George Washington is perhaps the foremost American who despite all odds could not die. He was known, even by his enemies, as having supernatural protection.
In the French and Indian War, (Washington fought against the French) Washington and roughly 1,400 troops marched into an ambush in a wooded Pennsylvanian ravine roughly ten miles east of Pittsburgh. Known as the “Battle of the Monongahela” or the “Battle of the Wilderness,” more than 700 were killed; 62 of 86 officers were killed or wounded. Out of roughly 1,400 troops and 86 officers, Washington was the only mounted officer not shot off of his horse.
This in itself was remarkable because he was a prime target. He rode back and forth among the troops, in the front lines, delivering orders and encouragement. He survived despite four bullet holes through his coat, bullet fragments in his hair, and two horses shot out from under him. He wrote of his experience:
BUT BY THE ALL POWERFUL DISPENSATIONS OF PROVIDENCE, I HAVE BEEN PROTECTED BEYOND ALL HUMAN PROBABILITY AND 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.”
In response to his mother’s plea to he stay home and not fight, Washington responded: “The God Jesus Christ to whom you commended me madam, when I set out upon a more perilous errand, defended me from harm, and I trust He will do so now. Do not you?”
Later, in 1770, an Indian Chief sought out Washington to tell him that he was at the Battle of the Monongahela and to “pay homage to the man who is the particular favorite of Heaven, and who can never die in battle.”
The Chief recalled that he shot at Washington 17 times and missed although it was widely known that he never missed hitting a target. He then instructed his men not to fire at Washington believing he was protected by the “Great Spirit.” Another Chief gave a similar testimony, to never missing hitting his target, yet each of the 11 times he shot at Washington he missed, and also concluded that the “Great Spirit” was protecting Washington.
In the first battle of the Revolutionary War, the Battle of Brooklyn, Washington and his troops miraculously escaped through fog after misinformation, spies reporting on them, and undisciplined men who ran in every direction after realizing they were trapped. Yet, in the middle of the night, 9,000 of Washington’s men escaped, rowing to Manhattan from Brooklyn. It was reported that while “the sun came up, a fog miraculously descended on the remaining men crossing the river. According to eyewitnesses, George Washington was the last man to leave Brooklyn.”
Perhaps one of the most miraculous feats occurred on Christmas Eve 1776. The 2,000 men left fighting with Washington were starving and freezing. Over the last six months Washington had lost numerous battles in Boston, Manhattan, Long Island, and New Jersey. Morale was exceedingly low and no hope for winning the War seemed possible.
On Christmas day, 1776 Washington knew what lied ahead was either “Victory or Death.”
The Crossing of the Delaware was an exceedingly dangerous and heroic plan. It also turned the War. It took 12 hours for 2,400 troops to cross an ice-filled river. Next, they marched 9 miles by foot through a relentless snowstorm, wearing no boots or appropriate clothing. In 48 hours Washington’s troops had not only won the Battle of Trenton but also had marched 25 miles by foot in a blizzard with no food or sleep. Their accomplishment resulted in 15,000 new volunteers joining Washington who glimpsed possible victory lied ahead.
Washington recognized that he had not died throughout these and numerous other battles because of “the miraculous care of Providence.” He recognized his purpose to lead America was because, “I have only been an instrument in the hands of Providence.”
He then went on to win another consequential battle in New Jersey at The Battle of Princeton. Washington rode back and forth encouraging his troops in face of direct fire from the British who were only 30 yards away. So many shots were fired that, “The smoke was so thick that it was virtually impossible to see. The entire scene was chaos.” Many among the British believed they had killed Washington. Yet, after the smoke cleared Washington “sat upright on his horse, calm and resolute,” continuing to encourage his troops and force the British to retreat.
Perhaps even more miraculous is Washington’s escape from death during the Battle of Brandywine in Pennsylvania. North of the Chesapeake Bay, the British launched full-scale attack on Washington during their attempt to take Philadelphia. British sharpshooters from the Royal Experimental Rifle Company were tasked with picking off officers one by one. They were led by the well-respected and well-known Captain Patrick Ferguson who had trained them using a rifle he designed. The Ferguson rifle was faster, safer, and more deadly; unlike other weapons, it fired six to ten rounds per minute.
While Ferguson and his company creeped up to ambush American officers, including Washington, he stopped them due to honoring military code. He said, “I could have lodged half a dozen balls in or about him, before he was out of my reach,” Ferguson recalled, “but it was not pleasant to fire at the back of an unoffending individual, who was acquitting himself very coolly of his duty—so I let him alone.”
The American historian Lyman C. Draper wrote, “No man, perhaps, of his rank and years, ever attained more military distinction in his day than Patrick Ferguson.” He also added, “had Washington fallen, it is difficult to calculate its probable effect upon the result of the struggle of the American people. This singular impulse of Ferguson illustrates in a forcible manner the overruling hand of Providence in directing the operation of a man’s mind when he himself is least aware of it.”
Throughout this, Washington battled sever painful illnesses, which made his survival even more miraculous– a fact Washington openly recognized was God’s intervention and bulletproof protection over his life.