Why George Washington Matters; Today: Washington the General

by Datechguy | February 19th, 2013

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Why George Washington Matters; Today: Washington the General

The 2nd of a four-​part series of why George Wash­ing­ton Mat­ters, Yes­ter­day, Wash­ing­ton the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary, today Wash­ing­ton the General.

Wash­ing­ton as a leader is often derided for his lack of vic­to­ries against the British, but his record was much bet­ter than one might think.

When Henry Knox sug­gested bring­ing the can­non from Ticon­deroga Wash­ing­ton signed on and thanks to the suc­cess­ful relo­ca­tion of this artillery Wash­ing­ton was table to take Boston with­out a shot being fired. It’s the rea­son why so many of the his­toric build­ings in Boston are still avail­able to be visited.

There is no deny­ing the New York Cam­paign was a fiasco Wash­ing­ton was defeated at Brook­lyn Heights, White Plains and Fort Wash­ing­ton. But Tren­ton and Prince­ton were clear victories

Next year Howe defeated Wash­ing­ton at Brandy­wine and Ger­man­town and at Mon­mouth while the bat­ter was pretty much a draw Wash­ing­ton missed an oppor­tu­nity and Wash­ing­ton doesn’t fight another bat­tle for three years until the final vic­tory at Yorktown.

At first glance this is not impres­sive, par­tic­u­larly when you con­sider num­bers Washington’s vic­to­ries come when he has num­bers. At Tren­ton 60%, York­town 2 – 1 and Prince­ton nearly 4 – 1. His vic­tory at Tren­ton is his most mod­est only a 60% advan­tage over the British force. In NY he is out­num­bered but at Brandy­wine the num­bers are within 7% and at Ger­man­town he has a full 22% advan­tage as still loses.

While the British had num­bers in all the bat­tles of the NY Cam­paign at Brandy­wine the British have a mere 6% advan­tage and at Ger­man­town has a full 22% advan­tage and still loses.

The num­bers how­ever don’t tell the whole story, con­sider his sit­u­a­tion. Eng­land is the most pow­er­ful nation in the world, with a pro­fes­sional well-​trained army and an expe­ri­enced offi­cer corps. Mean­while Wash­ing­ton has to turn basi­cally farm­ers and mili­tia into a force that can stand against them.

Mel Gib­son & Pop­u­lar Lore not with­stand­ing the war was not fought by a bunch of guys play­ing hit and run and hid­ing behind rocks. That’s Lex­ing­ton & Con­cord and some of the par­ti­san fights in the south but for the most part the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion was a con­ven­tional War fought by the con­ven­tional tac­tics of the time.

Wash­ing­ton has to cre­ate, train and keep together an army, bring it up to snuff to stand against British Reg­u­lars in the face of lack of sup­plies, poor food and irreg­u­lar pay.

The won­der isn’t that Wash­ing­ton lost so many bat­tles, the won­der is his army lasted long enough to win any bat­tles at all, let alone the revolution.

George Wash­ing­ton was more than the Colo­nial commander-​in-​chief, he was THE gen­eral of the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion and per­haps of his time.

Tomor­row Wash­ing­ton the leader.

The 2nd of a four-part series of why George Washington Matters, Yesterday, Washington the Revolutionary, today Washington the General.

Washington as a leader is often derided for his lack of victories against the British, but his record was much better than one might think.

When Henry Knox suggested bringing the cannon from Ticonderoga Washington signed on and thanks to the successful relocation of this artillery Washington was table to take Boston without a shot being fired. It’s the reason why so many of the historic buildings in Boston are still available to be visited.

There is no denying the New York Campaign was a fiasco Washington was defeated at Brooklyn Heights, White Plains and Fort Washington. But Trenton and Princeton were clear victories

Next year Howe defeated Washington at Brandywine and Germantown and at Monmouth while the batter was pretty much a draw Washington missed an opportunity and Washington doesn’t fight another battle for three years until the final victory at Yorktown.

At first glance this is not impressive, particularly when you consider numbers Washington’s victories come when he has numbers. At Trenton 60%, Yorktown 2-1 and Princeton nearly 4-1. His victory at Trenton is his most modest only a 60% advantage over the British force. In NY he is outnumbered but at Brandywine the numbers are within 7% and at Germantown he has a full 22% advantage as still loses.

While the British had numbers in all the battles of the NY Campaign at Brandywine the British have a mere 6% advantage and at Germantown has a full 22% advantage and still loses.

The numbers however don’t tell the whole story, consider his situation. England is the most powerful nation in the world, with a professional well-trained army and an experienced officer corps. Meanwhile Washington has to turn basically farmers and militia into a force that can stand against them.

Mel Gibson & Popular Lore not withstanding the war was not fought by a bunch of guys playing hit and run and hiding behind rocks. That’s Lexington & Concord and some of the partisan fights in the south but for the most part the American Revolution was a conventional War fought by the conventional tactics of the time.

Washington has to create, train and keep together an army, bring it up to snuff to stand against British Regulars in the face of lack of supplies, poor food and irregular pay.

The wonder isn’t that Washington lost so many battles, the wonder is his army lasted long enough to win any battles at all, let alone the revolution.

George Washington was more than the Colonial commander-in-chief, he was THE general of the American Revolution and perhaps of his time.

Tomorrow Washington the leader.

DaTechGuy on DaRadio Saturday Noon EST. WBNW AM 1120 Concord WPLM 1390 Plymouth, FTR Radio, the 405 Media

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