Today is Statehood Day for New York, which became the 11th state to adopt the Constitution on this day in 1788. New York City was the national capital until 1790, and was also the site of George Washington's first inauguration as President.
Today we celebrate the birth of Henry Knox, the first Secretary of War for the United States under George Washington. As chief artillery officer of the Continental Army, he was in charge of the "Noble Train of Artillery" and also participated in many key battles during the Revolutionary War. Knox was also a supporter of the Sons Of Liberty, whose flag we raise in Knox's honor today.
On this date in 1885, Ulysses S. Grant died at the age of 63. Commanding General of the United States at the end of the Civil War and 18th President of the United States for two terms, Grant was financially destitute near the end of his life. Suffering from throat cancer, Grant completed his memoirs, Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, just prior to his death. Grant's book has been hailed as one of the greatest non-fiction books in American history, and the success of his memoirs restored his family's wealth.
On July 21, 1861, the First Battle of Bull Run (or First Manassas, as the Confederates referred to it) was fought outside of Washington D.C. in Virginia. Expecting the war to be a brief conflict to put down the rebellion, the Union Army instead was defeated at Bull Run and retreated in shambles to Washington. After the battle, both sides realized the Civil War would be a longer, bloodier conflict than most had previously expected.