Browsing articles tagged with "Army War College Archives - Historic Fort Lesley J. McNair"


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Buy a book ….  get it autographed and inscribed  PLUS a FREE  “About Fort Lesley J. McNair”  monograph containing a Summary, Key Facts, Influences and upcoming 2018 Events and FREE Shipping!

Over 200 historical photographs chronicle the history of this historic US Army Post.  They are augmented with clear textual description.  Learn about this third oldest post – its origins date back to 1791 when Major Pierre L’Enfant laid out the new Capital City of Washington, DC.  Currently the home of the Military District of Washington, The Center of Military History, The Dwight D Eisenhower School, The National War College and The National Defense University.   Learn about the challenge for the Lincoln Assassination conspirators…  the home of the Army Corps of Engineers School and Band. While it was Washington Barracks, it was also home to the US Army Band – “Pershing’s Own”   All this and more …


To the first 25 buyers another PLUS  —  a 16-page FREE Monograph.

Fort McNair Monograph

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Also by John Michael

The first book about For Myer is also available autographed 

Images of America - Fort Myer

Images of America
Fort Myer

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Boundary Stones – There were Forty of Them

Few People realize that surrounding Washington DC are boundary stones that mark the perimeter of the Capital City. The first stone was placed in Alexandria, Virginia at Jones Point Lighthouse in the Potomac River.

The Banneker and Ellicott Team

The boundaries of the new Capital City were marked by forty (40) boundary stones placed by Major Andrew Ellicott, his two brothers Joseph and Benjamin Ellicott among others, one of those being Benjamin Banneker.  Banneker, who was a mathematician and astronomer, placed the first stone at what is Jones Point Lighthouse in Alexandria, Virginia.


boundary stones


Back in 1791 and 1792, Andrew Ellicott and friends went around the 10-mile square of the planned City of Washington and placed a boundary stone every mile of the perimeter.  The stones had four sides – facing inward towards DC (which read “Jurisdiction of the United States” and a mile number, facing outward (which showed the name of the bordering state, either Maryland or Virginia), and the other sides showed the year the stone was placed and the compass variance at that point.

Interestingly, the stones are the oldest federal monuments in the country, and they are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Many of the forty stones remain in their original places, including the ones that now mark the boundary of Arlington County, Virginia (once known as Alexandria County, Virginia).

With this perimeter in place, Major Pierre Charles L’Enfant began to lay out the new Capital City of Washington, DC with a concentration on the Maryland side of the Potomac River.   His design was based upon his knowledge of European cities such as Paris where he studied before coming to the aid of the thirteen colonies during the American Revolutionary War.  He was George Washington’s engineer during that conflict. He drew a map defining the city and the federal reservations – one of which,  Reservation #05 initially of 28 acres would evolve into Fort Lesley J. McNair (after being known as Washington Arsenal, Washington Barracks, Army War College [The Army War College relocated to Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania after WW II] and Fort Humphreys)


washington defenses 1798

After all the name changes the peninsula of acres has had since 1791 a name was finally settled upon, It would be after WW II, to honor the commander of the ground forces in Europe,  LTG Lesley J McNair that the acres would get a name that has lasted until present day.  It’s where the National Defense University with the iconic Roosevelt Hall designed by McKim, Mead and White the architects of the era, the Military District of Washington and The US Army’s Center of Military History are currently headquartered.  (The US Army Band – “Pershing’s Own” and Alpha Company of The 3d Infantry – “The Old Guard”  also once was stationed here)

The District of Columbia Loses Virginia

When the new Capital City was first proposed, both the states of Maryland and Virginia contributed land for a total of 100 square miles.  In 1846, the area of 31 square miles (80 km2) which was ceded by Virginia was returned, leaving 69 square miles (179 km2) of territory originally ceded by Maryland as the current area of the District in its entirety.  The retrocession was due to an issue that Virginia had with the use of its contribution.


boundary stone perimeter of Washington DC

The original contributions of Maryland (yellow) and Virginia (red) to the District of Columbia in the 1790s



Where in the World is Freddy?

By John Michael  //  Army War College, Fort Lesley J McNair  //  No Comments

Freddy is Missing ?

frederick the great

Roosevelt Hall located on Fort Lesley J. McNair began as the home of the US Army War College – a concept conceived by then Secretary of War, Elihu Root and approved by then President Theodore Roosevelt.  The building proclaims the Beaux Arts styling and was designed by the noted architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and White.

read more


A Great Foundation Deserves a Great Book

By John Michael  //  National Defense University  //  No Comments
marshall hall of national defense university

Marshall Hall of National Defense University

Breaking News…

National Defense University Foundation Gift Shop06 October 2016 – As of this date Images of America – Fort Lesley J. McNair is now available in Marshall Hall of the National Defense University located on Fort Lesley J. McNair.   Copies of the book which chronicles the history of the third oldest US Army post are available in the gift shop.  They are autographed by the author, John Michael, and sales benefit the National Defense University Foundation.

Images, Photographs, and Maps

The book contains over 200 images that provide insight about the military installation since its founding in 1791.  Over time it’s been an arsenal providing the ordnance for the Civil War, the site of the first federal penitentiary and where the Lincoln assassination conspirators were incarcerated, tried, and hanged.  The Army Corps of Engineers school was here while a major building effort provided the iconic Roosevelt Hall – designed by the architects McKim, Mead and White and other now historic buildings: Officers’ Club and quarters, barracks, stables, hospital, clinic …  stays by the US Army Band and the Music School.


National Defense University Foundation Gift Shop


More About Fort Lesley J. McNair

For several years Major Walter Reed practiced medicine and determined that the mosquito was the reason for  Yellow Fever while among these acres.  Up until the beginning of WW II, the Army War College occupied Roosevelt Hall until being relocated to Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.  The post also is the headquarters of the Military District of Washington. The US Army’s Center of Military History has called Fort McNair home since the 1990s.  The 3d Infantry – the Old Guard’s Alpha Company – also known as the Commander in Chief’s Guard – was garrisoned in the barracks on the post.


Images of America - Fort Lesley J. McNair

Images of America – Fort Lesley J. McNair

An  Author Autographed copy of the book is available for purchase directly from the author, John Michael.  Buy the Book


Army War College Class of 1909

By John Michael  //  Army War College, Washington Barracks  //  No Comments


The building of Roosevelt Hall was completed in 1907 and the Army wasted no time to begin educating the first class in the new structure there on what was Greenleaf Point.  It was then named Washington Barracks. The first graduating class included nearly thirty officers selected from the US Army, Yet one officer was from the US Marine Corps who would later rise to become the Commandant of the US Marine Corps.

The photo below is of those officers and the military units they came from.


Army War College - Class of 1909 - 1910

Army War College – Class of 1909 – 1910


NOTE: The persons are numbered – from 01 to 21 are standing and from 22 to 30 are seated in the photo.

They are:

  1. LTC John A, Lejeune,  US Marine Corps
  2. CPT Edwin Landon, USA Coast Artillery Corps
  3. MAJ Carl Reichman, USA 24th Infantry
  4. CPT Eli A. Helmick, USA 10th Infantry
  5. MAJ Guy Carlton, General Staff, Director, Army War College
  6. MAJ George L. Irwin, USA 3rd Field Artillery
  7. CPT Malin Craig, USA General Staff
  8. CPT William K. Naylor, USA 9th Infantry
  9. CPT Alexander F. Dade, USA 9th Cavalry
  10. CPT Edwin O. Sarratt, USA Coast Artillery Corps
  11. MAJ Daniel E. Houghton, USA General Staff
  12. CPT Sherwood A Cheney, USA Corps of Engineers
  13. MAJ William A. Brown, USA 3rd Cavalry
  14. CPT George H. Jameson, USA 29th Infantry
  15. LTC D. A. Frederick, USA General Staff, Director Army War College
  16. CPT Fox Conner, USA General Staff
  17. CPT Frank S. Cocheu, USA General Staff
  18. CPT Gilbert A. Youngberg, USA Corps of Engineers
  19. MAJ Godfrey H. MacDonald, USA 13th Cavalry
  20. MAJ David J. Baker,Jr, USA 11th Infantry
  21. CPT Joseph D. Leitch, USA General Staff
  22. MAJ Charles L. Beckurts, USA 5th Infantry
  23. LTC John T. Knight, USA Quartermaster Department
  24. MAJ Robert A. Brown, USA 4th Cavalry
  25. MAJ Eben Swift, USA General Staff
  26. BG William Wallace Witherspoon, President Army War College
  27. LTC Lyman W. V. Kennon, USA 14th Infantry
  28. LTC Hunter Liggett, USA 15th Infantry
  29. LTC Charles M. O’Connor, USA 6th Cavalry
  30. LTC John C. F. Tillson, USA 18th Infantry


Distinguished in their accomplishment, their graduation marked a turning point in the way that the US Army and eventually the US military would be provided more training and insight. The Army War College would remain located on what became Fort Lesley J. McNair until 1946 when the National War College was established and located in Roosevelt Hall.

Today the Army War College is located at Carlisle Barracks, another historic US Army installation in the state of Pennsylvania.  They took Freddy –  the statue of Frederick the Great with them and he’s located near the Hessian Powder Magazine building on post.



The book, Images of America – Fort Lesley J. McNair has over two hundred historical photographs, images and illustrations which chronicle the two hundred plus years of history among the acres of this US Army Post.

The book “Images of America – Fort Lesley J McNair”  is “a walk down memory lane” as one reader called it after he turned the last page.  Go beyond

Images of America - Fort Lesley J. McNair

Images of America – Fort Lesley J. McNair

the website and read more of the history with your own copy – BUY THE BOOK offers the opportunity to get either a personalized & autographed copy from the author or buy the book from one of the major resellers.


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