The Spirit Behind '76
By Richard Klein
The 700 Club
CBN.com - At the dawn of
American history, the faith of our founding fathers was intricately
woven into the very fabric of this nation's freedom. We want to turn the spotlight on the
first president of the United States whose faith, humility and courage
helped to establish the destiny of our great nation.
From his youth, George Washington firmly believed that God's hand
was upon him personally. As a 23-year-old soldier during the French
and Indian War, he had four bullets pass through his coat and two
horses shot out from under him.
Yet he survived the conflict unscathed. Washington credited God for
his survival. Asked to serve as Commander in Chief of the Continental
Army, General Washington incorporated his deep personal faith in the
very commands he issued to the newly formed forces.
In one of his earliest general orders dated July 9, 1776, Washington
outlined his personal convictions for the men who served under his
"General Washington hopes and trusts that every officer and man
will endeavor to live, and act, as becomes a Christian soldier defending
the dearest rights and liberties of his country. To the distinguished
character of Patriot it should be our highest glory to add the more
distinguished character of Christian."
Not content to merely inspire with high ideals, Washington included
in his general orders specific directives for regular and earnest
The earliest days of the Revolution provided unparalleled opportunities
for Washington to act upon his forthright faith. It was the events
of one extraordinary day in August of 1776 that definitely underscored
the miraculous intervention of God in the course of America's destiny.
Faced with a fact of America's declared independence, the British
military command determined that the key to suppressing the rebellion
lay in the domination of New York.
The army that controlled access to the Hudson River would control
the lines of supply for the colonies north and south of this strategic
Under the command of General William Howe, the British quickly established
a formidable presence in New York. The only impediment was the American-held
town of Brooklyn.
It was there on the western end of Long Island that General Washington
found himself nearly surrounded, outnumbered more than three to one
by a better trained, better equipped enemy.
However, when circumstances seemed to spell defeat, a miraculous
series of events began to unfold. Amazingly, the very capable and
seasoned General Howe failed to capitalize on his obvious military
advantage. Throughout the afternoon, the evening, and the following
morning, Washington's forces tensed for an attack that never materialized.
By the afternoon of August 28, northeast winds drove a chilling rain
across the East River, preventing the British fleet from launching
any offensive maneuver.
Inspired by the delay, General Washington formulated a daring strategy
of escape. Under the storm's cover, he began to remove his beleaguered
army by small boats, enabling them to join other American forces a
full mile behind enemy lines. As night fell, the inclement weather
dissipated and still, Washington's army continued its evacuation without
detection. But as the morning sun dawned, the Americans calculated
that at least three more hours were needed to transport the last of
the 8,000 troops.
One who was actually there best describes what happened next. Major
Ben Talimadge, a member of the Continental Army, wrote:
"At this time a very dense fog began to rise, and it seemed to settle
in a peculiar manner over both encampments. I recollect this providential
occurrence perfectly well, and so very dense was the atmosphere that
I could scarcely discern a man at six yards' distance. We tarried
until the sun had risen, but fog remained as dense as ever."
What the British discovered when the fog lifted was an empty and
abandoned encampment. Washington's army had seemingly vanished, along
with all their provisions, cannons and even horses. Instead of defeat,
the Americans experienced a temporary setback and regrouped to fight
on at a future successful date.
How did General George Washington portray his personal role in the
"I was but the humble agent of a favoring heaven, whose benign influence
was so often manifested in our behalf, and to whom the praise of victory
alone is due."
Why Washington is 'The Father of Our Country'
David Barton: Our Christian Heritage
George Washington's Prayer Journal
The Declaration of Independence
The Constitution of the
United States of America
More Church History on Spiritual Life
More from Spiritual Life
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