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This Week in History | 7/05/2020 – 7/08/2020

5 July 1950 – Private Kenneth Shadrick, of 1st Battalion 34th Infantry Regiment, is killed in action south of Osan, South Korea. PVT Shadrick is reportedly the first American killed during the Korean War, after the machine guns from a T-34 North Korean tank struck him after he fired a Bazooka round at it. His death may have been avoidable, as the only reason he stayed exposed for so long was for a imbedded photographer to get an action photo. In photo to the left is PVT Shadrick (on the right), taken moments before he was fatally shot.

7 July 1798 – The USS Delaware captures the French privateer ship, La Croyable. This would be the first action of the Quasi-War between the US and France. The war is called “quasi” because war was never officially declared and it was almost entirely fought in waters across the world. The war in part began after the US refused to continue to pay debts incurred during the Revolutionary War, which was massively supported and funded by France. The US reasoned that since the French Monarchy and regime no longer existed, they did not have to pay. The Quasi-War would last till 1800, being brought to conclusion with the Convention of 1800. 

7 July 1863 – During the Civil War the US Congress implements the first national conscription law, the Enrollment Act. The act was created to overcome shortcomings in state militia and failures to increase manpower in the Union Military. Potential draftees were able to avoid service in multiple ways, including paying commutation money and finding another person to serve in their place. 

8 July 1776 – The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia rings out from the State House, summoning citizens in the city. Colonel John Nixon would read aloud to the crowd for the first time in public the Declaration of Independence. 

8 July 1778 – Patriot General George Washington establishes his headquarters at West Point along the Hudson River, during the Revolutionary War. General Washington considered West Point the most important military position in America. Polish engineer and military hero Tadeusz Kościuszko would oversee the construction of the defenses. A great chain, in the style of a cheval de frise, was built across the river to prevent British ships from sailing up the Hudson River.

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