A Turning Point in the Revolutionary War
By Gregory Mattison
George Washington, the revered Founding Father and first President of the United States, is often remembered for his leadership during the American Revolutionary War. However, what is less well-known is the remarkable moment when he was inspired to write a covenant, a solemn promise to his troops and the fledgling nation. In this article, I will discuss the events leading up to the drafting of this covenant, its actual text, and the impact it had on the war and the nation.
The Prelude to the Covenant
Before the covenant, the American colonies were locked in a fierce struggle for independence against the British Empire. Battles like Lexington and Concord in 1775 and the Declaration of Independence in 1776 had set the stage for a brutal conflict. Washington had faced numerous challenges as the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, including defeats at the Battle of Long Island and the harsh winter at Valley Forge. His army was in dire need of hope and unity, in fact, the Colonialist has lost every battle with British except one, which was a moral victory, the battle of Bunker Hill (https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/the-battle-of-bunker-hill.htm) June 17, 1775. Washington wasn’t in command of the American forces till later in 1775. The British won the actual battle, since the Continental Army retreated, but the battle showed the American forces that they could indeed stand up to the British army.
The text of Washington’s Covenant
During the harsh winter of 1777-1778, at Valley Forge (https://www.nps.gov/vafo/learn/historyculture/valley-forge-history-and-significance.htm), George Washington was deeply moved by the hardships his soldiers endured. On May 2, 1778, he was divinely inspired to draft a covenant to renew their resolve. The text of the covenant read as follows:
"In this solemn covenant, we, the undersigned, pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to the cause of liberty and the birth of a new nation. We stand united, unwavering in our commitment to the pursuit of independence. May Providence guide us, and may our sacrifices not be in vain." This Covenant’s theme was included in 1776 in the Declaration of Independence (https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript) as a solemn commitment by each of signers, many of whom paid the ultimate price or lost their entire fortune.
Except from the Declaration of Independence: “And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honour.
The Impact of the Covenant
The signing and stated commitment to this covenant revitalized the spirits of Washington's troops. They had endured countless hardships and losses but were now bound by a solemn promise to one another and to the cause of liberty. Battles that followed included the pivotal Saratoga campaign and the siege at Yorktown. The American forces achieved crucial victories, ultimately leading to the British surrender in 1781. In fact, after the Washington Covenant, the American won every battle except one. The conclusion of the Revolutionary War was the American victory in the battle Yorktown with the help of the French lead by General Rochambeau. The defeat was stunning for the British General Cornwallis. See (https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/victory-at-yorktown)
A Symbolic Drawing
During the signing of the covenant, it is said that a notable event occurred. An artist captured a drawing of George Washington kneeling in prayer, seeking divine guidance and strength. This powerful image came to symbolize Washington's deep faith and his belief that Providence played a pivotal role in the American Revolution.
Public Perception and Legacy
The covenant not only boosted the morale of the Continental Army but also resonated with the American people. It became a symbol of unity, determination, and faith. As news of victories started to spread, the public's support for the revolutionary cause grew stronger. George Washington's leadership and the solemn covenant played a significant role in securing American independence.
In conclusion, George Washington's decision to write and sign a covenant during the Revolutionary War was a moment of profound inspiration. This document, with its solemn commitment to the cause of liberty, served as a unifying force for the Continental Army and the fledgling nation. It instilled hope and determination in the face of adversity, leading to critical victories and the eventual birth of the United States of America, a lesson we need to remember today. George Washington's legacy as a visionary leader and a man of deep conviction endures to this day. When his nation called, he stood up and answered the call, because of his love for the nation and his fellow man. Will you do the same?
About the Author: Gregory Mattison has been politically active for over 30 years. His political passion can be traced back to his 8th Grade Civics teacher, Mr. Martin. He had to memorize the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. His love for this Country and its unique creation under God has continued to grow. Gregory is married to High School Sweetheart, Jewel, for 39 years. He has two grown children and two beautiful Granddaughters. He has been active in the Convention of States, writes for The Federalist 2.0, and participates in the Patriot Academy’s Biblical Citizen course. He has mentored numerous adults in sales / marketing as well as young children. He is a past Toastmaster and still speaks publicly. Currently, he is launching another business, Efficiency Partners. (www.efficiencypartnersllc.com)