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Key Moments in the Life of George Washington

1732
1799
George Washington is Born
Washington moves to Little Hunting Creek Plantation
Washington moves to Fredericksburg, Virginia
George Washington's Father Dies
Washington seeks to join the Royal Navy
Appointed public surveyor for Culpeper County
Sails to Barbados
Washington sent to the Ohio Valley
Washington surrenders to the French
The Battle of the Monongahela
Washington begins serving in the House of Burgesses
George and Martha Washington are Married
Trip to the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers
Washington's First Portrait
First Continental Congress
Washington takes command at Cambridge, MA
The Battle of Long Island
The Battle of Trenton
Washington's forces enter winter quarters at Valley Forge
Victory at Yorktown
Washington resigns his commission
President of the Potomac Company
Constitutional Convention
Washington elected 1st President
Washington inaugurated as 2nd President
The Whiskey Rebellion
Washington retires as president
Washington Dies

February 22, 1732

George Washington is Born

George Washington is born at Pope’s Creek in Westmoreland County, Virginia

Washington moves to Little Hunting Creek Plantation

George Washington’s father moves his family to Little Hunting Creek Plantation, which will later be called Mount Vernon

Washington moves to Fredericksburg, Virginia

George Washington’s father moves his family to another of his properties, Ferry Farm, near Fredericksburg, Virginia

George Washington's Father Dies

George Washington’s father, Augustine Washington, dies

Washington seeks to join the Royal Navy

George Washington considers entering the British Navy, but his mother will not give permission for him to go

Appointed public surveyor for Culpeper County

George Washington receives an appointment as a public surveyor for Culpeper County, Virginia.

Sails to Barbados

George Washington sails to Barbados with his older half-brother, Lawrence Washington, who is ill with tuberculosis.  While there, George Washington contracts smallpox

Washington sent to the Ohio Valley

George Washington is sent into the Ohio Valley to take a message from the governor of Virginia to French military forces, demanding that they leave.

Washington surrenders to the French

George Washington is appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the Virginia militia; defeats the French and their Indian allies at Great Meadows.  He is involved in a skirmish, which results in the death of a French diplomat and starts the French and Indian War; surrenders Fort Necessity.  Is very sick and surrenders his commission; begins renting Mount Vernon from the widow of his half-brother, Lawrence Washington.

The Battle of the Monongahela

Washington serves as a volunteer aide-de-camp to General Braddock during a disastrous campaign against the French; becomes commander-in-chief of the Virginia forces.

Washington begins serving in the House of Burgesses

Washington begins his service in the Virginia House of Burgesses.  He will serve until 1775.

George and Martha Washington are Married

George Washington marries Martha Dandridge Custis, a young widow with two small children

Trip to the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers

George Washington and a friend from the days of the French and Indian War go to see their western lands on the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers

Washington's First Portrait

In 1772, Annapolis artist Charles Willson Peale visited Mount Vernon where he recorded the first known likeness of George Washington.  Washington chose to be painted in his Virginia militia uniform from the French and Indian War with marching orders in his pocket, even though he had resigned from the military some 14 years prior. 

First Continental Congress

George Washington presides over the meeting, which produces the Fairfax Resolves, promoting a boycott of British goods and the right of self-government; is chosen by and represents Virginia as a delegate to the 1st Continental Congress in Philadelphia

Washington takes command at Cambridge, MA

George Washington is chosen as a delegate to the 2nd Continental Congress; while there, he is selected to command the Continental Army; goes immediately to take command of the army at Cambridge, Massachusetts; begins a siege of the city of Boston

The Battle of Long Island

Washington's Continental Army is defeated on the Brooklyn Heights by Lord William Howe's British and Hessian forces.  Washington and the remainder of his army escape during the night to Manhattan.

The Battle of Trenton

Washington's ragtag army crosses the icy Delaware River on Christmas night 1776.  On the morning of December 26, 1776 the Continental Army attacks the Hessian garrison at Trenton.  Washington's fast moving forces capture most of the 1,500 man garrison.

Washington's forces enter winter quarters at Valley Forge

After the lengthy 1777 campaign, Washington led his 11,000 man army to winter quarters in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.  The hard winter and scant supplies greatly depleted his army through disease and cold.  During this challenging period Washington faced many serious political threats both inside and outside his army.

Victory at Yorktown

Washington and Gen. Rochambeau's French forces receive the surrender of Lord Charles Cornwallis' army at Yorktown - the last major battle of the American Revolution.

Washington resigns his commission

George Washington resigns his military commission in Annapolis, Maryland - affirming his belief in civilian control of the military.  He returns home to Mount Vernon on Christmas day.

President of the Potomac Company

George Washington is president of the Potomac Company, seeking to improve transportation on that river

Constitutional Convention

George Washington is chosen to preside over the Constitutional Convention; He signs the new Constitution

Washington elected 1st President

George Washington is unanimously elected 1st president of the United States; travels to New York for his inauguration on April 30th

Washington inaugurated as 2nd President

George Washington is again unanimously elected to serve a second term as president of the United States

The Whiskey Rebellion

The Whiskey Rebellion breaks out in western Pennsylvania; Washington leads troops to the area to quell this revolt against paying taxes to the federal government

Washington retires as president

George Washington retires as president; leaves Philadelphia to return to Mount Vernon

Washington Dies

George Washington dies at Mount Vernon of a severe throat infection; body is placed in the old family vault at Mount Vernon

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