Stephen Decatur, U.S. Naval Hero

Lead: Among the most distinguished early U.S. Naval officers, Stephen Decatur displayed courage under fire and political astuteness that, save for his death by duel, marked him for high office, perhaps even the highest.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Decatur was born in Maryland during the Revolution and educated at the University of Pennsylvania. He first came to national attention during the War with Tripoli. President Jefferson had ordered the U.S. warships into the Mediterranean to get at the pirates who were raiding U.S. ships from bases in the so-called Barbary states, Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, and Tripolitania.


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Massachusetts Colored Regiment II

Lead: The opportunity for blacks to serve in the Federal armed forces during the Civil War was a novel idea and was resisted by skeptical and prejudiced whites. Many minds were changed on the deadly slopes of Battery Wagner.

Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Getting official permission for blacks to fight for the Union was one thing, making it happen was much harder. Massachusetts formed the 54th Colored Regiment in early 1863, but the Commonwealth did not have enough resident African-Americans to fill it. The Governor, a committed abolitionist, issued a national call for volunteers and, led by activist Frederick Douglass, who contributed time and energy as well as two sons to the regiment, the ranks of the 54th gradually filled. They were led by a white man, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, who turned down the Governor’s offer at first but later accepted and was glad he did.

Massachusetts Colored Regiment I

Lead: During the Civil War, the South was not the only region of warring America where blacks faced a struggle to overcome racism. One way they fought for their place as citizens was to fight.

Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the early days of the Civil War African Americans in the north and in areas liberated by Union armies were not allowed to fight for the Federal cause. When a group of blacks tried to form a local militia in Cincinnati they were told, “we want you damned niggers to keep out of this, this is a white man’s war.” The vast majority of Northerners were just as bigoted, just as prejudiced as Southerners. Yet, slowly this began to change. Abraham Lincoln grew in his understanding of the nature of conflict in which the nation was locked. White abolitionists worked tirelessly for full citizenship participation for Africans. In addition, many blacks were willing to sacrifice their lives on the battlefield. As a result, stereotypes were destroyed, prejudice was challenged, and free blacks and freedmen contributed much to the defeat of the Confederacy and the end to slavery.

Devil on Tracks

Lead: Trapped behind a trench line hundreds of miles long, the British turned to technology to break the impass.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By the middle of 1915, hostile forces facing each other across No Man's Land on the western front had settled in to round after round of bloody, but indecisive battle to break the trench barrier. Faced with the awesome power of new artillery pieces and the machine gun, the armies of Germany, France, England, Russia, Austria and Italy, did what armies had done for centuries When faced with a new weapon, they dug a hole and jumped in it. Mile after mile of elaborate trenches, ripped up the beautiful French countryside.

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Gordon of Khartoum

Lead: Acting as a magnet, the Chinese Gordon drew the British Empire ever southward up the Nile into the Sudan.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: One of the most controversial and interesting characters of Victorian England was Charles G. Gordon, nicknamed of "Chinese Gordon" for his service in China in the 1870s. Gordon was the ideal Victorian leader, combining military skill with a deep devotion to the Christian faith and to English political institutions. During his service as governor general of the Sudan in eastern Africa Gordon helped bring an end to the slave trade.

In 1884, an Egyptian army led by British General William Hicks was wiped out by the troops of Mohammed Ahmad, an Islamic prophet who claimed to be Mahdi, the expected spokesman and successor to Mohammed.

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Fall of Dien Bien Phu

Lead: The French needed a big victory to pave the way for an honorable withdrawal from Vietnam.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By 1953 even the most enthusiastic colonialist in the French government knew France would have to pull out of Vietnam. A Summit conference was set for late April 1954 in Geneva and the French needed to beat the communists decisively on the battlefield to set the stage for a favorable result. The commander in Vietnam, General Navarre, decided to place troops, high in the mountains in a valley near the village of Dien Bien Phu. He reasoned that when the Communists came out of the jungle, he would catch them in a pitched battle and defeat them.

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Battle of Hastings II

Lead: The Battle of Hastings was perhaps the most decisive fight in English History, but with a slight change in tactics, the English probably would have won.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Hearing the news that Edward the Confessor, the old king of England had died, William, Duke of Normandy prepared to cross the channel and take the Crown from the new King, Harold Godwinson. All during the summer of 1066 he assembled his fleet and waited for favorable winds.

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Battle of Hastings I

Lead: Most battles have little effect beyond the blood and pain of those involved. No can say that about Hastings.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: A generation ago it would have been hard to find a student who could not tell you the significance of year 1066. It was then in October that the forces of William, Duke of Normandy, crossed the Channel from France and defeated the English Army of King Harold before the coastal village of Hastings.

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