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 <====
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
Overlooking Washington, DC is an outstanding example of a model military installation. For this installation that's been less than 500 acres in total size (even when South Post was included from the 1940s to 1970s), Fort Myer has packed a major punch in contributions to the US Army, The United States of America and the World.In Part ONE of Fort Myer Firsts, there were a few highlighted and here are some additional firsts which include:
- First long distance telephone line from Post to Washington DC
- First approved military airplane in 1909
- The JEEP was tested and approved on Fort Myer in 1941
- First trans-Atlantic "radio-communications" - The Three Sisters