Qualities of Washington in His Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

52, 53). Thus, in less than a month, Washington improvised an entirely new battle plan and seized the advantage offered to him by the British. Coupled with his relentless dedication to his cause, Washington's ability to react and improvise throughout the war is what allowed the relatively untrained and poorly supplied Continental Army to overcome the might of the British empire.

The third trait, a fatherly devotion to his men, is evident throughout Washington's military career. Though he was careful to maintain a certain distance between himself and his men in order to ensure a modicum of respect (or at least fear), he nevertheless care deeply about their well-being (Harvey, 2008, p. 39). For example, when he became the leader of the Continental Army, one of his first orders was for the men to be issued fresh bedding and food, and he organized colonial women to produce 14,000 new coats for the army (Harvey, 2008, p. 43). Similarly, even though from August to November 1776 was spent on the run from the British, the chase was born out of Washington's desire to not waste his men's lives when he did not think they could win. Thus, he abandoned New York to the British, but he at least succeeded in avoiding the massacre that surely would have followed had he attempted to secure the city against "a numerically superior enemy in countryside that was largely hostile" (Harvey, 2008, p. 45-46). The care Washington had for his men is also demonstrated by the devotion they had for him; though early on the Continental Army saw its numbers decrease substantially due to desertion, those that remained respected Washington enough that they were even willing to march through the snow without shoes in the middle of winter (Harvey, 2008,p. 55).

The three traits of maverick military leaders outlined above do not constitute the extent of Washington's character, because he actually embodies a number of the traits outlined by Harvey. However, these three traits stand out because they seem most relevant to Washington's role as the successful leader of the Continental Army. Faced with overwhelming odds and a superior enemy, both in terms of size and training, Washington was only able to succeed because of his resolve in the face of difficulty, his ability to improvise and take advantage of whatever opportunity presented itself, and the mutual respect and concern he shared with his men. Without these traits, it seems almost impossible that the rag-tag collection of colonists would be able to overcome the well-trained, well-supplied might of the British army, such that Washington's leadership must be considered a crucial element of the eventual success of the Continental…

Sources Used in Document:


Harvey, R. (2008). Maverick military leaders, the extraordinary battles of washington, nelson, patton, rommel, and others. Skyhorse Pub Co Inc.

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