The First Leathernecks

By Don Burzynski

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Published: December, 2011
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982167059
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982167052
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 0.3 inches

The U. S. Marine Corps, as a premiere fighting force, obviously did not come about overnight. It took two centuries to forge their “uncommon valor” into a unique and elite Corps of sea soldiers. “Fortitudine” and “courage” have been hallmarks of the Corps throughout its history.

Beginning with the American Revolution, the nascent Corps slowly took shape by trial and error—first with amphibious landings, then by fighting land battles and executing overseas assaults. Navy captains like John Barry were quick to recognize their professionalism and their winning contribution in battle.

But it was the War of 1812 that truly formed the Marines into what they are today. Thanks to Commandant William Barrows’ high standards, a band of only 1800 Marines gave the Frigate Navy accurate winning fire power—both in musketry and manning the great guns.

In the six recognized Marine battles of Fort George, Craney Island, Lake Erie, Bladensburg, Baltimore and New Orleans, they more than proved their mettle. Their contribution was so great at Baltimore and New Orleans as to receive outstanding accolades from each city they saved.

In spite of adversities like the shenanigans of Washington politicians, efforts by President Jackson and some senators to disband the Corps, and the constant tug-of-war between the Army and Navy to preside over them, through time the Marines prevailed.

In addition to fighting pirates on two oceans, 900 Marines served in the African Squadron after the War of 1812, interdicting and destroying the slave trade. They even landed in Africa to retaliate against the murder of American seamen by killing tribal chief Ben Cracko whose tribe was engaged in attacking American shipping and killing American sailors.

During the Mexican war, the Marines took on new challenges by conquering California and performing a “tough job” before capturing Mexico City.

“Send in the Marines” became the new American diplomatic cry whenever a “get-it-done” ready-force was needed in the world. This remains true to this day.

Due to a scarcity of historical documentation, this volume is the first ever to so accurately chronicle Marine history of this period. Using his background in battle reenactments, combined with extensive research, Burzynski brings to life what is the most important formative period of the U.S. Marine Corps.