As we celebrate our nation’s Independence this month, I would like to share a story of God’s divine protection over our first president, George Washington (before his presidency). This story, which was told often by Washington himself, happens during the French and Indian War, which some historians argue was more significant than the Revolutionary War in starting Americans on the path of independence.
A young Virginia man, George Washington served as an officer for the British Army in the French and Indian War. During this particular battle on July 9, 1755, at the Monongahela River (near the city of Pittsburg now), Washington and his men were completely outnumbered and outmaneuvered by the French and Indian warriors. Within two hours, 1,000 British soldiers were killed or wounded, while only 30 French and Indian warriors were injured.
The Indian warriors fought from the cover of the trees whereas the British soldiers formed perfect battle lines, shoulder to shoulder, marching out in plane site. One by one, the British officers were shot down until only Washington remained. The American Indian chief said, “Quick, let your aim be certain and he dies.” But round after round was aimed at this man, two horses shot out from underneath him, and still the officer was standing unharmed. Thirteen rounds in all were fired by excellent sharpshooters to no avail.
Finally, the Indian Chief shouted, “Stop firing!” He recognized there was a power at force stronger than their weapons. Another Indian soldier added, “I had seventeen clear shots at him…and after all could not bring him to the ground. This man was not born to be killed by a bullet.”Later that night, as the last of the wounded were being cared for, Washington assessed his own situation. Upon taking off his coat, he found 4 bullet holes had passed through his jacket but left no marks on his skin. They literally stopped before touching his body!
Nine days later, in a letter to his brother to confirm that he was still alive, he wrote: “As I have heard since my arrival at this place, a circumstantial account of my death and dying speech, I take this early opportunity of contradicting the first and of assuring you that I have not as yet composed the latter. But by the all-powerful dispensations of Providence I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat and two horses shot under me yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me!
This twenty-three year old officer went on to become the commander in chief of the Continental Army and the first President of the United States. In all the years that followed, George Washington, was never injured in battle.
In 1770, Washington had an opportunity to sit face-to-face with the respected Indian chief whom he fought against in battle. This is what the chief said: “I am a chief and ruler over my tribes. My influence extends to the waters of the great lakes and to the far blue mountains. I have traveled a long and weary path that I might see the young warrior of the great battle. It was on the day when the white man’s blood mixed with the streams of our forests that I first beheld this chief (Washington). I called to my young men and said, ‘Mark yon tall and daring warrior? He is not of the red-coat tribe—he hath an Indian’s wisdom and his warriors fight as we do—himself alone exposed. Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies.’ Our rifles were leveled, rifles which, but for you, knew not how to miss —‘twas all in vain, a power mightier far than we, shielded you. Seeing you were under the special guardianship of the Great Spirit, we immediately ceased to fire at you. I am old and shall soon be gathered to the great council fire of my fathers in the lands of the shades, but ere I go, there is something bids me speak in the voice of prophecy: Listen! The Great Spirit protects that man (pointing at Washington), and guides his destinies—he will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire. I am come to pay homage to the man who is the particular favorite of Heaven, and who can never die in battle.”
It is my honor to retell the story of divine protection and prophecy over our first president, showing God’s hand on our country long ago. Few Americans have heard this story after it was removed from school textbooks in the 1930’s. This miraculous event helped shape Washington’s character as well as confirm God’s call on his life as the first leader of our country.
“Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.” Psalm 91:7