No other man has anymore history in the making of a nation than George Washington. Washington, known as the father of this nation, was a fighter and a leader whose accomplishments led to the creation of this great nation. No matter what part of history is found, Washington holds his reputation. Edward Channing states it perfectly: Of all men in history, not one so answers our expectations as Washington. Into whatever part of his life the historian puts his probe, the result is always satisfactory (Callahan IX). This is why Washington is more than just a man in our nations history, e is a symbol for future leaders of this nation (Callahan 21).
In 1752 Washington began his military career taking over the office of adjutant of the local military district. This office, one of four in Virginia, was left vacant by the death of his beloved brother Lawrence. Low paying with few duties, this office made Washington a major of a vast military region (Callahan 6). In October of 1753, Washington was chosen for his first mission because of his frontiersmanship, hard work, and responsibility. This mission was to travel through rough terrain in inclimate weather to the Ohio Valley, to warn the French to stay off the British land.
The French refused and the war began (Meltzer 34-40). Necessity, a small fort built by Washingtons forces 40 miles from the French Territory was the sight where the first bloodshed of the French and Indian War occurred. Wilkerson 2 This battle belonged to Washingtons forces. This victory raised Georges confidence in himself and captured him a promotion to Colonel of the Virginia Regiment. It also gave him an unwarranted contempt for the French (Meltzer 40). The Seven Years War, known as the French and Indian War, cost over a million civilians and soldiers their lives (Meltzer 40).
In July of 1754, a battle between Washingtons troops and the French and the Indian ended in a disaterious defeat for Washington. The indians decided to fight with the winners, the French. As Callahan states The future commander-in-chief of the American Army in the Revolution ended his first major military effort in ignominious disaster. Washington was forced to sign a letter of surrender. It was a small victory for the French, but the starting point of the French and Indian war (Callahan 10). Washington was reduced in rank to a captain. In humiliation, he resigned from the service in October of 1754.
He went to his beloved home, Mount Vernon, which was leased by George from the family of his late brother Lawrence. Later George became the owner of the property. Washington liked the taste of combat and he yearned for the military life (Meltzer 42). A major part of Washingtons character was influenced by his defeat in his first battle. As Callahan says It did bring out the courage, bravery, and tough character of George Washington (10). George, known as a strong disciplinarian, gained his soldiers respect through his strong constitution, great determination, and savvy character.
His reat stature and stance intimidated others, including mere soldiers and high ranking military men. Washington was so admired for his truthfulness, he was adopted by the Seneca Indian Tribe. Wilkerson 3 Rest for Washington was not to last long, Major General Edward Braddock, a man George greatly admired, came to America to drive the French back out of the Ohio Valley. George, still yearning for military action, volunteered to join Braddocks staff as an aid. With his vast experience in wilderness fighting, Washington was considered a big asset by Braddock.
George was glad to leave his beloved Mount Vernon, he had fallen in ove with his best friends wife, Sally Fairfax. He thought leaving would take his mind off of her, and help him concentrate on other concerns. Washington leaving his home did not stop the communication between him and Sally, she wrote to him faithfully, with him responding. Sally was known to have communicated with Washington throughout his life. Letters were found after his death from Mrs. Fairfax, along with letters from his future wife, whom he considered his best friend.
Washington was fascinated by Braddocks professional army and the important colonial leaders (Andrist 52). George had always thought that the English were superior n action and their personal lives. He had thought of himself and this country as a part of England. Under Braddock and other high ranking English officials authority, George was fast changing his opinion of England, English military, and English command. Washington, as Braddocks aid, Fleming states: was arriving at the first faint realization that he was not English, but American.
It is hard for us to appreciate this awakening, now. But in the Virginia of Washingtons youth, England was home-the repository of good education, fine furniture and clothes, naval and military genuis. London was the center of the world, a gay metrapolis that Washington yearned to visit (22). Wilkerson 4 George disliked the contempt that Braddock and his officers had for the Americans. Only Benjamin Franklin, along with Washington, was not the object of their scorn. Washington told Braddock to blame individuals, not the whole country (Fleming 22).
Braddock admired Washington for his military abilities and his forthrightness, allowed George to contradict him, something few men did. Braddock and the English high ranking officials envied George his frankness, stubborn honesty, and rugged masculinity (Fleming 22). The officials often gave George a helping hand. Washington was realizing that the American soldiers had the same capabilities as the English, that he had so admired. Washingtons brave character was shown to all when his troop, with Braddock in command, were attacked. Most of the troop, including the English, panicked.
Washington kept his head and fought to the end. With Braddock fatally wounded, only Washington and a few others stayed to help the dying General off the battlefield. Most of the troop had either fled or died. Braddocks defeat was a major turning point in Washingtons life. Never again ould the colonial soldier worship English military ability (Fleming 23). As Fleming wrote they ran as sheep pursued by dogs (23). Washington wrote his brother that we have been beaten, shamefully beaten, by a handful of men who only intended to molest and disturb our march (Fleming 23).
Washington was ashamed by the conduct of the troop, for he knew the harsh effects that a battle could have upon a soldier. George had fought while sick, and while recovering from illness, and he had never ran from the enemy. Once again Georges great courage was shown. In August of 1755, Washington , at the age of 23, was made commander-in-chief f all Virginia forces. His arrival created a statement that Washington deservedly a Wilkerson 5 high reputation for military skill and valor, though success has not always attended his undertakings (Callahan 13).
Washington, with all of his accomplishments and admiration from fellow officers, was not given the assignment to command the troops that were to be in the expedition against Fort Duquesne, a position that he had desperately wanted. Once again, Washington felt like resigning from the service, but instead continued in his duties for more than a year. George decided to become a stern disciplinarian, so stern in fact that a eserter was put to death in front of new draftees (Callahan 14). Soldiers would get lashings for swearing and drunkenness.
Washingtons last battle took place under General John Forbes, who taking Braddocks defeat in consideration, made a successful campaign against Fort Duquesne. The fort, after the victory, was renamed Fort Pitt. After this successful battle, Washington resigned his commission in late 1758. Washington was now a private citizen, not a military man. A man that had truly given his all to his country. A man that had shown tremendous bravery, courage, skill, and leadership. A man that is about to become a family man. George met Martha Dandridge Curtis at this point in his life, the wealthiest widow in Virginia.
Washington started a new phase in his life, that of a husband, a step father, and a rich Virginia plantation owner. His own plantation, Mount Vernon, had only made a profit when Washington was overseeing it, when he was at battle it never profited. George and Martha were to become great friends and partners for life. The type of friendship few attain. Very much different from his relationship with his mother, Mary Ball. Their mother-son relationship had always been very strained, because Mary was so overbearing and domineering.
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