Dec
7

Tour – Historic Civil War Defenses of Washington DC

Tour of the Defenses of Washington DC

Historic Tour of the Defenses of Washington DC

One never knows what one will find if you rummage around the United States' attic...
Fort Ward Gate Alexandria Virginia

Fort Ward Gate
Alexandria Virginia

Driving around the "DMV" - District, Maryland & Virginia - one will often see signs of the US Civil War -  National Park Service signs that announce a fort such as Fort Davis or Fort Foote or Fort Totten with little but a few earthworks mounds to see and hardly any sign of what was there over 150 years ago.  Yet by the end of the war, there would be 68 forts along with some 90 artillery batteries that would be the defense of the perimeter of the Capital City of Washington DC.  Major General John G. Barnard was the engineer who designed most of these fortifications. He is often called the "Father of the Defenses of Washington DC".
Fort Stevens Washington DC

Fort Stevens
Washington DC

  Today, only a few of those fortifications and artillery batteries still exist in more than just those signs and mounds of earth -  Fort Stevens in Washington DC and Fort Ward in Alexandria, Virginia are two that have been conserved in entirety or partially to show part of  the Defenses of Washington DC.

National Park Service Presents a Tour

It was 1938, the 75th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg during the US Civil  War.  It was when the Civil War was something fresh in the minds of the people who experienced it,  the National Park Service provided a tour of "the Defenses of Washington DC"  From that tour here is a twenty page booklet that was provided to those who took the tour. (Be patient - the book may take a bit to load)
The book "Images of America - Fort Myer" contains over 200 historical photographs.  They were selected from new research among the archives of America.  An autographed / personalized copy is available.   Order yours TODAY!
Jul
23

Fort Robinson – Cavalry Post & Remount Depot

Fort Robinson Post Headquarters
Fort Robinson  Post Headquarters

Fort Robinson Post Headquarters

 

FORT ROBINSON -

GATEWAY TO THE WEST

It was in 1847 as America continued to push west.  The US Army established Posts on the frontier and Fort Robinson, Nebraska was one.  This post would have a very interesting life over the next several decades as a home for the US Cavalry including the famed Buffalo Soldiers. It then would become in the 20th century the largest of all the remount depots of the US Army's Remount Service. The thousands of acres - about  22,000 began as Camp Robinson named after Lieutenant Levi  Robinson. He was killed in February 1874 by a band of Indians who attacked the lieutenant and a Corporal   while they were on a side trip hunting game. The US Army Post later became the largest remount depot for the US Army Remount Service after the depot at Fort Keogh was closed
Jun
18

On To College Park, Maryland!

College Park Airport
Military Aviation School at College Park MarylandBecause of the US Army Signal Corps and the aviation success at Fort Myer, College Park, Maryland became the site of the longest continual operational airport in the world.

Wright Flyer at Fort Myer

It was late July 1909. The Wright Flyer had flown from Fort Myer Virginia to the edges of Old Town Alexandria, Virginia and back. The US Army Signal Corps' Officers were pleased that the speed results exceeded the 40 MPH threshold.  With the return of the Wright Brothers entry in response  to their request for a heavier than air flying machine, the Army had a viable aircraft.   It was now up to the Wright brothers to provide the training.  But where?   The small number of acres at Fort Myer were too confining.   Besides, the public interest guaranteed that there was always a crowd of people ready to watch this new form of transportation when they held the trials at Fort Myer. The US Army still used gas filled balloons then.  LT Frank Lahm on a regular observation flight discovered a flat parcel of land some 10 to 12 miles to the Northeast. It was near the Baltimore and Ohio railroad tracks, which later would serve as competition for the air-land races that these new aviators would compete.  So the US Army leased the land in August of 1909 and a new chapter... perhaps books of transportation began.  It was here that the Wright brothers trained the first pilots:  Frederic Humphreys and Frank Lahm.  It would also be here that many familiar aviation companies began -  among them Curtiss-Wright. The War Department established the first military aviation school with Lieutenant Henry H. Arnold as one of the instructors.  The airplane saw its first use in warfare in WWI as the US Army Air Corps was established in 1926 - they renamed the US Army Air Service. Arnold college_park_airport_2would later go on to lead the new United States Army Air Forces in 1942 which became the United States Air Force in 1947. It would be at College Park, where civilian aviation began with the Rex Smith Aeroplane Company.   Later another first, the building of the first aircraft by the Christmas Aeroplane Company in 1911.  A year later, the company would deliver it's next model craft to respond to the contract to deliver mail by air for the  US Postal Service.  In 1918, the first regular airmail delivery between College Park and both Philadelphia and New York City began lasting until 1921. As more and more applications of aviation were  discovered and used, the industry grew as did the number of  airports across the United States and around the world.  Though College Park, Maryland still  holds the distinction of being the first.  The saga continues at the airport and the adjacent College Park Aviation Museum which is worth the visit to see some of this history up close and personal. The book,  "Images of America - Fort Myer"  holds a treasure of over 200 "timeless photographs" that deliver the first 100 years of this US Army Post.  
Jun
13

HAPPY BIRTHDAY – Images of America – Fort Myer!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY – Images of America – Fort Myer!
On 13 JUN 2011 - a milestone groundbreaking book was published - HAPPY BIRTHDAY - IMAGES of AMERICA - FORT MYER! FREE SHIPPING - From now until 30 JUN 2013 - Add an author autographed copy of the book to your library Why?  With over 200 timeless historic photographs, it features a note from Abraham Lincoln, first published in the book that highlights the connection between the 16th President and Major General Amiel Weeks Whipple Select FREE SHIPPING and in days your "Personalized"  book will be in your hands and the adventure will begin to provide you with the first one hundred years of this historic US Army Post with origins during the US Civil War when it began as Fort Whipple. Learn about military aviation's beginnings, the National Weather Service,  and...   NOTE A portion of your purchase price will be donated to the Army Historical Foundation to help build the National Museum of the US Army.  

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Jun
5

Happy Birthday Fort Myer – Defending the Capital for 150 Years

Fort Whipple - the Commanding Officer's Quarters
Headquarters - Fort MyerBeginning as Fort Whipple in 1863 as one of the Defenses of Washington, Fort Myer continues today in its original mission of defending Washington DC. Fort Marcy may have a sign on the George Washington Parkway... Fort Stevens has been partially reconstructed and preserved as is Fort Ward. But ONLY Fort Myer continues to defend with the celebrated Oldest Infantry Regiment in the US Army - the 3d --- The Old Guard. The acres have changed much in those century and a half. The drill field where hundreds of horses with mounted riders rode, kicking up dust or where the Wright Flyer flew overhead, the rustic trails where the troopers practiced their saber charge and trenches were dug to train for WW I and later where the Jeep from Bantam Car Company was tested and approved, are gone. Where Rodney retired and a tribute to the US Army Remount Service was made with the movie "Keep 'Em Rolling" - The first commercial movie filmed on Fort Myer, including the first instance of "caisson drag racing" on the drill field. Chapel on South PostSouth Post - Fort Myer where during WW II nearly 2000 WACs (Women's Army Corps) lived and a complement of Soldiers who worked in the newly built Pentagon. Also the site of the "Troop Chapel" dedicated by Chief of Staff George Marshall - and then was duplicated 500 times across the US Army. The Military Police school called South Post home from the beginning. US Army units that have called Fort Myer home have included numerous Cavalry Regiments - Capped off by the 3d - "Brave Rifles" and squadrons of the 9th and 10th - The "Buffalo Soldiers". Home to the Signal Corps School where General Albert J Myer continued the use of the acres after the Civil War was over to teach the wig-wag system of signaling as well as the heliograph. The National Weather Service was born and developed on these historic acres with the needs promoting the exploration into aerial flight. Alexander Graham Bell's invention saw its first use among the US Army Signal Corps as the first long distance line ran between Fort Myer and their headquarters across the Potomac in Washington. The mark of Patton ... among each of his tours on Fort Myer,  General George S. Patton, Jr., he left an imprint that affected the US Army The Old Post Chapel on Fort Myer Virginiaand or the Post, from the Society Circus, to the iconic "Old Post Chapel"  - the design borrowed by the US Navy.   Patton Hall, known to most as "the O Club" is a standing tribute recognizing his contributions to Fort Myer. Even the US Navy left an imprint upon the acres when it erected the first radio towers, "The Three Sisters" which enabled communication with the fleet and capability to communicate with Europe and across the United States. Fort Myer is home to the US Army Band "Pershing's Own" since the 1940s.  The other long time resident unit is the 3d Infantry Regiment, "The Old Guard".   Together. they form a partnership to perform all the ceremonial duties and events within the National Capital Region - the most honorable among those duties and events is the support for the final honors at Arlington National Cemetery. Whipple, Myer, Patton, Marshall, Pershing are only a few of the names that are among those who over the years set their mark on the Arlington Heights acres.

Happy Birthday Fort Myer!

PS ...  You too can own an autographed copy of the book "Images of America - Fort Myer" ... The First Book About this Historic US Army Post.  It contains over 200 "timeless historic photographs" which chronicle the first 100 years of the Post.Made in the United States of America

Apr
30

150th Anniversary – Chancellorsville – Beginning of the End of Whipple

Battle of Chancellorsville
Battle of Chancellorsville

Battle of Chancellorsville

After the Battle of Fredericksburg, General Amiel Weeks Whipple along with his command moved onto Chancellorsville...  sadly, it would be the beginning of the end for the dear General.  Of note it would also be the end of Lee's favorite General, Stonewall Jackson, lost to "friendly fire" - few would know about Whipple. For many months, General Whipple as the commander of the southern Defenses of Washington was nestled inside the confines of Washington DC with Arlington House as his headquarters.  A frequent visitor was Abraham Lincoln, who would come and have lunch with Whipple at the Custis-Lee mansion overlooking the nation's capital. That all ended when Whipple took a command and headed south.  His future as a commander was short lived as Chancellorsville continued the lost of life that began at Fredericksburg.  Whipple escaped the carnage that the Confederates inflicted on the advancing Union army.  Despite the wave after wave of Union soldiers crossing the Rappahannock River. with the Confederate position on Marye's Heights, all of which were repulsed with heavy losses.  General Whipple was not among those lost at this battle. It would be "Lee's Best Battle"  where General Whipple, while supervising the building of a salient, would become the target of a Confederate sharpshooter.   The bullet would hit the General in the abdomen, mortally wounding him.  He was rushed back to Washington, DC, where he passed a few days later.  Lincoln would attend his funeral as a friend.  He also made plans to assure that General Whipple's two sons were taken care of appropriately.  Both would be assured of appointments to become military officers.  Charles William was readily assured, having reached age of appointment, by the May 13, 1863 note from Lincoln to General Totten.   The note appears in the book, Images of America - Fort Myer, as it was discovered during the research for the book at the National Archives.
Apr
6

KINDLE VERSION – NOW!

The book - "Images of America - Fort Myer" is HERE!
Images of America - Fort Myer

Images of America
Fort Myer

It's here... the kindle version ...  the book "Images of America - Fort Myer" was in the queue to be converted and released for   the Kindle and the application for your tablet or Android phone version.   Arcadia Publishing has sent an alert that it's available now. Historic Fort Myer began in 1863 as Fort Whipple, one of the nearly 70 forts that formed the Defenses of Washington.  Since the 1940s, it's been the home of The US Army Band "Pershing's Own" and the 3d Infantry Regiment, "The Old Guard"  (named by General Winfield Scott). For those of you who still prefer a paper copy - especially if you would like an autographed copy -  it's time to head to  BUY THE BOOK and select your choice. In either case, you'll be presented with over 200 timeless photographs complemented by interpretive text that will capsule the first one hundred years of this US Army Post -  1860s to 1960s.   It is the only remaining fort from the Civil War era that is still "ON POINT" - it's also where the famed Buffalo Soldiers - the 9th and 10th Cavalry had squadrons posted twice.   And forgotten ways of transportation - the trolley lines - one which began as a horsecar that came out of Rosslyn , Virginia and ultimately electrified was extended to Nauck area of Arlington County, Virginia. So whatever version you choose, the kindle version or the regular paper book, you'll be getting an excellent book that presents such historic events such as: the first military aviation flight, the showcase for the US Cavalry, the little known "Society Circus" - begun during Patton's second of four postings to  Fort Myer, impressive photos of  the South Post of Fort Myer,  the "Fort Myer and Arlington National Cemetery" connection and most of all the first time published note from Abraham Lincoln which was discovered during the research for the book.   Don't have a Kindle yet?    Here's where you can get one direct from Amazon...     the Kindle version is available   ...
Mar
31

ARMY Magazine Reviews the Book

From ARMY Magazine,APRIL 2013 Copyright [year] by the Association of the U.S. Army.
From ARMY Magazine,APRIL 2013 Copyright [year] by the Association of the U.S. Army.

ARMY Magazine -
April 2013

    It came as a pleasant surprise.  In the April 2013 issue of ARMY Magazine, the premier publication of the Association of the US Army, there was  a review of  "Images of America - Fort Myer."
"Images of America: Fort Myer pays tribute to those who served there... the images reveal the changing history of a national landmark affected by world events, advancing technology and evolving demands."
A telephone call announced the news.  It was a surprise to hear the words that a review of the book  was in the April 2013 issue of this respected publication. It is truly an honor to have the book featured in this great magazine of the Association of the US Army.   The entire review is located on the AUSA website or on pages 76-77 in the magazine. With over 200 historical photographs, the book chronicles the first one hundred years of this Civil War era  fortification. Then it was known as Fort Whipple - one of the Defenses of Washington. Named for General Amiel Weeks Whipple. The book - the FIRST BOOK about Fort Myer -  also contains a previously unknown, handwritten note from Abraham Lincoln. It's published for the FIRST TIME on page 15 of "Images of America - Fort Myer." Purchase an author autographed copy at Buy the Book    <====  Images of America - Fort Myer
Mar
13

A Book by Albert J Myer Discovered

wig wag signal flags
wig wag signal flagsAlbert J Myer was a medical doctor by training, yet his contributions went far beyond the realm of medicine.  He was the first Chief Signal Officer of the US Army.  To his credit, he is the reason there is a Fort Myer. When he developed the Wig-Wag System of signaling, it became a revolutionary concept that improved communications especially in time of battle.  It was used by both the North and the South during the US Civil War. After the war, he continued his work and first established the Signal Corps School at the downtown offices in Washington DC.  Practical use and training was difficult for two reasons:  lack of space for the students, which included both US Army Soldiers, and students from the US Navy.  the second was sufficient space to practice using the signal flags and or torches (they comprise the US Army Signal Corps branch insignia) General Albert J Myer then sought out a place outside the city confines of Washington.  It was Fort Greble , another of the Defenses of Washington during the Civil War.   It was found to be unsatisfactory. So his search continued.  It was on Arlington Heights where he found the best location - Fort Whipple - the location would later carry his name and become Fort Myer. Since the surrounds about all the fortifications which numbered nearly 70, were clear-cut of trees for line of sight and line of fire for the artillery,  it was best suited to have wig-wag students stand on the heights and a complement down at the Washington Monument to practice their signaling. A book was discovered published in 1870 by General Albert J. Myer, the First Chief Signal Officer of the US Army, entitled "Extracts from the Manual of Extract from the Manual of SignalsSignals."  It was clear that an US Army Signalman was provided the correct equipment to "Get the Message Through...."  The kit was wrapped in what appears to be canvas that included straps for securing it and pouches on the interior to contain the staffs.  Each contained one each of the two types of wig-wag flags,  three staffs to raise the flags (or torch) high enough to be seen by the recipient.  In addition, a haversack was included to hold the two torches for night signaling and a canteen filled with fuel for the torches. Signalmen also marched in formation when assembled as a unit. Their kits hoisted and carried on their shoulder as if it were a weapon.  Kits were also subject to inspection. They also had a manual of kits and flags similar to a manual of arms that a Soldier would have in carrying their weapon. The book also contains information about "field telegraph trains" and how they were used to assist in the placement of telegraph wire strung on lances.  These trains consisted of a battery wagon, and a combination of wire wagons and lance wagons. For more interesting history about Fort Myer including over 200 historic timeless photographs,  Buy the Book, an author autographed copy is available.
Jan
28

3d US Cavalry Saber Drill on Fort Myer

Brave Rifles - 3d US Cavalry Distinguished Unit Insignia
Brave Rifles - 3d US Cavalry Distinguished Unit Insignia

3d US Cavalry

The 3d Cavalry - the "Brave Rifles"

After WW I, Fort Myer was where the famed 3d Cavalry - Brave Rifles - were stationed until they relinquished their horses in 1942 and headed to Georgia to become mechanized.  When this film was made,  COL George S Patton Jr. was commander of Fort Myer and the 3d Cavalry. Thanks to my extensive network, a video clip which was made in 1934 surfaced of these troopers exercising their mounts with sabers drawn on the drill field on Fort Myer.  This joins the other three items that I've found that were filmed on Post:
  • the 1909 flight of the Wright Flyer with Orville Wright & LT Frank Lahm
  • the 1934 Movie "Keep 'Em Rolling"  that introduced the Caisson Song
  • the 1957 segment of The Big Picture with TUSAB* & TOG** on Summerall Field

SABER DRILL

For your viewing pleasure,  I present below  to you the Brave Rifles on Fort Myer performing one of the last saber drills (one can see the "Three Sisters" in the background as the troopers head down the drill field) You can learn more about the "Brave Rifles" and the historic Fort Myer where they were posted in the book  "Images of America - Fort Myer" * TUSAB = The US Army Band **TOG = The Old Guard  - 3d INFANTRY Regiment
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