January 11: The Battle of Arkansas Post, the Kingsland Explosion, and Other Events of the Date
A number of important events have taken place on January 11 in U.S. history. Here is our take on the most interesting and valuable of them.
1863 – American Civil War: Vicksburg Campaign: the Battle of Arkansas Post
The Battle of Arkansas Post, also known as the Battle of Fort Hindman, was fought from January 9 until 11, 1863, near the mouth of the Arkansas at Arkansas Post, and was an important part of the Vicksburg Campaign of the American Civil War.
After two days of severe clashes, on the morning of January 11 Union forces under the command of McClernand were deployed in an arc facing Fort Hindman and its rifle-pits. Running West to East were the divisions of Steele, Stuart, Smith with Osterhaus anchored on the Arkansas River. Confederate general Churchill's defenses were manned by Colonel James Deshler's brigade on the left and Colonel Robert Garland's brigade on the right. McClernand's infantry attacked around 1:00pm and made little progress at first.
At the same time Porter's gunboats moved in to attack aided by Colonel Lindsey's brigade across the river. Within an hour the fort's east face was reduced to rubble and its artillery silenced. When the battle was over, the Union claimed victory, though it was only tactical and didn’t get them closer to Vicksburg.
The Union forces suffered 134 killed, 898 wounded, and 29 missing, while the Confederates suffered the losses of 28 dead, 81 wounded and 4,791 captured. Despite the large number of Confederate soldiers taken captive, this was a pyrrhic victory.
1917 - Kingsland explosion
The Kingsland explosion was a serious incident that took place during World War I at a munitions factory in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, on January 11, 1917. Fourteen years after the incident, in 1931, an arbitration commission determined that, "In the Kingsland Case the Commission finds upon the evidence that the fire was not caused by any German agent", making it officially accidental. However, there is much conspiracy surrounding this explosion.
The story began when the Canadian Car and Foundry Company, based in Montreal, had signed large contracts with Russia and Britain for delivery of ammunition, so an enormous factory was constructed in the New Jersey Meadowlands, which was then referred to as Kingsland. The company executives decided not to take any chances with security for their plant.
Exactly 102 years ago on this date a fire started in Building 30 at the company. In 4 hours, probably 500,000 pieces of 76 mm (3") -high explosive shells were discharged, which destroyed the entire plant.
It was said to have been a spectacle more magnificent than the nearby 1916 explosion at Black Tom. The “fireworks” were so great that people in New York City watched with amazement from high rises.
1964 - Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States is published
This was truly one of the darkest days in the history of the American tobacco industry, as on this date in 1964 the report called Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States was published
The landmark report was prepared by the Surgeon General's Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health, chaired by the then Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Luther Leonidas Terry, M.D., regarding the negative health effects of tobacco smoking.
Although it was not the first such declaration, or the first declaration by an official of the United States of America, it is notable for being arguably the most famous such declaration, and it has certainly had lasting and widespread effects both on the tobacco industry and on the worldwide perception of smoking.
These are the most notable events in U.S. history that occurred on January 11, at least in our view.