, Virginia. Here he received little formal education. Historians have speculated that he attended a school in Fredericksburg, or may have been tutored by an indentured servant. Washington lived with his mother until the age of 16.
At the age of 15, Washington took a job as an assistant land surveyor. In 1748, he joined a surveying team that was sent to the Shanandoah Valley to help survey the land holdings of Lord Fairfax. By 1749, he established a good reputation as a land surveyor and was appointed to the official land surveyor of Culpeper County.
Washington’s father owned several farms. When his father died in 1743, his stepbrother Lawrence received the Mount Vernon Estate. Lawrence Washington died nine years later. His will stated that if his daughter, Sarah, died without baring children the Mount Vernon Estate would go to George Washington. Sarah Washington died two years later without baring children. Washington began his military career on February 1,1753, when he was sworn into the Virginia militia. He started as an adjutant for the southern part of the colony. Next, he set out to Fort Le Beouf on Lake Erie. He sent a message stating for the French to leave the land alone. The French denied his message. Four months later, they promoted him to lieutenant colonel. After defeating some French scouting party in southern Pennsylvania, they promoted him to colonel in charge of all the Virginian troops. Colonel Washington led an attack at Fort Necessity, Pennsylvania, where he and 400 troops surrendered to the French and Indians. In October Washington resigned as colonel and returned to Mount Vernon. Governor Dinwidde begged and pleaded for his return. He denied at first, but decided to regain control. Washington remained colonel for the rest of the war.
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After the French and Indian War Washington again stepped down. He retired to Mount Vernon as a planter and a legislator. On January 6,1759, he married Martha Dandridge Custis. She was a wealthy widow and mother of two children. The couple had no children together, but he raised those of his wife as his own. During 1759-74, he managed his plantations and sat in the Virginia House of Burgesses.
By the 1770s, the relationship between Britain and the colonies became strained. Washington represented Virginia at the First and Second Continental Congresses. When Patrick Henry was asked to name the greatest man in congress, he replied: “ if you speak of solid information and sound judgement, Colonel Washington is unquestionably the greatest man on the floor.” In May of 1775, just after Lexington and Concord, Washington showed up to the Second Continental Congress wearing his colonel’s uniform. This act magnified his belief on taking military action against the British. On June 15, the delegates unanimously elected him as commander and chief of the armed forces. He accepted modestly.
By July 3, 1775, he had taken command of the troops at Cambridge. His first victory came in March of 1776, when the British evacuated Boston. He kept them surrounded for eight months. The evacuation proved that he could beat the British in a major battle. Washington figured that the British would strike New York next. So, Washington meets them there in force, where he suffered defeat due to lack of supplies, experienced officers, and disciplined troops. Washington’s army now totaled about 5,000 men. Many people feared that the war was lost. Washington took away that fear when he launched the attack on Hessian troops at Trenton the day after Christmas, 1776. He followed up this victory by a win at Princeton, two weeks later. Washington’s next loss came in September of 1777. He was forced to fight a battle that he knew he would lose. The British navy took over Philadelphia at the battle of Brandywine Creek. The American cause was strengthened in October, when General Gates won at Saratoga, New York. Gates captured Burgoyne and 5,000 British troops. Washington and his men spent that winter at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
Good news came in the spring of 1778. The French decided to send money, troops, and a fleet. When the British received this news the decided to consolidate their position to New York and
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