Commander in Chief's Guard

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Commander in Chief's Guard

COMMANDER IN CHIEF'S GUARD. Officially The Commander-in-Chief's Guard but commonly called The Life Guard, it was organized in 1776 at the beginning of the New York Campaign. With a strength of 180 men, it was first commanded by Captain Caleb Gibbs of Rhode Island, whose appointment to this post was 12 March 1776. Other officers of the bodyguard were Henry P. Livingston, William Colfax (who succeeded Gibbs as commanding officer toward the end of 1779) and Benjamin Goymes. During the winter of 1779–80 the strength of the unit was increased to 250, the next spring it dropped back to 180, and in 1783 it numbered 64 enlisted men. Despite its impressive unit designation and its important mission, "Washington's Life Guard" appears to have been nothing more than what today would be called a headquarters security detachment.


Godfrey, Carlos E. The Commander-in-Chief's Guard, Revolutionary War. Washington, D.C: Stevenson-Smith Company, 1904.

                              revised by Harold E. Selesky