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The Allegheny Explodes

US Military History Throughout The Years

Short bits of history you know and some you may not!

  • Quick Negotiations: Wednesday, September 11, 1776 – Three months after the American Colonies declared their independence, British and American representatives would hold a brief and informal conference. The meeting was an attempt by the British to bring peace in the colonies and quickly end the revolution. Lord Howe, commander of British land forces in the colonies would lead the talks, but was extremely limited in his power to negotiate. As a result the American Congressional members at the talks were pessimistic, their main demands were British recognition of the recent Declaration of Independence of the American Colonies. After just three hours of unsuccessful negations the conference would end and the British would resume their military campaign for control of New York City.
  • Don’t Tread On Me: Wednesday, September 11, 2002 – On the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks the US Navy readopts the First Navy Jack as their naval jack. The jack is traditionally regarded as the first jack used by the US Navy, though that is disputed. It is notable for featuring the words “DONT TREAD ON ME” along with a gold snake ontop of 13 red and white strips. In 2019 the First Naval Jack was replaced with the Union Jack (not the British one!) for US Navy ships. The First Naval Jack was returned to flying only on the US Navy’s oldest operational ship, which is currently the USS Blue Ridge, a amphibious command ship that has been in service for 50 years.
  • Moving An Army: Saturday, September 15, 1945 – The US Department of War issues figures showing that a total of 7,306,000 US troops (including a small number of Allied forces and civilians) and 126,859,000 tons of war cargo have been moved from American ports to all fronts between December 1941 and August 31, 1945.
  • Allegheny Arsenal: Wednesday, September 17, 1862 – The Allegheny Arsenal, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, explodes killing 78 workers. The arsenal was established in 1814 and during the Civil War was a center of the supply and manufacture of cartridges and ammo for western troops during the war. The busiest area of the arsenal was the main lab, where 158 workers made cartridges for guns. During the afternoon of the 17th the main lab would explode. The explosion would shatter windows over two miles away and would be followed by two other explosions as fire took over the area. The cause of the fire was at first blamed on a metal horse show sparking loose gun powder on the ground, that then traveled inside and ignited a barrel of powder. This cause as well as blame on the arsenal commander for having an unsafe work area, many witnesses would say loose powder was all around, were discounted with claims of loose powder being retracted. One other explanation was that gun powder has leaked from a barrel that was no longer well sealed from multiple uses. In any case the direct cause was never found, and the explosion would be the largest single loss of civilian life to one event during the war. The arsenal would be repaired, and work would continue there till 1926 when sold off to the Hienz company.

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