Marblehead’s Barton Hyte elected Centennial Legion commander

Command was passed at The Centennial Legion of Historic Military Commands 85th Annual Meeting

Chris Stevens

Wicked Local

It took two years to get there but the Centennial Legion of Historic Military Commands finally met for its 85th Annual Meeting, which featured Marblehead’s own Barton Hyte.

Lt. Barton Hyte who is a life member of the Ancient & Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts formed in 1638, was elected commander of the Legion.

“I am the first person in history to be the Commander of the organization from Marblehead and the third person in history to be from Massachusetts, which is a great honor,” Hyte said.

On November 6, Hyte presided over the annual meeting, that was originally supposed to be held in 2020 in Gettysburg Pennsylvania. Hyte said due to COVID and obvious potential health concerns, that event was canceled.

The change of command ceremony was instead held at the Rochambeau Statue facing Newport Harbor and was followed by a luncheon at the U.S. Navy War College. Hyte said 15 units attended coming from Georgia, South Carolina, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

Centennial Legion of Historic Military CommandIn his welcome, Hyte noted that the units attending could trace their lineage back to the days of Gettysburg and some even further to the Revolutionary War.

He called the weekend a special event because it recognized the need to keep traditions alive by having the change of command and the passing of the flag. He thanked everyone for traveling to the historical event, “to pass the torch and keep history alive”

What is the Centennial Legion of Historic Military Commands?

The Legion was created on July 4, 1876 and comprised of Historic Military Commands from the thirteen original Colonies.

Hyte said the suggestion to form the Legion was made a year earlier (1875) at the Bunker Hill Centennial Celebration in Boston by Major George W. McLean, Commander of The Old Guard, New York City, and Captain Robert C. Gilchrist, Commander of the Washington Light Infantry, Charleston, South Carolina

“This friendly association of soldiers at Bunker Hill, many of whom had a few years previously been engaged in actual warfare with one another, created a feeling of fraternity and good fellowship that set the stage for organizing The Centennial Legion,” Hyte explained.

The Centennial Legion remains an active organization and is comprised of 83 Historic Military Commands that foster patriotism and encourage National Defense, Hyte said.

“It is bound to uphold the national institutions of the United States in their integrity and to maintain a brotherly union and benevolence among our armed forces,” he continued. “It recognizes and honors all citizens who served or are serving in the Army, Reserve Corps, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and the National Guard.”

Centennial Legion of Historic Military Command