Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, And The Fate of the American Revolution

George Washington was born to Augustine Washington and Mary Ball Washington on February 22, 1732, at the family’s property on Popes Creek in Westmoreland County, Virginia. Justice of the county court and prominent planter, George Sr. was George’s father.

Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, And The Fate of the American Revolution


Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold

His first wife, Jane Butler, passed away in 1729, leaving him to raise their three children—Lawrence, Augustine, Jr., and Jane. The children of Augustine and Mary were George, Elizabeth, Samuel, John Augustine, Charles, and Mildred, with George being the oldest.

In about 1734, the family relocated to Little Hunting Creek Plantation, further up the Potomac River in Washington (later renamed Mount Vernon). George spent the majority of his childhood on the plantation of Ferry Farm, located on the Rappahannock River not far from Fredericksburg, Virginia. This was in 1738.

George Washington’s early life is one of the least well-known and understood periods of his life. George was just eleven years old when his father Augustine passed away, leaving most of his wealth to his older half brothers.

Mary Washington and her children were able to get by on the meagre remainder. George, being the eldest of Mary’s children, surely assisted with the management of the property they called home on the Rappahannock River.

There, he discovered the value of discipline and effectiveness in the workplace.

The Continental Army, led by a hesitant and inexperienced George Washington (who had never led a big force in action), fled New York City in September 1776 after suffering a crushing loss at the hands of the British.

Near the Canadian border three weeks later, his favourite general, Benedict Arnold, improbably succeeds in delaying the British naval push down Lake Champlain, which may have ended the war.

Valiant Ambition: Final Chapters

In the final chapters four years later, Washington has overcome his afflictions, and Arnold has defected to the enemy after his attempt to hand over the American bastion of West Point to the British has been thwarted.

Four years into a war, the United States is beginning to see that the true threat to its rights may not come from outside but from inside.

Last Words

In Valiant Ambition, we see a people in distress and the battle that gave birth to a nation, in a portrayal that is both complex and controversial and dramatic.