The Continental Congress Establishes a Corps of Marines
November 10, 1775, was officially recognized as the birthday of the United States Marine Corps through Marine Corps Order No. 47 in 1921. The order proudly states:
"From the Battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war, and in the long eras of tranquility at home, generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas, that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security."
On November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress resolved, "that two Battalions of marines be raised," and that they "be able to serve to advantage by sea when required" and "that they be distinguished by the names of the first & second battalions of American Marines." A copy of the full resolution is in the Papers of the Continental Congress on Fold3.
Unlike the Navy, which served only at sea, the first Corps of Marines was formed from infantry units deployed both at sea and on shore. Their first successful mission was at Fort Nassau in the Bahamas, March 3-4, 1776. Although disbanded in 1783 after the Revolutionary War, the U.S. Marine Corps was reestablished on July 11, 1798. The original date of November 10, 1775, continues to be celebrated by Marines around the globe today.
Happy 237th birthday, USMC!
(1862–2012) This Month in the Civil War: General Burnside Heads Army of the Potomac
General Ambrose Burnside was named Commander of the Army of the Potomac in November 1862, replacing General George McClellan who continued to disappoint President Lincoln with his strategic weaknesses, and most especially for failing to pursue General Lee's retreating army after the Battle of Antietam. Burnside had been asked to take the position on two previous occasions but modestly felt he was not suitable.
Burnside attended the Military Academy at West Point, served in Mexico City during the Mexican-American War, and distinguished himself in several Civil War battles before his appointment as Commander of the Army of the Potomac. Unfortunately, it was a short-lived appointment, as he was replaced by General Joseph Hooker in January 1863 after the Battle of Fredericksburg and a second offensive that failed due to miserable winter conditions.
Burnside's portrait is easily recognized, as he sported distinctive mutton-chop whiskers which connected to a moustache, but no beard. His last name was turned inside out and applied to the style. As a result, such facial hair has been called "sideburns" to this day.
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