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Excerpt from Legislative History of the General Staff of the Army of the United States: Its Organization, Duties, Pay, and Allowances, From 1775 to 1901
In a letter dated J une 13, 1776, addressed to the President of Congress, General Washington wrote: I once mentioned to Congress that I thought a war office extremely necessary, and they seemed inclined to institute one for our Army; but the affair seems to have been since dropped. Give me leave again to insist on the utility and importance of such an establishment. The more I re ect upon the subject, the more am I convinced of its necessity and that affairs can never be properly conducted without it.
Congress having, June 18, 1776, created a Board of War, General Washington, seven days later, wrote to the President of Congress as follows: The instituting a \var Office is certainly an event of great importance, and, in all probability, will be recorded as such in the historic page. The benefits derived from it, I flatter myself, will be considerable, though the plan upon which it is first formed may not be entirely perfect. This, like other great works, in its first edition may not be free from error; time will discover its defects, and experience suggest the remedy and such further improvements as may be necessary; but it was right to give it a beginning, in my Opinion.
The Board of War, thus created, was the germ of the War Depart ment of our Government. The evolution of the general staff of the American Army covers a period of many years, during which tenta tive measures were adopted, from time to time, to meet emergencies.
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