On Jan. 10, 2013 President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that designates Salem, Mass., as the birthplace of the National Guard. The Guard’s birth dates back to Dec. 13, 1636, when the North, South and East Regiments of the Massachusetts Bay Colony were formed. The first muster of those regiments then took place on Salem Common, though the actual date has been lost to history. The Massachusetts Army National Guard’s 101st Field Artillery Regiment, 182nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Engineer Battalion and 181st Infantry Regiment all trace their lineage back to the original regiments that mustered on Salem Common.
In 1800 they were the Second Corp. of Cadets. Elias Hasket Derby Jr. was the Colonel then. In that year the militia was reorganized after it was left ignored for years. Why? Because Thomas Jefferson was just elected that year and raised duties on imports. He had ordered the local militias around the country to help collect them. To supercede this action the Federalist took control of the militia to stop this from happening and used them to dig the tunnels in the Common instead. All under the guise of park beautification. Derby would rise to become General Derby.
Read more about the history of the tunnels on our blog!
Preview the Book:
"Salem Secret Underground :The History of the Tunnels in the City"
by Christopher Jon Luke Dowgin
Salem House Press Purveyors of fine publishing and facilitator to the arts.