Today in History: March 12, Grant takes over Union armies

Today in History

Today is Sunday, March 12, the 71st day of 2023. There are 294 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:

On March 12, 2009, disgraced financier Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty in New York to pulling off perhaps the biggest swindle in Wall Street history; he would be sentenced to 150 years behind bars. (Madoff died in prison in April 2021.)

On this date:

In 1864, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant assumed command as General-in-Chief of the Union armies in the Civil War.

In 1912, the Girl Scouts of the USA had its beginnings as Juliette Gordon Low of Savannah, Georgia, founded the first American troop of the Girl Guides.

In 1925, Chinese revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen died in Beijing.

In 1947, President Harry S. Truman announced what became known as the “Truman Doctrine” to help Greece and Turkey resist Communism.

In 1955, legendary jazz musician Charlie “Bird” Parker died in New York at age 34.

In 1971, Hafez Assad was confirmed as president of Syria in a referendum.

In 1980, a Chicago jury found John Wayne Gacy Jr. guilty of the murders of 33 men and boys. (The next day, Gacy was sentenced to death; he was executed in May 1994.)

In 1987, the musical play “Les Miserables” opened on Broadway.

In 1994, the Church of England ordained its first women priests.

In 2003, Elizabeth Smart, the 15-year-old girl who vanished from her bedroom nine months earlier, was found alive in a Salt Lake City suburb with two drifters, Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee. (Mitchell is serving a life sentence; Barzee was released from prison in September 2018.)

In 2011, fifteen passengers were killed when a tour bus returning from a Connecticut casino scraped along a guard rail on the outskirts of New York City, tipped on its side and slammed into a pole that sheared it nearly end to end. (Driver Ophadell Williams was later acquitted of manslaughter and negligent homicide.)

In 2020, the stock market had its biggest drop since the Black Monday crash of 1987 as fears of economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis deepened; the Dow industrials plunged more than 2,300 points, or 10%. The NCAA canceled its basketball tournaments because of the coronavirus, after earlier planning to play in empty arenas. The NHL joined the NBA in suspending play. Major League Baseball delayed the start of its season by at least two weeks. (An abbreviated 60-game season would begin in July.)

Ten years ago: Black smoke poured from the Sistine Chapel chimney, signaling that cardinals had failed on their first vote of the papal conclave to choose a new leader of the Catholic Church to succeed Benedict XVI. Mitch Seavey, a 53-year-old former champion, won the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in nine days, 7 hours and 39 minutes to become the oldest winner of Alaska’s grueling test of endurance.

Five years ago: Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee said they’d completed a draft report concluding that there was no collusion or coordination between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. British Prime Minister Theresa May said Russia was “highly likely” to blame for poisoning a former spy and his daughter in an English city with a military-grade nerve agent. Two package bomb blasts a few miles apart killed a teenager and wounded two women in Austin less than two weeks after a similar attack left a man dead in another part of the Texas capital.

One year ago: Russian forces pounding the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol shelled a mosque that was sheltering more than 80 people, including children, Ukrainian officials said. Fighting also raged in the outskirts of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, and Russia kept up its bombardment of other resisting cities. Soccer’s English Premier League banned Roman Abramovich from running Chelsea after the club owner was sanctioned by the British government over Russia’s war on Ukraine. Saudi Arabia executed 81 people convicted of crimes ranging from killings to belonging to militant groups, the largest known mass execution carried out in the kingdom in its modern history.

Today’s Birthdays: Politician, diplomat and civil rights activist Andrew Young is 91. Actor Barbara Feldon is 90. Actor-singer Liza Minnelli is 77. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, is 76. Singer-songwriter James Taylor is 75. Former Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., is 75. Rock singer-musician Bill Payne (Little Feat) is 74. Actor Jon Provost (TV: “Lassie”) is 73. Author Carl Hiaasen is 70. Rock musician Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) is 67. Actor Lesley Manville is 67. Actor Jerry Levine is 66. Singer Marlon Jackson (The Jackson Five) is 66. Actor Jason Beghe is 63. Actor Courtney B. Vance is 63. Actor Titus Welliver is 61. Former MLB All-Star Darryl Strawberry is 61. Actor Julia Campbell is 60. Actor Jake Weber is 60. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., is 55. Actor Aaron Eckhart is 55. CNN reporter Jake Tapper is 54. Rock musician Graham Coxon is 54. Country musician Tommy Bales (Flynnville Train) is 50. Actor Rhys Coiro is 44. Country singer Holly Williams is 42. Actor Samm (cq) Levine is 40. Actor Jaimie Alexander is 39. Actor Tyler Patrick Jones is 29.

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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