuggling them to Washington’s officers, usually at the Rising Sun Tavern outside of Philadelphia.
Today in 1777 Lydia noted Howe’s plan to make a surprise attack on the Continental Army camped at nearby Whitemarsh [also spelled White Marsh], surrounding and destroying Washington’s army. She sewed her notes into her coat and managed to convey them to American Lt. Col. Thomas Craig the following day.
When Howe marched his army of 10,000 to attack the 9,500 continentals at Whitemarsh, Washington was ready for them. The battle of Whitemarsh was several days of skirmishes, rather than a conclusive battle. Interestingly, a British officer recorded 238 British and Hessian desertions, double the number of killed, wounded and missing the British suffered.
According to Howe’s report, he could not gain a tactical advantage over Washington and finally retreated to Philadelphia. His rear elements were harassed by Continentals during the retreat. Washington marched his army to the Valley Forge where his army suffered privations over the winter. (One quarter of his troops did not have shoes.)
Lydia Darragh is remembered today as the first American spy and her story is said to be repeated by members of the CIA.
Today in 1823 President James Monroe declared a foreign policy that forbade European intrusion into the western hemisphere and US neutrality in future European conflicts. The Monroe Doctrine was actually the work of Secretary of State John Quincy Adams.
Today in 1845 President James Polk asserted the Monroe Doctrine for his agenda of western expansion, claiming removal of European influence in the west for the sake of US national security and the “manifest destiny” that the US possesses or control Texas, California, Oregon and all territory in between.
The Monroe Doctrine was invoked to declare war against Spanish imperialism in 1898, justifying the Spanish American War. The influence of the Monroe Doctrine was felt in popular isolationist sentiments before the two world wars.
Today in 1859 at Charles Town, Virginia, militant abolitionist John Brown was hanged for the conviction of murder, treason, and insurrection. Before being led to the gallows, Brown left a prophetic note, “The crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.” 16 months later, the country was embroiled in the Civil War.
Today in 1942 physicists led by Enrico Fermi carried out the world’s first successful nuclear chain reaction at the University of Chicago. making the creation of the atomic bomb a possibility.
Today in 1954 the U.S. Senate condemned Senator Joseph McCarthy for misconduct following his ruthless investigations of thousands of alleged Communists
Today in 1982 the first permanent artificial heart was implanted in 61-year-old Barney C. Clark by Dr. William De Vries at the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City. Clark, who was near death at the time of the operation, survived 112 days after the implantation.
The first successful heart transplant was performed by Dr. Christian Barnard. December 3, 1967, at Cape Town, South African, on Louis Washkansky, who lived for 18 days.