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WASHINGTON CROSSING THE DELAWARE. .......Frontispiece
LINCOLN RECEIVING THE SURRENDER OF LORD CORN
70 CASTLE OF CHAPULTEPEC. .
II2 GENERAL SAM HOUSTON AT THE BATTLE OF SAN JACINTO 140 Last BATTLE-LINE OF LEE's ARMY....
168 SHERMAN's MARCH TO THE SEA.
184 BATTLE OF SECOND Bull Run...
190 BATTLE OF CHICKAMAUGA.
198 RETREAT FROM GETTYSBURG.
208 WOUNDED AT SIBONEY....
278 ANTIETAM: THE FIGHT AT BURNSIDE'S BRIDGE.
HEROES OF THE ARMY
GEORGE WASHINGTON, THE PEERLESS
SOLDIER AND STATESMAN
GREATEST and most famous among the heroes of the American army is the immortal George Washington, the “ First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen." Washington was first in war in another sense than is here intended, since it was he who led the men who fired the first shot in the first great American war.
There had been much fighting on American soil before the year 1754, when the French and Indian War began,-fighting with the Indians, the French, and the Spaniards, and Americans of valor and military genius had made their mark in battle. But these were desultory fights, with hastily collected forces; there had been nothing that could be called an American army before that time; therefore with the first exploit of Washington at the head of the Virginia forces in the spring of 1754 the history of the American army may be said to have begun. So with the shining record of General George Washington we open our review of the famous soldiers of the great American republic. To tell once more the story of Washington's life
and deeds seems in a sense superfluous. No doubt all our readers have read this story, and know a great deal about who he was and what he did. But it may be said that the lives of great men cannot be told too often, and to write about the military heroes of America without giving a leading place to the noblest of them all would be like giving the drama of Hamlet with the character of Hamlet left out.
George Washington was what is called well-born. He belonged to the colonial aristocracy of the Old Dominion. His ancestors came from noble English families, the first Americans among them, Lawrence and John Washington, coming to Virginia in the time of Cromwell. John had a son named Augustine, and on the 22d of February, 1732, Augustine's first child was born. His parents named him George Washington, little dreaming how famous that name was afterwards to become.
Little George grew up to be a fine, hearty, handsome boy, strong and sound in body and noble in character. His father died when he was twelve years of age, but his mother, one of the wisest and most excellent of women, was left with a good estate. She dwelt in an old manor house on the Rappahannock River opposite the town of Fredericksburg, and there she devoted herself to bringing up her six fatherless children to be good men and women.
George, as the years went on, became a tall, vigorous, well-proportioned youth. He got what little education the poor Virginia schools of that time could give, was good in mathematics and learned surveying, intending to become a civil engineer, a profession which promised very well in that pioneer period.
In those days Virginia was in great part an unsettled and little known wilderness. When Washington was sixteen he met with Lord Fairfax, a great landholder of Virginia, who owned a vast tract of land in the un explored Shenandoah Valley, west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The landowner took a warm fancy for the fine manly boy, made him his friend and companion, and finally engaged him to survey this pathless forest land, on which the foot of a white man had rarely been set. It was an excellent opportunity for the young surveyor, and he did his work so quickly and so well that for the next three years he was kept busy surveying for the colony of Virginia. He was building for the future, getting familiar with the wilds, in which he was soon to spend active years of war.
While Washington was surveying trouble was approaching. The English and the French alike had their eyes on the rich Ohio Valley, and when the French began to come down from Canada and build forts on the streams south of Lake Erie, Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia selected the young surveyor, then twenty-one years of age, to go to these forts and bid the French commanders go back whence they came, telling them that they were on English soil.
It was a difficult task for one so young, one needing the judgment and discretion of a much older man, but Washington performed it admirably. He made his way with a small party through more than five hundred miles of the unbroken wilderness, wild, wooded and mountainous, and came back again in midwinter, at great risk from hostile Indians and the icy rivers. But his work had been done so well that he was warmly thanked by the assembly of Virginia.
The French paid no heed to Governor Dinwiddie's orders. On the contrary they advanced to the Forks