IntroductionOn October 19, 1781 at Yorktown Virginia General George Washington accepted the surrender of the British Army commanded by General Cornwallis. When Washington took command of the rag tag colonial forces over six years earlier there was little hope that this glorious victory over the British would occur. However largely due to the brilliant military command of General George Washington the American colonist won their independence. In the list of interesting facts below, written for kids and adults alike, you will find information on George Washington. Washington of course went on to become the first President of the United States of America; however the information on this page focuses on his military service especially during the American Revolutionary War. Information includes when he took command of the colonial forces, where his famous battles were, and how he was able to beat the mighty British Army.
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Pre-Revolutionary War General George Washington Facts
- In his early 20s Washington gained military experience during the French and Indian War (1754 - 1763) in the Virginia militia which fought alongside the British against the French and their Indian allies. He learned many of the leadership skills that would serve him well as a commander during the American Revolutionary War.
- In May of 1754 a military party led by Washington clashed with French forces in Pennsylvania which culminated in the Battle of Great Meadows. This was one of the first battles of the French and Indian War and would be the only time George Washington ever surrendered.
- Washington was unsuccessful in obtaining a royal commission to become an officer in the British Army. He served in the Virginia militia and as a volunteer during the French and Indian War. Being turned down for the British Army made him bitter towards them.
- George Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis on January 6th of 1759. She was a wealthy widow. Between Martha's land and the land he received for his military service he became one of the wealthiest landowners in the Virginia colony.
- Before the British passed the Townshend Acts in 1767 Washington was against the colonies seeking independence from Great Britain. However with the passing of these acts, which he regarded as a violation of the colonist rights, his opinion started to change.
- He was selected to represent his home state of Virginia at the First Continental Congress in 1774; where the colonies grievances against the British, especially the Intolerable Acts, were discussed.
- In May of 1775 he attended the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia. This time he was dressed in a military uniform making it clear he was prepared to fight the British.
Revolutionary War General George Washington Facts
- On June 14, 1775 the Continental Congress formed the Continental Army of which George Washington was appointed as General and Commander-in-chief.
- When George Washington took command of the colonial forces he immediately took steps to transform the various militia regiments into an effective army.
- At first General George Washington and the army he led experienced success by driving the British forces out of Boston. However this would be shortly followed by disaster. The American forces which had relocated from Boston to New York City were driven out of the city in a British attack that nearly ended the war. Washington's cool head and cunning enabled the bulk of the army to escape.
- After fleeing New York City the British chased Washington and his army across New Jersey. Washington led a brilliant attack on Christmas Eve of 1776 at Trenton New Jersey followed by another victory at the Battle of Princeton; both giving the colonist hope in their battle for independence.
- In December of 1777 Washington's soldiers camped at Valley Forge which is north of Philadelphia Pennsylvania. It was a brutally cold winter and thousands of his soldiers died; mostly from disease. However the soldiers were also trained greatly improving their ability to fight.
- On June 28th of 1778 the Continental Army led by George Washington attacked the British in Monmouth County, New Jersey at the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse. The battle, one of the biggest of the American Revolutionary War, was basically a draw but the Continental Army proved it could stand up to the British.
- In the spring of 1781 French assistance to Washington and the Continental Army increased, most important was the arrival of the French fleet.
- George Washington's forces aided by the French army and navy cornered the British in the seaside town of Yorktown Virginia. British General Cornwallis, with no chance of escape or reinforcements, surrender to Washington on October 19, 1781. This ended all major fighting of the American Revolution.
- In 1976, over 175 years after his death, George Washington was promoted to General of the Armies of the United States; the highest rank in the US Army.