George Washington's Commission as Commander in Chief: Primary Documents in American History
On June 19, 1775, the Continental Congress commissioned George Washington as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. This guide provides access to digital materials at the Library of Congress, external websites, and a print bibliography.
Ken Drexler, Reference Specialist, Researcher and Reference Services Division
Created: August 18, 2021
Last Updated: August 23, 2021
The Continental Congress commissioned George Washington as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army on June 19, 1775. Washington was selected over other candidates such as John Hancock based on his previous military experience and the hope that a leader from Virginia could help unite the colonies. Washington left for Massachusetts within days of receiving his commission and assumed command of the Continental Army in Cambridge on July 3, 1775. After eight years of war, Washington resigned his commission as Commander in Chief on December 23, 1783.