The miracles of God in the creation of our nation are endless and there are countless documents, which prove our founders believed he played a part in the birth of our nation. Benjamin Franklin said:
The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?
An example of God governing in the affairs of our young nation is a story you might never have heard about George Washington. According to historian David Barton these are stories no longer found in the text books of our nation’s classrooms.
Two events we’ll be examining happened around the time of the French and Indian War which was from 1754–1763. The French and Indian War occurred twenty years before the American Revolution.
Both the French and British were at odds over land in this new world, which would eventually become America. Specifically, the area of contention was in present-day Ohio, and both the English and French had laid claims to it.
In 1753, the Virginia Governor Robert Dinwiddie appointed George Washington, at age 21, to deliver a message to the French. Washington was to deliver this message to the French garrison at Fort Le Boeuf near Lake Erie. The message demanded an immediate French withdrawal from the Ohio Country.
Washington and his eight-man party made the long trek from Virginia on October 3, 1753. He and his party reached the fort on December 12. Jacques Legardeur de Saint-Pierre, graciously received Washington and his party. Saint-Pierre invited Washington to dine with him.
Saint-Pierre was presented with the letter to which he responded “As to the Summons you send me to retire; I do not think myself obliged to obey it.” He noted that France’s claim to the Ohio Country was superior due to René-Robert Cavelier and Sieur de La Salle’s exploration of the area almost a century earlier.
Washington left Fort Le Boeuf early on December 16. On Washington’s return trip to Virginia, he and one of his guides, Christopher Gist, went ahead of the other men. They desired to reach the governor quickly with the news of the French refusal to leave the Ohio Country.
It was during this time that Washington and Gist lost their canoe to the icy river rapids. Eventually, they arrived at Murdering Town, near Evans City, which was 30 miles north of Pittsburgh. In need of a guide they met an Indian who agreed to show them the fastest route to the forks of the Ohio River.
After leading the weary Washington and Gist for a few miles, the Indian guide ran ahead to a clearing. He then turned and fired his musket at Washington, near point-blank range (reportedly about 15 feet) and missed. The guide was seized by Gist and was about to be killed, but Washington prevented Gist from taking his life.
They later released the Indian after dark. Washington and Gist traveled through the night because they were concerned the Indian would return with reinforcements. This was one of the first times that Washington was spared, and certainly it would stand to reason the hand of God played a part in his protection.
One of the next reported instances of Washington being bullet-proof came when he was a 23-year-old colonel serving under General Edward Braddock. Since the claim of the disputed territories could not be solved diplomatically the British sent Braddock to resolve the issue.
Braddock’s intention was to rout the French from the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Washington and the Virginia militia joined Braddock, and they set out with 1300 troops to expel the French from Fort Duquesne.
It was July 9, 1755; Washington and Braddock were only seven miles from the fort when they were ambushed by a combined force of French and Indians. The British and Virginia militia were being fired upon from both sides.
After a grueling two hours of battle 714 of the 1300 British and American troops had been shot down. Meanwhile, the French and Indian force only lost around 30. History tells us that 86 British and American officers in that battle were killed, even General Braddock was mortally wounded.
Washington was the only officer who had not been shot from off his horse. After this resounding defeat, he gathered his remaining men and retreated to Fort Cumberland in western Maryland, arriving there on July 17, 1755.
The following day, Washington wrote a letter to his family telling them about the Battle of the Monongahela. After the battle he told them, he removed his jacket and found four bullet holes in it but yet a single bullet hadn’t even graze him. Several horses had been shot out from under him, but he was not harmed. This is when he said:
By the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation.
Washington acknowledged without a doubt that God’s hand was upon him, and God had protected him throughout the battle. However, the best part of this story is yet to come. It was 15 years later in 1770; Washington returned to the same Pennsylvania woods where the battle had taken place.
Fifteen years after this battle Washington was traveling on an expedition to the western country to explore wild lands. While near the junction of the Great Kanawha and Ohio Rivers a company of Indians came to them with an interpreter, at the head of whom was an aged and venerable chief.
It’s said the old Indian chief came from a great distance because he heard that Washington had returned to the battle site. The chief sat down with Washington and had a face-to-face over a council fire. This is when the chief said he’d been a leader in the Battle of Monongahela 15 years earlier. The chief then said he had instructed his braves to single out and shoot down the officers.
Washington had been singled out specifically by the chief, and he fired 17 different times trying to kill him. This chief believed that Washington was under the care of the Great Spirit, and as such he told his braves to quit firing upon him. The story of this meeting is as follows:
The council fire was kindled, when the chief addressed Washington through an interpreter to the following effect:
I am a chief, and ruler over my tribes. My influence extends to the waters of the great lakes, and to the far blue mountains. I have traveled a long and weary path, that I might see the young warrior (George Washington, from the day he had horses shot out from underneath him) of the Great Battle.
It was on the day when the white man’s blood mixed with the streams of our forest, that I first beheld this chief. I called to my young men and said, mark yon tall and daring warrior? He is not of the red-coat tribe he hath an Indian’s wisdom, and his warriors fight as we do himself is alone exposed.
Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies. Our rifles were leveled, rifles which, but for him, knew not how to miss – ’twas all in vain, a power mightier far than we, shielded him from harm. He cannot die in battle. I am old, and soon shall be gathered to the great council fire of my fathers in the land of shades, but ere I go, there is something bids me speak in the voice of prophecy.
Listen! The Great Spirit protects that man, and guides his destinies he will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire.
The account of what the Indian chief said to Washington was told by Dr. Craik who was Washington’s life-long friend. Craik was witness to the scene and travelled with Washington during his expedition of the wild lands. It is reported that Draik told the above excerpt to Mr. Custis and was first pubslihed in 1828 in The Diary of George Washington, from 1789 to 1791; Edited by Benson J. Lossing, 1860, p. 303.
Perhaps you’ll agree after reading these accounts that God’s hand played an important part in the life of Washington and the birth of our great nation.
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