By Marivir R. Montebon
In celebration of the National Memorial Day, we feature Pres. George Washington, a soldier who fought for the British empire and later for American independence.
New York City – The first US president George Washington (1789-1797) may be considered a turn-coat soldier by the British, but he was definitely a venerated hero for Americans in the War for Independence.
Washington was a young soldier at the age of 21 under the British Army, and is fondly remembered, among other things as US president, to have ordered that his six white horses had their teeth brushed every morning.
This concern for his horses’ teeth (an indispensable partner in his military service) may well reflect his own serious dental problems all throughout his life. When Washington was inaugurated as president, he only had one tooth left. Because of this impediment, he limited his talking.
In the British Army
In the turbulent years that unfolded towards the birth of America, Washington first served as a young lieutenant colonel in the British Army. He figured prominently in what is now acknowledged the French and Indian war (1754-1763).
Upon the order of Virginia Governor Robert Dinwiddie, Lt. Col. Washington, born in Northern Neck, VA, led an attack on French forces together with Indian Chief Tanacharison at Jumonville Glen on July 4, 1754.
Earlier on, the French forces were ordered by Dinwiddie to vacate and when they refused, Washington returned the following year with a force of hundreds and ambushed a small scouting party on the wee hours of May 28, 1754, killing 13 French soldiers. The war between the French and the Indians would ensue on July 4th of that year.
In 1755, Washington was under British General Edward Braddock who engaged in a disastrous expedition to southwestern Pennsylvania fighting on behalf of King George III.
The Jumonville Glen massacre remains a highly debated subject among scholars. The French troops vilified Washington. After the encounter, Washington resigned his British army commission and returned to his family’s plantation.
In 1775, he returned to military service to lead the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. To the British, Washington was a turn-coat, but to Americans, he was a military genius and a venerated hero. His wife Martha, freed their slaves, in compliance with his will. (Culled from www.history.com Photos of portraits by Emanuel Leutze and John Trumbull)