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insurmountable. Owing to the depth of the snow his horses and attendants were left at the mouth of French creek, from whence he set out on foot accompanied by his guide alone. On their way they were fired at by an Indian, whom they took prisoner but soon after dismissed. On reaching the Monongahela, they were employed nearly a whole day in making a raft to effect their passage. The masses of ice which were then descending the river drove with such violence as to dislodge the passengers. Clinging to the logs of their shattered raft, they were enabled to reach an island, where they passed the night. The cold was so intense, that the hands and feet of his guide were frozen. The next morning they crossed to the main land on the ice.
Washington soon after visited this country at the head of a regiment, to the command of which, as already observed, he had succeeded on the death of colonel Fry. The skill and fortitude displayed in this expedition, particularly in the action at the Great Meadows, reflected much honour on his character. In that engage
ment he compelled an enemy of nearly four times his own number, to allow him the privi. lege of marching off, with all his arms and bag. gage, unmolested.
In the year 1755, Washington accompanied general Braddock to that fatal field where Eu. ropean discipline and valour were overcome by savage cunning and ferocity. In the battle of the Monongahela he showed a fearless frunt, although he was soon the only aid that remained on the ground. The particulars of this bat. tle shall be related hereafter. At present we will confine our details to the immediate oc. currences of Washington's life, without em. bracing the important events of national history.
After his return from the Monongahela, he was appointed to the command of a regiment designed for the defence of the frontiers. His exertions to protect the back settlements were often fruitless. The impossibility of defending so extensive a frontier against so deceitful an enemy, suggested the propriety of offensive measures. The plan of carrying war into the enemy's country, was at length adopted. In the expedition against fort Du Quesne, Washington acquired much honour by his patience and courage. His health was considerably impaired by the fatigues of the campaign. On his return he resigned his command of the provincial troops. Soon after his resignation he was married to the widow of Mr. Custis, a young lady possessed of great personal attractions and a handsome estate. In addition to Mount Ver. non, which he inherited by the death of his brother, he now possessed a very ample fortune. No farmer was ever more careful or systematic in the cultivation and management of a farm, and few have been more successful. In one year his farms have produced seven thousand bushels of wheat, and ten thousand of corn. He was, during his retirement, elected a member of the state legislature, where his attachment to his country was shown by a steady opposition to every infringement of her rights.
a place on all the committees of defensive ar. rangements. In the year 1775 he was elected commander in chief of the army of the United States. He accepted this important office with diffidence, and fulfilled its duties with dignity and fortitude. In that long and arduous contest, which rent from the British empire her most flourishing provinces, Washington was the firmest support of the American cause. When the storm was at thc highest, and hope began to forsake his friends, he stood at the helm, unmoved by the roaring of the tempest. The gloomy aspect of affairs served but to give new vigour to a mind whose resources were not easily exhausted. All his plans were formed with coolness and executed with undaunted resolution. In tracing his military career, through fields of blood or martial encampments, we find the same inflexible firmness, and the same unshaken virtue. Equally free from the obsequiousness of a courtier and the ferocity of a conqueror, he preserved the affections of his soldiers without losing the confidence of his rulers. When lord Howe, on
his arrival, addressed a letter to “ George Washington, Esquire,” on the settlement of their differences, Washington refused to receive it, as it was not addressed to him in his military capacity, and showed a disposition to refuse him the honours his country had be. stowed upon him. His conduct was applauded by the government, whose dignity had been insulted in the person of their commander in chief.
While other generals have shone only in the arms of victory, Washington never appeared more worthy of admiration than when flying before a proud and exulting enemy. After the loss of Forts Washington and Lee, when he led his shattered and feeble army into New Jersey before the advancing standard of England, his troops resembled more an offering for the altar of liberty, than the legion to whom were intrusted the sacred interests of their country. Such was their love for their commander, that all their hardships, their wants and distresses, could not sever their union nor diminish their