He lost more battles than he won, faced mutinies among his men, and helped to ignite a war with reckless military decisions. And still to this day, George Washington is the standard by which all other American commanders are held. Unbowed in defeat and generous in victory, he showed America the way to greatness with grace, courage, and persistence under relentless fire from enemies and even friends. Find out how George Washington became America's foremost founding father, one battle at a time, in the special The History Channel presentation, WASHINGTON THE WARRIOR.
Though he eventually came into great wealth at the Mount Vernon estate, George Washington was born to more modest roots as a fifth-generation Virginian. Adamant in his desire to climb to higher social circles, he mastered physical skills and rules etiquette, then joined the military in search of the prestigious life of an officer. He gained a good reputation by completing dangerous missions on behalf of the British, but a series of missteps and defeats in 1754 led directly to the onset of the French and Indian War and held Washington up for public ridicule for the first time.
But he stood tall and received a second chance a year later when he assumed battlefield command of the Virginia Militia after its commander had been killed, dodging bullets on the front lines at Monongahela and forever gaining the respect of his men. From there he matured as a commander and helped drive the French from the Ohio Territory before retiring to Mount Vernon at age 27. Little did Washington know at the time that his military life had only just begun.