When reenacting or acting as a historical interpreter, its good to have a few historical dates and stories to share. This series will publish a few.
December 23, 1783 Washington resigns as Commander in Chief
“Having now finished the work assigned to me, I retire from the great theatre of action; and bidding an affectionate farewell to this august body, under whose orders I have so long acted, I here offer my commission, and take any leave of all the employments of public life.” On December 23, 1783, then commander in chief of the Continental Army, George Washington, addressed the Continental Congress in Annapolis in order to resign his military commission. The resignation not only signified the end of Washington’s tenure as commander in chief, a position to which he was appointed to on May 9, 1775, but also Washington’s desire to return to his Mount Vernon estate as a private citizen. Americans ever since have viewed this event as a testament to Washington’s republican values, as he willingly surrendered power of the army back to the governmental body that first appointed him.
Upon learning of Washington’s voluntary resignation, King George remarked “that act closing and finishing what had gone before and viewed in connection with it, placed him in a light the most distinguished of any man living, and that he thought him the greatest character of the age.”
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