Veteran Corps of Artillery of the State of New York

Last updated
Veteran Corps of Artillery State of New York
Vcasmall.jpg
The Veteran Corps of Artillery Medal
ActiveNovember 25, 1790 – present
Country Flag of the United States.svg United States of America
TypeHistoric Military Command
RolePresent Day Mission:
Size~400
Nickname(s)VCA, VCASNY, Militia
AnniversariesNovember 25, 1790
Engagements American Revolutionary War
War of 1812
Dead Rabbits Riot
American Civil War
New York Draft Riots
World War I
Website http://www.vcasny.org/
Commanders
Current
commander
COL William J. McShane FA VCASNY

The Veteran Corps of Artillery of the State of New York (VCASNY) is an American historic militia organization founded at the end of the American Revolutionary War for the purpose of preventing another British invasion of New York City.

Contents

At the time of the American Revolution, the British Colonies in North America did not have a regular standing army. Instead the colonies depended on an independent militia made up mostly of civilian farmers, with few weapons and controlled by the individual colony. [1] While the Continental Congress established a regular army in June 1775, this was more of a formality rather than a reality. In 1776 George Washington wrote "I am wearied to death all day with a variety of perplexing circumstances, disturbed at the conduct of the militia, whose behavior and want of discipline has done great injury to the other troops, who never had officers, except in a few instances, worth the bread they eat" [2] In other words, while the success of the militia itself is debatable, both the regular army and local militia were used to win American Independence.

The official end to the American Revolutionary War did not occur until 1783 when the Treaty of Paris was signed. Until then, British troops, ships and Tories were present and active in New York City, and in fact, Britain would maintain a presence in the United States until 1815 when the War of 1812 ended.

... Nationalists, most of them war veterans, worried that the new nation was too fragile to withstand an international war, or even internal revolts such as the Shays' Rebellion of 1786 in Massachusetts. (see American Revolution)

The Militia in the United States

Present day United States Code Title 10, Section 311 states that:

This definition is derived from the Militia Act of 1903 which was specifically passed by United States Congress to address the issues of the Militia Act of 1792, as well as the readiness of the existing state militia forces. On the face of it, it appears that the VCASNY is part of the unorganized militia; however, The National Defense Act of 1916 [4] clarifies this in Section 63:

... Any corps of Artillery, Cavalry, or Infantry existing in any of the States on the passage of the Act of May eighth, seventeen hundred and ninetytwo, which by the laws, customs, or usages of said States has been in continuous existence since the passage of said Act, under its provisions and under the provisions of section two hundred and thirty-two and sections sixteen hundred and twenty-five to sixteen hundred and sixty, both inclusive, of title sixteen of the Revised Statutes of eighteen hundred and seventy-three, and the Act of January twenty-first, nineteen hundred and three, relating to the militia, shall be allowed to retain its ancient privileges, subject, nevertheless, to all duties required by law Of militia: Provided, That said organizations may be a part of the National Guard and entitled to all the privileges of this Act, and shall conform in all respects to the organization, discipline, and training of the National Guard in time of war: Provided further, That for purposes of training and when on active duty in the service of the United States they may be assigned to higher units, as the President may direct, and shall be subject to the orders of officers under whom they shall be serving. [5]

It would appear then that this is the federal precedence that makes the VCASNY subject to being part of the National Guard in time of war; thus, The Veteran Corps of Artillery State of New York is comprehended under The National Defense Act Public No. 85, 64th Congress (H.R. 12766) as being one of the nine Historic Military Organizations, [6] liable for duty under orders of the President in time of War. [7]

History

The VCASNY is the oldest military organization in New York State. [8] It was formed in Manhattan on Evacuation Day (New York), November 25, 1790 , by Veterans of Washington's Continental Army Corps of Artillery. The founders met at the City Arms Tavern located off Broadway near Trinity Church, to establish an independent artillery company of exempts in the event of a return invasion by the British. Exempts were males beyond serving military age and thereby exempt from regular militia service. [9] They are currently headquartered at Manhattan's 7th Regiment Armory in the City of New York. Under federal law, they are part of the Organized Militia of the State of New York, and under state law it is an Independent Military Organization and an Historic Military Command. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] Private, Federal and State records indicate that there has been, and may still be a lot of debate on this question even since the early days of the VCASNY. Some government authorities, have considered them an Organized Militia, while others still refer to them as an unorganized militia. In either case, it seems that regardless of their legal definition, the VCASNY has enjoyed fruitful relations with the United States Army, the New York Guard, New York Division of Military and Naval Affairs, and others. This appears to be especially true during the timeframe of World War I, when the VCASNY volunteered for several missions, and received federal, and state backing. In the foreword to The Minute Men of '17, [16] Colonel George W. Burleigh of the NY Guard thanks Major General Leonard Wood United States Army "... for his foresight in giving encouragement and approval to the whole plan. His successor commanding the Department of the East, Major General J. Franklin Bell, continued this support for the Corps ..."

Mayor Bloomberg addresses the audience at Battery Park Juy4 Battery Park.PNG
Mayor Bloomberg addresses the audience at Battery Park

18th and 19th Century

When the VCASNY was formed, it consisted exclusively of officers and soldiers of the American Revolutionary War. [17] Few historical records exist to document their activities for the periods between their formation and just prior to the beginning of the War of 1812. It is known however, that the active part of the VCASNY was the Artillery Service Detachment. This section was uniformed and it participated in drills. [18] When hostilities with Britain became imminent, they became the first independent military organization in New York State to volunteer their services for the field. At this time they entered service on June 25, 1812, until July 2, 1812, and then again from September 2, 1814, until March 2, 1815. [19]

In 1814, and then again in 1890, the VCASNY amended their regulations to include descendants of both the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. This was most likely due to their decreasing numbers and the advanced age of its members.

The Military Society of the War of 1812 was formed 03 January 1826 by officers of the War of 1812 to press for pensions and bounty land legislation. The Military Society of the War of 1812 and the Veteran Corps of Artillery of the State of New York on 08 January 1848 merged as a sole organization. Since that time there has been a changing role between the two organizations. At present the Veteran Corps of Artillery of the State of New York operates under the leadership of the Military Society of the War of 1812 .

20th Century

VCASNY as Guard of Honor May 1917 Vca onguard.jpg
VCASNY as Guard of Honor May 1917

Records indicate that the VCASNY volunteered as an organization for federal service on various occasions in the early part of the 20th century. As in its origin, the VCASNY at the time consisted of men that were exempt from military service due to age or some other reason; however, given the fact that the United States was at war, "The men of the Corps felt that not only their personal inclinations but the traditions of the organization demanded of them that they serve their country in some definite military capacity.". Tradition also demanded of course that they take up the defense of New York City. [20] Two items of concern that would affect New York City directly were civil unrest, and submarine aircraft carriers. While the latter did not come into service in World War I, there was concern that, while these vessels could not inflict heavy damage, it would cost a morale issue in the United States. As such, the VCASNY found a mission that they were suited for; however, they would first have to solve the issue of numbers in the ranks, while also not affecting the war effort. At first recruitment was from other hereditary organizations such as the Sons of the American Revolution, but they found that this would not greatly increase their ranks. So, on February 22, 1917, the regulations of the VCASNY were once again amended to allow for the enlistment of exempts who were "... men of good moral character, not qualified for hereditary membership ...". Although there were some initial problems with the number of recruits the VCASNY would eventually raise, they were eventually supported by New York state legislature and proceeded to form a total of twelve provisional batteries commanded by Colonel John Ross Delafield. Its first official public duty came in May 1917, when they were asked to participate as Honor Guard for the French and British Commission at City Hall. [21] On October 8, 1917, the VCASNY transferred into the 9th Coast Artillery Corps, New York Guard. [22]

Colonel John Ross Delafield, D.S.M Delafield.jpg
Colonel John Ross Delafield, D.S.M

21st Century

With the attacks on the United States on 9/11, the VCASNY volunteered to assist the 88th Brigade New York Guard. The role of the VCASNY as an organization was minor, but some members assumed their roles in the military, law enforcement, emergency medical services, etc. and participated independently[ citation needed ].

Members of the VCASNY have served in several wars and military actions involving the United States including World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, as well as Desert Storm and the present WOT conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Members have served in all of the United States military branches, and many VCA members are still serving actively in either the regular branches or the National Guard or reserves including the NY (State) Guard. [23] As noted in its web site, the current mission of the VCASNY is to "preserve the military heritage of the State of New York and to support military activities in the State of New York upon request". The VCASNY today serves primarily as a ceremonial unit, and during the course of its drill year, is invited to participate in numerous New York City parades, civic and patriotic events. Independently or in association with traditional veterans organizations, the VCASNY also serves as honor guard and provides firing parties for military funerals, military anniversaries and other events of military interest. Drills and practice are held in several locations such as the 7th Regiment Armory, Jamaica Armory in Jamaica, Queens, and Camp Smith. Their drill season begins in October with the Columbus Day Parade, and ends with the VCASNY "4th of July" salute to the nation. Here they render an artillery salute from its Firing Battery of 75mm pack howitzers. This practice began on July 4, 1794, when the VCASNY fired its first Federal Artillery Salute from the Battery in New York City in celebration of U.S. Independence. Other events that they participate in during the drill year include:

In addition to this, there are also several social events for VCA members and its 'sister' organization, The Military Society of the War of 1812. These include the VCA Annual Mess Dinner which is held on the Saturday in January nearest to January 15, and The Military Society of 1812 Annual Dinner, held on the Saturday of January nearest to January 8 to celebrate the Battle of New Orleans.

While highly unlikely, and possibly still debatable, the VCASNY may be subject to federal call-up and as such conducts individual weapons qualification each year at Camp Smith, New York National Guard Training site in Peekskill, New York.

Uniform

The VCASNY follows the United States Army regulations on uniforms. [24] [25] "Upon the Organization of the Corps in 1790, the uniform of the Continental Corps of Artillery of the Revolution was adopted" [26]

Membership

In 1917, the VCASNY regulations for membership were amended. Today, in order to apply for the VCA, prospective members must be a U.S. citizen and be 18 years of age or older. Additionally, while Prior military serviceis not a condition for membership, those with prior or active service enter as Privates (PV1) regardless of previous or current rank. One item of interest is that in spite of its name the Veteran Corps of Artillery 'is not a Veterans' organization like the Veterans of Foreign Wars or American Legion.

Timeline of the Veteran Corps of Artillery and the Military Society of the War of 1812

PeriodEvent
1790The VCASNY was organized on November 25, 1790 , at the City Arms Tavern by officers and soldiers who served in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. "Upon the Organization of the Corps in 1790, the uniform of the Continental Corps of Artillery of the Revolution was adopted" [27]
1791The VCASNY was approved as a separate and distinct organization in the Militia of the State of New York by then Governor of the State George Clinton on March 8, 1791. [28]
United States Capitol C 1800 USCapitol1800.jpg
United States Capitol C 1800
1792The VCASNY was confirmed in statutory and prescriptive rights and privileges as a separate Corps in the Active Militia, of Congress on May 8, 1792 (Sec. 1641, U.S. Revised Statutes), also January 21, 1903 (Sec. 3). [29]
1812-15The VCASNY volunteered and entered military service of the United States during the War of 1812.
1824During the official return and official state visit of Lafayette to America, the VCA was placed to the right of line a place of honor among other militia units of the state, for his official arrival in New York City.
1826The Military Society of the War of 1812 was established in the City of New York on January 3, 1826, as a military society composed exclusively by commissioned officers of that War: regular and volunteer.
1848The Society of the War of 1812 and the Veteran Corps of Artillery were consolidated on January 8, 1848.
1857The Veteran Corps Artillery guarded the NY State Arsenal from attack during the Dead Rabbits Riot.
Dead rabbits barricade new york.jpg
1861Veteran Corps of Artillery served as Battery G, 4th Artillery Regiment of the New York State Militia (National Guard) during the American Civil War. [30]
1863The Veteran Corps of Artillery took part in restoring order during the New York Draft Riots, protecting the State Arsenal from being looted of its muskets and ammunition.
New York Draft Riots - fighting.jpg
1890A "joint resolution" by the Congress of the United States incorporating the Society of the War of 1812 into an historic military command was approved on September 25, 1890.
1892The Society of the War of 1812 was incorporated as a military society under the laws of the State of New York on January 8, 1892.
1895 Brigadier General Asa Bird Gardiner begins work on the revitalization of both the Veteran Corps of Artillery, and the Military Society of 1812. The Military Society of 1812 as an organization is ratified by New York State Legislature on 9 March 1895.
Asa Bird Gardiner Asa Bird Gardiner.png
Asa Bird Gardiner
1917Following America's entry into World War I, The Veteran Corps of Artillery was called up for state active duty by the Governor to help guard the reservoirs [31] in Upstate New York protecting the New York City water supply from sabotage. [32] [33]
National Guardsman NGM-v31-p347.jpg
1917-18Three officers from the VCASNY traveled to both Britain and the front lines of France [34] to study and translate (from French) the tactical field manual for Anti-Aircraft Artillery, later adopted as the manual for the U.S. Army. [35]
1917-19The Veteran Corps of Artillery under their Vice Commandant, LTC John Delafield, became the 9th Coast Artillery Corps, New York Guard, [36] embodying the Veteran Corps of Artillery; [22] most of this unit served at Fort Hancock, New Jersey, with some serving in France with the 57th Artillery, Coast Artillery Corps. [37] [38] [39]
1920-39The VCASNY provided federally approved officer training camps in the summer months for instruction for Organized Reserve Officers.
1940The Corps relocated its headquarters from the 71st Regiment Armory on Park Ave and East 33rd Street to its present location at the 7th Regiment Armory.
Park Avenue Armory jeh.JPG
1941-45At the outbreak of America's entry in World War II, The Veteran Corps of Artillery was not called up as a unit, however large numbers of its members of military age enlisted and served in various branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and in all theaters of operations.
Infobox collage for WWII.PNG
Franklin Roosevelt signing declaration of war against Japan.jpg
1974The VCASNY acquired three howitzers from the New York Army National Guard to be used once again for ceremonial firings. The VCA resumed firing the annual salute to the nation from the battery for the first time since 1890.
Firing Battery at the Ready.jpg
1986The VCASNY Firing Battery conducted firing battery salutes from multiple locations in and around New York Harbor for the 100th anniversary celebration and re-dedication of the Statue of Liberty on July 4.
1994On June 6 the VCASNY fired a 21 gun salute to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy. The VCA conducted the ceremony on the Great Lawn in New York City's Central Park.
1996On January 1 the VCA resumed its role as the honor guard to the Governor's inauguration for the first time since the administrations of Governor Nelson Rockefeller.
1998August 5 select members of the VCA began volunteering to attend annual training with the New York Guard at the New York Army National Guard's training site, Camp Smith, located across from West Point in Peekskill, New York.
1999On July 3 The VCA firing battery welcomed an international naval flotilla, firing salutes from Fort Hamilton and the following day welcomed the tall ships review breaking with tradition by special request of the U.S. Army and fired its traditional July 4 50 round salute from Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn.
2001Volunteers from The Veteran Corps of Artillery assisted the 88th Brigade New York Guard immediately following the attacks on September 11. Corps members worked from the 7th Regiment Armory at the New York National Guard's emergency operations center.
2008In October the Corps helped plan and conduct the re-dedication for the 100th anniversary of the Prison Ship Martyrs' Monument in Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn, in remembrance to the thousands of American soldiers and sailors held as prisoners of war who suffered and died on board the prison ships anchored off Brooklyn during the American Revolutionary War.
2008On November 25 the VCA led the march of all United States military units through lower Manhattan for the 225th commemoration of Evacuation Day.
2009On November 2 the Veteran Corps of Artillery participated in New York City's official welcome near Ground Zero for the newly constructed naval vessel, USS New York built with steel from the World Trade Center. The ship paused off Battery Park to fire a 21 gun salute as it sailed up the Hudson River to the commissioning ceremony.
USS New York in the Hudson River 200911.jpg
2011On October 28, 2011, and at the request from the office of the U.S. Army Chief of Staff, the Veteran Corps of Artillery (assisted by the 1/258th Field Artillery) began the official celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the Statue of Liberty. At approximately 10:00AM, the VCA fired a single 4 gun volley to signal the start of the event. Later that morning, the VCA fired a 19 Gun Salute in honor of foreign dignitaries present for the celebration.
Statue of Liberty 7.jpg

Past Commandants of the Veteran Corps of Artillery

June 2011 – 2020 - Stephen J. Ryan, COL FA VCASNY - (COL USAR)

Commandant June 2011-2020 RYAN VCA.jpg
Commandant June 2011-2020














2008–June 2011- Charles C. Lucas, Jr., COL FA VCASNY

Commandant 2008-June 2011 20100504Clane074.jpg
Commandant 2008–June 2011













2002–2008 – David J. Ramsay, Major General
1998–2002 – John Edward Connelly, III, Major General
1996–1998 – Ralph Arthur Olson, Brigadier General
1985–1996 – John Edward Connelly, II, Major General
1975–1985 – James Watson Gerard, II, Major General
1970–1975 – Sherman Post Haight, Jr., Colonel
1965–1970 – William Ely Chambers, Colonel
1958–1965 – Joseph Baird Magnus, Colonel
1957–1958 – William Grandy Goodwin, Colonel
1950–1957 – Frances Florian Steers, Colonel
1947–1950 – Edwin Bertan Conklin, Colonel
1946–1947 – Chandler Smith, Colonel
1922–1946 – Charles Elliot Warren, Major General, U.S. Ret
1919–1922 – William Groves Bates, Brigadier General
1908–1919 – Asa Bird Gardiner, Bvt Major General
1890–1908 – Rev. Morgan Dix, S.T.D., D.D., D.C.L
1878–1890 – Abraham Daly, Jr., Brigadier General**–Last veteran "Original Member" to hold post of Commandant
1855–1878 – Henry Raymond, Brigadier General
1853–1855 – James B. Murray, Colonel
1850–1853 – Nicholas Haight, Colonel
1845–1850 – Richard Raynor, Captain
1826–1845 – Dr. George Warren Chapman, Captain
1816–1826 – George Mills, Captain
1813–1816 – Dr. George Warren Chapman, Captain
1809–1813 – John McLean, Captain
1807–1809 – William Boyd, Brigadier General
1790–1807 – John Delamater, Captain

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References

  1. The American Revolution: First War for Independence GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  2. Washington blames militia for problems. This Day in History. Retrieved August 29. 2014.
  3. United States Code, Title 10, Section 311
  4. Also referred to as the Defense Act Public No. 85, 64th Congress (H.R. 12766)
  5. National Defense Act 1916
  6. Annals and Regulations, Veteran Corps of Artillery, Page 24-25, 1970
  7. National Defense Extract
  8. The State Department Reports of the State of New York, Opinions of the Attorney General, by New York State, page 413, 1913
  9. Major Norman F. Cushman's History of the V.C.A. and Major General Asa Bird Gardiner's Legal History of the V.C.A. including the Roster of the original members of the Corps and Society (Archives), Annals and Regulations and Roster, Military Society year books, 1896,1897,1898,1900,1901 (NY Historical Society).
  10. Andrews v. Gardiner, NYS Appellate Division, 2nd Dept., 1918;
  11. Opinion, NYS Attorney-General, February 1913;
  12. Militia Acts of 1792 and 1795, codified in the Revised Statutes of the United States in Title 16, Revised Statutes of 1874;
  13. Militia Act of 1903; Amendments to the Act in 1908;
  14. National Defense Act of 1916;
  15. National Defense Act of 1956;
  16. A WWI history of the Ninth Coast Artillery of the New York Guard, and the VCASNY
  17. American Orders and Societies and Their Decorations, By Jennings Hood, Charles James Young, Bailey & Company (Philadelphia, Pa.), Page 98, 1917
  18. The Minute Men of 17, "A History of the Service Rendered during the Recent World War by the Ninth Coast Artillery Corps-New York and the Veteran Corps of Artillery State of New York. Published by Memorial and Property Committee of the Ninth Coast Artillery Corps, Pg. 11, 1922.
  19. The American almanac, year-book, cyclopaedia and atlas, New York American and Journal, Hearst's Chicago American and San Francisco Examiner,1902
  20. The Minute Men of 17, "A History of the Service Rendered during the Recent World War by the Ninth Coast Artillery Corps-New York and the Veteran Corps of Artillery State of New York. Published by Memorial and Property Committee of the Ninth Coast Artillery Corps, Pg. 13, 1922.
  21. The Minute Men of 17, "A History of the Service Rendered during the Recent World War by the Ninth Coast Artillery Corps-New York and the Veteran Corps of Artillery State of New York. Published by Memorial and Property Committee of the Ninth Coast Artillery Corps, 1922.
  22. 1 2 Annual Report Transmitted to the Legislature For the Year 1919...New York Adjutant General Office, p.187
  23. VCA Chief of Staff, Active Duty Orders in the NY Army National Guard for Domestic Operations (Hurricane Irene), 27 - 31 AUG 2011 (Orders For Official Use Only [FOUO], but available on request.)
  24. Annals and Regulations, Veteran Corps of Artillery, Page 54-55, 1970
  25. Veterans Corps of Artillery of the State of New York, (Plate No. 470)
  26. Roster of the Veteran Corps of Artillery Constituting The Military Society of the War of 1812 for 1901-1902, Uniform of the Corps, VCA, Page 49,1901
  27. Roster of the Veteran Corps of Artillery Constituting The Military Society of the War of 1812 for 1901-1902, Uniform of the Corps, VCA, Page 67, 1901
  28. The State Department Reports of the State of New York, Volume 3, Issues 13-18, In the Matter of Construing the Military Law, New York State, Joseph Albert Lawson, William Van Rensselaer Erving, Joseph H. Wilson, Opinion dated February 28, 1913, Page 413, 1913
  29. Roster of the Veteran Corps of Artillery Constituting The Military Society of the War of 1812 for 1901-1902, Uniform of the Corps, VCA, Page 68, 1901
  30. The VCA was part of the 4th Regiment New York State Militia also known as the Fourth Heavy Artillery. However, this was a state militia regiment and not the same as the volunteer regiments of the 4th Heavy Artillery or the 4th Independent Battery, Light Artillery. email from Courtney T. Burns New York State Military Museum
  31. a. The First Provisional Regiment medal commemorates service by New York Guard members and by members of the Veteran Corps of Artillery, State of New York (VCA) serving in the First Provisional Regiment during World War I to guard the NYS Aqueducts. Over 100 shots were fired at soldiers of the regiment doing their duty and over 40 soldiers of the regiment gave their lives during this mission. The VCA has served as guardian of this medal for over 60 years and now shares authority for the wearing of this medal with the Conunander, New York Guard. The Commander, New York Guard therefore, grants authorization to wear the First Provisional Regiment Medal to all members of the New York Guard. b. The ribbon design is green with thin gray and red stripes at the edges.
    c. The authorization to wear is granted once.
  32. New York Division of Military and Naval Affairs (DMNA), as part of the 1st Provisional Regiment New York Guard.
  33. The Minute Men of 17 || "A History of the Service Rendered during the Recent World War by the Ninth Coast Artillery Corps-New York and the Veteran Corps of Artillery State of New York. Published by Memorial and Property Committee of the Ninth Coast Artillery Corps -Copyright 1922.
  34. Journal of the National Institute of Social Sciences, Pg. 177 - Cabot Ward, while an officer of the Veteran Corps of Artillery, was sent to France to investigate and report on the armaments, system of defense, anti-aircraft defenses and other matters in connection with the protection of the cities of France and England, especially of Paris and London
  35. The Minute Men of 17 - "A History of the Service Rendered during the Recent World War by the Ninth Coast Artillery Corps-New York and the Veteran Corps of Artillery State of New York. Published by Memorial and Property Committee of the Ninth Coast Artillery Corps -Copy right 1922.
  36. [ 1st Battalion Ninth Regiment New York Guard website]
  37. Lineage of the Ninth Regiment, New York - Leonhard A. Keyes, LL.M -244th Antiaircraft Artillery Group. Published 1953.
  38. Gaines, William C., Historical Sketches Coast Artillery Regiments 1917-1950, National Guard Army Regiments 197-265, p. 11
  39. Berhow, Mark A., Ed. (2015). American Seacoast Defenses, A Reference Guide, Third Edition. McLean, Virginia: CDSG Press. p. 467. ISBN   978-0-9748167-3-9.

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