The miraculous story of ‘The Bulletproof President’ once appeared in virtually every student text in America. At the Battle at the Monongahela, Washington and the British army were ambushed by the French. Every officer on horseback was killed except Washington. He later wrote to his brother John on July 18, 1755:
But by the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me.
The French and Indian War occurred twenty years before the American Revolution. It was the British against the French; the Americans sided with the British; and most of the Indians sided with the French. Both Great Britain and France disputed each others’ claims of territorial ownership along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers; both of them claimed the same land.
Unable to settle the dispute diplomatically, Great Britain sent 2300 hand-picked, veteran British troops to America under General Edward Braddock to rout the French.
The British troops arrived in Virginia, where George Washington (colonel of the Virginia militia) and 100 Virginia buckskins joined General Braddock. They divided their force; and General Braddock, George Washington, and 1300 troops marched north to expel the French from Fort Duquesne — now the city of Pittsburgh. On July 9, 1755 — only seven miles from the fort — while marching through a wooded ravine, they walked right into an ambush; the French and Indians opened fire on them from both sides.
But these were British veterans; they knew exactly what to do. The problem was, they were veterans of European wars. European warfare was all in the open. One army lined up at one end of an open field, the other army lined up at the other end, they looked at each other, took aim, and fired. No running, no hiding, But here they were in the Pennsylvania woods with the French and Indians firing at them from the tops of trees, from behind rocks, and from under logs.
When they came under fire, the British troops did exactly what they had been taught; they lined up shoulder-to-shoulder in the bottom of that ravine — and were slaughtered. At the end of two hours, 714 of the 1300 British and American troops had been shot down; only 30 of the French and Indians had been shot.
There were 86 British and American officers involved in that battle; at the end of the battle, George Washington was the only officer who had not been shot down off his horse — he was the only officer left on horseback.
Following this resounding defeat, Washington gathered the remaining troops and retreated back to Fort Cumberland in western Maryland, arriving there on July 17, 1755.
The next day, Washington wrote a letter to his family explaining that after the battle was over, he had taken off his jacket and had found four bullet holes through it, yet not a single bullet had touched him; several horses had been shot from under him, but he had not been harmed. He told them: By the all powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation.
Washington openly acknowledged that God’s hand was upon him, that God had protected him and kept him through that battle.
However, the story does not stop here. Fifteen years later, in 1770 — now a time of peace — George Washington and a close personal friend, Dr. James Craik, returned to those same Pennsylvania woods. An old Indian chief from far away, having heard that Washington had come back to those woods, traveled a long way just to meet with him.
He sat down with Washington, and face-to-face over a council fire, the chief told Washington that he had been a leader in that battle fifteen years earlier, and that he had instructed his braves to single out all the officers and shoot them down. Washington had been singled out, and the chief explained that he personally had shot at Washington seventeen different times, but without effect. Believing Washington to be under the care of the Great Spirit, the chief instructed his braves to cease firing at him. He then told Washington:
I have traveled a long and weary path that I might see the young warrior of the great battle….I am come to pay homage to the man who is the particular favorite of Heaven, and who can never die in battle.
The Spiritual Journey of George Washington by bestselling author Janice T. Connell illumines the rare but supremely brilliant leadership of the first and only unanimously elected President of the United States. George Washington, modest yet elegant, handsome, always projecting strength, graciousness and power, was universally considered the most humble man who ever lived. Born into modest circumstances, he wholeheartedly responded to whatever opportunities life offered him. Self-taught Washington was no stranger to sorrow, cold, hunger, persecution, violence, or terrorism, yet he was at home not only in the wilds of the frontier, but equally so in the finest salons of the times. His singular accomplishment was to face misfortune and conquer it. This greatest of all American heroes achieved startling victory by discipline, commitment, prayer, and the graced ability to bend his will under the yoke of what he called “Kind Providence”. With precision and detail in a rare look at his extraordinary leadership through the prism of George Washington’s interior depths, the author briefly examines: – his boyhood scarred by the early death of his father, – -his life as a young surveyor on the dangerous frontier, – his heroics as a militia leader in the French and Indian War, – his place at the Continental Congress, – his unwanted assignment as Commander-in Chief during the Revolutionary War, – his desolation at Valley Forge, – his silent triumph at the Constitutional Convention, – his simplicity during the heights of his presidency, – his mystical premonitions during his retirement at Mount Vernon – his spiritual and religious circumstances surrounding his sudden death in the darkness of mid-December, 1799. Held in the highest regard by his fellow citizens, history has canonized George Washington as the most esteemed of the Founding Fathers. At the root of that esteem was his deeply private spirituality. The Spiritual Journey of George Washington includes the full text of Washington’s personal prayers (some possibly composed by Washington himself) and Jesuit inspired Rules of Civility by which George Washington conducted himself personally. It also includes the Declaration of Independence by which George Washington became the military leader responsible for carving out a new nation.The book reveals insights concerning military, political and social victories Washington achieved through sincere, humble leadership he perfected using his Bible as a guideline for just behavior in peace and war. Washington went about feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing and sheltering the needy, visiting the imprisoned, caring for the sick and burying the dead. As General George Washington counseled, instructed, admonished, fought, forgave and prayed for others, he forged a path of national opportunity for American citizens to acquire undreamed of prosperity and abundance. In contemporary times wracked by wars, terrorism, disease, starvation, confusion and tyranny, The Spiritual Journey of George Washington has wisdom for everyone of good will. Washington’s accomplishments and writings disclose that “Kind Providence” truly was in him, around him, and always with him. The book contains excerpts of Washington’s Farewell Address that continues to guide Americans more than two hundred years later. The nurturing light of George Washington’s spirituality is his finest bequest to all people who seek life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Biography. A gripping portrait of the first president of the United States from the author of Alexander Hamilton, the New York Times bestselling biography that inspired the musical.
Celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation and the first president of the United States. With a breadth and depth matched by no other one volume biography of George Washington, this crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his adventurous early years, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America’s first president. In this groundbreaking work, based on massive research, Chernow shatters forever the stereotype of George Washington as a stolid, unemotional figure and brings to vivid life a dashing, passionate man of fiery opinions and many moods.
To this landmark biography of our first president, Joseph J. Ellis brings the exacting scholarship, shrewd analysis, and lyric prose that have made him one of the premier historians of the Revolutionary era. Training his lens on a figure who sometimes seems as remote as his effigy on Mount Rushmore, Ellis assesses George Washington as a military and political leader and a man whose “statue-like solidity” concealed volcanic energies and emotions.
Here is the impetuous young officer whose miraculous survival in combat half-convinced him that he could not be killed. Here is the free-spending landowner whose debts to English merchants instilled him with a prickly resentment of imperial power. We see the general who lost more battles than he won and the reluctant president who tried to float above the partisan feuding of his cabinet. His Excellency is a magnificent work, indispensable to an understanding not only of its subject but also of the nation he brought into being.