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Army - General of the Army (U.S.)

Last modified: 2015-04-04 by rick wyatt
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[General of the Army flag] image by Tom Gregg, 13 February 1997

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"General of the Armies" was not a title limited to Washington and Pershing. A late 19th century law on the organization of the Army authorized one general and specified that he would have the title "General of the Armies of the United States."

I think Sheridan would have been the general at the time, but will have to check my notes for the dates and the legal citation.

Joe McMillan, 21 December 2000

In 1776 Congress conferred upon General George Washington the title "Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of the United States" so as to uniquely identify him. No insignia or flag were authorized. However that did not stop the Washington DC press from reporting "Washington Gets Sixth Star".

Washington only ever wore three silver six-pointed stars as an insignia of grade and a light blue ribbon/sash diagonally across his chest indicating his status as Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army.

His flags as C-I-C were all blue of varying shades with 13 six-pointed stars arranged either 3-2-3-2-3, 4-5-4, or in a circle. There is a surviving flag in Valley Forge which is claimed to be Washington's command flag with the star arranged 3-2-3-2-3. The other arrangements are from period paintings.

James J. Ferrigan III, 21 December 2000