Two hundred and Forty years ago, our Nation’s leaders established the Continental Army, beginning a rich heritage of successfully defending this great country and her citizens. Today, we celebrate the continued honor, loyalty and bravery of our Soldiers in this noble calling. Our Soldiers remain Army Strong with a deep commitment to our core values and beliefs. This 240th birthday commemorates America’s Army – Soldiers, families and civilians – who are achieving a level of excellence that is truly Army Strong. We also celebrate our local communities for their steadfast support of our Soldiers and families. We are “America’s Army: The Strength of the Nation.”
When the American Revolution broke out, the rebellious colonies did not possess an army in the modern sense. Rather, the revolutionaries fielded an amateur force of colonial troops, cobbled together from various New England militia companies. They had no unified chain of command, and although Artemas Ward of Massachusetts exercised authority by informal agreement, officers from other colonies were not obligated to obey his orders. The American volunteers were led, equipped, armed, paid for, and supported by the colonies from which they were raised
.In the spring of 1775, this “army” was about to confront British troops near Boston, Massachusetts. The revolutionaries had to re-organize their forces quickly if they were to stand a chance against Britain’s seasoned professionals. Recognizing the need to enlist the support of all of the American seaboard colonies, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress appealed to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia to assume authority for the New England army. Reportedly, at John Adams’ request, Congress voted to “adopt” the Boston troops on June 14, although there is no written record of this decision. Also on this day, Congress resolved to form a committee “to bring in a draft of rules and regulations for the government of the Army,” and voted $2,000,000 to support the forces around Boston, and those at New York City. Moreover, Congress authorized the formation of ten companies of expert riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, which were directed to march to Boston to support the New England militia.
George Washington received his appointment as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army the next day, and formally took command at Boston on July 3, 1775
Continental Congress authorizes Army
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 7, 2013) — When the American Revolutionary War broke out in 1775, the original 13 colonies did not have a shared army, but instead, a collection of independent colonial militias.
The first battles of that war were fought April 19, 1775, in Middlesex County, Mass., by patriots of the Massachusetts militia. They were the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first hostilities between the colonies and Great Britain.
Following the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and as British troops moved back across Massachusetts toward Boston, colonial militia from around New England began massing around that city. Within days, thousands of militia members under the leadership of Artemas Ward of Massachusetts had Boston under siege.
By May 10, just weeks after hostilities began in Massachusetts, the Second Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia. On the agenda: creating a common army to defend the colonies.
A month later, on June 14, the Congress approved the creation of that army, the Continental Army. The new force was made of those militiamen already gathered outside Boston, some 22,000 of them, plus those in New York, about 5,000.
The following day, the 15th, the Congress named Virginian George Washington as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, and named Ward his second in command the following day.
The Congress also resolved to form a committee “to bring in a draft of rules and regulations for the government of the Army,” and voted $2 million to support the forces around Boston, and those in New York City.
Congress authorized the formation of 10 companies of expert riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, which were directed to march to Boston to support the New England militia. These were the first troops Congress agreed to pay from its own funds, and the units later became the 1st Continental Regiment.
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 7, 2013) — Before the American colonies even made their declaration of independence, the Second Continental Congress gathered together in Philadelphia 240 years ago to formally create a standing Army.
The next day, June 15, 1775, Congress chose George Washington, a Virginian, to be commander in chief. Washington’s military experience was perhaps greater than that of any other American, and he came from the largest and arguably the most important of the southern colonies. His impressive appearance, quiet and confident manner, and good work in the military committees of Congress had impressed his compatriots.
Washington himself recognized, when he accepted the command, that he lacked the requisite experience and knowledge in handling large groups of men. His entire military experience had been in frontier warfare during the French and Indian War, though he had commanded a brigade of troops from several colonies during the capture of Fort Duquesne. He was the only native-born American up to that time to command a force that size. Experience gained as a political leader in his native Virginia and in directing the business affairs of his large plantation at Mount Vernon also stood him in good stead.
Washington brought to command traits of character and abilities as a leader that in the end more than compensated for his lack of European military experience. Among these qualities were a determination and a steadfastness of purpose rooted in an unshakable conviction of the righteousness of the American cause, a scrupulous sense of honor and duty, and a dignity that inspired respect and confidence in those around him.
Conscious of his own defects, he was always willing to profit by experience.
The Army of which Washington formally took command on July 3, 1775, he described as “a mixed multitude of people under very little discipline, order or government.” Out of this mixed multitude, Washington set out to create an Army shaped in large part on the British image. Basing his observations on his experience with British regulars during the French and Indian War, he wrote: “Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak and esteem to all.”
Washington and his staff made strenuous efforts to halt the random comings and goings of officers and men and to institute regular roll calls and strength returns. Suspicious of the “leveling” tendencies of the New Englanders, Washington made the distinction between officers and enlisted men more rigid. He introduced various punishments such as the lash, pillory, wooden horse, and drumming out of camp along with courts-martials.
While establishing discipline in the existing army, Washington had at the same time to form a new one enlisted directly in the Continental service. Out of conferences with a congressional committee that visited camp in September 1775 emerged a plan for such an army, composed of 26 regiments of infantry of 728 men each, plus one regiment of riflemen and one of artillerymen. In all, 20,372 men became uniformly paid, supplied, and administered by the Continental Congress and enlisted to the end of the year 1776. The general by his choice received no pay throughout the Revolution.
It was a decent plan on paper; but Washington soon found he could not carry it out. Both officers and men resisted a reorganization that cut across the lines of the locally organized units in which they were accustomed to serve. The men saw as their first obligation their families and farms at home, and they were reluctant to re-enlist for another year’s service.
Washington also had to maintain the siege of Boston and overcome his deficiencies in supply. In these efforts he was more successful. Congress and the individual colonies sponsored voyages to the West Indies, where the French and Dutch had conveniently exported quantities of war materials. Washington put some of his troops on board ship and with an improvised navy succeeded in capturing numerous British supply ships.
He sent Col. Henry Knox, later to be his chief of Artillery, to Forts Ticonderoga; and Knox in the winter of 1775-1776. Knox brought some 50 pieces of captured cannon to Cambridge, Mass., over poor or nonexistent roads in icebound New York and New England. By March 1776, despite deficiencies in the number of continentals, Washington was ready to close in on Boston.
On March 4, 1776, he moved onto Dorchester Heights and emplaced his newly acquired artillery in position to menace the city; a few days later he fortified Nook’s Hill, standing still closer in. On March 17 the British moved out.
Maj. Gen. William Howe, who succeeded Maj. Gen. Thomas Gage in command, had concluded long since that Boston was a poor strategic base and intended to stay only until the transports arrived to take his army to Halifax in Nova Scotia to regroup and await reinforcements.
Nevertheless, Washington’s maneuvers hastened his departure, and the reoccupation of Boston was an important psychological victory for the Americans, balancing the disappointments of the Canadian campaign. The stores of cannon and ammunition the British were forced to leave behind were a welcome addition to the meager American arsenal and helped win the revolution.
Army to celebrate its 240th birthday
This month the United States Army will celebrate 240 years of deep commitment, abiding patriotism and indomitable spirit.
On June 14, 1775, our nation’s leaders established the Continental Army, beginning a rich heritage of successfully defending our great country and its citizens. American Soldiers have fought in 10 wars, from the American Revolution through the Cold War, the Gulf War and the current operations taking place around the world.
Today, we celebrate the continued honor, loyalty and bravery of our Soldiers in this noble calling.
The long tradition of service and sacrifice of our Soldiers is matched only by our civilians and families. I could not be prouder to serve with you all today in United States Army Europe.
As our nation faces fiscal uncertainty, difficult times and tough decisions, I look out into the ranks and there you stand – Soldiers, civilians and families – unwavering, ready and resilient, in defense of our nation’s flag and all that it stands for: equality, opportunity and freedom.
I want to personally thank our families for remaining a source of strength and resilience; our civilians for their steadfast dedication to the mission; and our Soldiers and veterans for their determination to defend our nation in a time of persistent conflict.
As we look to the future and recognize the challenges of this dynamic operational environment and the challenges it may pose, we all know that America’s Army will confront each with the same unsurpassed courage, selflessness and dedication that has characterized our history for 240 years.
We truly are America’s Army: service to the nation, strength for the future.
Strong Soldiers, Strong Teams!
These are from last years Celebration at Mount Vernon I will post this years Event after it takes place
239th Army birthday celebrations kick off at Mount Vernon
By J.D. Leipold
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 10, 2013) — Army birthday celebrations began somberly in the nation’s capital with a wreath laying at the tomb of the Continental Army’s first general, Alexandria, Va. Surrounded by several hundred visitors at the Mount Vernon estate of George and Martha Washington, Secretary of the Army John McHugh placed a wreath at the crypt of America’s first president. The event marked the start of a week of festivities surrounding the Army’s 239th birthday, which is officially June 14, 2013. Following the playing of Taps, McHugh, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler, and Ann Bookout, the 20th regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, gathered in the estate auditorium to present Purple Hearts to wounded Soldiers Sgt. Sean P. Karpf, Spc. Arael Lopez and Pfc. Cory A. Doane. Bookout opened the ceremony remarking that there was no better place for the Army to open its 239th birthday than at the home of the country’s first commander-in-chief. “Not only was George Washington first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was the first military official to recognize Soldiers who served and sacrificed for what we now call the Purple Heart,” she said. Unlike European armies at the time which only awarded medals to officers, Washington was the first to acknowledge that courage and commitment were qualities which should be recognized and celebrated regardless of rank, Bookout noted. Washington established the Badge of Military Merit, Aug. 7, 1782. That badge was the forerunner to the Purple Heart, developed later by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and introduced Feb. 22, 1932, the 200th anniversary of Washington’s birthday. The medal, which is awarded for wounds received by an enemy action, bears Washington’s profile and family coat-of-arms. This is the second year the Army has kicked off its birthday celebration at Mount Vernon. It is a tradition, the secretary said, he hopes will continue. “Before there was a nation, and before there was any symbol of that nation, the Constitution, the national seal, a flag, there was Washington,” McHugh said. “Without George Washington, there might have been no Army.” McHugh said it was Washington who first recognized that the strength of the military and the hope of early America rested with those citizens who chose to serve in uniform. He called out by name the three Soldiers who would be presented with the Purple Heart. He also acknowledged the wounded warriors in the audience. “Sometimes history and the will of Congress can be too overpowering, too compelling even for a man with the power of conviction, the courage and vision of George Washington,” McHugh said. “But some things can always be counted on, like the men and women of the United States Army. So we appreciate the opportunity to begin our birthday commemorations here at Mount Vernon, home of General Washington, as well as the beginning of the Purple Heart Trail.” The Purple Heart Trail was established in 1992, by the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Throughout 45 states and in Guam, bridges, highways, trails and roads have been designated as part of the Purple Heart Trail. The reminders let travelers know that others have paid a high price for freedom. For the sergeant major of the Army, the opportunity to launch Army birthday week at Mount Vernon was nothing short of a “pretty humbling experience.” “Laying a wreath at [the tomb of] one of the founding fathers, the first commander in chief, the first president of the United States, it’s pretty amazing,” Chandler said. “It’s almost as good as seeing Soldiers over in Afghanistan or in Iraq or some other place, it’s right up there as one of my top 10 things in being the sergeant major of the Army .”