"Essayons"  
Lyrics and Music by Jo Johnston
Synthesized by Malcolm Dale



"Essayons" - [Toast]

Here's a health to the Army and here's a health to our corps.
Here's to the flag flying up on the hill and the bird flying over our door.
Stand by with your glasses, all brimming. Here's health and here's how and here's luck
and here's to the castles of gold we wear and the eagle that looks like a duck.

The engineer's toast was first raised in the fall of 1898 after the Spanish American War by a young Engineer officer at the officers' mess at Fort Totten, (now known as Willets Point), on Long Island, New York. The toast mentions the flag which is the American Flag flown at the Post Headquarters. The "bird flying over the door" and the "eagle that looks like a duck" refer to the relief carving of the crest taken from the seal of the Corps of Engineers. This crest consisted of an eagle, mounted above a banner inscribed with the Engineer Motto "ESSAYONS". Surrounding the eagle and banner was a wreath of oak and laurel branches, oak symbolizing strength and laurel symbolizing accomplishment. Today, this wooden carving resides in the Engineer Museum's Regimental Room, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.

Thanks to: Captain Christopher J. Doniec, United States Army Corps of Engineers

"Essayons" - [Battle Call]

Essayons, sound out the battle cry
Essayons, we'll win or we'll die
Essayons, there's nothing we won't try
We're the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

"Essayons" - [March]

[Verse 1]

Pin the castle on my collar
I've done my training for the team
You can call me an engineer soldier
The warrior spirit has been my dream (Chorus)

"Chorus"

We are our brothers fighting on the battle field.
Look to us to point the way.
We get there first and then take the risks
to build the roads and air strips
and bridge the mighty river streams.

We don't care who gets the glory.
We're sure of one thing, this we know,
Somewhere out there an engineer soldier
designed the plan for the whole darn show.

Essayons, whether in war or peace,
We will bear our red and our white.
Essayons, we serve America
and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Essayons! Essayons!

[Verse 2]

We are builders, we are fighters.
We are destroyers just as well.
There've been doubters who met with the sappers.
We know our sappers will never fail.

Alternate

And then we blew them all straight to hell.

Although the history of American military engineering goes back more than three hundred and fifty years, the heritage of military engineering reaches back to the earliest beginnings of organized armies. On the battlefields of ancient Mesopotamia, India, Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Rome, skilled Military Engineers laid the groundwork for the role of their modern descendants. During the middle ages of Europe, the French coined the term "genie" to represent the Engineers.

Over the years, "genie" evolved into the old English word "enginator" meaning one who operates the engines of war, such as siege towers, battering rams, catapults and the like. With the support of professional French Military Engineers, our young Army Corps of Engineers was created during America's War for Independence. Today, that French heritage is still seen within our Engineer Corps. The language of the Engineer - "abatis," "gabions," "fascines" and "pontons" -- has its roots in 18th century France. Even the motto of the American Engineers, "ESSAYONS," is French for "Let us try."


ENGINEER REGIMENTAL PUNCH BOWL CEREMONY

The history of the Engineer is the history of the United States of America. From her colonial beginnings Engineers mapped, built, and fought their way across this great nation from shore to shore, eventually extending the might of America around the globe. This Engineer Punch is a rare and unique combination of spirits, each symbolizing the heritage, the achievement, and the glory of the Engineers.

CHERRY BRANDY, representing the enlisted soldiers will establish the base of our punch, just as the Engineers have formed as the base of many branches of our Army.

In order to truly understand the significance of the Engineers we must examine carefully the first charge, our FOUNDATION, The red color, reminiscent of the shared heritage of Engineers and Artillerists attests to the time when medieval "Enginators" designed, built, and operated the engines of war. From those early Engineers sprang the Artillery, later the Armored forces, even Aviation, and the Chemical Corps trace their origins to the early Engineers.

COGNAG____, representing the history of civilian support for the Corps, will continue the heritage of our forefathers.

Engineers of our revolution met at occasions such as we are doing here tonight, and on 11 March, 1779, by resolution of Congress, The Corps of Engineers was formed. In commemoration of the Engineers who first trained in the snows of Valley Forge, organized into a corps, and won our independence at Yorktown, we add the second charge, COGNAC, honoring the French who contributed to our first victory and from whom we adopted much of our unique heritage.

WHITE WINE____, representing the youthful zeal of the Engineers, will remind us of the invulnerability and hope inherent in the Engineer spirit.

Truth, innocence, vigilance, and devotion are the principles which guide Engineers in the performance of their duty. This un-blemished magnificence found in third charge, WHITE WINE, is also the color of the white piping found on the Engineer colors. This white, original color for Infantry, represents the secondary mission of the Engineer, that is to fight alongside the "Le-Enfantry", in French, the "children of battle".

CHAMPAGNE____, representing the Engineer senior leadership, will help us reflect on those who have given their last full measure of devotion, our fallen comrades.

In honor of the selfless sacrifice of the men and women, who for more than three centuries, have served this land, and have vowed to continue to carry on this tradition. Our final charge is CHAMPAGNE, the noblest produce of the vine, symbolizing the eternal mission of the Engineer and reminiscent of the effervescent spirit, the enthusiasm, and the indomitable courage with which Engineers have demonstrated their ability.

Today the mission of the Corps is as varied as the contents of this punch: Topographic Engineering, Combat Engineering, Facilities Engineering, and Civil Works, .... Mobility, Counter-Mobility, Survivability, and the underlying requirement to get the job done and get it done right. This is the Army Corps of Engineers. Accomplishing the mission, from the fortification of Breeds Hill to the Engineering of our environment, Engineers, now as always, clear the way.

If you look around you, from the establishment of the Corps in the 18th century to the exploration of the universe well into the 21st, you will see the tangible evidence of the Engineers and forever hear the Engineer motto ringing in your ears; ESSAYONS

ENGINEER PUNCH RECIPE

Foundation:
Cherry brandy or Cordial 1/2 bottle
Fruit Punch 1 1/4 quart
Sparkling Water 1 1/4 quart
Cognac 1/2 bottle
White wine 2 bottles
Champagne 2 bottles



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Copyright © 1996, Cavalry Outpost Publications ® and Trooper Wm. H. Boudreau, "F" Troop, 8th Cavalry Regiment (1946 - 1947). All rights to this body of work are reserved and are not in the public domain, or as noted in the bibliography. Reproduction, or transfer by electronic means, of the History of the 1st Cavalry Division, the subordinate units or any internal element, is not permitted without prior authorization. Readers are encouraged to link to any of the pages of this Web site, provided that proper acknowledgment attributing to the source of the data is made. The information or content of the material contained herein is subject to change without notice.

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