George Washington was our country’s first President, and so much more.
George Washington did not go to school. He learned at home from a traveling tutor. He was homeschooled! He was good at Math. As he grew, he used his father’s survey tools to survey the fields. A surveyor is a person who measures the land.
He looked up to his half-brother Lawrence, who was 14 yrs older, because George’s father was dead. He learned to fight with a sword, called fencing. He also learned a lot about military strategy by listening to the visiting soldiers.
When he was 16, a farmer hired him to survey his lands. While on his trip, he met some Indians, who taught him how to walk silently.
Lawrence took George on a trip, and George caught smallpox! Small pox is like chicken pox, only much worse. Most people, 40%, died after catching small pox. George didn’t die, but Lawrence did. George became the Master of Lawrence’s home, Mount Vernon.
As a soldier, George Washington was sent on a mission to tell the French to leave their forts in America. That started the French & Indian War. The English sent Braddock to lead the troops into battle. Braddock got killed because he only knew how to fight the English way. Washington and others had tried to warn him that fighting in America was different, but he didn’t listen. Washington learned that a truly great leader must learn, or die.
George Washington was made commander of the 350 men of the Virginia Militia. His job was impossible because he didn’t have everything he needed. After the Boston Tea Party, the British gathered troops. The Americans got together to decide what to do. They formed the Continental Congress. Congress made George Washington the first Commander-in-Chief. He refused payment; he just wanted to do his job.
When George took command, he found that the soldiers were not professionals, and that he did not have enough supplies. Then smallpox swept through the army, but George didn’t get it this time because he was immune.
The Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence. But England was not going to make it easy for the Americans to rule themselves. England had lots of supplies, and even hired mercenaries, called Hessians, from Germany. The Americans lost a lot of fights and had to keep retreating. George was frustrated with the constant losing.
The British thought no one would be crazy enough to fight in the winter. But George had a plan. The Hessians were just on the other side of the Delaware River, celebrating Christmas. George planned a surprise party of his own for them. His army crossed the river, and attacked on Christmas Eve. It worked! George captured a lot of Hessians and only lost 4 men! It was a much needed victory. This one victory led to many others. The Army paraded through Philadelphia to celebrate their victories.
In the winter of 1777 the British took Philadelphia. Congress ran away and English settlers took over the town. George & the army went to Valley Forge. The men in the Army didn’t have shoes. Ice cut through the rags they used to keep their feet warm, and left a bloody trail everywhere they went. But help was on the way!
France sent Baron Von Stuben to train the Continental Army. He was shocked to see the lack of supplies. Later, France sent money and soldiers to help the Americans. In 1783, the war was over! America had won!
George was elected President after the war. He was elected twice! He wouldn’t join the war between France & England because he thought the country was not strong enough. He refused to be elected to a third term.
He caught a bad cold on December 12, 1799. Doctors back then thought blood carried disease, so they drained his blood. George died two days later.
(Source: George Washington: Soldier, Hero, President by Justine and Ron Fontes)