An Act for the Establishment of Troops
On September 29, 1789, the final day of its very first session, the United States Congress passed "An act to recognize and adapt to the Constitution of the United States, the establishment of the troops raised under the resolves of the United States in Congress assembled" officially creating the military of the United States. To the men already serving on the frontier under orders of the Continental Congress, the change probably meant little.
Although the Constitution of the United States charged Congress with raising and regulating military forces, newly-elected House and Senate members delayed acting on this provision. Busy organizing the federal government and debating the location of the new Federal City, Congress neglected dealing with the issue of military forces until prodded by President and Commander in Chief George Washington.
On August 7, Washington reminded both Houses that the provision for troops made under the Continental Congress must be superseded by action under the new Constitution.
This appeal, delivered by Secretary of War, Henry Knox, was not immediately acted upon. Three days later, on August 10, Washington again urged Congress to address the issue. Finally, on September 29, 1789, the House of Representatives and the Senate passed the bill that transformed the Continental Army into the armed forces of the United States of America.