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On This Day in 1775 – U.S. Army founded
June 14, 2024

On June 14, 1775, the Continental Congress authorizes the enlistment of expert riflemen to serve the United Colonies for one year. This launches the U.S. Army as America’s first national institution, more than a year before the Declaration of Independence is published on July 4, 1776.


“Resolved, that six companies of expert riflemen, be immediately raised in Pennsylvania, two in Maryland, and two in Virginia…that each company, as soon as completed, shall march and join the Army near Boston, to be there employed as light infantry, under the command of the chief Officer in that army,” said the Continental Congress resolution.

With the resolution, the congress adopted the New England Army of Observation, making it the Continental Army. The fighters were charged with defending the 13 American colonies from British attack in the Revolutionary War.

One day after issuing the resolution, Congress unanimously selected George Washington, a Virginian with a strong military record, as commander in chief of the new army. Washington received his commission on June 19, 1775; after leading the colonial army to victory over the British, he was elected the new nation’s first president in 1789.

This first branch of the Army formed was the Infantry. Two days later, on June 16, 1775, came the Adjutant General’s Corps, Corps of Engineers, Finance Corps and Quartermaster Corps. Five months later, on November 17, the Air Defense Artillery and Field Artillery branches were formed, followed by Armor on December 12. Three special branches also started in July 1775: the Army Medical Department on July 27, and Chaplains and Judge Advocate General’s Corps on July 29.


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