Washington’s Adieu to his Generals

Accession number:

George R. Hall
Engraver (1756-1843) Based off the original drawing by Felix Octavius Carr Darley (1822-1888)

Historical period:
ca. 1860

Miltary branch:

Wars and Conflicts:


H x W: 22 in. / 26 in.

Acquisition date:
ca. 2010

Credit line:
The Army and Navy Club Library Trust Fund



From ca. 2010: The Army and Navy Library Trust Fund, acquired by Rear Admiral John N. Faigle, Club President 2010-2013


This is a spirited depiction of General George Washington leaving Whitehall Ferry on December 4, 1783, to the cheers and waves of his officers. Earlier that day, Washington left his fellow generals, Knox, Steuben, Greene, and then-Colonel Hamilton, among countless others, at New York's famed Francis Tavern, to the tune of "Roslin Castle." After a mournful and heavy goodbye with those who had sat on his council, shared in his toils and adversaries for seven years, Washington arrived at the New York barge and departed for Annapolis.

Darley's idealized depiction of the dock, filled with American sailors and enthusiastic officers, captures the sentiments expressed by a nation exhausted by war but optimistic for the future of the country. In Annapolis, General Washington met with Congress to surrender his commission as Commander-in-Chief, with the following words: "Having now finished the work assigned me, I retire from the great theater 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 leave of all the employments of life."

This image is one of a pair of prints on display in The Club’s Washington Room—the other, titled “Washington and His Generals,” depicts Washington surrounded by his generals at Fraunces Tavern prior to embarking for Whitehall Ferry (see it here). Together, they describe the events of Washington’s fabled last day as an American military officer (until he became the Commander in Chief six years later).

The text under the title on the engraving: “Vide ‘Irving’s Life of Washington,’ page 441, vol. IV, published by G.P. Putnam.” This citation refers to a textual description of Washington’s farewell to his generals in Washington Irving’s five-volume biography, Life of Washington.