Petersburg Harbor and Port

It is the falls that made the town. The cataracts of the Appomattox, similar to those at Richmond, Raleigh, and Columbia, prevented westward waterborne transportation. It was logical that first a fort and then a thriving commercial town should spring up at the location where deep-draft shipping could no longer pass. Petersburg became one of the most important trading centers in the South.
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Court Martial of Billy Mitchell II

Lead: In the 1920s, the U.S. military was hampered by severe budget cutbacks and a debate on the future of the airplane. One persistent, prophetic, but on more than one occasion obnoxious voice in the debate was General William “Billy” Mitchell.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Billy Mitchell’s father and grandfather were congressmen. He thus grew up in the circles of power and expected people to listen when he spoke, but his habit of going public with his ideas and tendency to browbeat his opponents, diminished his influence with the Army. Mitchell’s experience as head of Army air combat forces in Europe during World War I led him to conclude that the warplane was the key to victory in future conflicts and he went on a crusade to prove it. He was particularly adept at using the press to further his ideas. He arranged a series of highly-publicized tests in which his bombers spectacularly sank several surplus battleships thus proving their vulnerability and increasing obsolescence.

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Court Martial of Billy Mitchell I

Lead: Billy Mitchell’s experience as Army air combat commander during World War I showed him that future success in warfare depended on air power. His problem was that he just couldn’t keep quiet about it.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Before the war Mitchell had a limited view of the airplane’s potential. He was in the Signal Corps and believed flying machines were primarily useful only for reconnaissance, flying behind and over the battlefield, spotting artillery, tracking enemy maneuvers, and aiding in fast communication and travel. As the months in Europe passed, his perspective began to change. He started to fly battle missions beside his pilots and eventually rose to be leader of the Army’s air arm. Under actual combat conditions additional powerful possibilities for the airplane began to emerge. Tactically, warplanes could support troops fighting on the ground and strategically, planes could help destroy enemy installations behind the lines.

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The Californian Docks in San Franciso

Lead: On February 28, 1849, the postal steam packet Californian docked in San Francisco Bay. It was just the beginning of the flood.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: In early 1848, near Sacramento, California, on the property of John Sutter, gold was discovered. From all over the world did people began to converge on California in often frenzied pursuit of the golden treasure. They got there in different ways. Travelers could brave the great American desert and scale the treacherous Sierra Nevada mountains, they could sail for six months around the Horn of South America, or they could go to Panama, cross the Isthmus and catch a mail packet, a light, fast vessel designed specifically for the coastal journey to San Francisco.

 

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