Following his marriage to Martha Custis in January 1759, George Washington had turned to his estate. He repaired neglected buildings and made additions. He also entered politics, serving in the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1759 to 1774. Mount Vernon officially passed to him in 1761 and would spend the next fifteen years as a prosperous planter and member of the wealthy ruling class. It was not until 1769, ten years after entering the House of Burgesses that Washington emerged as a leading opponent of British colonial policy.
Revolution Begins: 1774
On May 27, 1774, the Virginia House of Burgesses was dissolved by Royal Governor Lord Dunmore. George Washington was one of the members that met at the Raleigh Tavern and adopted a nonimportation agreement against England. Washington also sided with the radicals who opposed making petitions to the British goverment. By his letters, he also knew that such a stance would lead to no alternative but war. On August 5, 1774, he was appointed as a Virginia delegate to the First Continental Congress where he was not active. When he returned to Virginia, he advised that military preparations get under way and even drilled volunteers.
Revolutionary War: 1775-1776
Following Lexington and Concord, in May, 1775, the Second Continental Congress convened and again George Washington was not an active member, but he attended daily dressed in his military uniform. On June 15, 1775, John Adams nominated George Washington as Commander in Chief and Congress unanimously approved the choice. He was officially commissioned as General and Commander in Chief on June 17 and immediately left for Boston. Arriving on July 3, he took command of the siege of Boston.
Washington first set about drilling the undisciplined force into resembling an army. He also tried to secure powder and other supplies that an army would need. On March 4, 1776, using cannon that Henry Knox had brought down from Fort Ticonderoga, General Washington occupied Dorchester Heights which overlooked Boston. He now controlled the city and its harbor, forcing the British to evacuate the city on March 17th.
General Wasington immediately moved to protect New York City where he expected Maj. General William Howe to next attack. Washington established his headquarters in New York on April 13, 1776. After a stay at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Howe did begin operations for capturing New York. He arrived off Sandy Hook on June 25th, landed on Staten Island on July 2nd. Howe thoroughly defeated Washington at the Battle of Long Island on August 27th, but Washington masterfully evacuated his troops over the next few days. The fighting paused while a fruitless peace conference took place on Staten Island on September 11th.
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