- Archibald Henderson
Infobox Military Person
name= Archibald Henderson
born= birth date|1783|1|21
died= death date and age|1859|1|6|1783|1|21
Fairfax County, Virginia
caption= 5th Commandant of the Marine Corps (1820-1859)
nickname= "Grand old man of the Marine Corps"
allegiance= United States of America
United States Marine Corps
rank= Colonel (Brevet Brigadier General)
Commandant of the Marine Corps
War of 1812 Indian wars Mexican-American War
Archibald Henderson (January 21, 1783 – January 6, 1859) was the longest-serving
Commandant of the Marine Corps, serving from 1820 to 1859. He is often referred to as the "Grand old man of the Marine Corps," serving in the United States Marine Corpsfor 53 years.
Born in Colchester,
Fairfax County, Virginia, Henderson was commissioned in the Marine Corps on 4 June, 1806. He served aboard USS "Constitution" during her famous victories in the War of 1812. He participated in several shipboard engagements and was decorated for bravery.
From September 16, 1818 to March 2, 1819, Henderson was the acting Commandant. On 17 October, 1820, at the age of 37, LtCol Henderson was appointed as the Commandant of the Marine Corps. He served in this position for a little over 38 years — the longest of any officer to hold that position.
Henderson is credited with thwarting attempts by President
Andrew Jacksonto combine the Marine Corps with the Army in 1829. Instead, Congress passed the "Act for the Better Organization of the Marine Corps" in 1834, [cite web
title=An Act for the Better Organization of the United States Marine Corps
date=30 June 1834
accessdate=2007-09-13] ensuring the Marines would remain part of the
United States Department of the Navy.
He went into the field as Commandant during the Indian campaigns in
Floridaand Georgia during 1836 and 1837, and was promoted brevetbrigadier general for his actions in these campaigns. Tradition holds that he pinned a note to his door that read, "Gone to Florida to fight the Indians. Will be back when the war is over." [cite web
title= "Gone to fight the Indians"
work=United States Marine Corps
Marines also fought during the
Mexican-American Warduring his tenure as Commandant. The sword presented to Henderson upon completion of the action was inscribed with the words, "From the Halls of Montezuma, to the Shores of Tripoli" giving the opening words to the Marines' hymn.
General Henderson died suddenly on January 6, 1859. He is buried in the
Congressional Cemetery. [cite web
title=Gen. Archibald Henderson
work=Historic Congressional Cemetery
publisher=Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery
accessdate=2006-11-04] According to Marine lore, the Colonel Commandant had attempted to will his home — actually government-provided quarters in which he had lived for 38 years — to his heirs, having forgotten that they were government owned. [cite web
title=Archibald Henderson Willed the Commandant's Quarters to His Heirs
work=Marine Corps Legends
USS "Henderson" (AP-1), and Henderson Hall Barracks were named for him.
Commandant of the Marine Corps
List of Historically Important U.S. Marines
:This article incorporates
public domaintext and image from [http://hqinet001.hqmc.usmc.mil/HD/Historical/Whos_Who/Henderson_A.htm the official USMC biography] .
title=Colonel and Brevet Brigadier General Archibald Henderson, USMC
work=Who's Who in Marine Corps History
publisher=History Division, United States Marine Corps
title=With Fidelity and Effectiveness: Archibald Henderson's Lasting Legacy to the U.S. Marine Corps
journal=Journal of Military History
publisher=Society for Military History
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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