George Washington: The Name Of Our Hero

Tuesday, March 1, 2022 7:57:52 AM

George Washington: The Name Of Our Hero

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In , after two terms as president and declining to serve a third term, Washington finally retired. The address is still read each February in the U. Washington returned to Mount Vernon and devoted his attentions to making the plantation as productive as it had been before he became president. More than four decades of public service had aged him, but he was still a commanding figure. In December , he caught a cold after inspecting his properties in the rain. The cold developed into a throat infection and Washington died on the night of December 14, at the age of He was entombed at Mount Vernon, which in was designated a national historic landmark.

Washington left one of the most enduring legacies of any American in history. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Subscribe for fascinating stories connecting the past to the present. Mount Vernon is the former plantation estate and burial location of George Washington, the American Revolutionary War general and the first President of the United States, his wife Martha and 20 other Washington family members. The current estate—which is open to George Washington Carver was an agricultural scientist and inventor who developed hundreds of products using peanuts though not peanut butter, as is often claimed , sweet potatoes and soybeans.

Born into slavery a year before it was outlawed, Carver left home at a young age to Granted statehood in , Washington was named in honor of George Washington; it is the only U. George W. Bush, the 41st U. A graduate of Yale University and Harvard George Herbert Walker Bush , served as the 41st U. He also was a two-term U. Bush, a World War II naval aviator and Texas oil industry executive, began his political career in the Washington had only a grade-school education. That event cut young George off from the opportunity to be educated abroad in England, a privilege that had been afforded to his older Washington, D.

The city is home to all three branches of the federal government, as well as the White House, the Supreme Court and the Capitol Building. Inside and under these linen walls, Washington, together with key staff and generals including Alexander Hamilton, plotted the eventual triumph of the Continental Army over formidable British forces. Throughout the American Revolution, the oval-shaped field tent, known as a Live TV. This Day In History. History Vault. An Officer and Gentleman Farmer In December , Washington, who had no previous military experience, was made a commander of the Virginia militia.

He was adept at deception operations and tradecraft and was a skilled propagandist. He also practiced sound operational security. As an intelligence manager, Washington insisted that the terms of an agent's employment and his instructions be precise and in writing. He emphasized his desire for receiving written, rather than verbal, reports. He demanded repeatedly that intelligence reports be expedited, reminding his officers of those bits of intelligence he had received which had become valueless because of delay in getting them to him. He also recognized the need for developing many different sources so that their reports could be cross-checked, and so that the compromise of one source would not cut off the flow of intelligence from an important area.

Washington sought and obtained a "secret service fund" from the Continental Congress. In accounting for the sums in his journals, he did not identify the recipients: "The names of persons who are employed within the Enemy's lines or who may fall within their power cannot be inserted. Washington appeared at the Second Continental Congress in a military uniform, signaling that he was prepared for war. Washington had the prestige, military experience, charisma and military bearing of a military leader and was known as a strong patriot; he was also popular in his home province.

There was no other serious competition for the post, although Washington did nothing to actively pursue the appointment. Massachusetts delegate John Adams nominated Washington, believing that appointing a southerner to lead what was then primarily an army of northerners would help unite the colonies. Washington reluctantly accepted, declaring "with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the Command I [am] honored with. Washington assumed command of the colonial forces outside Boston on July 3, , during the ongoing siege of Boston , after stopping in New York City to begin organizing military companies for its defense.

When inventory returns exposed a dangerous shortage of gunpowder, Washington asked for new sources. British arsenals were raided including some in the West Indies and some manufacturing was attempted; a barely adequate supply about 2. As the siege dragged on, the matter of expiring enlistments became a matter of serious concern. The establishment of the Continental Army only had enlistment terms of one year, a matter that would again be a problem in late Washington finally forced the British to withdraw from Boston by putting Henry Knox's artillery on Dorchester Heights overlooking the city, and preparing in detail to attack the city from Cambridge if the British tried to assault the position.

Washington's success in Boston was not repeated in New York. Congress insisted that he defend it and recognizing the city's importance as a naval base and gateway to the Hudson River , Washington delegated the task of fortifying New York to Charles Lee in February Somewhat surprised that regional differences would be a problem, on August 1 he read a speech to the army, in which he threatened to punish "any officers or soldiers so lost to virtue and a love of their country" that might exacerbate the regional differences. Washington had to deal with his first major command controversy while in New York, which was partially a product of regional friction. New England troops serving in northern New York under General Philip Schuyler , a scion of an old patroon family of New York, objected to his aristocratic style, and their Congressional representatives lobbied Washington to replace Schuyler with General Gates.

Washington tried to resolve the issue by giving Gates command of the forces in Quebec, but the collapse of the Quebec expedition brought renewed complaints. To avoid a potentially messy situation, General Washington gave Schuyler overall command of the northern department, but assigned Gates as second in command with combat authority. The episode exposed Washington to Gates' desire for advancement, possibly at his expense, and to the latter's influence in Congress. General Howe's army, reinforced by thousands of additional troops from Europe and a fleet under the command of his brother, Admiral Richard Howe , began arriving the entrance of New York Harbor at the Narrows , in early July, and made an unopposed landing on Staten Island.

General Howe refused to act on a significant tactical advantage that could have resulted in the capture of the remaining Continental troops on Long Island, but he chose instead to besiege the fortified positions to which they had retreated. In what some historians call one of his greatest military feats, he executed a nighttime withdrawal from Long Island across the East River to Manhattan to save those troops and materiel. The Howe brothers then paused to consolidate their position, and the admiral engaged in a fruitless peace conference with Congressional representatives on September Four days later the British landed on Manhattan , a bombardment from the river scattering inexperienced militia into a panicked retreat, and forcing Washington to retreat further.

To defend against this move, Washington withdrew most of his army to White Plains , where after a short battle on October 28 he retreated further north. This isolated the remaining Continental Army troops in upper Manhattan, so Howe returned to Manhattan and captured Fort Washington in mid November, taking almost 3, prisoners. Washington brought much of his army across the Hudson into New Jersey, but was immediately forced to retreat by the aggressive British advance. During the campaign a general lack of organization, shortages of supplies, fatigue, sickness, and above all, lack of confidence in the American leadership resulted in a melting away of untrained regulars and frightened militia. Washington grumbled, "The honor of making a brave defense does not seem to be sufficient stimulus, when the success is very doubtful, and the falling into the Enemy's hands probable.

After the loss of New York, Washington's army was in two pieces. When Lee strayed too far from his army on December 12, his exposed position was betrayed by Loyalists, and a British company led by Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton surrounded the inn where he was staying and took him prisoner. Lee's command was taken over by John Sullivan, who finished marching the army to Washington's camp across the river from Trenton. The capture of Lee resulted an important point in negotiations between the sides concerning the treatment of prisoners.

Since Lee had previously served in the British Army, he was treated as a deserter , and threatened with military punishments appropriate to that charge. Even though he and Lee did not get on well, Washington threatened to treat captured British officers in the same manner Lee and other high-profile prisoners were treated. Despite the loss of troops due to desertion and expiring enlistments, Washington was heartened by a rise in militia enlistments in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. This action significantly boosted the army's morale, but it also brought Cornwallis out of New York. He reassembled an army of more than 6, men, and marched most of them against a position Washington had taken south of Trenton. Leaving a garrison of 1, at Princeton , Cornwallis then attacked Washington's position on January 2, , and was three times repulsed before darkness set in.

The British troops engaged Mercer and in the ensuing battle , Mercer was mortally wounded. Washington sent reinforcements under General John Cadwalader , which were successful in driving Mawhood and the British from Princeton, with many of them fleeing to Cornwallis in Trenton. The British lost more than one quarter of their force in the battle, and American morale rose with the victory. These unexpected victories drove the British back to the New York City area, and gave a dramatic boost to Revolutionary morale.

Washington's mixed performance in the campaigns had not led to significant criticism in Congress. When Howe then moved his army southwest from New Brunswick, Washington correctly interpreted this as a move to draw him out of his strong position, and refused to move. Only after Howe apparently retreated back toward the shore did Washington follow, but Howe's attempt to separate him from his mountain defenses was foiled in the Battle of Short Hills in late June. Washington's difficulty in discerning Howe's motives was due to the presence of a British army moving south from Quebec toward Fort Ticonderoga under the command of General John Burgoyne.

Howe's departure was in part prompted by the successful capture of the fort by Burgoyne in early July. Concerned that Howe was heading up the Hudson, he ordered three of his best officers northwards, Benedict Arnold, [95] Benjamin Lincoln , and Daniel Morgan and his corps of riflemen. He also sent men from Israel Putnam 's forces north to assist General Gates with the defense of the Hudson. Washington had had some difficulty with General Arnold in the spring. Congress had adopted a per-state scheme for the promotion of general officers, which resulted in the promotion of several officers to major general ahead of other officers with more experience or seniority. Combined with the commissioning of foreign officers to high ranks, this had led to the resignation of John Stark.

Arnold, who had distinguished himself in the Canadian campaign, had also threatened to resign. Washington had also laid the seeds for conflict between Arnold and Gates when he gave Arnold command of forces in Rhode Island in late ; because of this move Gates came to view Arnold as a competitor for advancement, and the previously positive relationship between Gates and Arnold cooled. Congress, at the urging of its diplomatic representatives in Europe, had also issued military commissions to a number of European soldiers of fortune in early Two of those recommended by Silas Deane , the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Conway , would prove to be important in Washington's activities.

When Washington learned that Howe's fleet was sailing north in Chesapeake Bay , he hurried his army south of Philadelphia to defend the city against Howe's threat. Washington's failure to defend the capital brought on a storm of criticism from Congress, which fled the city for York , and from other army officers. In part to silence his critics, Washington planned an elaborate assault on an exposed British base in Germantown. Historian Robert Leckie observes that the battle was a near thing, and that a small number of changes might have resulted in a decisive victory for Washington.

Meanwhile, Burgoyne, out of reach from help from Howe, was trapped and forced to surrender his entire army on October 17, ten days after the Battle of Bemis Heights. Washington's army stayed at Valley Forge for the next six months. The army's difficulties were exacerbated by a number of factors, including a quartermaster's department that had been badly mismanaged by one of Washington's political opponents, Thomas Mifflin , and the preference of farmers and merchants to sell their goods to the British for hard currency instead of the nearly worthless Continental currency.

Congress authorized Washington to seize supplies needed for the army, but he was reluctant to use such authority, since it smacked of the tyranny the war was supposedly being fought over. During the winter he introduced a full-scale training program supervised by Baron von Steuben , a veteran of the Prussian general staff. Despite the hardships the army suffered, this program was a remarkable success, and Washington's army emerged in the spring of a much more disciplined force.

Washington himself had to face discontent at his leadership from a variety of sources. His loss of Philadelphia prompted some members of Congress to discuss removing him from command. Biographer Ron Chernow points out that Washington's handling of the episode demonstrated that he was "a consummate political infighter" who maintained his temper and dignity while his opponents schemed. The victory at Saratoga and to some extent Washington's near success at Germantown were influential in convincing France to enter the war openly as an American ally. French entry into the war changed its dynamics, for the British were no longer sure of command of the seas and had to worry about an invasion of their home islands and other colonial territories across the globe.

The British, now under the command of General Sir Henry Clinton , evacuated Philadelphia in and returned to New York City, with Washington attacking them along the way at the Battle of Monmouth ; this was the last major battle in the north. Prior to the battle Washington gave command of the advance forces to Charles Lee, who had been exchanged earlier in the year. Lee, despite firm instructions from Washington, refused Lafayette's suggestion to launch an organized attack on the British rear, and then retreated when the British turned to face him. When Washington arrived at the head of the main army, he and Lee had an angry exchange of words, and Washington ordered Lee off the command. Washington, with his army's tactics and ability to execute improved by the training programs of the previous winter, was able to recover, and fought the British to a draw.

Lee was court martialed and eventually dismissed from the army. During the comparatively mild winter of —79, Washington and Congress discussed options for the campaign season. The possibility of a Franco-American campaign against Quebec, first proposed for , had a number of adherents in Congress, and was actively supported by Lafayette in Washington's circle. This was approved, and in the summer of a sizable force under Major General John Sullivan made a major expedition into the northwestern frontier of New York in reprisal for the frontier raids. Washington's opponent in New York, however, was not inactive. Clinton engaged in a number of amphibious raids against coastal communities from Connecticut to Chesapeake Bay , and probed at Washington's defenses in the Hudson River valley.

When Clinton weakened the garrison there to provide men for raiding expeditions, Washington organized a counterstrike. General Anthony Wayne led a force that, solely using the bayonet, recaptured Stony Point. American morale was dealt a blow later in the year, when the second major attempt at Franco-American cooperation, an attempt to retake Savannah , failed with heavy casualties.

The winter of —80 was one of the coldest in recorded colonial history. New York Harbor froze over, and the winter camps of the Continental Army were deluged with snow, resulting in hardships exceeding those experienced at Valley Forge. The paper currency also hit the army's morale, since it was how the troops were paid. The British in late embarked on a new strategy based on the assumption that most Southerners were Loyalists at heart. General Clinton withdrew the British garrison from Newport, and marshalled a force of more than 10, men that in the first half of successfully besieged Charleston, South Carolina.

In June he captured over 5, Continental soldiers and militia in the single worst defeat of the war for the Americans. Camden saw the ignominious defeat of General Gates, who had been appointed to the southern command by Congress without Washington's advice or knowledge beforehand. Washington's army suffered from numerous problems in it was undermanned, underfunded, and underequipped. Knowledge of discontent within the ranks in New Jersey prompted the British in New York to make two attempts to reach the principal army base at Morristown. These attempts were defeated, with significant militia support, in battles at Connecticut Farms and Springfield.

September brought a new shock to Washington. Arnold in began secret negotiations with General Clinton. Arnold pleaded with Washington, who appointed him commander of West Point, the major Patriot strong point in New York. He was again asked to be the American commander if the U. He died on December 14, , possibly from a streptococcal infection of his throat made worse when he was bled four times. Washington's impact on American history was massive. He led the Continental Army to victory over the British. He served as the nation's first president. He believed in a strong federal government, which was accomplished through the Constitutional Convention that he led.

He promoted and worked on the principle of merit. He cautioned against foreign entanglements, a warning that was heeded by future presidents. He declined a third term, setting a precedent for a two-term limit that was codified in the 22nd Amendment. In foreign affairs, Washington supported neutrality, declaring in the Proclamation of Neutrality in that the U. He reiterated his opposition to foreign entanglements in his farewell address in George Washington is considered one of the most important and influential U.

Share Flipboard Email. Martin Kelly. History Expert. Martin Kelly, M. Cite this Article Format. Kelly, Martin. Watch Now: Profile of George Washington. George Washington's First Cabinet. George Washington's First Inauguration. America's Most Influential Founding Fathers. Chart of the Presidents and Vice Presidents. General George Washington's Military Profile. President James Madison: Facts and Biography.

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