Battle of White Marsh
The Battle of White Marsh or Battle of Edge Hill was a battle of the Philadelphia campaign of the American Revolutionary War fought December 5–8, 1777, in the area surrounding Whitemarsh Township, Pennsylvania. The battle, which took the form of a series of skirmish actions, was the last major engagement of 1777 between British and American forces. George Washington, commander-in-chief of the American revolutionary forces, spent the weeks after his defeat at the Battle of Germantown encamped with the Continental Army in various locations throughout Montgomery County, just north of British-occupied Philadelphia. In early November, the Americans established an entrenched position 16 miles north of Philadelphia along the Wissahickon Creek and Sandy Run situated on several hills between Old York Road and Bethlehem Pike. From here, Washington evaluated his options. On December 4, Gen. Sir William Howe, the commander-in-chief of British forces in North America, led a sizable contingent of troops out of Philadelphia in one last attempt to destroy Washington and the Continental Army before the onset of winter.
After a series of skirmishes, Howe called off the attack and returned to Philadelphia without engaging Washington in a decisive conflict. With the British back in Philadelphia, Washington was able to march his troops to winter quarters at Valley Forge. After their October 4, 1777, defeat at the Battle of Germantown, Washington's army retreated along Skippack Pike to Pawling's Mill, beyond the Perkiomen Creek, where they remained encamped until October 8, they marched east on Skippack Pike, turned left on Forty-Foot Road, marched to Sumneytown Pike, where they camped on the property of Frederick Wampole near Kulpsville in Towamencin Township. While there, Brig. Gen. Francis Nash died of wounds incurred at Germantown and was buried in the Mennonite Meeting Cemetery. Washington remained at Towamencin for one week, gathering supplies and waiting to see if Howe would move against him. On October 16, Washington moved his forces to Methacton Hill in Worcester Township. After learning of Howe's withdrawal from Germantown to Philadelphia, Washington moved his army to Whitpain, 5 miles closer to Philadelphia, on October 20.
On October 29, Washington's army numbered 8,313 Continentals and 2,717 militia, although the terms of enlistment of many soldiers from Maryland and Virginia were due to expire. With his ranks reinforced, Washington dispatched a brigade to assist with the defense of Forts Mifflin and Mercer, on the Delaware River. On November 2, at the recommendation of his council of war, Washington marched his forces to White Marsh 13 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Washington established headquarters at the Emlen House, where his aides were quartered. At White Marsh, the army began to build redoubts and defensive works, including abatis in front of their encampment. After the surrender of British Lt. Gen. John Burgoyne after the Battles of Saratoga, Washington began drawing troops from the north, including the 1,200 men of Varnum's Rhode Island brigade, about 1,000 more men from various Pennsylvania and Virginia units. Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates sent Col. Daniel Morgan's rifle corps, the brigades of Paterson and Glover.
With these additional forces, the pending onset of winter, Washington had to face the problem of supplying his army. A quarter of the troops were barefooted, there were few blankets or warm clothing. Washington became so desperate that he offered a reward of $10 to the person who could supply the "best substitute for shoes, made of raw hides". Morale was so low and desertion so common that Washington offered a pardon on October 24 to all deserters who returned by January 1. Washington's loss of Philadelphia and inactivity brought criticism from Congress, who pressured him to attack the city, he therefore called a council of war on November 24 which voted against an attack 11 to 4. Nonetheless, Washington rode out the next day to view the British defenses, which turned to be stronger than he had expected. On October 19, Howe withdrew the British forces from Germantown and focused on the defense of Philadelphia. British military engineer Capt. John Montresor supervised the building of a series of fourteen formidable redoubts that began at Upper Ferry, along the Schuylkill River, extended eastward to the shores of the Delaware River, just north of Philadelphia.
Howe took advantage of his time in Philadelphia to raise additional forces from the loyalist population in the region. Newly-promoted Maj. John Graves Simcoe reinforced his unit, the Queen's Rangers, which had lost over a quarter of its men at the Battle of Brandywine. William Allen, Jr. the son of notable loyalist William Allen, raised the 1st Battalion of Pennsylvania Loyalists, was made its lieutenant colonel. Loyalist James Chalmers raised the 1st Battalion of Maryland Loyalists, was given its command. Recruitment took place among the city's Irish Catholic population, with the formation of the Irish Catholic Volunteers, in the counties surrounding Philadelphia. In mid-November, the fall of Forts Mifflin and Mercer ended American control of the Delaware River, much-needed supplies began arriving at the city's docks, along with 2,000 additional British soldiers; the weeks with two major armies sitting within miles of each other were not without conflict, a petite guerre ensued in the no man's land between White Marsh and Northern Liberties.
Minor skirmishes between light troops increased in intensity throughout November, with daily losses being incurred by both the British and the Americans. In retaliation, on November 22, Howe ordered his troops to set fire
George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River
George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River, which occurred on the night of December 25–26, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War, was the first move in a surprise attack organized by George Washington against the Hessian forces in Trenton, New Jersey, on the morning of December 26. Planned in partial secrecy, Washington led a column of Continental Army troops across the icy Delaware River in a logistically challenging and dangerous operation. Other planned crossings in support of the operation were either called off or ineffective, but this did not prevent Washington from surprising and defeating the troops of Johann Rall quartered in Trenton; the army crossed the river back to Pennsylvania, this time laden with prisoners and military stores taken as a result of the battle. Washington's army crossed the river a third time at the end of the year, under conditions made more difficult by the uncertain thickness of the ice on the river, they defeated British reinforcements under Lord Cornwallis at Trenton on January 2, 1777, defeated his rear guard at Princeton on January 3, before retreating to winter quarters in Morristown, New Jersey.
The unincorporated communities of Washington Crossing and Washington Crossing, New Jersey, are named in honor of this event. While 1776 had started well for the American cause with the evacuation of British troops from Boston in March, the defense of New York City had gone quite poorly. British general William Howe had landed troops on Long Island in August and had pushed George Washington's Continental Army out of New York by mid-November, when he captured the remaining troops on Manhattan; the main British troops returned to New York for the winter season. They left Hessian troops in New Jersey; these troops were under the command of Colonel Von Donop. They were ordered to small outposts around Trenton. Howe sent troops under the command of Charles Cornwallis across the Hudson River into New Jersey and chased Washington across New Jersey. Washington's army was shrinking, due to expiring enlistments and desertions, suffered from poor morale, due to the defeats in the New York area. Most of Washington's army crossed the Delaware River into Pennsylvania north of Trenton, New Jersey, destroyed or moved to the western shore all boats for miles in both directions.
Cornwallis, rather than attempting to chase Washington further, established a chain of outposts from New Brunswick to Burlington, including one at Bordentown and one at Trenton, ordered his troops into winter quarters. The British were happy to end the campaign season; this was a time for the generals to regroup, re-supply, strategize for the upcoming campaign season the following spring. Washington encamped the army near McKonkey's Ferry, not far from the crossing site. While Washington at first took quarters across the river from Trenton, he moved his headquarters on December 15 to the home of William Keith so he could remain closer to his forces; when Washington's army first arrived at McKonkey's Ferry, he had four to six thousand men, although 1,700 soldiers were unfit for duty and needed hospital care. In the retreat across New Jersey Washington had lost precious supplies, as well as losing contact with two important divisions of his army. General Horatio Gates was in the Hudson River Valley and General Charles Lee was in western New Jersey with 2,000 men.
Washington had ordered both generals to join him, but Gates was delayed by heavy snows en route, Lee, who did not have a high opinion of Washington, delayed following repeated orders, preferring to remain on the British flank near Morristown, New Jersey. Other problems affected the quality of his forces. Many of his men's enlistments were due to expire before Christmas, many soldiers were inclined to leave the army when their commission ended. Several deserted before their enlistments were up; the pending loss of forces, the series of lost battles, the loss of New York, the flight of the Army along with many New Yorkers and the Second Continental Congress to Philadelphia, left many in doubt about the prospects of winning the war. But Washington persisted, he procured supplies and dispatched men to recruit new members of the militia, successful in part due to British and Hessian mistreatment of New Jersey and Pennsylvania residents. The losses at Fort Lee and Washington placed a heavy toll on the Patriots.
When they evacuated their forts, they were forced to leave behind critical munitions. Many troops had been killed or taken prisoner, the morale of the remaining troops was low. Few believed that they could win the gain independence, but the morale of the Patriot forces was boosted on December 19 when a new pamphlet titled The American Crisis written by Thomas Paine, the author of Common Sense, was published. These are the times. Tyranny, like hell, is not conquered. Within a day of its publication in Philadelphia, General Washington ordered it to be read to all of his troops, it improved their tolerance of their difficult conditions. On December 20, General Lee's division of 2,000 troops arrived in Washington's camp under the command of General John Sullivan. General Lee had been captured by the British on December 12, when he ventured too far outside the protection of his troops in search of more comfortable lodgings (or, according to rumors, a possible assignat
Siege of Yorktown
The Siege of Yorktown known as the Battle of Yorktown, the Surrender at Yorktown, German Battle or the Siege of Little York, ending on October 19, 1781, at Yorktown, was a decisive victory by a combined force of American Continental Army troops led by General George Washington and French Army troops led by the Comte de Rochambeau over a British Army commanded by British peer and Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis. The culmination of the Yorktown campaign, the siege proved to be the last major land battle of the American Revolutionary War in the North American theater, as the surrender by Cornwallis, the capture of both him and his army, prompted the British government to negotiate an end to the conflict; the battle boosted faltering American morale and revived French enthusiasm for the war, as well as undermining popular support for the conflict in Great Britain. In 1780, about 5,500 French soldiers landed in Rhode Island to help their American allies fight the British troops who controlled New York City.
Following the arrival of dispatches from France that included the possibility of support from the French West Indies fleet of the Comte de Grasse and Rochambeau decided to ask de Grasse for assistance either in besieging New York, or in military operations against a British army operating in Virginia. On the advice of Rochambeau, de Grasse informed them of his intent to sail to the Chesapeake Bay, where Cornwallis had taken command of the army. Cornwallis, at first given confusing orders by his superior officer, Henry Clinton, was ordered to build a defensible deep-water port, which he began to do in Yorktown. Cornwallis' movements in Virginia were shadowed by a Continental Army force led by the Marquis de Lafayette; the French and American armies united north of New York City during the summer of 1781. When word of de Grasse's decision arrived, both armies began moving south toward Virginia, engaging in tactics of deception to lead the British to believe a siege of New York was planned. De Grasse sailed from the West Indies and arrived at the Chesapeake Bay at the end of August, bringing additional troops and creating a naval blockade of Yorktown.
He was transporting 500,000 silver pesos collected from the citizens of Havana, Cuba, to fund supplies for the siege and payroll for the Continental Army. While in Santo Domingo, de Grasse met with Francisco Saavedra de Sangronis, an agent of Carlos III of Spain. De Grasse had planned to leave several of his warships in Santo Domingo. Saavedra promised the assistance of the Spanish navy to protect the French merchant fleet, enabling de Grasse to sail north with all of his warships. In the beginning of September, he defeated a British fleet led by Sir Thomas Graves that came to relieve Cornwallis at the Battle of the Chesapeake; as a result of this victory, de Grasse blocked any escape by sea for Cornwallis. By late September and Rochambeau arrived, the army and naval forces surrounded Cornwallis. After initial preparations, the Americans and French built their first parallel and began the bombardment. With the British defense weakened, on October 14, 1781, Washington sent two columns to attack the last major remaining British outer defenses.
A French column under Wilhelm of the Palatinate-Zweibrücken took Redoubt No. 9 and an American column under Alexander Hamilton took Redoubt No. 10. With these defenses taken, the allies were able to finish their second parallel. With the American artillery closer and its bombardment more intense than the British position began to deteriorate rapidly. Cornwallis asked for capitulation terms on October 17. After two days of negotiation, the surrender ceremony occurred on October 19. With the capture of more than 7,000 British soldiers, negotiations between the United States and Great Britain began, resulting in the Treaty of Paris of 1783. On December 20, 1780, Benedict Arnold sailed from New York with 1,500 troops to Portsmouth, Virginia, he first raided Richmond, defeating the defending militia, from January 5–7 before falling back to Portsmouth. Admiral Destouches, who arrived in Newport, Rhode Island in July 1780 with a fleet transporting 5,500 soldiers, was encouraged by Washington and French Lieutenant General Rochambeau to move his fleet south, launch a joint land-naval attack on Arnold's troops.
The Marquis de Lafayette was sent south with 1,200 men to help with the assault. However, Destouches was reluctant to dispatch many ships, in February sent only three. After they proved ineffective, he took a larger force of 8 ships in March 1781, fought a tactically inconclusive battle with the British fleet of Marriot Arbuthnot at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. Destouches withdrew due to the damage sustained to his fleet, leaving Arbuthnot and the British fleet in control of the bay's mouth. On March 26, Arnold was joined by 2,300 troops under command of Major General William Phillips, who took command of the combined forces. Phillips resumed raiding, defeating the militia at Blandford burning the tobacco warehouses at Petersburg on April 25. Richmond was about to suffer the same fate; the British, not wanting to engage in a major battle, withdrew to Petersburg on May 10. On May 20, Charles Cornwallis arrived at Petersburg with 1,500 men after suffering heavy casualties at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.
He assumed command, as Phillips had died of a fever. Cornwallis had not received permission to abandon the Carolinas from his superior, Henry Clinton, but he believed that Virginia would be easier to capture, feeling that it would approve of an invading British army. With the arrival of Cornwallis and more reinforcements from New York, the British Army numbered 7,200 men. Cornwallis wanted to push Lafayette, whose force now
Battle of Trenton
The Battle of Trenton was a small but pivotal battle during the American Revolutionary War which took place on the morning of December 26, 1776, in Trenton, New Jersey. After General George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River north of Trenton the previous night, Washington led the main body of the Continental Army against Hessian mercenaries garrisoned at Trenton. After a brief battle two-thirds of the Hessian force was captured, with negligible losses to the Americans; the battle boosted the Continental Army's flagging morale, inspired re-enlistments. The Continental Army had suffered several defeats in New York and had been forced to retreat through New Jersey to Pennsylvania. Morale in the army was low; because the river was icy and the weather severe, the crossing proved dangerous. Two detachments were unable to cross the river, leaving Washington with only 2,400 men under his command in the assault, 3,000 less than planned; the army marched 9 miles south to Trenton. The Hessians had lowered their guard, thinking they were safe from the American army, had no long-distance outposts or patrols.
Washington's forces caught them off guard and, after a short but fierce resistance, most of the Hessians surrendered and were captured, with just over a third escaping across Assunpink Creek. Despite the battle's small numbers, the American victory inspired rebels in the colonies. With the success of the revolution in doubt a week earlier, the army had seemed on the verge of collapse; the dramatic victory attracted new recruits to the ranks. In early December 1776, American morale was low; the Americans had been ousted from New York by the British and their Hessian auxiliaries, the Continental Army was forced to retreat across New Jersey. Ninety percent of the Continental Army soldiers who had served at Long Island were gone. Men had deserted. Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, expressed some doubts, writing to his cousin in Virginia, "I think the game is pretty near up."At the time a small town in New Jersey, was occupied by four regiments of Hessian soldiers commanded by Colonel Johann Rall.
Washington's force comprised 2,400 men, with infantry divisions commanded by Major Generals Nathanael Greene and John Sullivan, artillery under the direction of Brigadier General Henry Knox. George Washington had stationed a spy named posing as a Tory, in Trenton. Honeyman had served with Major General James Wolfe in Quebec at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham on September 13, 1759, had no trouble establishing his credentials as a Tory. Honeyman was a bartender, who traded with the British and Hessians; this enabled him to gather intelligence, to convince the Hessians that the Continental Army was in such a low state of morale that they would not attack Trenton. Shortly before Christmas, he arranged to be captured by the Continental Army, who had orders to bring him to Washington unharmed. After being questioned by Washington, he was imprisoned in a hut, to be tried as a Tory in the morning, but a small fire broke out nearby, enabling him to "escape." The American plan relied on launching coordinated attacks from three directions.
General John Cadwalader would launch a diversionary attack against the British garrison at Bordentown, New Jersey, to block off reinforcements from the south. General James Ewing would take 700 militia across the river at Trenton Ferry, seize the bridge over the Assunpink Creek and prevent enemy troops from escaping; the main assault force of 2,400 men would cross the river 9 mi north of Trenton and split into two groups, one under Greene and one under Sullivan, to launch a pre-dawn attack. Sullivan would attack the town from the south, Greene from the north. Depending on the success of the operation, the Americans would follow up with separate attacks on Princeton and New Brunswick. During the week before the battle, American advance parties began to ambush enemy cavalry patrols, capturing dispatch riders and attacking Hessian pickets; the Hessian commander, to emphasize the danger to his men, sent 100 infantry and an artillery detachment to deliver a letter to the British commander at Princeton.
Washington ordered Ewing and his Pennsylvania militia to try to gain information on Hessian movements and technology. Ewing instead made three successful raids across the river. On December 17 and 18, 1776, they attacked an outpost of jägers and on the 21st, they set fire to several houses. Washington put constant watches on all possible crossings near the Continental Army encampment on the Delaware, as he believed William Howe would launch an attack from the north on Philadelphia if the river froze over. On December 20, 1776, some 2,000 troops led by General Sullivan arrived in Washington's camp, they had been under the command of Charles Lee, had been moving through northern New Jersey when Lee was captured. That same day, an additional 800 troops arrived from Fort Ticonderoga under the command of Horatio Gates. On December 14, 1776, the Hessians arrived in Trenton to establish their winter quarters. At the time, Trenton was a small town with about 100 houses and two main streets, King Street and Queen Street.
Carl von Donop, Rall's superior, had marched south to Mount Holly on December 22 to deal with the resistance in New Jersey, had clashed with some New Jersey militia there on December 23. Donop, who despised Rall, was reluctant to give command of Trent
The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
George Washington in the American Revolution
George Washington commanded the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. After serving as President of the United States, he was in charge of a new army in 1798. Washington, despite his youth, played a major role in the frontier wars against the French and Indians in the 1750s and 1760s, he played the leading military role in the American Revolution. When the war broke out with the Battles of Lexington and Concord in April 1775, Congress appointed him the first commander-in-chief of the new Continental Army on June 14; the task he took on was enormous, balancing regional demands, competition among his subordinates, morale among the rank and file, attempts by Congress to manage the army's affairs too requests by state governors for support, an endless need for resources with which to feed, equip and move the troops. He was not in command of the many state militia units. In the early years of the war Washington was in the middle of the action, first directing the Siege of Boston to its successful conclusion, but losing New York City and losing New Jersey before winning surprising and decisive victories at Trenton and Princeton at the end of the 1776 campaign season.
At the end of the year in both 1775 and 1776, he had to deal with expiring enlistments, since the Congress had only authorized the army's existence for single years. With the 1777 establishment of a more permanent army structure and the introduction of three-year enlistments, Washington built a reliable stable of experienced troops, although hard currency and supplies of all types were difficult to come by. In 1777 Washington was again defeated in the defense of Philadelphia, but sent critical support to Horatio Gates that made the defeat of Burgoyne at Saratoga possible. Following a difficult winter at Valley Forge and the entry of France into the war in 1778, Washington followed the British army as it withdrew from Philadelphia back to New York, fought an inconclusive battle at Monmouth Court House in New Jersey. Washington's activities from late 1778 to 1780 were more diplomatic and organizational, as his army remained outside New York, watching Sir Henry Clinton's army that occupied the city.
Washington strategized with the French on how best to cooperate in actions against the British, leading to unsuccessful attempts to dislodge the British from Newport, Rhode Island and Savannah, Georgia. His attention was drawn to the frontier war, which prompted the 1779 Continental Army expedition of John Sullivan into upstate New York; when General Clinton sent the turncoat General Benedict Arnold to raid in Virginia, Washington began to detach elements of his army to face the growing threat there. The arrival of Lord Cornwallis in Virginia after campaigning in the south presented Washington with an opportunity to strike a decisive blow. Washington's army and the French army moved south to face Cornwallis, a cooperative French navy under Admiral de Grasse disrupted British attempts to control of the Chesapeake Bay, completing the entrapment of Cornwallis, who surrendered after the Siege of Yorktown in October 1781. Although Yorktown marked the end of significant hostilities in North America, the British still occupied New York and other cities, so Washington had to maintain the army in the face of a bankrupt Congress and troops that were at times mutinous over conditions and pay.
The army was formally disbanded after peace in 1783, Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief on December 23, 1783. Born into a well-to-do Virginia family near Fredericksburg in 1732, Washington was schooled locally until the age of 15; the early death of his father when he was 11 eliminated the possibility of schooling in England, his mother rejected attempts to place him in the Royal Navy. Thanks to the connection by marriage of his half-brother Lawrence to the wealthy Fairfax family, Washington was appointed surveyor of Culpeper County in 1749. Washington's brother had purchased an interest in the Ohio Company, a land acquisition and settlement company whose objective was the settlement of Virginia's frontier areas, including the Ohio Country, territory north and west of the Ohio River, its investors included Virginia's Royal Governor, Robert Dinwiddie, who appointed Washington a major in the provincial militia in February 1753. Washington played a key role in the outbreak of the French and Indian War, led the defense of Virginia between 1755 and 1758 as colonel of the Virginia Regiment.
Although Washington never received a commission in the British Army, he gained valuable military and leadership skills, received significant public exposure in the colonies and abroad. He observed British military tactics, gaining a keen insight into their strengths and weaknesses that proved invaluable during the Revolution, he demonstrated his toughness and courage in the most difficult situations, including disasters and retreats. He developed a command presence—given his size, strength and bravery in battle, he appeared to soldiers to be a natural leader and they followed him without question. Washington learned to organize and drill, discipline his companies and regiments. From his observations and conversations with professional officers, he learned the basics of battlefield tactics, as well as a good understanding of problems of organization and logistics, he gained an understanding of overall strategy in locating strategic geographical points. He developed a negative idea of the value of militia, who seemed too unreliable, too undisciplined, too short-term compared to regulars.
On the other hand, his ex