George Washington at the Battle of Monmouth

After the difficult winter at Valley Forge, incredibly the American army with the help of training by Baron Von Steuben emerged as better trained and disciplined than ever before.   Deciding to engage the main British army, George Washington and the Continental Army clashed with the forces of British General Henry Clinton near Freehold, New Jersey in what has been called the Battle of Monmouth.  In the early part of the battle, initially the American army led by American General Charles Lee began to retreat.  Riding up on his horse, however, George Washington personally rallied the troops and turned what looked like a feat into a stand-off with the British.  Since after the battle, the British decided to slip away instead of engaging in another day of fighting, the battle has been viewed as a victory by the Americans.  More importantly, the battle proved that a well trained American army could stand up to the main forces of the British army.  One of the most difficult thing for both the British and the American was the tremendous heat that day that left many soldiers overcome with heat stroke.  At the conclusion of the battle, George Washington himself fell asleep lying on his cloak on the ground lying next to the similarly exhausted young Marquis de Lafayette, with Nathaniel Greene sitting nearby and attempting to stay awake so as to guard his commander-in-chief.  Because of his being rebuked for retreating during the battle, Major General Charles Lee felt insulted and demanded a formal court-martial to clear his name.  At first, George Washington refused, but Lee continued to demand a court-martial trial.  As a result, eventually Washington acceded to Lee’s wishes and recommended to Congress that Lee be brought upon on charges before a court-martial trial.   Instead of having his name cleared, however, the court martial trial found Lee to be guilty of the charges brought against him.  Thus ended the last substantial challenge to Washington’s authority as Commander-in-Chief.

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~ by americanpresidents on March 8, 2010.

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