August 7, 1789
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH AN EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, TO BE DENOMINATED THE DEPARTMENT OF WAR
[I] BE IT ENACTED BY THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED, that there shall be an executive department, to be denominated, The department of War, and that there shall be a principal Officer therein, to be called the Secretary for the department of War, who shall perform and execute such duties as shall from time to time be enjoined in, or intrusted to him, by the President of the United States, agreeably to the Constitution, relative to Military Commissions, or to the land or naval forces, ship, or warlike stores of the United States, or to such other matters respecting Military or Naval Affairs, as the President of the United States shall assign to the said department, or relative to the granting of lands to persons entitled thereto, for Military Services rendered to the United States, or relative to Indian Affairs: And furthermore, that the said principal Officer, shall conduct the business of the said department, in such matter as the President of the United States shall from time to time, order or instruct.
 AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED that there shall be in the said department, an inferior officer, to be appointed by the said principal Officer, to be employed therein as he shall deem proper, and to be called the Chief Clerk in the department of War, and who, whenever the said principal Officer shall be removed from Office by the President of the United States, or in any other case of vacancy, shall during such vacancy, have the charge and custody of all records, books, and papers, appertaining to the said department.
 AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, that the said principal Officer, and every other person to be appointed or employed in the said department, shall before he enters on the execution of his Office or employment, take an oath or afffirmation, well and faithfully to execute the trust committed to him.
 AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, that the Secretary for the department of War to be appointed in consequence of this Act, shall forthwith after his [Page 2029] appointment, be entitled to have the custody and charge of all records, books and papers, in the Office of Secretary for the department of War, heretofore established by the United States in Congress assembled.
FREDERICK AUGUSTUS MUHLENBERG
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Vice President of the United States, and
President of the Senate
Approved August the Seventh 1789
President of the United States