(The photo is Tun Tavern, birthplace of the Marine Corps.)
a. The United States Marine Corps is a direct descendent of the British Royal Marines, who were founded in 1664. Many Americans served in the ranks of the British Royal Marines before the American Revolution. In 1741 King George II ordered the formation of several British Marine Regiments; four of those regiment were formed from men of the colonies. They were commanded by the governor of Virginia, William Gooch. For this reason, they were known as "Gooch's Marines." They fought against pirates and in Britain's was with Spain. These Marines were also often used to settle territorial disputes. Although Royal Marines and American Marines were to meet in opposition on the field of battle, close ties remain as we often serve together throughout the world.
b. Before the formation of the Union, individual states maintained their own navies, whose ships were augmented with early colonial Marines. As England's rule became more oppressive, the colonies banded together and war became inevitable.
a. Tun Tavern is considered the birthplace of the Marine Corps. Located in Philadelphia, it was established as the recruiting headquarters of the newly formed Marine Corps. As these new recruits were to form the Corps, each man had to bring his own rifle with him in order to enlist.
a. The Quatrefoil (the cross-shaped braid atop officers frame type "barracks" caps) have been worn ever since 1859. The design of French origin, is a distinguishing part of the Marine officer's uniform. Popular belief tells us that in the mid 1800's, cross pieces of rope were sewn to the top of the officers covers so that sharpshooters in the ship's riggings could easily identify them.
a. In 1801, the rules of Libya located on the northern coast of Africa, declared war on the United States because of our refusal to pay restitution money in the sum of approximately $10,000.00 a year for the protection of the United States' shipping in the Mediterranean Sea. The U.S. felt that enough protection was provided for their ships by the presence of Marines. The fighting waged for four years with little gained by either side.
a. During the War of 1812, the Marine Corps' primary mission was fighting aboard naval ships. Once again, the Marines utilized their sharp shooting ability to clear the decks of British frigates during many sea engagements. Probably the most important land engagements the Marine Corps participated in, were the battles of Bladensburg in the defense of our capital, Washington, D.C., and the battle of New Orleans.
a. On October 17, 1820, the fifth Commandant of the Marine Corps was appointed to office. He would pass away at the age of 76 on January 6, 1859, after serving as commandant for 38 years, the longest period of time in our history, earning him the title "The Grand Old Man of the Marine Corps." His name was Archibald Henderson. On October 16, 1823, Commandant Henderson, age 40, found time to court a lovely lady by the name of Anne Marie Casenove, only 19 years old. Together they had nine children. Four of those children would later become Marine officers and would eventually, during the civil war, resign their commission and fight for the confederate states.
a. Colonel Henderson was still Commandant in 1846 when the United States again found itself at war, this time with Mexico. Throughout the war, Marines served with naval squadrons in the Gulf of Mexico and along the coast of California. They were the first American force to engage the Mexicans in California. In the second year of the war, they joined forces with the Army and landed at Verz Cruz enroute to Mexico City. On top a high plateau was a fortress which dominated the area. The name of this fortress was Chapultepec. The Mexicans had heavily reinforced this fortress, knowing that it was their last line of resistance before Mexico City.
a. The year 1861 found an entirely different situation in this country. The United States was at war with itself. At the beginning of the Civil War approximately 30% of the Marine Corps Officers resigned their commission to fight for the south. This was not true of the enlisted men since the majority were from the northeastern part of the United States. These were dark days, not only for the nation, but also for the Marine Corps, which was pitted against itself in bitter combat.
a. After the Civil War, in 1868, the Marine Corps emblem was adopted by the 7th Commandant Brigadier General Jacob Zeilin. The emblem consisted of an eagle with spread wings sitting on top of a globe of the western hemisphere with an anchor in the background. The eagle is the symbol of the nation. The globe stands for worldwide service and the anchor stands for our naval traditions. The Marine Corps emblem has changed it's look many times since 1868, however the emblem we wear today was developed in 1950. It consists of an eagle with spread wings on top of a globe of the western hemisphere with a fouled anchor in the background.
a. In 1883, the 8th Commandant, Colonel Charles C. McCawley officially adopted the Marine Corps motto, "Semper Fidelis", a Latin term which means "Always Faithful." The Marines were to uphold this motto in 1898 when they spearheaded the United States forces against another foe. This time it was the Spanish in Cuba and in the Philippines.