January 22: ON THIS DAY in 1944, allies land army 32 miles from Rome
ON THIS DAY IN 1862, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “Rikers Island, in the East River, was last summer occupied by several regiments, who there received their first instructions in the art of war. It is now again to be used as a camp by the 76th Regiment New York volunteers, composed almost entirely of the hardy sons of the farmers of Steuben and Otsego counties. The regiment numbers full one thousand, and a finer and better-looking set of men have not marched to the seat of war.”
ON THIS DAY IN 1911, the Eagle reported, “Reims, France, Jan. 21 — The wine growers in the champagne district have ceased their manifestations in the presence of a strong military force but have issued a manifesto declaring that the principal grievance is fraudulent competition. They say that the parliamentary act delimiting the champagne districts is not operative, and is constantly violated, and that additional legislation is needed to prevent abuse through the introduction of inferior wines from non-champagne districts and abroad. They assert that these wines, after blending and other treatment, are placed on the market as genuine champagne, thereby completing the ruin of an industry already demoralized by failing crops.”
ON THIS DAY IN 1934, the Eagle reported, “The body of John H. McCooey rested today in a mahogany casket in the living room of his home at 908 St. Mark’s Ave., as the famous and humble in politics passed by his bier. The man who rose from a pattern maker in the Navy Yard to one of the best-known political leaders in the United States died peacefully at 3:50 o’clock Sunday morning from myocarditis. He was 69 Flags on public buildings were flown at half-staff today as a mark of respect to Mr. McCooey … The following telegram from President [Franklin] Roosevelt was received last night by Mrs. McCooey at the home: ‘Shocked at the news of John’s death. He seemed so well when I saw him last. Mrs. Roosevelt and family join me in sincere sympathy to you and the children.’” Born in Williamsburg, McCooey was chair of the Kings County Democratic Party from 1910 until his death.
ON THIS DAY IN 1944, the Eagle reported, “Allied Headquarters, Algiers, Jan. 22 (UP) — American, British and French amphibious forces landed below Rome at dawn today and established far behind the German lines a deep beachhead several miles long in an invasion officially reported hours later to be ‘progressing satisfactorily.’ (German broadcasts said the Allies had occupied the port of Nettuno, 32 miles south of Rome, and had won footholds ‘between Nettuno and the Tiber estuary’ – the latter 16 miles southwest of Rome.) Paced by United States Rangers and British Commandos, the Allied invasion force of the 5th Army swarmed ashore in an unidentified sector of Italy’s west coast and fanned out inland. The first major blow in the battle for Rome was struck after other 5th Army forces to the southeast had ripped into the German defense line, breaking through at three key points.”
ON THIS DAY IN 1946, the Eagle reported, “Washington, Jan. 22 (UP) — Lt. Gen. Walter C. Short today accused the War Department of trying to hide its own guilt by making him ‘the scapegoat’ for the Pearl Harbor disaster. Not he, Gen. Short asserted, but Gen. George C. Marshall and the War Department were to blame for the fact that the army was caught napping by the Japanese attack of Dec. 7, 1941. The deposed commander of the army’s Hawaiian department broke a four-year silence to declare before the Pearl Harbor Investigating Committee that the War Department should long since have confessed its own failures. ‘Instead,’ Gen. Short said, ‘they passed the buck to me and I have kept my silence until the opportunity of this public forum was presented to me.’ General Short was relieved of his command ten days after Pearl Harbor. He retired soon afterward with the rank of major general.” Before he was assigned to Pearl Harbor, Short commanded the 1st Division at Fort Hamilton from 1938 to 1940.
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