Our timelines will help you to better understand the milestone moments in the life of George Washington.
George Washington is born at Pope’s Creek in Westmoreland County, Virginia
George Washington’s father moves his family to Little Hunting Creek Plantation, which will later be called Mount Vernon
George Washington’s father moves his family to another of his properties, Ferry Farm, near Fredericksburg, Virginia
George Washington’s father, Augustine Washington, dies
George Washington considers entering the British Navy, but his mother will not give permission for him to go
George Washington receives an appointment as a public surveyor for Culpeper County, Virginia.
George Washington sails to Barbados with his older half-brother, Lawrence Washington, who is ill with tuberculosis. While there, George Washington contracts smallpox
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.
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.
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 his service in the Virginia House of Burgesses. He will serve until 1775.
George Washington marries Martha Dandridge Custis, a young widow with two small children
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
George Washington is president of the Potomac Company, seeking to improve transportation on that river
George Washington is chosen to preside over the Constitutional Convention; He signs the new Constitution
George Washington is unanimously elected 1st president of the United States; travels to New York for his inauguration on April 30th
George Washington is again unanimously elected to serve a second term as president of the United States
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
George Washington retires as president; leaves Philadelphia to return to Mount Vernon
The House of Burgesses grants 1/3 of a million acres in the Ohio Valley to the Ohio Land Company, a land speculation company made up of Northern Neck planters, including Lawrence Washington, George Washington’s older brother.
The Marquis de Duquesne oversees the development of a series of French forts built in the Ohio at key strategic locations.
Dinwiddie selects Washington as his emissary to the French forts. Washington leaves Williamsburg October 31, 1753
Washington hires Christopher Gist as a guide at the Ohio company fort on Wills Creek. Also hires four men as porters.
Washington meets with Captain Jacques Legardeur de Saint-Pierre at Fort LeBouef and presents Dinwiddie’s letter ordering the French to leave the region.
Washington’s party leaves Fort LeBouef with St. Pierre’s response on December 16, 1753. St. Pierre says he will forward the letter to Duquesne. Washington and Gist embark on a dramatic journey back to Williamsburg.
Washington is promoted from major to Lt. Colonel and placed second in command. He is authorized to raise 200 men. His mission is to drive the French out of the Ohio Valley.
Washington and Tanacharison attack a party of French soldiers led by Joseph Coulon de Villiers, Sieur de Jumonville. The Indians kill the wounded including Jumonville. The surviving French claim to be on a diplomatic mission.
At 11 a.m. the French forces surrounding Washington's position attack Fort Necessity under Captain Louis Coulon de Villiers, Jumonville’s older brother. By 8 pm. The French offer terms. Washington and the other officers decide to surrender
Gen. Edward Braddock and a large force of British regulars set out from Alexandria, Virginia for the long march to Fort Duquesne. Washington volunteers as Braddock’s aide d’camp.
Braddocks' British forces, nearing their target of Fort Duquesne, are surprised and routed by a force of French and allied Native Americans. Braddock is mortally wounded. Washington steps in to help rally the remaining forces that subsequently retreat.
The Virginia House of Burgesses appropriates £50,000 for frontier defense. Washington is promoted to a full colonel and is authorized to recruit 1,500 men.
The French blow up and abandon Fort Duquesne. British general John Forbes takes possession of the ground and begins building a new fort to be named Fort Pitt. Washington and his Virginians take part in the successful campaign.
Attending the Second Continental Congress in military uniform, George Washington was appointed as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army by his fellow congressmen.
After his appointment as Commander-in-Chief in Philadelphia, Washington traveled to Cambridge, Massachusetts to take command of the newly formed Continental Army positioned around Boston.
With the arrival of heavy guns from Fort Ticonderoga, Washington made the bold decision to place these artillery pieces upon Dorchester Heights. From this lofty position Washington could target the British ships in Boston harbor. British attempts to deny the American's this position failed and the British forces departed Boston on March 17, 1776.
A British amphibious assault upon the American positions atop Brooklyn Heights led to a signal British victory. Facing the prospect of a total defeat, Washington was able to save his remaining forces by shuttling them across the East River to Manhattan.
William Howe's regulars attacked and defeated Washington's Continental Army at White Plains as part of the 1776 New York Campaign.
After crossing the icy Delaware River on Christmas Day 1776, Washington led his forces in an attack upon the Hessian garrison at Trenton, New Jersey. Washington's lightning attack surprised the Hessians and led to the capture of almost two-thirds of the 1,500 man force - at the cost of zero American combat casualties. This victory greatly bolstered the sagging morale of the Continental Army.
George Washington and the Continental Army are defeated by General Howe's force marching north. Howe was able to successfully flank the American forces holding positions across the Brandywine Creek near Chadds Ford.
Despite losing yet another battle to Gen. William Howe, Washington and his French allies were impressed with the vigor and determination shown by the Americans at the Battle of Germantown.
Upon the conclusion of the 1777 Philadelphia Campaign, Washington led his poorly fed and weary army to winter quarters in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Washington's army was ravaged by disease, cold, and sickness during its time in Valley Forge. Washington repeatedly asked Congress and other local magistrates for support of his wasting army. During the time at Valley Forge, the Continental Army did receive improved field training from Baron Friedrich von Steuben.
Seeking to strike the British army as it made its way north from Philadelphia, Washington's Continental Army attacked the British forces under the command of Sir Henry Clinton and Charles Cornwallis near Monmouth Courthouse, New Jersey.
While Valley Forge is more famous, the winter that Washington's army confronted in its winter quarters at Jockey Hollow, near Morristown, New Jersey, was the coldest in recent memory. It was here at Morristown that the Continental Army was nearly starved out of existence. The constant lack of food and the never-ending hard winter led to the mutiny of several Continental regiments. Washington declared that the army could "perish for want of food."
After deciding to take advantage of the arrival of the French West Indies fleet off the coast of Virginia and the precarious position of Lord Conwallis' army, Washington and Rochambeau agreed to march their armies south in a bold attempt to attack the isolated British garrison.
After almost a month since the start of the American and French siege of Yorktown, Lord Cornwallis agrees to surrender his British and Hessian forces to Gen. Washington. This total victory over the British is the final major military action upon the continent.
Aware of the growing dissatisfaction within his officer corps stationed near Newburgh, New York, Washington deftly confronted a group of officers planning to march on Congress. Asking to speak to the officers during their gathering at the "Temple", Washington's plea for patience and continued loyalty won over the conspirators and defused a potential military coup.
With the war now at an end, General George Washington surrendered his commission to Congress in Annapolis, Maryland. Washington's actions reaffirmed his core belief that the military was subordinate to civilian rule - a central principle of the new United States.