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Commander-in-Chief Guards

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  • Captain Bezaleel Howe (3rd commander "Commander-in-Chief Guards") (1750 - 1825)
    A Patriot of the American Revolution for NEW HAMPSHIRE with the rank of Captain. DAR Ancestor #: A058228 Bezaleel Howe, Jr. served as a Captain in the Commander-in-Chief Guards, and was the last to c...
  • Elias Cady (1756 - 1853)
    During the first year of the Revolutionary War Elias Cady took his musket and went to Boston, where he enlisted as a soldier and served as a member of George Washington's guard until the close of the w...
  • Zebulon Richmond (1757 - 1832)
    A Patriot of the American Revolution for MASSACHUSETTS with the rank of PRIVATE. DAR Ancestor # A096125 Zebulon Richmond was a private in Major General Charles Lee's guard during the Revolutionary Wa...
  • Cornelius Wilson (1764 - 1822)
    A Patriot of the American Revolution for VIRGINIA with the rank of NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICER. DAR Ancestor # A127308 Cornelius Wilson, b. ca. 1766. In October, 1777, when he was eleven years old, he r...
  • Shadrack Pinkston (1750 - 1795)
    A Patriot of the American Revolution for VIRGINIA with the rank of CORPORAL. DAR Ancestor #: A089187 Shadrack Pinkston was born 1750 in Fairfax Co. Va and died July 18, 1795. He was a member of Geo...

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: