• Exploring American History

General George Washington led by example

During the American Revolution, George Washington and his men found themselves making camp at Valley Forge during the bitterly cold winter of 1777-78. A leader who truly cared about those under his command, Washington not only understood, but shared in the hardships suffered by his men. He worked hard to bolster the spirit of his troops, along with helping them to round up food and continually begging the Continental Congress for supplies.

A special story is told of this great patriot by a Quaker farmer who lived nearby during the time the troops were in Valley Forge. One day as farmer Isaac Potts walked through the woods in the surrounding area, he heard what sounded like a man speaking in a low and solemn voice. Curiosity caused Isaac to investigate the situation further and discover what was going on. As he drew closer, Isaac noticed a horse, minus its rider, tied to a sapling. Sensing the rider was likely close by, he continued his search.

A short time later, Isaac discovered the source of the voice. Looking through the trees, he saw a man on his knees in the snow, lost in prayer. On one side of the man lay his sword and on the other, his cover.

When Isaac returned home later, he shared with his wife what he had seen that day. “All will be well, Martha,” he told her. “If there is anyone the Lord will listen to, it is this brave man. I have seen General Washington on his knees. Our independence is certain.”

What greater behavior could a nation ask of a leader than that individual’s willingness to bow to the Creator on its behalf?

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