Browsing articles tagged with "US Army Band 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
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
18

FREE BOOKS GIVEAWAY

 

THE GIVEAWAY IS OVER…

OVER 800 people entered to win on GOOD READS …

822 people entered this giveaway

 

However, You can still get something FREE —

FREE SHIPPING on an AUTOGRAPHED COPY of “Images of America – Fort Lesley J. McNair”   IT MAKES A GREAT GIFT OF HISTORY!

For the first 50 supporters get a copy with FREE SHIPPING

BUY OR ENTER GIVEAWAY

Images of America – Fort Lesley J. McNair is an outstanding book …  after several months of researching – pouring over thousands of photographs, maps and illustrations – and writing – word smithing the proper presentation, it became a reality on 04 MAY 2015.   It chronicles the decades of historic contributions made during those years by names such as Abraham Lincoln, Pierre L’Enfant, Walter Reed, Elihu Root, Theodore Roosevelt and others.

When it was the Washington Arsenal, it provisioned the Union Army during the Civil War. It’s acres are where The Old Guard were garrisoned,  where the Engineer School of the US Army trained new engineers, where the US Army Band  – “Pershing’s Own”  was relocated to after their organization at Fort Hunt, Virginia and before they relocated to Fort Myer, Virginia.  The Lincoln assassination conspirators were incarcerated tried and hanged.   Twenty-one women lost their lives when the gunpowder where they were working exploded.  Their group grave is at Congressional Cemetery.

 

Now an author autographed copy can be yours for free … OR you can support the author’s work and purchase one for yourself and your friend and your local library … BUY THE BOOK

 

For those of you who like to play the odds and might get a free one… the author has placed a giveaway on GOOD READS where THOUSANDS of members are vying for the same free books only a few copies.   Either way you win… in the former, it’s a win win win for you, the author and military history.

 

GOODREADS FREE BOOKS GIVEAWAY

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Images of America - Fort Lesley J. McNair by John Michael

Images of America – Fort Lesley J. McNair

by John Michael

Giveaway ends September 30, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

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.

 

Nov
27

Thanksgiving at Fort Lesley J McNair in 1964

By John Michael  //  Fort Lesley J McNair  //  Comments Off on Thanksgiving at Fort Lesley J McNair in 1964

HAPPY THANKSGIVING 1964

Back in 1964,  it was when Fort Lesley J McNair had a post commander.  The Military District of Washington (MDW) had still not moved onto the post. And both the Engineers and US Army Band – “Pershing’s Own” relocated to different posts (the Band relocated to Fort Myer in the 1940s and along with it, the US Army School of Music.)

Yet, there were troops that were garrisoned on post and they enjoyed a very delightful meal. Among them were the troops from the US Army’s oldest infantry unit – the 3d Infantry – The Old Guard – Alpha Company.  This company of soldiers, which in current times is also known as the Commander-in-Chief’s Guard, is one of the specialty units within this regiment.

Commander-in-Chief's Guard

Commander-in-Chief’s Guard

 

These soldiers are the ones who wear the colonial uniform as prescribed by General George Washington and carry flintlocks which they refer to as “firelocks” with long bayonets. Their officers carry items known as espontoons. Their marching style is rather unique for today’s way of marching,  especially when it comes to turning – they do “wheels”!

Rolling the clock back, here’s the Thanksgiving menu from over fifty years ago with well wishes expressed by the commanders.

 

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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