"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 <====
- BG Creighton W. Abrams, Jr USA (Ret.) in "ON POINT" The Journal of Army History The Army Historical Foundation publishes an outstanding magazine - "ON POINT" Each issue is packed with great articles and information about the history of the US Army. The purpose of the foundation is to build the National Museum of the US Army which will be located outside of Washington, DC within the US Army's Fort Belvoir acreage off of Interstate 95. The Summer 2012 issue of "ON POINT" contains a fine review of "Images of America - Fort Myer" (the links will open in a new window) written by BG Creghton W. Abrams, Jr. USA (Ret.), the Executive Director of the Army Historical Foundation. It is truly an honor to be selected to appear and have a rewiew of the book in this noted magazine. Thank you! And while you're here, please consider purchasing a copy of the book. You can also get an autographed copy inscribed by the author. The book contains over 200 historical photographs as mentioned in the review - " ... Fort Myer includes over 200 timeless photographs. It is definitely worth a perusal." You will also get a first time published note from Abraham Lincoln discovered during the two plus years of research. Also please consider joining the Army Historical Foundation and support the building of the National Museum of the United States Army
" ... Fort Myer includes over 200 timeless photographs. It is definitely worth a perusal."
Reactions Are Important - Chief Ones Are VERY Important!A creative work whether it be a photo, a painting, a sculpture or in this case a book -hangs in the balance of whether someone likes it or not. Getting a chief response, is unexpected! Each time it's put out there, there is a resulting response of like or not like. When I began the work to produce what has now become the FIRST book ever about Fort Myer, I wanted it to be the best. After many months of extensive research, field trips to libraries, history offices, The Library of Congress, the National Archives in College Park, MD and more, the pile of "stuff" appeared intimidating. How to mold it into something that people would read. AND like. I had learned that it was more than a US Army Post that was named after General Albert J Myer. More than the home of the US Army Band (TUSAB) - "Pershing's Own" more than the home of the 3d Infantry Regiment - "The Old Guard" It was history that needed to be chronicled and told to the public.
The Beginnings were a ChallengeAlong the way, my best friend from high school, who was career US Army, was my sounding board. He didn't see the "stuff" but was given ongoing "sit-reps" that often began "Did you know what I found yesterday?" After which he patiently listened as my latest find was being held up to the phone - he couldn't see it, but my words and excitement conveyed the import. The cover photo was long ago chosen and set, the back of the book proclaimed the work that I'd done for over a dozen years that prepped me for this event. I was fortunate to find a striking image of the 15th Cavalry - the same unit that George S Patton, Jr was initially attached to and brought him to Fort Myer for the first time in 1912. He competed in the Stockholm Olympics. When the book finally released on 13 JUN 2011, my friend promptly purchased two copies, one for himself, the other for his son who was currently serving in the US Army, attached to the 10th Cavalry - one of the original "Buffalo Soldiers" regiments. It was several weeks before I heard from him. He normally calls early in the evening. This time it was later than usual. He began the call by saying "I read your book and..." I waited for the reaction. He went on: "I expected it to be good. But no, it's not good, it's great. Over the months while you were gathering and composing, sifting and sorting, and finalizing, I concluded that you were doing your darnedest to make a good book. Well you ultimately set the bar high with this. And not only did you set the bar high, you jumped OVER the bar. Congratulations!"
FOUND A NOTE WORTHY ITEMOne of the nuggets in the book is a note from President Abraham Lincoln which opened up doors to the Whipple family (It's amazing what one family's role has been in the foundation and building of the United States of America!) Finding that first note (there's a second one that I'm still casually looking to locate) was a result of "God sitting on my shoulder..." Since it was not where it was supposed to be.
"...loves me like a rock...."One of my special forces brothers - He's actually "the second older brother I never had." - invited me to exhibit and participate in the bi-annual conference of The Rocks, Inc., a great association. It provides mentoring to active duty and retired military, primarily the US Army. The conference was held at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. One of the the guest speakers for the conference was the current Chief of Staff of the US Army GEN Raymond T Odierno. It was after his fantastic speech that I awarded him a copy of "images of America - Fort Myer" (He lives there in " Quarters One" Home to the Chief of Staff since 1906, when MG J Franklin Bell first occupied what was supposed to be the quarters of the post commander. It was built in 1899. It's historic too, since 1973, it's been on the National Historic Register) The General thanked me for the surprise gift and was on his way to his next event / meeting / encounter. I didn't think much more about it. At least he got a copy of it.
Surprise from The ChiefI went to my post office box and there among the mail was a monarch sized envelope neatly addressed to me with the return address that showed it was from the Pentagon - the Office of the Chief of Staff - WOW! I opened it immediately. Wanting to know just what was written inside. I beamed with joy when I read his words -How he liked the book and about My work at Arlington National Cemetery. And he's awaiting my next book too! Thanks Chief!
Defending the Capital - Forts & BatteriesFew people know about the extensive Defenses of Washington. By the end of the US Civil War, Washington DC was the most fortified and protected city in the world. Nearly 70 forts and 90 artillery batteries surrounded the perimeter of the US Capital. For if one would consider that it was an island among those who had rebelled with the states of Virginia seceding and Maryland remaining a slave state. These Defenses of Washington are noted by a Commonwealth of Virginia historical marker and complemented by other historical markers erected by the Commonwealth and the US National Park Service and localities. On the southern side, Arlington House was used as the headquarters. It would be here that General Amiel Weeks Whipple and President Abraham Lincoln would often meet to have lunch and the President get the briefing while wrapping his arms around Whipple's two sons. When the war first began in earnest with the bombardment and siege of Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina harbor, Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort to the Confederates. Back in Washington DC, the Union Army soon went across the Potomac River and occupied the high ground of Arlington Heights (also known as part of the Custis-Lee estate) and quickly built fortifications at both Long Bridge (Fort Runyon) and Aqueduct Bridge (Fort Corcoran) to stop any invasion across those river crossings. It was thought then to be sufficient protection, until the Battle of Bull Run. Fort Cass, a lunette, had been built on Arlington Heights as a defense from an attack from the west. After the Union Loss at the First Battle of Bull Run, the US Army leadership convened and decided to augment the perimeter defenses. General George B McClellan would designate where and General John Gross Barnard would design and oversee the construction of the fort. It would be 1863 before the fort that would ultimately become Fort Myer would be built. Fort Whipple was built on the most Northeastern part of Arlington Heights overlooking Washington DC. Designed by General Barnard, it was considered an outstanding design for a fort. Placement was determined where General Amiel Weeks Whipple had ordered an observation balloon aloft to recon what the Confederates were doing to the west. An excellent map of the Defenses of Washington has been produced by the US National Park Service showing the sites and which locations are managed by the NPS. Additional reading about the Defenses of Washington and the battle of Fort Stevens is presented by The Civil War Trust During the Civil War the City of Alexandria Virginia was a center of activity for the Union. Since then the city has done a fine job to preserve and present its Civil War heritage with the restoration and preservation of Fort Ward with a museum and the more recent effort to construct the Civil War Bike Trail with the cooperation of Arlington and Fairfax Counties in Virginia. Images of America - Fort Myer tells the story of the one and only remaining active fort from the Defenses of Washington. Over 200 historical photographs are included in the book. Another book which details all the defenses - the forts and batteries with maps, photos from private collections is the revised version of Mr Lincoln's Forts that is written by Benjamin Franklin Cooling and Walton Owens. Another interesting read is the book just published in November 2011 is Civil War Northern Virginia 1861 (The History Press) (Civil War Sesquicentennial) written by William S. Connery.
- Birthplace of military aviation,
- Birthplace of the National Weather Service,
- Home of the US Army Signal Corps School,
- The JEEP was tested and approved on Fort Myer,
- Home of the US Army Band since 1942,
- Home of The Old Guard since 1948
- Society Circus (which I believe evolved into "Spirit of America")
Executive Mansion - Washington
May 13, 1863As I continued to read, the note (which was re-written on the 14th) appointed William Whipple, older son of General Amiel Weeks Whipple to West Point. Recognizing the relationship, it quickly went onto the scanner to be included in the book. I didn’t realize until much later how rare a find it was since no one really knew about the note or even its existence! General Whipple was the commander of the Defenses of Washington - they were comprised of 70 forts which ultimately surrounded Washington DC during the US Civil War. He used Arlington House as his headquarters. According to other accounts located during the research of the book, President Lincoln would drive over to have lunch with General Whipple and afterward wrap his arms around Whipple’s two sons as he got the briefing. This note combined with the research established that Lincoln did visit Arlington House during the Civil War and a friendship developed between him and General Whipple. What I found at the National Archives made the book “Images of America - Fort Myer” outstanding. Get your own autographed copy of the book now! By John Michael
Has anyone come across the second note?
With the Lincoln note included, consider getting your own copy of "Images of America - Fort Myer" - A personalized - autographed copy of the book may be obtained - Buy the Book