In the decades prior to the Revolutionary War, tensions arose between the two largest global powers: Britain, led by King George II, and France, led by King Louis XV.
Because of their many alliances with other nations, fighting escalated into the first global war – the Seven Years War, or as it was called in America, the French and Indian War. The conflict included every major power in Europe as well as their colonies from the Caribbean, to India, to the Philippines and to Africa. Over a million died. It was sparked by the ambush in 1754 of a French detachment in the Ohio Valley by British militia led by 22-year-old Virginia Colonel George Washington.
At this time the Great Awakening Revival swept through colonial America. A notable dissenting preacher, Samuel Davies, spread revival across racial lines and was heard by many in Virginia, including Patrick Henry, who credited Davies with “teaching me what an orator should be.” George Washington Praying.
In 1755, 1,400 British troops marched over the Appalachian Mountains to seize French Fort Duquesne, near present-day Pittsburgh. One of the wagon drivers was 21-year-old Daniel Boone.
On July 9, 1755, as they passed through a deep wooded ravine along the Monongahela River eight miles south of the fort, they were ambushed by French regulars and Canadians accompanied by Potawatomi and Ottawa Indians. Not accustomed to fighting unless in an open field, over 900 British soldiers were annihilated in the Battle of the Wilderness, or Battle of Monongahela
Col. George Washington rode back and forth during the battle delivering orders for General Edward Braddock, the commander-in-chief of British forces in America. General Braddock was trying to get his soldiers into a formation typical of European warfare, which tragically made them an open target for the French and Indians who were firing from behind trees. Eventually, Braddock was killed and every officer on horseback was shot, except Washington. Washington carried Braddock from the field.
Braddock’s field desk was captured, revealing all the British military plans, enabling the French to surprise and defeat British forces in succeeding battles at Fort Oswego, Fort William Henry, Fort Duquesne and Carillon. These British losses convinced the Iroquois tribes of Senecas and Cayugas to switch their allegiances to the French.
Before he died, Braddock gave Washington his battle uniform sash, which Washington reportedly carried with him the rest of his life, even while commander-in-chief and president. Washington presided at the burial service for General Braddock, as the chaplain was wounded. Braddock’s body was buried in the middle of the road so as to prevent it from being found and desecrated.
Shortly thereafter, writing from Fort Cumberland, George Washington described the Battle of Monongahela to his younger brother, John Augustine Washington, July 18, 1755: “As I have heard, since my arrival at this place, a circumstantial account of my death and dying speech, I take this early opportunity of contradicting the first, and of assuring you, that I have not as yet composed the latter. But by the All-Powerful Dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me!”
Reports of the Battle of Monongahela spread across the country. On July 8, 1755, Mary Draper Ingels had been kidnaped from her home in Draper Meadows, Virginia by a band of Shawnee Indians. She escape in mid-winter, as recorded in her biography, and trekked nearly one thousand miles back home. At one point during her captivity, she overheard a meeting that the Shawnee had with some Frenchmen. They described in detail the British defeat in the battle of Monongahela at Duquesne, and how the Indian Chief Red Hawk claimed to have shot Washington eleven times, but did not succeed in killing him.
Fifteen years later, Washington and Dr. Craik, a close friend of his from his youth, were traveling through those same woods near the Ohio river and Great Kanawha river. They were met by an old Indian chief, who addressed Washington through an interpreter: “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 of the great battle.
“It was on the day when the white man’s blood mixed with the streams of our forests 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 alone exposed. Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies. Our rifles were leveled, rifles which, but for you, knew not how to miss – `twas all in vain, a power mightier far than we, shielded you.
“Seeing you were under the special guardianship of the Great Spirit, we immediately ceased to fire at you. 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. I am come to pay homage to the man who is the particular favorite of Heaven, and who can never die in battle.”
An Indian warrior later declared: “Washington was never born to be killed by a bullet! I had seventeen fair fires at him with my rifle and after all could not bring him to the ground!”
Source http://www.wnd.com and AmericanMinute.com