George Washington: Gentleman Warrior
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Winner of the prestigious George Washington Book Prize, George Washington is a vivid recounting of the formative years and military career of "The Father of his Country," following his journey from brutal border skirmishes with the French and their Native American allies to his remarkable victory over the British Empire, an achievement that underpinned his selection as the first president of the United States of America. The book focuses on a side of Washington that is often overlooked: the feisty young frontier officer and the early career of the tough forty-something commander of the revolutionaries' ragtag Continental Army.
Award-winning historian Stephen Brumwell shows how, ironically, Washington's reliance upon English models of "gentlemanly" conduct, and on British military organization, was crucial in establishing his leadership of the fledgling Continental Army, and in forging it into the weapon that secured American independence. Drawing on a wide range of sources, including original archival research, Brumwell brings a fresh new perspective on this extraordinary individual, whose fusion of gentleman and warrior left an indelible imprint on history.
city prevented British provision ships from getting through. An attempt to subdue Fort Mifflin, on Mud Island, was a miserable failure, while Fort Mercer, on the Delaware’s eastern shore at Red Bank, rebuffed a determined but misguided effort to take it by storm on October 22. Nearly 400 Hessians were killed and injured in the assault: their commander, the gallant Colonel Donop, was mortally wounded: he’d courted his last widow. The Americans finally evacuated their river defenses in
enlistment of slaves—almost one in two of all males of “fighting age” served. This was a truly revolutionary scale of mobilization—but one that makes the efforts of Washington’s hard core of long-service Continentals even more remarkable.18 While Cornwallis recuperated from his blooding at Guilford Court House, Greene seized the initiative, marching against vulnerable British outposts in South Carolina. Greene, like Washington, was naturally aggressive; although forced by circumstances to adopt
Fred Anderson, Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754–1766 (New York, 2000), pp. 5–6, 52–59. For the grisly detail of the Half-King handling Jumonville’s brains, Professor Anderson cites the testimony of Private John Shaw. Although not present during the Jumonville skirmish, Shaw served during Washington’s 1754 Ohio campaign and must have spoken with eyewitnesses. His description certainly squares with the convincing account in the Maryland
great men.” By contrast, Washington believed that the dowdy gray-white uniforms of the French common soldiers presented “a shabby and ragged appearance” that earned the Indians’ contempt.3 Dinwiddie, too, was persuaded: like his half brother Lawrence before him, George Washington embarked upon his first combat command wearing the blood-red coat that had been the trademark of the British soldier for more than a century. Despite all the nagging logistical problems—which gave a foretaste of those
Washington’s phenomenal strength. During his stay at Mount Vernon, the artist recalled how he and some other young men were stripped to their shirtsleeves and engaged in the sport of tossing a heavy iron bar. Without deigning to even remove his coat, Washington sauntered over, hefted the bar, and flipped it way beyond the farthest mark.40 Peale’s portrait includes telling details; they offer evidence that Washington’s selection of his old uniform was deliberate rather than whimsical and intended