ORDERS GEORGE WASHINGTON
|“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine
whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves… the fate
of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage
and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves
us no choice but a brave resistance, or the most abject submission…
we have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die.”
|“When in the course of human events…. We hold
these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and
the pursuit of happiness…. that these United Colonies
are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states….and
for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance
on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge
each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”
|The struggle for freedom in America began after the Colonial
Wars between England and France. The English Colonies united
in rebellion against the oppressive acts of Parliament and
the occupying British military forces. The Stamp Act Congress
and the First Continental Congress were initiated to formalize
colonial grievances and arm the militia. On 19 April 1775,
shots were exchanged between the British and the Colonial
Militia at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts. Referred
to as “The shot heard round the world”, this was
the start of the Revolutionary War. Battles ensued which resulted
in victories for the British and hardships for the Colonials.
In October 1781, a large British force surrendered at Yorktown,
Virginia. That defeat led to peace talks and the Treaty of
Paris, which formally ended the war on 3 September 1783.
|On 18 June 1812, the United States declared war on Great
Britain because they forced American seamen into the British
Navy, violated U.S. territorial waters, and blockaded French
ports. On 24 August 1814, the British marched into Washington
and set fire to public buildings, including the White House.
The United States military success at the Battle of New Orleans
occurred two weeks after the signing of the Peace Treaty of
Ghent on 24 December 1814, which ended the war.
|On 14 Sept 1814, Francis Scott Key was inspired by a 15
star flag, still flying over Fort McHenry, Maryland, after
a lengthy British bombardment. He wrote the words as a patriotic
poem that became a rallying cry for America. It was not until
3 March 1931 that the U.S. Government designated “The
Star Spangled Banner”, as our National Anthem
IN THE MILITARY
|Black Americans were initially recruited to serve in the
Revolutionary War. Post-war laws first denied Blacks access
to military service, but they eventually fought and served
valiantly in all of the wars since 1812. Initially denied
freedoms, suffering rejection and segregation, they proved
themselves capable and courageous in fulfilling escalating
responsibilities in recognition of their abilities. Fully
integrated at the start of the Korean conflict and since,
Black Americans confirmed their ability to perform in battle
and at high levels of responsibility.
|On 13 May 1846, Congress passed a resolution of war against
Mexico after the U.S. military force occupying disputed territory
north of the Rio Grande suffered casualties when fired upon
by Mexicans. The first battle of the war at Palo Alto was
fought before war was declared. U. S. attempts to settle the
boundary dispute through negotiation and purchase failed.
The U.S. President and his cabinet made war plans, which included
strategies for taking over the Mexican territory of California.
The American victory at Buena Vista ended the fighting in
Northern Mexico. American forces entered southern Mexico and
moved inland, capturing Mexico City on 14 September 1847.
On 2 February 1848, the two countries signed the Treaty of
Guadeloupe-Hidalgo to end the war. Mexico relinquished all
claims to Texas north of the Rio Grande, and ceded New Mexico
and California to the United States. Many officers who fought
together in the conflict were later to fight on opposite sides
in the Civil War.
OF CIVIL WAR
|Political and economic problems, such as slavery, westward
expansion, and state’s rights, started the Civil War.
America was split between a farming, slave-owning South and
an industrialized North favoring free soil and protectionism.
Following the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, the Southern
States seceded from the Union. The attack on Fort Sumter,
South Carolina, 12 April 1861, started the war.
INVOLVEMENT IN THE CIVIL WAR
|Minnesota was the first state to volunteer troops to aid
the Union during the Civil War of 1861-1865. The 25,000 volunteers
played a great role in many important battles for the preservation
of the Union and to end slavery. Minnesota volunteers served
in many areas but are best known for their bravery at the
Battle of Gettysburg where they incurred the highest casualty
rate of any Civil War unit.
|Mayo’s commitment to the military began with the Civil
War when William W. Mayo was named examining surgeon for the
enrollment board for the First Minnesota District. He served
from April 1863 until February 1865.
Charles and Will Mayo served on the Medical Board For National
Defense. In 1916 the board, working through the Red Cross,
organized 50 base hospitals. One was organized through the
University of Minnesota with financial support and staff from
the Mayo Clinic.
In 1928, the Mayo Clinic Plummer Building was dedicated with
the 23-bell carillon dedicated to the American soldier.
In 1934, the American Legion recognized W. J. and C. H. Mayo
for "distinguished service to our sick and disabled comrades
and to suffering humanity." President Franklin D. Roosevelt
presented a plaque to the brothers at Soldiers Field Memorial
Park on 8 August 1934.
Mayo research on oxygen requirements in humans, the development
of the oxygen mask and an antigravity suit enabled high altitude
flying. President Roosevelt recognized Mayo's efforts by presenting
them with the highest U.S. aviation award in 1940.
In 1944, two Mayo Medical Units served in the Pacific Theater
until the end of World War II.
|The battle at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 1 July 1863, is
considered by historians as the turning point of a war that
was to last another two years. This three-day battle was the
largest and bloodiest battle ever in North America. The battle
engaged 160,000 men with casualties of over 43,000, including
|On 19 November 1863, at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg,
17 acres were dedicated as a military cemetery. The keynote
speaker stood in the field where nearly 7,000 men had died
and delivered a polished oration for two hours. After the
applause died away, Abraham Lincoln, holding two hand-written
sheets, delivered these unforgettable sentences:
|“Fourscore and seven years ago our Fathers brought
forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty,
and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created
equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether
that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can
long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.
We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting
place for those who died here, that the Nation might live.
This we may in all propriety do. But, in a larger sense, we
can not dedicate--we can not consecrate-- we can not hallow,
this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled
here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or
detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what
we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.
It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the
great task remaining before us—that, from these honored
dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they
here, gave the last full measure of devotion—that we
here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain;
that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that
government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall
not perish from the earth.”
|On 19 June 1864, a Union soldier from Byron, Minnesota entered
Andersonville as a prisoner of the Confederacy. He was horrified
by the crowded, dirty, brutal conditions in the prison and
recorded his observations in a journal. Out of a total of
12,920 died. He and his fellow POWs, suffered greatly due
to starvation, lack of sanitation, and disease. At the end
of the war, the commander of the prison was arrested, tried,
and hanged. In 1970 the site of Andersonville Prison in Georgia
was designated as a memorial to all Prisoners of War.
|The 24-note bugle call known as “Taps” is thought
to be a revision of a French bugle signal called “Tattoo”,
which called soldiers back to their garrisons. The present
day “Taps” originated during the Civil War. A
Union general used it to signal day’s end. Other U.S.
brigades and the Confederates adopted the mournful bugle call.
The Army made it the official bugle call after the war. It
was not given the name “Taps” until 1874. An 1891
regulation stipulated that “Taps” be played at
military funerals. It is also played at memorial services,
the lowering of the flag, and lights out.
IN THE MILITARY
|Women have played important military roles since the Revolutionary
War. Although unfairly treated in early wars, they distinguished
themselves in teaching sanitation, nursing and spying. Disguised
as men, they fought on battlefields. Although women were authorized
to serve as nurses in 1861, they were not eligible for health
care, salary and a uniform until 1899. During World War II,
opposition to women in the military was strong. In May of
1942, the Women’s Auxiliary Corps was formed to serve
with the Army but did not receive military status until August
1943. The Nurse Corps was denied rank until 1947 and veteran
status until 1977. Women are now integrated into the military
and serve in all capacities and levels of command.
|COAST GUARD STORY
|In 1790 the U.S. Revenue Service was created to collect
duties on foreign merchant ships and imports. Revenue Cutters
participated in all our nation's wars, as did its successor,
the U.S. Coast Guard, whose motto is SEMPER PARATUS, ("Always
Created in 1915, USCG transferred from the Treasury to
the Transportation Department in 1967, and merged with
the Homeland Security Department in 2003.
Responsible for the enforcement of U.S. laws at sea,
search and rescue, port security, and aids to navigation,
the USCG is a military service under the U.S. Navy in
Both regular and reserve men and women of the USCG have
served at home and overseas in all major conflicts from
WW-I to Operation Iraqi Freedom.