Premiere of New Book to be Held Thursday, October 3, at Washington County Museum of Fine Arts

Hagerstown, MD - A new book exploring three forgotten heroes who came from Washington County will be formally discussed at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts on Thursday, October 3, 2013 at 7pm. A remarkable lecture is planned by author George Anikis, and a book signing of Forgotten Name, Forgotten Deeds: The Ringgold Legacy - The Ringgold Brothers of Washington County, Maryland.

Also, a special announcement will take place concerning plans to unveil the first monument to the Ringgold heroes. The proceeds from the book will be used to erect a special and singular monument. The site, the design, and the intriguing hidden story behind the new monument will be publicly disclosed for the first time.

George Anikis spent more than three years researching the three Ringgold brothers. Each brother left his mark in the history of the United States. Anikis delved into prior research, scant available diaries and biographies, military records, news accounts, and family letters. According to several critics, no history of the three Ringgold brothers has ever been so masterfully produced.

Anikis said, “While some local residents might be familiar with the Ringgold name and may even be somewhat familiar with the story of General and Congressman Samuel Ringgold’s lavish lifestyle as owner of the estate known as Fountain Rock, few are aware of the unique place his sons, Major Samuel Ringgold, Rear Admiral Cadwalader Ringgold, and Lieutenant Colonel George Hay Ringgold, have in the military history of this nation.”

This new book tells the story of the Ringgold brothers and their contributions to a young nation.

According to Rebecca Massie-Lane, the Executive Director of the award-winning Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, “This is an effort to reawaken the Ringgold name, and secure its place in the history of Washington County, Maryland.”

George Anikis said, “This is a significant opportunity to recall and celebrate the deeds of several Ringgold sons. The United States military at various times recognized each brother with various honors, including two ships named to honor the Ringgold name.”

Dinner for those who are interested will be served at 6:00 p.m. and is $25 for non-WCMFA members and $20 for WCMFA members. The lecture will begin at 7:00 p.m. and is $5 for non-members and free for museum members. During the evening, there will be a special miniature Samuel Ringgold oil portrait on display. The painting is part of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts’ collection.

According to George Anikis, after October 3rd, copies of the new book can be purchased at the Saint James School bookstore, the Downtown Hagerstown Visitor Welcome Center, the gift shop at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, and from the author.

About the Ringgold Brothers:

One brother revolutionized nineteenth century artillery tactics - with what military historians call the birth of “the Flying Artillery.” Major Samuel Ringgold (1796-1846) is considered as the first innovator of a rapid deployment force of cannons. He was a hero during the Mexican War, and his tactics proved to be history-changing. While leading his men, Major Ringgold was mortally wounded, yet continued to fight for several hours on horseback, refusing to withdraw from the battle. He died heroically at the Battle of Palo Alto in 1846 in Texas. Vastly outnumbered by nearly two-to-one, the Americans won the day using Ringgold’s rapid deployment of artillery.

For decades afterwards, his innovations in military tactics were utilized during various conflicts, including the Civil War. In fact, he is called “The Father of Modern Artillery.”

His bravery was a boost to morale through the US military and the entire country. While there are at least seven towns, cities and counties named after this Washington County-native, songs, poetry, and plays were written about him, including Samuel Ringgold being mentioned in the fourth verse of Maryland’s state song “Maryland, My Maryland.”  (“…With Ringgold’s spirit for the fray…”)  Also, “The Death of Ringgold” commemorated his heroics, and was a popular patriotic song during the Mexican War.

Cadwalader Ringgold (1802-1867) was a US Naval hero, who entered the Navy in 1819. He gained great fame in the Pacific, including battling against native marauders in Fiji, and also during action against the West Indies pirates. He also was renowned for expeditions throughout the Pacific, including charting and surveying the West Coast and San Francisco’s watershed. He also charted and surveyed the North Atlantic.  However, his lasting fame and glory involved Civil War actions. While in command of the frigate Sabine, on November 1, 1861, Captain Ringgold directed the heroic rescue of a battalion of 400 Marines whose transport steamer, Governor, was sinking during a severe storm off the coast of Port Royal, SC. He retired as a Rear Admiral. At his funeral after the war, 400 Marines marched in the procession to honor the great admiral. Two ships have been named after him.

Tom Riford is the President and CEO of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and is also a former active-duty US Marine. “Admiral Cadwalader Ringgold’s name is sacred in the annuls of the United States Marines. He is revered for having saved four hundred Marines in an act of seamanship that places him alongside the greatest and most valiant Naval commanders in US history. He often is mentioned among the traditional toasts by US Marines.”

George Hay Ringgold (1814-1864) also served with distinction in the Civil War. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1833. He once left the Army to become a farmer but rejoined in 1846. He was in charge of the paymasters of the Department of the Pacific from 1861 until his death in San Francisco. He was an accomplished scholar, poet, draftsman, and painter.

About George Anikis:

Community supporter, author and historian, and preservationist, George Anikis graduated from The Johns Hopkins University School of Engineering and subsequently served two years at sea as a commissioned naval officer. He has held engineering positions in both private industry and government, spending the majority of his career working for NASA. He and his wife, Anne, moved to Washington County from Howard County in 1995 and from 2001 to 2011, he served on the Washington County Planning Commission, the last five years as Chairman. Anikis is currently a member of the Washington County Historical Advisory Committee and the Antietam National Battlefield Advisory Committee.