Albert 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.
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We’re going to another re-printing of the book! To all of you who have bought and supported the work… it’s most appreciated! FREE SHIPPING will continue through 31 AUGUST 2012… It’ll also give you a chance to help build the National Museum of the US Army! Please share this post and tell all your friends … Thank you
For a limited time only, an autographed copy of “Images of America – Fort Myer” can be had … FREE SHIPPING and $1.00 of your purchase price is donated to the Army Historical Foundation - They’re building the National Museum of the US Army —
or to the clothing store on Fort Myer?
These are two of the new locations that will be carrying “Images of America – Fort Myer” or if you prefer to get your copy autographed or from online booksellers, you can purchase via the “Buy the Book” link above.
The book, the first ever about Fort Myer, has been selected by Virginia Festival of the Book 2012 as a featured item. On the 23rd of March it will be presented and discussed at this the largest book festival on the east coast of the United States – held annually in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Are you attending Virginia Festival of the Book?
When are you planning to visit Arlington National Cemetery?
DATELINE – Charlottesville Virginia: “Images of America – Fort Myer” has been selected as one of the books to be featured at this annual March 2012 event. From a field of nearly 1,000 books submitted, it was selected.
Author John Michael will be onsite to present and discuss his ground-breaking first book about this unique US Army Post with origins during the US Civil War as part of the Defenses of Washington, when it was named Fort Whipple
Fort Whipple was built in JUNE 1863 on Arlington Heights, Virginia within the acreage that was the Custis-Lee estate. It was in honor of General Amiel Weeks Whipple who was the commander of the Defenses of Washington’s southern fortifications, who used Arlington House as his headquarters.
The Post was later renamed Fort Myer to eliminate the confusion with the other Fort Whipple located in Arizona and to honor General Albert J. Myer, the US Army’s first Signal Officer who located the US Army’s Signal Corps School on the acres.
Home to the US Army’s two elite units: The US Army Band – “Pershing’s Own” and “The Old Guard – 3d Infantry Regiment of the US Army, Fort Myer continues to provide defense of Washington DC – the Capital of the United States of America.
More information about the event and times and locations within Charlottesville is at Virginia Festival of the Book 2012
On 21 OCT 1817 in Concord, Massachusetts, Amiel Weeks Whipple was born to David Whipple, an innkeeper in Concord and Abigail Pepper, the daughter of Joseph Pepper, a Lieutenant in the American Revolution.
Whipple’s education included attending Concord’s schools and in 1836 entered Amherst College, then appointed to the US Military Academy at West Point where he graduated fifth in his class in JUN 1841. Initially assigned to the First Artillery after his commissioning, he was transferred to the Topographical Engineers with assignments at Patapaco River, Maryland then New Orleans, Louisiana and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Various other assignments including the mapping of the route of the transcontinental railroad in western United States followed. When the southern states began their secession, he was ordered to Washington DC where he would then map the densely wooded Northern Virginia countryside. His next assignment would be Chief Topographical Engineer for General McDowell. His use of various methods of reconnaissance including the balloons promoted by Doctor Thaddeus K. Lowe was forward thinking.
For most of 1862, then General Whipple commanded a division of the First Army Corps using Arlington House, the former residence of General Robert E. Lee as his headquarters. It was then that the friendship of President Lincoln and the General continued to strengthen as Lincoln would drive over to Arlington House in the Presidential carriage and lunch with Whipple and afterwards as Lincoln wrapped his arms around Whipple’s two sons, would get the briefing from the General.
Looking to contribute more to the war effort, General Whipple applied for a combat role and was put in command of the 3d Division of III Army Corps participating in the battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862. Later, in May 1863 he continued to command at the battle of Chancellorsville, when on 4 MAY he was mortally wounded by a sharpshooter.
Lincoln would later attend the funeral of General Whipple not as the President, but as a friend and would later write the note on 13 MAY 1863 to General Totten appointing William Whipple, the older son to West Point. An image of the note, which was never seen before or even known about until it was discovered by John Michael is published and appears for the first time in the book “Images of America – Fort Myer”
As the Defenses of Washington continued to be augmented with additional forts, one would be named for General Whipple – on Arlington Heights in the vicinity where he ordered a balloon aloft to gather intelligence. That location, named Fort Whipple, would evolve and grow into present-day Fort Myer.
With the remount depots already established in Montana – Fort Keogh and Oklahoma – Fort Reno, the US Army cast its eyes to the East and sought out a place for the third remount depot authorized by Congress. The choice was Virginia, but rather than on an established military installation, the depot was built from the ground up.
On August 30, 1911 in Front Royal, Virginia, the East Coast remount depot of the US Army opened for operation. The Army had acquired 5,000 acres near the Appalachian / Blue Ridge Mountains combining several farms and erecting a complex of buildings. The third remount depot of the US Army’s Remount Service was the only one constructed as a depot. Others had been carved out of existing US Army Posts across the country (Fort Keogh, Montana – Fort Reno, Oklahoma - Fort Robinson, Nebraska.) and one established in the 1940s was donated – Pomona, California.
As the Army’s Remount Service evolved and matured, other sub-depots would be set up around the country to accommodate the ranches, universities and other locations which would join in to contribute to the operations.
In a series of field trips to the location, it was great to walk among the acres and observe the complex of buildings nestled among the acres imagining the fields full of horses. Heading to the ridge where once was a track where races were held on the weekends, a wonderful building known as the stallion barn was to the east. The Army acquired a select collection of stallions to begin the process of improving the available horses to provision the cavalry and field artillery.
Reaching the ridge and heading to the north-side of the track, the horse cemetery that I had been informed about was near a stone wall. The headstones looked very familiar, but something was not completely clicking. Then I realized that they were Quartermaster issued stones… the same ones that are used in Arlington National Cemetery and all the rest of the National Cemeteries across the US. The only difference was instead of burying them half-way as they do in ANC, these were up on pedestals.
It was pointed out to me that the open space between the stones is where Kidron & Jeff – General John “Blackjack” Pershing’s horses were buried. Their headstones were removed and are somewhere among the acres that was Fort Robinson in Nebraska. When the remount depot at Fort Keogh in Montana was closed, Fort Robinson was established as its replacement and became the largest of the remount depots within the US Army Remount Service. No further information was available why they ended up there. Of peculiar interest is one headstone – it peaks just like the stones that surround the Confederate Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery.
The remount depot at Front Royal, Virginia was near the railroad that would eventually transport the horses to Fort Myer via Alexandria providing fresh mounts for the cavalry and the field artillery caissons. Additionally, the remount service also provided fresh mules and especially during WW II, dogs.
When the remount service was deactivated in 1948, all the remount depots reverted to the US Department of Agriculture. The Smithsonian later acquired the Front Royal remount depot’s main acreage of 4,200 acres. It became The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) which facilitates and promotes conservation biology programs at the National Zoo. Currently closed to the public, the facility does open one weekend a year – the first weekend in October. For more information you can go to the Smithsonian’s website and SCBI’s page.
The book “Images of America – Fort Myer” contains over 200 historical photographs which include the US Army’s Remount Service along with a historical chronology in photographs of the first one hundred years of this unique US Army Post with origins during the US Civil War when it was known as Fort Whipple.
After months of anticipation, the book “Images of America – Fort Myer” is in the market. Thank all of you who pre-ordered the AUTOGRAPHED copy of the book. Your author autographed book ships TODAY!
NOTE: You can still get an author autographed copy of the book… and it’ll ship immediately! Just go to “BUY THE BOOK” and click on the link.
It was late April of 1935, Easter Sunday was on the 21st and the dedication of the Post Chapel that would bring a formal place of worship to Fort Myer. The project was begun and carefully watched over by then MAJ George S. Patton, Jr., another of his legacies to this historic US Army Post.
In an OCT 1933 report to then Post Commander, COL Kenyon Joyce, Patton outlined the specifics of building a principal chapel and nixed the idea of a separate mortuary chapel on Fort Myer. His conclusions were drawn after a field trip to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington DC where he surveyed the chapels on the grounds.
Highlighted within the book “Images of America – Fort Myer” among the other historical photographs and images are images of the chapel and Patton Hall which was first used as a chapel before the “Old Post Chapel” was built. Ground-breaking for the construction of the chapel began on 04 FEB 1934 and then cornerstone was placed both of which without much fanfare or ceremony.
Over time, this one building would become the iconic representation when one thought about Fort Myer. It was the focal point proudly occupying the center of the garrison’s insignia. In addition to providing a place for worship for the Fort Myer Military community, it hosted many weddings and also provided the starting place for many of the final honors which would end in adjacent Arlington National Cemetery.
It is also known for it’s unique stained glass windows.
Begun as the Women’s Army Auxilliary Corps (WAAC) in MAY 1942, it became a branch of the US Army in 1943 then known as the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). During WW II some 150,000 women served in the Army and Fort Myer had its share. Colonel Oveta Culp Hobby was the first director from 1942 to 1945. At Fort Myer, South Post, they were about 1,900 in number and housed in barracks at what was that time South Post of Fort Myer.
They were the first women to serve in the Army other than nurses. “Images of America – Fort Myer” includes several historical photographs which provide a glimpse of the past service of these women who lived on South Post. The WAC would continue on as a branch of the US Army until 1978, when those who were serving, were included into the Army based on their military occupational specialty (MOS)
When the Custis-Lee’s lived and worked among their 1,100 acres, the flat land near the Potomac River was where they grew their crops in support of the estate – for their own personal use and to also sell in nearby Alexandria City and downtown Washington DC.
Nearly 100 years later as World War II raged in Europe and the Pacific, the land which had been then used by the US Department of Agriculture to raise experimental crops was requisitioned by the War Department. The northern half of the acreage would still be called Arlington Farms, the southern part would initially become Arlington Cantonment, later South Post of Fort Myer.
A major housing complex was constructed for the thousands of women who would work downtown Washington DC were constructed on this northern acreage. It served the needs of the country’s war effort well. After the war, the buildings were raised and later Arlington National Cemetery’s visitor center and administration building would be built within the acreage, while the remainder would be used for final resting places for the military veterans and their spouses. The most northern boundary of the acreage would eventually be marked by the Netherlands Carillon, a gift from the people of the Netherlands for the aid that the United States provided during and after WW II.
The book, “Images of America – Fort Myer” contains over 200 images, some of them aerial photos and diagrams that shows the evolution over time how the landscape of this area changed plus.