September 26, 1777 - The British army launched a major offensive during the American Revolution, capturing Philadelphia.
September 26, 1781 - French fleet defeats British at Yorktown, VA.
September 26, 1789 - Thomas Jefferson was appointed America's first Secretary of State; John Jay the first chief justice of the United States; Samuel Osgood the first Postmaster-General; and Edmund Jennings Randolph the first Attorney General.
September 26, 1864 - Confederate General Sterling Price invades Missouri and attacks a Yankee garrison at Pilot Knob. Price's troops captured a fort and scattered the Union defenders, but also suffered heavy losses. The Confederate military fortunes were at an all-time low, and Price had hoped that the mission would destabilize Missouri just prior to the fall elections and give new hope to the Confederate cause. He also hoped to capture one of the major cities in Missouri and secure supplies for his troops. Price mounted his campaign from Pocahontas, Arkansas, and entered Missouri in mid-September. On September 26, he hurled his 12,000 troops at Fort Davidson at Pilot Knob. Two days later, the Confederates drove the 1,400 Yankee defenders away, but the attack was time-consuming and costly. Price lost 1,200 men and gained little in the way of strategic value or political impact. The rest of Price's raid didn't fare any better. He was harassed by state militia and had difficulty raising supplies; and Union resistance at important points such as the capital, Jefferson City, was much greater than expected. Through October, Price drove north to St. Louis, west to Kansas City, and then south into Texas. Much of his force disintegrated along the way, and in November Missouri voters elected Radical Republicans into office.
September 26, 1901 - Leon Czolgosz, who murdered President William McKinley, was sentenced to death.
September 26, 1910 - First recorded reference to provision for aviation in Navy Department organization.
September 26, 1913 - The first boat was raised in the locks of the Panama Canal.
September 26, 1915 - "Horse Marines" engaged Haitian bandits near Petite Riviere.
September 26, 1918 - Battle of the Argonne, final major battle of WW I.
September 26, 1918 - The Imperial German Navy's submarine UB-91 torpedoed and sank the CGC Tampa (formerly named Miami) which was escorting a convoy bound for Milford Haven, Wales, with all hands. 111 Coast Guardsmen, as well as four U.S. Navy, 11 Royal Navy, and five civilian passengers were killed. The bodies of two of the Coast Guard crew were recovered and buried in a small church yard in Lamphey, Pembrokeshire, Wales, Great Britain. One body was returned to the family in the U.S. after the war while one, who was never identified, is still interred in Lamphey's church yard to this day. Local residents care for the grave.
September 26, 1931 - Keel laying at Newport News, VA of USS Ranger (CV-4), first ship designed and constructed as an aircraft carrier.
September 26, 1931 - As more and more Americans lost their jobs, President Hoover stepped in on this day and convened a national conference on unemployment. On the agenda was not just the shortage of jobs, but how to address the discontentment of those Americans who had previously been shortchanged by the labor system. After serving in World War I, African-Americans were beginning to protest job discrimination and their relegation to low-paying work. In response, the Hoover Conference suggested a jobs program, as well as a slash in prices. Although this wouldn't directly stimulate jobs, the Commission hoped it would make goods more readily available to all citizens.
September 26, 1938 - Hitler issued his ultimatum to Czech government, demanding Sudetenland.
September 26, 1940 - An American embargo is imposed on the export of all scrap iron and steel to Japan.
September 26, 1941 - A Provost Marshal General's Office and Corps of Military Police were established in 1941. Prior to that time, except during the Civil War and World War I, there was no regularly appointed Provost Marshal General or regularly constituted Military Police Corps, although a "Provost Marshal" can be found as early as January 1776, and a "Provost Corps" as early as 1778.
September 26, 1942 - The CGC Ingham rescued eight survivors from the torpedoed SS Tennessee.
September 26, 1943 - The advance of the British 10th Corps (part of US 5th Army) advances without resistance. The German rearguard has withdrawn, because all German forces inland have successfully been pulled back.
September 26, 1944 - Operation Market-Garden, a plan to seize bridges in the Dutch town of Arnhem, fails, as thousands of British and Polish troops are killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. British Gen. Bernard Montgomery conceived an operation to take control of bridges that crossed the Rhine River, from the Netherlands into Germany, as a strategy to make "a powerful full-blooded thrust to the heart of Germany." The plan seemed cursed from the beginning. It was launched on September 17, with parachute troops and gliders landing in Arnhem. Holding out as long as they could, waiting for reinforcements, they were compelled to surrender. Unfortunately, a similar drop of equipment was delayed, and there were errors in locating the proper drop location and bad intelligence on German troop strength. Added to this, bad weather and communication confused the coordination of the Allied troops on the ground. The Germans quickly destroyed the railroad bridge and took control of the southern end of the road bridge. The Allies struggled to control the northern end of the road bridge, but soon lost it to the superior German forces. The only thing left was retreat-back behind Allied lines. But few made it: Of more than 10,000 British and Polish troops engaged at Arnhem, only 2,900 escaped. Claims were made after the fact that a Dutch Resistance fighter, Christiaan Lindemans, betrayed the Allies, which would explain why the Germans were arrayed in such numbers at such strategic points. A conservative member of the British Parliament, Rupert Allason, writing under the named Nigel West, dismissed this conclusion in his A Thread of Deceit, arguing that Lindemans, while a double agent, "was never in a position to betray Arnhem." Winston Churchill would lionize the courage of the fallen Allied soldiers with the epitaph "Not in vain." Arnhem was finally liberated on April 15, 1945.
September 26, 1945 - President Truman announces that, under a decision at the recent Potsdam Conference, the surviving German naval vessels will be divided equally between the United States, Great Britain and the Soviet Union. He notes also that no decision has been made on the disposal of the Imperial Japanese Fleet.
September 26, 1945 - Lt. Col. Peter Dewey, a U.S. Army officer with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in Vietnam, is shot and killed in Saigon. Dewey was the head of a seven-man team sent to Vietnam to search for missing American pilots and to gather information on the situation in the country after the surrender of the Japanese. According to the provisions of the Potsdam Conference, the British were assigned the responsibility of disarming Japanese soldiers south of the 16th parallel. However, with the surrender of the Japanese, Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh declared themselves the rightful government of Vietnam. This angered the French colonial officials and the remaining French soldiers who had been disarmed and imprisoned by the Japanese. They urged British Maj. Gen. Douglas D. Gracey to help them regain control. Gracey, not fond of the Viet Minh or their cause, rearmed 1,400 French soldiers to help his troops maintain order. The next day these forces ousted the Viet Minh from the offices that they had only recently occupied. Dewey's sympathies lay with the Viet Minh, many of whom were nationalists who did not want a return to French colonial rule. The American officer was an outspoken man who soon angered Gracey, eventually resulting in the British general ordering him to leave Indochina. On the way to the airport, accompanied by another OSS officer, Capt. Henry Bluechel, Dewey refused to stop at a roadblock manned by three Viet Minh soldiers. He yelled back at them in French and they opened fire, killing Dewey instantly. Bluechel was unhurt and escaped on foot. It was later determined that the Viet Minh had fired on Dewey thinking he was French. He would prove to be the first of nearly 59,000 Americans killed in Vietnam.
September 26, 1950 - Elements of the 1st Cavalry Division's 7th Cavalry Regiment, driving north from the Pusan Perimeter, linked up with elements of the 7th Infantry Division's 31st Infantry Regiment near Suwon.
September 26, 1950 - The USS Brush struck a free-floating mine and 13 sailors were killed and 34 others seriously wounded. This was the first incident of a U.S. Navy ship hitting a mine during the war.
September 26, 1952 - U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Cecil Foster, 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing, flying an F-80 Shooting Star jet fighter, shot down a pair of MiG-15s for his second and third aerial kills.
September 26, 1953 - US and Spain signed a defense treaty with 4 US bases to be set in Spain.
September 26, 1963 - First steam-eject launch of Polaris missile at sea off Cape Canaveral, FL (now Cape Kennedy) from USS Observation Island (EAG-154).
September 26, 1967 - Hanoi rejected a U.S. peace proposal.
September 26, 1969 - President Nixon, speaking at a news conference, cites "some progress" in the effort to end the Vietnam War and says, "We're on the right course in Vietnam." Urging the American people to give him the support and time he needed to end the war honorably, Nixon said, "If we have a united front, the enemy will begin to talk [at the negotiating table in Paris]." Nixon branded the attitude of Senator Charles Goodell (R-NY), and others like him in Congress as "defeatist." Goodell had only days before proposed legislation which failed to pass, but would have required the withdrawal of U.S. troops by the end of 1970, and barred the use of congressionally appropriated funds after December 1, 1970, for maintaining U.S. military personnel in Vietnam. In response to Nixon's remarks, 24 liberal Democratic congressmen held a private caucus. The group decided to endorse the nationwide protest scheduled for October 15 and agreed to press in Congress for resolutions calling for an end to the war and a withdrawal of U.S. troops; over the next three weeks, there would be 10 such proposals. None of these passed, but they indicated the mounting opposition to "Nixon's war."
September 26, 1972 - Richard M. Nixon met with Emperor Hirohito in Anchorage, Alaska, the first-ever meeting of a U.S. President and a Japanese Monarch.
September 26, 1988 - In a farewell speech to the U.N. General Assembly, President Reagan saw "a moment for hope" for peace in the world, citing a new U.S.-Soviet treaty to sharply reduce nuclear arms due during the following year.
September 26, 1989 - In a speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze accepted President Bush's call for deep cuts in U.S. and Soviet chemical weapon stockpiles. Shevardnadze called for the total destruction of Soviet and US chemical weapons.
September 26, 1994 - Coast Guard forces departed for Haiti in support of Operation Restore Democracy.
September 26, 1996 - U.S. astronaut Shannon Lucid returns to Earth in the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis following six months in orbit aboard the Russian space station Mir. On March 23, 1996, Lucid transferred to Mir from the same space shuttle for a planned five-month stay. A biochemist, Lucid shared Mir with Russian cosmonauts Yuri Onufriyenko and Yuri Usachev and conducted scientific experiments during her stay. She was the first American woman to live in a space station. Beginning in August, her scheduled return to Earth was delayed by more than six weeks because of last-minute repairs to the booster rockets of Atlantis and then by a hurricane. Finally, on September 26, 1996, she returned to Earth aboard Atlantis, touching down at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Her 188-day sojourn aboard Mir set a new space endurance record for an American and a world endurance record for a woman.
September 26, 1997 - US and Russia signed a package of arms control agreements that extended parts of START II to 2007. Systems were still required to be disabled by 2003. Other accords modified the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972 with Belarus, Kazakstan, the Ukraine and Russia to allow flexibility for the development of short range systems.
September 26, 2001 - In Afghanistan protesters turned a Taliban march into an attack on the mothballed US Embassy in Kabul.
September 26, 2001 - Spain detained 6 Algerians with alleged links to Osama bin Laden and a group planning attacks on US targets in Europe.
September 26, 2001 - Sudan began rounding up extremists that have used the country as an operating base.
September 26, 2002 - Britain and the United States reach agreement on a tough United Nations Security Council resolution which threatens Saddam Hussein with severe consequences if he fails to grant weapons inspectors unfettered access to Iraq. Russia, China and France express grave reservations about the Anglo-American text.
September 26, 2002 - NATO planned to issue invitations in November to Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. Expansion would commit the current 19 members to defend the borders of the new members.
September 26, 2004 - Suicide attackers detonated a pair of car bombs outside an Iraqi National Guard compound west of the capital, wounding American and Iraqi forces. An insurgent rocket hit a busy Baghdad neighborhood, killing at least one person and wounding eight.
September 26, 2004 - In Pakistan Amjad Hussain Farooqi, accused in two attempts on the life of President Gen. Pervez Musharraf in December 2003, died in a four-hour shootout at a house in the southern town of Nawabshah. He was also wanted for his alleged role in the 2002 kidnapping and beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.