1861 - The first major battle of the U.S. Civil War began. It was the Battle of Bull Run at Manassas Junction, VA. The Confederates won the battle.
1873 - Jesse James and his gang pulled off the first train robbery in the U.S. They took $3,000 from the Rock Island Express at Adair, IA.
1925 - The "Monkey Trial" ended in Dayton, TN. John T. Scopes was convicted of violating the state law for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution. The conviction was later overturned.
1930 - The Veterans’ Administration of the United States was established.
1947 - Loren MacIver’s portrait of Emmett Kelly as Willie the Clown appeared on the cover of "LIFE" magazine.
1949 - The U.S. Senate ratified the North Atlantic Treaty.
1954 - The Geneva Conference partitioned Vietnam into North Vietnam and South Vietnam.
1957 - Althea Gibson became the first black woman to win a major U.S. tennis title when she won the Women’s National clay-court singles competition.
1961 - Capt. Virgil "Gus" Grissom became the second American to rocket into a sub-orbital pattern around the Earth. He was flying on the Liberty Bell 7.
1968 - Arnold Palmer became the first golfer to make a million dollars in career earnings after he tied for second place at the PGA Championship.
1980 - Draft registration began in the United States for 19 and 20-year-old men.
1987 - Mary Hart, of "Entertainment Tonight", had her legs insured by Lloyd’s of London for $2 million.
1997 - The U.S.S. Constitution, which defended the United States during the War of 1812, set sail under its own power for the first time in 116 years.
1999 - The missing plane of John F. Kennedy Jr. was found off of the coast of Martha's Vineyard, MA. The bodies of Kennedy, his wife Carolyn Bessette and her sister Lauren Bessette were found on board. The plane had crashed on July 16, 1999.
2002 - WorldCom Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. At the time it was the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.
2004 - White House officials were briefed on the September 11 commission's final report. The 575-page report concluded that hijackers exploited "deep institutional failings within our government." The report was released to the public the next day.