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St Patrick's Day, while not a legal holiday in the United States, is nonetheless widely recognized and observed throughout the country as a celebration of Irish and Irish-American culture. Celebrations include prominent displays of the color green, religious observances, numerous parades, and copious consumption of alcohol. The holiday has been celebrated in what is now the U.S since 1601.
When Augustine (father) died in 1743, Washington inherited Ferry Farm and ten slaves; his older half-brother Lawrence inherited Little Hunting Creek and renamed it Mount Vernon.
The Battle of Jumonville Glen, also known as the Jumonville affair, was the opening battle of the French and Indian War, fought on May 28, 1754, near present-day Hopwood and Uniontown in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. A company of colonial militia from Virginia under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George Washington, and a small number of Mingo warriors led by Tanacharison (also known as "Half King"), ambushed a force of 35 Canadiens under the command of Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville.
The full Virginia Regiment joined Washington at Fort Necessity the following month with news that he had been promoted to command of the regiment and to colonel upon the death of the regimental commander. The regiment was reinforced by an independent company of 100 South Carolinians led by Captain James Mackay, whose royal commission outranked that of Washington, and a conflict of command ensued. On July 3, a French force attacked with 900 men, and the ensuing battle (Battle of Fort Necessity) ended in Washington's surrender. In the aftermath, Colonel James Innes took command of intercolonial forces, the Virginia Regiment was divided, and Washington was offered a captaincy which he refused, with resignation of his commission.
On January 6, 1759, Washington, at age 26, married Martha Dandridge Custis, the 28-year-old widow of wealthy plantation owner Daniel Parke Custis. The marriage took place at Martha's estate; she was intelligent, gracious, and experienced in managing a planter's estate, and the couple created a happy marriage.
Robert Fulton was born in a farm in Little Britain, Pennsylvania, on November 14, 1765. His father, Robert Fulton, married Mary Smith, daughter of Captain Joseph Smith and sister of Col. Lester Smith, a comparatively well off family. He had three sisters – Isabella, Elizabeth, and Mary, and a younger brother, Abraham.
The colonists were divided over breaking away from British rule and split into two factions: Patriots who rejected British rule, and Loyalists who desired to remain subject to the King. General Thomas Gage was commander of British forces in America at the beginning of the war. Upon hearing the shocking news of the onset of war, Washington was "sobered and dismayed", and he hastily departed Mount Vernon on May 4, 1775, to join the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
Congress created the Continental Army on June 14, 1775, and Samuel and John Adams nominated Washington to become its commander in chief. Washington was chosen over John Hancock because of his military experience and the belief that a Virginian would better unite the colonies. He was considered an incisive leader who kept his "ambition in check". He was unanimously elected commander in chief by Congress the next day.
He was commissioned on June 19 and was roundly praised by Congressional delegates, including John Adams, who proclaimed that he was the man best suited to lead and unite the colonies.
Upon arrival on July 2, 1775, two weeks after the Patriot defeat at nearby Bunker Hill, he set up his Cambridge, Massachusetts headquarters and inspected the new army there, only to find an undisciplined and badly outfitted militia.
Washington initially protested enlistment of slaves in the Continental Army, but later he relented when the British emancipated and used theirs. On January 16, 1776, Congress allowed free blacks to serve in the militia. By the end of the war one-tenth of Washington's army were blacks.
On March 17, 9,000 British troops and Loyalists began a chaotic ten-day evacuation of Boston aboard 120 ships. Soon after, Washington entered the city with 500 men, with explicit orders not to plunder the city. He ordered vaccinations against smallpox to great effect, as he did later in Morristown, New Jersey.
Washington then proceeded to New York City, arriving on April 13, 1776, and began constructing fortifications there to thwart the expected British attack. He ordered his occupying forces to treat civilians and their property with respect, to avoid the abuse suffered by civilians in Boston at the hands of British troops.
At the time of the Declaration of Independence in July 1776, the Continental Congress would not legally adopt flags with "stars, white in a blue field" for another year. The flag contemporaneously known as "the Continental Colors" has historically been referred to as the first national flag.
Howe's pursuit forced Washington to retreat across the Hudson River to Fort Lee to avoid encirclement. Howe landed his troops on Manhattan in November and captured Fort Washington, inflicting high casualties on the Americans. Washington was responsible for delaying the retreat, though he blamed Congress and General Greene. Loyalists in New York considered Howe a liberator and spread a rumor that Washington had set fire to the city. Patriot morale reached its lowest when Lee was captured.
Washington crossed the Delaware River at sunset on Christmas Day, December 25, 1776, and risked capture staking out the Jersey shoreline. His men followed across the ice-obstructed river in sleet and snow at McKonkey's Ferry, with 40 men per vessel. Wind churned up the waters, and they were pelted with hail, but by 3:00 a.m. they made it across with no losses.
On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution which stated: "Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation." Flag Day is now observed on June 14 of each year.
The first official U.S. flag flown during battle was on August 3, 1777, at Fort Schuyler (Fort Stanwix) during the Siege of Fort Stanwix. Massachusetts reinforcements brought news of the adoption by Congress of the official flag to Fort Schuyler. Soldiers cut up their shirts to make the white stripes; scarlet material to form the red was secured from red flannel petticoats of officers' wives, while material for the blue union was secured from Capt. Abraham Swartwout's blue cloth coat. A voucher is extant that Capt. Swartwout of Dutchess County was paid by Congress for his coat for the flag.
Howe outmaneuvered Washington at the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777, and marched unopposed into the nation's capital at Philadelphia. A Patriot attack failed against the British at Germantown in October. Major General Thomas Conway prompted some members of Congress (referred to as the Conway Cabal) to consider removing Washington from command because of the losses incurred at Philadelphia. Washington's supporters resisted and the matter was finally dropped after much deliberation. Once exposed, Conway wrote an apology to Washington, resigned, and returned to France.
On October 7, 1777, Burgoyne tried to take Bemis Heights but was isolated from support by Howe. He was forced to retreat to Saratoga and ultimately surrendered after the Battles of Saratoga. As Washington suspected, Gates' victory emboldened his critics.
The 1777 resolution was most probably meant to define a naval ensign. In the late 18th century, the notion of a national flag did not yet exist, or was only nascent. The flag resolution appears between other resolutions from the Marine Committee. On May 10, 1779, Secretary of the Board of War Richard Peters expressed concern "it is not yet settled what is the Standard of the United States." However, the term "Standard" referred to a national standard for the Army of the United States. Each regiment was to carry the national standard in addition to its regimental standard. The national standard was not a reference to the national or naval flag.
On 3 September, Richard Peters submitted to Washington "Drafts of a Standard" and asked for his "Ideas of the Plan of the Standard," adding that the War Board preferred a design they viewed as "a variant for the Marine Flag." Washington agreed that he preferred "the standard, with the Union and Emblems in the centre". The drafts are lost to history, but is likely to be similar to the first Jack of the United States.
The Siege of Yorktown, Virginia was a decisive allied victory by the combined forces of the Continental Army commanded by General Washington, the French Army commanded by the General Comte de Rochambeau, and the French Navy commanded by Admiral de Grasse, in the defeat of Cornwallis' British forces. On August 19, the march to Yorktown led by Washington and Rochambeau began, which is known now as the "celebrated march". Washington was in command of an army of 7,800 Frenchmen, 3,100 militia, and 8,000 Continentals. Lacking in experience in siege warfare, Washington often deferred judgment to Rochambeau, effectively putting him in command; however, Rochambeau never challenged Washington's authority.
After the surrender at Yorktown a situation developed that threatened relations between the new American nation and Britain. Following a series of retributive executions between Patriots and Loyalists, Washington, on May 18, 1782, wrote in a letter to General Moses Hazen that a British Captain would be executed for the execution of Joshua Huddy a popular patriot leader among volunteers, who was hung at the direction of Loyalist Captain Lippincott. Washington wanted Lippincott himself to be executed but was declined.
Subsequently, Charles Asgill was chosen instead, by a drawing of lots from a hat. This was a violation of the 14th article of the Yorktown Articles of Capitulation, which protected prisoners of war from acts of retaliation. Later, Washington's feelings on matters changed and in a letter of November 13, 1782, to Asgill, he acknowledged Asgill's letter and situation, expressing his desire not to see any harm come to him. After much consideration between the Continental Congress, Alexander Hamilton, Washington, and appeals from the French Crown, Asgill was finally released, where Washington issued Asgill a pass that allowed his passage to New York.
Some nationalists feared that the new republic had descended into lawlessness, and they met together on September 11, 1786, at Annapolis to ask Congress to revise the Articles of Confederation. One of their biggest efforts, however, was getting Washington to attend.
On December 4, 1786, Washington was chosen to lead the Virginia delegation, but he declined on December 21. He had concerns about the legality of the convention and consulted James Madison, Henry Knox, and others. They persuaded him to attend it, however, as his presence might induce reluctant states to send delegates and smooth the way for the ratification process.
Washington arrived in Philadelphia on May 9, 1787, though a quorum was not attained until Friday, May 25. Benjamin Franklin nominated Washington to preside over the convention, and he was unanimously elected to serve as president general. The convention's state-mandated purpose was to revise the Articles of Confederation with "all such alterations and further provisions" required to improve them, and the new government would be established when the resulting document was "duly confirmed by the several states".
Governor Edmund Randolph of Virginia introduced Madison's Virginia Plan on May 27, the third day of the convention. It called for an entirely new constitution and a sovereign national government, which Washington highly recommended.
The delegates to the Convention anticipated a Washington presidency and left it to him to define the office once elected. The state electors under the Constitution voted for the president on February 4, 1789, and Washington suspected that most republicans had not voted for him. The mandated March 4 date passed without a Congressional quorum to count the votes, but a quorum was reached on April 5. The votes were tallied the next day, and Congressional Secretary Charles Thomson was sent to Mount Vernon to tell Washington he had been elected president. Washington won the majority of every state's electoral votes; John Adams received the next highest number of votes and therefore became vice president.
As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nationwide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, "as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God".
An April 21, 1791, news report of the April 15 dedication ceremony for the first boundary stone (the south cornerstone) stated that it was Andrew Ellicott who "ascertained the precise point from which the first line of the district was to proceed". The news report did not mention Banneker's name.
On August 7, Washington issued his first proclamation for calling up state militias. After appealing for peace, he reminded the protestors that, unlike the rule of the British crown, the Federal law was issued by state-elected representatives.
Washington, with nominal fanfare, arrived alone at his inauguration in his carriage. Sworn into office by Associate Justice William Cushing on March 4, 1793 in the Senate Chamber of Congress Hall in Philadelphia, Washington gave a brief address and then immediately retired to his Philadelphia presidential house, weary of office and in poor health.
On August 24, the American army under Wayne's leadership defeated the western confederacy at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, and the Treaty of Greenville in August 1795 opened up two-thirds of the Ohio Country for American settlement.