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Sunday, May 09, 2004

MARINES PRIOR TO 1775!


We know a lot about U. S. Marine Corps history since 1775, and even Marines prior to that. Although French sailors had been trained and organized in 1622 to fight on shore, it was not until 1664 that a true corps of Marines was formed. This was "The Duke of York and Albany's Maritime Regiment of Foot." decreed by an order of King Charles II.' Even prior to the above examples, it could be said that there were Marines-"Marines are as old as the war at sea...',,,enkist Marines, twenty to a ship, from men between 20 and 30, and archers. (Extract from Athenian decree of June, 480 B>C>, full text in NewYork Times, 5 June 1960.).'" And there were others.

The first American Marines, however, were four colonial battalions raised in 1740 to fight the Spanish. This force of 3,00 later became known as "Gooch's Marines" between 1740 and the outbreak of the American revolution, British Marines had regularly served in North America . Marines had come to have a well-established place in the naval scheme of things, and every fighting ship had a Marine detachment.

Even before Congress had created the Continental marines, George Washington had alreadyformed a squadron of his own , including soldiers detailed as Marines.Eight colonies--Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia had their ownMarines as adjunct to state navies. All but Maryland's were in being prior to Congress; forming of the Continental Marines.
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By R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GySgt USMC (Ret.)
1952-72
Semper Fidelis
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