Revolutionary War Inspiration
George Washington was the first great leader of the American republic. Though filled with many flaws like any other person, he proved to be an extraordinary hero that our nation needed. Many people are familiar with Washington’s life and leadership skills, but many are unfamiliar with his vision for America’s future.
Early during the American Revolution, morale was low for the Continental Army. By 1777, several significant battles had been fought, with the British Empire securing victory in several. Two years before, in April 1775, the Revolution broke out with the Battles of Lexington and Concord in Middlesex County, Massachusetts. At Lexington, Continental troops were pushed back.
At Concord Bridge, however, the tide turned, as British troops were forced to retreat, and the American Revolution had officially begun. Following this, the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, reportedly became the first in the colonies to declare independence from the British crown. One year later, the Declaration of Independence was announced, proclaiming to the world the reasons for separation. Though the Continental Army would become a force to be reckoned with, they lost more than they gained during the war’s first years.
The Revolution’s Early Battles
In June 1775, the Battle of Bunker Hill was fought in Charlestown, Massachusetts. British forces won a Pyrrhic victory, but captured the Charlestown Peninsula. Then, on December 31 of that year, the Battle of Quebec gained British troops additional ground. In late summer of 1776, the Battle of Long Island – one of the largest battles of the war – gave British troops another victory. At Saratoga, however, things were slowly about to change.
Fought along the Hudson River in New York and Vermont, the first battle resulted in a British success. The second, however, witnessed a Continental victory. With American morale running low, a victory here certainly improved morale. But with winter approaching, the Continental Army needed a place to hunker down. On December 19, 1777, George Washington and the patriots began their winter encampment at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
The winter at Valley Forge is often romanticized in portraits and media. Many images show Washington gallantly on his horse, as he inspects the soldiers going about their lives in camp, whether it be around the fire or on patrol. In reality, however, conditions there were very harsh. Alongside the freezing weather, rations and supplies ran low. To make matters worse, diseases were very frequent. It is estimated as many as 2,000 soldiers died due to disease and malnutrition.
Though morale was still low, Washington did not give up hope. A deeply religious man, Washington continuously prayed and sought God’s guidance for his army and the American people. Washington’s prayers would later be answered, as American forces, leading to the climax at Yorktown, Virginia, soon began to win many more victories. Washington’s legacy would be well-rooted within American memory, as would the trials experienced by the troops at Valley Forge.
Throughout the early and middle parts of the 19th century, Americans would find unity and disagreement on many issues, especially regarding the institution of African slavery. In 1859, one man stepped forward with a remarkable story. At 99 years of age, Anthony Sherman disclosed to Wesley Bradshaw, a journalist, a remarkable tale, the reader can decide if it’s true. Known as “George Washington’s Vision,” it is recorded in the Library of Congress and was republished in 1880 and 1950.
“You will see it verified.”
On July 4, 1859, Bradshaw met Sherman at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Claiming to be a veteran of the Continental Army who was present at Valley Forge, Sherman stated, “I want to tell you of an event in Washington’s life – one which no one alive knows of except myself; and if you live, you will before long see it verified.” Sherman spoke of how Washington would wander off alone to pray. According to Sherman, Washington emerged from his quarters, looking as if he had just had a frightening experience. Eventually, Washington spoke of what was troubling him. The following is Washington’s story.
The Prophetic Vision as Told
A Mysterious Visitor
“I do not know whether it is owing to the anxiety of my mind, or what, but this afternoon, as I was sitting at this table engaged in preparing a dispatch, something in the apartment seemed to disturb me. Looking up, I beheld standing opposite me a singular beautiful being. So astonished was I, for I had given strict orders not to be disturbed, that it was some moments before I found language to inquire the cause of the visit.”Attributed to George Washington, by Anthony Sherman
Washington stated that he witnessed “three great perils” in his vision. As is typical with most prophecies, the vision consisted mainly of metaphorical imagery. According to Washington, the three great perils would directly involve America, and all three would be very dark times for the country. Though deadly, however, the perils would result in America becoming victorious each time. As the Son of the Republic would see, the Union would be under God’s protection, and safe from destruction.
(Part II coming soon)
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