U.S. Marine Corps Dictionary

Henderson, Archibald

Fifth Commandant of the Marine Corps, known as the “Grand Old Man of the Corps” he served the longest in the position–38 years. The Virginia native was born on Jan. 21, 1783 and served as Acting Commandant from Sept. 16, 1818 until Gale’s appointment on March 3, 1819. He was named Lieutenant Colonel Commandant at the conclusion of Gale’s court martial which cashiered him from the service, Oct. 17, 1820. During Henderson’s tenure, he led the Marines in the Indian Wars in Florida, reportedly tacking a note to the door of the Commandant’s House saying, “Gone to fight the Indians, be back when the war is over”. He also became the first Colonel Commandant and was awarded a Brevet promotion to Brigadier General. In the social setting of Washington he was known as General Henderson but he always signed official documents as Colonel Commandant.


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DevilDogCorps.com is an unofficial online dictionary of terms and acronyms commonly used within the United States Marine Corps.