In the winter of '77, while Washington, with the American army, lay encamped at Valley Forge, a certain good old friend, of the respectable family and name of Potts, if I mistake not, had occasion to pass through the woods near headquarters. Treading in his way along the venerable grove, suddenly he heard the sound of a human voice, which, as he advanced, increased on his ear; and at length became like the voice of one speaking much in earnest. As he approached the spot with a cautious step, whom should he behold, in a dark natural bower of ancient oaks, but the commander in chief of the American armies on his knees at prayer I Motionless with surprise, friend Potts continued on the place till the general, having ended his devotions, arose; and, with a countenance of angelic serenity, retired to headquarters Friend Potts then went home, and on entering his parlour called out to his wife, " Sarah! my dear Sarah ! all's well ! all's well! George Washington will yet prevail! "Mason Locke Weems
"What's the matter, Isaac?" replied she, "thee seems moved."
" Well, if I seem moved, 'tis no more than what I really am. I have this day seen what I never expected. Thee knows that I always thought that the sword and the gospel were utterly inconsistent, and that no man could be a soldier and a Christian at the same time. But George Washington has this day convinced me of my mistake."
He then related what he had seen, and concluded with this prophetical remark--" If George Washington be not a man of God, I am greatly deceived--and still more shall I be deceived, if God do not, through him, work out a great salvation for America."
When General Washington was told that the British troops at Lexington, on the memorable 19th of April, 1775, had fired on and killed several of the Americans, he replied, " I grieve for the death of my countrymen; but rejoice that the British are still so determined to keep God on our side," alluding to that noble sentiment which he has since so happily expressed; viz. " The smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained."
A little-known sidelight connected with Braddock's defeat [referring to a battle Washington fought in during The French and Indian War, under a British General named Edward Braddock] was an "Indian prophecy" pronounced fifteen years later by an aged Indian chief. In the fall of 1770, Washington and several other men traveled to the Ohio to examine some of the western lands that had been granted to colonial veterans of the French and Indian War. During that journey the men 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 on 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:Another prophecy regarding Washington is this one, recorded by Wesley Bradshaw appearing, it is believed for the first time in an 1880 edition of the National Tribune (related to Bradshaw by Anthony Sherman) .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!
In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:
"Let it be told to the future world... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive... that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it."