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This Day in U.S. History: April 27

Events

1777 – American Revolutionary War: The Battle of Ridgefield: A British invasion force engages and defeats Continental Army regulars and militia irregulars at Ridgefield, Connecticut.

1805 – First Barbary War: United States Marines and Berbers attack the Tripolitan city of Derna (The "shores of Tripoli" part of the Marines' Hymn).

1813 – War of 1812: American troops capture the capital of Upper Canada in the Battle of York (present day Toronto, Canada).

1861 – American President Abraham Lincoln suspends the writ of habeas corpus.

1865 – The New York State Senate creates Cornell University as the state's land grant institution.

1865 – The steamboat Sultana, carrying 2,400 passengers, explodes and sinks in the Mississippi River, killing 1,800, most of whom are Union survivors of the Andersonville and Cahaba Prisons.

1911 – Following the resignation and death of William P. Frye, a compromise is reached to rotate the office of President pro tempore of the United States Senate.

1936 – The United Auto Workers (UAW) gains autonomy from the American Federation of Labor.

1945 – World War II: Benito Mussolini is arrested by Italian partisans in Dongo, while attempting escape disguised as a German soldier.

1974 – Ten thousand march in Washington, D.C., calling for the impeachment of U.S. President Richard Nixon

1978 – Former United States President Nixon aide John D. Ehrlichman is released from an Arizona prison after serving 18 months for Watergate-related crimes.

1981 – Xerox PARC introduces the computer mouse.

1987 – The U.S. Department of Justice bars Austrian President Kurt Waldheim from entering the United States, saying he had aided in the deportation and execution of thousands of Jews and others as a German Army officer during World War II.

2002 – The last successful telemetry from the NASA space probe Pioneer 10.

2006 – Construction begins on the Freedom Tower (later renamed One World Trade Center) in New York City.

2011 – The April 25–28 tornado outbreak devastates parts of the Southeastern United States, especially the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee. Two hundred five tornadoes touched down on April 27 alone, killing more than 300 and injuring hundreds more.

Births

1791 – Samuel Morse, American painter and inventor, co-invented the Morse code (d. 1872)

1822 – Ulysses S. Grant, American general and politician, 18th President of the United States (d. 1885)

1877 – Frank Gotch, American wrestler (d. 1917)

1896 – Rogers Hornsby, American baseball player, coach, and manager (d. 1963)

1899 – Walter Lantz, American animator, producer, screenwriter, and actor (d. 1994)

1903 – Horace Stoneham, American businessman (d. 1990)

1927 – Coretta Scott King, American activist and author (d. 2006)

1932 – Casey Kasem, American disc jockey, music historian, radio celebrity, and voice actor; co-created American Top 40 (d. 2014)

1938 – Earl Anthony, American bowler and sportscaster (d. 2001)

Deaths

1521 – Ferdinand Magellan, Portuguese sailor and explorer (b. 1480)

1813 – Zebulon Pike, American general and explorer (b. 1779)

1965 – Edward R. Murrow, American journalist (b. 1908)

1999 – Al Hirt, American trumpet player and bandleader (b. 1922)

2015 – Verne Gagne, American football player, wrestler, and trainer (b. 1926)