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Commander-in-Chief Guards

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  • Benjamin Pierce (1762 - 1847)
    The Following is an excert from "The History of Londenderry". Thomas Pierce was born in England and came to New England about 1635, settling in Charlestown, Mass. where he died in 1666. Benjamin Pi...
  • Michael Ezra Tullis (1756 - 1832)
    The members of the Commander-in-Chief Guards compiled by the Sons of Liberty Chapter of the S.A.R. list Michael Tullis' dob as 1749. Other sources list it as 1756.
  • James Knox (1755 - 1839)
  • Seth Sturtevant (1760 - 1852)
    A first hand account of Seth Sturtevant's Revolutionary War service: of General George Washingtons Private Guard 1778-1780. Engage For the Duration of War--Battle Of Saratoga- Surrender of Burgoyne /ECN/
  • Robinson Smith (1763 - 1828)
    The following excerpt is from an article in the Albion Advertiser, titled, “DAR to Honor Murray Veteran,” published on November 7, 1984: His enlistment was uncommon as most soldiers in those days enl...

General George Washington created an elite unit of the Continental Army in March, 1776. Known as the Commander-in-Chief Guards, or C-in-C Guards for short, these men were selected to be the general's personal guard, to protect himself, baggage, and records of the war.

General Washington requested drilled men, selected for their sobriety, honesty, and good behavior. They were five feet eight inches-five feet ten inches tall, "handsomely and well made," and "clean and spruce." Washington selected Captain Caleb Gibbs of the 14th Massachusetts Continental Regiment to command the Guard. He chose his nephew, George Lewis, as Lieutenant. He entrusted these two men with the details of organizing the unit.

Unfortunately, the first detailed account of the C-in-C Guards involved a plot to assassinate General Washington. The plot involved several New York Tories including Mayor David Matthews, and C-in-C Guards Sergeant Thomas Hickey, drummer William Green, fifer James Johnson, and privates John Barnes and Michael Lynch.

The C-in-C Guards had their own distinctive uniforms. They were blue and buff with red waistcoats. Instead of the traditional tricorn hats, they wore leather helmets with a bear skin crest and white plume tipped in blue on the left side. The uniforms had pewter buttons marked USA. As far as is known, the C-in-C Guards were the first unit to use the letters USA.

General Washington often used the C-in-C Guards as light infantry. They often proved their worth in the line of battle. The enemy armies saw soldiers as well trained and uniformed as any in Europe.

Muster rolls of the C-in-C Guards were lost in a fire in 1815, A roster has been gleaned from every possible source. Profiles to be included in this project can be found found on this link:

The information in this overview was taken from an article written by Donald N. Moran for the Sons of Liberty Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution

Special thanks to Geni member David Coffin for bringing this topic to my attention, and the links for additional information: