Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Indian Prophecy

In 1755 George Washington marched with the army of Major General Edward Braddock as part of the expedition to capture Fort Duquesne, held by the French. Washington was serving as an aide-de-camp to the General at the time. The British regulars, drilled for traditional combat, were ambushed by a force of French and American Indians, severely beaten by guerrilla tactics and forced to retreat. Then Colonel Washington took the lead after Gen. Braddock was shot and salvaged the situation the best he could.

"15 years later, in the fall of 1770, Washington and several other men traveled to the Ohio river to examine some of the western lands that had been granted to colonial veterans of the French and Indian War. During the journey they were met by an Indian trader who "declared that he was conducting a party which consisted of a grand sachem and some attendant warriors; that the chief was a very great man among the northwestern tribes, and the same who [had] commanded the Indians at the fall of Braddock.... Hearing of the visit of Colonel Washington to the western country, this chief had set out on a mission, the object of which [he] himself would make known." (32) After the two groups had arranged themselves around a council fire, the old Indian rose and spoke to the group through an interpreter:
"I am a chief, and the ruler over many 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. I called to my young men and said, Mark yon tall and daring warrior? He is not of the red-coat tribe-he hath an Indian's wisdom, and his warriors fight as we do-himself is alone exposed. Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies. Our rifles were levelled, rifles which but for him knew not how to miss-'twas all in vain; a power mightier far than we shielded him from harm. He cannot die in battle.

"I am old, and soon shall be gathered to the great council fire of my fathers in the land of shades; but ere I go there is something bids me speak in the voice of prophecy. Listen! The Great Spirit protects that man, and guides his destinies-he will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire!" (33)
References

32. George Washington Parke Custis, Recollections and Private Memoirs of Washington, ed. Benson J. Lossing (New York: Derby & Jackson, 1860), p. 302.

33. Ibid., pp. 303-4. This incident was related personally by Dr. James Craik, an eyewitness, to G.W.P. Custis, Martha Washington's grandson.

Excerpt from The Real George Washington

There is some discussion as to the veracity of the above. However, it is hard to imagine a better source than Dr. Craik, who sat at the fire, heard the prophecy and reported it to Martha Washington's grandson.

Note that George Washington, despite receiving many holes to his clothing, was never injured in battle so far as I've been able to determine.

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