Why did 2 nd Continental Congress Choose George Washington to Lead the Army?
Surveyor – knew the terrain around Virginia
Command experience during French and Indian War
Experience, military bearing, enormous charisma, leadership of the Patriot cause of Virginia
Country’s 1 st Spymaster
Washington was a master of intelligence, counterintelligence, and military deception.
"Washington did not really outfight the British, he simply outspied us!" Beckwith
Married the widow Martha Dandridge Custis
Loved to play cricket
As a child had smallpox and tuberculosis unable to have children
Raised her two children
John Parke Custis
Martha Parke Custis
John Parke Custis was Washington’s aide at Yorktown.
Contracted camp fever and died
Washington and Martha raised his children:
Eleanor Parke Custis
George Washington Parke Custis
George Washington expected to fail as leader in the Revolutionary War.
He said, “From the day I enter upon the command of the American armies, I date my fall, and the ruin of my reputation.”
British Newspapers negatively reported on colonists, but praised Washington’s character.
He was very attentive to his troops needs
Valley Forge – encamped for 6 month 2,500 out of 10,000 died from disease and exposure
On December 19, 1777, Washington's poorly fed, ill-equipped army, weary from long marches, struggled into Valley Forge
Snow was six inches deep.
1,000 huts provided shelter
Soldiers received irregular supplies of meat and bread, some getting their only nourishment from "firecake," a tasteless mixture of flour and water.
Hundreds of horses either starved to death or died of exhaustion.
Long marches had destroyed shoes. Blankets were scarce. Tattered garments were seldom replaced.
Disease was rampant - undernourished and poorly clothed, living in crowded, damp quarters,
Typhus, typhoid, dysentery, and pneumonia were among the killers that felled as many as 2,000 men that winter.
Siege of Yorktown
Combined assault of French and American forces
Cornwallis surrendered British
Prompted the negotiation of the end of the war
Cornwallis refused to attend the surrender ceremony
Said he was ill
George Washington would not accept the surrender of the 2 nd in command
Called his second in command in from the field so that Britain’s 2 nd in command could surrender to him.
Cornwallis’ Surrender at Yorktown
Was he a good leader?
Only won 3 out of 9 battles
Elected unanimously by the electoral college only person ever to do so
Refused a third term
On the $1.00
On the quarter
First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in humble and enduring scenes of private life. Pious, just, humane, temperate, and sincere; uniform, dignified, and commanding…such was the man for whom our country mourns.