January 1, 1776 Four British warships fire on Norfolk, and British soldiers row ashore and begin burning warehouses and waterfront buildings. Patriots, seeing Norfolk as a "nest of Tories," engage in similar behavior, setting fire to most of the city and participating in widespread looting.
January 5, 1781 General Benedict Arnold, having traveled up the James River from Hampton Roads, leads 1,200 British troops on a raid of Richmond. Many public and private buildings and tobacco warehouses are burned during the two-day campaign.
January 7, 1789 America's first presidential election is held. Voters chose electors who, one month later, selected George Washington. Washington was inaugurated in New York on April 30, 1789.
January 10, 1769 Mail boats begin leaving the Suffolk area on regular monthly trips north and south along the Atlantic Coast. The location is midway between colonial postal centers in New York City and Charleston, South Carolina.
January 13, 1990 L. Douglas Wilder is inaugurated as the first elected African American governor in the United States.
January 15, 1943 The construction of the Pentagon in Arlington County is completed.
January 19, 1959 Massive resistance was dealt a double death-blow when a three-judge federal panel ruled that closing the schools violated the 14th amendment guaranteeing equal protection. That same day the Virginia Supreme Court found that cutting off state funds to prevent integration violated the state constitution.
January 20, 1732 Richard Henry Lee, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and one of Virginia's first two U.S. senators, is born at Stratford Hall in Westmoreland County.
January 20, 1931 A strike by members of the United Textile Workers at the Schoolfield mills near Danville comes to an end. After nearly four months the textile workers are unsuccessful in their opposition to the 10 percent wage cut and longer hours demanded by their employers.
January 26, 1870 President Ulysses S. Grant signs the act that re-admits Virginia's representatives to the U.S. Senate and House, thus ending Reconstruction in the commonwealth. From this point, it is no longer designated "Military District Number One" by the federal government.
January 27, 1801 John Marshall receives U.S. Senate confirmation to be chief justice of the United States Supreme Court. President John Adams nominated Marshall for the position, and the Senate confirms the appointment during the last session in which Federalists hold a majority in the upper chamber of Congress.