Top 13 Single Deadliest Days In US History
Top 13 Single Deadliest Days In US History. Photo KnowInsiders

The United States has witnessed many dark events such as bloody terrorist bombings that claimed the lives of thousands of people. In the list below, we recalled 13 deadliest single days. Most of them recorded the highest fatalities throughout the US history.

But some of them reported the assassination of one important person, which made it enough to call it 'the worst day'.

Top 13 Single Deadliest Days In US History

1. September 8, 1900: Galveston Hurricane - 8,000 Estimated Deaths

The fact that the 1900 Galveston Hurricane is still the deadliest natural disaster in American history speaks to its terrifying destruction. Regionally known as the 1900 Storm, the Category 4 hurricane tore through the Texan town on Sept. 8 at speeds of 135 miles per hour — and left between 8,000 and 12,000 people dead.

When the storm descended on Galveston, it ripped over 3,600 homes and commercial businesses from their foundations like paper. While the destruction of infrastructure was unlikely to have been averted with prior warnings, the death toll could have been, had it not been for an incompetent U.S. Weather Bureau.

The predecessor to the National Weather Service, the U.S. Weather Bureau was only 10 years old at the time, and tracking hurricanes across the Atlantic was still a primitive science. Nonetheless, “any modestly educated weather forecaster would’ve known” where the storm was headed, says MIT professor of atmospheric science Kerry Emanuel.

2. February 4, 2021: COVID-19 Pandemic - 5,000 Deaths

Top 13 Single Deadliest Days In US History
People wait in line to get tested for COVID-19 at a mobile testing site in Times Square. Photo: The Hill

The US recorded more than 5,000 Covid-19 deaths on Feb 4, 2021.

The surge, the highest number to date, seems to be largely due to a backlog of data that was just released from Indiana, adding 1,500 deaths to the countrywide number, according to the Wall Street Journal. Though cases have otherwise been slowing down, the death toll is often a reflection of what happened in the weeks prior, since it’s usually a lagging indicator of the virus spread. Yesterday, there were 5,077 US deaths in total, according to John Hopkins University data, and 122,473 new cases.

COVID-19 has changed American life dramatically. Americans were isolated for much of the pandemic. Many contracted COVID-19 and American families lost over 975,000 loved ones. Millions lost their jobs and often, their employer-sponsored healthcare. 31.6 million people had to go to work to provide the rest of us with frontline services, while others worked from home. Schools converted to online instruction. Parents struggled to juggle childcare and work. First responders and medical care providers worked overtime in the most hopeless context to save the lives that they could save.

3. September 17, 1862: Battle of Antietam, US Civil War - 3,650 Deaths

Antietam, the deadliest one-day battle in American military history, showed that the Union could stand against the Confederate army in the Eastern theater. It also gave President Abraham Lincoln the confidence to issue the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation at a moment of strength rather than desperation.

23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam ended the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia's first invasion into the North and led Abraham Lincoln to issue the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

READ MORE: What Are The First War Ships of US Navy - Top 10 Oldest

4. August 8, 1899: San Ciriaco Hurricane - 3,389 Deaths

When the hurricane reached Montserrat on August 7th, 1899, the area of the storm had increased, the barometer was almost two inches lower (than on August 3.), having fallen to 27.45 inches, the wind blew with hurricane force, causing immense damage and loss of life, and the rainfall was excessive (Monthly Weather Review, Oct.1900). The pier was blown away and the material newly laid in for its extension gone to sea. The courthouse and a school are standing and crowded with homeless women and children. Not a church or parsonage is standing in the island. There are so far about 100 deaths and 1400 injuries.

The hurricane devastated crops and destroyed buildings all over the island. The mountain sides were left bare by the winds. 100 people were killed, 1,000 injured and 9,000 were left homeless.

5. April 18, 1906: San Francisco Earthquake & Fire - 3,000+ Deaths

Top 13 Single Deadliest Days In US History
Photo Yale Environment Review

The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 arrived without warning or time for people to prepare. Most were still asleep when the 7.9-magnitude tremor shifted the grounds beneath them at 5:12 a.m. on April 18. With a tectonic slip along 270 miles of the San Andreas Fault, the shaking was felt from Los Angeles to Oregon.

While other towns near the fault line, such as San Jose, Salinas, and Santa Rosa, endured destruction, none suffered the apocalyptic devastation seen in San Francisco. There, fires started almost as soon as the earthquake itself was over.

6. September 16, 2017: Hurricane Maria - 3,059 Deaths

Top 13 Single Deadliest Days In US History
Photo ABC News

Known for the devastation it caused in Puerto Rico and Dominica, Hurricane Maria is a Category 5 storm that devastated the Caribbean Islands from Sept. 16-30 during the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. It followed on the heels of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and collectively, this tropical trio caused a cumulative $265 billion in damages, contributing to 2017's rank as the United States' costliest year for weather and climate disasters.1

Maria, which also inflicted serious damage on other islands of the Caribbean, including the Lesser Antilles island chain and the Dominican Republic, is also record-breaking. It ties Hurricane Wilma (2005) as the most rapidly intensifying storm, a title it secured when it strengthened from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane in just 54 hours.

7. September 11, 2001: Terrorist Attacks - 2,977 Deaths

Top 13 Single Deadliest Days In US History
Photo history

Before this day, Americans assumed that terrorism was something that other countries had to worry about, as if our geographic separation from the Middle East would save us. The sheer magnitude of the 9/11 attacks stunned the people of the United States and reminded them of their vulnerability in what could be a very frightening world. It also brought to the surface the depths of the hatred with which some Muslims viewed Americans, and the lengths to which they would go to kill Americans (2,976 on this day alone). Feeling insecure in the aftermath of these attacks, Americans willingly accepted intrusive laws, a government with unheard of investigative powers, and military intervention in the Middle East.

8. September 13, 1928: Okeechobee Hurricane - 2,823 Deaths

The Okeechobee Hurricane or Hurricane San Felipe Segundo was a deadly hurricane that struck the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and Florida in September of the 1928 Atlantic hurricane season. It was the first recorded hurricane to reach Category 5 status on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale in the Atlantic basin; as of 2006, it remains the only recorded hurricane to strike Puerto Rico at Category 5 strength, and one of the ten most intense ever recorded to make landfall in the United States.

The hurricane caused devastation throughout its path. As many as 1,200 people were killed in Guadeloupe. Puerto Rico was struck directly by the storm at peak strength, killing at least 300 and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. In south Florida at least 2,500 were killed when storm surge from Lake Okeechobee breached the dike surrounding the lake, flooding an area covering hundreds of square miles. In total, the hurricane killed at least 4,075 people and caused around $100 million ($800 million in 2005 US dollars) in damages over the course of its path.

9. June 6, 1944: D-Day WW2 - 2,501 Deaths

On June 6, 1944, more than 156,000 American, British and Canadian troops stormed 50 miles of Normandy's fiercely defended beaches in northern France in an operation that proved to be a critical turning point in World War II. Below are key facts on the planning and execution of the epic Allied invasion.

D-Day was the largest amphibious invasion in military history. According to the D-Day Center, the invasion, officially called "Operation Overlord," combined the forces of 156,115 U.S., British and Canadian troops, 6,939 ships and landing vessels, and 2,395 aircraft and 867 gliders that delivered airborne troops.

Unlike V-E Day (“Victory in Europe”) or V-J Day (“Victory over Japan”), the “D” in D-Day isn’t short for “departure” or “decision.” As early as World War I, the U.S. military used the term D-Day to designate the launch date of a mission. One reason was to keep the actual date out of the hands of spies; another was to serve as a placeholder until an actual date was chosen. They also used H-Hour for the specific time of the launch.

10. December 7, 1941: Pearl Harbor Bombing - 2,467 Deaths

On December 7, 1941, Japanese planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor External, Hawaii Territory, killing more than 2,300 Americans. The U.S.S. Arizona was completely destroyed and the U.S.S. Oklahoma capsized. A total of twelve ships sank or were beached in the attack and nine additional vessels were damaged. More than 160 aircraft were destroyed and more than 150 others damaged.

Top 13 Single Deadliest Days In US History
Photo veterans

A hurried dispatch from the ranking United States naval officer in Pearl Harbor, Admiral Husband Edward Kimmel, Commander in Chief of the United States Pacific Fleet, to all major navy commands and fleet units provided the first official word of the attack at the ill-prepared Pearl Harbor base. It said simply: AIR RAID ON PEARL HARBOR X THIS IS NOT DRILL.

11. July 1-3, 1863: Battle of Gettysburg US Civil War - 2,300+ estimated Deaths per day for 3 days

The Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania lasted for three days, from July 1 to July 3, 1863. It left more than 40,000 dead or wounded soldiers scattered across the battlefield. When the deafening gunfire ceased and the smoke settled, it became clear that the Civil War battle had killed 7,000 to 10,000 men.

By the end of the third day, Confederate casualties had approached 60 percent, with 3,903 men killed. While 18,735 of them lay wounded, 5,425 had either been captured or gone missing. When General Lee withdrew on the rainy afternoon of July 4, the Union tallied its own losses to fewer, albeit similarly harrowing results.

With 3,155 soldiers killed, 14,529 wounded, and 5,365 captured or missing, the Union victory certainly didn’t feel like one. Soldiers on both sides had never engaged in strife of this scale before, with many traumatized or disfigured for the rest of their lives.

12. November 22, 1963: Assassination of JFK

Top 13 Single Deadliest Days In US History
Photo Critics Rant

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, is assassinated while traveling through Dallas, Texas, in an open-top convertible.

First lady Jacqueline Kennedy rarely accompanied her husband on political outings, but she was beside him, along with Texas Governor John Connally and his wife, for a 10-mile motorcade through the streets of downtown Dallas on November 22. Sitting in a Lincoln convertible, the Kennedys and Connallys waved at the large and enthusiastic crowds gathered along the parade route. As their vehicle passed the Texas School Book Depository Building at 12:30 p.m., Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly fired three shots from the sixth floor, fatally wounding President Kennedy and seriously injuring Governor Connally. Kennedy was pronounced dead 30 minutes later at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital. He was 46.

READ MORE: How Many US Presidents Have Been Assassinated?

13. April 14, 1865: Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

Top 13 Single Deadliest Days In US History
Photo The Mommies Reviews

On the evening of April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth, a famous actor and Confederate sympathizer, assassinated President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. The attack came only five days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his massive army at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, effectively ending the American Civil War.

Who Was John Wilkes Booth?

John Wilkes Booth was a Maryland native born in 1838 into a family of noted actors. Booth would eventually take the stage himself, appearing in 1855 in Shakespeare’s Richard III in Baltimore.

Despite his Confederate sympathies, Booth remained in the North during the Civil War, pursuing a successful career as an actor. But as the war entered its final stages, he and several associates hatched a plot to kidnap the president and take him to Richmond, the Confederate capital.

On March 20, 1865, the day of the planned kidnapping, Abraham Lincoln failed to appear at the spot where Booth and his six fellow conspirators lay in wait, foiling their planned abduction. Two weeks later, Richmond fell to Union forces, and on April 9, General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House. Growing desperate, Booth came up with an even more sinister plan to save the Confederacy.

Did you know? The search for John Wilkes Booth was one of the largest manhunts in history, with 10,000 federal troops, detectives and police tracking down the assassin.
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