February 15
1798The first serious fist fight occurs in Congress.
1804New Jersey becomes the last northern state to abolish slavery.
1862Union General Ulysses S. Grant launches a major assault on Fort Donelson, Tenn.
1869 Charges of treason against Jefferson Davis are dropped.
1898 The U.S. battleship Maine blows up in Havana Harbor, killing 268 sailors and bringing hordes of Western cowboys and gunfighters rushing to enlist in the Spanish-American.
1900The British threaten to use natives in the Boer War fight.
1925The London Zoo announces it will install lights to cheer up fogged-in animals.
1934U.S. Congress passes the Civil Works Emergency Relief Act, allotting new funds for Federal Emergency Relief Administration.
1940Hitler orders that all British merchant ships will be considered warships.
1942British forces in Singapore surrender to Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita.
1943The Germans break the American Army's lines at the Fanid-Sened Sector in Tunisia, North Africa.
1944American bombers attack the Abbey of Monte Cassino in an effort to neutralize it as a German observation post in central Italy.
1946Royal Canadian mounted police arrest 22 as Soviet spies.
1950Joseph Stalin and Mao Tse-tung sign a mutual defense treaty in Moscow.
1957Andrei Gromyko replaces Dmitri T. Shepilov as the Soviet Foreign Minister.
1961Eighteen members of the U.S. figure skating team are lost in an airplane crash in Belgium.
1965Canada's maple leaf flag is raised for the first time.
1967 Thirteen U.S. helicopters are shot down in one day in Vietnam
1974U.S. gas stations threaten to close because of federal fuel policies.

Born on February 15
1564Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer and mathematician.
1710Louis XV, King of France
1726Abraham Clark, signer of Declaration of Independence.
1797Henry Steinway, piano maker
1820Susan B. Anthony, suffragette and political activist.
1882John Barrymore, actor, sibling to actors Lionel Barrymore & Ethel Barrymore, father of actors John Drew Barrymore & Diana Barrymore and grandfather of actor Drew Barrymore.
1905Harold Arlen, composer, arranger and pianist ("Stormy Weather," "It's Only a Paper Moon").
1954Matt Groening, cartoonist (The Simpsons).

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