Combat of Castrillo, 18 July 1812

Combat of Castrillo, 18 July 1812

Combat of Castrillo, 18 July 1812

The combat of Castrillo (18 July 1812) was the second of two combats on the same day, and came after Marmont outmanoeuvred Wellington on the Douro and briefly threatened to cut off his rearguard.

In June Wellington launched an invasion of Spain, heading for Salamanca. Marmont ordered his main army to concentrate to the north of the city, but left small garrisons in three forts inside the city. Wellington detached part of his army to besiege the Salamanca Forts (17-26 June 1812), while the main army watched Marmont. The two armies almost clashed at San Cristobal (20-22 June 1812), but after the forts surrendered Marmont retreated to the Douro.

The two armies soon ended up watching a long stretch of the river. The French line was longer, running from Toros in the west to Simancas in the east. Wellington's line ran from the junction of the Trabancos and the Douro, at the fords of Pollos, to Tordesillas.

Marmont decided to try and convince Wellington that he was going to cross the river at Toros and head directly for Salamanca, and then turn back east to cross at Tordesillas, and get into Wellington's rear. On 15 July Foy and Bonnet, on the French right, were ordered to cross the river at Toros, while the main part of the army moved west along the north bank of the river.

The French movement was well underway by 16 July. Wellington fell for the ruse and ordered his army to move west. The 1st, 5th, 6th and 7th Divisions were ordered to move to Canizal and Fuente la Pena, west of the Guarena River. The 3rd Division, Bradford's Portuguese infantry and Carlos de Espana's Spanish infantry were to move to Castrillo on the Guarena, placing them just to the east of the centre of the new front line. The 4th and Light Divisions and Anson's cavalry were to form a rear guard, pausing at Castrejon on the Trabancos River, ten miles to the east of the main army.

Wellington discovered that he had been tricked during 17 July, but wasn't entirely sure what the situation was until late in the day. He then decided to lead two heavy cavalry brigades and the 5th Division east to help his rearguard withdraw, and arrived at the new front line early on 18 July. By this point the rearguard, under Stapleton Cotton, was already engaged with the advancing flight (combat of Castrejon, 18 July 1812). Wellington ordered the rearguard to retreat west to the Guarena, and despite the best efforts of the French, his troops reached the Guarena without suffering too many losses. The French then appeared on the heights east of the river, and Wellington ordered his troops to join the rest of the army. The 4th Division took up a position on the left, at the village of Castrillo. The Light and 5th Divisions joined the centre of the line. The 1st and 7th Divisions moved south to El Olmo. Wellington was now ready to defend against any French attack, and must have been hoping that Marmont would get carried away and try and attack the new British front line.

The French were pursuing in two columns. General Clausel commanded on the right, and it has his been troops that had posed the greatest threat during the retreat. He now decided to try and take advantage of the hurried Allied movement and attack the 4th Division, newly arrived on the heights above Castrillo. He decided to send a brigade of dragoons (15th and 25th Dragoons) to cross the Guarena downstream of the British line and outflank it, while Brennier's division launched a frontal assault from Castrillo, with Clausel's own division in support.

The cavalry attack was met by Victor Alten's brigade (14th Light Dragoons and 1st Hussars King's German Legion), which had been guarding the river downstream of the main lines. Alten let the French advance part-way up the hill and then attacked, hitting them before they could fully deploy. Both regiments were swept away and General Carrie, commander of the brigade, was captured. The French lost 150 men, including 94 prisoners, in this short fight.

The French infantry didn't do any better. Brennier crossed the river and advanced up the hill in three columns of regiments, with the battalions in rows behind each other. Wellington let them get part way up the hill, and then ordered W. Anson's brigade (3/27th and 1/40th Regiments of Foot) to attack, supported by Stubb's Portuguese brigade (11th and 23rd Regiments). Anson formed a longer line than the French and enveloped them on both sides. The French were outflanked and thus outgunned, and after a short fight turned and fled. Alten then attacked with his cavalry, taking another 246 prisoners. Clausel had to use part of his division to protect Brennier's retreating men.

This ended the fighting on 18 July. Marmont had lost around 700 men in the two combats, the Allies around 525. Marmont's great deceptive movement had ended in failure - the Allied rearguard had escaped, and Wellington was once again in a strong defensive position, protecting a good road to Salamanca and his communications.

The next few days saw the two armies continue to manoeuvre around each other, at one point marching in parallel for some way, before eventually Marmont made a crucial mistake, allowing Wellington to attack and defeat him at Salamanca (22 July 1812).

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The 9 th Infantry Regiment has a long history, but its service in China is particularly noteworthy. Not only did the 9 th pick up its regimental nickname, Manchu, from its time there — but also the unit’s motto.

During the regiment’s assault on the walled city of Tientsin, the flag bearer was killed and the regimental commander took up the colors.

He was immediately targeted by Chinese snipers and mortally wounded himself. His dying words to his men were “Keep up the fire!”

The unit successfully stormed the city and captured it from the Boxers.

Battle record of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, KP, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS (1st May 1769 – 14th September 1852), was one of the leading British military and political figures of the 19th century. Often referred to as “The Duke of Wellington”, he led a successful military career during the Napoleonic Wars.

Starting his career in 1787 as a commissioned officer in the infantry, before seeing his first action in the Flanders Campaign, Wellesley rose in rank by purchasing his first four commissions, as was common practice in the British Army for wealthy officers. His continued rise in status and fame thereafter was the result of his ability as a commander.

Between the years of 1794 and 1815 Wellesley participated in a number of military campaigns where he achieved tactical, strategic, and decisive victories in India and across six countries of western Europe. He faced many of Napoleon’s marshals, but his best known battle was at Waterloo in 1815 where he led an Anglo-Allied force to a decisive victory over Napoleon I. It was to be his last battle.

Military career

There is speculation by historians and biographers about how many battles Wellington actually participated in during his career, . Military historian, Ian Fletcher, identifies twenty-four major battles and sieges involving the British Army between 1808 and 1815 with Wellington in command of seventeen. Military historian, Mark Adkin, comments that “Wellington had fought in some twenty-four battles and sieges prior to Waterloo”. Although this is easily contested, the precise number of battles may never be known. It can be established from records, dispatches and reports dating back to the events that he was present in at least fifty separate military actions, including an assortment of meeting engagements, pitched battles, sieges, skirmishes and minor engagements, throughout his career. He also ordered countless other remote engagements mostly whilst serving in the Napoleonic Wars, during which Britain played a major role in securing Europe against French occupation, between 1805 and 1815.

Commissions and promotions

Wellington was gazetted ensign on 7 March 1787, in the 73rd (Highland) Regiment of Foot, and became an aide-de-camp in October. He purchased his commission to lieutenant on 25 December 1787, in the 76th Regiment. As a junior officer he transferred to the 41st Regiment soon after to avoid duty in the East Indies, and in June 1789 transferred again, to the 12th (Prince of Wales’s) Light Dragoons cavalry regiment. He obtained his commission to captain on 30 June 1791, in the 58th (Rutlandshire) Regiment, having served the regulation minimum of three years, and again to major on 30 April 1793, in the 33rd (First Yorkshire West Riding) Regiment, having served six years. He purchased his final commission to lieutenant-colonel on 30 September 1793, at the age of 24. From there on further promotion could only be attained through seniority, per Army Regulations.

In September 1794, Wellesley experienced his first battle, against the French, at the Battle of Boxtel with the 33rd. His promotion to colonel, on 3 May 1796, came by seniority, and in June he was sent with the 33rd to India. In 1799 he fought in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War, commanding three victorious actions with the British East India Company. After winning the war, and serving as governor of Seringapatam and Mysore, Wellesley was promoted to major-general on 29 April 1802, although he did not receive the news until September. Whilst in India he wrote of his regiment “I have commanded them for nearly ten years during which I have scarcely been away from them and I have always found them to be the quietest and best behaved body of men in the army.”

Wellesley gained further success in India during the Second Anglo-Maratha War of 1803–05, and in 1806 Wellesley succeeded the Marquis Cornwallis as Colonel of the 33rd, which he held until 1813. By 1807, Napoleon’s attempt to prevent continental Europe from trading with Britain had resulted in all but Sweden, Denmark and Portugal closing their ports. In June 1807, Napoleon pressured Denmark further, resulting in the British naval bombardment of Copenhagen and seizure of the Danish fleet to prevent it from falling into French hands. Wellesley’s brief role against Danish land forces at the Battle of Køge helped secure Denmark. Wellesley later disapproved of the bombardment, saying “we might have taken the capital with greater ease”. He was promoted to lieutenant-general on 25 April 1808, and in June was given command of 9,000 men set to invade revolutionary Spanish America.[20] But in 1807, Napoleon had invaded Portugal, via Spain, intent on preventing its continued trade with Britain, but replaced the Spanish royal family with his own brother, Joseph Bonaparte, in May 1808. In Madrid, the Spanish resisted the French occupation, leading the Portuguese to call on British support. In August 1808, Wellesley entered the Peninsular War with 15,000 men.

When the head of the British forces in the Peninsula, Sir John Moore, was killed in the Battle of Corunna in January 1809, the British Army having been driven from the Peninsula in disarray, Wellington sent the Secretary of War a memo insisting that a British force of no less than 30,000 British troops should be sent to defend and rebuild Portugal’s military strength. His proposal was approved and he re-embarked to Lisbon on 16 April 1809, where he was appointed to head of the forces in Portugal – a motion supported by the government and Prince Regent George IV, as Wellington did not hold seniority.

On 31st of July 1811, he was promoted to general, although it only applied in the Peninsula. His final promotion to field marshal came on 21 June 1813, following his success at the Battle of Vitoria which had broken the remaining French hold in Spain. Wellington was awarded with a Marshal’s baton – partially designed by the Prince Regent himself – the first of its kind in the Britain Army.

Allied commander

Wellington was appointed head of all British forces from April 1809, following the death of Sir John Moore, and due to the second invasion of Portugal by the French he remained to continue the Peninsular War for a further five years, engaging the French armies across Portugal, Spain, and north into France until Napoleon’s abdication in 1814. He returned to Europe in 1815 appointed overall commander of the Anglo-Allied forces of the Seventh Coalition, better known as the Hundred Days, following Napoleon’s escape from exile and attempt to retain power.

Despite many battles to his name, over twenty-one years of duty, it would be shortly after the battle at Waterloo upon hearing of approximately 50,000 casualties dead or dying that he wept, saying “I hope to God I have fought my last battle”. It had been a close victory at such great cost that it broke his fighting spirit, and marked the end of his long service overseas with a notable military career. He returned to British politics and became a leading statesman. He was appointed Master-General of the Ordnance (1819–27) and Commander-in-Chief of the Forces (1827–28/1842–52), but Wellington did not fight again.


Wellington’s understanding of logistics was to prove valuable in leading an expeditionary force against the French invasion of Portugal and Spain. He was adept at planning long marches through unknown territory, understanding that he not only had thousands of men to manage efficiently, but that a huge amount of supplies were required to adequately feed and sustain his army. Secure supply lines to the Portuguese coast were of vital importance if he was to maintain his ability to fight the French.

In April 1809, Wellington returned to Portugal with 28,000 British and 16,000 Portuguese troops under his command – the French Army of Spain numbered 360,000. Despite many French troops having been dispersed to garrisons across Spain or located to protect supply and communication lines, even with the Portuguese Army and militia, and remnants of the Spanish Army and guerillas to support him, Wellington faced overwhelming odds. Throughout the Peninsular War the number of soldiers enlisted in Britain never exceeded 40,000, including the King’s German Legion (KGL) and British-trained Portuguese Army. At Waterloo, of his roughly 73,000 strong army, only around 26,000 (36 percent) were British. Many British politicians were opposed to the war in Europe and favoured withdrawal, which hampered its will to muster a larger force to defeat Napoleon. This served in sharpening Wellington’s awareness that a defensive strategy was essential, initially, to ensure the British Army survived.

Wellington faced armies formed from the disbanded French Grande Armée, once an overpowering force, which having conquered Europe and expanded the French Empire had been led by Napoleon and his marshals since 1804. It had been reformed into smaller armies from October 1808, under the command of his brother Joseph Bonaparte and several marshals, in order to secure Portugal and Spain. Wellington arrived in Lisbon in 1809 with an army composed mostly of volunteers, “the scum of the earth” as he termed them. Unlike French troops, British troops were better trained and were required to repeatedly practice firing with live rounds before encountering combat. Napoleon only personally visited Spain once, between October 1808 and January 1809, taking most of his Guard and many élite troops with him when he left – the remaining troops became a second line in quality, experience and equipment – new recruits were often not French.

Wellington’s army consisted of four combat arms: Infantry, cavalry and artillery. Engineers also played a valuable role in the Peninsula, such as the building of the Lines of Torres Vedras – a defensive line of forts built to protect Lisbon – and making preparations for any sieges throughout the war. Wellington’s main combat arm was his well-trained infantry. He never had more than 2,000 cavalry before 1812 and his cannons, although highly competent, were inferior to French guns in both number and quality. It was with this force that Wellington aimed to defend Portugal until he took to an offensive strategy in 1812, beating the French at the Salamanca. He advanced on to Madrid, arriving on 12 August 1812 – Joseph Bonaparte had abandoned the capital after the defeat at Salamanca.

The Spanish government made Wellington commander-in-chief of all allied armies, providing an extra 21,000 Spanish troops after Salamanca. Although not completely undefeated he never lost a major battle. His greatest defeat came at the Siege of Burgos in 1812, where he had hoped to prevent French forces concentrating. After losing 2,000 men and causing only 600 French casualties he was forced to raise the siege and retreat, calling it “the worst scrape I was ever in.” Retiring to winter quarters, where he received reinforcements that brought his regular army up to 75,000 men, Wellington began his final offensive in June 1813. He advanced north, through the Pyrenees, and into France itself. The French were no longer fighting to keep Spain but to defend their own border.

Ultimately, between the battles of Roliça (August 1808) and Toulouse (April 1814), the war against the French lasted for six years, with Wellington finally managing to drive the French from the Iberian Peninsula. Shortly thereafter, on 12 April 1814, word reached Wellington that Napoleon had abdicated on 6 April. The war on the Peninsula was over. Wellington and his army had marched over an estimated 6,000 miles (9,656 km) and fought in many engagements through Portugal and Spain, the consequences of which helped bring the downfall of Napoleon, resulting in peace across Europe.

Battle record

There are a large number of battles attributed to Wellington. Although many leave the impression that he was present or in command at those actions, it was sometimes the case that he entrusted other officers to engage the enemy, such as at remote locations, and that he could not have attended them all in person. Similarly, Wellington was not usually in command of rear guard actions, during advances or retreats, despite his army engaging in them often. Engagements where the lack of his presence is absolutely certain, or where his position is unconfirmed by records and accounts, are not included in his battle record.

15th Sep 1794-Flanders Campaign-Battle of Boxtel
27th Mar 1799-Fourth Anglo–Mysore War-Battle of Mallavelly
5th Apr – 4th May 1799-Fourth Anglo–Mysore War-Battle of Seringapatam
6th Apr 1799-Fourth Anglo–Mysore War-Battle of Sultanpet Tope
8th–12th Aug 1803-Second Anglo-Maratha War-Battle of Ahmednagar
23rd Sep 1803-Second Anglo-Maratha War-Battle of Assaye
28th Nov 1803-Second Anglo-Maratha War-Battle of Argaon
15th Dec 1803-Second Anglo-Maratha War-Siege of Gawilghur
29th Aug 1807-English Wars-Battle of Køge
17th Aug 1808-Peninsular War-Battle of Roliça
21st Aug 1808-Peninsular War-Battle of Vimeiro
10th–11th May 1809-Peninsular War-Battle of Grijó
12th May 1809-Peninsular War-Second Battle of Porto
27th Jul 1809-Peninsular War-Combat of Casa de Salinas
27th–28th Jul 1809-Peninsular War-Battle of Talavera
27th Sep 1810-Peninsular War-Battle of Buçaco
11th Mar 1811-Peninsular War-Battle of Pomba
12th Mar 1811-Peninsular War-Battle of Redinha
15th Mar 1811-Peninsular War-Combat of Foz de Arouce
29th Mar 1811-Peninsular War-Combat of Guarda
3rd Apr 1811-Peninsular War-Battle of Sabugal
3rd–5th May 1811-Peninsular War-Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro
5th May – 16th Jun 1811-Peninsular War-Second Siege of Badajoz
25th Sep 1811-Peninsular War-Battle of El Bodón
27th Sep 1811-Peninsular War-Combat of Aldea da Ponte
7th–20th Jan 1812-Peninsular War-Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo
16th Mar – 6th Apr 1812-Peninsular War-Third Siege of Badajoz
17th–27th Jun 1812-Peninsular War-Siege of the Salamanca Forts
18th Jul 1812-Peninsular War-Combat of Castrillo
22nd Jul 1812-Peninsular War-Battle of Salamanca
19th Sep – 21st Oct 1812-Peninsular War-Siege of Burgos
25th–29th Oct 1812-Peninsular War-Battle of Tordesillas
10th–11th Nov 1812-Peninsular War-Combat of Alba de Tormes
17th Nov 1812-Peninsular War-Combat of Huebra, San Muñoz
21st Jun 1813-Peninsular War-Battle of Vitoria
7th Jul – 8th Sep 1813-Peninsular War-Siege of San Sebastián
26th–28th Jul 1813-Peninsular War-First Battle of Sorauren
28th–30th Jul 1813-Peninsular War-Second Battle of Sorauren
2nd Aug 1813-Peninsular War-Combat of Echalar
7th Oct 1813-Peninsular War-Battle of the Bidassoa
10th Nov 1813-Peninsular War-Battle of Nivelle
9th–12th Dec 1813Peninsular War-Battle of the Nive
15th Feb 1814-Peninsular War-Battle of Garris
27th Feb 1814-Peninsular War-Battle of Orthez
20th Mar 1814-Peninsular War-Battle of Tarbes
8th Apr 1814-Peninsular War-Combat of Croix d’Orade
10th Apr 1814-Peninsular War-Battle of Toulouse
16th Jun 1815-Hundred Days-Battle of Quatre Bras
18th Jun 1815-Hundred Days-Battle of Waterloo

Records of the Army Air Forces [AAF]

Established: In the War Department, to consist of the Air Force Combat Command (AFCC) and the Air Corps, by revision of Army Regulation 95-5, June 20, 1941.

Predecessor Agencies:

In the Office of the Chief Signal Officer (OCSO), War Department:

  • Aeronautical Division (1907-14)
  • Aviation Section (1914-15)
  • Aeronautical Division (1915-17)
  • Air Division/Air Service Division (1917-18)
  • Division of Military Aeronautics (1918)
  • Bureau of Aircraft Production (1918)
  • Division of Military Aeronautics (1918-19)
  • Bureau of Aircraft Production (1918-19)
  • Air Service (1919-26)
  • Air Corps (1926-41)
  • General Headquarters Air Force (GHQAF, 1935-41)
  • Air Force Combat Command (AFCC, 1941)

Abolished: By Transfer Order 1, Office of the Secretary of Defense, September 26, 1947, implementing reorganization provisions of the National Security Act of 1947 (61 Stat. 495), July 26, 1947.

Successor Agencies: U.S. Air Force (USAF) under the newly created Department of the Air Force, pursuant to provisions of the National Security Act of 1947 (61 Stat. 502), July 26, 1947.

Finding Aids: Kathleen E. Riley, comp., "Preliminary Inventory of the Records of Headquarters Army Air Forces," NM 6 (1962) Maizie H. Johnson, comp., "Preliminary Inventory of the Textual Records of the Army Air Forces," NM 53 (1965) Maizie H. Johnson and Sarah Powell, comps., "Supplement to Preliminary Inventory No. NM-53, Textual Records of the Army Air Forces," NM 90 (Oct. 1967).

Security-Classified Records: This record group may include material that is security-classified.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Army Air Forces in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government. Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, RG 340.
Records of Headquarters U.S. Air Force (Air Staff), RG 341.
Records of U.S. Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations, RG 342. Records of the U.S. Air Force Academy, RG 461.


History: Aeronautical Division established in Office of the Chief Signal Officer by OCSO Memorandum 6, August 1, 1907, with responsibility for all aspects of military aviation. Recognized in law as the Aviation Section by an act of July 18, 1914 (38 Stat. 514). Aviation Section organized as the Aeronautical Division, November 4, 1915.

Under provisions of the National Defense Act (39 Stat. 174), June 3, 1916, and the Aviation Act (40 Stat. 243), July 24, 1917, aviation support functions were gradually transferred from the Aeronautical Division to newly established OCSO organizations: Procurement and distribution of aviation supplies to Engineering Division, April 6, 1917 later designated Finance and Supply Division and redesignated Engineering Division, August 2, 1917. Air field construction and maintenance to Construction Division, May 21, 1917 redesignated Supply Division, October 1, 1917, with added responsibility for procurement and distribution of aviation supplies transferred from Engineering Division and vested in subordinate Materiel Section, organized January 24, 1918. Research and design to Aircraft Engineering Division, May 24, 1917 redesignated Science and Research Division, October 22, 1917. Airplane lumber contracts to Wood Section, August 1917 expanded and redesignated Spruce Production Division (SEE 18.4.3), November 15, 1917.

Aeronautical Division redesignated Air Division (also known as Air Service Division), with functions limited to operation, training, and personnel, October 1, 1917. Air Division abolished by order of Secretary of War, April 24, 1918, and OCSO aviation functions realigned to create Division of Military Aeronautics (SEE 18.3), with responsibility for general oversight of military aviation and Bureau of Aircraft Production (SEE 18.4), which had charge of design and production of aircraft and equipment.

18.2.1 General records

Textual Records: Extracts of letters, telegrams, and memorandums of War Department offices, relating to regulations and authorities for U.S. flying schools, 1917-18. Reports, drawings, photographs, blueprints, and other records relating to airplanes and airplane performance, 1914-18.

Related Records: For aviation correspondence of the Chief Signal Officer, 1917-18, SEE 18.5.1.

18.2.2 Records of the Planning Section of the Equipment Division

Textual Records: Charts, reports, and correspondence relating to the organization and duties of the section and to a program of airplane production, 1917-18.

18.2.3 Records of the Balloon Section of the Air Division

Textual Records: Correspondence relating to balloon instruction, 1917-18.


History: Established as part of reorganization of OCSO aviation functions, April 24, 1918. Separated from OCSO as an autonomous unit within the War Department by EO 2862, May 20, 1918. Responsible for all aviation functions except aircraft production. Consolidated with Bureau of Aircraft Production (SEE 18.4) to form Air Service by EO 3066, March 19, 1919. SEE 18.5.

18.3.1 General records

Textual Records: Letters and memorandums relating to the establishment of the Division of Military Aeronautics, 1916-18. Orders and memorandums relating to policies and procedures governing military aviation, 1918. Balloon bulletins, 1914-18.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Division of Military Aeronautics in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

18.3.2 Records of the Information Section

Textual Records: Correspondence and other records relating to foreign and domestic air services, airplane construction and equipment, flight training, and schools of military aeronautics, 1917-19.

18.3.3 Records of the Radio Branch of the Training Section

Textual Records: Reports and other records relating to radio development and the training of radio officers, 1918-19.


History: Established as part of reorganization of OCSO aviation functions, April 24, 1918. Separated from OCSO as an autonomous unit within the War Department by EO 2862, May 20, 1918. Responsible for aircraft production. Consolidated with Division of Military Aeronautics (SEE 18.3) to form Air Service by EO 3066, March 19, 1919. SEE 18.5.

18.4.1 Records of the Administration Division

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1917-19, and issuances, 1918-19, of the Executive Department, including correspondence of the Executive Department of the Signal Corps Equipment Division and of the Director and Assistant Director of Aircraft Production. General correspondence of the Program and Statistics Department, 1917-18.

18.4.2 Records of the Production Division

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1917-18. Organizational histories of the Production Division, its subdivisions, and its field units, 1917-19. Diaries of the Detroit district office, 1918 (in Chicago).

18.4.3 Records of the Spruce Production Division (SPD)

History: Established in OCSO, November 15, 1917, from predecessor Wood Section (August 1917), with headquarters in Portland, OR, to increase the output of timber for airplane construction. Transferred to the Bureau of Aircraft Production (BAP), May 20, 1918. Functions and properties of the SPD passed to the U.S. Spruce Production Corporation (SEE 18.7.9), November 1, 1918, with formal demobilization of SPD, August 31, 1919. Spruce Production Section, originally the Washington, DC, office of the SPD, functioned until 1921.

Textual Records (in Seattle): Issuances, 1917-19. Organizational history, 1917-18. Medical records, 1917-19, including records of camp hospitals and infirmaries of Spruce Squadrons 9-150. General correspondence of the Spruce Production Section, 1917-21. Correspondence, issuances, and other records of Spruce Production Districts headquartered at Clatsop, 1918 Coos Bay, 1918 Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay, 1918 Puget Sound, 1918-19 Vancouver Barracks, 1918 and Yaquina Bay, 1918-19. Records of Spruce Production units, including 1st-4th Provisional Regiments, 1918- 19 Casual Detachment, 1918-19 and 1st-98th and 100th-150th Spruce Squadrons, 1917-19.

18.4.4 Records of the Airplane Engineering Division

Textual Records: Correspondence, reports, and other records of the Chemistry Section, Science and Research Department, relating to chemical products used in aircraft production, 1917-18.

18.4.5 Records of the Aircraft Board

Textual Records: Minutes of the board and its predecessor, the Aircraft Production Board, May 1917-April 1919. General correspondence, 1917-18. Resolutions of the board, 1917-18.


History: Air Service established by EO 3066, March 19, 1919, consolidating Division of Military Aeronautics and Bureau of Aircraft Production. Confirmed as a combat arm by the National Defense Act (41 Stat. 759), June 4, 1920. Name changed to Air Corps by the Air Corps Act (44 Stat. 780), July 2, 1926. Responsibility for unit training and tactical air employment transferred to General Headquarters Air Force, established March 1935. GHQAF renamed Air Force Combat Command and placed with Air Corps under newly established Army Air Forces by revision to Army Regulation 95-5, June 20, 1941. AFCC and Office of the Chief of the Air Corps abolished in the general reorganization of the army, effective March 9, 1942, by Circular 59, War Department, March 2, 1942, implementing EO 9082, February 28, 1942. Air Corps formally abolished by transfer of functions to newly established United States Air Force pursuant to the National Security Act of 1947 (61 Stat. 502), July 26, 1947. SEE 18.1.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Office of the Chief of the Air Service in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

18.5.1 Records of the Administrative Group (Air Service) and the
Administrative Division (Air Corps)

Textual Records: General correspondence of the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps and the Office of Chief of the Air Service, and their predecessors, including the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, 1917-38 (624 ft.). Project files for correspondence relating to airfields (666 ft.), camps, forts, corps areas, territorial departments, districts, aviation schools, National Guard units, and aviation examining boards, 1917-38 aero squadrons, 1917-22 balloon schools, 1919-22 and district offices of the BAP and Air Service, 1918-21. Document collection of the Air Corps Library, 1917-38 (341 ft.), with related indexes and card catalogs, 1917-44. Annual reports, 1925- 40. Issuances, 1924-42.

18.5.2 Records of the Information Group (Air Service) and the
Information Division (Air Service, Air Corps)

Textual Records: Correspondence, 1917-23, 1929-39. Histories, reports, and studies of the Air Service, American Expeditionary Forces, 1917-19. Historical files relating to the activities of the Division of Military Aeronautics and the BAP in World War I, 1917-21.

18.5.3 Records of the Supply Group (Air Service) and the Material
Division (Air Corps)

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1919-21. Records relating to airplane programs and production, 1939-41. Proceedings and related correspondence of the Procurement Planning Board, 1925-36. Catalogs and inventories of aircraft and spare parts, 1921. Claims files of the Material Disposal and Salvage Division, Supply Group, 1919-20. General correspondence, 1919-26, and correspondence relating to stock liquidation, 1919- 24, of the Procurement Section, Supply Division, Supply Group.

18.5.4 Records of the Training and Operations Group (Air Service)
and the Training and Operations Division (Air Corps)

Textual Records: Correspondence and reports relating to cross- country flights, training, and exhibition flights, 1918-21. Correspondence relating to the 1920 Alaskan Flying Expedition, 1920, and to the sinking of USS Alabama ("Project B"), 1919. Correspondence and other records relating to balloon companies and balloon training, 1918-21. Monthly reports from training fields and centers, 1921-39.

18.5.5 Records of the Training and War Plans Division (Air
Service) and the Plans Division (Air Corps)

Textual Records: Correspondence, reports, and maps relating to defense and mobilization plans, 1919-35. Correspondence, reports, and other records relating to lighter-than-air craft and to helium, 1919-26, including records of the 1924 Round-the-World Flight. General correspondence and correspondence of the Airways Section relating to commercial aviation, 1921-26. General correspondence and other records of the Photographic Section, 1918-25.

18.5.6 Records of miscellaneous Air Service boards

Textual Records: Correspondence and reports of the Air Service Advisory Board, 1919-21. Minutes of meetings, 1918-19, and miscellaneous records, 1918-21, of the Air Service Claims Board. Correspondence of the Air Service Control Board, 1918-19.

18.5.7 Records relating to the Air Corps mail operations

Textual Records: Correspondence relating to handling of mail by the Air Corps, February-May 1934, including records of Headquarters of the Eastern, Central, and Western Zones.


History: GHQAF established March 1, 1935, by instructions from Headquarters Air Corps, February 19, 1935, in compliance with recommendations of the War Department Special Committee on the Army Air Corps (Baker Board), as approved by the Secretary of War, July 18, 1934, with responsibility, transferred from Air Corps, for unit training and tactical air employment. Renamed AFCC and assigned with Air Corps to newly created Army Air Forces by Army Regulation 95-5 (revised), June 20, 1941. Formally abolished in the reorganization of the AAF, effective March 9, 1942, by Circular 59, War Department, March 2, 1942, implementing provisions of EO 9082, February 28, 1942. SEE 18.1.

18.6.1 Records of the Office of the Commanding General

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1939-42 (115 ft). Declassified correspondence, 1936-42. Declassified reports relating to intelligence and training, 1935-42. Issuances, 1936- 40.

18.6.2 Records of the General Staff

Textual Records: Records of G-2 (Intelligence), consisting of general correspondence, 1935-42 security-classified correspondence and reports from army and navy intelligence units relating to foreign aviation, 1939-41 security-classified military intelligence instructional material, 1936-41 and security-classified meteorological and climatological studies, 1941. Office file of the section chief, G-3 (Operations), 1941- 42. Security-classified G-4 (Supply) airplane and engine specifications, 1936-42.

18.6.3 Records of the Special Staff

Textual Records: Correspondence, 1941-42 and security-classified correspondence and reports, 1938-42, of the Air Defense Section, including security-classified correspondence and reports relating to the Aircraft Warning Service, 1941-42. Records of the Signal Section, including general correspondence, 1935-42 correspondence relating to codes and ciphers, 1936-42 message file, 1939-42 security-classified air maneuver files, 1935-41 radio equipment and systems files, 1936-42 and issuances, 1935- 42.


18.7.1 Records of the Office of the Commanding General

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1939-48 (2,268 ft.), with cross- reference sheets to correspondence with air force officers, 1942-44, and a microfilm copy of cross-reference sheets to correspondence with federal agencies and members of Congress, 1939-42 (20 rolls). Security-classified general correspondence, 1939-48 (1,624 ft.). Separate project files for correspondence relating to airfields (300 ft.), camps and forts, corps areas, territorial departments, and foreign bases and air forces, 1939- 42. Security-classified project file relating to foreign countries, 1942-44. Unclassified, confidential, and secret incoming and outgoing messages, 1941-47, with microfilm copy, 1941-45 (631 rolls). Top secret incoming and outgoing messages, 1941-47. AAF World War II combat operations records ("Mission Reports"), consisting of narrative and statistical summaries, intelligence reports, field orders, loading lists, and other records, arranged by unit, 1941-46 (1,855 ft.). Statistical summaries and other papers relating to World War II combat operations of the various air forces, 1942-45. Eighth Bomber Command "Day Raid" reports, 1942-43. Eighth Air Force tactical mission reports, 1943-45. General correspondence, 1939-42 and AAF policy letters, 1946-47, of the Air Adjutant General. Security-classified document collection of the Air Corps and AAF Library, 1939-49, with indexes.

Microfilm Publications: M1065.

Related Records: For additional records of the Air Corps Library, SEE 18.5.1.

18.7.2 Records of the Office of the Assistant Chief of the Air
Staff, A-1 (Personnel)

Textual Records: Personnel correspondence, 1939-46. Correspondence and other records relating to ground safety programs, 1943-48.

18.7.3 Records of the Office of the Assistant Chief of the Air
Staff, A-2 (Intelligence)

Textual Records: Records relating to German, French, and Austrian industrial installations, 1940-45.

18.7.4 Records of the Office of the Assistant Chief of the Air
Staff, A-4 (Materiel and Services)

Textual Records: Records relating to the Congressional investigation of the wartime activities of Maj. Gen. Bennett E. Myers, Director of Aircraft Production, 1942-47. Research and development records, 1941-46. Records of the Office of the Air Engineer relating to overseas air base construction, 1943-46, and construction in the European and Mediterranean Theaters of Operations, 1942-45. Correspondence and other records of the International Branch of the Supply Division, including minutes of the Munitions Assignment Committee and Joint Munitions Assignment Committee, relating to allocations of aircraft, engines, and spare parts under the Lend-Lease Act, 1941-48.

18.7.5 Records of the Office of the Assistant Chief of the Air
Staff, Plans

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1942-45. Correspondence relating to aircraft procurement, production, and program requirements, 1941-46. Correspondence of the Operational Plans Division relating to AAF strategic planning, 1944-45.

18.7.6 Records of the Budget Office

Textual Records: Budget estimates of the Division of Military Aeronautics, BAP, Air Service, and Air Corps, 1918-42.

18.7.7 Records of the Office of the Air Judge Advocate

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1943. Records of the Patent Branch, including security-classified records relating to patent applications ("Inventors File"), 1918-45 and correspondence and other records concerning disclosures on inventions furnished through the Office of Scientific Research and Development college programs, 1941-46.

18.7.8 Records of the Director of Aircraft Production

Textual Records: General correspondence and other records, 1941- 44.

18.7.9 Records of the U.S. Spruce Production Corporation

History: Established August 20, 1918, as a corporation under the laws of the State of Washington by the Director of Aircraft Production pursuant to an act authorizing the creation of marketing corporations (40 Stat. 888), July 9, 1918, to facilitate business activities of lumber production and sale of timber products to Allied governments and airplane factories, with Brig. Gen. Brice P. Disque, director of the Spruce Production Division (SEE 18.4.3), serving as corporation president. Acquired functions and properties of Spruce Production Division, November 1, 1918. Last meeting held November 1946, at which time provision was made for liquidation.

Textual Records (in Seattle): General correspondence, 1918-46, with name and subject card indexes. Minutes of meetings of corporation stockholders, 1918- 46. Progress reports, 1918-19. Field survey notebooks, 1917-23. Contracts, 1917-43. Miscellaneous financial reports, vouchers, and records, 1918-46.

18.7.10 Records of Headquarters, Twentieth Air Force

Textual Records: Correspondence relating to the use of B-29's in the Pacific incoming and outgoing messages and mission reports of the 20th and 21st Bomber Commands, 1944-45.

18.7.11 Records of AAF participation in boards and committees

Textual Records: Report of the Reprogramming Committee of the Air Board relating to the long-range AAF program, February 1947. Records accumulated by Theodore Von Karman, Director of the AAF Scientific Advisory Board and its predecessor, the AAF Scientific Advisory Group, relating to the long-range AAF science research and development program, 1941-47.


Textual Records: Briefs of incoming and outgoing messages of primary interest to Gen. Henry Harley ("Hap") Arnold, Commanding General, AAF ("General Arnold's Logs"), 1942-45. Issuances, reports, messages, and other documents concerning the assignments and activities of Lt. Col. Frank Andrews, 1932 Lt. Gen. Ira C. Eaker, 1945-47 Maj. Gen. James R. Fechet, 1925-30 Maj. Gen. Benjamin F. Giles, 1945-46 Maj. Gen. Millard F. Harmon, 1939-45 Lt. Gen. Harold A. McGinnis, 1944-45 Maj. Gen. Mason M. Patrick, 1922-27 Gen. Carl A. Spaatz, 1946-47 Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer, 1942 and Brig. Gen. Lyman P. Whitten, 1941-46.


18.9.1 Records of air fields and air bases

Note: Additional records described below are candidates for transfer to regional archives. Please consult the National Archives to determine current locations.

Textual Records: Records of Albrook Field, Balboa, CZ, 1932-39 Barksdale Field, Shreveport, LA, 1933-39 Barron Field, Everman, TX, 1917-21 Bolling Field, Washington, DC, 1918-39 Brindley Field, Commack, Long Island, NY, 1918 Brook Field, San Antonio, TX, 1918-22, 1929-39 Call Field, Wichita Falls, TX, 1917-19 Carlstrom Field, Arcadia, FL, 1918-21 (in Atlanta) Carruthers Field, Benbrook, TX, 1918-19 Chandler Field, Essington, PA, 1917- 19 Chanute Field, Rantoul, IL, 1917-39 (in Chicago) Chapman Field, Miami, FL, 1918-19 (in Atlanta) Crissy Field, Presidio of San Francisco, CA, 1922- 23 (in San Francisco) Henry J. Damm Field, Babylon, Long Island, NY, 1918 Dorr Field, Arcadia, FL, 1918-19 (in Atlanta) Duncan Field, San Antonio, TX, 1926-27, 1930-39 Eberts Field, Lonoke, AR, 1917-20 Ellington Field, Houston, TX, 1917-22 Flying Field, Park Place, Houston, TX, 1918-19 Gerstner Field, Lake Charles, LA, 1917-19 Hamilton Field, San Rafael, CA, 1929-40 (in San Francisco) Hazelhurst Field, Mineola, Long Island, NY, 1918-19 Hickam Field, Honolulu, HI, 1939 (in San Francisco) Kelly Field, San Antonio, TX, 1917- 39 Langley Field, Hampton, VA, 1917-39 Lindbergh Field, San Diego, CA, 1925-41 Love Field, Dallas, TX, 1917-21 Lowry Field, Denver, CO, 1937-39 (in Denver) Lufbery Field, Mineola, Long Island, NY, 1918 Luke Field, Ford's Island, HI, 1931-38 (in San Francisco) McCook Field, Dayton, OH, 1918-20 (in Chicago) March Field, Riverside, CA, 1918-39 Mather Field, Sacramento, CA, 1918-23 Maxwell Field, Montgomery, AL, 1925-40 (in Atlanta) Mitchel Field, Garden City, Long Island, NY, 1917-39 Offut Field, Fort Crook, NE, 1936-39 (in Kansas City) Park Field, Millington, TN, 1917-20 (in Atlanta) Patterson Field, Fairfield, OH, 1920-39 (in Chicago) Payne Field, West Point, MS, 1918-19 (in Atlanta) Pope Field, Fayettville, NC, 1918-1919 (in Atlanta) Post Field, Fort Sill, OK, 1918-19 (in Atlanta) Randolph Field, San Antonio, TX, 1920-39 Rich Field, Waco, TX, 1918-19 Rockwell Field, Coronado, CA, 1917-35 Roosevelt Field, Mineola, Long Island, NY, 1918 Ross Field, Arcadia, CA, 1918-29 Scott Field, Belleville, IL, 1917-39 (in Chicago) Selfridge Field, Mt. Clemens, MI, 1917-37 (in Chicago) Souther Field, Americus, GA, 1918-20 (in Atlanta) Taliaferro Field, Hicks, TX, 1917-20 Taylor Field, Montgomery, AL, 1918-19 Wilbur Wright Field, Fairfield, OH, 1917-19 (in Chicago) and Wright Field, Dayton, OH, 1920-39 (in Chicago).

18.9.2 Records of aviation schools

Note: Additional records described below are candidates for transfer to regional archives. Please consult the National Archives to determine current locations.

Textual Records: Records of the School of Military Cinematography, Columbia University, New York, NY, 1917-18 Aerial Photography School, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1918 Aerial Photography School, Rochester, NY, 1918 Collegiate Balloon School, Macon, GA, 1918 (in Atlanta) U.S. Army Balloon School, Fort Crook, NE, 1918-19 (in Kansas City) U.S. Army Balloon School, Fort Omaha, NE, 1918-21 (in Kansas City) U.S. Army Balloon School, Lee Hall, VA, 1918-20 School of Military Aeronautics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1917-19 School of Military Aeronautics, Georgia School of Technology, Atlanta, GA, 1917-18 (in Atlanta) School of Military Aeronautics, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, 1917-19 (in Chicago) School of Military Aeronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 1917-18 (in Boston) School of Military Aeronautics, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 1917-18 (in Chicago) School of Military Aeronautics, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 1917- 18 School of Military Aeronautics, Texas University, Austin, TX, 1917-19 Aviation Mechanics Training School, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, 1918 Aviation Mechanics Training School, St. Paul, MN, 1918-19 (in Chicago) Signal Corps Detachment, David Rankin School of Mechanical Arts, St. Louis, MO, 1918 (in Kansas City) Air Service Radio School, Columbia University, New York, NY, 1918-19 Air Service School for Radio Operators, University of Texas, Austin, TX, 1918-19 School for Radio Mechanics, Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh, PA, 1918-19 and Officers School, Vancouver Barracks, WA, 1918-19 (in Seattle).

18.9.3 Records of air depots

Note: Additional records described below are candidates for transfer to regional archives. Please consult the National Archives to determine current locations.

Textual Records: Records of the Americus Air Intermediate Depot, Americus, GA, 1921-22 (in Atlanta) Buffalo Aviation General Supply Depot and Acceptance Park, NY, 1918-19 Fairfield Air Intermediate Depot, Fairfield, OH, 1921-31 (in Chicago) Garden City Air Service Depot, Garden City, Long Island, NY, 1917-19 Hawaiian Air Depot, Honolulu, HI, 1936-39 (in San Francisco) Little Rock Aviation General Supply Depot, Little Rock, AR, 1918- 21 Long Island Air Reserve Depot, Long Island City, NY, 1919-23 Middletown Air Depot, Middletown, PA, 1917-39 Panama Air Depot, France Field, Canal Zone, 1927-40 Rockwell Air Depot, Coronado, CA, 1920-39 Sacramento Air Depot, Sacramento, CA, 1938-39 (in San Francisco) Sam Houston Aviation Supply Depot, Houston, TX, 1918 San Antonio Air Depot, Duncan Field, TX, 1918-39 Speedway Aviation Repair Depot, Indianapolis, IN, 1918-21 (in Chicago) and Wilbur Wright Field Aviation General Supply Depot, Fairfield, OH, 1917-19 (in Chicago).

18.9.4 Records of aviation examining boards

Note: Additional records described below are candidates for transfer to regional archives. Please consult the National Archives to determine current locations.

Textual Records: Records of the Aviation Examining Board, Chicago, IL, 1917- 18 (in Chicago) Aviation Examining Board, Cincinnati, OH, 1917-18 (in Chicago) Aviation Examining Board, Cleveland, OH, 1917-18 (in Chicago) Aviation Examining Board, Dallas, TX, 1918 Aviation Examining Board, Denver, CO, 1917-18 (in Denver) Aviation Examining Board, Detroit, MI, 1918 (in Chicago) Aviation Examining Board, Fort Sam Houston, TX, 1917- 18 Aviation Examining Board, Indianapolis, IN, 1917-18 (in Chicago) and Aviation Examining Board, Kansas City, MO, 1917-18 (in Kansas City).

18.9.5 Records of Headquarters, I Concentration Command, Luken
Field, Cincinnati, OH

Textual Records: General records, 1941-42. Records of the Chief of Staff, 1942. Records of A-1 Section (Personnel) and A-2 Section (Intelligence), General Staff, 1942. Records of the Communications Section and Medical Section, Special Staff, 1942. Records of Baer Field Detachment, Fort Wayne, IN, 1942.

18.9.6 Records of Air Service and Air Corps units

Textual Records: Records of the 1st, 2d, 3d, and 18th Wings, 1934-41 3d, 17th, and 90th Attack Groups, 1920-37 Headquarters, Balloon Group, VI Army Corps, 1918-19 2d, 5th, 7th, and 20th Bombardment Groups, 1917-39 IV Army Corps Observation Group, 1918-19 1st, 8th, 17th, 18th, and 20th Pursuit Groups, 1918-45 1st-1111th Aero Squadrons, 1917-19 37th Attack Squadron, 1933- 38 11th, 14th, 23d, 72d, and 96th Bombardment Squadrons, 1918- 39 808th and 816th Depot Aero Squadrons, 1918-22 1st, 4th, 12th, 15th, 16th, 21st, 44th, 50th, 82d, and 99th Observation Squadrons, 1918-40 95th Pursuit Squadron, 1920-27 58th, 59th, and 69th Service Squadrons, 1922-36 31st, 32d, 33d, 35th, 40th, and 42d Air Intelligence Sections, 1921-24 1st-30th, 32d, 35th, 37th, 44th, 46th, 50th, 52d, 55th-57th, 62d, 63d, 65th, 67th-72d, 74th, 76th, 101st-105th, and 107th-109th Photographic Sections, 1918-37 1st-20th and 22d-39th Aero Construction Companies, 1918- 19 and 1st-10th, 12th-41st, 43d-81st, 91st-99th, 101st, and 102d Balloon and Airship Companies, 1917-30.


Maps (6,084 items): Airfields in Texas, collected by the Aviation Section, OCSO, 1917-18 (5 items). Maps prepared by the Air Service showing landing fields and other military activities in the United States, plus experimental air navigation "strip" maps, 1918-25 (19 items). Army Air Corps "strip" maps, 1929-36 (24 items). Weather maps and climatic atlases compiled by the Weather Division, 1942-46 (434 items). Sets of published aeronautical charts at various scales prepared by the Aeronautical Chart Service, including World Aeronautical, World Outline, Regional Aeronautical, Pilotage, and Approach series, with index charts, 1939-47 (4,902 items). World War II aeronautical and target charts created by the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff, A-2 (Intelligence) and several of the AAF Commands, including 13th and 14th Army Air Forces, 20th and 21st Bomber Commands, and U.S. Army Air Forces Pacific Ocean Areas-Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas (CINCPOA), 1942-45 (700 items).

Aerial Photographs (573 items): Mosaic negatives and prints prepared by the 15th Photographic Section, Crissy Field, CA, and 15th Observation Squadron, Scott Field, IL, covering military reservations and airfields in several states, 1922-39.


Training in swimming through burning oil and surf, U.S. Coast Guard, n.d. (3 reels). Last Rites of the Battleship Maine, Selig Corporation, 1912 (2 reels). Development and use of lighter-than- air craft, 1925-35 (5 reels). Arkansas flood, Air Corps, 1938 (1 reel).

World War II training films illustrating the coordination of operational units of the U.S. Eighth Air Force in preparing and completing a bombing mission, and containing instructions in flight and gunnery and the maintenance and use of aircraft and equipment, 1942-44 (124 reels).

Air Transport Command briefing films, consisting of aerial and ground views of terrain and flight routes and landing facilities worldwide and animation for the briefing films, showing particular flight routes, locations of landing strips, radio beams, and the principal geographic configuration of specific areas, 1943-45 (743 reels).

World War II combat films and postwar films of prisoner-of-war and internee camps, concentration camps, Axis atrocities, operations in Europe filmed for the documentary Thunderbolt, V-E and V-J Days, the occupation of Germany and Japan, atomic scientists, the atomic bomb blast over Nagasaki, and damage to Nagasaki and Hiroshima, 1942-49 (5,181 reels).

Information films discussing aspects of Army Air Force personnel's daily life at home and abroad, including interaction with surrounding communities, sports activities, air operations and equipment, and relevant current events, 1943-55 (99 reels).

91 items

Radio programs in The Fighting AAF and Your AAF series, which include air combat accounts obtained by radio reporters and other eyewitness accounts of combat, 1945.


Photographs (75,455 images): Foreign and domestic aircraft, 1903- 39 (WP, 13,800 images). U.S. Army balloon and airship facilities and school, 1908-20 (MA, 250 images). Early aircraft developed by Glenn H. Curtiss and Glenn L. Martin activities and personnel at the Army-Navy Aviation School, Rockwell Field, CA and prominent individuals, photographed by H.A. Erickson and Harold A. Taylor, 1914-18 (HE, 1,230 images). Aviation activities during World War I, including aerial photographs, taken by the Photographic Division, Signal Corps, and the Photo Section, Air Service, American Expeditionary Forces, under the direction of Maj. Edward Steichen, 1918-19 (E, 6,335 images). Logging and other activities of the Spruce Production Corporation, 1918-20 (SPCA, SPCB, SPCC, SPCD 500 images). Important figures in history of aviation, 1918-45 (HP, 500 images). Flight personnel identification photographs, 1911-41 (P, PU 50,177 images). History and activities at Scott Field, IL and landscapes of nearby areas, including military and civilian structures, in IL, KY, MI, MO, IN, FL, and WI, 1923-39 (SF, 1,500 images). In-flight refueling operations, 1923 (HER, 10 images). Civil and military installations in various states and DC, including a photograph of the airship Graf Zeppelin over Oakland, CA, 1929, and the damage to Santa Barbara, CA, by a 1925 earthquake, 1925-47 (LMU, 430 images). Tuskeegee, AL, Training Field graduates, 1943-46 (T, 723 images).

Aerial and Ground Photographs (41,025 images): Airscapes of population centers, landmarks, national parks, geographical features, and the aftermath of natural disasters, 1917-64 (AA, AN 14,750 images). Activities at Air Transport Command facilities and bases, and topographical features for guiding pilots along military air routes around the world, 1943-45 (AG, AM, AO, ATC, ZC 26,275 images).

Lantern Slides (2,200 images): History of military aviation, including persons significant in aviation history, 1903-27 (AH).

Filmstrip (1 item): "Round the World Flight," about aviators Gatty and Wiley Post and their Lockheed-Vega monoplane, 1931 (LMU).

Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.

International Archives Week—Charles Sprout: A Civil War Soldier Revisited

This week is International Archives Week #IAW2021, time set aside by the International Council on Archives (ICA) to celebrate the founding of ICA in 1948. This year’s theme is #EmpoweringArchives. Today’s post comes from Bryan Cheeseboro, an archives technician at the National Archives in Washington, DC. The National Archives has created a short documentary Charles &hellip Continue reading International Archives Week—Charles Sprout: A Civil War Soldier Revisited

History of U.S. Army Weapons

Small arms used by American forces in the Revolution were many and varied, however at the beginning of the war the British Short Land Service Musket, often referred to as the Brown Bess, was perhaps the most common musket on hand. In 1777, the French allied themselves with the American cause and began sending arms and equipment.

Early America 1786-1833

The U.S. Musket Model 1795, the principle small arm used by the Army in the War of 1812, was a copy of the caliber .69, French Model 1763 Infantry Musket. These muskets were made at the armories at both Springfield, Massachusetts, and Harper's Ferry, Virginia. The Model 1795 Muskets produced by Eli Whitney incorporate all of the latest technological features such as a rounded hammer face and slanted pan. Whitney delivered 10,000 muskets to the Army under a July 1812 contract. Muskets manufactured under this contract are marked "N. Haven" on the lock plate.

The U.S. Model 1816 Musket was similar to the Model 1795, but incorporated enough new features to be given a new designation. These muskets were made at the armories at both Springfield, Massachusetts, and Harper's Ferry, Virginia. This pattern of musket will continue in use until the Mexican War.

Mid-19th Century 1833-1850

The U.S. Model 1842 Musket was the first U.S. weapon made at both the Harpers Ferry and Springfield Armories with fully interchangeable parts. It was also the first regulation musket made in the percussion ignition system by the national armories and was the last of the smoothbore .69 caliber muskets. A total of 275,000 Model 1842s were produced between 1844 and 1855, 103,000 at Harper's Ferry and 172,000 at Springfield Armory.

The Caliber .54, Model 1841 Rifle was the first rifle made in the percussion ignition system at a national armory. Until the Mexican War it was only provided to militia rifle companies in various states. The Model 1841 was made by Harpers Ferry Armory from 1846 to1855 with a total produced of about 25,296 arms. The weapon has a 33" browned barrel, which was made without provision for attaching a bayonet. The walnut stock is distinguished by a large patch-box on right side of the butt. Sometimes called the "Mississippi Rifle," it owes this name to the successful use of the weapon by a Mississippi rifle regiment under the command of Jefferson Davis during the Mexican War.

Mid-19th Century 1851-1872 In July 1855, Secretary of War Jefferson Davis authorized the production of a new .58 caliber rifle musket. This was the first rifled weapon produced for general issue by the U.S. Army. A rifle version was also produced to replace the M1841 Rifle. Both the rifle and the rifle-musket were equipped with the Maynard patented priming system which used a roll of caps in a compartment in the lock that advanced when the weapon was cocked.

The carbine was used by the Cavalry and numerous types were used during early part of the Civil War. Three carbines came to predominate by the middle of the war: the Sharps, which fired a .54 Caliber paper combustible cartridge or could be loaded with a bullet and loose powder the Spencer, which was a magazine weapon that held seven rounds of .56 caliber metallic cartridge in a tube in the butt stock and the Burnside, which used a unique tapered .54 Caliber metallic cartridge fired with a standard percussion cap. In all, more than 95,000 Sharps, 80,000 Spencer, and 54,000 Burnside Carbines were purchased.

Late-19th Century 1872-1902

The .45 caliber trapdoor rifle would remain in use with the Regular Army until 1894 and with the National Guard in various states until at least 1905. The version used the most, by both the Regular Army and the National Guard was the Model 1884 with the long range Buffington rear sights. As the supply of socket bayonets began to dwindle in the late 1880s, the last model of .45 caliber rifle to be produced, the Model 1888, had a ramrod bayonet.

The .45 caliber Model 1884 carbine was replace in 1896 with a .30 caliber carbine version of the Krag-Jorgensen, although the trapdoor would continue to be used by the National Guard into the early part of the 20th century. The Model 1896 Krag-Jorgensen carbine was used by the cavalry of the Regular Army and the majority of Volunteer cavalry units during the Spanish-American War. A small number of Model 1898 carbines were produced and issued during the war as well, and in 1899 a newer version of the Krag, known as the Model 1899 carbine would take the regular cavalry into the new century fighting insurgents in the Philippines.

Mid-20th Century 1926-1956

The United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1 (also known as the Garand Rifle in honor of its designer John Garand), was the first semi-automatic rifle in the world to be generally issued to infantry. The Army began looking for a replacement for the M1903 rifle almost immediately following the end of World War I. Research and development continued at Springfield Armory into the early 1930s with numerous problems being encountered. But on November 7, 1935 a new rifle was cleared for procurement and on January 9, 1936 became Army standard as the M1 rifle. However, production difficulties and design issues continued to plague the new rifle. Finally, with the redesign of the barrel and gas cylinder assembly in early 1940, the rifle was ready to go into full production. Output reached 600 rifles a day by January 1941, and by the end of the Army was equipped with the new rifle.

The M1 was a gas-operated, semi-automatic rifle that utilized an eight-round clip which gave United States forces a significant advantage in firepower and shot-to-shot response time over enemy infantrymen in battle. The weapon was the principle infantry weapon used in both World War II and Korea.

The Thompson submachine gun was designed by General John T. Thompson, who started the Auto-Ordnance Corporation in 1916 for the purpose of developing his new weapon. Originally designed for trench warfare the prototype submachine was produced too late for the war. In 1919 the weapon was officially named the "Thompson Submachine Gun" and it was the first weapon to be labeled and marketed as a "submachine gun."

The M3 submachine gun (known as the "Grease Gun"), entered Army service on December 12, 1942. The weapon was produced by the Guide Lamp Division of General Motors Corporation. Even at the development stage, the weapon's design focused on simplified production, employing metal stamping, pressing and welding. The M3 was an automatic-only blowback operated weapon that fired from an open bolt fed from a 30-round detachable box magazine. The weapon had a crank-type cocking mechanism on the right side, and a telescoping metal wire stock, which featured threads at both ends used to attach a bore brush, so that it could be used as a cleaning rod.

The Browning Automatic Rifle (commonly known as the BAR), was designed in 1917 by John M. Browning, as a replacement for French-made light automatic rifles. The BAR was a .30 caliber, gas-operated, select-fire, air-cooled, automatic rifle that fired from an open bolt fed from a 20-round detachable box magazine.

Late-20th, Early 21st Century 1954-2006

The M16 Rifle was the initial version first adopted in 1964 by the United States Air Force. It was a lightweight, 5.56 mm caliber, air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine rifle with a rotating bolt actuated by direct impingement gas operation. The weapon was constructed of steel with an aluminum alloy receiver and a composite plastic stock.

The M16 was ordered as a replacement for the M14 at the direction of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara over the objection of the Army. The Army began to field the XM16E1, an M16 with a forward assist feature, in late 1965 with most going to Vietnam. When the XM16E1 reached Vietnam, reports of jamming and malfunctions in combat immediately began to surface. The XM16E1 was standardized as the M16A1 Rifle in 1967, and improvements to the rifle along with training in proper cleaning diminished many of the problems, but the rifle's reputation continued to suffer. Moreover, complaints about the inadequate penetration and stopping power of the 5.56mm cartridge persisted throughout the conflict.

The M16A2 entered service in the mid-1980s and fired a NATO standard Belgian-designed M855 or M856 5.56mm cartridge. The M16A2 was a select fire rifle capable of semi-automatic fire or three-round bursts. The burst-fire mechanism utilized a three-part automatic sear that fires up to three rounds for each pull of the trigger. The mechanism is non-resetting, which means that if the user fires a two-round burst and releases the trigger, the weapon will only fire a single round the next time he or she pulls the trigger. In theory, burst-fire mechanisms allow ammunition conservation for troops with limited training and combat experience. Other features included an adjustable rear-sight for wind and elevation, a slightly longer stock, heavier barrel, case deflector for left-handed shooters, and rounded hand guards.

A combination of the M16A4 and M4 Carbine continued to replace existing M16A2 Rifles used by the Army. The M16A4 incorporated a flattop receiver unit and a hand guard with four Picatinny rails for mounting optical sights, lasers, night vision devices, forward handgrips, removable carry handle, and flashlights. The M4 was a carbine version of the M16A1 with a small retractable stock and shorter barrel. The M4A1 was capable of fully automatic fire and was used as a submachine gun by selected individuals in situations such as house-to-house fighting.

Between 2003 and 2006, soldiers reported a lack of stopping power with the 9mm ammunition, and problems with the magazines. Testing showed that the 9mm magazines failed due to the heavy phosphate finish called for in the government specification when used in the environmental conditions in Iraq. After corrections were made to the specifications, almost two million new magazines were distributed without any further malfunctions. The 5.56mm M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) was a fully-automatic, gas-operated, magazine or belt-fed weapon. It was used within the infantry squad as an automatic rifle, filling the void created by the retirement of the Browning automatic rifle in 1960, a role that both the M14 and M16A1 rifles had failed to fill. The M249 replaced the M16A1 rifles used in the automatic mode in the rifle squad on a one-for-one. The automatic rifleman supported the infantry squad by providing suppressive fire against point targets in the last 100 yards of the assault. The M249 was also be used as a light machinegun, when fired from a stable position and not required to conduct fire and maneuver with the squad. When used in the machine gun roll, the gun remained with the base-of-fire element.

The M79 was an attempt to increase firepower for the infantryman by using an explosive projectile more accurate and with further range than a rifle grenade, but more portable than a mortar. It was adopted by the Army on December 15, 1960 with the first deliveries received in late 1961. Owing to its ease of use, reliability, and firepower, the M79 almost immediately became popular with infantry soldiers. The M79 could consistently drop grenades into a 24 inch circle, 150 yards away.

All About Canadian History

Fact: Dogs are awesome.

This is not only supported by science, but by their loving, forever loyal nature. Their loyalty can inspire acts of bravery and this has made them a fixture on the battlefield since the days of the Ancient Egyptians. As such, during both World Wars dogs fought along soldiers and a memorable example of this comes from a Canadian dog during World War II.

Pal with Eileen, Jack Hayden and Mike Ratcliffe

Sergeant Gander was a Newfoundland dog who saved the lives of a number of Canadian soldiers during the Battle of Lye Mun on Hong Kong Island in December 1941. Back in 1940 though, his name was Pal and he belonged to the Hayden family who lived in Gander, Newfoundland. Pal loved to play with the neighbourhood children and he was often used as a sled dog. Now, as you can see from the photos, Newfoundland dogs are wonderfully big dogs, (Gander was reportedly 130 lbs). Little kids + big dogs = accident waiting to happen. While playing with the kids, Pal accidentally scratched the face of six-year-old Eileen. Given that a doctor was required, the Hayden family was faced with the decision of having Pal put down or giving him away. They chose to give him to the soldiers stations at the air base, RCAF Station Gander. After being renamed Gander, the dog became the regimental mascot for the 1st Battalion of the Royal Rifles of Canada.

Gander with the Royal Rifles of Canada (1st Battalion)

Infantrymen of “C” Company, Royal Rifles of Canada, and their mascot en route to Hong Kong. (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, October 27, 1941). [Source]

The Royal Rifles of Canada with their mascot, Gander, en route to Hong Kong (c. October 1941).

In 1941, the 1st Battalion were sent to Hong Kong to defend the land from the invading Japanese. Rather than leave Gander behind, the men promoted him to the rank of “Sergeant” and he joined to soldiers on their mission. Rifleman Fred Kelly was responsible for taking care of Gander. During his time in Hong Kong, Kelly let Gander take long cold showers to help deal with the immense heat. According to Kelly, Gander was also a fan of beer.

Gander with an unidentified Royal Rifles soldier.

The Battle of Hong Kong began on December 8, 1941 and Gander helped fight the Japanese invaders on three occasions. He charged at any Japanese soldier who made the mistake of getting too close to the Canadians troops and tackled them. “He growled and ran at the enemy soldiers, biting at their heels,” Rifleman Reginald Law recalled. Most battles took place at night and Gander’s black fur made him hard to see. As a result, instead of shooting him, the Japanese hightailed it out of there to escape Gander’s wrath. Later on, the Japanese interrogated Canadian prisoners of war about “Black Beast,” fearing that the Allies were training ferocious animals for warfare.

Shaking the paw of the “Black Beast.”

On December 19th just after midnight, the Battle of Lye Mun broke out. Gander fought off the Japanese as he always did, until a grenade was thrown near a group of injured Canadians. Knowing what was about to happen, Gander picked up the grenade with his mouth and tore off with it. The grenade exploded and Gander was killed, but in doing so he had saved the lives of the seven soldiers.

Artist: Anne Mainman
Courtesy of: Newfound Friends – Newfoundland Dogs Working For Childrens Charities

60 years later, Gander was posthumously awarded the Dickin Medal for Gallantry by The People’s Dispensary For Sick Animals (essentially the Victoria Cross for animals) on Oct. 27, 2000. It had not been awarded since 1949, but the PDSA felt that Gander was most deserving. This ceremony was attended by 20 surviving members of Gander’s regiment. Fred Kelly, with a Newfoundland dog at his side, accepted the medal on Gander’s behalf. The medal is on display in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. Also, when the Hong Kong Veterans Memorial Wall was created, Gander’s name was listed alongside the 1977 Canadians who died during the battle.

…Okay so, this post turned out to be a lot more depressing than I intended. To end things on a happy note…

Beard, Sue, and Sergeant Major George S. MacDonell, A Dog Named Gander, Toronto: 2014.

Congress passes Communist Control Act

Congress passes the Communist Control Act in response to the growing anticommunist hysteria in the United States. Though full of ominous language, many found the purpose of the act unclear.

In 1954, the Red Scare still raged in the United States. Although Senator Joseph McCarthy, the most famous of the “red hunters” in America, had been disgraced earlier in the summer of 1954 when he tried to prove that communists were in the U.S. Army, most Americans still believed that communists were at work in their country. Responding to this fear, Congress passed the Communist Control Act in August 1954. The act declared that, “The Communist Party of the United States, though purportedly a political party, is in fact an instrumentality of a conspiracy to overthrow the Government of the United States.” The act went on to charge that the party’s “role as the agency of a hostile foreign power renders its existence a clear and continuing danger to the security of the United States.” The conclusion seemed inescapable: “The Communist Party should be outlawed.” Indeed, that is what many people at the time believed the Communist Control Act accomplished.

A careful reading of the act, however, indicates that the reality was a bit fuzzier. In 1950, Congress passed the Internal Security Act. In many respects, it was merely a version of the Communist Control Act passed four years later. It used the same language to condemn communism and the Communist Party of the United States, and established penalties for anyone belonging to a group calling for the violent overthrow of the American government. However, it very specifically noted that mere membership in the Communist Party, or affiliated organizations, was not in and of itself sufficient cause for arrest or penalty. The 1954 act went one step further by removing the “rights, privileges, and immunities attendant upon legal bodies created under the jurisdiction of the laws of the United States” from the Communist Party. The Communist Control Act made it clear that “nothing in this section shall be construed as amending the Internal Security Act of 1950.” Thus, while the Communist Control Act may have declared that the Communist Party should be outlawed, the act itself did not take this decisive step.

1st Battalion - 118th Field Artillery Regiment "Hickory's Howitzers"

The 1st Battalion, 118th Field Artillery Regiment, traces its lineage to the 118th Field Artillery which was organized on 18 April 1751 in the Georgia Militia in the District of Savannah as four independent volunteer companies, 3 of foot and one of horse. It was mustered into service of the colony 11 June 1751 at Savannah under the command of Captain Noble Jones.

It was reorganized on 2 April 1757 as the 1st Regiment of Foot Militia, Division of Savannah, under the command of Colonel Noble Jones in January 1776 with two battalions (Savannah and Christ Church Parish in the 1st Battalion). It was disbanded on 29 January 1778 at Savannah when the city was captured by the British.

It was reorganized in 1782 in the Georgia Militia as the 1st Regiment (Savannah and Chatham County in the 1st Battalion), 1st Brigade, 1st Division. The 1st Battalion (Chatham Battalion), 1st Regiment, expanded, reorganized, and was redesignated in 1784 as the 1st Regiment (Chatham Regiment), 1st Brigade, 1st Division. It reorganized in March 1793 to consist of the 1st (or city) Battalion in Savannah and the 2nd (or county) Battalion in Chatham County and reorganized again wholly in Savannah in December 1807.

The Savannah Volunteer Guards (Organized in 1802) and the Republican Blues (Organized in 1808) were mustered into Federal service in east Florida in June 1812 as elements of Colonel David Newman's provisional battalion of Georgia Volunteers and mustered out of Federal service in October 1812. Heavy Artillery Company (organized in 1812) mustered into Federal service 19 October 1812 at Fort Jackson, Georgia and mustered out of Federal service 23 November 1812.

The unit was mustered into Federal service on 22 January 1815 at Savannah as the 1st Regiment, Georgia Volunteers and mustered out of Federal service on 23 February 1815 (the volunteer companies in the 1st Regiment, Georgia Militia, reorganized on 13 December 1829 as the Chatham Legion while the Irish Jasper Greens, organized in 1842, were mustered into Federal service on 12 June 1846 at Columbus as Company F, 1st Regiment, Georgia Volunteers and mustered out of Federal service 26 May 1847 at New Orleans, LA).

  • Chatham Artillery (organized in 1785)
  • Savannah Volunteer Guards (organized in 1802)
  • Republican Blues (organized in 1808)
  • Phoenix Riflemen (organized in 1812)
  • Irish Jasper Greens (organized in 1842)
  • German Volunteers (organized in 1845)
  • DeKalb Riflemen (organized in 1850)

The 1st Regiment, Georgia Militia, reorganized with new companies - hereafter separate lineage.

The unit was redesignated on 17 May 1856 as the Independent Volunteer Regiment of Savannah on 20 December 1859 as the 1st Volunteer Regiment of Georgia. It was ordered into active state service on 2 January 1861 to take possession of Fort Pulaski in the Savannah harbor and mustered into Confederate service by elements May-July 1861.

The Chatham Artillery detached from the regiment on 28 September 1861 and reorganized as an independent light battery (Claghorn's or Wheaton's Georgia battery) they surrendered 26 April 1865 near Greensboro, NC.

A portion of the regiment was captured on 11 April 1862 at the surrender of Fort Pulaski

The Savannah Volunteer Guards detached from the regiment on 11 April 1862 and were expanded, reorganized, and redesignated as the 18th Battalion, Georgia Infantry: they surrendered on 26 April 1865 at Appomattox Court House, VA.

The Phoenix Riflemen detached from the regiment and were expanded, reorganized, and redesignated as the 13th Battalion, Georgia Infantry: they were absorbed on 23 December 1862 by the 63d Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

The regiment itself reorganized in October 1862 as the 1st Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment upon exchange of elements captured at Fort Pulaski. It consolidated in April 1865 with the 57th and 63d Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiments and was redesignated as the 1st Georgia Composite Infantry Regiment. It surrendered on 26 April 1865 near Durham, NC.

The former 1st Volunteer Regiment (Chatham Regiment) of Georgia reorganized on 26 September 1872 in the Georgia Volunteers at Savannah as the 1st Infantry Regiment. Its elements consolidated with elements of the 2d and 4th Infantry Regiments and mustered into Federal service on 11 May 1898 at Griffin as the 1st Georgia Volunteer Infantry: it mustered out of Federal service on 18 November 1898 at Macon and resumed state status as the 1st Regiment of Infantry (The Georgia Volunteers were redesignated on 21 December 1899 as the Georgia State Troops: and on 1 October 1905 as the Georgia National Guard).

The unit was drafted into Federal service on 5 August 1917. It converted and was redesignated on 23 September 1917 as the 118th Field Artillery and assigned to the 31st Division. It demobilized 14-18 January 1919 Camp Gordon, GA.

Reorganized in 1921 in the Georgia National Guard as the 1st Field Artillery, its Headquarters was Federally recognized on 30 December 1921 at Savannah. The unit was redesignated on 27 April 1922 as the 118th Field Artillery and assigned to the 30th Division. Battery A (Chatham Artillery) was withdrawn on 17 April 1925 and reorganized as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 55th Field Artillery Brigade, an element of the 30th Division.

  • Headquarters and Headquarters Battery and the 1st battalion as the 118th Field Artillery Battalion
  • 2d Battalion as the 230th Field Artillery Battalion
  • Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 30th Division Artillery, inactivated on 20 November 1945 at Fort Jackson, SC. It was redesignated on 5 July 1946 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery (Georgia part), 48th Division Artillery. It was reorganized and Federally recognized on 18 June 1947 at Savannah and on 1 November 1955 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 48th Armored Division Artillery.
  • The 118th Field Artillery Battalion inactivated on 20 November 1945 at Fort Jackson, SC. It was relieved on 5 July 1946 from assignment to the 30th Infantry Division. It reorganized and was Federally recognized on 21 April 1947 at Savannah before being reorganized and redesignated on 1 November 1955 as the 118th Armored Field Artillery Battalion and assigned to the 48th Armored Division
  • The 230th Field Artillery inactivated on 20 November 1945 at Fort Jackson, SC. It was relieved on 5 July 1946 from assignment to the 30th Infantry Division and assigned to the 48th Infantry Division. It reorganized and was Federally recognized on 22 April 1947 at Savannah, before being reorganized and redesignated on 1 November 1955 as the 230th Armored Field Artillery Battalion (the 48th Infantry Division concurrently reorganized and was redesignated as the 48th Armored Division).

The 118th and 230th Field Artillery Battalions consolidated on 1 July 1959 and the consolidated unit was reorganized and redesignated as the 118th Field Artillery, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental system, to consist of the 1st and 2d Howitzer Battalions, elements of the 48th Armored Division. It reorganized on 16 April 1963 to consist of the 1st, 2d, and 3d Battalions, elements of the 48th Armored Division. The regiment was broken up on 1 January 1968 and its elements reorganized and were redesignated, with Headquarters, Headquarters and Service Battery, 1st Battalion, consolidated with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 48th Armored Division Artillery, and the consolidated unit reorganized and was redesignated as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 118th Artillery Group (remainder of regiment - hereafter separate lineage). It was redesignated on 9 May 1978 as Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 118th Field Artillery Brigade.

It consolidated on 1 September 1992 with the 230th Field Artillery which was constituted on 14 December 1967 in the Georgia Army National Guard as the 230th Artillery, a parent regiment under the Combat Arms Regimental System, organized on 1 January 1968 from existing units to consist of the 1st Battalion, an element of the 30th Infantry Division and redesignated on 1 May 1972 as the 230th Field Artillery. It was reorganized on 1 December 1973 to consist of the 1st Battalion, an element of the 48th Infantry Brigade before being withdrawn on 1 June 1989 from the Combat Arms Regimental System and reorganized under the United States Army Regimental System with Headquarters at Waycross (1st Battalion ordered into active Federal service on 30 November 1990 at home stations: released on 27 March 1991 from active Federal service and reverted to state control).

The resulting consolidated unit reorganized and was redesignated as the 118th Field Artillery, a parent regiment under the United States Army Regimental System, with Headquarters at Savannah, to consist of the 1st Battalion, an element of the 48th Infantry Brigade.

As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 1-118th FA took over responsibility for a part of 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division's area of operations previously patrolled by 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Taji, Iraq.

These Five “Witness Trees” Were Present At Key Moments In America’s History

A witness tree begins its life like any other tree. It sprouts. It grows. And then it’s thrust into the spotlight, playing an involuntary part in a significant historic event. Often, that event is a devastating, landscape-scarring battle or other tragic moment. Once Civil War soldiers march on to their next battle, say, or a country turns its attention to healing after a terrorist attack, a witness tree remains as a biologically tenacious symbol of the past.

Witness trees have been known to hide bullets they’ve absorbed beneath new layers of wood and bark, and they heal other visible scars over time. While they may look like ordinary trees, they have incredible stories to tell.

Travelers, history lovers, some park rangers and others have embraced these exceptional trees as important, living connections to our past . In 2006, Paul Dolinsky, chief of the National Park Service’s Historic American Landscapes Survey, led the development of the Witness Tree Protection Program, a pilot project that identified an initial 24 historically and biologically significant trees in the Washington, D.C. area. Written histories and photographs of the trees are archived at the Library of Congress. “Although trees have longevity, they’re ephemeral,” says Dolinsky. “This will be a lasting record of the story a tree has to tell.”

While the pilot program has gained some traction, the number of witness trees in the U.S. remains unknown. One reason why: Some areas where witness trees may reside, like battlefields, are vast. Another reason: It can be difficult to determine a tree’s age to confirm it was alive during a significant historic event. Boring into a tree can answer that question, but it can also damage a tree so it’s not often done. In some cases, witness trees aren’t identified until they die of natural causes. In 2011, for instance, a felled oak tree with two bullets embedded in the trunk was found on Culp’s Hill in Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. Photographs or other historic records, however, can confirm some witness trees—and rule out others—with relative ease.

Confirmed witness trees are precious. They survived trauma, and then dodged disease and storms and whatever else humans and nature have hurled at them for dozens or even hundreds of years. Though some trees can live for 500 years, it’s unknown how much longer some of these may survive.

Communing with a witness tree offers a true, one-of-a-kind thrill. “It’s a live thing,” says Joe Calzarette, Natural Resources Program Manager at Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland. “There’s something about a live thing that you can connect with in a way you can’t with an inanimate object.”

To experience it yourself, visit these five trees that have witnessed some of the most traumatic and tragic events that have shaped U.S. history. When you go, respect any barriers—natural or manmade—between you and the witness tree, and take care never to get too close to trees that seem approachable. Even walking on nearby soil can have an impact on a tree’s root system and overall health.

The War of 1812 Willow Oak, Oxon Cove Park & Oxon Hill Farm, Maryland

War of 1812 Willow Oak, near parking lot, Oxon Hill, Prince George's County, MD (Library of Congress)

The blood and fire of the War of 1812 Willow Oak’s namesake hostilities reached the tree during the Battle of Bladensburg on August 24, 1814. The lonely oak with its thick, gnarled trunk now stands in a grassy field in Maryland, near the parking lot of the Oxon Cove Park & Oxon Hill Farm in Oxon Hill, known two centuries ago as Mount Welby, home of British sympathizers Dr. Samuel DeButts and his family. The tree and estate overlooked Washington, D.C.

On that August night, British troops defeated American troops about six miles away from Mount Welby, then attacked the capital, setting the White House and other parts of the city on fire. DeButts’ wife, Mary Welby, wrote of that evening: “Our house shook repeatedly by the firing upon forts [and] Bridges, [and was] illuminated by the fires in our Capital.” The DeButts family later found three rockets from the fighting on their property.

White Oak Tree, Manassas Nati onal Battlefield Park, Virginia

A White Oak Witness Tree near Stone Bridge at Manassas National Battlefield Park in Manassas, VA (Bryan Gorsira, NPS)

At the eastern edge of Manassas National Battlefield Park, walk across Bull Run Creek via Stone Bridge, take a right on the trail, then curve around the water. Ahead on the left rises a White Oak that survived not one but two Civil War battles.

The tree grows in a spot that both Union and Confederate armies thought was critical to victory. On the morning of July 21, 1861, the opening shots of the First Battle of Manassas pierced the sultry summer air over the nearby Stone Bridge, as the Union made its initial diversionary attack. When the battle ended, Union troops retreated across the bridge and through the water. Confederate troops also retreated through here on March 9, 1862, destroying the original Stone Bridge behind them as they evacuated their winter camps.

Troops from both sides returned to the tree’s orbit during the Second Battle of Manassas in late August 1862, with the defeated Union rear guard destroying a makeshift replacement wooden bridge. A photo from March 1862 by George N. Barnard shows a decimated landscape, the trees thin and bare. Today, the scene is more serene, with the tree—and a rebuilt Stone Bridge—sturdy and resolute.

The National Park Service estimates Manassas contains hundreds of other witness trees, many having been found with the help of a Girl Scout working on her Gold Award project.

The Burnside Sycamore, Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland

Burnside Bridge Sycamore, southwest of Burnside Bridge, Historic Burnside Bridge Road, Sharpsburg, Washington County, MD (Library of Congress)

During the afternoon of September 17, 1862, General Ambrose Burnside and his Union troops battled three hours against dug-in Confederate positions to cross a bridge over Antietam Creek. An additional two hours of fighting ensued against Confederate reinforcements. There were more than 600 casualties at Burnside Bridge, contributing to the Civil War’s bloodiest day.

Amid the fighting, a young sycamore growing beside the bridge withstood the crossfire. We know this because, several days later, Alexander Gardner photographed what became known as the Burnside Bridge, with the tree near the lower left corner of the image. The iconic photo can be seen at Antietam on the wayside in front of the tree, located in the southern reaches of Antietam National Battlefield .

The Burnside Sycamore has since faced other threats, like flooding and even the bridge itself. The bridge's foundation is probably limiting the tree’s root system. But now the tree stands tall and healthy, its branches spreading high above the bridge and the gentle creek, creating a serene, shady nook. “People see the tree and they see the little wayside and they think, ‘Boy, if this tree could talk,'”says Calzarette.

Antietam contains several other known witness trees, including in the West and North Woods.

The Sickles Oak, Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania

Reed's sketch of Major General Daniel E. Sickles and his men gathered under the Sickles Oak (Library of Congress)

The Swamp White Oak on the grounds of Trostle Farm witnessed some of Gettysburg’s heaviest fighting—its shade beckoned a notorious Civil War figure looking for a command post. Charles Reed sketched Major General Daniel E. Sickles and his men gathered under the Sickles Oak during the afternoon of July 2, 1863, not long before Sickles disobeyed direct orders and marched his men into disaster. During an onslaught by Confederate troops, Sickles’ men took heavy losses Sickles lost his right leg to a cannonball.

The Sickles Oak was at least 75 years old at the time of the battle, and it’s grown into a “big, beautiful, healthy-looking tree,” says Katie Lawhon, Gettysburg National Military Park spokesperson. Several witness trees are believed to survive in Gettysburg, but the Sickles Oak is among the most accessible today. It’s close to stop 11 on the Gettysburg auto tour, near the still-standing buildings of Trostle Farm.

Oklahoma City Survivor Tree, Oklahoma City National Memorial, Oklahoma

The Oklahoma City Survivor Tree (Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum)

When Timothy McVeigh bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, killing 168 people, an American elm in downtown Oklahoma City absorbed the blast. Glass and metal from the explosion embedded in its bark. The hood of an exploded car landed in its crown.

Instead of removing the tree to extract evidence, survivors, family members of those killed in the blast, and others urged officials to save the almost 100-year-old elm. Planners of the Oklahoma City National Memorial created conditions to allow the tree to recover and thrive they also made it a focal point of the memorial. A custom promontory surrounds the 40-foot-tall tree, ensuring the elm gets proper care above and below ground. The Survivor Tree, as it’s now known, like many other witness trees, serves as a touchstone of resilience.

Watch the video: Napoleons Retreat from Moscow 1812