Alright, folks! Today is my very first… * drum roll * …history post!
I am so excited for this! Like you have no idea how much I have been looking forward to this. I could talk about history all day long — seriously.
I mean really, who doesn’t love a good list of random facts about history?
As I was thinking through what this history post would be about, I finally decided maybe this one would be an overview of this month in history.
To be honest, January is a tough month to do this on. Some months are chalked full of major historical events – but then there is January. 😑
However, I did manage to come up with some for you guys.
- The Battle of New Orleans
January 8, 1815 saw the last major battle in the War of 1812. Some 5,000 Americans faced a British force far superior to them in number — and won!
- A crazy fact about this battle is that, after the battle had been fought, news reached the continent that American and British negotiators had signed a peace treaty two weeks before the battle took place. But news took so long to travel across the ocean back then that it was two weeks too late.
- French pirate, Jean Laffite, double crossed the British and fought on the side of the Americans during the battle — much, at first, to the chagrin of the Americans who didn’t fully trust him.
(And yes, while I have been writing this segment, I have had the song, The Battle of New Orleans stuck in my head 😜)
2. John Hancock’s Birthday
On January 12, 1737, one of America’s most beloved founders is born in Braintree, Massachusetts. John Hancock is highly revered for his role in the War for Independence and most of us know who he is, but here are some facts about him that you may not know.
- He was present at the coronation of King George III. In fact he was given a brief introduction to him — the man who would later place a 500 pound reward on his head for “treason”.
- He wanted to stay and fight with the other Patriots at the battle of Lexington. Paul Revere and Samuel Adams had to convince him that he had to flee in order to evade capture by the British, who wanted him dead.
- His family’s elite social standing and name would have ordinarily placed a person like Hancock in the Loyalist party. His passion for liberty and justice however, made him a Patriot.
- His personal wealth (which was very great) meant nothing to him in comparison to his nation’s freedom. He said once, “Burn Boston, though it make John Hancock a beggar, if the public good requires it.”
3. Valley Forge
January of 1778 saw the most brutal winter for Patriot soldiers in the War for Independence. At the start of the encampment at Valley Forge, there were 12,000 men in the valley. By the time the terrible winter was over, we had less than 8,000. The survivors were a testimony to the grit, loyalty, and courage of the American spirit. Also it was testimony to the fact that God’s hand was moving on our behalf. Here are some facts.
- It was said that you could have tracked the Patriot army by the blood they left in the snow from their frozen, injured feet.
- Soldiers survived days-on-end with only flour and water mixed together into a paste and baked on the fire.
- One day in that cold winter, a farmer who lived near Valley Forge, named Isaac Potts, was out in the woods when he heard a voice nearby. He crept up closer to where the voice was coming from and there, kneeling in the snow and ice was General Washington. Isaac listened as Washington — tears streaming down his face — prayed that God would watch over his men who were suffering in Valley Forge. Isaac went home and told his wife, “If there is anyone the Lord will listen to, it is this brave man. I have seen General Washington on his knees. Our independence is certain.”
4. Work on the Pentagon is Complete
In 1943, as World War Two raged like a wild fire out of control, the US military moved its headquarters to the newly completed Pentagon. It is one of the world’s largest buildings. Here are some facts about it.
- The Pentagon covers over 29 acres of land
- It has three times the floor space of the Empire State building and the US Capitol building could fit into any of its five sections.
- Its sides are flat because the original location required them to be in order to fit were it was supposed to. President Roosevelt kept the design even after the location was changed because it was unique, and nothing like it had been done yet.
- It is one of the most efficient office buildings in the world, taking only six minutes to walk from any two points in the building. This is due to its circular design.
5. Audie Murphy
Where to even begin with this guy…
On January 26, 1945 Audie Murphy heroically held off an overwhelming enemy force while wounded, earning him the nation’s highest military award — the Congressional Medal of Honor. There is a TON I could say about him, but I will only give a few facts.
- He was only 5′ 5” tall.
- He joined the Army at 16, after being turned down by the US Marine Corps, Army Paratroopers, and US Navy because of his size.
- By 21 years of age, Audie Murphy was the most decorated American combat soldier of World War Two.
- He was awarded medals by France and Belgium as well as the many that he was awarded by the US.
- He went on to become an actor in Hollywood after the war.
- He was one of the first returning combat veterans of World War Two to speak publicly about his terrible struggle with PTSD and raise awareness for other soldiers suffering from it.
- One of my favorite quotes of his, “The true meaning of America, you ask? It’s in a Texas rodeo, in a policeman’s badge, in the sound of laughing children, in a political rally, in a newspaper. In all these things, and many more, you will find America. In all these things, you’ll find freedom. And freedom is what America means to the world.”
That sums up my overview of January in American history. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but I hope that you enjoyed it!
Is there anything you can add to the list of January history? Maybe you have a historical event in world history that you could add?
Please let me know in the comments! I would love to hear from you all. ❤️