Archibald Henderson (January 21, 1783 - January 6, 1859) was the longest-serving Commandant of the Marine Corps, serving from 1820 to 1859. His name is learned by all recruits at Marine recruit training (Boot Camp) to be known as the "Grand old man of the Marine Corps," serving in the United States Marine Corps for 54 years.
Henderson is credited with thwarting attempts by President Andrew Jackson to combine the Marine Corps with the Army in 1829. Instead, Congress passed the Act for the Better Organization of the Marine Corps in 1834, ensuring the Marines would remain part of the United States Department of the Navy. He was promoted to colonel the same year.
He went into the field as Commandant during the Indian campaigns in Florida and Georgia during 1836 and 1837, and was promoted brevet brigadier general in 1843 for his actions during these campaigns. Tradition holds that he pinned a note to his door that read, "Gone to Florida to fight the Indians. Will be back when the war is over."
Marines also fought during the Mexican-American War during his tenure as Commandant. The sword presented to Henderson upon completion of the action was inscribed with the words, "From the Halls of Montezuma, to the Shores of Tripoli" giving the opening words to the Marines' hymn.
General Henderson died suddenly on 6 January 1859. He is buried in the Congressional Cemetery. According to Marine lore, the Colonel Commandant had attempted to will his home - actually government-provided quarters in which he had lived for 38 years - to his heirs, having forgotten that they were government owned.