Essex County Veterans Memorials and Monuments
|• 1636 Salem Birthplace
of the National Guard of the United States
• 1775 Beverly and Marblehead Birthplace of the Navy
• Newburyport Birth place of the U.S. Coast Guard
• Essex County represented forty percent of the militia at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
• Essex County is represented by 20% of all Massachusetts Congressional Medal of Honor
Recipients even though she has just 10% of the state’s population.
It all began in 1636 when the General Court of Massachusetts
Bay ordered the establishment of America's first
three permanent military regiments. Organized on December 13th, 1636 (the date we now celebrate as the National
Guard's birthday), these forerunners of the modern-day Army were barely 3 months old when they met for their
first drill on the village green in Salem in 1637. Later that year, they fought in the Pequot War in Connecticut.
Those first Indian wars began a pattern, which was to continue on the American frontier for the next 250 years –
a type of warfare that had not been experienced in Europe. By the time of the French and Indian War in 1754,
the colonists had been fighting Indians for generations. And barely 10 years after the end of the French and
Indian War, the colonists were at war with the British and the militia was poised to play a crucial role in the
revolution. Most of the regiments of the Continental Army, commanded by George Washington, were recruited
from the militia.
Essex County can also lay claim to being
the Birthplace of the U.S. Navy.
While some historians assign that honor to Philadelphia, where the Continental Congress authorized the formation
of a Continental Navy on October 13, 1775 and where the first four vessels of the Continental Navy were outfitted
in the winter of 1775, the fact remains that the first schooner employed by George Washington and the Continental
Army to prey on enemy ships was the Hannah of Beverly/Marblehead which sailed in the autumn of 1775, months
before the Continental Navy was established.
Essex County was also the birthplace of the United States
Coast Guard, which was formed by Congress as the
Revenue Cutter Service in 1790 with the first operational cutter (the Massachusetts) being launched from MacKay
Shipyard in Newburyport in July 1791. Between 1790 and 1798, there was no United States Navy
(the Continental Navy having been abandoned after the Revolutionary War) and the cutters were the only warships
protecting the coast, trade, and maritime interests of the new republic. The modern Coast Guard dates to 1915, when
the Cutter Service merged with the United States Life-Saving Service and Congress formalized the existence of the
The official U.S. Coast Guard Bicentennial Monument in Newburyport was dedicated on August 4, 1989 in
anticipation of the celebration of the 200th birthday of the Coast Guard in 1990. In attendance were the Coast Guard
Commandant, the Secretary of Transportation, the First District Commander and a host of dignitaries.
The list of Essex County's contributions to our military goes
on and on, as you will see on this site.
It is thus that we share with you our pride in the heroes of Essex County, who helped pave the way for modern-day
America. We hope that our site will serve to glorify their tremendous contributions to our nation.