France: Napoleon Escapes from Elba
On this day in 1815, Napoleon escaped from his exile on the island of Elba and began his return to France. His return to France and his time as the renewed Emperor of France ended with the Battle of Waterloo on the 18th June 1815. Napoleon was eventually exiled to the island of Saint Helena in the Atlantic Ocean, where he died in February 1821.
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Confederate General James Longstreet Died
On this day in 1904, Confederate general James Longstreet died at Gainesville, Georgia, USA. He was known by General Robert E. Lee as his ‘Old War Horse.’ He was also known as ‘Old Pete.’
James Longstreet was born on the 8th January 1821, in Edgefield District, South Carolina, USA. He served in the military for most of his early life. He served with distinction in the Mexican-American War, in Texas and in the Confederate States Army.
General James Longstreet was one of the Confederate army’s leading generals, serving in both the eastern and western theaters of the American Civil War. Longstreet was severley injured at the Battle of the Wilderness, though he returned to the war.
Following the war, Longstreet lost many of his civil war friends, as he joined the Republican Party, helped President U.S. Grant and because of his highly critical comments on Robert E. Lee. His reputation has suffered great damage at his own hand, though it seems it is being restored with the passing of time.
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– From Manassas to Appomattox, by James Longstreet (memoirs of the civil war in America, published in 1903)
Greece: Greek War of Independence – The Battle of Gravia Inn
Today in 1821, during the Greek War of Independence (against the Ottoman Empire), the Battle of Gravia Inn took place. In this amazing battle, Odysseas Androutsos led 120 men against an army of 9 000 men belonging to the Ottoman Army.
Fresh from victory over Greek forces at the Battle of Alamana, the Ottoman Army under Omer Vrioni was moving to attack the Peloponnese. However, they ran into the small force led by Androutsos at Gravia (Greece), who had fortified themselves within the inn.
A number of attacks on the inn took place with the Ottoman Army suffering heavy casualties and the Greeks very few (6 only). Vrioni odered up his artillery and during this time the Greeks managed to slip away through the Ottoman lines.
As a consequence of his heavy losses (some 300 dead and 800 more wounded), Vrioni retreated and withdrew. During this time the Greeks consolidated their position in the Peloponnese, including the capture of the Ottoman capital in the Peloponnese – Tripoli.