United States Army History
Establishing the Adjutant Generals Corps
June 16, 1775


FRIDAY, JUNE 16, 1775

The congress met according to adjournment.

The president from the chair informed Geo: Washington Esq r . that he had the order of the Congress to acq[ain]t him, that the Congress had by a unanimous vote made choice of him to be general and com[mander] in chief to take the supreme command of the forces raised and to be raised, in defence of American Liberty, and desired his acceptance of it. Whereupon Colonel Washington, standing in his place, spoke as follows:


"Tho' I am truly sensible of the high Honour done me, in this Appointment, yet I feel great distress, from a consciousness that my abilities and military experience may not be equal to the extensive and important Trust: However, as the Congress desire it, I will enter upon the momentous duty, and exert every power I possess in their service, and for support of the glorious cause. I beg they will accept my most cordial thanks for this distinguished testimony of their approbation.

"But, lest some unlucky event should happen, unfavourable to my reputation, I beg it may be remembered, by every Gentleman in the room, that I, this day, declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the Command I am honored with.

"As to pay, Sir, I beg leave to assure the Congress, that, as no pecuniary consideration could have tempted me to have accepted this arduous employment, at the expence of my domestic ease and happiness, I do not wish to make any proffit from it. I will keep an exact Account of my expences. Those, I doubt not, they will discharge, and that is all I desire.'' 1

Upon motion Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to draught a commission and instructions for the general.

1. This reply, in the writing of Edmund Pendleton, with a single line added by Washington, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 152, vol. I, folio 1.

The committee, to consist of the following Mr. [Richard Henry] Lee, Mr. E[dward] Rutledge, and J[ohn] Adams.

Agreeable to the order of the day the Congress resolved itself into a committee of the whole to take into consideration the state of America. And after some time spent therein the president resumed the chair and M r . [Samuel] Ward reported that the committee had come to certain resolutions, which they had ordered him to report but not having come to a conclusion they desired him to move for leave to sit again.

The resolves of the committee being read, the Congress came to the following Resolutions:

Resolved, That two 1 major generals be appointed for the American army.

That the pay of each of the Major generals be one hundred and sixty-six dollars per month.

That when any of these act in a separate department, he be allowed, for his pay and expence, three hundred and thirty-two dollars per month.

That there be eight 2 Brigadiers general. That the pay of each be one hundred and twenty-five dollars per month.

1. In the ms. the original record stood for three; this was changed to four, and finally to two .
2. The original record called for five .

That there be one adjutant General, and his pay one hundred and twenty-five dollars per month.

That there be one Commissary general of stores and provisions, and that his pay be eighty dollars per month.

That there be one quarter master general for the grand army, and a deputy, under him, for the separate army. That the pay of the quarter master general be eighty dollars per month, and that of the deputy forty dollars per month.

That there be a pay master general, and a deputy under him, for the army in a separate department; that the pay, for himself, be one hundred dollars per month, and for the deputy pay master, under him, fifty dollars per month.

That there be one chief engineer at the grand army, and that his pay be sixty dollars per month.

That two Assistants be employed under him; that the pay of each of them be twenty dollars per month.

That there be a chief Engineer for the army, in a separate department, and two assistants under him; that the pay of the chief engineer be sixty dollars per month, and the pay of the assistants each, twenty dollars per month.

That there be three aid de camps and that their pay be thirty-three dollars per month each.

That there be a secretary to the general; and his pay sixty-six dollars per month.

That there be a secretary to the Major general, acting in a separate department; and that his pay be thirty-three dollars per month.

That there be a commissary of the musters, and that his pay forty 1 dollars per month. 2

1. Originally twenty dollars.

2. The resolutions passed this day were printed in the Pennsylvania Packet, 11 December, 1775.


JOURNALS OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS 1774-1789. Volume II (May 10-September 20, 1775). WASHINGTON: GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, 1905. Pages 91-94.

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