March 9 (UPI) -- On this date in history:
In 1841, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, with one dissent, that the African slaves who seized control of the Amistad slave ship had been illegally forced into slavery and thus were free under U.S. law.
In 1862, a battle between ironclad ships -- the Union's Monitor and the Confederate's Merrimac (renamed the Virginia) -- ended indecisively off Hampton Roads, Va.
In 1864, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was appointed commander in chief of Union forces in the U.S. Civil War.
In 1916, several hundred Mexican guerrillas under the command of Francisco "Pancho" Villa crossed the U.S.-Mexican border and attacked the small border town of Columbus, N.M., killing 17 Americans.
In 1945, more than 300 American B-29 bombers attacked Tokyo with incendiary bombs, killing about 100,000 people and destroying an estimated 250,000 buildings over 16 square miles.
In 1992, a federal judge in New York announced a final $1.3 billion agreement to settle civil suits growing out of the 1989 collapse of Drexel Burham Lambert, once the most powerful firm on Wall Street.
In 2005, Dan Rather stepped down as anchor and managing editor of CBS Evening News. His departure followed acknowledgment of major flaws in a broadcast about U.S. President George W. Bush's National Guard service.
In 2011, the archbishop of Philadelphia placed 21 Roman Catholic priests, accused of sexually abusing children, on administrative leave and apologized to his fellow Catholics.
In 2011, after 39 flights over 27 years of service, the space shuttle Discovery made its final landing at Kennedy Space Center.
In 2014, William Clay Ford Sr., grandson of Ford Motor Co founder Henry Ford and owner of the Detroit Lions NFL team, died at his suburban Detroit home at the age of 88.