This day in history

Saturday is Aug. 17, the 229th day of 2013. There are 136 days left in the year.

Today’s birthdays: Actress Maureen O’Hara is 93. Author V.S. Naipaul is 81. Actor Robert DeNiro is 70. Movie director Martha Coolidge is 67. Rock musician Sib Hashian (Boston) is 64. Singer Belinda Carlisle is 55. Author Jonathan Franzen is 54. Actor Sean Penn is 53. Singer Donnie Wahlberg is 44.

In 1863, Federal batteries and ships began bombarding Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor during the Civil War, but the Confederates held on despite several days of pounding.


In 1943, the Allied conquest of Sicily during World War II was completed.

Get The Weekender in your inbox:
The Globe's top picks for what to see and do each weekend, in Boston and beyond.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

In 1969, Hurricane Camille slammed into the Mississippi coast as a Category 5 storm that was blamed for 256 US deaths, three in Cuba.

In 1978, the first successful trans-Atlantic balloon flight ended as Maxie Anderson, Ben Abruzzo, and Larry Newman landed outside Paris.

In 1998, President Clinton gave grand jury testimony via closed-circuit television from the White House concerning his relationship with Monica Lewinsky; he then delivered a TV address in which he denied previously committing perjury, admitted his relationship with Lewinsky was ‘‘wrong,’’ and criticized Kenneth Starr’s investigation.