Today is Friday, March 9, the 68th day of 2018. There are 297 days left in the year.

On March 9, 1862, during the Civil War, the ironclads USS Monitor and CSS Virginia (formerly USS Merrimac) clashed for five hours to a draw at Hampton Roads, Virginia.

In 1841, the U.S. Supreme Court, in United States v. The Amistad, ruled 7-1 in favor of a group of illegally enslaved Africans who were captured off the U.S. coast after seizing control of a Spanish schooner, La Amistad; the justices ruled that the Africans should be set free.

In 1916, more than 400 Mexican raiders led by Pancho Villa attacked Columbus, New Mexico, killing 18 Americans.

In 1933, Congress, called into special session by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, began its "hundred days" of enacting New Deal legislation.

In 1945, during World War II, U.S. B-29 bombers began launching incendiary bomb attacks against Tokyo, resulting in an estimated 100,000 deaths.

In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court, in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, raised the standard for public officials to prove they'd been libeled in their official capacity by news organizations.

Birthdays: Country singer Mickey Gilley is 82. Singer-musician John Cale (The Velvet Underground) is 76. Singer Mark Lindsay (Paul Revere and the Raiders) is 76. Former ABC anchorman Charles Gibson is 75. Actress Juliette Binoche is 54. Rock musician Robert Sledge (Ben Folds Five) is 50. Actor Emmanuel Lewis is 47.

Thought for Today: "Inspiration is an empty bank account." -- Mickey Spillane (1918-2006).