The Civil War played a key role in the maturing of the United States of America… it was brother against brother in the fighting over those four years and when it was all over, the Union was preserved and the country went about healing and re-building.
Until now, little has been written both in print and elsewhere about the events, people and views of this historic place. Although none of the original buildings are standing, many of those which replaced them still are – built in the 1890s and early 1900s. The Post was the first location of the US Army Signal Corps School and despite them leaving for a brief time when the Cavalry and Field Artillery arrived to “Defend the Capital”, Signal Corps returned to plant the seeds of and launch military aviation, the National Weather Service and more.
With over two years of research, exploring through thousands of historical photographs to gather a great collection in one place was the first part of the project. The result was a substantial number of photographs – many which have never been shown before and one key find was a handwritten note signed “A. Lincoln” – which appears for the first time in the book “Images of America – Fort Myer”. On June 13, 2011 – a day before the US Army’s birthday, the book was published.
The history and heritage of this US Army Post is deep, rich and great. All efforts were made to make sure the story of the first 100 years was both robust and accurate as could possibly be for the author was constantly reminded by “LINE SIX” of the Tomb Guard’s Creed to ensure this would be the best about the best for the best.
During the war, Washington DC was the most fortified city in the world with 70 fortifications and 90 batteries surrounding the perimeter of the Capital – The Defenses of Washington. Land was clear-cut two miles in all directions to permit open line of sight for the artillery to fire. After the War, all of these were abandoned, most covered over, the land developed or just plain forgotten except one…
Carved from the Custis-Lee estate of 1,100 acres, it began as Fort Whipple and included the lunette named Fort Cass, but Fort Myer has withstood the years and flourished into a showcase installation for the US Army. After the US Civil War it was the only one, then still named Fort Whipple, to continue on when Albert J. Myer established the US Army’s Signal Corps School. He considered Arlington Heights to be ideal to provide training in his wig-wag sytem of signaling.
Showcase of the Cavalry
Later as the home of cavalry units, the post became a showcase of the US Army’s Cavalry, a vision of General Philip H Sheridan. After WW I, the 3d Cavalry – “Brave Rifles” were posted on Fort Myer from 1920 until 1942. Over time, two squadrons of Buffalo Soldiers would be stationed at Fort Myer – the 9th Cavalry’s Troop K in the 1890s and later the 10th Cavalry’s Machine Gun Troop would have an extended stay from the 1930s until 1949.
Two of the Army’s prestige ceremonial units now call it home since the 1940s – The US Army Band – “Pershing’s Own” came on post in 1942. And when re-activated in Washington, DC on the steps of the US Capitol on April 06, 1948, the US Army’s 3d Infantry Regiment – “The Old Guard” called Fort Myer home ever since.
The publisher of the book is Arcadia Publishing of Charleston, South Carolina and it is
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!
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