Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




This thesis will provide a comprehensive analysis of the Virginia War Office during the American Revolution. A study of the War Office must start with its origin and, therefore, with the legislation that created it. This thesis will explore the reasons for the creation of the War Office and its legislative evolution into one of the most powerful agencies in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It will also discuss the War Office's legislative demise near the end of the war as the Virginia General Assembly began to shrink the government in cost-saving measures.

The second part of this thesis will examine the lives of the men who worked in the Virginia War Office. The personalities and qualifications of the two Commissioners of War are directly related to the efficiency and effectiveness of the office. No study of the War Office would be complete without examining the backgrounds of Colonel George Muter and Colonel William Davies. Their life experiences helped to formulate the type of Commissioner each man turned out to be, while the circumstances of war dictated how they were judged by their peers and history.

The third chapter of this thesis will discuss the difficulties facing the War Office in the performance of its duties. Many factors affected the ability of the Commissioner of War to carry out his actual duties; most of these factors were completely beyond his control. The circumstances of war often dictated what options the War Office had and what it could do.