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Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing) 2 0 Browse Search
Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 1 1 1 Browse Search
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Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing), Washingtoniana. -1857 (search)
the term of six months ensuing the date of the resolution, unless sooner determined by Congress. These powers were almost equal to those of a Roman dictator. They were conferred before the Congress could possibly have heard of the brilliant victory at Trenton on the morning of the previous day. Washington's lifeguard was organized in 1776, soon after the siege of Boston, while the American army was encamped in New York, on Manhattan Island. It consisted of a major's command—180 men. Caleb Gibbs, of Rhode Island, was its first chief officer, and bore the title of captain commandant. He held that office until the close of 1779, when he was succeeded by William Colfax, one of his lieutenants. These were Henry P. Livingston, of New York; William Colfax, of New Jersey; and Benjamin Goymes, of Virginia. Colfax remained in command of the corps until the disbanding of the army in 1783. The members of the guard were chosen with special reference to their excellences—physical, moral,
Edward L. Pierce, Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner: volume 1, Chapter 1: Ancestry. (search)
d largely upon Major Sumner. General Washington, Dec. 4, 1783, immediately after taking leave of his officers at Fraunces' Tavern, passed through this battalion of light infantry, and received from it the last military salute of the Revolutionary army. One regiment, formed from the disbanded army, was continued in service at West Point a few months after the discharge of the rest. In this regiment, Colonel Henry Jackson was first in rank, Lieutenant-Colonel William Hull the second, Major Caleb Gibbs the third, and Major Sumner the fourth. On July 1, 1784, his military career finally closed. Major Sumner was about five feet and ten inches in height, rather stout in person, and walked rapidly, bending forward and seemingly intent on some errand. He was quick in observation, frank in his intercourse with men, and liable to be deceived. He adapted himself readily to society of various kinds, and was widely acquainted with persons of every grade in the army. He was fond of a sol