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The Bulletproof George Washington

American Revolution

The stories of colonial American are inspiring and often incredible. Just like the stories from our own family’s history, they are well worth preserving and passing on. When lost over time, the loss is great. For many years, early American school children were required to commit to memory one such story about George Washington.

The Bulletproof George Washington

George Washington’s part in the battle of Monongahela, July 9th, 1755, during the French and Indian War was one of the most significant events of his early years. His life literally hung in the balance for over two hours. This dramatic event helped shape his character and confirm God’s providential care in his life.

During the two-hour battle, the 23 year-old Colonel Washington rode to and fro on the battlefield, delivering the general’s orders to other officers and troops. The officers were a particular target for the Indians. Of the eighty-six British and American officers, sixty-three were casualties. Washington was the only officer on horseback not shot down.

Following the battle, Washington wrote the following in a letter to his brother:

From Fort Cumberland – July 18, 1755

To Mr. John Augustine Washington, Mt. Vernon

Dear Brother,

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!

(George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 2 Letterbook 1, Image 90)

Fifteen years after the battle, the chieftain of the Indians Washington had fought sought him out and gave Washington this account of what had happened during the battle:

“I am 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 forest that I first beheld this chief [Washington]…I called to my young men and said…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…I am come to pay homage to the man who is the particular favorite of Heaven, and who can never die in battle.”

David Barton thoroughly researched this important story for his book titled The Bulletproof George Washington. He references more than three-dozen older historical sources ranging from personal records of the participants in the battle to details provided by Benjamin Franklin and other prominent early historians. His book is available from

Although this story is long forgotten or scarcely known by most Americans, we hope it may be revived and widely celebrated.

Memories of Your Grandparents

You may not be related to one of the Founding Fathers, but your ancestors were equally great within their own spheres of influence. Even a seemingly ordinary grandfather is a giant in the eyes of his adoring grandchildren.

Keep the stories alive the easy way with Capture the Memory interview books. Grandpa Remembers and Grandma Remembers help you capture a gift of memories from them. Don’t just give Grandpa or Grandma a book to fill out – take time to ask questions and listen to their stories; you’ll be glad you did!