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This Day in History: October 15


1863 – American Civil War: The H. L. Hunley, the first submarine to sink a ship, sinks during a test, killing its inventor, Horace L. Hunley.

1864 – American Civil War: The Battle of Glasgow is fought, resulting in the surrender of Glasgow, Missouri and its Union garrison, to the Confederacy.

1878 – The Edison Electric Light Company begins operation.

1910 – Airship America is launched from New Jersey in the first attempt to cross the Atlantic by a powered aircraft.

1917 – World War I: At Vincennes outside Paris, Dutch dancer Mata Hari is executed by firing squad for spying for the German Empire.

1928 – The airship, Graf Zeppelin completes its first trans-Atlantic flight, landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey, United States.

1945 – World War II: The former premier of Vichy France Pierre Laval is shot by a firing squad for treason.

1951 – The first episode of I Love Lucy, an American television sitcom starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley, airs on the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS).

1954 – Hurricane Hazel devastates the eastern seaboard of North America, killing 95 and causing massive floods as far north as Toronto. As a Category 4 upon landfall, it is the strongest storm on record to strike as far south as North Carolina.

1956 – Fortran, the first modern computer language, is shared with the coding community for the first time.

1965 – Vietnam War: The Catholic Worker Movement stages an anti-war rally in Manhattan including a public burning of a draft card; the first such act to result in arrest under a new amendment to the Selective Service Act.

1966 – The Black Panther Party is created by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale.

1969 – Vietnam War; The Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam is held in Washington D.C. and across the US. Over two million demonstrate nationally; about 250,000 in Washington D.C..

1989 – Wayne Gretzky becomes the all-time leading points scorer in the NHL.

1997 – The Cassini probe launches from Cape Canaveral on its way to Saturn.

2001 – NASA's Galileo spacecraft passes within 112 miles of Jupiter's moon Io.

2003 – The Staten Island Ferry MV Andrew J. Barberi runs into a pier at the St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island, killing 11 people and injuring 43.

2005 – A riot in Toledo, Ohio breaks out during a National Socialist/Neo-Nazi protest; over 100 are arrested.

2006 – Hawaii earthquake: A magnitude 6.7 earthquake rocks Hawaii, causing property damage, injuries, landslides, power outages, and the closure of Honolulu International Airport.

2008 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes down 733.08 points, or 7.87%, the second worst day in the Dow's history based on a percentage drop.


1762 – Samuel Adams Holyoke, American composer and educator (d. 1820)

1858 – John L. Sullivan, American boxer, actor, and journalist (d. 1918)

1888 – S. S. Van Dine, American author and critic (d. 1939)

1908 – Herman Chittison, American pianist (d. 1967)

1917 – Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., American historian and critic (d. 2007)

1920 – Mario Puzo, American author and screenwriter (d. 1999)

1924 – Lee Iacocca, American businessman and author

1959 – Emeril Lagasse, American chef and author


1810 – Alfred Moore, American captain and judge (b. 1755)

1817 – Tadeusz KoĹ›ciuszko, Polish-Lithuanian general and engineer (b. 1746)

1964 – Cole Porter, American composer and songwriter (b. 1891)