October 15th: The Second H.L. Hunley Sub Incident, Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam and Other Events of the Date
A number of important events took place on October 15th in U.S. history. Here is our take on the most interesting and valuable of them.
1863 – The second H.L. Hunley sub incident
When you think of submarines and their use in the burning seas, you might easily recall the German “wolf packs” of WWII, or slightly recall that some subs were used during WWI, and definitely would never ever recall that it was the Confederates who deserved the credit for the invention of the military submarine. Yes, not so many people know the history of this arm of service dates back to the times of the American Civil War.
Built in Mobile, Alabama, the Confederates’ H.L. Hunley was the first submarine to take part in t military action, as well as the first sub ever to sink enemy vessel. It had a length of about 12 meters. The Hunley was originally intended to attack by using a floating explosive charge with a contact fuse (that’s what a torpedo was called in the 19th century) which was towed at the end of a long rope.
The Hunley sub sank three times: on August 12th, and October 15th, 1863 (both times it was raised and got back to service), and eventually, on February 17th, 1864 (following the attack on USS Housatonic in Charleston’s outer harbor). The incident of October 15, 1863, in its turn, is notorious for killing the inventor of the sub – a Confederate Marine engineer Horace Hunley, who wanted to take the command over H.L. Hunley sub during some routine training, but something went wrong.
1969 - The moratorium to end the war in Vietnam
Today we remember one of the most famous episodes of America’s Countercultural 1960’s. The country and the society at that time had been changing with inconceivable speed, and the Vietnam War, surely, served as one of the triggers of this process.
The Moratorium itself developed from Jerome Grossman's (a political activist who stood for nuclear disarmament and called himself a “relentless liberal”) April 20, 1969 call for a general strike if the Vietnam War had not concluded by October of the same year, which surely would never happen. Political activists and pacifists, David Hawk and Sam Brown, who had previously worked on the unsuccessful 1968 presidential campaign of incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson’s opponent, the “alternative” Democratic nominee from Minnesota Eugene McCarthy, changed the concept of the Moratorium. Hawk and Brown made it a little less radical and began to organize the event as the Vietnam Moratorium Committee with David Mixner, Marge Sklenkar, John Gage, and other activists.
Just like previous large-scale anti-war demonstrations, such as the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam's occurred on April 15, 1967, March on the United Nations, as well as 1967 March on the Pentagon, the October Moratorium was a visible success. Millions of Americans took part in it, as well as millions of people from all around the world who supported them with their own rallies. With 100 thousand people attending a speech of the anti-war Democratic Senator George McGovern, Boston had become one of the main site of the protests.
Interestingly, future U.S. President Bill Clinton, who was studying at Oxford University at that time, organized and took part in the demonstration (which was a part of the Moratorium Supportive Rallies throughout the world) to stop the war held in England. Later in the beginning of the 1990’s this fact became an important issue during his Presidential Campaign.
Also happened on this date:
1864 – The American Civil War. The Battle of Glasgow is fought in Missouri, which was one of the last minor victories for the Confederates during the war, as they occupied the city for three days (till October 18th).
1966 – The Black Panthers Party is founded by Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. The Federal Bureau of Investigation Director J. Edgar Hoover once called the party proclaiming anti-fascism, anti-imperialism and anti-racism goals "the greatest threat to the internal security of the country." Yet, the party (which was active till 1982) was notorious for the spread of Black Nationalism and other forms of racial hatred towards Whites.
1989 – Edmonton Oilers centre forward Wayne Gretzky becomes the all-time leading points scorer in the history of the National Hockey League. Gretzky ended his career ten years later, in the end of 1998/1999 season with an extraordinary overall result of 2857 points earned in 20 NHL seasons (894 goals and 1963 assists). No doubt, this record will never get beaten in any foreseeable future.
These are the most notable events in U.S. history that occurred on October 15th, at least in our view.