After the British first encountered rocketry in the 1790s in India during the Mysore Wars, Sir William Congreve was asked to develop a similar weapon for Britain. He created the Congreve rocket, which was guided by a long pole, much like a bottle rocket—and was similarly unpredictable. Still, its relatively long range of 2 miles (3 kilometers) was unprecedented, and it had a major impact on the development of modern warfare. What famous American song was inspired by Congreve rockets in action?
Back in the day
The first major engagement of the US Civil War was the First Battle of Bull Run, fought in 1861 partly on the farm of Wilmer McLean in Manassas, Virginia. A few years later, McLean moved to Appomattox Court House, a town which, coincidentally, would soon be the site of the war's effective end. It was there that Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant in McLean's parlor. Why did Grant stop Union troops when they began to celebrate the victory?
Born on a day like today
Muybridge was an eccentric photographic innovator who left a vast and varied body of work. He is best known for his pioneering use of multiple still cameras to photograph the stages of motion. Hired by Leland Stanford to answer the question of whether there is a moment during a horse's stride when all four of its hooves are off the ground, he developed a special shutter for his cameras and a method for triggering them sequentially. Why was he acquitted of murdering his wife's lover?