“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. ” – George Washington George Washington was an extraordinary person. He was able to achieve such great things and left a grand representation of what the future political and military leaders should be like. Washington was born on February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Virginia. His father, Augustine Washington was a landowner and planter who died when George Washington was only 11 years old.
Before Washington’s birth, Augustine married his first wife, Jane Butler and had three children, but sadly Jane died in 1729 and Augustine remarried to to Mary Ball in 1731 (George Washington Biography). George Washington was the eldest of Augustine’s and Mary’s six children. After Augustine’s death, Washington was brought up by his older half-brother, Lawrence who inherited the Little Hunting Creek Plantation up near the Potomac River.
Later on, in 1746 at the age of 16, George Washington worked as a surveyor who plotted land in western Virginia and was awarded official surveyor of Culpeper County, this job brought up his interest in landholding and land purchases (George Washington’s Biography). Washington did not stay as a surveyor much longer, because shortly after Lawrence’s death, Washington was appointed major in the Virginia Militia and was involved in the French and Indian War.
In August 1755, Washington, 23 year olds was made commander of the entirety of the Virginians Troops and continued fighting many battles ( George Washington’s Biography). However, Washington retired from the Virginia regiment on December 1758 due to his frustrating experiences. After retiring Washington married Martha and had 4 children, 2 who was adopted (George Washington’s Biography), but Washington soon re entered the military life when he was appointed his job as chief of the continental army on June 15th, 1775 and because of his determination he started working the next day (Papers of George Washington).
Washington was a great governmental leader, but a better military strategist, this is true because his overall strength lay not just in his intelligence on the battlefield but the ability to keep his army together. Because of his great tactics, motivating factors and confident character, George Washington was a great commander of the Continental Army. George Washington was an astound commander because he was smart and had great knowledge in fighting battles.
Washington shows his tactics and wit during the December 1776 Christmas day battle in Trenton. After many loses, George Washington needed a victory to impel his soldiers to reenlist in his army. Because of his cleverness Washington concluded that the paid and un-motivated soldiers, the Hessians in Trenton would be celebrating Christmas and this was the perfect time to attack and boost his army’s self esteem (Hobart Article on the Battle of Trenton).
On Christmas night, Washington figured out a plan to cross the Delaware River and surprise attack the Hessian Soldiers. Washington and his troops attacked at three points early in the morning of December 26th when the Hessians were sleeping and drunk from the night of celebrating (Hobart Article on the Battle of Trenton). This was a smart and quick call that boosted the American spirit and captured more than 900 Hessian men (Hobart Article on the Battle of Trenton) . Another example of George Washington’s great tactics was during the Siege of Yorktown.
Originally George Washington was planning to attack New York, but with the aid of Francois De Grasse, George Washington changed his course to attack Yorktown,where General Cornwallis was conveniently waiting for supplies from New York (Hobart Article on the Battle of Yorktown). George Washington knew this would be a great time to attack and win a battle. On October 6th, 1781, the continental army and the french attacked Cornwallis and his team in Yorktown (Hobart Article on the Battle of Yorktown).
Without Washington’s quick thinking and flexibility there is no way that the Siege of Yorktown would have been a victory for the patriot’s side. George Washington motivation, determination and trust in his men was the reason he was an amazing commander. Washington proves his motivation in the crossing of the Delaware river. Some might say on December 25 1776, that crossing the icy Delaware river is irrational (History Article on Washington Crossing the Delaware River), but this smart move made by George Washington was a major reason why the American Revolutionary War was won.
Washington wanted to surprise attack the British army in Trenton, even if it meant crossing the Delaware River. Washington’s motivation and faith in his men were the only reason that the continental army were able to cross the river and win a very important battle that motivated his men and brought spirit to the rest of America. Furthermore, Washington proves his amazing management expertise in the Battle of Princeton.
After the Battle of Trenton, Washington withdrew his men to the west bank of the Delaware river and then brought his men back across the river into Trenton hearing that General Cornwallis and Major General Grant were at Princeton with ordnance and 8,000 men (British Battles Article on The Battle of Princeton). Unfortunately for Washington, some of the men’s enlistment time expired at midnight on December 31st, 1776 (British Battles Article on The Battle of Princeton), but because of his guidance and persuasion he was able to keep more men for the next 6 weeks.
With his remaining 7,000 men, George Washington and his team outmaneuvered the British and escaped Cornwallis( British Battles Article on The Battle of Princeton). Without his persuasion and the trust his army has in Washington, the Battle of Princeton would not have been won, leaving the patriots with a loss they would not be able to endure and a low point for the war which could have negatively affected washington’s men.
Washington’s motivation, determination and confidence in his army was the reason the Revolutionary War was won and this was exposed in the winter at Valley Forge. The British had successfully occupied Philadelphia and congress members questioned Washington’s leadership potential (History article Washington Leads Troops into Winter Quarters at Valley Forge), causing it to be the nadir of washington’s military career, but because of his determination he was ready to beat the British.
So, in late 1777 Washington lead his troops in a series of battles, like the Battle of Brandywine in September and the battle of Germantown in October, leaving his men tired and exhausted and unable to catch up with the British (Us History article on Washington at Valley Forge). With Washington’s faith and dedication on December 1777 Washington lead his battered and clobbered troops to Valley Forge to keep an eye on the British (Us History article on Washington at Valley Forge).
Washington motivated his by training and praising his men, making them more united and a stronger army all together. If Washington was not there with his men at Valley Forge, more men would have suffered and there would not have been a unity between the men, like the one Washington created. Washington’s greatest strength lay not just in his ability to be motivating and skillful in battle, but his ability to take deeply trust and take advice from others and this was a reason why he was a great commander of the Continental Army.
In the Battle of Yorktown, Francois de Grasse addresses that Cornwallis had been waiting for supplies in Yorktown (Hobart Article on the Battle of Yorktown). Washington being humble, took Grasse’s advice and changed his course to find that Francois de Grasse was true. If Washington did not listen to Francois De Grasse, he would not have been able to win one of the biggest battles in the American Revolution. Adding on, in the Battle of Princeton, Washington had ordered and trusted Colonel John Cadwalader to find information on the British in Princeton.
Colonel Cadwalader during his research received detailed information from a young man about the British works, cannons and force disposition, which George Washington put into great use in planning against the British ( Mount Vernon article, 10 Facts about the Battle of Princeton). If George Washington did not trust Colonel Cadwalader, he would not have performed as well as he did in the Battle of Princeton, but since Washington did trust the Colonel and took advice from the Colonel, he won a major battle and boosted the esteem of the whole continental army.
Adding on, Washington proved his humbleness towards others and their advice in the Battle of Saratoga. Washington put his trust in Benedict Arnold, an infantry commander to do a very important job in supporting Colonel Daniel Morgan. Arnold and Morgan forced General John Burgoyne, of the British side to retreat to Saratoga and made him surrendered 10 days later (History article on the Battle of Saratoga). If Washington was to do all this work all by himself, he would have been overwhelmed and would not have been able to make General Burgoyne surrender.
While other commanders might have accomplished more,In this paper 1 fact is true: George Washington was a spectacular commander of the Continental Army. Even though he may not have won as many battles as he has lost, he ultimately won the Revolutionary War and lead his army through many battles with his intellect in battle skills, his motivation which kept the continental army fighting and working harder, plus his ability to trust and take advice from others, shows was an amazing commander.