George Washington Is Appointed a Major of Virginia Regiment
Upon the death of his brother Lawrence, who had been commander of all the Virginia militia, George Washington was appointed a Major of the Virginia Militia. This was typical of the time where public officers were often passed down from father to son, and since Lawrence was significantly older and almost a father to Washington, it was assumed that Washington was entitled to succeed to the public position previously held by his brother. Because of Washington’s youth and lack of experience, however, Virginia’s Governor Dinwiddie decided to divide Virginia into three militiary districts, with Washington appointed as the Major of only one of these districts. Initially, Washington was appointed in charge of the southern Shenandoah Valley. With the help of his friend Lord Fairfax who lived in the northern Shenandoah Valley, however, Washington was able to soon get his appointment transferred to the northern Shenandoah Valley. In his position as Major of the militia, it was Washington’s responsibility to build forts and train militia to defend the western frontier of Virginia from Indian attacks. To do so, Washington made his headquarters in Winchester, Virginia where he supervised the largest of Virginia’s frontier forts named Fort Loudoun. Here, George Washington also ran for the House of Burgesses for the first time, but was defeated. Eventually running a second time, Washington was elected to his first public office as a delegate to the House of Burgesses representing Frederick County, Virginia.