The Gates of Fort Myer...For the longest time I've thought that the WRIGHT gate was named in honor of the Wright Brothers who brought aviation to the military when Orville showed up in 1908 for the first military aviation flights - that same time we lost LT Thomas Selfridge when the Wright Flyer fell from nearly 100 feet after a propeller shattered and caused the aeroplane to fall from the sky causing Orville Wright to get injured - broken ribs and broken leg, while LT Selfridge suffered a concussion and passed on a few hours later. HOWEVER...
CHIEF OF ENGINEERS
Recent research has turned up a new possibility ...The US Army Corps of Engineers - Engineers to the United States and many cases to the world - had a Chief of Engineers named Wright... who was in the same graduating class as MG Amiel Weeks Whipple - Class of 1841 from the US Military Academy at West Point, NY
Brigadier General Horatio Gouverneur WrightChief of Engineers (June 30, 1879–March 6, 1884) Born March 6, 1820, in Clinton, Connecticut, Horatio Wright graduated second in the Military Academy Class of 1841 (the same class as Amiel Weeks Whipple) and was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers. He superintended construction at Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas, 70 miles west of Key West, Florida, 1846–1856. While assistant to the Chief Engineer of the Army, 1856–1861, he was a member of boards to study iron carriages for seacoast guns and the adaptability of the 15-inch gun for ordnance. He co-wrote Report on Fabrication of Iron for Defenses. From Chief Engineer of a division at the first Battle of Bull Run, he advanced to command the famous Sixth Army Corps, which saved Washington, D.C., from capture in 1864 and spearheaded the final assault on Petersburg and the pursuit of Lee to Appomattox in 1865. He commanded the Department of Texas, 1865–1866, and served as a member on the Board of Engineers for Fortifications and on many river and harbor planning boards until he was appointed Chief of Engineers in 1879. While Wright was Chief of Engineers, engineer officers began a reservoir system at the headwaters of the Mississippi River and initiated the first substantial federal effort to control the river’s lower reaches. Gen. Wright retired March 6, 1884, and died July 2, 1899, in Washington, DC
You DecideSo is WRIGHT GATE named for the Wright Brothers or for MG Horatio Wright OR for someone else? Please comment below...
DO You Have the Book?Images of America - Fort Myer takes you through the first one hundred years of this Civil War era fort when it began as Fort Whipple. An autographed copy is available from John Michael or from several other locations or online book sellers ... so BUY THE BOOK !
Historic Flights Originated on Fort MyerOn 02 August 1909 another military aviation milestone was reached. It was when the US Army Signal Corps secured the Wright Flyer from the Wright Brothers. For the sum of $30,000.00 of which $5,000.00 was a bonus for exceeding the requirements of speed of flight, - They flew from the Fort Myer to Alexandria Virginia and back at the speed of 42.5 mph. It marked the Future of Aviation as the United States was now the first country in the world to own an aircraft. The saga began in September 1908 when the first military flights began on Fort Myer - circling the drill field with Arlington National Cemetery as the backdrop to history being made on this US Army Post. Orville Wright had appeared with his Wright Flyer prepared to answer the US Army Signal Corps' request for a heavier than air flying machine. He successfully demonstrated the capability of the Wright Flyer. Despite the crash caused by a shattered propeller that dropped Orville and LT Thomas Selfridge from the sky at about one hundred feet. Orville suffered broken bones in his leg and broken ribs. Selfridge fared worse with a concussion that later resulted in him passing. He then became the first military aviation fatality. Section 3 in Arlington National Cemetery is where he is at rest.
Wright Brothers Return in 1909When the US Army agreed to a return appearance, the Wright brothers, both Orville and WIlbur returned in June 1909 with a brand newly built airplane designated the "Military Flyer". It was then flown several times for both duration of flight and speed. After the second speed test flight which included Orville flying from Fort Myer to Alexandria Virginia and return, the US Army was convinced of the value of what the Wright brothers produced. The US Army bought the future of aviation with the acceptance of the Military Flyer. Later in August, after a balloon reconnaissance by Lt Frank Lahm, land in College Park, Maryland was leased to become the first US Army Signal Corps Airport. The airport continues until today thus holding the distinction of the oldest airport in the world. An aviation museum sits alongside the runway where the Wright brothers trained the first US Army pilots. Later other aviation companies would get there start among those acres.
OVER 200 Historical Images"images of America - Fort Myer" chronicles the first one hundred years of this historic US Army Post from when it was built in the 1860s and known then as Fort Whipple until the 1960s when among the 3d Infantry regiment appeared the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps. An autographed by the author copy of the book is avail able at BUY THE BOOK.
SELECT PHOTOGRAPHS FROM 1972 DISCOVERED (continued)In Part I of this 1972 Tour of Fort Myer, several newly discovered images were presented. Here in Part II, several more of that cache of photographs from 1972 are presented below. As mentioned in Part I, when exploring America's attic, the findings can sometimes be surprising. One of the several homes on Grant Avenue, also known as "Generals' Row" It once was the quarters of General George S. Patton Jr. Whipple Field is not too too far away (it's across the street!) That's where the Civil War era fortification "Fort Whipple" was located. One of two of the nearly 70 fortifications located within the acres of present day Historic Fort Myer - the other was Fort Cass which were part of the Defenses of Washington Some nearly turn of the century building that contained the Post hospital (It was where Orville Wright and Lieutenant Selfridge were taken in SEP 1908 after the Wright Flyer crashed during a test flight on Fort Myer) In later years, the hospital was closed and the building became Post Headquarters where the command staff is located. At one period of time, Fort Myer was a showcase for the US Cavalry. With about 1,500 horses which were serving the field artillery and the cavalry, there were many more stables on post. That all changed in February 1942 when the 3d Cavalry - "The Brave Rifles" relinquished their mounts and were shipped south to get mechanized. The Army's Remount Service only lasted until 1948 when all the depots, including the one at Front Royal, Virginia were turned over to the US Department of Agriculture. Many of the stables on post were re-purposed or in the case of those used by the field artillery units, were torn down - their gun sheds also were scrapped. The stable in the photo is the McKinney Stable where the Old Guard's Caisson Platoon spends most of their waking hours tending to the horses that provide the transport of the veterans in Arlington National Cemetery. Other stables to the north of this one have been repurposed - one is the home of the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps. Down below Whipple Field are several other stables which were used by the Buffalo Soldiers while they were stationed at Fort Myer. Both the 9th and 10th Cavalry were stationed at the Post. Comny Hall, named for COL Joseph B. Conmy Jr. who commanded the 3d Infantry - "The Old Guard" in 1962. Back in the day, when Fort Myer was a Cavalry Showcase, this was the riding arena where the troopers kept their skills sharp during the winter months. The hall, with it's floor of ground also provided the location where the Society Circus was held to entertain those from the city of Washington and surrounds. After the cavalry left in 1942, the building was repurposed and over time became the location where ceremonies would be held - retirements, changes of command / responsibility and even events such as Twilight Tattoo, Prelude to Taps and even Spirit of America. Since 1948 when the 3d Infantry was re-activated and the regiment became a "permanent resident" of the Post, their soldiers in concert with the US Army Band - "Pershing's Own" provided all the ceremonial troops for the events. COMMISSARY - these buildings back in 1972 is where the Soldiers and their families came to shop for their provisions. It was before the current commissary was built near the southwest corner of the Post. These buildings are now used for other purposes such as the Post thrift shop.
BUY THE BOOKIf you've enjoyed this small glimpse of Fort Myer, then perhaps you should BUY THE BOOK. An author autographed copy is available here on this website. Coming next A 1972 Tour of Fort Myer - Part III Or a look back at A 1972 Tour of Fort Myer - Part i
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 <====