The Continental Congress had not yet proclaimed its independence from Great Britain when, on
March 25, 1776, George Washington, commander of the Continental Army, was tendered the first
Congressional Gold Medal for his "wise and spirited conduct" in bringing about British
evacuation of Boston. s During the next 12 years, the Continental Congress authorized an
additional six gold medals for Revolutionary military and naval leaders.
In 1777, Major General Horatio Gates was recognized for his "brave and successful efforts" in
bringing about the surrender of the British Army at Saratoga. Two years later, a similar honor was
bestowed upon Major General Anthony Wayne in 1779 for his courageous assault on the British
at Stony Point, NY.
A gold medal was also given to Major Henry Lee in commemoration of the skill and bravery he
exhibited against the British at Paulus Hook, NJ. Brigadier General Daniel Morgan and Major
General Nathaniel Greene were praised for their gallant efforts in South Carolina during 1781.
Six years later, John Paul Jones was similarly honored for his "valor and brilliant services" in
capturing the Serapis.