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9 août 2011 2 09 /08 /août /2011 04:11

George Washington (February 22, 1732 [O.S. February 11, 1731] – December 14, 1799) was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799.Sony VGP-BPL13 Battery

He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of theContinental Army in 1775–1783, and presided over the writing of the Constitution in 1787. The unanimous choice to serve as the first President of the United States (1789–1797), Washington presided over the creation of a strong,Sony VGP-BPS13 Battery

well-financed national government that stayed neutral in the wars raging in Europe, suppressed rebellion and won acceptance among Americans of all types. His leadership style established many forms and rituals of government that have been used ever since, such as using a cabinet system and delivering an inaugural address. Sony VGP-BPS13/B Battery

Washington is universally regarded as the "Father of his country".

Washington was born into the provincial gentry of a wealthy, well connected Colonial Virginia family who owned tobacco plantations.Sony VGP-BPS13/S Battery

After his father and older brother both died young, Washington became personally and professionally attached to the powerful Fairfax family, which promoted his career as a surveyor and soldier. Washington quickly became a senior officer of the colonial forces during the first stages of the French and Indian War. Sony VGP-BPS13/S Battery

Chosen by theSecond Continental Congress in 1775 to be commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in the American Revolution, he managed to force the British out of Boston in 1776, but was defeated and nearly captured later that year when he lost New York City. Sony VGP-BPS13A/B Battery

After crossing the Delaware River in the dead of winter, he defeated the enemy in two battles, retook New Jersey, and restored momentum to the Patriot cause. Because of his strategy, Revolutionary forces captured two major British armies at Saratoga in 1777 and Yorktown in 1781. Sony VGP-BPS13A/S Battery

Historians give Washington high marks for his selection and supervision of his generals, his encouragement of morale and ability to hold together the army, his coordination with the state governors and state militia units, his relations with Congress, and his attention to supplies, logistics, and training.Sony VGP-BPS13AS Battery

In battle, however, Washington was repeatedly outmaneuvered by British generals with larger armies. After victory had been finalized in 1783, Washington resigned rather than seize power, proving his opposition to dictatorship and his commitment to the emerging American political ideology of republicanism.Sony VGP-BPS13B/B Battery

He returned to his home, Mount Vernon, and his domestic life there, continuing to manage a variety of enterprises. Washington's final 1799 will specified all his slaves be set free.

Dissatisfied with the weaknesses of Articles of Confederation, Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention that drafted the United States Constitution in 1787.Sony VGP-BPS13B/Q Battery

Elected as the first President of the United States in 1789, he attempted to bring rival factions together to unify the nation. He supported Alexander Hamilton's programs to pay off all state and national debt, implement an effective tax system, and create a national bank, despite opposition from Thomas Jefferson.Sony VGP-BPS13B/S Battery

Washington proclaimed the U.S. neutral in the wars raging in Europe after 1793. He avoided war with Great Britain and guaranteed a decade of peace and profitable trade by securing the Jay Treaty in 1795, despite intense opposition from the Jeffersonians. Although never officially joining the Federalist Party, he supported its programs.Sony VGP-BPS13Q Battery

Washington's "Farewell Address" was an influential primer on republican virtue and a stern warning against partisanship, sectionalism, and involvement in foreign wars.

Washington had a vision of a great and powerful nation that would be built on republican lines using federal power. Sony VGP-BPS13S Battery

He sought to use the national government to improve the infrastructure, open the western lands, promote commerce, found a permanent capital, reduce regional tensions and promote a spirit of nationalism.[1] At his death, Washington was hailed as "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen".Sony VAIO VGN-AW110J/H Battery

The Federalists made him the symbol of their party but for many years, the Jeffersonians continued to distrust his influence and delayed building the Washington Monument. As the leader of the first successful revolution against a colonial empire in world history,Sony VAIO VGN-AW11M/H Battery

Washington became an international icon for liberation and nationalism, especially in France and Latin America. He is consistently ranked among the top five presidents of the United States.

Early life (1732–1753)

The first child of Augustine Washington (1694–1743) and his second wife, Mary Ball Washington (1708–1789), George Washington was born on their Pope's Creek Estate near present-day Colonial Beach in Westmoreland County, Virginia.Sony VAIO VGN-AW11S/B Battery

According to the Julian calendar (which was in use at the time), Washington was born on February 11, 1731; according to the Gregorian calendar, implemented in 1752 according to the provisions of the Calendar (New Style) Act 1750, the date was February 22, 1732.Sony VAIO VGN-AW11XU/Q Battery

Washington's ancestors were from Sulgrave, England; his great-grandfather, John Washington, had immigrated to Virginia in 1657. George's father Augustine was a slave-owning tobacco planter who later tried his hand in iron-mining ventures.Sony VAIO VGN-AW11Z/B Battery

In George's youth, the Washingtons were moderately prosperous members of the Virginia gentry, of "middling rank" rather than one of the leading families.

Washington was the first-born child from his father's marriage to Mary Ball Washington. Sony VAIO VGN-AW120J/H Battery

Six of his siblings reached maturity including two older half-brothers, Lawrence and Augustine, from his father's first marriage to Jane Butler Washington and four full-siblings, Samuel, Elizabeth (Betty), John Augustine and Charles. Three siblings died before becoming adults: Sony VAIO VGN-AW150Y/H Battery

his full-sister Mildred died when she was about one,[10] his half-brother Butler died while an infant[11] and his half-sister Jane died at the age of 12 when George was about 2.[10] George's father died when George was 11 years old, after which George's half-brother Lawrence became a surrogate father and role model.Sony VAIO VGN-AW160J/Q Battery

William Fairfax, Lawrence's father-in-law and cousin of Virginia's largest landowner, Thomas, Lord Fairfax, was also a formative influence. Washington spent much of his boyhood at Ferry Farm in Stafford County near Fredericksburg. Lawrence Washington inherited another family property from his father,Sony VAIO VGN-AW170Y/Q Battery

a plantation on the Potomac River which he later named Mount Vernon. George inherited Ferry Farm upon his father's death, and eventually acquired Mount Vernon after Lawrence's death.

The death of his father prevented Washington from crossing the Atlantic to receive the rest of his education at England's Appleby School, as his older brothers had done.Sony VAIO VGN-AW180Y/Q Battery

He received the equivalent of an elementary school education from a variety of tutors and also at least one school (run by an Anglican clergyman in or near Fredericksburg). Talk of securing an appointment in the Royal Navyfor him when he was 15 was dropped when his mother learned how hard that would be on him.Sony VAIO VGN-AW190JAH Battery

Thanks to Lawrence's connection to the powerful Fairfax family, at age 17 Washington was appointed official surveyor for Culpeper County in 1749, a well-paid position which enabled him to purchase land in the Shenandoah Valley, the first of his many land acquisitions in western Virginia. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NAB Battery

Thanks also to Lawrence's involvement in the Ohio Company, a land investment company funded by Virginia investors, and Lawrence's position as commander of the Virginia militia, Washington came to the notice of the new lieutenant governor of Virginia, Robert Dinwiddie.Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NBB Battery

Washington was hard to miss: At exactly six feet, he towered over most of his contemporaries.

In 1751, Washington travelled to Barbados with Lawrence, who was suffering from tuberculosis, with the hope that the climate would be beneficial to Lawrence's health. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NCB Battery

Washington contracted smallpoxduring the trip, which left his face slightly scarred, but immunized him against future exposures to the dreaded disease. Lawrence's health did not improve: he returned to Mount Vernon, where he died in 1752. Lawrence's position as Adjutant General (militia leader) of Virginia was divided into four offices after his death. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YAB Battery

Washington was appointed by Governor Dinwiddie as one of the four district adjutants in February 1753, with the rank of major in the Virginia militia.[20] Washington also joined the Freemasons in Fredericksburg at this time. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YBB Battery

French and Indian War (or 'Seven Years War', 1754–1758)

In 1753, the French began expanding their military control into the "Ohio Country", a territory also claimed by the British colonies of Virginia and Pennsylvania. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YCB Battery

These competing claims led to a war in the colonies called the French and Indian War (1754–62), and contributed to the start of the global Seven Years' War (1756–63). Washington was at the center of its beginning. The Ohio Company was one vehicle through which British investors planned to expand into the territory, Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YDB Battery

opening new settlements and building trading posts for the Indian trade. Governor Dinwiddie received orders from the British government to warn the French of British claims, and sent Major Washington in late 1753 to deliver a letter informing the French of those claims and asking them to leave.Sony VAIO VGN-AW220J/B Battery

Washington also met with Tanacharison (also called "Half-King") and other Iroquois leaders allied to Virginia at Logstown to secure their support in case of conflict with the French; Washington and Tanacharison became friends and allies. Washington delivered the letter to the local French commander, who politely refused to leave.Sony VAIO VGN-AW230J/H Battery

Governor Dinwiddie sent Washington back to the Ohio Country to protect an Ohio Company group building a fort at present-day Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania but before he reached the area, a French force drove out the company's crew and began construction of Fort Duquesne. Sony VAIO VGN-AW235J/B Battery

A small detachment of French troops led by Joseph Coulon de Jumonville, was discovered by Tanacharison and a few warriors east of present-day Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Along with their Mingo allies, Washington and some of his militia unit then ambushed the French. Sony VAIO VGN-AW290JFQ Battery

What exactly happened during and after the battle is a matter of some controversy, but the immediate outcome was that Jumonville was injured in the initial attack and then was killed - whether tomahawked by Tanacharison in cold blood or somehow shot by another onlooker with a musket as the injured man sat with Washington is not completely clear.Sony VAIO VGN-AW41JF Battery

The French responded by attacking and capturing Washington at Fort Necessity in July 1754.[26] However, he was allowed to return with his troops to Virginia. Historian Joseph Ellis concludes that the episode demonstrated Washington's bravery, initiative, inexperience and impetuosity.Sony VAIO VGN-AW41JF/H Battery

These events had international consequences; the French accused Washington of assassinating Jumonville, who they claimed was on a diplomatic mission. Both France and Great Britain were ready to fight for control of the region and both sent troops to North America in 1755; war was formally declared in 1756.Sony VAIO VGN-AW41MF Battery

Braddock disaster 1755

In 1755, Washington was the senior American aide to British General Edward Braddock on the ill-fated Braddock expedition. This was the largest British expedition to the colonies, and was intended to expel the French from the Ohio Country. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41MF/H Battery

The French and their Indian allies ambushed Braddock, who was mortally wounded in the Battle of the Monongahela. After suffering devastating casualties, the British retreated in disarray; however, Washington rode back and forth across the battlefield, rallying the remnants of the British and Virginian forces to an organized retreat.Sony VAIO VGN-AW41XH Battery

Commander of Virginia Regiment

Governor Dinwiddie rewarded Washington in 1755 with a commission as "Colonel of the Virginia Regiment and Commander in Chief of all forces now raised in the defense of His Majesty's Colony" and gave him the task of defending Virginia's frontier. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41XH/Q Battery

The Virginia Regiment was the first full-time American military unit in the colonies (as opposed to part-time militias and the British regular units). Washington was ordered to "act defensively or offensively" as he thought best.[30] In command of a thousand soldiers, Washington was a disciplinarian who emphasized training.Sony VAIO VGN-AW41ZF Battery

He led his men in brutal campaigns against the Indians in the west; in 10 months units of his regiment fought 20 battles, and lost a third of its men. Washington's strenuous efforts meant that Virginia's frontier population suffered less than that of other colonies; Ellis concludes "it was his only unqualified success" in the war.Sony VAIO VGN-AW41ZF/B Battery

In 1758, Washington participated in the Forbes Expedition to capture Fort Duquesne. He was embarrassed by a friendly fire episode in which his unit and another British unit thought the other was the French enemy and opened fire, with 14 dead and 26 wounded in the mishap. Sony VAIO VGN-AW50DB/H Battery

Washington was not involved in any other major fighting on the expedition, and the British scored a major strategic victory, gaining control of the Ohio Valley, when the French abandoned the fort. Following the expedition, Washington retired from his Virginia Regiment commission in December 1758. Sony VAIO VGN-AW51JGB Battery

He did not return to military life until the outbreak of the revolution in 1775.

Lessons learned

Although Washington never gained the commission in the British army he yearned for, in these years the young man gained valuable military, political, and leadership skills.Sony VAIO VGN-AW52JGB Battery

He closely observed British military tactics, gaining a keen insight into their strengths and weaknesses that proved invaluable during the Revolution. He demonstrated his toughness and courage in the most difficult situations, including disasters and retreats. Sony VAIO VGN-AW53FB Battery

He developed a command presence—given his size, strength, stamina, and bravery in battle, he appeared to soldiers to be a natural leader and they followed him without question.Washington learned to organize, train, drill, and discipline his companies and regiments. Sony VAIO VGN-AW70B/Q Battery

From his observations, readings and conversations with professional officers, he learned the basics of battlefield tactics, as well as a good understanding of problems of organization and logistics.[37] He gained an understanding of overall strategy, especially in locating strategic geographical points.Sony VAIO VGN-AW71JB Battery

Historian Ron Chernow is of the opinion that his frustrations in dealing with government officials during this conflict led him to advocate the advantages of a strong national government and a vigorous executive agency that could get results;Sony VAIO VGN-AW72JB Battery

other historians tend to ascribe Washington's position on government to his later American Revolutionary War service.He developed a very negative idea of the value of militia, who seemed too unreliable, too undisciplined, and too short-term compared to regulars.Sony VAIO VGN-AW73FB Battery

On the other hand, his experience was limited to command of at most 1000 men, and came only in remote frontier conditions that were far removed from the urban situations he faced during the Revolution at Boston, New York, Trenton and Philadelphia.Sony VAIO VGN-AW80NS Battery

Between the wars: Mount Vernon (1759–1774)

On January 6, 1759, Washington married the wealthy widow Martha Dandridge Custis. Surviving letters suggest that he may have been in love at the time with Sally Fairfax, the wife of a friend.[42] Nevertheless, George and Martha made a compatible marriage,Sony VAIO VGN-AW80S Battery

because Martha was intelligent, gracious, and experienced in managing a slave plantation.[43] Together the two raised her two children from her previous marriage, John Parke Custis and Martha Parke Custis, affectionately called "Jackie" and "Patsy" by the family. Sony VAIO VGN-AW80US Battery

Later the Washingtons raised two of Mrs. Washington's grandchildren, Eleanor Parke Custis and George Washington Parke Custis. George and Martha never had any children together – his earlier bout with smallpox in 1751 may have made him sterile.Sony VAIO VGN-AW81DS Battery

Washington may not have been able to admit to his own sterility while privately he grieved over not having his own children.[45] The newlywed couple moved to Mount Vernon, near Alexandria, where he took up the life of a planter and political figure.Sony VAIO VGN-AW81JS Battery

Washington's marriage to Martha greatly increased his property holdings and social standing, and made him one of Virginia's wealthiest men. He acquired one-third of the 18,000-acre (73 km2) Custis estate upon his marriage, worth approximately $100,000, and managed the remainder on behalf of Martha's children, for whom he sincerely cared.Sony VAIO VGN-AW81YS Battery

He frequently bought additional land in his own name and was granted land in what is now West Virginia as a bounty for his service in the French and Indian War. By 1775, Washington had doubled the size of Mount Vernon to 6,500 acres (26 km2), and had increased the slave population there to more than 100 persons. Sony VAIO VGN-AW82DS Battery

As a respected military hero and large landowner, he held local office and was elected to the Virginia provincial legislature, the House of Burgesses, beginning in 1758.

Washington lived an aristocratic lifestyle—fox hunting was a favorite leisure activity.Sony VAIO VGN-AW82JS Battery

He also enjoyed going to dances and parties, in addition to the theater, races, and cockfights. Washington also was known to play cards, backgammon, andbilliards.Like most Virginia planters, he imported luxuries and other goods from England and paid for them by exporting his tobacco crop.Sony VAIO VGN-AW82YS Battery

Washington began to pull himself out of debt in the mid 1760s by diversifying his previously tobacco-centric business interests into other ventures and paying more attention to his affairs. In 1766, he started switching Mount Vernon's primary cash crop away from tobacco to wheat, Sony VAIO VGN-AW83FS Battery

a crop that could be processed and then sold in various forms in the colonies, and further diversified operations to include flour milling, fishing, horse breeding, spinning, weaving and (in the 1790s) whiskey production.Patsy Custis's death in 1773 from epilepsy enabled Washington to pay off his British creditors, since half of her inheritance passed to him.Sony VAIO VGN-AW83GS Battery

A successful planter, he was a leader in the social elite in Virginia. From 1768 to 1775, he invited some 2000 guests to his Mount Vernon estate, mostly those he considered "people of rank". As for people not of high social status, his advice was to "treat them civilly" but "keep them at a proper distance, for they will grow upon familiarity, in proportion as you sink in authority".Sony VAIO VGN-AW83HS Battery

In 1769 he became more politically active, presenting the Virginia Assembly with legislation to ban the importation of goods fromGreat Britain.

In 1754 Lieutenant Governor Dinwiddie had promised land bounties to the soldiers and officers who volunteered to serve during the French and Indian War.Sony VAIO VGN-AW90NS Battery

Washington tried for years to get the lands promised to him and his men. Governor Norborne Berkeley finally fulfilled that promise in 1769–1770, with Washington subsequently receiving title to 23,200 acres (94 km2) near where theKanawha River flows into the Ohio River, in what is now western West Virginia.Sony VAIO VGN-AW90S Battery

American Revolution (1775–1787)

Although he expressed opposition to the 1765 Stamp Act, the first direct tax on the colonies, he did not take a leading role in the growing colonial resistance until protests of the Townshend Acts(enacted in 1767) became widespread. Sony VAIO VGN-AW90US Battery

In May 1769, Washington introduced a proposal, drafted by his friend George Mason, calling for Virginia to boycott English goods until the Acts were repealed. Parliament repealed the Townshend Acts in 1770. However, Washington regarded the passage of the Intolerable Acts in 1774 as "an Invasion of our Rights and Privileges".Sony VAIO VGN-AW91CDS Battery

In July 1774, he chaired the meeting at which the "Fairfax Resolves" were adopted, which called for the convening of a Continental Congress, among other things. In August, Washington attended the First Virginia Convention, where he was selected as a delegate to the First Continental Congress.Sony VAIO VGN-AW91CJS Battery

Commander in chief

After the Battles of Lexington and Concord near Boston in April 1775, the colonies went to war. Washington appeared at the Second Continental Congress in a military uniform, signaling that he was prepared for war.Sony VAIO VGN-AW91CYS Battery

Washington had the prestige, military experience, charisma and military bearing of a military leader and was known as a strong patriot. Virginia, the largest colony, deserved recognition, and New England—where the fighting began—realized it needed Southern support.Sony VAIO VGN-AW91DS Battery

Washington did not explicitly seek the office of commander and said that he was not equal to it, but there was no serious competition.[65] Congress created the Continental Army on June 14, 1775. Nominated by John Adams of Massachusetts, Washington was then appointed Major General andCommander-in-chief.Sony VAIO VGN-AW91JS Battery

Washington had three roles during the war. In 1775–77, and again in 1781 he led his men against the main British forces. Although he lost many of his battles, he never surrendered his army during the war, and he continued to fight the British relentlessly until the war's end. He plotted the overall strategy of the war, in cooperation with Congress.Sony VAIO VGN-AW91YS Battery

Second, he was charged with organizing and training the army. He recruited regulars and assigned General von Steuben, a German professional, to train them. The war effort and getting supplies to the troops were under the purview of Congress,[68] but Washington pressured the Congress to provide the essentials.Sony VAIO VGN-AW92CDS Battery

In June 1776 Congress' first attempt at running the war effort was established with the committee known as "Board of War and Ordnance", succeeded by the Board of War in July 1777, a committee which eventually included members of the military.Sony VAIO VGN-AW92CJS Battery

The command structure of the Americans' armed forces was a hodgepodge of Congressional appointees (and Congress sometimes made those appointments without Washington's input) with state-appointments filling the lower ranks and of all of the militia-officers.Sony VAIO VGN-AW92CYS Battery

The results of his general staff were mixed, as some of his favorites (like John Sullivan) never mastered the art of command. Eventually he found capable officers, like General Nathaniel Greene, and his chief-of-staff Alexander Hamilton. The American officers never equalled their opponents in tactics and maneuver, and consequently they lost most of the pitched battles.Sony VAIO VGN-AW92DS Battery

The great successes, at Boston (1776), Saratoga (1777) and Yorktown (1781), came from trapping the British far from base with much larger numbers of troops.

Third, and most important, Washington was the embodiment of armed resistance to the Crown—the representative man of the Revolution.Sony VAIO VGN-AW92JS Battery

His enormous stature and political skills kept Congress, the army, the French, the militias, and the states all pointed toward a common goal. By voluntarily stepping down and disbanding his army when the war was won, he permanently established the principle of civilian supremacy in military affairs. Sony VAIO VGN-AW92YS Battery

And yet his constant reiteration of the point that well-disciplined professional soldiers counted for twice as much as erratic amateurs helped overcome the ideological distrust of a standing army.

Victory at Boston

Washington assumed command of the Continental Army in the field at Cambridge, Massachusetts in July 1775, during the ongoing siege of Boston. Sony VAIO VGN-AW93FS Battery

Realizing his army's desperate shortage of gunpowder, Washington asked for new sources. American troops raided British arsenals, including some in the Caribbean, and some manufacturing was attempted. They obtained a barely adequate supply (about 2.5 million pounds) by the end of 1776, mostly from France.Sony VAIO VGN-AW93GS Battery

Washington reorganized the army during the long standoff, and forced the British to withdraw by putting artillery onDorchester Heights overlooking the city. The British evacuated Boston in March 1776 and Washington moved his army to New York City.Sony VAIO VGN-AW93HS Battery

Although highly disparaging toward most of the Patriots, British newspapers routinely praised Washington's personal character and qualities as a military commander. These articles were bold, as Washington was an enemy general who commanded an army in a cause that many Britons believed would ruin the empire.Sony VAIO VGN-AW93ZFS Battery

Defeat at New York City and Fabian tactics

In August 1776, British General William Howe launched a massive naval and land campaign designed to seize New York. The Continental Army under Washington engaged the enemy for the first time as an army of the newly independent United States at the Battle of Long Island, the largest battle of the entire war. Sony VAIO VGN-AW93ZGS Battery

The Americans were badly outnumbered, many men deserted, and Washington was badly beaten. Subsequently, Washington was forced to retreat across the East Riverat night. He did so without loss of life or materiel.Sony VAIO VGN-AW93ZHS Battery

Washington retreated north from the city to avoid encirclement, enabling Howe to take the offensive and captureFort Washington on November 16 with high Continental casualties. Washington then retreated across New Jersey; the future of the Continental Army was in doubt due to expiring enlistments and the string of losses.Sony VAIO VGN-BZ11EN Battery

On the night of December 25, 1776, Washington staged a comeback with a surprise attack on a Hessian outpost in western New Jersey. He led his army across the Delaware River to capture nearly 1,000 Hessians in Trenton, New Jersey. Washington followed up his victory at Trenton with another over British regulars at Princeton in early January. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ11MN Battery

The British retreated back to New York City and its environs, which they held until the peace treaty of 1783. Washington's victories wrecked the British carrot-and-stick strategy of showing overwhelming force then offering generous terms. The Americans would not negotiate for anything short of independence.Sony VAIO VGN-BZ11XN Battery

These victories alone were not enough to ensure ultimate Patriot victory, however, since many soldiers did not reenlist or deserted during the harsh winter. Washington and Congress reorganized the army with increased rewards for staying and punishment for desertion, which raised troop numbers effectively for subsequent battles.Sony VAIO VGN-BZ12VN Battery

Historians debate whether or not Washington preferred a Fabian strategy to harass the British with quick, sharp attacks followed by a retreat so the larger British army could not catch him, or whether he preferred to fight major battles. While his southern commander Greene in 1780-81 did use Fabian tactics,Sony VAIO VGN-BZ12XN Battery

Washington, only did so in fall 1776 to spring 1777, after losing New York City and seeing much of his army melt away. Trenton and Princeton were Fabian examples. By summer 1777, however, Washington had rebuilt his strength and his confidence and stopped using raids and went for large-scale confrontations, as at Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth and Yorktown.Sony VAIO VGN-BZ31VT Battery

1777 campaigns

In the late summer of 1777 the British under John Burgoyne sent a major invasion army south from Quebec, with the intention of splitting off rebellious New England. General Howe in New York took his army south to Philadelphia instead of going up the Hudson River to join with Burgoyne near Albany.Sony VAIO VGN-BZ31XT Battery

It was a major strategic mistake for the British, and Washington rushed to Philadelphia to engage Howe, while closely following the action in upstate New York. In pitched battles that were too complex for his relatively inexperienced men, Washington was defeated.Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560 Battery

At the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777, Howe outmaneuvered Washington, and marched into the American capital at Philadelphia unopposed on September 26. Washington's army unsuccessfully attacked the British garrison at Germantown in early October.Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560N24 Battery

Meanwhile, Burgoyne, out of reach from help from Howe, was trapped and forced to surrender his entire army at Saratoga, New York. It was a major turning point militarily and diplomatically. France responded to Burgoyne's defeat by entering the war, openly allying with America and turning the Revolutionary War into a major worldwide war.Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560N30 Battery

Washington's loss of Philadelphia prompted some members of Congress to discuss removing Washington from command. This attempt failed after Washington's supporters rallied behind him.

Valley Forge

Washington's army of 11,000[83] went into winter quarters at Valley Forge north of Philadelphia in December 1777. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P Battery

Over the next six months, the deaths in camp numbered in the thousands (the majority being from disease),[84] with historians' death toll estimates ranging from 2000 to 2500 to over 3000 men. The next spring, however, the army emerged from Valley Forge in good order, Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P20 Battery

thanks in part to a full-scale training program supervised by Baron von Steuben, a veteran of the Prussian general staff. The British evacuated Philadelphia to New York in 1778, shadowed by Washington. Washington attacked them at Monmouth, fighting to an effective draw in one of the war's largest battles.Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P22 Battery

Afterwards, the British continued to head towards New York, and Washington moved his army outside of New York.

Victory at Yorktown

In the summer of 1779 at Washington's direction, General John Sullivan carried out a scorched earth campaign that destroyed at least 40 Iroquois villages in central and upstate New York;Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P28 Battery

the Indians were British allies who had been raiding American settlements on the frontier. In July 1780, 5,000 veteran French troops led by General Comte Donatien de Rochambeau arrived at Newport, Rhode Island to aid in the war effort.Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P30 Battery

The Continental Army having been funded by $20,000 in French gold, Washington delivered the final blow to the British in 1781, after a French naval victory allowed American and French forces to trap a British army in Virginia. The surrender at Yorktown on October 17, 1781, marked the end of major fighting in continental North America.Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P34 Battery


Washington could not know that after Yorktown the British would not reopen hostilities. They still had 26,000 troops occupying New York City, Charleston and Savannah, together with a powerful fleet. The French army and navy departed, so the Americans were on their own in 1782-83. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ561 Battery

The treasury was empty, and the unpaid soldiers were growing restive, almost to the point of mutiny or possible coup d'état. Washington dispelled unrest among officers by squelching theNewburgh Conspiracy in March 1783, and Congress came up with the promise of a five years bonus.Sony VAIO VGN-BZ561N20 Battery

By the Treaty of Paris (signed that September), Great Britain recognized the independence of the United States. Washington disbanded his army and, on November 2, gave an eloquent farewell address to his soldiers.

On November 25, the British evacuated New York City, and Washington and the governor took possession. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ561P20 Battery

At Fraunces Tave

rn on December 4, Washington formally bade his officers farewell and on December 23, 1783, he resigned his commission as commander-in-chief. Historian Gordon Wood concludes that the greatest act in his life was his resignation as commander of the armies—an act that stunned aristocratic Europe.Sony VAIO VGN-BZ562P Battery

King George III called Washington "the greatest character of the age" because of this.

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