Gen. Archibald Henderson

     (b. 1783 - d. 6 Jan 1859)
Range 55 Site 171
Longest serving commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps. The "father" of the Marine Corps, he served in the War of 1812 and throughout the Indian wars in Alabama, Florida and Tennessee.

The Evening Star, January 7, 1859

Death of General Archibald Henderson
The community was greatly shocked last evening by the announcement of the sudden death of General Henderson. The deceased had been walking about apparently in his usual health during the morning. Returned from a long walk about 4 o'clock p.m., his usual dinner hour, and feeling somewhat fatigued, he seated himself on a sofa in a reclining posture, with his head resting on an arm of the sofa. The servant, on ringing the dinner bell, observed that he did not appear to notice it, and went to rouse him. He was discovered to be dead. Not a feature of his face was changed, and from the natural disposition of the limbs, it was apparent that death came without a struggle, and the good man and brave soldier had passed to his final rest without suffering in any respect the bitterness of death.

The deceased was born in the year 1783, in the town of Dumfries, Virginia, and entered the service of this country in 1806, being then twenty-three years of age. He was on board the Constitution, and commandant of the marine corps in the celebrated battle between the ship and the Guerrier, during the last war with Great Britain.

He took an active part in the Creek campaign, in the years 1836-7, having volunteered to that service, an example which was followed by every member of his staff in consequence of his gallant service during that and other Indian wars, he was made General by brevet on the 4th of March, 1843.

In the register at the Adjutant's Office, Marine Barracks, we find the following entry:--"Archibald Henderson, commandant, Brigadier General by brevet, 4th of March, 1843, to take rank from January 27th, 1837, for gallant and meritorious services while in command of the marines in Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee, during the campaigns against the hostile Indians."

The Evening Star, January 10, 1859

Funeral of General Henderson
The funeral of the late lamented General Archibald Henderson took place at 1 o'clock today.

The commandant's officers quarters were draped in mourning habilaments, as, also, were the various offices within the barracks.

The standards in the barracks and in the Navy Yard were placed at half-mast.

The deceased was laid out at the General's quarters in a mahogany coffin, covered with black cloth, and mounted with silver heads, etc. The inside was lined with white satin, and the corpse arrayed in citizens dress, viz: black cloth coat, pants, and vest.

Upon a massive silver plate was inscribed the following:
     General Archibald Henderson
     U.S. Marine Corps
     Born January 21, 1783
     Died January 6, 1859
Arranged upon the coffin were the cap, coat and equipments worn by the deceased during his life; the sword being a magnificent weapon presented to the General while a colonel by the State of Virginia, upon the sheath of which is the following inscription:

"Presented by the State of Virginia to Colonel Archibald Henderson, of the Marine Corps of the United States, in testimony of the high sense entertained by his native State, of his gallantry and good conduct in the capture of the Cyane and Levant by the frigate Constellation on the 20th February, 1815, and of his patriotic services generally during the war with Great Britain. Honor to the brave."

At one o'clock, the services of the Episcopal church, of which the deceased was an honored member, were performed over the remains in the presence of a large number of relatives and friends of the deceased, by the Rev Mr. Morsell.

The procession moved in the following order:

Order of Procession:

Funeral escort in column of march
Battalion of Volunteers, Colonel Wm. Hickey, including the following companies:
President's Mounted Guard, Washington Yagers, Union Guards,
Washington Light Infantry and Montgomery Guards
Staff and Marine Corps numbering 120 rank and file

Officiating Clergyman and Surgeon of the Garrison.

Pall Bearers
Commodore Smith Sur. Gen. Lawson
Commodore McCauley Colonel Craig
Captain Rudd Colonel Cooper
Captain Ingraham Colonel Larned
W.W. Seaton, Esq. P.R. Fendall, Esq.
J.B.H. Smith, Esq. Thomas Blagden, Esq.

The relations of the deceased

Officers of the militia

Officers of the army

Officers of the navy and marine corps

President of the United States (Buchanan)

Members of the Cabinet

Distinguished citizens


Arrived at the Congressional Cemetery, the beautiful and impressive words of the Episcopal burial service were read, and the coffin placed in the vault; after which military salutes were fired by the Marine Corps and the other military companies present, and the ceremonies were concluded.

The Secretary of the Navy has issued General Orders in respect to the memory of General H., directing the flags at the several naval stations and of all vessels in commission for sea service to be hoisted at half-mast and thirteen minute guns fired at meridian of the day after the receipt of the order.

Officers of the Navy and Marine Corps will wear crape on their left arm for thirty days.