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The Secretary of War was a member of the United Statesmarker President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War," was appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation between 1781 and 1789. Benjamin Lincoln and later Henry Knox held the position. When Washington was inaugurated as the first president under the Constitution, he appointed Knox to continue serving.

The Secretary of War led the War Department. At first, he was responsible for all military affairs. In 1798, the Secretary of the Navy was added to the cabinet, and the scope of this office was reduced to a general concern with the Army. In 1947, the departments were recombined under the Secretary of Defense. The Secretary of War was replaced by the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Air Force, which, along with the Secretary of the Navy, were now non-Cabinet positions under the Secretary of Defense.

Secretaries of War

# Picture Name State of Residence Began Service Ended Service President served under
1 Henry Knox Massachusettsmarker September 12, 1789 December 31, 1794 George Washington
2 Timothy Pickering Massachusettsmarker January 2, 1795 December 10, 1795 George Washington
3 James McHenry Marylandmarker January 27, 1796 June 1, 1800 George Washington
John Adams
4 Samuel Dexter Massachusettsmarker June 1, 1800 January 31, 1801 John Adams
5 Henry Dearborn Massachusettsmarker March 5, 1801 March 4, 1809 Thomas Jefferson
6 William Eustis Massachusettsmarker March 7, 1809 January 13, 1813 James Madison
7 John Armstrong, Jr. Pennsylvaniamarker January 13, 1813 September 27, 1814 James Madison
8 James Monroe Virginiamarker September 27, 1814 March 2, 1815 James Madison
9 William Harris Crawford Georgiamarker August 1, 1815 October 22, 1816 James Madison
10 John Caldwell Calhoun South Carolinamarker October 8, 1817 March 4, 1825 James Monroe
11 James Barbour Virginiamarker March 7, 1825 May 23, 1828 John Quincy Adams
12 Peter Buell Porter New Yorkmarker May 23, 1828 March 4, 1829 John Quincy Adams
13 John Henry Eaton Tennesseemarker March 9, 1829 June 18, 1831 Andrew Jackson
14 Lewis Cass Michiganmarker August 1, 1831 October 5, 1836 Andrew Jackson
15 Joel Roberts Poinsett South Carolinamarker March 7, 1837 March 4, 1841 Martin Van Buren
16 John Bell Tennesseemarker March 5, 1841 September 13, 1841 William Henry Harrison
John Tyler
17 John Canfield Spencer New Yorkmarker October 12, 1841 March 4, 1843 John Tyler
18 James Madison Porter Pennsylvaniamarker March 8, 1843 February 14, 1844 John Tyler
19 William Wilkins Pennsylvaniamarker February 15, 1844 March 4, 1845 John Tyler
20 William Learned Marcy New Yorkmarker March 6, 1845 March 4, 1849 James K. Polk
21 George Walker Crawford Georgiamarker March 8, 1849 July 22, 1850 Zachary Taylor
22 Charles Magill Conrad Louisianamarker August 15, 1850 March 4, 1853 Millard Fillmore
23 Jefferson Davis Mississippimarker March 7, 1853 March 4, 1857 Franklin Pierce
24 John Buchanan Floyd Virginiamarker March 6, 1857 December 29, 1860 James Buchanan
25 Joseph Holt Kentuckymarker January 18, 1861 March 4, 1861 James Buchanan
26 Simon Cameron Pennsylvaniamarker March 5, 1861 January 14, 1862 Abraham Lincoln
27 Edwin McMasters Stanton Ohiomarker January 20, 1862 May 28, 1868 Lincoln
Andrew Johnson
28 John McAllister Schofield Missourimarker June 1, 1868 March 13, 1869 Andrew Johnson
29 John Aaron Rawlins Illinoismarker March 13, 1869 September 6, 1869 Ulysses S. Grant
30 William Worth Belknap Iowamarker October 25, 1869 March 2, 1876 Ulysses S. Grant
31 Alphonso Taft Ohiomarker March 8, 1876 May 22, 1876 Ulysses S. Grant
32 James Donald Cameron Pennsylvaniamarker May 22, 1876 March 4, 1877 Ulysses S. Grant
33 George Washington McCrary Iowamarker March 12, 1877 December 10, 1879 Rutherford B. Hayes
34 Alexander Ramsey Minnesotamarker December 10, 1879 March 4, 1881 Rutherford B. Hayes
35 Robert Todd Lincoln Illinoismarker March 5, 1881 March 4, 1885 James A. Garfield
Chester A.

Arthur
36 William Crowninshield Endicott Massachusettsmarker March 5, 1885 March 4, 1889 Grover Cleveland
37 Redfield Proctor Vermontmarker March 5, 1889 November 5, 1891 Benjamin Harrison
38 Stephen Benton Elkins West Virginiamarker December 17, 1891 March 4, 1893 Benjamin Harrison
39 Daniel Scott Lamont New Yorkmarker March 5, 1893 March 4, 1897 Grover Cleveland (2nd term)
40 Russell Alexander Alger Michiganmarker March 5, 1897 August 1, 1899 William McKinley
41 Elihu Root New Yorkmarker August 1, 1899 January 31, 1904 William McKinley
Theodore Roosevelt
42 William Howard Taft Ohiomarker February 1, 1904 June 30, 1908 Theodore Roosevelt
43 Luke Edward Wright Tennesseemarker July 1, 1908 March 4, 1909 Theodore Roosevelt
44 Jacob McGavock Dickinson Illinoismarker March 12, 1909 May 21, 1911 William Howard Taft
45 Henry Lewis Stimson New Yorkmarker May 22, 1911 March 4, 1913 William Howard Taft
46 Lindley Miller Garrison New Jerseymarker March 5, 1913 February 10, 1916 Woodrow Wilson
47 Newton Diehl Baker Ohiomarker March 9, 1916 March 4, 1921 Woodrow Wilson
48 John Wingate Weeks Massachusettsmarker March 5, 1921 October 13, 1925 Warren G. Harding
Calvin Coolidge
49 Dwight Filley Davis Missourimarker October 14, 1925 March 4, 1929 Calvin Coolidge
50 James William Good Iowamarker March 6, 1929 November 18, 1929 Herbert Hoover
51 Patrick Jay Hurley Oklahomamarker December 9, 1929 March 4, 1933 Herbert Hoover
52 George Henry Dern Utahmarker March 4, 1933 August 27, 1936 Franklin D. Roosevelt
53 Harry Hines Woodring Kansasmarker September 25, 1936 June 20, 1940 Franklin D. Roosevelt
54 Henry Lewis Stimson New Yorkmarker July 10, 1940 September 21, 1945 F. D. Roosevelt
Harry S.

Truman
55 Robert Porter Patterson New Yorkmarker September 27, 1945 July 18, 1947 Harry S. Truman
56 Kenneth Claiborne Royall North Carolinamarker July 19, 1947 September 18, 1947 Harry S. Truman


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