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Colonel George Washington

In 1753, the governor of Virginia appointed George Washington, a self-reliant young surveyor, as Adjutant with the rank of major over one of the state's four military districts. As a lieutenant colonel in the French and Indian Wars, Washington soon saw firsthand the problems faced by Citizen-Soldiers who left their homes and plows to resist the French. Victorious in their first skirmish, Washington and his Virginians erected Fort Necessity and later had to withdraw. In the retreat, Washington won the affection of his men and kept up their spirits with his example. In 1755 Washington and his militia joined British General Edward Braddock to clear the French out of the Ohio Valley. Braddock died in battle praising Washington and his blue-clad Virginians for their courage in saving part of the English forces. Washington continued his service as a colonel in the Virginia provincial Militia, resigning his commission in 1758. He then served in the Virginia House of Burgesses and the Continental Congress. When the Continental Congress sought a commander for the Colonial Army in 1775, they turned to Washington as the logical choice based on his experience in the French & Indian War. Washington's militia experience during the French and Indian Wars stood him in good stead during the American Revolution. He had learned how to get the most out of limited manpower and military stores. More than that, he knew that the esprit de corps of militia, even ill-trained and poorly equipped, could be the fighting equal of British professionals. Washington became the first president of the United States of America in 1789.