Battle of Washington - History

Battle of Washington - History

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WAshington Burns

On August 18, 1814, British forces marched on Washington. After a brief battle on the road known as the Battle of Bladensburg, the British forces defeated the Americans who withdraw in disarray, thus opening the road to Washington. The British burned the White House and the Capitol, but a strong rainstorm saved the rest of Washington. The British, under orders not to hold any territory, withdrew.

On August 18 a large force of British soldier under the command of Major General Robert Ross landed at the mouth of Pawtuxet River. The British were in a position to move on Washington. Americans had very few troops available to oppose the oncoming threat. There were only 250 regulars available in the newly formed military district. The British marched north without any serious harassment from the Americas. On August 24, at the town of Blandsberg the Americans made a stand. The British were able to overwhelm the first line of defense at the bridge. In short order the British overwhelmed the second line of defense, and finally the order was given to retreat from the third line. The British lost at least 64 soldiers and the Americans lost 24 soldiers. There was now nothing standing between the British and Washington. Back in Washington, Dolly Madison secured her place in history by removing key documents from the White House as well as the famous painting of George Washington thus ensuring their safety. The British arrived in Washington and burned the major government buildings including the President's House (now known as the White House), the Capital Building, the Treasury, the State Department, and the War Department. The British stayed in Washington for only one night, their goal had never been to occupy the city, merely to raid it.

The Burning of Washington, D.C.

A view of the Presidents house in the city of Washington after the conflagration of the 24th August 1814 / G. Munger del. W. Strickland sculp. Library of Congress Tecumseh saving prisoners Library of Congress

The burning of Washington, D.C., in 1814 was one of America’s darkest hours. The new republic that had been created by the Founding Fathers less than a half-century earlier was in peril. Culminating in a flurry of disastrous British-American interactions that resulted in war - the War of 1812 acted as a pseudo-Revolutionary War that further solidified the United States’ legitimacy as a new nation independent from the British Empire. Since the Revolutionary War, America and Britain were not on good terms. The British navy continually captured American sailors on the high seas, as well as assisted Native American tribes against American expansionist efforts. The most famous of these campaigns is Tecumseh’s War , in which Tecumseh, a Native American chief, led a war against American forces expanding into the region of the modern-day state of Indiana. The American forces, led by William Henry Harrison, won, however, congressmen back in Washington, D.C. blamed Britain for providing aid to Tecumseh and his multi-tribe confederacy. By 1812, Britain was slowly phasing out America from trade in favor of their colonies in Canada and the Caribbean. Americans feared losing Great Britain as a trade partner, as Britain was one of the two major world powers at the time.

The War of 1812 began when war-hawks (government officials who wanted to go to war) pushed for a war bill on June 12 th , 1812 in response to Britain’s actions against American interests. In 1812, with the assistance of Napoleon Bonaparte, the United States implemented a trade embargo against Britain in favor of French trade, in return the French would stop attacking American vessels.

The two years leading up to the burning of Washington DC were spent primarily in Canada with a stalemate between British and American forces. The British military in the War of 1812 was not the entirety of the British Army & Navy, rather it was a detachment from the main army that was currently fighting the Napoleonic Wars in Europe. America’s military, however, was not strong due to Congress’ unwillingness to dedicate much needed trained soldiers to fight in the war. Nor could politicians agree on the size of the American Army & Navy. The United States relied primarily on the use of citizen-led militia groups, who were not nearly as effective compared to trained regular soldiers. Both British and American forces were unable to make a dent in either’s armies. Neither side could hold and occupy territories for an extended period of time. It was not until the British began their campaign in the Chesapeake Bay when the British began implementing new strategies to try and win the war.

A later 19th century engraving of the capture of Washington by General Ross and Admiral Cockburn Library of Congress

In August of 1814, the British began raiding the eastern shores of the United States in an attempt to dampen morale and the will to fight in the states. In 1814, Britain and a coalition of nations had recently defeated Napoleon and his army, so Britain’s resources could be directed almost entirely towards the war in America. Britain wanted to invade the southern regions of the United States to move American forces away from Canadian territory. The British chose to assault two cities: Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland. They chose Washington due to its lack of defenses and easy access from the Chesapeake Bay, and Baltimore due to its importance in ship manufacturing and trade in the Baltimore Harbor. On August 24 th , 1814, the Battle of Bladensburg took place outside of Washington, resulting in an embarrassing American defeat. The defeat at Bladensburg allowed for the British soldiers led by Major General Robert Ross to enter the nation’s capital.

Later that August 24 th evening, British soldiers moved on Washington holding bitter resentment for the American burning of the Canadian capital of York (present-day Toronto) in 1813. When entering Washington, the British and Canadian soldiers had unfettered access to the capital and began burning the city. Government officials were forced to flee the city. President James Madison and First Lady Dolley Madison both fled the White House. Before leaving, Dolley Madison had a portrait of President George Washington, and many other irreplaceable artifacts from the founding of the nation secured. Dolley had the artifacts taken for safe keeping from the flames. Washington’s naval yard was ordered to be set ablaze to prevent warships from being taken into British hands. British Admiral George Cockburn ordered his men to burn the White House, Capitol Building, the Library of Congress (located in the Capitol Building at the time), the Treasury, and other government buildings. However, Cockburn instructed his men to not destroy private residences, and they even spared the Patent Office due to the head administrator convincing the British that inside the building contained private property. The administrator argued that if the inventions within the Patent Office were burned that it would be a loss to humanity.

The following day on August 25 th , a storm rolled into Washington and put out the fires. Unfortunately, during the storm, a tornado erupted and tore through the city. While the British had spared the private residences, the tornado did not express such mercy to private residences and destroyed some in the city. After the burning of Washington, there was widespread looting throughout the city, and many of the looters were American citizens. Shortly after the British were finished with burning Washington, they left almost immediately towards Baltimore as the British did not intend to occupy Washington.

Francis Scott Key: Maryland lawyer and writer of the "The Star-Spangled Banner"

The burning of Washington did not achieve the effect that the British had hoped that it would cause. Instead of demoralizing Americans, it gave Americans a cause to rally behind in defeating the British once again. The burning of Washington negatively impacted the British, because when the British arrived in Baltimore, Maryland, on September 13 th , 1814, the British navy was met with a well-defended city. The B attle of Fort McHenry ensued, and resulted in an American victory. While the battle was raging, a Baltimore lawyer by the name of Francis Scott Key was held aboard a British warship and watched the battle unfold. He wrote a poem called the Defense of Fort McHenry, which later became the Star-Spangled Banner, America’s national anthem. The United States’ victory at Fort McHenry led to the eventual end of the war, with Washington left to rebuild from the fires.

The burning of Washington was not a large embarrassment as it was originally thought to be. Washington was quickly rebuilt, with the White House becoming operational in 1817 and the Capitol Building was operational by 1819. Overall, the burning of Washington symbolized that the young nation that was built upon democracy and freedom was able to take a major world power head-on and come out victorious. Thomas Law, a foreign visitor who went to Washington, described the city after the war like a phoenix rising from the fires stronger than ever before. The War of 1812 showed the world that America was a force to be reckoned with and would continue to be perpetual.


Evacuation of the city

As the Russian assault began, an emergency broadcast warning was released on all televisions in Prince George's County, Maryland, telling them to head to the community college campus in University Town for evacuation with no more than one bag of luggage. The city descended into chaos as the Russians bombed the city, overrunning several important landmarks in the city such as the World War II Memorial and even the White House. The Russians attacked the evacuation sites, with the Washington Monument site being attacked by helicopters, BTRs, and ground troops equipped with RPGs. The Americans dug trenches in what used to be gardens, and it was an intense battle for the US military, with many Americans dying. Many civilians were casualties, and it became a priority to medevac injured soldiers and civilians to an area safe from Russian attack. 

The veteran US 75th Rangers Regiment was sent to assist in the evacuations, and they assaulted the Department of Commerce building. They destroyed two SAM sites that were used to assault evacuation helicopters, and they found a room full of ordinance that they could use to protect the evac sites. They used FGM-148 Javelins to take out some Russian helicopters and tanks as they attacked the Washington Monument evacuation site, but they had to abandon the building by helicopter as their position was overrun by Russian troops. The battle raged on, with the Russians gaining more ground and inching closer to victory.

EMP explosion and counterattack

The battle seemed to be a sure Russian victory when an electromagnetic pulse Intercontinental ballistic missile was fired by Task Force 141 from the Russian naval base near Petropavlovsk towards the East Coast. Although it destroyed the International Space Station in its explosion, it took out all electronics in the city, most of which were used by the Russian vehicles. This disabled the Russian attack, allowing for the Americans to counterattack. Their red dot sights and holographic sites no longer worked, but they found the Russian Army without air support or helicopters, letting them counterattack. Colonel Kirk Marshall assembled a task force in front of the White House to retake the building, which still had power this meant that the soldiers could still contact CENTCOM. General Shepherd was considering dropping a nuclear bomb that could kill 30,000-50,000 people and rebuild the city later, but the Rangers' counterattack allowed for them to retake the key buildings and set off green flares to call off the US Air Force planes. This signified that they had recaptured the city, and the Russian forces went into full retreat.

Name Edit

Battle Ground got its name from a standoff between a group of the Klickitat peoples and a military force from the Vancouver Barracks, which had recently transitioned to a U.S. Army post. [8] [9] In 1855, when this occurred, members of the Klickitat peoples had been imprisoned at the Vancouver Barracks. The hostile conditions of their detainment inspired some of the Klickitats to decamp. [8]

This group of Klickitat peoples headed North, led by Chief Umtuch (or Umtux, according to some accounts). [8] [10] [11] When the community at Fort Vancouver discovered this escape, they assembled an armed contingent led by Captain William Strong to pursue the Klickitats. After great difficulty, Captain Strong's party found the Klickitats near the present-day location of downtown Battle Ground. [11]

Details of the standoff that ensued vary. However, indisputably, Chief Umtuch and Captain Strong engaged in some sort of negotiations which resulted in the Klickitats' agreeing to return to the Barracks. After this decision though, at least one shot was fired that murdered Chief Umtuch, likely by one of Captain Strong's soldiers. [11]

The Klickitat asked Captain Strong to leave them alone so they could properly bury their chief. After some deliberation, Captain Strong agreed as long as the Klickitats promised to return to the Fort, which they did a couple of days later. [11]

As a result of this event, settlers at the fort began to refer to that site as "Strong's Battle Ground", which was later shortened to "Battle Ground".

Two currently operating schools in Battle Ground are named after Captain Strong [12] and Chief Umtuch. [13]

Early settlement Edit

Battle Ground was first settled in 1886, by Augustus H. Richter, who platted the town in 1902. [14] Battle Ground was officially incorporated on June 18, 1951. During early settlement in the area, large numbers of people populated Fort Vancouver and locations closer to the Columbia River.

Battle Ground is located about 11 miles (18 km) north northeast of Vancouver, 32 miles (51 km) south southwest of Mount St. Helens. It is near the geographical center of Clark County. [15]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.16 square miles (18.54 km 2 ), all of its land. [16] '

Historical population
Census Pop.
19701,438 61.9%
19802,774 92.9%
19903,758 35.5%
20009,296 147.4%
201017,571 89.0%
2019 (est.)21,252 [3] 20.9%
U.S. Decennial Census [17]
2018 Estimate [18]

2010 census Edit

As of the 2010 census, there were 17,571 people, 5,652 households, and 4,365 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,454.1 inhabitants per square mile (947.5/km 2 ). There were 5,952 housing units at an average density of 831.3 per square mile (321.0/km 2 ). The racial makeup of the city was 90.5% White, 0.8% African American, 0.8% Native American, 1.9% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 2.1% from other races, and 3.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.5% of the population. 15.0% were of German, 10.7% Irish, 9.9% English and 6.4% Ukrainian ancestry. [2]

There were 5,652 households, of which 50.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.7% were married couples living together, 12.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 22.8% were non-families. 17.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.09 and the average family size was 3.53.

The median age in the city was 30 years. 34.5% of residents were under the age of 18 9% were between the ages of 18 and 24 29.4% were from 25 to 44 19.2% were from 45 to 64, and 7.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.0% male and 51.0% female.

2000 census Edit

As of the census of 2000, there were 9,296 people, 3,071 households, and 2,346 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,552.6 people per square mile (986.0/km 2 ). There were 3,196 housing units at an average density of 877.6 per square mile (339.0/km 2 ). The racial makeup of the city was 93.81% White, 0.49% African American, 0.86% Native American, 0.72% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 1.72% from other races, and 2.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.14% of the population. 15.4% were of German, 11.5% United States or American, 9.4% English, 7.2% Irish, 6.1% Finnish, and 5.8% Norwegian ancestry. 94.0% spoke English, 3.9% Spanish and 1.6% Russian as their first language.

There were 3,071 households, out of which 50.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.9% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.6% were non-families. 18.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.99 and the average family size was 3.43.

In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 36.2% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 32.9% from 25 to 44, 13.5% from 45 to 64, and 7.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $45,070, and the median income for a family was $49,876. Males had a median income of $41,133 versus $25,215 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,139. About 7.3% of families and 9.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.1% of those under age 18 and 8.4% of those age 65 or over.

Every summer, Battle Ground hosts Harvest Days, comprising a number of community events such as parades, and a chili cook-off. [19]

Battle Ground participates annually in the Portland Rose Festival's Grand Floral Parade, and 2019 marked the city's 65th float in the parade. [20] In 2006, it received the Sweepstakes Award for Most Outstanding Float In The Parade. [21]

In June 2007, the City of Battle Ground opened a 25,000 square foot skate park downtown, and in 2009, a new 13,000 square foot library. [22]

Battle Ground is also at the epicenter of the growing Clark County wine industry with three wineries and one tasting room. [ citation needed ]

Battle Ground is served by the Battle Ground School District, which includes (as of 2018):

  • Amboy Middle School (Grades 5-8) (Grades 9-12)
  • Captain Strong Elementary School (Grades 1-4)
  • Chief Umtuch Middle School (Grades 5-8)
  • Daybreak Primary School (Grades 1-4)
  • Daybreak Middle School (Grades 5-8)
  • Glenwood Heights Primary School (Grades 1-4)
  • Laurin Middle School (Grades 5-8)
  • Maple Grove Middle School (Grades 5-8)
  • Maple Grove Primary School (Grades 1-4)
  • Pleasant Valley Middle School (Grades 5-8)
  • Pleasant Valley Primary School (Grades 1-4) (Grades 9-12)
  • Tukes Valley Primary School (Grades 1-4)
  • Tukes Valley Middle School (Grades 5-8)
  • Yacolt Primary School (Grades 1-4)
  • CASEE (Admin and Summit View) (Summit View – Grades 9-12)
  • Community Education
  • Homelink/CAM Academy (Homelink – Grades 1-12) (CAM – Grades 3-12)

Chief Umtuch Primary School, the city's oldest primary school, was demolished in 2007. Lewisville Middle School was closed in 2007 but is still used for its gym, parking lot, and meetings.

School Name Relations
Captain Strong was named after Captain William Strong (See Origin of the name "Battle Ground"). Chief Umtuch was named after Chief Umtuch (See Origin of the name "Battle Ground").

Battle Ground is accessed from Interstate 5 at exits 9 and 11 and Interstate 205 at exit 32. State Route 502 and State Route 503 intersect in Battle Ground.

Bus services are provided by the local transit authority, C-Tran, to Downtown Vancouver, Delta Park/Vanport MAX Station, Clark College, Hazel Dell, Yacolt, and the Vancouver Mall.

Battle Ground is 18.5 miles from Portland International Airport, the closest large commercial airport.

Battle Ground is 25.5 miles from Portland, Oregon and 161 miles from Seattle, Washington.

Battle Ground has 2 different highways running in it WA 503 (Lewisville Highway/NE 117th Ave), and WA 502 (NE 219th St).

British capture Fort Washington

Hessian Lieutenant General Wilhelm von Knyphausen and a force of 3,000 Hessian mercenaries and 5,000 Redcoats lay siege to Fort Washington at the northern end and highest point of Manhattan Island.

Throughout the morning, Knyphausen met stiff resistance from the Patriot riflemen inside the fort, but by afternoon, the Patriots were overwhelmed, and the garrison commander, Colonel Robert Magaw, surrendered. Nearly 3,000 Patriots were taken prisoner, and valuable ammunition and supplies were lost to the Hessians. The prisoners faced a particularly grim fate: Many later died from deprivation and disease aboard British prison ships anchored in New York Harbor.

Among the 53 dead and 96 wounded Patriots were John and Margaret Corbin of Virginia. When John died in action, his wife Margaret took over his cannon, cleaning, loading and firing the gun until she too was severely wounded. The first woman known to have fought for the Continental Army, Margaret survived, but lost the use of her left arm.

Two weeks earlier, one of Magaw’s officers, William Demont, had deserted the Fifth Pennsylvania Battalion and given British intelligence agents information about the Patriot defense of New York, including details about the location and defense of Fort Washington. Demont was the first traitor to the Patriot cause, and his treason contributed significantly to Knyphausen’s victory.

Fort Washington stood at the current location of Bennett Park in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City, near the George Washington Bridge, at the corner of Fort Washington Avenue and 183rd Street. Fort Washington Park and Fort Washington Point lay beneath the site along the Hudson River.

Battle of Washington (Short-lived US)

The Battle of Washington was a battle during the War of 1812, in which the British took the American capital of Washington (which was later renamed Georgetown). Arthur Wellesley's army, now famous for its victories at Waterloo, New York, and Trenton, advanced on the capital on the afternoon of May 16, 1816.

The army made preparations during the night. Just after dawn, Wellesley's army commenced the attack. One division had travelled around to the other side of the city to prevent government officials from escaping. The battle was fierce, and at several points an American victory seemed likely, but the British won in the end.

Many Congressmen and Senators had fled before the battle, as had the vice president, but President James Madison was present, having made plans to leave the Capital the next day. When he heard that the battle had begun, he attempted to make an escape. His escape was cut short when stray fire hit his shoulder. He died of blood loss.

This victory was the penultimate step on the fall of the United States. After the battle, Wellesley's army pushed through the rest of the country all the way to New Orleans. The Meeting of the Armies over half a year later is seen as the last step on the fall of the USA.


Braddock had been dispatched to North America in the new position of Commander-in-Chief, bringing with him two regiments (the 44th and 48th) of troops from Ireland. [7] He added to this by recruiting local troops in British America, swelling his forces to roughly 2,200 by the time he set out from Fort Cumberland, Maryland on 29 May. [8] He was accompanied by Virginia Colonel George Washington, who had led the previous year's expedition to the area. [1]

Braddock's expedition was part of a four-pronged attack on the French in North America. Braddock's orders were to launch an attack into the Ohio Country, disputed by Britain and France. Control of the area was dominated by Fort Duquesne on the forks of the Ohio River. Once it was in his possession, he was to proceed on to Fort Niagara, establishing British control over the Ohio territory.

He soon encountered a number of difficulties. He was scornful of the need to recruit local Native Americans as scouts, and left with only eight Mingo guides. He found that the road he was trying to use was slow, and needed constant widening to move artillery and supply wagons along it. Frustrated, he split his force in two, leading a flying column ahead, with a slower force following with the cannon and wagons. [8]

The flying column of 1,300 crossed the Monongahela River on 9 July, within 10 miles (16 km) of their target, Fort Duquesne. Despite being very tired after weeks of crossing extremely hard terrain, many of the British and Americans anticipated a relatively easy victory—or even for the French to abandon the fort upon their approach. [9]

Fort Duquesne had been very lightly defended, but had recently received significant reinforcements. [10] Claude-Pierre Pecaudy de Contrecœur, the Canadian commander of the fort, had around 1,600 French troupes de la Marine, Canadian militiamen and Native American allies. Concerned by the approach of the British, he dispatched Captain Daniel Liénard de Beaujeu with around 800 troops, (108 Troupes de la Marine, 146 Canadian militia, and 600 Indians), [11] to check their advance. [12]

The French and Indians arrived too late to set an ambush, as they had been delayed, and the British had made surprisingly speedy progress. They ran into the British advance guard, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Gage. Seeing the enemy in the trees, Gage ordered his men to open fire. Despite firing at very long range for a smooth-bored musket, their opening volleys succeeded in killing Captain Beaujeu.

Unconcerned by the death of Beaujeu, the Indian warriors took up positions to attack. They were fighting on an Indian hunting ground which favored their tactics, with numerous trees and shrubbery separated by wide open spaces. The rolling platoon fire of the British initially caused roughly one hundred of the French to flee back to the fort. Captain Dumas rallied the rest of the French troops. The Indian tribes allied with the French, the Ottawas, Ojibwa and Potawatomis, used psychological warfare against the British. After the Indians killed British soldiers, they would nail their scalps to surrounding trees. During the battle, Indians made a terrifying "whoop" sound that caused fear and panic to spread in the British infantry. [13]

As they came under heavy fire, Gage's advance guard began taking casualties and withdrew. In the narrow confines of the road, they collided with the main body of Braddock's force, which had advanced rapidly when the shots were heard. Despite comfortably outnumbering their attackers, the British were immediately on the defensive. Most of the regulars were not accustomed to fighting in forest terrain, and were terrified by the deadly musket fire. Confusion reigned, and several British platoons fired at each other. [14] The entire column dissolved in disorder as the Canadian militiamen and Indians enveloped them and continued to snipe at the British flanks from the woods on the sides of the road. At this time, the French regulars began advancing along the road and began to push the British back. General Braddock rode forward to try to rally his men, who had lost all sense of unit cohesion.

Following Braddock's lead, the officers tried to reform units into regular order within the confines of the road. This effort was mostly in vain, and simply provided targets for their concealed enemy. Cannon were used, but due to the confines of the forest road, they were ineffective. Braddock had several horses shot under him, yet retained his composure, providing the only sign of order to the frightened British soldiers. [14] Many of the Americans, lacking the training of British regulars to stand their ground, fled and sheltered behind trees, where they were mistaken for enemy fighters by the redcoats, who fired upon them. [14] The rearguard, made up of Virginians, managed to fight effectively from the trees—something they had learned in previous years of fighting Indians. [15]

Despite the unfavorable conditions, the British began to stand firm and blast volleys at the enemy. Braddock believed that the enemy would eventually give way in the face of the discipline displayed by the English-led troops. Despite lacking officers to command them, the often makeshift platoons continued to hold their crude ranks.

Finally, after three hours of intense combat, Braddock was shot in the lung, possibly by one of his own men, [16] [17] and effective resistance collapsed. He fell from his horse, badly wounded, and was carried back to safety by his men. As a result of Braddock's wounding, and without an order being given, the British began to withdraw. They did so largely with order, until they reached the Monongahela River, when they were set upon by the Indian warriors. The Indians attacked with hatchets and scalping knives, after which panic spread among the British troops, and they began to break ranks and run, believing they were about to be massacred.

Colonel Washington, although he had no official position in the chain of command, was able to impose and maintain some order, and formed a rear guard, which allowed the remnants of the force to disengage. By sunset, the surviving British forces were fleeing back down the road they had built, carrying their wounded. Behind them on the road, bodies were piled high. The Indians did not pursue the fleeing redcoats, but instead set about scalping and looting the corpses of the wounded and dead, and drinking two hundred gallons of captured rum. [18]

A number of British soldiers and women were captured in the battle. Some of the soldiers were spared, as were most of the women, but around a dozen soldiers were tortured and burned to death by the Indians that night, witnessed by British prisoner James Smith. [19]

Daniel Boone, a famous American pioneer, explorer, woodsman, and frontiersman — and one of the first folk heroes of the United States — was among the soldiers involved in the battle. Boone served under Captain Hugh Waddell of North Carolina, whose militia unit was assigned in 1755 to serve under Braddock. Boone acted as a wagoner, along with his cousin Daniel Morgan, who would later be a key general in the American Revolution. [20] In the Battle of the Monongahela, Boone narrowly escaped death when the baggage wagons were assaulted by Indian troops - Boone escaped, it is said, by cutting his wagons and fleeing. Boone remained critical of Braddock's blunders for the rest of his life. [21] While on the campaign, Boone met John Finley, a packer who worked for George Croghan in the trans-Appalachian fur trade. Finley first interested Boone in the abundance of game and other natural wonders of the Ohio Valley. Finley took Boone on his first hunting trip to Kentucky 12 years later. [22]

America’s First President

In 1783, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris between Great Britain and the U.S., Washington, believing he had done his duty, gave up his command of the army and returned to Mount Vernon, intent on resuming his life as a gentleman farmer and family man. However, in 1787, he was asked to attend the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and head the committee to draft the new constitution. His impressive leadership there convinced the delegates that he was by far the most qualified man to become the nation’s first president.

At first Washington balked. He wanted to, at last, return to a quiet life at home and leave governing the new nation to others. But public opinion was so strong that eventually he gave in. The first presidential election was held on January 7, 1789, and Washington won handily. John Adams (1735-1826), who received the second-largest number of votes, became the nation’s first vice president. The 57-year-old Washington was inaugurated on April 30, 1789, in New York City. Because Washington, D.C., America’s future capital city wasn’t yet built, he lived in New York and Philadelphia. While in office, he signed a bill establishing a future, permanent U.S. capital along the Potomac River—the city later named Washington, D.C., in his honor.

The Battle of Princeton

In a stroke of strategic genius, General George Washington manages to evade conflict with General Charles Cornwallis, who had been dispatched to Trenton to bag the fox (Washington), and wins several encounters with the British rear guard, as it departs Princeton for Trenton, New Jersey.

Deeply concerned by Washington’s victory over the British at Trenton on December 26, 1776, Cornwallis arrived with his troops in Trenton on the evening of January 2 prepared to overwhelm Washington’s 5,000 exhausted, if exuberant, Continentals and militia with his 8,000 Redcoats. Washington knew better than to engage such a force and Cornwallis knew Washington would try to escape overnight, but he was left to guess at what course Washington would take. 

਌ornwallis sent troops to guard the Delaware River, expecting Washington to reverse the route he took for the midnight crossing on December 25. Instead, Washington left his campfires burning, muffled the wheels of his army’s wagons and snuck around the side of the British camp. As the Continentals headed north at dawn, they met the straggling British rear guard, which they outnumbered 5 to 1.

Forty Patriots and 275 British soldiers died during ensuing Battle of Princeton. After the defeat, the Howe brothers (General William and Admiral Richard) chose to leave most of New Jersey to Washington. Instead of marshalling their significant manpower to retake New Jersey, they concentrated all of their forces between New Brunswick and the Atlantic coast.

Battle of Brandywine

Result: british victory

In August 1777, George Washington was confused. His adversary, General William Howe, left northern New Jersey by ship and Washington was forced to guess his intentions and eventual destination. Following a three-week journey at sea, Howe elanded at Head of Elk, Maryland, where the Susquehanna empties into the Chesapeake Bay. He was now poised to attack Philadelphia, the capital of the United States.

To counter Howe's move towards Philadelphia, Washington positioned his 16,000 men along Brandywine Creek and its main crossing at Chadds Ford. While his position was strongest at the center and on the left flank, Washington's right flank was not secured by natural terrain and was vulnerable to attack. Rather than force a crossing with his entire force at Chadds Ford, Howe took advantage of unguarded crossings north of Washington's position to threaten the American right flank. Although Washington reoriented his right flank to meet Howe's advance, his troops eventually retreated and British forces entered Philadelphia two weeks later.

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