Forbes Expedition and Washington’s Capture of Fort Duquesne

•March 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

After Braddock’s defeat, British Brigadier General John Forbes was named commander of the British and American colonia militia and given the assignment of driving the French out of Fort Duquesne.  Instead of following the road that General Braddock had cleared proceeding west from Cumberland, Maryland, Forbes decided to proceed directly across Pennsylvania from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, building a series of forts along his path.  Henry Bouquet was named second-in-command and Colonel George Washington was given command of one of the two Virginia regiments.  Forbes began his expedition in the summer of 1758 with 7,000 British regular troops.   In the Battle of Duquesne on September 15, 1758, an advance force under Major James Grant was soundly defeated by the French.  As a consequence, Forbes decided to wait until spring to mount another attack on Fort Duquesne.  Forbes changed his mind, however, when he heard that the Native American Indians had withdrawn their support from the French.  Seizing this opportunity, Forbes divided his force into three columns, with one led by George Washington, to attempt another attack on Fort Duquesne.  As it turned out, the column led by George Washington was the first to reach Fort Duquesne only to discover that the French had burnt Fort Duquesne then fled.  Afterwards, General Forbes decided to rebuilt the fort, renaming it Fort Pitt in honor of British Secretary of State William Pitt the Elder.

Despite His Previous Promise to Award Western Lands to all Colonial Militiamen Who Fought in The French and Indian War, After the War King George III Issued the Royal Proclamation Line of 1763 Prohibiting All Settlement West of the Eastern Divide (i.e. ridge of the Appalachian Mountains)

•March 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

King George III

Proclamation Line of 1763

Another View of Proclamation Line of 1763

George Washington Courts and Proposes Marriage to Martha Dandridge Custis, the future Martha Washington. She was the daughter of the wealthy and influential John Dandridge. She was the widow of Daniel Parke Custis with whom she had four children. Only two of her children survived into her marriage with Washington.

•March 13, 2010 • 1 Comment

George Washington was introduced to Martha Dandridge Custis by mutual friends that she was visiting when he was home on leave from the French and Indian War.  As the prettiest and richest widow in Virginia, Martha was aggressively being pursued by various suitors, including a son of Robert “King” Carter.  She and her two young children, however, apparently were immediately taken by the handsome and dashing George Washington who was a militiary hero.  Martha had previously been married to the extremely wealthy John Dandridge and, upon his death, had inherited a large fortune and extensive property in Williamsburg and the surrounding area.  Visiting Martha only twice at her home before proposing marriage, they became engaged only three weeks after their first meeting.  The speed of their courtship was probably at least partially attributable to the fact that Washington had to return to his military command and duties in fighting the French and Indian War.

Marriage and Wedding of George Washington and Martha Washington (Martha Dandridge Custis)

•March 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

George and Martha Washington, both 27 years of age, were married on January 6, 1759 at her estate “The White House” in New Kent, Virginia near Williamsburg.  The Reverend David Mossom, rector of St. Peter’s church in New Kent, performed the ceremony.

George Washington Settles Down to Life As a Gentleman Farmer At His Mount Vernon Home

•March 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

After the French and Indian War and George Washington’s marriage to the young and wealthy widow Martha Dandridge Custis, Washington settled down to a life as a gentleman farmer, serving as vestryman for Pohick Church and as a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses.  Because of both his responsibility for managing the land holdings of Martha in and around Williamsburg and because of his responsibilties as a member of the House of Burgesses, such a life included regular trips to Williamsburg.  On such trips, Washington often took Martha and her two children.  He also often stayed at his sister Betty’s and her husband Fielding Lewis’ home in Fredericksburg, Virginia from where he could also visit his mother at her home and his two brothers.  Washington also devoted himself to becoming one of the most innovative and successful farmers in all of the thirteen colonies, experimenting in crop rotation and shifting from the growing of tobacco to the cultivation of wheat, flax, hemp and other crops that were less destructive to the soil.  He also developed a large and successful fishing operation.

George Washington Co-Authors Fairfax Resolves With George Mason And, As a Member of Virginia House of Burgesses in Williamsburg, Becomes One of Leaders of Colonial Protest Over British Taxation

•March 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

George Mason (George Washington’s Neighbor)

Painting of George Washington at Mount Vernon by Alonzo Chappel

Virginia’s colonial capitol at Williamsburg

Inside Capitol at Williamsburg

Raleigh Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg where George Washington and other delegates to the House of Burgesses met after the Virginia Governor disbanded the House of Burgesses

In response to the British closing the port of Boston after the Boston Tea Party, towns and counties throughout the colonies met to express their support of the citizens of Boston.  Once such meeting was held in Fairfax County, Virginia.  On July 17, 1774, the night before the meeting, George Washington and George Mason met at Mount Vernon and drafted the Fairfax County Resolves, which George Washington then presented at the Fairfax County meeting the following day.  In its “Top Treasures” exhibit, the Library of Congress describes the Fairfax County Resolves as the first clear expression of the constitutional rights of the British American colonists as subjects of the Crown.  After being adopted by the Fairfax Convention, George Washington presentd the Resolves to the Virginia House of Burgesses where they were similarly adopted along with Washington’s proposal that, instead of simply another petititon to the British Crown, that Virginia adopt an Association to boycott the importation of British goods, and encourage all the colonies to form committees of correspondence to communicate with each other and adopt similar Associations for boycotting British goods.

George Washington Is Elected As a Delegate to First Continental Congress

•March 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Carpenter’s Hall (site of First Continental Congress in Philadelphia)

Illustration of George Washington, Patrick Henry, and Edmund Pendleton On Their Way As Delegates to the First Continental Congress

Along with Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, Richard Bland, Peyton Randolph, Colonel Benjamin Harrison  and Edmund Pendleton, George Washington was elected as a delegate from Virginia to the First Continental Congress.  The First Continental Congress met from September 5 to October 26, 1774 in Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia, Pennyslvania.   All of the colonies except George sent delegates.   On October 14th, the Declaration and Resolves were adopted expressing the grievances of the colonies, with Congress voting to meet again in another year if Great Britain failed to address the grievances.    Several days later, on Ooctober 20th, the Congress voted to adopt what was known as The Association, patterned after the Virginia Association, to implement a plan of importation of British goods.

George Washington Proposes Legislation to Create a Canal to Make the Potomac River Navigable Almost All the Way to the Ohio Country

•March 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Virginia Capitol Building at Williamsburg, Virginia

Carriage at Colonial Williamsburg

Governor’s Palace at Colonial Williamsburg

After returning from the First Continental Congress, Washington continued with his efforts to boh secure western land grants for himself and his fellow soldiers who served with him during the French and Indian War as well as to get legislation passed by the Virginia House of Burgesses to approve of the building of a canal around the various falls on the Potomac River so as to make it navigable and a waterway almost all the way to the Ohio River.  Washington also continued with his efforts to improve his Mount Vernon plantation.  With the battles of Lexington and Concord and increased conflict between the American colonies and Great Britain, however, soon something else was to demand Washington’s attention. 

George Washington Is Appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army by the Second Continental Congress

•March 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

When the British failed to respond to the grievances presented by the First Continental Congress, Washington was again elected as a delegate to the planned Second Continental Congress.  Prior to attending the Congress, Washington had organized and been named commander of the militia for Fairfax County, Virginia as counties throughout Virginia began organizing militia units in response to the battles of Lexington and Concord.  Washington was soon also named commander of the militia of a number of neighboring counties and eventually as commander of the militia for all of Virginia.  As such, he ordered a new uniform for himself which he wore to the Second Continental Congress which met beginning on May 10, 1775.  At the Congress, he was named to all of the committees involving in making war preparations with the British.  As such, when it was time for the Continental Congress to name a Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, John Adams nominated George Washington and Washington was unanimously elected.

George Washington’s Commission as Commander-in-Chief

•March 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment