Remember April 19, 1775: Battle at Concord Bridge

April 19, 2016

Battle at Concord Bridge, April 19, 1775; National Guard Heritage Painting

Battle at Concord Bridge, April 19, 1775; National Guard Heritage Painting by Dominick D’Andrea.

For a story of the battle, and why the National Guard considers this part of its history, check out this story by Amelia Meyer at the National Guard Educational Foundation. The phrase, “shot heard ’round the world,” was first heard on July 4, 1837, at the dedication of the Concord monument.

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Yes, this is mostly an encore post. Fighting ignorance requires patience.

Yes, this is mostly an encore post. Fighting ignorance requires patience.


April 19, 1775: Battle at Concord Bridge

April 19, 2014

Battle at Concord Bridge, April 19, 1775; National Guard Heritage Painting

Battle at Concord Bridge, April 19, 1775; National Guard Heritage Painting by Dominick D’Andrea.

For a story of the battle, and why the National Guard considers this part of its history, check out this story by Amelia Meyer at the National Guard Educational Foundation.

More:


Utah Light Artillery in the Philippines, Spanish-American War

August 13, 2009

The Utah Light Artillery, painting by Keith Rocco -- August 13, 1898, Manila, Philippine Islands August 13, 1898, Manila, Philippine Islands  On April 6, 1898, Congress declared war on Spain and President William McKinley organized United States forces for the Splendid Little War. Of the tens of thousands of regular, volunteer and National Guard (Militia) troops who served, 343 Utah Guardsmen saw service in the Philippine Islands. On May 1st, after the Navys stunning victory at Manila Bay, McKinley authorized an invasion force to capture the Philippine archipelago from Spain. Organized into two batteries, the Utah Light Artillery mustered into federal service on May 9, 1898 at Fort Douglas, Utah. Shortly thereafter, at Camp Merritt near San Francisco, the Utah Artillery became part of Brig. Gen. Francis V. Greenes brigade of the U.S. VIII Corps under the command of Maj. Gen. Wesley Merritt.  Leaving San Francisco, Greenes brigade first raised the U.S. flag in Guam and then arrived on the island of Luzon on July 17, 1898. In the Philippines, 15,000 Americans not only faced 13,000 Spanish soldiers but a second army of some 12,000 Philippine rebels under Emilo Aguinaldo. The rebels had been fighting for national independence from Spain and hoping for American assistance. When Merritt ordered to keep the rebels out of the fight against Spain, the rebels became a second possible enemy.  On August 13th, the Utah Artillery supported Greenes brigade as it attacked towards the old city of Manila. The battle was predetermined to be a limited one in order to preserve Spanish honor and minimize casualties. The rebels, however, made this impossible. As American forces moved quickly against the Spanish defenses, a race to the old city center developed between the Americans and Aguinaldos rebels. The Utah batteries fired and re-deployed several times providing close and accurate support for the infantry attacks.  The Utah Light Artillery continued in federal service for another year and fought in the Philippine Insurrection until returning to Utah in August 1899. Todays 145th Field Artillery, Utah Army National Guard, carries on the history and traditions of the Utah Light Artillery.

Utah Light Artillery in the Spanish-American War – National Guard Heritage Gallery

On April 6, 1898, Congress declared war on Spain and President William McKinley organized United States forces for the “Splendid Little War.” Of the tens of thousands of regular, volunteer and National Guard (Militia) troops who served, 343 Utah Guardsmen saw service in the Philippine Islands. On May 1st, after the Navy’s stunning victory at Manila Bay, McKinley authorized an invasion force to capture the Philippine archipelago from Spain. Organized into two batteries, the Utah “Light” Artillery mustered into federal service on May 9, 1898 at Fort Douglas, Utah. Shortly thereafter, at Camp Merritt near San Francisco, the Utah Artillery became part of Brig. Gen. Francis V. Greene’s brigade of the U.S. VIII Corps under the command of Maj. Gen. Wesley Merritt.

Leaving San Francisco, Greene’s brigade first raised the U.S. flag in Guam and then arrived on the island of Luzon on July 17, 1898. In the Philippines, 15,000 Americans not only faced 13,000 Spanish soldiers but a second army of some 12,000 Philippine rebels under Emilo Aguinaldo. The rebels had been fighting for national independence from Spain and hoping for American assistance. When Merritt ordered to keep the rebels out of the fight against Spain, the rebels became a second possible enemy.

On August 13th, the Utah Artillery supported Greene’s brigade as it attacked towards the “old” city of Manila. The battle was predetermined to be a “limited” one in order to preserve Spanish honor and minimize casualties. The rebels, however, made this impossible. As American forces moved quickly against the Spanish defenses, a race to the old city center developed between the Americans and Aguinaldo’s rebels. The Utah batteries fired and re-deployed several times providing close and accurate support for the infantry attacks.

The Utah Light Artillery continued in federal service for another year and fought in the Philippine Insurrection until returning to Utah in August 1899. Today’s 145th Field Artillery, Utah Army National Guard, carries on the history and traditions of the Utah Light Artillery.

All text from the National Guard Heritage Gallery.


D-Day, remembered by the men who fought there

June 7, 2009

Before we move past remembrances of D-Day, let’s take a moment to think about and memorialize the soldiers who fought there, so many of whom died there.

From the National Guards feature, This Day in National Guard History:  Circular written by General Dwight D. Eisenhower explaining the importance of the Normandy invasion on winning the war. These were distributed to every member of the attacking force the night prior to the D-Day landings. Sergeant J. Robert Bob Slaughter, a Guard member of Virginias Company D, 116th Infantry, passed his copy around among the members of Company D to get their signatures (front and back) as they waited to load aboard the landing craft that would take them to Omaha Beach. By nightfall of June 6, about half of these men were dead or wounded. Courtesy John R. Slaughter

From the National Guard's feature, This Day in National Guard History: "Circular written by General Dwight D. Eisenhower explaining the importance of the Normandy invasion on winning the war. These were distributed to every member of the attacking force the night prior to the D-Day landings. Sergeant J. Robert "Bob" Slaughter, a Guard member of Virginia's Company D, 116th Infantry, passed his copy around among the members of Company D to get their signatures (front and back) as they waited to load aboard the landing craft that would take them to Omaha Beach. By nightfall of June 6, about half of these men were dead or wounded. Courtesy John R. Slaughter"

National Guard’s “Today in History” explains the story for June 6, 1944:

Normandy, France — The Allied invasion of France, commonly known as “D-Day” begins as Guardsmen from the 29th Infantry Division (DC, MD, VA) storm onto what will forever after be known as “bloody Omaha” Beach. The lead element, Virginia’s 116th Infantry, suffers nearly 80% casualties but gains the foothold needed for the invasion to succeed. The 116’s artillery support, the 111th Field Artillery Battalion, also from Virginia, loses all 12 of its guns in high surf trying to get on the beach. Its men take up arms from the dead and fight as infantrymen. Engineer support came from the District of Columbia’s 121st Engineer Battalion. Despite high loses too, its men succeed in blowing holes in several obstacles clearing paths for the men to get inland off the beach. In the early afternoon, Maryland’s 115th Infantry lands behind the 116th and moves through its shattered remnants to start the movement in off the beach. Supporting the invasion was the largest air fleet known to history. Among the units flying missions were the Guards’ 107th (MI) and 109th (MN) Tactical Reconnaissance Squadrons The Normandy campaign lasted until the end of July with four Guard infantry divisions; the 28th (PA), 29th, 30th (NC, SC, TN) and the 35th (KS, MO, NE) taking part along with dozens of non-divisional units all earning the “Normandy” streamer.

Be sure to read the other posts in this series about Eisenhower’s Order of the Day:D-Day, 65 years ago today,” and “Quote of the moment:  Eisenhower, duty and accountability.


Paul Revere’s ride, and the shot ‘heard ’round the world’

April 18, 2009

This is the anniversary of Paul Revere’s ride, which means tomorrow is the anniversary of the battles at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, that signaled the beginning of real hostilities of the American Revolution.

Details on the poems here and here — go get them and read them to your children.

The National Guard traces its beginnings to these events (see a description here — scroll down to April 18).

Shot heard round the world - Dominick D'Andrea, National Guard Heritage Gallery

Dominick D'Andrea painting from the National Guard Heritage Series. National Guard caption: At dawn on April 19, 1775, as 700 elite British soldiers marched toward Concord, they fought a brief skirmish with militiamen on Lexington Green, leaving eight colonists dead and nine wounded. The King’s troops marched on, arriving at Concord two hours later. While some troops searched the town for stores of gunpowder and arms, three companies guarded the “North Bridge.” As the British were marching toward Concord, word spread of the fight at Lexington. Alarm bells rang calling out the militia and Minute Men across Middlesex County. Among the units to muster was Colonel James Barrett’s Middlesex County Regiment of Minute Men. Once in formation the regiment moved onto a hill within 500 yards of where the British stood watch at North Bridge. Colonel Barrett, needing to organize additional militia companies, left his command to Major John Buttrick. When smoke appeared in the sky above Concord the Americans wrongly believed the British were burning the town. In response Buttrick decided to move his men toward the town. As the Americans advanced the British pickets fell back across the bridge. The last British unit to cross, the Light Company of the 4th (King’s Own) Foot, stopped to tear up some of the planks to delay the militia advance. Leading the American column was Captain Isaac Davis’s Company of Minute Men from Acton. As they got within 50 yards of the bridge Buttrick shouted at the British to stop tearing up the planks. Suddenly three British shots were fired, killing Davis and another man instantly and wounding a third. Buttrick shouted “Fire! For God’s sake Fire!” and the Minute Men unloosed a ragged but heavy volley. Four out of eight British officers were hit along with seven enlisted men, two of whom died. The British immediately fell back toward the town where they linked up with other Royal troops. Buttrick moved his men across the bridge as the British column began marching back down the road toward Boston. Militiamen gathered along their path and soon began firing from behind trees and stone walls, inflicting an ever-increasing number of casualties. When the exhausted British troops reached Lexington, scene of the fight earlier that morning, they were met by a relief force sent to accompany them back to Boston. However, the Americans did not stop their attacks, inflicting additional losses on the British column before it reached Boston. In total the British suffered almost 300 dead, wounded or missing. Within days an army of nearly 20,000 militiamen from all over New England surrounded the city, effectively putting it under siege. In 1875, on the 100th anniversary of the action at Concord, Daniel Chester French’s Minuteman statue, the symbol of today’s National Guard, was dedicated. As part of the ceremony, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem The Concord Hymn was read honoring the men who “fired the shot heard round the world” which began the Revolutionary War. Today’s National Guard is the direct descendent of those militia and Minute Men who stood their ground to protect their homes and freedoms.

National Guardsmen from the U.S. stand under arms around the world today, defending freedom and America’s towns, cities, farms, orchards, forests and wilderness.   Find a Guardsman today (including women), and thank them for their service.


National Guard history: First African American Medal of Honor

March 18, 2009

From the National Guard Image Gallery: The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment was recruited in the spring of 1863 by Governor John Andrew, who had secured the reluctant permission of the War Department to create a regiment of African-American soldiers. Like all Massachusetts Civil War soldiers, the 54ths men were enlisted in the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. These Guardsmen would serve as a test case for many skeptical whites who believed that blacks could not be good soldiers. The battle that proved they could was fought on Morris Island, at the mouth of Charleston Harbor. Following three days of skirmishes and forced marches with little rest, and 24 hours with no food, the regimental commander, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, requested the perilous honor of leading the attack of Fort Wagner, a sand and palmetto log bastion. As night fell, 600 men of the 54th advanced with bayonets fixed. Despite withering cannon and rifle fire, the men sustained their charge until they reached the top of the rampart. There, Colonel Shaw was mortally wounded. There, also, Sergeant William Carney, who had earlier taken up the National Colors when the color sergeant had been shot, planted the flag and fought off numerous attempts by the Confederates to capture it. Without support, and faced with superior numbers and firepower, the 54th was forced to pull back. Despite two severe wounds, Sergeant Carney carried the colors to the rear. When praised for his bravery, he modestly replied, I only did my duty; the old flag never touched the ground. Carney was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions, the first African-American to receive the award. The 54th Massachusetts suffered 270 casualties in the failed assault, but the greater message was not lost: some 180,000 African-American soldiers followed in the footsteps of these gallant Guardsmen, and proved that African-American soldiers could, indeed, fight heroically if given the opportunity.

From the National Guard Image Gallery: Fort Wagner, South Carolina, July 18, 1863; "The Old Flag Never Touched the Ground": The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment was recruited in the spring of 1863 by Governor John Andrew, who had secured the reluctant permission of the War Department to create a regiment of African-American soldiers. Like all Massachusetts Civil War soldiers, the 54th's men were enlisted in the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. These Guardsmen would serve as a test case for many skeptical whites who believed that blacks could not be good soldiers. The battle that proved they could was fought on Morris Island, at the mouth of Charleston Harbor. Following three days of skirmishes and forced marches with little rest, and 24 hours with no food, the regimental commander, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, requested the perilous honor of leading the attack of Fort Wagner, a sand and palmetto log bastion. As night fell, 600 men of the 54th advanced with bayonets fixed. Despite withering cannon and rifle fire, the men sustained their charge until they reached the top of the rampart. There, Colonel Shaw was mortally wounded. There, also, Sergeant William Carney, who had earlier taken up the National Colors when the color sergeant had been shot, planted the flag and fought off numerous attempts by the Confederates to capture it. Without support, and faced with superior numbers and firepower, the 54th was forced to pull back. Despite two severe wounds, Sergeant Carney carried the colors to the rear. When praised for his bravery, he modestly replied, "I only did my duty; the old flag never touched the ground." Carney was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions, the first African-American to receive the award. The 54th Massachusetts suffered 270 casualties in the failed assault, but the greater message was not lost: some 180,000 African-American soldiers followed in the footsteps of these gallant Guardsmen, and proved that African-American soldiers could, indeed, fight heroically if given the opportunity.

This is one of a series of artworks describing the history of the National Guard.  A sizable gallery of art covers the first muster of a militia in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1637, through rescue and recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  Along the way are highlights such as Lexington and Concord, Teddy Roosevelt’s New Mexico Rough Riders in Cuba, including Fort Wagner and the return of General Lafayette.  With some caution on accuracy, these are good for classroom use (the Rough Riders picture shows a man on horseback, but I understand the Rough Riders’ horses had not yet arrived when they stormed up San Juan Hill; it took more than 30 years for Carney to get his medal, etc.).



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