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Pay of the Army on the New Establishment agreeably to Act of Congress, April 30, 1790

This document records the monthly pay rates for the new national army, listed according to rank and title. A lieutenant colonel commander earned $60 per month, a major commandant of artillery earned $45, and majors earned $40. Sergeants, quartermasters, and the paymaster earned $5. Privates and musicians were the lowest paid at $3 per month.

Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Pay of the Army on the New Establishment agreeably to Act of Congress, April 30, 1790

Creating a Department of War

When the First Congress met in 1789, one of the primary orders of business was the creation of new executive departments to aid the president. Congress promptly established three such departments: the Department of Foreign Affairs (now the Department of State), the Department of Treasury, and the Department of War (now the Department of Defense), which was charged with administering the Army. To strengthen national defense, the First Congress augmented state and volunteer militias with a standing national army.