George Washington to John Hancock, July 21, 1775

Selected images from the Manuscript Division, Library of Congress


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George Washington to John Hancock, July 21, 1775

For sixteen years George and Martha Washington lived as an affluent, influential planter family in Virginia. Washington played a leading part in Virginia's struggles against British rule. The American revolt against British rule in 1775, recalled Washington to the military life from his beloved Mount Vernon estate. A political leader in Virginia, Washington was elected to the Continental Congress in 1774 and 1775. After fighting broke out at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, in April 1775, Congress appointed Washington commander in chief of the American forces on June 15, 1775. Washington soon departed Philadelphia to take command of the main American army encircling the British forces in Boston. General Washington arrived after the resounding American slaughter of British forces at Bunker (Breed's) Hill on June 17, and wrote this brief update to John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress. When Washington realized the impact of British military losses on their political and military plans, it became the dominant element of Washington's military strategy throughout the war.

See Series 2, Letterbook 7, image 26 and 27, for additional images and a transcription of these letters.


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