Browsing articles tagged with "National War College Archives - Historic Fort Lesley J. McNair"
Oct
13

THE CAPITAL GETS STONED – LITERALLY!

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

 


Oct
10

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.

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Oct
6

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.

BUY THE BOOK

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

Jul
21

BOOK REVIEW – On Point Magazine

JOURNAL of THE ARMY HISTORICAL FOUNDATION

On Point Magazine: The Journal of Army History has been published as the Foundation’s quarterly journal since 1995. In addition to publishing various articles and  book reviews on U.S. Army history, On Point also provides information on the Foundation’s activities, including the status of the National Museum of the U.S. Army. On Point is provided to all AHF members. In the Summer 2016 issue of this outstanding and award-winning journal it was an honor to have  a book review of”Images of America – Fort Lesley J. McNair”.    The review speaks for itself .   Thank you,  Dr. Alice A Booher!

In the Summer 2016 issue of this outstanding and award-winning journal it was an honor to have  a book review of”Images of America – Fort Lesley J. McNair”.    The review speaks for itself .   Thank you,  Dr. Alice A Booher!

On-Point-Summer-2016-Cover-

 

On Point Magazine – Book Review

BOOK REVIEW In ON POINT MAGAZINE

 

About Fort Lesley J McNair

Established in `1791 as reservation #05 when Charles Pierre L’Enfant laid out the new Capital City, it has been defending the city of Washington DC since.  It is the third oldest US Army Post in continuous operation where the Military District of Washington (MDW), National Defense University (NDU) and several of its colleges  and the US Army Center of Military History (CMH) call home.

DOWNLOAD THE REVIEW

A PDF version of the On Point Magazine review is available for download – Fort McNair Book Review

SPECIAL OFFER — BUY THE BOOK!

 

FREE SHIPPING    Author Autographed COPY OF Images of America – Fort Lesley J. McNair

Until  SUNDAY, AUGUST 14, 2016 an author autographed copy of the book is available for purchase …


Inscription
Dedicated to whom?


 

ABOUT THE ARMY HISTORICAL FOUNDATION

The foundation was established in 1983 with the purpose of promoting the history of the US Army and ultimately build the National Museum of the US Army.  That latter purpose is finally becoming a reality.  The museum will be located in Fairfax County, Virginia at Fort Belvoir … an easy access from Interstate 95.

Sep
21

Book Signing – Meet the Author

MEET THE AUTHOR – John Michael

Barnes & Noble – Potomac Yards – Alexandria VA

 

SATURDAY –  03 OCT 2015 from 2PM until 4PM

 

Barnes & Noble Potomac Yards Alexandria, VA

Barnes & Noble
Potomac Yards
Alexandria, VA

A special opportunity to meet the author, John Michael, who has written two books,

Image of America – Fort Myer – released on 13 JUN 2011

AND

Images of America – Fort Lesley J. McNair – released on 04 MAY 2015

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Apr
4

A 1972 Tour of Fort Lesley J McNair – Part II

By John Michael  //  Fort Lesley J McNair  //  No Comments

PART II

SELECT PHOTOGRAPHS FROM 1972 DISCOVERED

This short tour of Fort Lesley J McNair provides only a small glimpse of what many call “A most beautiful US Army Post”

Roosevelt Hall  – a design by the architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White – first contained the Army War College.  The first graduating class that did their work within this beautiful building was the Class of 1909-10.  It stands as a tribute to them and those who followed.   After World War II,  the Army War College moved to Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania (taking their statue of Frederick the Great there too!).  The National War College now is located in Roosevelt Hall providing instruction to members of all branches of the military and other US government agencies such as the Department of State.   One graduate from more recent times is Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens,

 

Roosevelt Hall from the Northwest

Roosevelt Hall from the Northwest

“TEMPOS” – temporary buildings, built / erected to meet a pressing need and among those needs were the need for additional quarters – there’s never enough space for housing.   These barracks, which were located on the east side of post, down the road  a bit from Roosevelt Hall, provided much needed housing.

"Tempo" - Temporary Barracks on the East side

“Tempo” – Temporary Barracks on the East side

What is in present day called Grant Hall, was in 1972, housing for married military officers.  The building is the last remnant of the federal penitentiary that once occupied many more of the acres – it was built before the US Civil War.  The notoriety of the penitentiary is that’s where the Lincoln assassination conspirators were incarcerated.  Their trial took place on the third floor of this building seen below.  The gallows where they were later hanged on 07 JUL 1865 were erected just to what would be the left side of the building.   Tennis courts now occupy the space where the gallows stood.

Site of the Lincoln Assassination Conspirators Trial The Federal Penitentiary Building - later Grant Hall

Site of the Lincoln Assassination Conspirators Trial – The Federal Penitentiary Building – later Grant Hall

 

The US Army has its share of talented people.  The branch that is one of the work horses of the US Army is the Corps of Engineers.  The Engineering School once occupied the barracks shown below.  It also is where the US Army Music School later trained the musicians for all the US Army regimental bands.

 

Inter American Defense College

Inter American Defense College

 

There are two other sets of photographs from this group which can be seen –  PART I   and PART III.

OVER 200 HISTORICAL IMAGES, MAPS & ILLUSTRATIONS

The book, Images of America – Fort Lesley J. McNair contains 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 purchase the book from one of the major resellers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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