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The resources on this page have been selected to support teacher and student needs. For other related teacher and student tips and tools—look for the pencil symbol throughout the Mount Vernon website.

George Washington’s military career, as a Colonel in the French and Indian War and as commander in chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolution illuminate both his biography and the broader impact of the war on 18th-century society. Primary and secondary sources can help students exploring this topic and grapple with the same questions George Washington faced in leading a revolution. 


George Washington to Martha Washington, June 23, 1775

George Washington wrote this letter to his wife, Martha before departing Philadelphia for the American camp in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The letter reveals the private side of Washington, a side rarely seen in his daily correspondence. After his death in 1799, Martha Washington destroyed all the letters written between herself and her husband. This letter is one of three that survive.

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George Washington’s Field Bedstead

George Washington’s campaign furniture not only provided him the comforts of home while at war, but also attested to his rank in the Army. This hinged bedstead easily folds for portability.


Journal of Major George Washington

Written in 1754, this journal details the exploits of George Washington as a young 22 year old Major and his role in the beginning of the French and Indian War.

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Braddock Sash

Washington family tradition maintains that this military sash was given to George Washington by General Edward Braddock after the ill-fated Battle of the Monongahela in July 1755. Washington was the only member of Braddock’s staff who was not injured or killed during the battle.

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George Washington to Benjamin Tallmadge, April 8, 1781

In 1781 George Washington wrote to Benjamin Tallmadge about the feasibility of launching a daring raid across the Long Island Sound. 


Additional Primary Sources Related to the Revolutionary War


Additional Primary Sources Related to the French and Indian War

  • How do times of political upheaval and revolution impact individual lives?

  • How do the global politics and economics impact events in American history such as the Revolutionary War?

  • Are wars won or lost on strategy, luck, or individual actions?