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sipations, and was proud with the intense pride of
a limited intelligence and a nature incapable of
physical fear. It would be difficult to conceive of
a man more unfit to be entrusted with the task of
marching through the wilderness and sweeping the
French from the Ohio. All the conditions which
confronted him were unfamiliar and beyond his ex-
perience. He cordially despised the provincials who
were essential to his success, and lost no opportunity



ON THE FRONTIER. 81

of showing his contempt for them. The colonists
on their side, especially in Pennsylvania, gave him,
unfortunately, only too much ground for irritation
and disgust. They were delighted to see this bril-
liant force come from England to fight their battles,
but they kept on wrangling and holding back, refus-
ing money and supplies, and doing nothing. Brad-
dock chafed and delayed, swore angrily, and lingered
still. Washington strove to help him, but de-
fended his country fearlessly against wholesale and
furious attacks.

Finally the army began to move, but so slowly
and after so much delay that they did not reach
Will's Creek until the middle of May. Here came
another exasperating pause, relieved only by Frank-
lin, who by giving his own tune, ability, and money,
supplied the necessary wagons. Then they pushed
on again, but with the utmost slowness. With su-
preme difficulty they made an elaborate road over
the mountains as they marched, and did not reach
the Little Meadows until June 16th. Then at last
Braddock turned to his young aide for the counsel
which had already been proffered and rejected many
times. Washington advised the division of the
army, so that the main body could hurry forward in
light marching order while a detachment remained
behind and brought up the heavy baggage. This
plan was adopted, and the army started forward,
still too heavily burdened, as Washington thought,
but in somewhat better trim for the wilderness
than before. Their progress, quickened as it was,



5of y



82 GEORGE WASHINGTON.

still seemed slow to Washington, but lie was taken
ill with a fever, and finally was compelled by Brad-
dock to stop for rest at the ford of Youghiogany.
He made Braddock promise that he should be
brought up before the army reached Fort Duquesne,
and wrote to his friend Orme that he would not
miss the impending battle for ^\q hundred pounds.

As soon as his fever abated a little he left Col-
onel Dunbar, and, being unable to sit on a horse,
was conveyed to the front in a wagon, coming up
with the army on July 8th. He was just in time,
for the next day the troops forded the Monongahela
and marched to attack the fort. The splendid ap-
pearance of the soldiers as they crossed the river
roused Washington's enthusiasm ; but he was not
without misgivings. Franklin had already warned
Braddock against the danger of surprise, and had
been told with a sneer that while these savages
might be a formidable enemy to raw American
militia, they could make no impression on disciplined
troops. Now at the last moment Washington
warned the general again and was angrily rebuked.

The troops marched on in ordered ranks, glitter-
ing and beautiful. Suddenly firing was heard in
the front, and presently the van was flung back on
the main body. Yells and war-whoops resounded
on every side, and an unseen enemy poured in a
deadly fire. Washington begged Braddock to
throw his men into the, woods, but all in vain.
Fight in platoons they must, or not at all. The
result was that they did not fight at all. They



ON THE FRONTIER. 83

became panic-stricken, and huddled together, over-
come with fear, until at last when Braddock was
mortally wounded they broke in wild rout and fled.
Of the regular troops, seven hundred, and of the
officers, who showed the utmost bravery, sixty-two
out of eighty-six, were killed or wounded. Two
hundred Frenchmen and six hundred Indians
achieved this signal victory. The only thing that
could be called fighting on the English side was
done by the Virginians, " the raw American mili-
tia," who, spread out as skirmishers, met their foes
on their own ground, and were cut off almost to a
man.

Washington at the outset flung himself head-
long into the fight. He rode up and down the field,
carrying orders and striving to rally "the das-
tards," as he afterwards called the regular troops.
He endeavored to bring up the artillery, but the
men would not serve the guns, although he aimed
and discharged one himself. All through that
dreadful carnage he rode fiercely aboutj raging
with the excitement of battle, and utterly exposed
from beginning to end. Even now it makes the
heart beat quicker to think of him amid the smoke
and slaughter as he dashed hither and thither,
his face glowing and his eyes shining with the
fierce light of battle, leading on his own Virgin-
ians, and trying to stay the tide of disaster. He
had two horses shot under him and four bullets
through his coat. The Indians thought he bore a
charmed life, while his death was reported in the



84 GEORGE WASHINGTON.

colonies, together with his dying speech, which, he
dryly wrote to his brother, he had not yet com-
posed.

When the troops broke it was Washington who
gathered the fugitives and brought off the dying-
general. It was he who rode on to meet Dunbar,
and rallying the fugitives enabled the wretched
remnants to take up their march for the settle-
ments. He it was who laid Braddock in the grave
four days after the defeat, and read over the dead
the solemn words of the English service. Wise,
sensible, and active in the advance, splendidly
reckless on the day of battle, cool and collected
on the retreat, Washington alone emerged from
that history of disaster with added glory. Again
he comes before us as, above all things, the fighting
man, hot-blooded and fierce in action, and utterly
indifferent to the danger which excited and de-
lighted him. But the earlier lesson had not been
useless. He showed a prudence and wisdom in
counsel which were not apparent in the first of his
campaigns, and he no longer thought that courage
was all-sufficient, or that any enemy could be de-
spised. He was plainly one of those who could
learn. His first experience had borne good fruit,
and now he had been taught a series of fresh and
valuable lessons. Before his eyes had been dis-
played the most brilliant European discipline, both
in camp and on the march. He had studied and
absorbed it all, talking with veterans and hearing
from them many things that he could have ac-



ON THE FRONTIER. 85

quired nowhere else. Once more had he been
taught, in a way not to be forgotten, that it is never
well to underrate one's opponent. He had looked
deeper, too, and had seen what the whole continent
soon understood, that English troops were not in-
vincible, that they could be beaten by Indians, and
that they were after all much like other men.
This was the knowledge, fatal to British suprem-
acy, which Braddock's defeat brought to Washing-
ton and to the colonists, and which was never for-
gotten. Could he have looked into the future, he
would have seen also in this ill-fated expedition an
epitome of much future history. The expedition
began with stupid contempt toward America and
all things American, and ended in ruin and defeat.
It was a bitter experience, much heeded by the
colonists, but disregarded by England, whose indif-
ference was paid for at a heavy cost.

After the hasty retreat, Colonel Dunbar, stricken
with panic, fled onward to Philadelphia, abandon-
ing everything, and Virginia was left naturally in
a state of great alarm. The assembly came to-
gether, and at last, thoroughly frightened, voted
abundant money, and ordered a regiment of a thou-
sand men to be raised. Washington, who had re-
turned to Mount Vernon ill and worn-out, was
urged to solicit the command, but it was not his
way to solicit, and he declined to do so now. Au-
gust 14th, he wrote to his mother : " If it is in my
power to avoid going to the Ohio again, I shall ;
but if the command is pressed upon me by the



86 GEORGE WASHINGTON.

general voice of the country, and offered apon such
terms as cannot be objected against, it would re-
flect dishonor on me to refuse it." The same day
he was offered the command of all the Virginian
forces on his own terms, and accepted. Virginia
believed in Washington, and he was ready to obey
her call.

He at once assumed command and betook him-
self to Winchester, a general without an army,
but still able to check by his presence the existing
panic, and ready to enter upon the trying, dreary,
and fruitless v/ork that lay before him. In April,
1757, he wrote : " I have been posted then, for
more than twenty months past, upon our cold and
barren frontiers, to perform, I think I may say,
impossibilities ; that is, to protect from the cruel
incursions of a crafty, savage enemy a line of in-
habitants, of more than three hundred and fifty
miles in extent, with a force inadequate to the
task." This terse statement covers all that can
be said of the next three years. It was a long
struggle against a savage foe in front, and narrow-
ness, jealousy, and stupidity behind ; apparently
without any chance of effecting anything, or gain-
ing any glory or reward. Troops were voted, but
were raised with difficulty, and when raised were
neglected and ill-treated by the wrangling gov-
ernor and assembly, which caused much ill-sup-
pressed wrath in the breast of the commander-in-
chief who labored day and night to bring about
better discipline in camp, and who wrote long let-



ON THE FRONTIER. 87

ters to Williamsburg recounting existing evils and
praying for a new militia law.

The troops, in fact, were got out with vast diffi-
culty even under the most stinging necessity, and
were almost worthless when they came. Of one
" noble captain " who refused to come, Washington
wrote : '' With coolness and moderation this great
captain answered that his wife, family, and corn
were all at stake ; so were those of his soldiers ;
therefore it was impossible for him to come. Such
is the example of the officers ; such the behavior of
the men; and upon such circumstances depends
the safety of our country ! " But while the soldiers
were neglected, and the assembly faltered, and the
militia disobeyed, the French and Indians kept
at work on the long, exposed frontier. There
panic reigned, farmhouses and villages went up in
smoke, and the fields were reddened with slaughter
at each fresh incursion. Gentlemen in Williams-
burg bore these misfortunes with reasonable for-
titude, but Washington raged against the abuses
and the inaction, and vowed that nothing but the
imminent danger prevented his resignation. " The
supplicating tears of the women," he wrote, " and
moving petitions of the men melt me into such
deadly sorrow that I solemnly declare, if I know
my own mind, I could offer myself a willing sacri-
fice to the butchering enemy, provided that would
contribute to the people's ease." This is one of
the rare flashes of personal feeling which disclose
the real man, warm of heart and temper, full of



88 GEORGE WASHINGTON.

human sympathy, and giving vent to hot indig-
nation in words which still ring clear and strong
across the century that has come and gone.

Serious troubles, moreover, were complicated by
petty annoyances. A Maryland captain, at the
head of thirty men, undertook to claim rank over
the Virginian commander-in-chief because he had
held a king's commission ; and Washington was
obliged to travel to Boston in order to have the
miserable thing set right by Governor Shirley.
This alfair settled, he returned to take up again
the old disheartening struggle, and his outspoken
condemnation of Dinwiddle's foolish schemes and
of the shortcomings of the' government began to
raise up backbiters and malcontents at Williams-
burg. " My orders," he said, " are dark, doubt-
ful, and uncertain ; to-day approved, to-morrow
condemned. Left to act and proceed at hazard,
accountable for the consequences, and blamed with-
out the benefit of defence." He determined never-
theless to bear with his trials until the arrival of
Lord Loudon, the new commander-in-chief, from
whom he expected vigor and improvement. Un-
fortunately he was destined to have only fresh
disappointment from the new general, for Lord
Loudon was merely one more incompetent man
added to the existing confusion. He paid no heed
to the South, matters continued to go badly in the
North, and Virginia was left helpless. So Washing-
ton toiled on with much discouragement, and the
disagreeable attacks upon him increased. That it



ON THE FRONTIER. 89

should have been so is not surprising, for he wrote
to the governor, who now held him in much dis-
favor, to the speaker, and indeed to every one, with
a most galling plainness. He was only twenty-five,
be it remembered, and his high temper was by no
means under perfect control. He was anything but
diplomatic at that period of his life, and was far
from patient, using language with much sincerity
and force, and indulging in a blunt irony of rather
a ferocious kind. When he was accused finally of
getting up reports of imaginary dangers, his tem-
per gave way entirely. He wrote wrathfuUy to
the governor for justice, and added in a letter to
his friend, Captain Peachey : " As to Colonel C.'s
gTOSs and infamous reflections on my conduct last
spring, it will be needless, I dare say, to observe
further at this time than that the liberty which
he has been pleased to allow himself in sporting
with my character is little else than a comic en-
tertainment, discovering at one view his passionate
fondness for your friend, his inviolable love of
truth, his unfathomable knowledge, and the mas-
terly strokes of his wisdom in displaying it. You
are heartily welcome to make use of any letter or
letters which I may at any time have written to
you ; for although I keep no copies of epistles to
my friends, nor can remember the contents of all
of them, yet I am sensible that the narrations are
just, and that truth and honesty will appear in
my writings ; of which, therefore, I shall not be
ashamed, though criticism may censure my style."



90 GEORGE WASHINGTON.

Perhaps a little more patience would have pro-
duced better results, but it is pleasant to find one
man, in that period of stupidity and incompetency,
who was ready to free his mind in this refreshing-
way. The only wonder is that he was not driven
from his command. That they insisted on keep-
ing him there shows beyond everything that he had
already impressed himself so strongly on Virginia
that the authorities, although they smarted under
his attacks, did not dare to meddle with him. Din-
widdle and the rest could foil him in obtaining a
commission in the king's army, but they could not
shake his hold upon the people.

In the winter of 1758 his health broke down
completely. He was so ill that he thought that his
constitution was seriously injured ; and therefore
withdrew to Mount Vernon, where he slowly re-
covered. Meantime a great man came at last to
the head of affairs in England, and, inspired by
William Pitt, fleets and armies went forth to con-
quer. Reviving at the prospect, Washington of-
fered his services to General Forbes, who had come
to undertake the task which Braddock had failed
to accomplish. Once more English troops ap-
peared, and a large army was gathered. Then the
old story began again, and Washington, whose prof-
fered aid had been gladly received, chafed and
worried all summer at the fresh spectacle of delay
and stupidity which was presented to him. His
advice was disregarded, and all the weary business
of building new roads through the wilderness was



ON THE FRONTIER. 91

once more undertaken. A detachment, sent for-
ward contrary to liis views, met with the fate of
Braddock, and as the summer passed, and autumn
changed to winter, it looked as if nothing would be
gained in return for so much toil and preparation.
But Pitt had conquered the Ohio in Canada, news
arrived of the withdrawal of the French, the army
pressed on, and, with Washington in the van,
marched into the smoking ruins of Fort Duquesne,
henceforth to be known to the world as Fort Pitt.

So closed the first period in Washington's pub-
lic career. We have seen him pass through it in
all its phases. It shows him as an adventurous
pioneer, as a reckless frontier fighter, and as a
soldier of great promise. He learned many things
in this time, and was taught much in the hard
school of adversity. In the effort to conquer
Frenchmen and Indians he studied the art of war,
and at the same time he learned to bear with and
to overcome the dulness and inefficiency of the gov-
ernment he served. Thus he was forced to practise
self-control in order to attain his ends, and to ac-
quire skill, in the management of men. There
could have been no better training for the work he
was to do in the after years, and the future showed
how deeply he profited by it. Let us turn now,
for a moment, to the softer and pleasanter side
of life, and having seen what Washington was,
and what he did as a fighting man, let us try to
know him in the equally important and far more
attractive domain of private and domestic life.



CHAPTER IV.

LOVE AND MARRIAGE.

Lewis Willis, of Fredericksburg, who was at
school with Washington, used to speak of him as
an unusually studious and industrious boy, but
recalled one occasion when he distinguished him-
self and surprised his schoolmates by " romping
with one of the largest girls." ^ Half a century
later, when the days of romping were long over
and gone, a gentleman writing of a Mrs. Hartley,
whom Washington much admired, said that the
general always liked a fine woman.^ It is certain
that from romping he passed rapidly to more
serious forms of expressing regard, for by the time
he was fourteen he had fallen deeply in love with
Mary Bland of Westmoreland, whom he calls his
" Lowland Beauty," and to whom he wrote various
copies of verses, preserved amid the notes of sur-
veys, in his diary for 1747-48. The old tradition
identified the " Lowland Beauty " with Miss Lucy
Grymes, perhajis correctly, and there are drafts of
letters addressed to ''Dear Sally," which suggest

1 Quoted from the Willis MS. by Mr. Conway, in Magazine of
American History, March, 1887, p. 196.

2 Magazine of American History, i. 324.



LOVE AND MARRIAGE. 93

that the mistake in identification might have arisen
from the fact that there were several ladies who
answered to that description. In the following
sentence from the draft of a letter to a mascnline
sympathizer, also preserved in the tell-tale diary
of 1748, there is certainly an indication that the
constancy of the lover was not perfect. " Dear
Friend Robin," he wrote : " My place of residence
at present is at his Lordship's, where I might,
were my heart disengaged, pass my time very pleas-
antly, as there is a very agreeable young lady in
the same house, Colonel George Fairfax's wife's
sister. But that only adds fuel to the fire, as be-
ing often and unavoidably in company with her re-
vives my former passion for your Lowland Beauty ;
whereas were I to live more retired from young
women, I might in some measure alleviate my sor-
row by burying that chaste and troublesome passion
in oblivion ; I am very well assured that this will
be the only antidote or remedy." Our gloomy
young gentleman, however, did not take to solitude
to cure the pangs of despised love, but proceeded
to calm his spirits by the society of this same sis-
ter-in-law of George Fairfax, Miss Mary Gary.
One " Lowland Beauty," Lucy Grymes, married
Henry Lee, and became the mother of " Legion
Harry," a favorite officer and friend of Washing-
ton, and the grandmother of Robert E. Lee, the
gi'eat soldier of the Southern Confederacy. The
affair with Miss Gary went on apparently for some
years, fitfully pursued in the intervals of war and



94 GEORGE WASHINGTON.

Indian fighting, and interi'upted also by matters of
a more tender nature. The first diversion occurred
about 1752, when we find Washington writing to
William Fauntleroy, at Richmond, that he pro-
posed to come to his house to see his sister, Miss
Betsy, and that he hoped for a revocation of her
former cruel sentence.^ Miss Betsy, however,
seems to have been obdurate, and we hear no more
of love affairs until much later, and then in con-
nection with matters of a graver sort.

When Captain Dagworthy, commanding thirty
men in the Maryland service, undertook in virtue
of a king's commission to outrank the commander-
in-chief of the Virginian forces, Washington made
up his mind that he would have this question at
least finally and properly settled. So, as has been
said, he went to Boston, saw Governor Shirley, and
had the dispute determined in his own favor. He
made the journey on horseback, and had with him
two of his aides and two servants. An old letter,
luckily preserved, tells us how he looked, for it con-
tains orders to his London agents for various arti-
cles, sent for perhaps in anticipation of this very
expedition. In Braddock's campaign the young
surveyor and frontier soldier had been thrown
among a party of dashing, handsomely equipped
officers fresh from London, and their appearance
had engaged his careful attention. Washington
was a thoroughly simple man in all ways, but he.

1 Historical Magazine, 3d series, 1873. Letter communicated
by Fitzhugh Lee.



LOVE AND MARRIAGE. 95

was also a man of taste and a lover of military
discipline. He had a keen sense of appropriate-
ness, a valuable faculty which stood him in good
stead in grave as well as trivial matters all through
his career, and which in his youth came out most
strongly in the matter of manners and personal ap-
pearance. He was a handsome man, and liked to
be well dressed and to have everything about him-
self or his servants of the best. Yet he was not a
mere imitator of fashions or devoted to fine clothes.
The American leggings and fringed hunting-shirt
had a strong hold on his affections, and he intro-
duced them into Forbes's army, and again into the
army of the Revolution, as the best uniform for the
backwoods fighters. But he learned with Braddock
that the dress of parade has as real military value
as that of service, and when he travelled northward
to settle about Captain Dagworthy, he felt justly
that he now was going on parade for the first time
as the representative of his troops and his colony.
Therefore with excellent sense he dressed as befitted
the occasion, and at the same time gratified his own
taste.

Thanks to these precautions, the little cavalcade
that left Virginia on February 4, 1756, must have
looked brilliant enough as they rode away through
the dark woods. First came the colonel, mounted
of course on the finest of animals, for he loved and
understood horses from the time when he rode
bareback in the pasture to those later days when he
acted as judge at a horse-race and saw his own pet



96 GEORGE WASHINGTON.

colt " Magnolia " beaten. In this expedition lie
wore, of course, liis uniform of buff and blue, with
a white and scarlet cloak over his shoulders, and a
sword-knot of red and gold. His "horse furniture"
was of the best London make, trimmed with " livery
lace," and the Washington arms were engraved
upon the housings. Close by his side rode his two
aides, likewise in buff and blue, and behind came
his servants, dressed in the Washington colors of
white and scarlet and wearing hats laced with silver.
Thus accoutred, they all rode on together to the
North.

The colonel's fame had gone before him, for the
hero of Braddock's stricken field and the com-
mander of the Virginian forces was known by repu-
tation throughout the colonies. Every door flew
open to him as he passed, and every one was de-
lighted to welcome the young soldier. He was
dined and wined and feted in Philadelphia, and
again in New York, where he fell in love at appar-
ently short notice with the heiress Mary Philipse,
the sister-in-law of his friend Beverly Robinson.
Tearing himself away from these attractions he
pushed on to Boston, then the most important city
on the continent, and the headquarters of Shirley,
the commander-in-chief. The little New England
capital had at that time a society which, rich for
those days, was relieved from its Puritan sombre-
ness by the gayety and life brought in by the royal
officers. Here Washington lingered ten days, talk-
ing war and politics with the governor, visiting in


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