|Commanding General of the United States Army|
| United States Army |
United States Department of War
|Reports to||The 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|
|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|
The Commanding General of the United States Army was the title given to the service chief and highest-ranking officer of the United States Army (and its predecessor the Continental Army), prior to the establishment of the Chief of Staff of the United States Army in 1903. 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; it was replaced by the creation of the statutory Chief of Staff of the Army in 1903.
† denotes people who died in office.
|No.||Portrait||Commander-in-Chief||Took office||Left office||Time in office||Notes|
|15 June 1775||23 December 1783||8 years, 191 days||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.|
|No.||Portrait||Senior Officer||Took office||Left office||Time in office||Notes|
|1||Major general |
|23 December 1783||20 June 1784||180 days||Resigned to begin career farming and developing land in Maine; appointed Secretary of War under Articles of Confederation in 1785.|
|2||Brevet Major |
|20 June 1784||12 August 1784||53 days||Served when all of the Army but 80 men were discharged. Lowest ranking individual ever to command the U.S. Army.|
|3||Brigadier general Brevet |
|12 August 1784||4 March 1791||6 years, 204 days||Served at the beginning of the Northwest Indian War with the Northwestern Confederacy. Removed by President George Washington in the aftermath of the Harmar campaign.|
Arthur St. Clair
|4 March 1791||5 March 1792||1 year, 1 day||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 St. Clair's defeat.|
|13 April 1792||15 December 1796 †||4 years, 246 days||Commanded the Legion of the United States during the Northwest Indian War and negotiated the Treaty of Greenville with the Northwestern Confederacy after the Battle of Fallen Timbers.|
|15 December 1796||13 July 1798||1 year, 210 days||Commanded the Legion of the United States at the start of the Quasi War. Responsible for establishing Reserve Corps in the Ohio River Valley and the lower Mississippi River Valley to be deployed in the event of war with France or Spain. Later discovered by historian Charles Gayarré to have been a Spanish spy.|
|7||Lieutenant general |
|13 July 1798||14 December 1799 †||1 year, 154 days||Previously served as President of the United States (1789–1797). Appointed by President Adams 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.|
|14 December 1799||15 June 1800||183 days||Previously served as Secretary of the Treasury (1789–1795). Served as Inspector General of the Army with rank of major general, with effective command-and-control during the Quasi-War from 19 July 1798. Became Senior Officer in the Army after the death of Washington.|
|6|| Brigadier general |
|15 June 1800||27 January 1812||11 years, 226 days||Commanded during the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Known for suppressing the Burr conspiracy.|
|27 January 1812||15 June 1815||3 years, 139 days||Previously served as Secretary of War (1801–1809). Last American Revolutionary War veteran to serve as Senior Officer. Served as the Commanding General at the beginning of the War of 1812. Known for authorizing the American invasion of Lower Canada, including the Battle of York. Reassigned to administrative post in New York City after achieving few victories.|
|15 June 1815||June 1821||5 years, 351 days||Appointed Commanding General of the Army after successes on the Northwestern front of the War of 1812. Presided over a reduction in the size of the U.S. Army in the 1810s. Created the United States's first military colleges and the General Recruiting Service.|
|No.||Portrait||Commanding General||Took office||Left office||Time in office||Notes|
|June 1821||24 February 1828 †||6 years, 268 days||.|
|29 May 1828||25 June 1841 †||13 years, 27 days||Commanding general at the Battle of Plattsburgh. Advocated expanding the U.S. Army during his tenure.|
|3||Brevet Lieutenant general|
|5 July 1841||1 November 1861||20 years, 119 days||Personally commanded the Army in the Battle for Mexico City in 1847, during the Mexican–American War. Commanded the Union Army at the beginning of the American Civil War. Developed the Anaconda Plan to defeat the Confederacy and recommended expanding the Regular Army rather than relying on militia. Resigned after the Union defeat at the First Battle of Bull Run. Age 75 at his retirement, Scott was the oldest person to serve as Commanding General.|
George B. McClellan
|1 November 1861||11 March 1862||130 days||Simultaneously served as Commander of the Army of the Potomac. Removed by President Abraham Lincoln after the Peninsula campaign and McClellan's failure to pursue the Army of Northern Virginia after the Battle of Antietam. Later unsuccessfully campaigned with the Democratic Party in the 1864 election.|
(11 March 1862 – 23 July 1862)
|23 July 1862||9 March 1864||1 year, 230 days||Reassigned as the Army's chief of staff, subordinate to Grant.|
|6||General of the Army |
Ulysses S. Grant
|9 March 1864||4 March 1869||4 years, 360 days||Appointed after successes in the Battle of Vicksburg and the Chattanooga campaign. When appointed, Grant served in the field, his headquarters attached to the Army of the Potomac. Defeated the Army of Northern Virginia at the Overland Campaign and the Petersburg campaign. Accepted General Robert E. Lee's surrender at the Battle of Appomattox. Resigned to become the 18th president of the United States after winning the 1868 election. (1869–1877).|
|7||General of the Army|
William Tecumseh Sherman
|8 March 1869||1 November 1883||14 years, 238 days||Known for leading the March to the Sea and the Campaign of the Carolinas during the American Civil War. Served as commanding general during the Modoc War, the Great Sioux War of 1876, and the Nez Perce War. Resigned position; retired upon reaching mandatory retirement age of 64 in 1884.|
|8||General of the Army|
|1 November 1883||5 August 1888 †||4 years, 278 days||Known for service in the American Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Indian Wars. Influential in establishment of Yellowstone National Park.|
|14 August 1888||29 September 1895||7 years, 46 days||Former military commander during the American Civil War and Reconstruction. Advised the government during the Pullman Strike. Retired upon reaching mandatory retirement age of 64.|
Nelson A. Miles
|5 October 1895||8 August 1903||7 years, 307 days||Served as commanding general during the Spanish–American War and the Army beef scandal. Retired upon reaching mandatory retirement age of 64. Position replaced with the Army Chief of Staff upon Miles's retirement.|
The chief of staff of the Army (CSA) is a statutory position in the United States Army held by a general officer. As the highest-ranking officer assigned to serve in the Department of the Army, the chief is the principal military advisor and a deputy to the secretary of the Army. In a separate capacity, the CSA is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and, thereby, a military advisor to the National Security Council, the secretary of defense, and the president of the United States. The CSA is typically the highest-ranking officer on active duty in the U.S. Army unless the chairman or the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are Army officers.
John McAllister Schofield was an American soldier who held major commands during the American Civil War. He was appointed U.S. Secretary of War (1868–1869) under President Andrew Johnson and later served as Commanding General of the United States Army (1888–1895).
Samuel Baldwin Marks Young was a United States Army general. He also served as the first president of Army War College between 1902 and 1903. He then served from 1903 until 1904 as the first Chief of Staff of the United States Army.
Nelson Appleton Miles was an American military general who served in the American Civil War, the American Indian Wars, and the Spanish–American War.
Lorenzo Thomas was a career United States Army officer who was Adjutant General of the Army at the beginning of the American Civil War. After the war, he was appointed temporary Secretary of War by U.S. President Andrew Johnson, precipitating Johnson's impeachment.
The Surgeon General of the United States Army is the senior-most officer of the U.S. Army Medical Department (AMEDD). By policy, the Surgeon General (TSG) serves as Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) as well as head of the AMEDD. The surgeon general's office and staff are known as the Office of the Surgeon General (OTSG) and are located in Falls Church, Virginia.
Eli Long was a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War.
John Gross Barnard was a career engineer officer in the U.S. Army, serving in the Mexican–American War, as the superintendent of the United States Military Academy and as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He served as Chief Engineer of the Army of the Potomac, 1861 to 1862, Chief Engineer of the Department of Washington from 1861 to 1864, and as Chief Engineer of the armies in the field from 1864 to 1865. He also was a distinguished scientist, engineer, mathematician, historian and author.
In the United States Armed Forces, a brigadier general is a one-star general officer in the United States Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Space Force.
In the United States Armed Forces, a major general is a two-star general officer in the United States Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Space Force.
A general officer is an officer of high military rank; in the uniformed services of the United States, general officers are commissioned officers above the field officer ranks, the highest of which is colonel in the Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force and captain, in the Navy, Coast Guard, Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps (NOAACC).
The general officers of the Confederate States Army (CSA) were the senior military leaders of the Confederacy during the American Civil War of 1861–1865. They were often former officers from the United States Army prior to the Civil War, while others were given the rank based on merit or when necessity demanded. Most Confederate generals needed confirmation from the Confederate Congress, much like prospective generals in the modern U.S. armed forces.
The Quartermaster General of the United States Army is a general officer who is responsible for the Quartermaster Corps, the Quartermaster branch of the U.S. Army. The Quartermaster General does not command Quartermaster units, but is primarily focused on training, doctrine and professional development of Quartermaster soldiers. The Quartermaster General also serves as the Commanding General, U.S. Army Quartermaster Center and School, Fort Lee, Virginia and the traditional Quartermaster Corps. The office of the Quartermaster General was established by resolution of the Continental Congress on 16 June 1775, but the position was not filled until 14 August 1775. Perhaps the most famous Quartermaster General was Nathanael Greene, who was the third Quartermaster General, serving from March 1778 to August 1780. The first Quartermaster General to serve in the U.S. Army was Thomas Mifflin of Pennsylvania.
Edmund Kirby was a United States Army artillery officer who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville.
Albemarle Cady was a career United States Army officer who served in the Second Seminole War, Mexican–American War, First Sioux War and the American Civil War. During the Civil War, he was briefly lieutenant colonel of the 7th Infantry Regiment. He then served in administrative positions in the Department of the Pacific, including the District of Oregon. He received brevet appointments for his service in the Mexican–American War and the Civil War. He retired from the Regular Army as a colonel on May 18, 1864. On July 17, 1866, President Andrew Johnson nominated and on July 26, 1866, the United States Senate confirmed the appointment of Cady as a brevet brigadier general in the Regular Army, to rank from March 13, 1865.
Thomas Grimke Rhett was a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York and a United States Army officer who served from July 1, 1845 to April 1, 1861. He served in the Mexican-American War in 1847–1848. Rhett was awarded a brevet appointment as captain for gallantry in the defense of Puebla, Mexico during the Siege of Puebla, October 12, 1847. After his resignation from the U.S. Army, April 1, 1861, he was appointed a brigadier general in the South Carolina Militia but did not serve in that office. He was a staff officer in the Confederate States Army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War from April 1861 until May 31, 1862. He first served as voluntary aide-de-camp to General Pierre G. T. Beauregard and then major from April to July, 1861. Rhett then served as chief of staff to Beauregard's successor, General Joseph E. Johnston. After Johnston was wounded on May 31, 1862 and was succeeded in command by General Robert E. Lee, Rhett was transferred to the District of Arkansas in Confederacy's Trans-Mississippi Department where he served as chief of ordnance. From April 1863 until the end of the war in 1865, he served as chief of artillery in the Trans-Mississippi Department. From 1865 to 1873, he served as a colonel of ordnance in the Egyptian Army.