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CMH Staff Ride: Baltimore, Fort McHenry

Army Gen. Frank Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau, hosts a senior leader off-site visit to Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, June 1, 2016. - U.S. Army National Guard photos by Staff Sgt. Michelle Gonzalez

Army Gen. Frank Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau, hosts a senior leader off-site visit to Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, June 1, 2016.
U.S. Army National Guard photos by Staff Sgt. Michelle Gonzalez


On 1 June, Mr. Joe Seymour and Dr. Glenn Williams from the Center of Military History supported the National Guard Bureau (NGB) staff ride to Baltimore. Covering the 12-15 September 1814 Battle of Baltimore, including the attack on Fort McHenry, members of the Army and Air National Guard Directorates and NGB Joint Staffs, the CMH historians explained the historic campaign, with emphasis on its civil-military, joint service and total force Army perspectives.

Participants posed some interesting historical as well as operational questions, particularly with regard to the land battle of North Point between a brigade of Maryland volunteer militia and the British invasion force. Other questions concerned the interoperability and inter-service cooperation between regular Army and Militia commanders, and between Army / Militia land and the naval forces.

Questions on various aspects of tactics, and joint cooperation in both operational and logistical concerns dominated the discussions. In addition, the National Park Service staff had the NGB members participate in an interactive representation of the flag raising of September 14, 1814, reveille when the post commander, Major George Armistead, ordered the storm flag that had flown at night during the 25-hour bombardment replaced by the 30'X42' garrison flag - as the morning rain stopped - to let all observers (including Francis Scott key) know the fort had not been subdued.

All participants remarked favorably on the day's activities. GEN Frank J. Grass, Chief, National Guard Bureau, and LTG Timothy J. Kadavy, Director, Army National Guard, both expressed their appreciation to LTC Jeffrey Larrabee, NGB Command Historian, and Mr. Seymour and Dr. Williams.


CMH Staff Ride: Baltimore, Fort McHenry



About CMH Staff Rides

The U.S. Army Center of Military History develops and leads staff rides for U.S. Army groups (with priority going to the HQDA staff). We also support other official government agencies and departments including the Department of Defense, U.S. Congress, Air Force, Navy, and Marines, as well as official international visitors and guests of the United States government.

Staff rides represent a unique and persuasive method of conveying the lessons of the past to the present-day Army leadership for current application. Properly conducted, these exercises bring to life, on the very terrain where historic encounters took place, examples, applicable today as in the past, of leadership, tactics and strategy, communications, use of terrain, and, above all, the psychology of men in battle. This historical study, particularly with personal reconnaissance, offers valuable opportunities to develop professional leadership and the capacity for effective use of combined arms on the air-land battlefield.


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