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UNITED STATES MARINES INFOBRIEF EARLY MARINES TIME LINE:
November 10, 1775:
Robert Mullan, then proprietor of the "Tun Tavern", received word that he was commissioned by an act of the "Continental Congress" to seek out volunteers for the formation of the first two Battalions of Marines, which would be under the direction of Samuel Nicholas, who had been duly appointed the first Commandant of the Continental Marines by the Continental Congress.
November 28, 1775:
In just under 3 weeks, the two Battalions had been raised, and it was at that time, that Samuel Nicholas was officially appointed "Captain of the Marines" (the 1st Commandant). The "Continental Marines" enter the Revolutionary War.
July 25, 1776:
Samuel Nicholas was duly and officially promoted to Major. By the summer of 1781, the number of Officers in the Continental Marines had fallen sharply to only 3 Captains and only 3 Lieutenents on active duty.
April 1, 1778:
A Marine detachment is placed under the command of John Paul Jones who makes two successful raids on British soil, the first outside military force to do so in 700 years.
Major Samuel Nicholas retires and returns to civilian life.
The Revolutionary War Ends.
With the last of the Nations warships sold, the "Continental Marines" along with the "Continental Navy", no longer needed, go out of existance.
July 11, 1798:
President John Adams officially signs a bill into law, creating the "United States Marines." The next Commandant was officially appointed until July 11, 1798 which under the authority of the "Act of 11", the appointment was: "Major Commandant" William W. Burrows. In late April 1800, under the "Act of 22", Burrows was duly and officially promoted to "Lieutenant Colonel Commandant", a position he assumed on May 1, 1800 and kept until March 6, 1804.
HISTORY OF THE MARINES' HYMN:
The Marines’ Hymn is one of the most readily recognized songs in the world today and is the oldest of the service songs of our country. The history of the hymn has been clouded by the passing of time and confused by oral tradition. But there is no confusion on the part of the hearer when The Marines’ Hymn is heard. It is as easily identified with the Marine Corps as “The Star-Spangled Banner” is with our nation. To all Marines it has become a sacred symbol of the pride and professionalism of a Marine and you will find them standing straight and tall at the position of attention when it is performed.
The music to the hymn is believed to have originated in the comic opera Geneviéve de Brabant composed by the French composer Jacques Offenbach. Originally written as a two-act opera in 1859, Offenbach revised the work, expanding it to three acts in 1867. This revised version included the song “Couplets des Deux Hommes d’Armes” and is the musical source of The Marines’ Hymn.
The author of the words to the hymn is unknown. One tradition suggested that an unknown Marine wrote the words in 1847. This would have been 20 years before the music was written by Offenbach and is not likely. The first two lines of the first verse were taken from words inscribed on the Colors of the Corps.
After the war with the Barbary pirates in 1805 the Colors were inscribed with the words “To the Shores of Tripoli.” After Marines participated in the capture of Mexico City and the Castle of Chapultepec (also known as the Halls of Montezuma) in 1847, the words on the Colors were changed to read “From the shores of Tripoli to the Halls of Montezuma.” The unknown author of the first verse of the hymn reversed this order to read “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.”
In 1929 the Commandant of the Marine Corps authorized the following verses of The Marines’ Hymn as the official version.
On Nov. 21, 1942, the then Commandant of the Marine Corps approved a change in the words of the fourth line of the first verse to read, “In air, on land, and sea.”:
From the Halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country’s battles
In air, on land and sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.
Our flag’s unfurled to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in ev’ry clime and place
Where we could take a gun;
In the snow of far-off northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes;
You will find us always on the job
The United States Marines
Here’s health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we’ve fought for life
And never lost our nerve;
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven’s scenes;
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.
Marine Corps Emblem "Eagle Globe and Anchor"
The history of the Marine Corps emblem is a story related to the history of the Corps itself. The emblem of today traces its roots to the designs and ornaments of early Continental Marines as well as British Royal Marines. The emblem took its present form in 1868. Before that time many devices, ornaments, and distinguishing marks followed one another as official marks of the Corps.
In 1776, the device consisted of a "foul anchor" of silver or pewter. The foul anchor still forms a part of the emblem today. (A foul anchor is an anchor which has one or more turns of the chain around it). Changes were made in 1798, 1821, and 1824. In 1834 it was prescribed that a brass eagle be worn on the hat, the eagle to measure 3 1/2 inches from wingtip to wingtip.
During the early years numerous distinguishing marks were prescribed, including "black cockades, "scarlet plumes," and "yellow bands and tassels." In 1859 the origin of the present color scheme for the officer's dress uniform ornaments appeared on an elaborate device of solid white metal and yellow metal. The design included a United States shield, half wreath, a bugle, and the letter "M."
In 1868, Brigadier General Commandant Jacob Zeilin appointed a board "to decide and report upon the various devices of cap ornaments for the Marine Corps." On 13 November 1868, the board turned in its report. It was approved by the Commandant four days later, and on 19 November 1868 was signed by the Secretary of the Navy.
The emblem recommended by this board has survived with minor changes to this day. It consists of a globe (showing the Western Hemisphere) intersected by a foul anchor, and surmounted by a spread eagle. On the emblem itself, the device is topped by a ribbon inscribed with the Latin motto "Semper Fidelis" (Always Faithful). The uniform ornaments omit the motto ribbon.
The general design of the emblem was probably derived from the British Royal Marines' "Globe and Laurel." The globe on the U.S. Marine emblem signifies service in any part of the world. The eagle also indirectly signifies service worldwide, although this may not have been the intention of the designers in 1868. The eagle they selected for the Marine emblem is a crested eagle, a type found all over the world. On the other hand, the eagle pictured on the great seal and the currency of the United States is the bald eagle, strictly an American variety. The anchor, whose origin dates back to the founding of the Marine Corps in 1775, indicates the amphibious nature of Marines' duties.