Historic Tour of the Defenses of Washington DCOne never knows what one will find if you rummage around the United States' attic... 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". 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 TourIt 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) "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!
FORT ROBINSON -
GATEWAY TO THE WESTIt 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
Wright Flyer at Fort MyerIt 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 would 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.
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.
"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 <====
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