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Title: George Washington
Author: Courtenay, Calista McCabe
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "George Washington" ***

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  [Illustration: George Washington]

  Copyright, 1917, by


  CHAPTER I                                                   5

  Washington's Early Life--Appointed as Surveyor--First
  Trip into the Wilderness--Entrusted with Message
  to the French.

  CHAPTER II                                                 20

  Washington Appointed a Member of Gen. Braddock's
  Staff--French and Indian War--Washington Made
  Commander of Virginia Forces--Causes of the American
  Revolution--Washington a Member of the First Continental

  CHAPTER III                                                30

  Beginning of the Revolution--Washington
  Made Commander-in-Chief
  of the Continental
  Army--British Forced
  to Leave Boston.

  CHAPTER IV                                                 40

  Declaration of Independence
  of Long Island--Battle
  of White Plains--Washington
  Crosses the Delaware
  and Surprises the
  Hessians at Trenton.

  CHAPTER V                                                  52

  Recapture of Fort Ticonderoga
  by Gen. Burgoyne--Battle
  of Brandywine--Battle
  of Germantown--Burgoyne's
  at Saratoga--Washington
  at Valley Forge--Alliance with France.

  CHAPTER VI                                                 62

  Battle of Monmouth--Patriots Receive Aid from France--Recapture
  of Fort at Stony Point by Gen. Anthony
  Wayne--Washington at Morristown--Surrender of
  Charleston, S. C., to the British--Treason of Benedict

  CHAPTER VII                                                73

  Gen. Gates Defeated at Camden, S. C.--Battle of King's
  Mountain--Washington Sends Aid to the South--Siege of
  Yorktown--Surrender of Lord Cornwallis--Peace Treaty
  Signed--Washington's Farewell to His Officers.

  CHAPTER VIII                                               83

  Washington Retires to Mount Vernon--Inaugurated as
  First President of the United States--His Reelection--His
  Death at Mount Vernon.

[Illustration: The Washington Monument]


  Washington Leaving His Home                              _Frontispiece_

  Washington Taking Command of the Army                               20

  Washington Crossing the Delaware                                    40

  At Valley Forge                                                     52

  Washington Bidding Farewell to His Officers                         73

  Washington Welcomed in New York                                     83





The twenty-second day of February is a national holiday in America
because, as everybody knows, it is the anniversary of George
Washington's birthday. All loyal Americans love and honor him, the
greatest man in the history of the Republic.

He was born in 1732, in Westmoreland County, Virginia, where the Potomac
River flowed past his father's farm. The farm-house, called "Wakefield,"
was burned, but the United States Government built a monument to mark
the place where it stood.

When "Wakefield" was destroyed, the family lived for a time in a home,
later called Mount Vernon, in Fairfax County. But the real boyhood home
of George Washington was a farm overlooking the Rappahannock River,
where his parents went when he was about eight years old. His father,
Augustine Washington, was a prosperous Virginia planter, and owned
several fine estates.

His mother's name was Mary Ball. She was a beautiful and sensible woman,
and a wise, firm and loving mother. She was his father's second wife and
there were two little lads already in the home, Lawrence and Augustine,
when she came to take the place of their mother who had died. Besides
these two half-brothers, George had two sisters and three brothers. The
two older sons were sent to England to school.

When George was eight years old, Lawrence returned home, having finished
his studies. A great affection at once sprang up between them. George
was a fine, manly little fellow whom any big brother could love, and he
looked up to Lawrence as a model. Before long, Lawrence went away to the
wars, serving under Admiral Vernon in the West Indies. His letters
filled George with admiration and he at once became commander-in-chief
of all the boys at school; they had parades and battles in imitation of
those Lawrence wrote about.

George's father died when he was twelve years old, but, fortunately, he
had a wise and careful mother. She taught him respect and obedience to
authority; justice and courtesy to others; loyalty to God and his
country. He had a high temper and a spirit of command, which she taught
him to control. A few times only in his life, when greatly provoked, did
his anger get beyond bounds. He loved and honored his mother deeply and
never forgot her teachings.

George and his younger brothers were educated in the country schools of
Virginia. George soon showed that he had a practical mind, caring little
for poetry and literature. He liked mathematics and wanted to know about
business and keeping accounts. He spent hours copying into a book the
exact forms of legal papers of all kinds. He was very neat and accurate
in his school work and learned the value of system and order. He never
began a thing without finishing it. He never did anything without
knowing the reason why. When he grew up, these fine principles and this
skill and accuracy, fitted him to take a great part in the history of

All boys in those early days knew how to handle guns and manage horses.
George was an expert rider and loved the life of the woods. Being
exceptionally tall and strong, he was the champion athlete at school. It
is said he could throw a stone farther than any man in Virginia.
Besides, he was so fair-minded that the boys always let him settle their
disputes and quarrels, knowing he would give every one a square deal. He
was the admired and trusted leader of them all.

In addition to his mother's care, George soon had the loving advice and
devoted friendship of his brother Lawrence. The war was over and that
splendid young gentleman had come home, and had married the charming
Anne Fairfax. His house, willed to him by his father, stood upon a hill
overlooking the beautiful Potomac River. To this lovely home, surrounded
by lawns and stately trees, Lawrence gave the name Mount Vernon, in
honor of the Admiral under whom he had served. George spent as much time
as possible here, where he met many persons of education and refinement.

While he was still a young boy, he wrote out for himself a long list of
rules of politeness and good behavior. He had observed that older people
do not like careless children, who forget the comforts and rights of
others. As a result, he was well liked by his brother's friends. Among
them were often military and naval officers, who told him stories of war
and adventure in foreign lands. When he was fourteen, one of these
officers would have appointed him midshipman in the British navy. He was
eager to go, but his mother needed his help in the management of their
property. So he continued two years more at school, studying
mathematics, engineering and surveying.

The country was then new and wild and there was much work for land
surveyors, whose business it was to measure off boundaries and describe
the positions of rivers, mountains and forests in a piece of land.
George learned to do this so well that by the time he was sixteen, he
was appointed public surveyor of his county. His chief work for the next
three years was on the vast tracts of land owned by Lord Fairfax, the
uncle of Lawrence Washington's wife. Though very young, George was a
great favorite with his lordship, who often took him fox hunting.
George was a bold and skillful horseman and rode well after the hounds.

[Illustration: Surveying]

The estate of Lord Fairfax, lying between the Potomac and Rappahannock
rivers and extending to the Alleghany Mountains, had been given to his
grandfather by King Charles II. These lands had never been settled nor
surveyed. People known as squatters were now moving in and taking
possession of the best places without permission. It became necessary to
have the land surveyed, and these settlers either driven out or made to
pay for certain definite parts. Lord Fairfax knew no one who could do
this so well as George Washington, for he was strong and fair enough to
deal wisely with the rough settlers. It was just what George wanted to
do, and he gladly accepted the offer.

In March, George set out for his first trip into the wilderness. He was
just sixteen years old, and it was his first big undertaking. George
Fairfax, Anne's brother, went with him. They crossed the mountains into
the lovely valley of the Shenandoah River. George's letters home were
full of the beauty of the country and the richness of the land. After
the first night, they found it more comfortable to sleep out under the
sky than in the poor, untidy lodgings of the settlers. They lived on
wild turkey and other game. They did their own cooking, roasting the
meat on sticks over the fire and eating it on broad, clean chips.

They met a party of war-painted Indians, and for the first time George
saw an Indian war dance. He studied the Indians carefully, for he wanted
to understand their ways so that he might know how to deal with them.
All through his life, he was kind and just in his treatment of these

The work of surveying grants of land took them long distances among the
mountains and through the valleys. They traveled on horseback over the
woodland trails, for there were as yet no roads. Sometimes they found
the rivers so high that they crossed in canoes, their horses swimming.

George returned in a month, well pleased with his adventures, and Lord
Fairfax, delighted with his success, paid him well.

The cordial, friendly, free life of Virginia pleased Lord Fairfax more
than did the life in England. When he heard the account of the
fertility and beauty of the Shenandoah Valley, he decided to make his
home there. George laid out for him a fine farm of ten thousand acres.
The long stone farm-house, surrounded by servants' quarters, stables and
kennels, was located on a charming hillside. The place was called
"Greenway Court," and visitors always found a warm welcome, whether
Indians, woodsmen, or friends from the cities. Here George stayed when
on his surveying trips and during the hunting seasons.

Until he was nineteen, George spent his time at his work, or at home
with his mother or at Mount Vernon with Lawrence. The society of his
home and friends kept him from being spoiled by the roughness of the
wilderness. He was now six feet, two inches in height, with a fresh,
out-door complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. He had attractive
manners, he was careful about his dress, and presented a pleasing
appearance. Through all his life, George Washington was a true

He was so well paid for his work that he was able to buy several pieces
of fine land. His noble character gave him a high place among the
leading men of his colony. When he was nineteen, he was appointed one of
four military officers in the colonies, with the rank and pay of a
major, $750 a year--a considerable sum at that time.

Troubles had now arisen between the French and the English about the
ownership of lands west of the Alleghany Mountains. The Indians,
regarding the lands as theirs, took part in the disturbance. To protect
her frontiers, Virginia was divided into four districts, each under a
leader, whose duty it was to organize and drill militia. George at once
began to study military tactics and the arts of war. This was
interrupted by a trip to the West Indies with his beloved brother
Lawrence, who was ill of consumption.

They had hardly arrived there when George had a severe attack of
smallpox; though he soon got well, his face was scarred for life. He
wrote home about the beauty of the island, the wonderful trees and
fruits, and his social pleasures--dinners, parties and drives. For the
first time in his life, he attended a theater. He visited the courts of
justice and the fortifications; studied the laws, the soil and the
crops, learning all that could be learned about the island. The trip
resulted in no lasting good for Lawrence, however, for he died the
following summer, beloved and honored by the colonists.

George was only twenty, but Lawrence left Mount Vernon in his charge,
and the care of his wife and little daughter. The farm on the
Rappahannock had been given to George by their father. These two fine
estates, with the property he had bought for himself, made George a
large land owner when still a very young man. The care of all this
property and his military duties kept him busy.

During this time, the trouble with the French had grown more serious.
The English, having settled the eastern sea-coast, claimed the lands to
the west for their settlers. The French claimed the same lands by reason
of having explored them first. The rich country lying west of the
Alleghany Mountains, between the Great Lakes and the Ohio River, was
the region in question. The French were planning to hold it by a line of
forts from the Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, and near the eastern end of
Lake Erie, they had built two forts.

Governor Robert Dinwiddie of Virginia decided to send a message to the
French commandant, Saint Pierre, warning him to keep off English soil.
He needed someone brave and strong enough to travel in the winter,
through hundreds and hundreds of miles of forests and across mountains
and swift rivers; who knew how to take care of himself in the woods; who
could get along with the Indians, and meet the French officers with
courtesy and wisdom.

Of all the men in Virginia, the Governor chose George Washington, only
twenty-one years old, for this dangerous and important journey!

So, late in the autumn of 1753, Major Washington set out for the Ohio
River, accompanied by Christopher Gist, a brave and daring frontiersman,
and an Indian chief called Half King, as guides, together with
interpreters and a small company of trusted men. They traveled on
horseback, and took with them tents and supplies for the journey.

As they proceeded, cold weather overtook them and the forests became
almost impassable from snow. Traveling was so difficult that, when they
reached the Monongahela River, they sent two men down the river in a
canoe with their baggage. These men waited for them at the fork where
the Allegheny River joins the Monongahela to form the Ohio. As soon as
Washington saw this fork, he marked it as a splendid location for a
fort, of which we shall learn more later.

Pushing on a little farther, Washington and his men reached a little
settlement on the Ohio River, where Indian chiefs met him in council. He
told them he had a letter for the French commandant and asked for their
advice and help. Indians are very dignified and slow in their councils.
They kept Washington waiting for several days. Then three of the
greatest chiefs went with him to the French forts. These were in what is
now northwestern Pennsylvania. It was a journey of many miles through
snow and mud and took nearly a week.

[Illustration: Starting for the French Camp]

It was almost the middle of December before Washington delivered his
message to the French commandant, Saint Pierre. He was politely
received by the French officers, with whom he discussed matters very
tactfully. It took some days to prepare the reply to the Governor of
Virginia. While they waited, the French tried, with presents and liquor,
to coax Washington's Indian friends to leave him. At this time, the
Indian tribes were in a difficult position. Both the French and the
English were trying to get their lands and each seeking to win their
alliance against the other. Washington reminded the chiefs that he had
their word of honor and so kept them with him.

After receiving the French reply, the party started back home, going as
far as possible in canoes. The rivers were swollen and full of ice,
making the water-trip extremely dangerous. On Christmas Day, Washington
began his long journey home--nearly a thousand miles through almost
trackless forests. The horses became so tired that he and Christopher
Gist decided to hurry on foot, in advance of the others, to the fork of
the Ohio, leaving their horses to be brought later. They tramped several
days, camping in the forests at night. An Indian met them and offered to
show them a short cut. But he was treacherous and guided them out of
their way and tried to shoot them. They escaped, traveling as fast as
they could all night and all the next day.

At nightfall they came to the Allegheny River, expecting to find it
frozen over, but it was full of floating ice and they had no way to
cross. After working a whole day, with only a small hatchet, they made a
raft. In trying to pole this across the swift current, Washington was
thrown into the water and was nearly drowned, but he managed to get on
the raft again and they reached an island, where they spent the night.
It was so intensely cold that Gist's hands and feet were frozen. The
next morning, they got ashore on the chunks of ice and by suppertime
were in the warm house of a trader named Frazier. In a few days, they
were rested enough to go on to Gist's home, where the Major bade his
companion good-by and went on alone on horseback, through constant snows
and bitter cold.

On the sixteenth of January (1754), Major Washington delivered the
French reply to Governor Dinwiddie. He had been absent almost three
months on his perilous journey, and you can imagine that his mother and
friends were glad to see him safe at home again.

The Governor and the colonists were very proud of the way Washington had
performed his errand. His wisdom in his dealings with the Indians and
the French, his firmness, his courage and daring in the face of peril,
had indeed been marked. He had not only done well what he had been sent
to do, but he had thoroughly examined the French forts and made notes of
the best places for English defenses. From that time, he was trusted
with important duties.

As might have been expected, the reply from the French commandant stated
that the land belonged to French settlers and that they intended to keep
it. It was Washington's opinion that the French intended in the spring
to take possession of the whole country. The Governor of Virginia tried
to interest other colonies to help fight the French. When they refused,
Virginia sent Captain Trent to raise a company of men in the western
country and to build a fort at the fork of the Ohio River, where the
city of Pittsburgh now stands.

Washington, now Colonel, was ordered to raise three hundred men and
build a road to this fort for cannon and supplies. He succeeded in
getting together one hundred and fifty men, who were poorly equipped,
and without training. They built the road as far as Cumberland. Here, in
April, 1754, they met Captain Trent's men in retreat. A French force of
three hundred men had surprised them by suddenly paddling down the river
in canoes, and planting their guns before the fort, with a summons to
surrender in an hour. One young officer and fifty men could not hold out
against so many. So they surrendered and marched back over the

Every day traders and settlers came by, hurrying eastward. They said the
French had taken the place at the fork of the Ohio and were building a
strong fort. They were coaxing the Indians, with fine presents, to fight
the English. If the British were to succeed against the French, they
required a good road over which to march an army. So Colonel Washington
hurried the road building as much as possible, but at best he could make
only slow progress in such mountainous country.

He received a message from the friendly chief Half King, telling him
that a French force was on its way to attack him. With a little band of
men, Washington made his way by night through the forest, in a heavy
rain, to the camp of Half King. Indian scouts tracked the Frenchmen to a
forest near a place called Great Meadows, where, in May, Washington and
his men attacked them on one side and the Indians on the other. The
Colonel was in the thickest of the fight and, for the first time, heard
bullets whistling about his head. Ten Frenchmen were killed and
twenty-one taken prisoners. Half King sent the scalps of the dead men,
with tomahawks and strings of black wampum (small beads made of shells
and sometimes used by the Indians as money), to all his allies and asked
them to join the English.

This was Washington's first skirmish and it opened the French and Indian
War that lasted seven years. Washington now encamped at Great Meadows
where he dug rude trenches, which he called Fort Necessity. Supplies of
food and ammunition were slow in reaching him. He had been reënforced
with troops from the command of Colonel Fry, who had died on the way,
and Washington was now made commander of the joint forces of about three
hundred men.

The French finished their fort, which they called Duquesne (doo-cané).
Then about nine hundred French and Indians attacked Washington. The
English fought bravely, but Half King and his men deserted Washington.
Being greatly outnumbered, he was obliged to surrender.

Colonel Washington led his beaten and discouraged men home, trying to
cheer them while sharing their hardships. The campaign, fought against
such odds, had not been successful, but Washington was publicly thanked
for his bravery and hard work.

He resigned his commission and went to look after his mother's affairs.
He soon settled at Mount Vernon and began work on his farm. His greatest
desire was to devote himself to country life, but he was needed too much
by the colony to be allowed to live as a private man.




Early in the following year (1775), England sent out General Braddock
and a thousand soldiers, trained in battle, to take Fort Duquesne and
drive the French from the Ohio Valley. Washington was appointed a member
of his staff.

[Illustration: The Indians fell upon their flanks]

General Braddock was a brave and experienced soldier, but he knew
nothing of warfare in a new country, amid great forests and savage foes.
He knew but one way to fight, which he had learned in the orderly camps
and wide fields of Europe, and felt that nobody could defeat his
well-drilled soldiers. He thought Washington too young to give advice,
and paid no attention to what he said. He looked with contempt upon the
queerly dressed, untrained Virginia troops, whom he called "raw
recruits." Instead of being friendly and generous with the Indians,
Braddock treated them coldly and they left him.

With much difficulty, the army and its supplies were brought over the
mountains and approached Fort Duquesne early in July. As they drew near
it, Braddock's men put on their scarlet uniforms and forded the river,
with bands playing and colors flying. It was the first time Washington
ever saw a regular, well-disciplined army and he enjoyed the sight,
although he wondered how their orderly ranks were going to fight among
the rocks and trees. Fearing an attack from the woods, he wanted to send
Indian scouts and Virginia rangers ahead. General Braddock admired
Washington, but could not help laughing at his fears. So he sent his
soldiers gayly forward.

Suddenly, they were attacked in front! With hideous yells, the Indians
fell upon their flanks. All that General Braddock had learned of warfare
was of little use to him now in the wilderness, but he was courageous
and determined. Four horses were shot under him and he was fatally
wounded. Before he died, he praised the Virginians, like a brave and
true gentleman, and apologized to Washington for not heeding his advice.
He left to him his horse and his servant. All the staff officers were
killed but Washington. His splendid height and broad shoulders made him
a fine target, as he rode about the field trying to rally the men. His
horses were killed under him and his clothing was torn by bullets. An
Indian chief said, "A Power mightier than we shielded him. He cannot die
in battle!" The contest ended in a terrible defeat for the English. The
regulars were useless and frightened. The despised Virginians were brave
but too few in number to meet the enemy alone. The survivors retreated
with the wounded to Fort Cumberland (Maryland).

Washington had been twice defeated, but his courage and wisdom were so
great that Virginia had made him Commander-in-Chief of her forces. His
tasks were heavy for so young a man--he was only twenty-three at that
time! He did the best he could under many difficulties and raised and
drilled a force of militia.

While facing a common danger, the colonies were not united then in any
way, except under a Governor General sent out from England by the King.
Washington had no authority over troops from any other colony, nor would
officers commissioned by the King take orders from him. Naturally, all
sorts of disputes arose and finally Washington decided to go to Boston
to put all these questions before Governor General William Shirley.

Two other young Virginia officers rode with him. It was midwinter. They
had hundreds of miles of mud roads to travel. They had fine horses and
were attended by mounted black servants in livery. The story of
Washington's bravery in Braddock's defeat was known throughout the
country. When these three handsome young officers reached the cities
along the way, they were splendidly entertained, for every one wanted to
honor Washington. He wore fine clothes and his appearance and manners
delighted all who met him. General Shirley received him with favor and
granted his requests.

Word was brought that the French and Indians were attacking the settlers
beyond the mountains. Washington hurried back to his command at
Winchester. He was anxious to have the forces and supplies necessary to
attack Fort Duquesne at once. But while the people were clamoring for
protection, Washington was unable to help them on account of the unfair
treatment of Governor Dinwiddie, and the indifference of England. His
force was too small and untrained to make an attempt against the French;
but he remained patient and cheerful and for almost two years, he stood
by the people who depended upon him. Then William Pitt became prime
minister of England (1757) and at once took an interest in the defense
of the colonies.

Washington was ordered to proceed against Fort Duquesne. That French
garrison had been weakened by taking men and supplies to the
battle-front on the north, where they were being defeated by the
British. Before Washington reached the fort, the commandant set fire to
it and fled. Washington planted the British flag upon the still smoking
ruins and on the same site built Fort Pitt, which he named in honor of
the great English statesman. This is where the city of Pittsburgh now
stands. Thus ended the French occupation of the Ohio Valley.

The many cares and hardships Washington had suffered had made him ill
and he returned to Mount Vernon, hoping that his military life was over.
He was greatly loved and honored by his soldiers and his fellow

When Washington was twenty-seven years old, he married a charming young
widow, Mrs. Martha Custis. The wedding took place January 6, 1759.

Mrs. Custis had a little girl, Martha, four years old, and a little boy,
John, who was six. Washington dearly loved these children, whom he
taught and trained with great care. He and his wife were great favorites
socially and at their home (Mount Vernon) they entertained many guests.
Here the Custis children met many of the prominent men of those days.

One of these visitors was Louis Philippe, the exiled King of France.
Noticing how many letters Washington wrote, he asked him if he were not
afraid of writing something he might regret. Washington answered that he
was careful never to do or say a thing he could afterward be sorry for.

Washington kept fine horses and dogs and was very fond of hunting.
Although busy with the care of his great farms and his wife's large
estate, he found time to follow the hounds. His wisdom and honesty were
so trusted that, aside from his own affairs, other people gave him
charge of theirs. He was often called upon to settle disputes, thus
preventing law-suits. He was a member of the Virginia Legislature, then
called the House of Burgesses, of which he attended every meeting and
was careful to know all about the affairs of the colony. When he first
took his seat in the Legislature, he was thanked for his military
service to the colony. He rose to reply, but could only blush and
stammer. The speaker said, "Sit down, Mr. Washington, your modesty
equals your valor!"

For fifteen years, Washington led a peaceful and happy life with his
family. He was kept busy looking after his vast estates. But then again,
the country began to claim his attention. George III was King of
England. Under his rule, unjust laws were made for the colonies, which
the wise men of America knew would destroy their rights. The colonies
were not represented in the British Parliament (where the laws were
made) and so claimed that Parliament had no right to tax them. Needing
money, England laid heavy taxes on the colonies, which they would not
pay. After much trouble, all the taxes were taken off except the one on
tea. That was left to prove England's right to tax the colonies.

In the autumn of 1773, several ships were sent over loaded with tea,
which was to be sold very cheaply. But the colonists refused to have tea
at any price rather than submit to "taxation without representation."
There can be no freedom in a land whose people may be taxed without
their consent. From several ports, the ships were sent back. In Boston,
a party of citizens dressed as Indians, boarded the ships at night,
December 16, and threw all the tea into the harbor. This is called the
Boston Tea Party. The same violence occurred at Annapolis, Maryland. To
punish the city of Boston, Parliament passed a law that no ship should
come in or go out of her harbor. The port was closed and business

[Illustration: The Boston Tea-Party]

News of this was carried to the other colonies. In Virginia, a day of
fasting and prayer was appointed. The people did not want to give up
their liberties, for which many had come to America. It seemed, on the
other hand, very dreadful to go to war with the mother country. The
colonies were independent of one another, but knew they must stand
together against the injustice of England. Meetings were held in each
colony to talk matters over, and it was decided to hold a General
Congress, made up of men selected by each colony.

In the Virginia Convention, Washington was one of the first to say that
the colonies ought to be allowed to govern themselves, make their own
laws and decide their own taxes. He was usually very quiet in all that
he said and did, but the wrongs of Boston had so stirred him that he
made a fiery speech. He said he would raise a thousand men, pay them
himself and march at their head to the relief of Boston. He said he had
hoped there would be no break with England and he shrank from the horror
of war, but now he began to feel that it could not be avoided and if so,
no sacrifice was too great to preserve the liberties of America for the
millions who would some day call it their home.

He was one of several delegates chosen to represent Virginia in the
General Congress, which was held at Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia,
September 5, 1774. There were fifty-two members, the ablest men of all
the colonies. Someone asked Patrick Henry who was the greatest man among
them and he said, "Colonel Washington, if you speak of solid information
and sound judgment." These men met, not as members of separate colonies,
but as Americans with one country and one cause. Each meeting was opened
with a prayer. Not often, in the whole history of the world, have men
had to decide more important and difficult questions.

For almost two months, they discussed all the points in which they
believed they were wronged by England. They were careful and just in all
that they said. They wanted to keep peace. None of them wished to be
independent of England. Neither were they willing to submit to
injustice and the loss of their rights and privileges. They wrote a
petition to the King and letters to the people of England and of Canada.
These papers were very fair and wise and showed the noble minds and
loyal hearts of these early great Americans. They were not rebelling,
they were simply declaring their rights. In reply, England only passed
more unjust laws. The spirit of revolt spread through the colonies.
Militia was organized; some were called "Minute Men" because they
promised to leave everything and go to war at a minute's notice. Months
passed in active preparations. Military stores were collected. The
patriots were determined to face death rather than submit longer to
British oppression.

Meanwhile, the British General Gage, stationed in Boston with four
thousand British soldiers, decided to surprise and take, by night, the
supplies of the militia in Concord, twenty miles away. Dr. Joseph
Warren, one of the patriots, heard of it and secretly sent Paul Revere
galloping out of Boston on a fast horse to awaken the people along the
way and carry the alarm to Concord. When the British reached Lexington
(about nine miles from Boston), they found seventy or eighty citizens
armed and waiting for them in the darkness!

Early in the morning of the 19th of April, 1775, the first battle of the
great American Revolution was fought (the Battle of Lexington). The
trained soldiers of England soon scattered the handful of patriots at
Lexington and Concord, but, as the day wore on, they were joined by
other patriots, and by the night of April 20th, General Gage found
himself besieged in Boston by a rustic army of 16,000 men. The news of
the battle spread rapidly and spurred the colonies to instant and bitter
war. Washington said that the once happy America must be drenched in
blood, or inhabited by slaves, and that no true man could hesitate to
choose death for himself rather than slavery for his country. He was at
Mount Vernon when the sad news came, getting ready to attend the second

[Illustration: Israel Putnam]



[Illustration: A Ragged Continental]

At the second Continental Congress, held May 10, 1775, Washington was
made chairman of committees for getting ammunition, supplies and money
for the war. His military knowledge and experience enabled him to make
rules and regulations for an army, and he advised what forts should be
garrisoned. (Troops placed in a fort for defense.) It was necessary for
Congress to take care of the army of 16,000 patriots that had hastily
gathered in the neighborhood of Boston, and to appoint a
Commander-in-Chief of all the forces of the colonies. They had to decide
as to who in all the country, could best be trusted with this important
and responsible position. All eyes turned to Washington. When his name
was first mentioned for this place, he, with his usual modesty, slipped
out of the room. But he was chosen Commander-in-Chief by the unanimous
(all agreeing) vote of Congress. When told of his appointment, he
accepted, though he said he did not think he was "equal to the command
he was honored with." He refused to take any pay for his services,
saying that no money, nor anything else but duty and patriotism could
tempt him to leave his home. Having one of the loveliest homes in
America, he gave up his comfort and happiness and risked all he had for
his country. Congress also appointed four major-generals--one of them
the brave old Israel Putnam--and eight brigadier-generals.

There were many men in Congress at that time whose names Americans can
never forget. They did many wise things, but none was more fortunate
than this choice of a Commander-in-Chief for the Continental Army. One
of the members, John Adams, called him "the modest and virtuous, the
generous and brave George Washington."

Washington's early life and training fitted him in a wonderful way for
this great and difficult post. As a young surveyor, he had learned much
about the country and how to make his way through forests and mountains.
Later, as a commander, he had learned how to fight in the woods, and all
the secrets of frontier warfare. With Braddock, he had learned that
soldiers drilled on the parade grounds and battle-fields of Europe did
not know what to do when hemmed in by rocks and brush and savage
enemies in a new and uncleared country. He had also learned how to value
and how to handle the independent, though rough-looking, soldiers of the
backwoods. With all this knowledge and experience, with his clear mind
and high courage, Washington was the most dangerous foe the British
could have.

In June (1775), Washington, as Commander-in-Chief of the army, left
Philadelphia for Boston. There was no time to visit Mount Vernon. He
wrote to his wife, telling her to be brave and that he trusted God would
soon bring him safely home. General Philip Schuyler and General Charles
Lee and a light horse troop went with him. As they galloped along the
way, people came out of the farms and villages to see the great General.
Washington, now forty-three years old, was very splendid and dignified
in his bearing, yet always modest and quiet--a gentleman and a soldier.

About twenty miles from Philadelphia, they met a messenger from Boston
riding a fleet horse and bearing dispatches to Congress. They stopped
and heard from him the news of the Battle of Bunker Hill, which had just
been fought (June 17, 1775). The British had been victorious, but not
until more than half their number had been killed and the patriots had
fired their last round of ammunition. When Washington was told how
bravely the militia had stood their ground, he said, "The liberties of
the country are safe!" He was not troubled by the triumph of the
British, because he felt sure the Americans would win when properly
armed and drilled. This news made him more anxious to reach the scene
of action and he traveled on as fast as he could. He left General
Schuyler to command the patriot forces in New York.

[Illustration: The Charge at Bunker Hill]

On July second, he reached his headquarters in Cambridge, where he was
received with cheers and the thunder of cannon. The men had so little
powder that they could not give him a great salute, but they spared all
they could.

The next day, July 3, 1775, Washington took command of the Continental
Army under a large elm tree, which still stands on the Cambridge Common.
The patriot army was a rather discouraging sight. The 16,000 men had
been called together without any preparation. They were farmers,
fishermen and shop-keepers. They had very little discipline or order
and were in need of everything--arms, ammunition, food, clothing, tents,
shoes. As yet they were not one army, but a collection of separate
companies from the different New England colonies. Each had its own
regulations, its own officers and its own interests. There were jealousy
and often misunderstanding among them. After reviewing this army,
General Washington visited the American forts strung in an irregular
semi-circle around Boston, within which the British forces were

He found the men camped in rough board shacks, or shelters made of turf
and brush, and dressed in the clothes they wore on their farms and in
the villages. Here and there was a tent. No wonder the British, in their
orderly tents and fine scarlet uniforms, thought they could soon scatter
this mixed crowd! There was but one exception. General Nathanael Greene,
of Rhode Island, had raised and drilled a body of men and brought them
to Boston under fine discipline, with good tents and clothing. His camp
showed what could be done. General Greene became one of Washington's
most faithful and lifelong friends, and was one of the greatest generals
of the Revolution.

In contrast with the undisciplined, ragged Continental troops were the
trained British soldiers, commanded by experienced generals. They were
well fortified in Boston and the harbor was defended by their warships.
They felt no fear of the irregular line of posts with which the
Americans thought to hem them in.

Washington at once began the task of organizing the army and teaching
and training the men. In this he showed skill beyond almost any other
man in history. He was beset with many difficulties, among them the
jealousy and discontent of some of the officers. There was one general,
however, who was always ready to serve in any place and put the cause
above himself. This was Israel Putnam, the brave man who was plowing in
his field when he heard of the Battle of Lexington. He left his plow in
the furrow, unhitched his horses and galloped sixty-eight miles that day
to Cambridge! He was nearly sixty years of age at the time. He was much
loved by the army for his bravery and generosity and all were glad when
"Old Put" was appointed Major-General.

Washington formed the army into six brigades of six regiments each. He
wrote to Congress to appoint at once officers to help him. He wanted an
adjutant-general to train and discipline the troops; a quartermaster to
arrange for all supplies, and an officer to look after enlistments. The
men had enlisted for only a short time and numbers returned home after
this term of enlistment expired; so it was hard to keep the army up to
fighting strength. The lack of powder was also a very serious matter and
Washington sent to the southern colonies, asking for what they had in

He at once began to improve the defenses and strengthen the weak places.
Soon a strong line of fortifications surrounded the city. The strictest
discipline was required and Washington visited the forts every day. The
arrival of fourteen hundred riflemen from Pennsylvania, Virginia and
Maryland was a great help; among these were the stalwart sharp-shooters
under Colonel Daniel Morgan, whom Washington had known in the French
war. They were six feet tall and over, and dressed in hunting shirts and
wide-brimmed hats. They had marched six hundred miles in three weeks.

The winter passed in drilling the army and trying to get powder.
Washington was besieging Boston without any powder, though the British
little thought that was the reason he did not attack them! All he could
do was to cut them off from nearby supplies of food, but they sent out
warships with men who plundered the coasts of New England. The people
drove their cattle inland and fought the invaders boldly.

[Illustration: Mrs. Washington set out for Cambridge]

Knowing that he could not return home, General Washington sent for his
wife to come to Cambridge. Mrs. Washington set out on the long journey
in her carriage, drawn by four horses, and accompanied by her son and
his wife. (Her daughter had died in the meantime.) Colored servants in
scarlet and white liveries rode beside the carriage. Escorts of
horsemen brought them from city to city, until they arrived in camp,
just before Christmas. It had been more than half a year since the
General had seen his family and his work was made easier by having with
him those he loved. The Craigie house in Cambridge (later the home of
the poet Longfellow), was Washington's headquarters. Here Mrs.
Washington helped him entertain officers and members of Congress. The
General was so busy that he was often obliged to leave his guests at the
table, while his own meal remained unfinished.

The plundering attacks by the British upon the New England coast became
so violent that, without waiting for Congress to act, Washington had
several armed vessels fitted out. They were commanded by such brave sea
captains as John Manly and John Paul Jones and were ordered by the
General to defend the coast and capture British ships bringing supplies
from England.

As the weeks passed, it grew more difficult to keep up the numbers of
the army. The men grew tired of the long and uncomfortable encampment
without any fighting. Had there been any powder, their General would
gladly have given them fighting enough! All through the war, Washington
was troubled and handicapped by these short enlistments, as he had to be
constantly training new recruits.

In December, some Connecticut troops decided to go home without even
remaining for their full time. Some took their guns and ammunition. This
desertion was a bad thing for the discipline of the army, and sorely
distressed Washington. On their way home, these men were made to feel
what the people thought of their conduct, for no one would give them
food, and their friends would not receive them kindly when they arrived.
The day after they walked off, something happened that put new life into
the camp. A long train of wagons came lumbering and jolting into
Cambridge, with flags flying and an escort of soldiers and horsemen.
What was in the wagons?--Cannon! and thousands of guns and shot and
thirty-two tons of musket balls! Captain John Manly, of the ship
_Essex_, had captured a large British brigantine and taken her cargo of

In spite of Washington's efforts to appeal to their patriotism, the
soldiers still wanted to go home. They were sick of the discomforts of
camp. By January (1776), only ten thousand men were left, and there was
danger of the poorly defended lines being taken. But for some reason,
the British made no attack. During this disheartening time, General
Greene was a great help, with his courage and patriotism and

In February, Colonel Henry Knox returned from the forts on Lake
Champlain with a long train of forty-two ox-sleds, carrying artillery
and ammunition. He had gone in midwinter after the supplies of cannon
and lead captured from the British the year before and had performed his
errand with daring and faithfulness. Then ten regiments of militia
arrived and at last, Washington and his generals thought they had men
and ammunition enough to attack the British.

General Putnam had fortified a hill north of the city of Boston. Troops
were sent, on the night of March 4, to fortify Dorchester Heights, to
the south from which Boston and the harbor could be swept by guns. That
the British might not hear the noise of the wagons and pickaxes, the
patriots bombarded the city all night. The ground was deeply frozen and
the work hard. But Washington was with the men, everywhere helping and
encouraging them.

When morning came, the British looked upon four forts raised as if by
the magic of an Aladdin's lamp! General Sir William Howe determined to
attack these new works. A storm of great fury arose and he waited. The
storm continued all night and all day. The patriots used this time to
strengthen their forts, and the British saw they could not hold the city
against them; so they prepared to leave, taking everything with them
that could be of use to the "rebels." They were allowed to embark upon
their ships without being fired on, to prevent their burning the city.
They sailed away to Halifax. After being besieged ten months, Boston
fell into Washington's hands without a battle! Washington was thanked by
Congress and given a gold medal in honor of the capture of Boston.


     HESSIANS AT TRENTON--1776-1777

Let us now consider some events which had taken place elsewhere in the
country. Before Washington had been made Commander-in-Chief, Ethan
Allen, with the "Green Mountain Boys" (so-called because they came from
Vermont, the "Green Mountain State"), had surprised and taken, without a
fight, Fort Ticonderoga in eastern New York. Shortly after, Crown Point
on Lake Champlain was captured by Colonel Benedict Arnold. The capture
of these two British forts opened the way to Canada.

[Illustration: The Liberty Bell]

While Washington was building up the army and besieging Boston, an
expedition against Montreal and Quebec was planned. General Richard
Montgomery, who commanded a force on Lake Champlain, marched up to
Montreal, which surrendered (November, 1775) without a struggle.
Benedict Arnold was sent, with about twelve hundred men from Boston, to
join Montgomery's forces in the attack on Quebec. They were to make
their way up the Kennebec River and through the dense Maine woods.
Arnold was a brave soldier and led his men through hardships and perils,
through snow and ice and over frozen mountains, until they reached
Quebec. On the last day of December, with the ground frozen and covered
with snow, the two American armies made a combined attack on the city;
but Quebec did not surrender, though the patriots fought with desperate
courage and daring. The gallant Montgomery led his men up the heights,
dashing forward with the cry, "Push on, my brave boys! Quebec is ours!"
A volley from a cannon killed him and scattered his men. The Americans
suffered terrible losses. In the death of General Montgomery, America
lost one of her bravest soldiers and truest gentlemen. He was deeply
mourned in England as well as in America.

Benedict Arnold also was beaten back; his leg was shattered by a musket
ball, but he bravely fortified his position and with five hundred men
besieged Quebec. He wrote, "I am in the way of my duty and I know no

As the weeks passed, the men grew weary and homesick. They suffered
untold hardships from want of food, clothing and shelter, and from the
bitter cold of the Canadian winter. Though Arnold and his men fought
bravely, Quebec did not fall into the hands of the Americans. Their
attacks were repulsed by the British forces in command of the city.

Shortly after the capture of Boston, Washington brought his army to New
York, as he feared the British might take that city. He sent General
Putnam to fortify New York and the Hudson River, and he followed,
gathering troops on the way. When he arrived, he fortified Brooklyn
Heights, Long Island, and put General Greene in command. He had only
about eight thousand men to garrison the forts about New York.

The same troubles from short enlistments, lack of discipline and
supplies had to be met. Washington was freely giving himself to the just
and righteous cause of American freedom, and he would not be discouraged
even by want of spirit and obedience in his troops. There was another
difficulty. All over the country and especially in New York, many
persons, called Tories, were still loyal to King George III, and
Washington feared treachery from them.

The British fleet, however, had not gone to New York, but up to Halifax.
General Howe and his army waited in Halifax for ships and men from
England. With their help, he expected to drive the Americans out of New
York and away from the Hudson River. England intended to crush the
colonies and hired German troops, called Hessians, in addition to her
own forces. It was now a year since the Battle of Lexington was fought
and Washington feared that the war would be a long one.

He went to Philadelphia to consult with Congress. To succeed against the
British, the colonies, he knew, must work together in earnest for their
common liberty. The army must have regular pay and supplies, and the men
must promise to serve as long as needed. Congress established a war
office and ordered that the term of enlistment be for three years.

Washington returned to New York and soon afterwards a conspiracy (plot)
among the Tories was discovered. Many arrests were made. A member of
Washington's body-guard was found to be in the plot and he was hanged.
While this was going on, the British fleet arrived in the harbor. There
were one hundred and thirty ships. The troops--30,000--were landed on
Staten Island. Washington was very uneasy with this large force before
him and he knew not how many treacherous Tories about him.

For a year, the Americans had been fighting on account of unjust laws
and taxes. But England had grown still more severe and unfair, until
many began to believe that the only hope for peace and prosperity in the
colonies was in their union with one another and their separation from
England. Washington had hoped that the trouble with the mother country
might be peaceably settled. But the time had now come when he urged
Congress to declare the independence of the colonies and throw off the
British yoke. While he, in New York, was facing foes within and without,
Congress in Philadelphia was discussing this great question behind
locked doors. Anxious throngs crowded the streets waiting for the

At last, on the 4th of July, 1776, the Liberty Bell in the State House
tower rang out the glad tidings that Congress had adopted the
Declaration of Independence! Washington was overjoyed when a messenger
brought him the word. On the evening of July 9, he had his army drawn up
to hear the Declaration read before each brigade. He said he hoped that
it would inspire each man to live and act with courage, "as became a
Christian soldier defending the dearest rights and liberties of his
country." The people of New York tore down a statue of King George and
melted it into bullets for the army.

[Illustration: The British fleet arrived]

There was not much time for rejoicing, however, considering that the
British ships were in New York harbor. Among them was the flagship of
Lord Richard Howe, Admiral of the British Navy and brother of General
Howe. He came with a proposal of peace from England and tried to
deliver it in the form of a message addressed to "George Washington."
Washington, resenting this insult, refused to receive the message and
did not accept it until it was returned properly addressed to "General
George Washington." Congress thanked him for making the British respect
the dignity of his office.

America had decided to be free at any cost, and while her cause did not
look very promising, it was too late to talk about peace. Washington
knew his forces were not strong enough to defend New York. The enemy had
its great fleet, and thousands of men already on land with thousands
more coming.

Washington had brought the army up to fifteen thousand men, but
hesitated to rely on this force. He was still troubled by jealousies
among the officers and among the troops from the different colonies,
although he tried to show them that honor and success depended on
self-forgetfulness and working together for the cause. The militia could
not be counted on and could be called out only for special occasions.
Whole companies would leave at the end of their enlistment, even though
they were greatly needed. We cannot always be proud of this fighting
force, though it showed splendid courage when really in action. The men
had not learned that a brave soldier does not quit, but patiently
endures hardships. At best, Washington's army was too small to strongly
fortify any one place about New York. He had no idea where the British
would attack first, and so had spread the army out until it was a long,
weak line.

On August 26 and 27 (1776), the enemy surrounded the fortifications at
Brooklyn on Long Island. The Americans fought with great bravery, but
were outnumbered and defeated. About two thousand were killed, wounded
or captured. Regiments had hurried to their help from points nearby and
most of the army was finally on Long Island. Fearing his whole force
would be destroyed, Washington decided to withdraw to New York, which he
did in the night, under cover of heavy rain, wind and fog. He had not
slept for two days and nights and had hardly been out of the saddle, but
he watched the men embark with all their belongings, and he himself went
in the last boat. When the British soldiers awoke in the morning, they
were amazed to find that the whole American army had disappeared!

[Illustration: Nathan Hale]

It was important for Washington to know what the next move of the
British would be. Captain Nathan Hale, a fine young officer, volunteered
to act as spy. He succeeded in passing through the enemy's lines and
making notes and drawings, but on his way back, he was captured by the
British. On Sept. 22, 1776, this noble patriot was hanged. His last
words, while standing on the scaffold, were, "I only regret that I have
but one life to lose for my country."

The army in New York was in great danger of being surrounded and
captured by the British, whose gunboats bombarded all the forts. More
than half of the population of the city were Tories and several thousand
of the militia had deserted. Washington was kind of heart and did not
blame them too much, but he knew that his force was too small to hold
the city of New York; so he began to withdraw to the northern end of
Manhattan Island. The British moved upon the city and found it easy to
land, because the soldiers, left to defend the first fort they attacked,
ran off in confusion. Washington, hearing the shots, galloped into their
midst and tried to rally them, but they scattered like frightened
rabbits. Washington lost his temper, and throwing his hat on the ground,
he exclaimed, "Are these the men with whom I am to defend America?" He
would have been killed or captured by the oncoming British, if one of
his officers had not seized the bridle of his horse and dragged him

The main body of the American army soon assembled in a strong camp on
the rocky heights near King's Bridge, defended by Fort Washington. Here
they were attacked by the British (September, 1776), when the regular
Continental troops fought valiantly and proved victorious, wiping out
the disgrace of the retreat which put General Howe in possession of New
York. This success greatly strengthened the army.

The Americans had repulsed the British at King's Bridge, but Lord Howe
sent gunboats up the Hudson River to cut off Washington from his
supplies, which were stored in Connecticut. Washington thought he might
be forced to surrender if he remained, so he decided to leave a garrison
at Fort Washington and take the army into camp at White Plains (New
York). A great many of his men were sick or wounded, and the hospital
arrangements were poor and insufficient. The disabled men were lying in
crowded sheds, stables and any other places of shelter that could be
found. Washington did all he could to relieve their sufferings, and in a
letter to Congress, he begged for better pay for the men and better
supplies. He also urged that a call be made for men who would enlist for
the entire term of war, however long it might be. A British officer
wrote to a friend in London: "The rebel army is so wretched! I believe
no nation ever saw such a set of tatterdemalions (ragged fellows). There
are few coats among them but are out at the elbows and in a whole
regiment, there is hardly a sound pair of breeches. How they must be
pinched by the winter! We, who are warmly clothed, feel it severely."

The camp at White Plains was attacked by the British, with heavy loss on
both sides, and Washington again withdrew his men in the night and
entrenched himself at North Castle on the east side of the Hudson. The
British did not follow him, and this left Washington in doubt as to what
their next move would be. He left a part of the troops in camp,
stationed a strong force in the Highlands to defend the Hudson River,
and with the rest of his army, crossed into New Jersey, opposite Fort
Washington. From this point, he saw General Howe capture Fort
Washington and, without power to prevent it, beheld his brave men
bayoneted by the cruel German soldiers. The supplies and the survivors
of the garrison--about twenty-eight hundred men--fell into the hands of
the enemy (November 16, 1776). Following this, Lord Charles Cornwallis
led six thousand British across the river and attacked Washington's
forces, obliging him to retreat across New Jersey, over the Delaware
River and into Pennsylvania.

Washington had with him but three thousand soldiers, ragged and half
starved, but they loved their Commander and were ready to make any
sacrifice for him and their country. He had sent orders to General
Charles Lee to bring reinforcements from the north, but Lee was in no
hurry to obey. Lord Howe, who was anxious for peace, issued an order for
all Americans to lay down their arms and go home; for Congress to break
up, and he promised pardon for every one if the order was obeyed. A
great many were faint-hearted enough to give up, even though America had
sacrificed so much for freedom. But Washington was undaunted and
remained true to his purpose to free the colonies. He cheered his
suffering soldiers and, after securing reënforcements from the militia
of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, he took his stand at a point across the
Delaware River opposite Trenton. He seized all the boats on the river
and when Lord Cornwallis marched into Trenton, there were no boats for
his troops and they could not cross the river to attack the Americans.
Leaving Hessian troops to guard Trenton, Cornwallis withdrew to wait
until ice should bridge the river for him. These German--or
Hessian--soldiers were hated by the Americans on account of their
cruelty and because they were fighting for pay.

It was evident that the British intended to attack Philadelphia and
General Putnam was sent to defend it. Congress took fright and moved to
Baltimore. The British held New York and Washington knew the people
would lose heart if Philadelphia should also be taken.

General Lee's forces at last arrived, though the General himself,
because of his carelessness and laziness, had been captured on the way.
With this reënforcement and with forces commanded by Generals Gates and
Sullivan, which had joined him, Washington intended to surprise the
garrison in Trenton. He divided his army into three detachments and
planned to cross the Delaware on Christmas night, because he knew the
German soldiers would be drinking and frolicking on that holiday.
Washington himself led about twenty-four hundred men, with artillery, to
a crossing at a point nine miles up the river. The night was dark and
stormy. It was hailing and snowing and bitter cold. The river was filled
with drifting cakes of ice, which imperiled the boats. The crossing was
extremely dangerous and it took more than ten hours to get the troops
and their guns on the other side. When he arrived, Washington found the
other two detachments had not started, so his forces alone surprised the
Hessians completely, captured Trenton and took a thousand prisoners!

Messengers were dispatched to call the army from the Hudson and to
gather the New Jersey militia. When these forces were assembled,
Washington again crossed the icy river into Pennsylvania, but returned
and occupied Trenton a few days later. Lord Cornwallis, who had come
down in a hurry from Princeton, planned to "bag the fox in the morning."
But he found the "fox" had been too sly for him, for Washington, leaving
his camp fires burning, had quietly led his army off at dead of night,
by a rough and roundabout way, to Princeton. At sunrise (Jan. 3, 1777),
he surprised and put to flight the regiment of British which had started
out from Princeton to help Cornwallis at Trenton.

Meanwhile, Cornwallis awoke to find his "fox" gone and he set out for
Princeton, arriving just as the patriots had completed the destruction
of the bridge leading to the town. Washington pushed on, destroying the
bridges as he went. His men were nearly exhausted when at last they
reached camp at Morristown, where Washington established headquarters,
so he could guard the road between New York and Philadelphia, and keep
Cornwallis shut up in New Brunswick and Amboy (New Jersey).

Congress thanked Washington, and great soldiers all over the world
praised him for the wonderful way in which he had led his soldiers out
of the enemy's pitfalls and turned defeat to victory. Many colonists,
who had seen no hope of success, now believed that Washington's
generalship would triumph. Congress gave him full military authority and
he issued a proclamation, ordering all who were loyal to the King to go
to the British camp and all others to take the oath of allegiance to the
United States.



[Illustration: Marquis de La Fayette]

The fame of the American cause reached Europe and many foreign officers
came over, asking to be allowed to give their help. Among them was
Thaddeus Kosciusko, a military engineer from Warsaw (Poland). Washington
asked him, "Why do you come?" "To fight for American Independence," he
said. "What can you do?" asked General Washington. "Try me!" was the
brief reply. Washington "tried him," and he proved a valuable help
throughout the Revolution. Another who volunteered his services was
Washington's devoted friend, the young French nobleman, the Marquis de
Lafayette. Though scarcely twenty years of age, Lafayette loved human
liberty more than home and friends and the easy life of the French
court, and at his own expense, he fitted out a ship, loaded with
military stores, and sought to aid the Americans in their struggle.
Washington loved him for his fine spirit, charming manner and soldierly
bearing. He became a member of the Commander's family and his name is
honored by every American.

The year 1777 was a very hard and trying one. Washington's forces were
too weak to fight regular battles with the British. He used every device
to make General Howe think he had a strong army, and at the same time,
tried to convince Congress that he could not act for want of men and
supplies. The British kept him guessing about what they would do next.
Would they attack Philadelphia or the fort on Lake Champlain? He did not
dare to withdraw troops from either place to strengthen the other.

General John Burgoyne, one of Howe's lieutenant-generals, arrived from
England in the summer of 1777. He landed at Quebec and marched with
eight thousand men, British, Germans and Indians, to Fort Ticonderoga.
The garrison of thirty-five hundred men surrendered. Valuable stores
were taken and the presence of this new army discouraged the Americans.
But Washington only said, "We should never despair. If new difficulties
arise, we must only put forth new exertions." He could not leave his own
position, but he showed the greatest wisdom in arranging and locating
the forces in the North. He sent his valued Virginia riflemen, under
Colonel Daniel Morgan, to help fight Burgoyne's Indians.

For months, Washington had watched the British fleet in New York harbor
and now it put to sea with eighteen thousand men on board. Would it go
to Boston or to Philadelphia? Washington led his army toward
Philadelphia, believing this would be the British point of attack, and
soon after, the fleet appeared while Washington was camped at
Germantown, near Philadelphia. The fleet sailed away, however, without
making an attack and the summer passed in marching troops here and
there--calling them out and sending them home again. Washington had a
busy time watching Burgoyne on the Hudson and the lakes, watching Howe,
who was occupying New York and New Jersey, and guarding the coast.

The fleet finally disappeared and, after a council of war, the American
officers decided to leave Philadelphia and all march north together to
attack the British forces in New York. This was such an important move
that a letter was sent to Congress asking permission. The messenger who
carried the letter was Alexander Hamilton, a mere youth, though he was
captain of artillery. He was very small but so brave that they called
him "the little lion" and Washington addressed him affectionately as "my
boy." Congress approved of the plan to attack New York and the army was
about to march, when it was reported that the British fleet was sailing
up the Chesapeake Bay. Washington's army halted near Philadelphia. The
Commander-in-Chief knew that there were people in Philadelphia who did
not favor the cause of American freedom, thinking it foolish for the
poorly equipped Continental troops to fight the British. To encourage
the people of Philadelphia, Washington decided to parade the army
through the city. He rode at the head with his staff. The men were
poorly clad and had no uniforms, but their guns were bright and they
carried them well. They made a brave showing and after the parade,
marched into camp on the Brandywine Creek.

[Illustration: Washington and Alexander Hamilton]

The British landed at Elkton, Maryland--about fifty miles from
Philadelphia. Washington sent troops of light horse to ride about the
country and annoy them in every way possible. One young commander, Henry
Lee, of Virginia, was so daring that they called him "Light Horse
Harry." He was another of the brave young officers whom Washington
loved to have about him and who helped him overcome the difficulties
that beset him at every turn. Washington spent most of his time in the
saddle, watching the march of the British. His troops were unequal to
the enemy in every way, and though the war had lasted more than two
years, he had never dared to risk a real battle. The time had come when
he must make a stand in the open or acknowledge to the world the
weakness of his army. He had about eleven thousand men, while the
British numbered about eighteen thousand. He appealed to his soldiers to
do their best and make a firm stand in defense of their national capital
(Philadelphia). The battle of the Brandywine was fought on September 11,
1777, and the Americans were badly defeated. Following this, Congress
moved to Lancaster (Pa.) and the British, under Cornwallis, took
possession of Philadelphia, which they entered dressed in their bright
scarlet uniforms, the bands playing "God Save the King." What a contrast
to the ragged Continentals who had marched there a few weeks before!

Washington did not despair. His courage and determination grew stronger
in the face of defeat and he firmly believed his fortunes would take a
turn. After resting his troops, he made a surprise attack on General
Howe at Germantown. He was in a fair way to success, when a heavy fog
came on. The Americans could not tell their own soldiers apart from the
enemy and a panic took place. But Washington, who was in the hottest of
the fight, was not discouraged even at this disaster. He had proved to
the world that his troops were not afraid of the British army, and his
men, in spite of their losses, were encouraged by this encounter with
trained European soldiers. The English had looked down on the American
patriots, but they were now beginning to find them worthy foes.

During this time, the army in the North had been busy. General Burgoyne
had sent a force to Bennington, Vermont, to seize cattle and supplies,
but General John Stark, at the head of the New England militia,
completely routed them. He captured a quantity of guns and ammunition
and hundreds of prisoners. At the same time, west of the Hudson, another
body of British was defeated and their tents and stores taken by the

This was joyful news to Washington, and these victories served to keep
up the spirits of the patriots and also to disgust the Indians with
their British commanders. The militia, too, gained confidence,
overcoming their fears and finding they were a match for the British and
the Germans. Recruits flocked to the American camp in the North and
Burgoyne was soon surrounded. In the great battle near Saratoga (N. Y.),
he was completely defeated and surrendered to General Horatio Gates on
October 17, 1777.

This splendid victory gave the Americans large quantities of military
stores, but most of all, it gave them confidence, for they had at last
beaten the British forces. The experience of actual warfare and the
example of the trained soldiers had taught them how to fight. One of
Burgoyne's officers said that when the Continental troops were drawn up
to receive the surrender, they stood like soldiers, though dressed as
if they had come from the farm or the shop. He was surprised to see how
straight and strong and fine they were! General Gates ordered his men
not to cheer or show any desire to humiliate their beaten foes, and this
courtesy tendered him by General Gates was reported to Parliament by
General Burgoyne when he returned to England. He was especially touched
by it because he had needlessly burned some of the beautiful homes of
the very officers who were so gracious to him. This courtesy was very
fine in Gates, but he failed in his duty to his Commander-in-Chief, and
in many ways was unreliable. He did not report the victory to
Washington, as was his duty, and paid no attention to his commands. He
did not send the troops to Philadelphia, as he was ordered, and he did
not even return the company of Virginia riflemen until it was too late.

General Gates and his friends were doing all in their power to destroy
the good name and the authority of Washington. They kept back troops
Washington needed and then criticized him for not fighting a decisive
battle. But Washington endured their fault-finding in silence, for he
knew that an open battle with such a powerful foe meant certain defeat,
and patriotism so filled his heart that it left no room for selfish
ambition. He was not seeking personal glory, but independence for
America. If General Howe had attacked him, he would have fought bravely,
but he and his fellow officers knew it was unwise to attack the British.
In many skirmishes, however, his troops showed courage and
steadfastness, and proved they were making progress in the arts of

A few months before this, Congress had made some changes in the
quartermaster (the officer who attends to supplies) and in the
commissary (food) departments, although Washington had opposed the
changes. The result was a bad mix-up in getting supplies to the army,
and food and clothing spoiled and went to waste for want of wagons to
carry them to the camp.

Winter set in, and the troops were poorly clad and worn out from
hardships. There were not enough blankets to go around, and many of the
men were obliged to sit by the camp fires all night and thus got very
little rest. Washington decided to go into winter quarters in the
village of Valley Forge, about twenty miles from Philadelphia. From
here, he could watch General Howe's movements and be ready, if
necessary, to defend Congress, which now met at York. On the march to
Valley Forge, many of the soldiers were barefooted and they left a trail
of blood on the frozen ground. To add to their suffering, someone
blundered, and they were several days without food. Washington was
blamed for going into winter quarters and not driving the enemy out of
Philadelphia. He wrote to Congress, giving a full account of how he had
been annoyed and hindered by those who should have helped him. He told
them that nearly three thousand of his men were unfit for duty because
they were almost naked, and two thousand more were sick for want of food
and shelter.

During this cruel winter of 1777-1778, many men froze and starved to
death in camp and hundreds of horses were lost. Washington, who was
always careful about other people's property, was sometimes obliged to
let his men seize food from the farmers. Congress did not stand by him.
Some of the members were jealous of his power and his influence. General
Gates was the popular hero after the victory of Saratoga, and a plot
hatched by officers and members of Congress almost succeeded in putting
him in Washington's place. Though Washington's plan had made the defeat
of General Burgoyne possible, Gates claimed all the credit. Washington
bore all this fault-finding and unfairness with patient courage. He kept
his temper and devoted himself to his suffering men, whose endurance
touched his heart. Fortunately for America, the conspiracy against
Washington failed and the only result was to make his name and fame
brighter and more widespread.

While the Americans in camp at Valley Forge were so miserable, the
British, twenty miles away, were spending a gay winter in the homes of
the people of Philadelphia. Why they did not attack and destroy the
wretched patriot army was a mystery. After awhile, provisions and other
necessities were secured and the camp became more cheerful. Mrs.
Washington and the wives of some of the other officers came to join
their husbands.

Baron Frederick von Steuben, a German officer, who had served in several
wars and received great honors, was sent to America by friends in Paris.
He offered to fight for the colonists without rank or pay. Congress
sent him to Washington, who realized that his experience would be
valuable, and who asked him to drill and discipline the troops. Steuben
was a wonderful soldier and after a few weeks under his direction, the
army learned something of real military tactics, and how to work
together like a great machine. He not only drilled them, but looked
after their comforts and won their love by his kindness.

[Illustration: Benjamin Franklin was at the French Court]

Not all the work for freedom was done on the battle-fields and in the
camps. While Washington and his soldiers were skirmishing with the
British and while they were encamped at Valley Forge, Benjamin Franklin,
one of the foremost thinkers and statesmen of the time, was in Europe
making friends for the American cause and asking help for the struggling
colonists. The King of France made a treaty of alliance with him, which
Congress signed May 4th, 1778. Three days later, it was celebrated in
camp with thanksgiving and parades, and the news that France was to help
the American cause thrilled every patriot's heart with joy.


     OF BENEDICT ARNOLD--1778-1780

[Illustration: Molly Pitcher]

General Howe had spent a pleasant winter and spring holding
Philadelphia, but he had done nothing in the way of military service. He
was now ordered home and Sir Henry Clinton took his place and was told
to leave the city. While Washington was in doubt as to what move
Clinton would make, messengers came from England with offers of peace
for the colonies. They offered a large bribe to General Joseph Reed, a
member of Congress. His scornful answer was, "I am not worth purchasing,
but such as I am, the King of Great Britain is not rich enough to do
it!" This was the spirit that won freedom for America.

In June (1778), General Clinton withdrew his army from Philadelphia and
Washington marched his troops out of Valley Forge and followed him. Near
Monmouth, New Jersey, Washington decided to make an attack. He sent
General Charles Lee (who, by this time, had been released by the
British) with six thousand men to start the battle, while he brought up
the main division. General Lee, who never would take orders from
Washington, commanded his men to retreat. Immediately Washington heard
of this disobedience, he galloped forward, sternly ordered Lee to the
rear, and with hot words rallied the men, stopped the retreat and saved
the day. His presence and the courage he displayed ended the disorder
and put new life into the men. An officer, who saw him at the time, said
his anger was splendid and he "swore like an angel from heaven."

Washington spent the night upon the field, his head pillowed on the
roots of a tree. At daybreak he arose to renew the attack, but the enemy
had learned one of his own tricks and, as Washington himself put it,
"had stolen off in the night as silent as the grave." It was at this
battle of Monmouth that Molly Pitcher became a heroine. She had been
carrying water to the men in action. At one gun, six men had been
killed, the last one her husband. As he fell, she seized the ramrod from
his hand and took his place. Washington was proud of her courage and
gave her the rank and pay of her husband.

The love and respect in which the army held Washington were increased by
his magnificent daring and splendid generalship in this battle. Congress
thanked him "for his great good conduct." General Charles Lee, who had
always been disrespectful to Washington and who had tried his best to
harm him, was court-martialed for insubordination (disobedience) and
deprived of his command. (Charles Lee was not connected with the Lees of
Virginia.) General Lee was really a brilliant soldier, but he was ruined
by his own jealous disposition. Washington treated him and all other
enemies with the kindness of a great mind and a true heart.

After the Battle of Monmouth, Clinton took up his quarters in New York
and Washington remained in New Jersey. Soon he received word that the
French King had sent a fleet of eighteen ships and four thousand
soldiers to help the colonists. The Americans were very glad of this,
thinking that the British fleet would now be destroyed; but the attack
of the French (August, 1778) was unsuccessful and they sailed away
without having done much good.

We have spoken several times of the Tories who sided with the British.
When the war broke out, the patriot settlers in the Wyoming Valley,
Pennsylvania, decided they would join in the defense of the country and
they drove all the Tories out of the Valley. Just after the Battle of
Monmouth (June 28, 1778), while all the fighting men were away, these
Tories got together seven hundred Indians and attacked the women and
children. Before Washington could send aid, the whole Valley was laid
waste. All the homes were burned. Hundreds were killed by the Indians
and many more died trying to reach places of safety. This was followed
by night attacks in different places, when sentinels were surprised and
murdered by Indians and Tories. Indeed, all through the war, the most
cruel enemies the patriots had were their Tory neighbors.

To guard against such attacks, and to be ready to meet the British at
any point, Washington distributed his troops in a long line of camps and
got ready to defend the country from Boston to Philadelphia. The Hudson
River was guarded by a fortress at West Point. In order to call the
militia out, he arranged a system of signals. On a high hill overlooking
the British camp, sentries kept constant watch. If the enemy moved,
warning was to be given by firing a big gun. When the gun boomed, fires
were to be lighted on the hills within hearing. As soon as these were
seen from more distant hills, other fires were to be lighted, until
every hilltop blazed and all the countryside was roused and men warned
to hurry to their rallying places.

Though General Clinton had a great army, he did not offer battle. He
carried on an annoying form of warfare by sending out small bodies of
men to distant places, to attack and destroy. In this way he plundered
and burned villages on the shores of the Chesapeake and in New England
and captured valuable stores.

[Illustration: "Mad Anthony" Wayne]

While these things were happening, Washington planned to recapture the
fort at Stony Point on the Hudson, which had been taken by Sir Henry
Clinton, May 31, 1779. His plan was entrusted to General Wayne, called
"Mad Anthony" Wayne because of his dashing bravery. Wayne took a small
body of light-armed, fearless men, marched through the mountains and at
midnight on July 16, stormed the fort and captured it. This feat was so
well done that it is considered one of the great events of the war.
Congress thanked Washington for the victory and gave Wayne a medal for
his courage and success.

The swift and daring young scout, "Light Horse Harry" Lee, was with this
expedition. After it was over, he asked permission to lead an attack on
the garrison of Paulus Hook (now Jersey City), right under the guns of
New York. Washington, who always admired courageous deeds, allowed him
to make the attempt. Lee surprised the fort at night, captured a number
of prisoners and made a successful retreat while the guns from the
battleships were sounding the alarm. These two daring attacks increased
the confidence and spirit of the Americans and gave the British more
respect for them. Still, it was tiresome for the troops to remain month
after month in camp, wondering what the enemy would do next.

Washington had more serious troubles. Congress was slow and often unwise
in its acts. The people grew tired of the war, because business was
suffering and the farms were neglected, and nothing seemed to be gained
by it. Officers resigned from the army and men deserted. Washington was
laughed at by the Tories and criticized by his friends. But he was
patient and said, "We must not despair! The game is yet in our hands; to
play it well is all we have to do."

Washington's greatness is shown not only by his skill in action, but by
the patience with which he could wait. He simply would not be
discouraged. Under such trials, he became "the best among the great."

The winter came and Washington took part of his army into a camp of log
huts at Morristown, New Jersey. The sad story of Valley Forge was
repeated here and the winter (1779-1780) was the coldest ever known in
the colonies.

When the war broke out, there was, of course, no American money.
Congress had put out some paper money called "Continental Currency," but
it was worth so little that it took a great deal of it to buy anything.
Washington was obliged to ask the states to give the army grain and
cattle. New Jersey, where a part of the army was stationed, was very
generous and the women knitted socks and made clothes for the soldiers.

The British went on surprising and killing small garrisons and
plundering the country. In December, 1779, General Clinton sailed, with
General Cornwallis and a strong army, to attack Charleston, South
Carolina. They landed at Savannah, Georgia, and marched overland.
Washington dared not go to the help of the Southern troops and leave the
Hudson unguarded against the British army from Canada, which might
descend upon it. General Benjamin Lincoln and Commander Whipple were,
therefore, left alone to defend Charleston, which they did bravely,
though it was bombarded on all sides by the British. They held out until
their guns were destroyed and their provisions gone. The people were
frightened into submission and on May 12, 1780, the city of Charleston
surrendered, and Lincoln and his army became prisoners of war.
Considering South Carolina conquered, General Clinton went back to New
York, leaving Lord Cornwallis in command, with orders to subdue North
Carolina and Virginia.

After their success in the South, the British made an attempt to capture
Washington's headquarters at Morristown. The patriots of New Jersey
rallied to the help of the army and drove off the British, who withdrew,
burning houses and killing people as they went. Soon after this, the
Americans were encouraged by the arrival (July 10, 1780) of a large
French force under Count de Rochambeau (ro-sham-bo), who came to help

Early in the year (January, 1780), Washington had had the unpleasant
duty laid upon him by Congress of rebuking General Benedict Arnold, who,
though he was very brave and fought gallantly, had been guilty of
several unwise acts. Washington greatly admired General Arnold and made
his reproof so gentle that it was almost a compliment. But being called
to account at all was more than Arnold could bear. He felt hurt, too,
that Congress had promoted others and had only blame for him. This so
enraged him that he proved false to the trust Washington had placed in
him and false to his country.

After his rebuke, feeling that he had been treated unfairly, Arnold
began writing letters to Major John André, a popular young British
officer, in which he offered to betray the fortress of the Hudson. At
Arnold's own request, Washington gave him command of West Point and an
important part in a plan to attack the British with the help of the
French. Washington had gone to consult with the French commander in
Newport (R. I.), when Major André and General Arnold met. At dead of
night, September 21, 1780, they went to a house in the forest to make
arrangements for the betrayal of West Point. With letters and plans of
the fort hidden in his boots, Major André rode back alone to New York.
He was caught and searched by three young farmers, who were guarding
their cattle against the outlaws who overran the neighborhood. They
found the letters and knew he was a spy. André begged them to release
him and made them all kinds of offers if they would, but they marched
him off ten miles to the nearest fort.

[Illustration: A Messenger came to Benedict Arnold]

General Washington came back from Newport two days earlier than he was
expected. Lafayette, Count Rochambeau and Hamilton rode with him and
they planned to go at once to West Point. Arnold was living with his
family in a house several miles from the fort and Washington sent word
they would have breakfast with him. This was the very day for the fort
to be given up and the sudden return of Washington frightened Arnold.
Just before his guests arrived, a messenger brought word of André's
capture. Hastily bidding his wife good-by, he flung himself on his horse
and galloped away. After breakfast, Washington went on with Rochambeau
to the fort. No salute welcomed them. General Arnold was not there and
apparently they were not expected. While wondering at his absence,
Washington had no thought of treachery. Then Hamilton brought him the
dreadful news. "Whom can we trust now?" was all he said. Hamilton rode
hard after Arnold, but he escaped to the British ship which was lying in
the river.

Major André endeared himself to everybody by his charming manners,
intelligence and bravery. The young officers loved him and the British
made every effort to save him, but honorably refused to give up General
Arnold in exchange for him. Washington treated André with the greatest
kindness, but justice to America required that this fine young officer
should die and he suffered the shameful death of a spy (October 2,
1780). His body was later sent to England and he was buried in
Westminster Abbey. General Arnold was made an officer in the British
army, but nobody trusted him, and the men hated his command. Twenty
years afterward (1801), he died, poor and broken-hearted, in a foreign
land. It is said that, on his death-bed, he called for his old American
uniform and asked to be allowed to die in it. "God forgive me," he
cried, "for ever putting on another!"

Count Rochambeau had told a pretty story about his journey from Newport
with General Washington. One evening, as they passed through a large
town, the people came out to greet their General. Throngs of children
carrying torches crowded about him, touching his hands and calling him
"Father." He was very kind and gentle to all these people, but the
patriotism of the children pleased him most. He said Great Britain
could never conquer a country whose children were taught to be loyal.

Another French officer said of Washington's horses, "They are as good as
they are beautiful, and all perfectly trained. He trains them all
himself. He leaps the highest barriers and rides very fast." At one
time, early in the war, when the Virginia riflemen first came north,
some Marblehead (Mass.) fishermen laughed at their fringed hunting
shirts and a fight followed. Washington heard of it, jumped on his horse
and galloped into camp. His colored servant was going to let down some
bars for him, but he leaped over them and dashed into the midst of the
fight. He seized the two biggest riflemen and shook them, commanding

Washington, as usual, was prevented, through lack of men and supplies,
from giving the British a blow. Months passed without much being done,
except dashing skirmishes now and then. The two camps watched each
other, wondering what the other would do.





Though Washington did not have any encounters with the British for a
long time, the Americans were engaged in bitter fighting in the South.
Lord Cornwallis angered the people of South Carolina by hanging a number
of prisoners at Charleston and by the cruel raids of General Tarleton
and his dragoons, who rode about the country, slaying innocent people.
General Thomas Sumter, who was nicknamed the "Game Cock," gathered
together a few men. Those who had no guns sharpened their saws into
swords and fastened hunting knives on long poles and thus armed, these
soldiers gave the British a great deal of trouble.

Meanwhile, General Lincoln was still held a prisoner of war and the
people were very glad when they heard that General Gates, the hero of
Saratoga, had been sent to take command of the Southern forces of the
American army. Gates was very headstrong, however, and thought he knew
more than any one could tell him and would take no advice from officers
on the ground. He did the worst thing he could do--he rushed at once
into an open battle with Lord Cornwallis (August 16, 1780) and met with
a terrible defeat at Camden, South Carolina.

Cornwallis now marched into North Carolina to subdue that State. Her
Scotch-Irish people, always brave, had declared themselves independent
of Great Britain a whole year before Congress had dared to do so.
Cornwallis found himself in a "hornets' nest." Sharp-shooters and bold
riders cut off his messengers and foraging parties. In the western part,
the mountain people gathered, who were used to Indian fighting. They
were joined by rugged men from all parts of the South. Each man was
dressed in homespun, with a deer's tail or bit of green stuck in his
hat. Each carried a long rifle, hunting knife, knapsack and blanket. At
King's Mountain (on the border line between North and South Carolina),
this little army overtook and destroyed a British and Tory force under
General Ferguson. Soon after, Lord Cornwallis retreated to South
Carolina again.

The victory at King's Mountain aroused all the patriotism of the
mountain folk. Francis Marion, one of the bravest soldiers of the South,
took the field with a brigade of friends and neighbors. Armed with
knives and rude swords, he, like Sumter, would surprise and capture
British posts and then gallop back to the woods, while the enemy would
be at a loss to know where he came from. The British called him the
"Swamp Fox."

About this time, Colonel William Washington, a kinsman of the General,
with a few horsemen, surprised a body of Tories who had made their
headquarters in a log barn. He put the trunk of a tree on two wagon
wheels, painted it to look like a cannon, and pointed it at the barn.
Then he sent a messenger with a white flag of truce to tell them to
surrender or be blown to pieces. Their leader and one hundred and twelve
men surrendered! They felt very foolish when they saw the cannon and
were laughed at all over the State.

General Gates, broken-hearted over his defeat at Camden, was trying to
gather up his scattered army. To add to his sorrow, he received word
that his only son was dead, and soon after, he was notified that
Congress had given his command to General Greene and ordered an
investigation of his defeat. These troubles were almost more than he
could bear, but his feelings were soothed by a letter from General
Washington, full of tender sympathy and expressions of confidence. The
letter so comforted him that he was found in his room kissing the words.
General Greene was also very considerate, and the proud heart of Gates,
who had wronged both these men, was melted, by their kindness, into
lasting love for them.

General Greene found the army small and discouraged, but he soon
inspired the men with renewed hope. He had with him the famous Virginia
Rifles under General Daniel Morgan, who had served bravely at Quebec and
Saratoga. This division was attacked at Cowpens (S. C.) January 17,
1781, by Tarleton and his large force, but Morgan was so daring and
skillful that he routed the British, who lost 800 of their 1100 men.

Cornwallis tried to attack General Greene, who knew his army was too
small to risk a battle; so he led Cornwallis a long chase through
forests and mountains, while his light horse troops under Harry Lee
annoyed the British like wasps that sting and fly away to return and
sting again! Greene was at last overtaken and defeated, but the effect
of the battle so crippled the British that there was nothing for them to
do but retreat to the nearest sea-coast town, where they might get aid
from their fleet. General Greene marched hard after them, turning his
defeat into a victory, and so hampering Cornwallis that he lost hope.

Cornwallis now turned northward into Virginia and Greene gave up the
chase and marched into South Carolina. He, with Lee, Marion, Sumter,
Wade Hampton and other daring officers, fought battle after battle until
they had regained from the British most of Georgia and the Carolinas
(September, 1781).

In Virginia, Lafayette and "Mad Anthony" Wayne kept annoying Cornwallis
as he marched to Portsmouth on the James River.

Meanwhile Washington, while giving advice and directing the campaigns in
the South, where he had sent some of his most brilliant generals, was
watching General Clinton. Ever since the Battle of Monmouth (N. J.), he
had remained in the neighborhood of New York. Though he was needed with
his army in the South, he dared not leave the Hudson unguarded. At last,
however, he planned to help the South by causing the British to recall
some of their troops. He had the French forces come and encamp near his
army, and appear to be making arrangements for laying siege to New York.
Even the soldiers thought they were going to try to take the city.
General Clinton fell into the trap and wrote to Cornwallis for all the
regiments he could spare. Troops were hurried aboard ship and set sail
for New York.

Clinton found out, too late, how completely he had been deceived, for
Washington and Rochambeau slipped out of their camps and marched their
armies across New Jersey! He took his revenge by sending Benedict
Arnold, who was now a British officer, to his native State, Connecticut,
to plunder and lay waste the country and murder the garrisons. This
brutality was Arnold's last act in America, and shortly after, he went
to England.

When the French and Continental armies reached Philadelphia, they were
received with rejoicing. Washington was entertained in the home of
Robert Morris, a patriot banker, without whose help, in raising money,
Washington could not have saved the country and who more than once had
come to the aid of the army. At this time, he loaned the government
$20,000 in gold, and at about the same time, France sent the colonists
more than a million dollars in coin.

The Continental army paraded through Philadelphia (August 30, 1781),
dusty and ragged, but keeping step to the fife and drum. The next day,
the French troops marched through, jaunty in white and green uniforms,
with bands playing. Lafayette, who was in Virginia, sent word to
Washington that the British troops had landed at Yorktown (instead of
going to New York), and that Cornwallis was strongly fortified there.
The British battleships lay in the river before the town. Cornwallis
thought his only enemy was Lafayette, of whom he had little fear.
Lafayette carefully arranged his troops to cut off any retreat from
Yorktown, and waited for Washington. A powerful French fleet arrived
from France and bottled up Cornwallis in the York River. The American
and French armies marched on from Philadelphia, Washington taking time
on the way to visit Mount Vernon, which he had not seen for six years.

[Illustration: Washington spent the first night under a mulberry tree]

Cornwallis felt very safe and snug in Yorktown (Va.) till he saw the
French ships, and then he decided to retreat. But every way was
blocked. The allied armies (American and French) entrenched themselves
close about the town. Washington spent the first night among his men
sleeping under a mulberry tree. On the night of October 6th (1781), the
siege of Yorktown began, Washington himself putting the match to the
first gun. A week later, two strong British redoubts (forts) were
stormed and taken, one by an American company under Colonel Hamilton and
the other by the French. The British kept up a constant bombardment of
the American lines, and Washington was often in the greatest peril. On
one occasion, an officer spoke of his danger and Washington said, "If
you think so, you are at liberty to step back." He was never afraid and
what the Indian had said of him years ago seemed indeed true.--"A mighty
Power protected him and he could not die in battle!"

The Americans pounded the British fortifications to pieces. Cornwallis
looked in vain for help from New York. He was surrounded on all sides
and all hope of escape was gone. On the 19th of October, 1781, in order
not to sacrifice the lives of any more of his brave men, Lord Cornwallis
surrendered to General Washington. The whole country went wild with joy
over this great victory, and the Americans did not forget that the
French, with their men, money and ships, made it possible for them to
win. The troops held services of thanksgiving in camp, and Congress
named a day when all the people should thank God. When Cornwallis
surrendered, Washington treated the British with great kindness and

The English were now having so much trouble in Europe that it was
difficult for them to carry on the war in America; but they were not
willing to make peace on terms that America would accept. Washington
thought that the only way to secure a glorious and lasting peace was to
be prepared to carry on the war. If the British should see the colonists
weak and unprepared, they would either conquer them or offer them an
inglorious peace. He, therefore, fortified his forces at Newburgh on the
Hudson, where they were joined by the French.

The entire year 1782 was spent in camp. The men soon became
discontented. Congress and the States were slow, as usual, in furnishing
supplies. But Washington's patience and fair dealing kept the men loyal
to him and the country.

The first articles of peace were signed in France, November 30, 1782,
but it was not until September 3, 1783, that the final treaty of peace
with England was signed at Paris.

On April 19th (1783), just eight years after the Battle of Lexington,
Washington proclaimed to his troops that the war was over; but the
British did not leave New York until November, and then Washington and
the Governor marched in.

[Illustration: Mrs. Betsy Ross]

On December 4, at Fraunce's Tavern, New York City, he said good-by to
the officers and men who had served and suffered so long with him; there
were tears in his eyes and theirs, as he shook their hands and bade them
farewell. A ship carried him to Annapolis, Maryland, where he
surrendered his commission to Congress. He said, "I close this last act
of my official life by commending the interests of our dearest country
to the protection of Almighty God and those who have the superintendence
of them to His holy keeping." He sheathed his sword after years of
faithful and honorable service. Through good and evil fortunes, he had
always held firmly to ideals of truth, courage and patriotism, and he
retired from public life admired and loved by his countrymen. He arrived
at Mount Vernon on Christmas eve (1783).

The United States now had a place among the nations of the world. She
had a flag of her own, the beautiful Stars and Stripes, created in the
dark days of the war. For a hundred and fifty years, the colonies had
used the flag of Great Britain. When the Revolution broke out, each
State and regiment had its own flag; but in 1777, Congress appointed
Washington, Robert Morris and Colonel Ross a committee to devise a flag.
They were in Philadelphia at the time, and it was in the house of Betsy
Ross (which still stands) that the first American flag was made,
consisting of thirteen red and white stripes, with a circle of thirteen
white stars on a blue field, "representing a new constellation." (A
group of fixed stars.) This flag was accepted by Congress on June 14,
the day that is now celebrated in the United States as Flag Day.



[Illustration: The Dome of the Capitol at Washington]

There are many things to be remembered about the Revolution. Its objects
were to gain liberty, equality and a fair chance for everybody. It was
won by the patience and courage of patriots, ill-fed, ill-clad and
ill-paid. Its armies were too weak for the glory of many great battles.
Years afterward, Lafayette said to Napoleon, "It was the grandest of
causes, won by the skirmishes of sentinels and outposts."

Washington laid aside his sword and spent five happy years at Mount
Vernon. He was a brave soldier, but he loved best the quiet life of the
farm. He once said, "How pitiful is the ambition which desolates the
world with fire and sword for the purpose of conquest and fame, compared
to making our neighbors and fellowmen happy!"

His home was filled with guests whom he loved to entertain and who were
always sure of a courteous and dignified welcome. The two little
children of Mrs. Washington's son (who had died of fever during the
war), Nelly and George, made the place merry and the General joined in
their play and enjoyed the change from camp to home life. Those who were
with him constantly say that he never spoke of himself and never
referred to any of his battles. He had done his work and done it well.
Now he left it behind him and looked forward to the joy of his home. At
the close of the war, some of his friends had wanted to make him king,
but he would not hear of it. He had fought to make America a free land,
and not for his own glory.

[Illustration: Washington spent five happy years at Mount Vernon]

The thirteen States were loosely bound together in a Confederation. As
time went on, the rights of different States came into conflict.
Washington, from his fireside, watched the interests of his country. He
believed with other great Americans that only a strong central
government could keep harmony among the States. In 1787, a convention
was called in Philadelphia to talk the matter over. Each State sent its
most brilliant and thoughtful men, among them, of course, being
Washington. After four months of careful consideration and labor, they
offered to the American people the glorious Constitution, upon which has
been built up the great Republic of the United States. Washington said
they had God's help in "laying the foundation for tranquillity and
happiness." The people accepted the Constitution and turned to
Washington for their first President. No one else was thought of, and he
was unanimously elected. New York was chosen for the capital.

Before he left Virginia, Washington went to say farewell to his mother,
knowing he would never see her again. She was old and feeble, but happy
to see her son so useful and so honored. She always said, "He is a good
son and has done his duty as a man."

As Washington journeyed to New York, people thronged the roadsides.
Bells rang and cannon roared. Soldiers and citizens escorted him from
city to city. At the lower end of New York Bay, he was received on a
splendid barge, which led a procession of boats gay with flags and
music. At the pier, he was met by the Governor of the State.

On April 30, 1789, Washington took the oath of office on the open
balcony of Federal Hall, in Wall Street, in the presence of a great
multitude. Then he walked to St. Paul's church and devoutly kneeling,
prayed to God for strength and guidance.

Washington had need to pray, for he was facing difficulties and problems
greater than any he had known. He was at the head of a government, such
as had never been tried before, and the eyes of the world were upon him.
The peoples of down-trodden lands looked to him for the success of
freedom. He said truly, "I walk untrodden ground," for there was no
great republic in history whose example he could follow. His heavy task
was to bring into harmony the differences of widely separate States; to
make fair laws; to create a national money; to organize the different
departments of government--in short, to make one nation out of thirteen.

Washington never flinched from responsibility. He took up his new work
with methodical patience, and was most fortunate in having the help of
great men. The States sent their best men to Congress. John Adams was
Vice-President. The first Secretary of State was Thomas Jefferson, who
had written the Declaration of Independence. General Knox was made
Secretary of War. The still youthful Alexander Hamilton was appointed
Secretary of the Treasury; the country owes much to him for its success
and prosperity, for he was the one who made the financial plans, without
which the government could not exist.

[Illustration: Federal Hall]

Washington's family joined him in New York, where they lived. The city
streets were dirty and dark at this time and only one was paved. Negro
slaves carried all the water for the household from the river, in tubs
balanced on their heads, while drinking water was sold from wagons, as
there was only one pump in the city. The President traveled about in a
cream-colored coach with pictures painted on the doors and panels. It
was drawn by cream-colored horses with white manes and tails. Sometimes
on Saturday afternoons, this coach, which was well known to all the
people, was sent to bring playmates to drive with Nelly and George.

Washington drove to the first meeting of Congress in a coach drawn by
six horses, with a coachman and footman in scarlet and white liveries,
and with an escort mounted on prancing white steeds. Such style really
was not uncommon in those days and the six horses were not so much for
show as they were needed to draw the heavy carriage over the bad roads.
The fear that our country might become a monarchy had not entirely
disappeared, so Washington lived as simply as he could and avoided
everything that suggested the pomp of a king.

The President and Mrs. Washington often went on foot to call on their
friends, and that the people might meet them freely, they held public
receptions on Friday evenings from eight to ten. While always reserved
and dignified, Washington was gracious and attentive to his guests. His
wife was the same sweet hostess as at Mount Vernon. At dinner, if no
chaplain was present, Washington asked the blessing himself. Sunday was
always strictly observed in the Washington household. In the morning,
the President went to church, and the rest of the day he spent quietly
with his family. In the autumn after his election, he wrote the first
Proclamation setting aside a Thursday in November for Thanksgiving. From
that time to this, in November of each year, America gives thanks to God
for her liberties.

At this time, Lafayette was fighting for the cause of liberty in France.
When the terrible Bastille prison in Paris was torn down at his command,
he sent its huge key to Washington, because he believed the same love of
liberty, for which Washington had fought, had also destroyed this state
dungeon of tyranny, where many good people had suffered unjustly.

One of the problems Washington had to meet was the warlike attitude of
the Indians, with whom there was some border fighting. He always treated
them fairly and often entertained them. When they came, he impressed
them by a great show of elegance and style. Once a great chief and
twenty-eight warriors from Alabama came to make a treaty. The President
gave them a splendid dinner at his house. Then he showed them a full
length, oil portrait of himself. They looked at it, touched it and
looked behind it. Finding it flat, they grunted in disgust and not one
of them would allow his picture to be made! Dressed in his handsomest
clothes, the President took them, in their full dress of feathers and
paint, for a walk down Broadway, which he enjoyed as much as they.

Washington liked to slip away from his cares and go fishing. He was a
good fisherman and it was said "all the fish came to his hook."

The Southern States were not pleased with the choice of New York as the
capital, as they thought it too far away; so the seat of government was
moved to Philadelphia. Washington wanted to move quietly. On a summer
morning, he and his family were all up by candle light, expecting to
steal away in their carriages, when, suddenly, a military band began to
play under their windows! The people came running from all directions.
"There, we are found out!" said the President. "Well, they must have
their way." So his party walked to the pier between rows of loving
people, and were rowed to the Jersey shore, while cannon boomed and the
multitude shouted. Six horses were needed to drag their coach over the
poor roads and the occupants of the coach were in danger of being upset.

The house of Robert Morris, in Philadelphia, was taken for Washington,
who paid the rent himself. Pennsylvania built a President's Mansion, but
it was so big and fine that Washington refused to live in it, and so it
was used for the Pennsylvania University.

While his furniture was coming by sea from New York, Washington had time
for a short visit to Mount Vernon, but he and his family were settled in
his new home when Congress met the first Monday in December.

About this time, two political parties began to form in the United
States. The Federalists, who were led by Hamilton, wanted to make a
strong central government, which would develop the country and be
respected abroad. The Democratic-Republicans, who were led by Jefferson,
wanted the States to hold the chief power, because they were afraid a
strong central government might be turned into a monarchy. Both parties
had the good of the country at heart. Jefferson's party is the
Democratic Party of the present day and the Federalists live still in
the Republican Party.

Jefferson and Hamilton were bitterly opposed to each other's ideas and
disputed with their usual fighting quality. Washington quietly heard
each side and did his best to keep the two men at peace, for the country
needed both.

In the spring and summer of 1791, Washington made a tour of the Southern
States. It was a trip covering eighteen hundred and seventy-five miles.
The same horses made the entire journey and kept up their spirits until
they trotted back into their stalls at home! The President returned very
happy about the condition of the country and delighted with its
confidence in the new government.

The end of his term of four years drew near and Washington looked
forward to the comfort of private life. He was growing quite deaf and
had had several severe illnesses. He was tired of the load of care, and
of the strife of opposing parties. But four years were not time enough
to establish so great a government. Washington alone held the faith and
confidence of the people, and they begged him to give them four years
more. He wanted to retire, as he feared that, after another term, he
would not be able to carry out his plans for Mount Vernon; but he
finally consented.

Washington's second term was filled with great difficulties. Indians
attacked the western frontiers, and Algerian [Algeria is in northern
Africa] pirates seized American ships and imprisoned American citizens.
France and England were at war and it was difficult to keep America out
of the quarrel. These and other problems, besides disputes among public
men, kept Washington's heart weary and sore. Through it all, he said,
"There is but one straight course and that is to seek truth and pursue
it steadily." His only wish was to "lead the country to respectability,
wealth and happiness." He paid no attention to his own comfort or
desire. Though often misunderstood and ridiculed by men who did not
agree with him, he never failed to do what he thought was right. His
wisdom and justice were so great that, in all these years, the wisest
men have found little in the actions of Washington they would change.
Jefferson said of him that no motive of interest or friendship or hatred
could influence him; "he was in every sense of the word a wise, a good
and a great man."

At the close of his second term, 1797, Washington insisted upon
retiring, and he counted the days until he might lay aside the cares of
office and seek his rest. He sent his Farewell Address to Congress, and
it has been said that nothing finer has ever been written than his last
great message to his countrymen.

On the 4th of March, 1797, John Adams was inaugurated as the second
President of the United States. But the thought and love of the great
assembly at the inaugural ceremony were turned toward Washington, the
white-haired soldier who had led the country through war to prosperous
peace. The people followed him to his door, where, with tears in his
eyes, the "Father of his Country" waved farewell to them and to all
beloved citizens of the nation.

In a few days, Washington was at home again upon his farm. He spent his
time riding over his plantations, looking after his crops and horses and
cattle. Often he took out his surveying instruments and spent a day
laying out his land, or he planted trees and vines about his house and
lawns. To the country folks, he was a beloved neighbor and friend.
Visitors came frequently to his home, while Nelly and George and their
young friends kept the place lively. Under the care of her Grandmother,
Nelly had grown into a beautiful and well educated young lady. Her wit
and sweetness of temper were a great joy to Washington, who loved her
dearly. She had many suitors, but delighted Washington by choosing his
favorite nephew, Lawrence Lewis, for her husband. They were married on
Washington's birthday and the General wore his old Continental uniform
of buff and blue, though he had a new and finely embroidered one that
Nelly wanted him to put on.

The quiet life of Mount Vernon was broken before long. The new President
got into such trouble with France that the country was threatened with
war. Washington was asked to take his old position of Commander-in-Chief
of the army and he accepted. He organized an army, but, fortunately,
peace was made without bloodshed, and he was glad to go back to Mount

One winter day, while riding, Washington was caught in a heavy storm of
rain and snow. He was used to all kinds of weather and thought nothing
of the exposure, even though he was hoarse and had a severe cold the
next day. Before morning of the third day, he was very ill and when the
doctors came, they bled him. It was the stupid practice of those days
and in a few hours Washington was so weakened as to be past hope of
recovery. He died on December 14, 1799, as bravely as he had lived. His
wife praying beside him was as brave and calm as he. He had asked that
his funeral might be a simple one, and so it was. None was there but
friends and neighbors. The casket was carried out upon the veranda that
all might see his face. Troops from Alexandria, (Va.) with solemn music
led the funeral procession. Four clergymen in white followed. The
General's favorite horse, with saddle and bridle, was led by two negro
grooms. The casket, borne by Free Masons and army officers, was followed
by his family, and by friends and neighbors. While minute guns were
fired from a warship in the river below, the procession wound along the
lovely paths of Mount Vernon to the family tomb on the hillside. Here
the body was laid to rest with religious and Masonic ceremonies.

When the news reached the people that Washington was dead, the whole
country went into deepest mourning. In Europe, the sorrow was true and
sincere. The British fleets put their flags at half-mast and Napoleon
ordered crêpe put upon the banners of France. Though Washington was born
and educated in America and belongs truly to Americans, he was such a
friend to humanity, such a champion of liberty, that the whole world
claims him as a model.

His will provided that, after the death of his wife, all his slaves
should be free and he left money for those who could not earn a living.
His able management had made Mount Vernon a great estate of nine
thousand acres. Beside this, he held forty-four other tracts of land in
nine different States, and he was one of the greatest land owners in
America. Believing that the Republic would stand secure only upon a
foundation of education, courage and conscience, he left money for a
great American University. In this, he wanted the young people to be
trained in the principles of true Americanism. He wanted the
intelligence of the country to guide its politics. It is unfortunate
that, to the present day, the university has not been founded, although
there is now every likelihood that such a National University will be
established in Washington and vast sums contributed to the fund
Washington had left for this purpose.

The site of the city of Washington was selected for the Federal Capital
in 1790, and ten years later, the seat of government was moved from
Philadelphia to Washington. President Washington himself headed the body
of commissioners who chose the site and arranged for the purchase of the
land. The city was named in his honor. It is beautifully laid out with
magnificent avenues, parks, fountains and stately buildings, and is one
of the finest and most comfortable cities in the world.

In the house at Mount Vernon, there was a little attic room, hot in
summer, bitter cold in winter. But its one window was the only one that
looked upon the tomb on the hillside, and so Mrs. Washington, after the
death of her husband, moved into this little room. Two and a half years
later, she died there and her body was laid beside that of Washington.

[Illustration: Washington's Tomb at Mount Vernon]

Years passed and the beautiful house began to fall into ruin. A new and
simple tomb was erected to Washington, but it also was neglected.
Nothing was done to restore Mount Vernon until the women of the country
bought the place. They rebuilt the walls and porches, brought back the
old furniture, planted vines about the tomb, and still keep it as
Washington would have wished, as a shrine for all to visit, where
respect can be paid to the memory of the "Father of his Country."

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