Commanding General of the United States Army

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Commanding General of the United States Army
NelsonMiles.jpg
LTG Nelson A. Miles, the last Commanding General of the United States Army
Department of War
Reports to Secretary of War
Appointer The President
with Congress advice and consent
Formation June 15, 1775[nb 1]
June 1821[nb 2]
First holder GEN George Washington[nb 1]
MG Jacob Brown[nb 2]
Final holder LTG Nelson A. Miles
Abolished August 8, 1903
Succession Chief of Staff of the Army

Prior to the institution of the Chief of Staff of the Army in 1903, there was generally recognized to be a single senior-most officer in the United States Army (and its predecessor the Continental Army), even though there was not a statutory office as such. During the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), the title was Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. In 1783, the title was simplified to Senior Officer of the United States Army. In 1821, the title was changed to Commanding General of the United States Army. The office was often referred to by various other titles, such as "Major General Commanding the Army" or "General-in-Chief."

From 1789 until its abolition in 1903, the position of Commanding General was legally subordinate to the Secretary of War, although this was at times contested.[nb 3]

The position was abolished with the creation of the statutory Chief of Staff of the Army in 1903.

Office holders[edit]

Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army[edit]

# Name Photo Term began Term ended Notes
1. GEN George Washington Portrait of George Washington.jpeg June 15, 1775 December 23, 1783 Resigned at the end of the American Revolutionary War

Senior Officer of the United States Army[edit]

# Name Photo Term began Term ended Notes
1. MG Henry Knox HenryKnoxSmall.jpg December 23, 1783 June 20, 1784
2. Brevet MAJ John Doughty JohnDoughty.jpg June 20, 1784 August 12, 1784 Served when all of the Army but 80 men were discharged
3. Brevet BG Josiah Harmar Josiah Harmar by Raphaelle Peale.jpeg August 12, 1784 March 4, 1791
4. MG Arthur St. Clair ArthurStClairOfficialPortrait.jpg March 4, 1791 March 5, 1792 Simultaneously served as Governor of the Northwest Territory (1787–1802)
5. MG Anthony Wayne Anthony Wayne.jpg April 13, 1792 December 15, 1796 Died in office
6. BG James Wilkinson James Wilkinson.jpg December 15, 1796 July, 13 1798
7. LTG George Washington Portrait of George Washington.jpeg July 13, 1798 December 14, 1799 Did not actively command the Army during this period but was prepared to lead the Army if the need arose. Died in office.
8. MG Alexander Hamilton Alexander Hamilton portrait by John Trumbull 1806.jpg December 14, 1799 June 15, 1800 Served as inspector general of the Army with rank of major general from July 19, 1798. Became senior officer in the Army after the death of Washington.
9. BG James Wilkinson James Wilkinson.jpg June 15, 1800 January 27, 1812 Promoted to major general during the War of 1812 and retired on June 15, 1815.
10. MG Henry Dearborn Henry Dearborn.jpg January 27, 1812 June 15, 1815 Previously served as Secretary of War (1801–1809). Last senior officer of the U.S. Army to be a veteran of the American Revolution.
11. MG Jacob Brown Jacob Jennings Brown.jpg June 15, 1815 June 1821

Commanding General of the United States Army[edit]

# Name Photo Term began Term ended Notes
1. MG Jacob Brown Jacob Jennings Brown.jpg June 1821 February 24, 1828 Died in office.
2. MG Alexander Macomb AlexanderMacomb.jpg May 29, 1828 June 25, 1841 Died in office.
3. Brevet LTG Winfield Scott Winfield Scott by Fredricks, 1862.jpg July 5, 1841 November 1, 1861 Commanded the army in the campaign to capture Mexico City from 1847 to 1848. Upon his retirement, he was the oldest serving commanding general of the U.S. Army in history at age 75.
4. MG George B. McClellan GeorgeMcClellan.jpeg November 1, 1861 March 11, 1862
Vacant (March 11, 1862 – July 23, 1862)[nb 4]
5. MG Henry Halleck Henry Wager Halleck - Brady-Handy.jpg July 23, 1862 March 9, 1864
6. GEN Ulysses S. Grant GenUSGrant.jpg March 9, 1864 March 4, 1869 Resigned to become the 18th President of the United States (1869–1877)
7. GEN William Tecumseh Sherman William-Tecumseh-Sherman.jpg March 8, 1869 November 1, 1883
8. GEN Philip Sheridan Philip Sheridan 1.jpg November 1, 1883 August 5, 1888 Died in office.
9. LTG John Schofield SchofieldOfficialPortrait.jpg August 14, 1888 September 29, 1895
10. LTG Nelson A. Miles NelsonMiles.jpg October 5, 1895 August 8, 1903 Last commanding general of the U.S. Army.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army
  2. ^ a b Commanding General of the United States Army
  3. ^ King
  4. ^ Eicher, Civil War High Commands. The gap from March 11, 1862 to July 23, 1862 was filled with direct control of the army by President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, with the help of an unofficial "War Board" that was established on March 17, 1862. The board consisted of Ethan A. Hitchcock, the chairman, with Department of War bureau chiefs Lorenzo Thomas, Montgomery C. Meigs, Joseph G. Totten, James W. Ripley, and Joseph P. Taylor.
Footnotes

Bibliography[edit]