Commanding General of the United States Army

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Commanding General of the United States Army
Nelson A. Miles by Brands Studios, 1898.jpg
Last in office
LTG Nelson A. Miles

5 October 1895—8 August 1903
United States Army
United States Department of War
Status Senior-most officer
Reports to United States Secretary of War
Seat Several HQs (Washington)
Appointer The President
with Congress advice and consent
Term length No fixed term
Constituting instrument An Act of the Second Continental Congress
Formation 15 June 1775
June 1821
First holder GEN George Washington
as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army
MG Jacob Brown
as Commanding General of the United States Army
Final holder LTG Nelson A. Miles
Abolished 8 August 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.[a]

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

Office holders

† denotes people who died in office.

Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army

Commander-in-Chief Took office Left office Time in office
1
George Washington
Washington, GeorgeGeneral[b]
George Washington
(1732–1799)
[c]
15 June 1775 23 December 1783 8 years, 191 days

Senior Officer of the United States Army

Senior Officer Took office Left office Time in office
1
Henry Knox
Knox, HenryMajor general
Henry Knox
(1750–1806)
[d]
23 December 1783 20 June 1784 180 days
2
John Doughty
Doughty, JohnBrevet Major
John Doughty
(1754–1826)
[e]
20 June 1784 12 August 1784 53 days
3
Josiah Harmar
Harmar, JosiahBrevet Brigadier general
Josiah Harmar
(1753–1813)
[f]
12 August 1784 4 March 1791 6 years, 204 days
4
Arthur St. Clair
St. Clair, ArthurMajor general
Arthur St. Clair
(1736–1818)
[g]
4 March 1791 5 March 1792 1 year, 1 day
5
Anthony Wayne
Wayne, AnthonyMajor general
Anthony Wayne
(1745–1796)
13 April 1792 15 December 1796 † 4 years, 246 days
6
James Wilkinson
Wilkinson, JamesBrigadier general
James Wilkinson
(1757–1825)
15 December 1796 13 July 1798 1 year, 210 days
7
George Washington
Washington, GeorgeLieutenant general
George Washington
(1732–1799)
[h]
13 July 1798 14 December 1799 † 1 year, 154 days
8
Alexander Hamilton
Hamilton, AlexanderMajor general
Alexander Hamilton
(1755/1757–1804)
[i]
14 December 1799 15 June 1800 183 days
(6)
James Wilkinson
Wilkinson, JamesBrigadier general[j]
James Wilkinson
(1757–1825)
15 June 1800 27 January 1812 11 years, 226 days
9
Henry Dearborn
Dearborn, HenryMajor general
Henry Dearborn
(1751–1829)
[k]
27 January 1812 15 June 1815 3 years, 139 days
10
Jacob Brown
Brown, JacobMajor general
Jacob Brown
(1775–1828)
[l]
15 June 1815 June 1821 5 years, 351 days

Commanding General of the United States Army

Commanding General Took office Left office Time in office
1
Jacob Brown
Brown, JacobMajor general
Jacob Brown
(1775–1828)
June 1821 24 February 1828 † 6 years, 268 days
2
Alexander Macomb
Macomb, AlexanderMajor general
Alexander Macomb
(1782–1841)
29 May 1828 25 June 1841 † 13 years, 27 days
3
Winfield Scott
Scott, WinfieldBrevet Lieutenant general
Winfield Scott
(1786–1866)
[m]
5 July 1841 1 November 1861 20 years, 119 days
4
George B. McClellan
McClellan, George B.Major general
George B. McClellan
(1826–1885)
[n]
1 November 1861 11 March 1862 130 days
Position vacant
(11 March 1862 – 23 July 1862)[o]
5
Henry Halleck
Halleck, HenryMajor general
Henry Halleck
(1815–1872)
[p]
23 July 1862 9 March 1864 1 year, 230 days
6
Ulysses S. Grant
Grant, Ulysses S.General of the Army
Ulysses S. Grant
(1822–1885)
[q]
9 March 1864 4 March 1869 4 years, 360 days
7
William Tecumseh Sherman
Sherman, William TecumsehGeneral of the Army
William Tecumseh Sherman
(1820–1891)
[r]
8 March 1869 1 November 1883 14 years, 238 days
8
Philip Sheridan
Sheridan, PhilipGeneral of the Army
Philip Sheridan
(1831–1888)
1 November 1883 5 August 1888 † 4 years, 278 days
9
John Schofield
Schofield, JohnLieutenant general
John Schofield
(1831–1906)
[s]
14 August 1888 29 September 1895 7 years, 46 days
10
Nelson A. Miles
Miles, Nelson A.Lieutenant general
Nelson A. Miles
(1839–1925)
[s]
5 October 1895 8 August 1903 7 years, 307 days

See also

Notes

  1. ^ King
  2. ^ Promoted posthumously to General of the Armies in 1976, by an Act of Congress (Public Law 94-479) as part of the United States Bicentennial.
  3. ^ Appointed by the Second Continental Congress, after being nominated by Samuel Adams and John Adams. Resigned to the Congress of the Confederation, at the end of the American Revolutionary War.
  4. ^ Resigned to begin career farming and developing land in Maine; appointed Secretary of War under Articles of Confederation in 1785.
  5. ^ Served when all of the Army but 80 men were discharged.
  6. ^ Removed by President George Washington in the aftermath of the Harmar Campaign.
  7. ^ Simultaneously served as Governor of the Northwest Territory (1787–1802). Resigned as Senior Officer at the request of President George Washington, in the aftermath of the St. Clair's Defeat.
  8. ^ Appointed during the Quasi-War against the French Republic. Did not actively command the Army during this period but was prepared to lead the Army if the need arose.
  9. ^ Previously served as Secretary of the Treasury (1789–1795). 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.
  10. ^ Promoted to major general during the War of 1812 and retired on June 15, 1815.
  11. ^ Previously served as Secretary of War (1801–1809). Last American Revolutionary War veteran to serve as Senior Officer.
  12. ^ Appointed Commanding General of the Army.
  13. ^ Personally commanded the Army in the Battle for Mexico City in 1847, during the Mexican–American War. Upon his retirement, at the commencement of the American Civil War, he was the oldest serving Commanding General of the U.S. Army in history at age 75.
  14. ^ Simultaneously served as Commander of the Army of the Potomac. Removed by President Abraham Lincoln in order to focus on the Peninsula Campaign.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Reassigned as the Army's chief of staff, subordinate to Grant.
  17. ^ Resigned to become the 18th President of the United States (1869–1877).
  18. ^ Resigned position; retired upon reaching mandatory retirement age of 64 in 1884.
  19. ^ a b Retired upon reaching mandatory retirement age of 64.

Bibliography

  • Historical Resources Branch; United States Army Center of Military History.
  • Eicher, John H.; Eicher, David J. (2001). Civil War High Commands. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  • Bell, William Gardner (2005). Commanding Generals and Chiefs of Staff 1775-2005: Portraits and Biographical Sketches. Washington, D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History.
  • King, Archibald (1949/1960 reprint). Command of the Army (PDF). Military Affairs. Charlottesville, Virginia: The Judge Advocate General's School, U.S. Army. Check date values in: |year= (help)
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