This Day in History
October 2: John Andre’s Execution, First Battle of Saltville, and the Birthdays on This Date
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October 2: John Andre’s Execution, First Battle of Saltville, and the Birthdays on This Date


A number of interesting events happened on October 2nd in U.S. history. Here is our sample of the most valuable and interesting of them:

1780 – The American Revolutionary War. A British Army officer John Andre was hanged by the Americans.

Andre was born to a wealthy Huguenot family in London, England, on May 2, 1750. He spent his early years at St. Paul’s School, Westminster School and in Geneva, so he was a very educated man for his era. When Andre was 20, he chose to build up a career in the military and joined The Royal Fuzileers, deployed in Canada.

Around 1779 Andre got engaged with the Loyalists – the faction of the American Revolutionary War that wanted the Colonies to stay under the rule of the British Crown, and this decision cost him his life. Yet, we can’t call him a true spy: Andre was rather an ordinary negotiator and tried to persuade American General Benedict Arnold to surrender at West Point: that was the task the British Army gave to him.

Unfortunately, on his way to the meeting point he was captured by the American Revolutionary Forces. This happened on September 20, 1780. On October 2nd – Andre was executed.

1800 – Nat Turner is born

Turner was born to an enslaved family in Virginia, and for the most part of his life was known as just “Nat”. Turner was the last name of his owner, Benjamin Turner and (after the death of Benjamin in 1810) his son, Samuel. Despite this he knew little about his background, he believed he never knew his father, because he escaped from slavery.

Turner is known as an African-American slave who led a rebellion of both free and enslaved Blacks in the Southampton County of Virginia on August 21, 1831. During this uprising the slaves went from one plantation to another, gathering guns, horses and freeing all the slaves they encountered on their way.

The White militia suppressed this mutiny, killing at least 120 slaves, including Nat Turner himself.

1864 – The First Battle of Saltville is fought

Virginia was one of the main battlefields of the Civil War, so the Battle of Saltville was just one of several dozen fought on the territory of the state during the bloodiest conflict in the U.S. History.

This battle might have been referred as “The Confederate Thermopylae”, since about 300 hundred Southern soldiers (Home Guard) under the command of Alfred E. Jackson were victorious against 5000 Union soldiers of General Burbridge, however it entered history due to its brutal aftermath.

At least 50 Black soldiers of Union regiments were murdered during the Saltville Massacre which occurred right after the battle was fought. A notorious Confederate guerrilla, Champ Ferguson, who took active part in this war crime was later found guilty and executed, but it only happened on October 20, 1865 – after the end of the Civil War.

1945 – Don McLean is born

Influenced by Frank Sinatra and Buddy Holly in his teenage years, McLean was so interested in folk-music and other similar genres thst he even turned down the opportunity to study at Columbia University, where he was eligible for a scholarship.

Best known for his legendary song “American Pie” (issued in 1971), McLean is often considered to be the most American songwriter and composer of his generation.

Despite recording songs in cooperation with such prominent performers as Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison, none of the songs recorded either before, or after “American Pie” brought more fame to McLean.

Author: USA Really