As General, Washington acknowledged God after victories throughout the Revolution and as President thanked God for the Constitution, October 3, 1789:
“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God…
I do recommend…rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks, for…the favorable interpositions of His Providence…we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war…for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government.”
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Washington was Anglican, and after the Revolution, Episcopalian.
His great-great-grandfather, Rev. Lawrence Washington, was an Anglican minister in Essex, England, who lost his position when the Puritans won the Civil War.
Washington’s great-grandfather, John Washington, immigrated to Virginia and became a planter, politician, and militia leader, who even had a local Anglican church renamed “Washington” in his honor. John Washington left to the church of a tablet with the Ten Commandments..
Washington’s grandfather, Lawrence, was
Anglican, as was his father, Augustine, who served as a vestryman at the Anglican Truro Parish.
George Washington became vestryman in Truro Parish, and was godfather in baptism to a niece and several nephews.
Washington had the Declaration of Independence read to his troops, then ordered chaplains placed in each regiment, stating July 9, 1776:
“The General hopes and trusts, that every officer and man, will endeavour so to live, and act, as becomes a Christian Soldier, defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country.”
General Washington wrote at Valley Forge, May 2, 1778:
“To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to laud the more distinguished Character of Christian.”
To the Delaware Indian Chiefs who brought three youths to be trained in American schools, General Washington stated, May 12, 1779:
“You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ.”
On October 2, 1775, General George Washington issued the order:
“Any…soldier who shall hereafter be detected playing at toss-up, pitch, and hustle, or any other games of chance…shall without delay be confined and punished…The General does not mean by the above to discourage sports of exercise or recreation, he only means to discountenance and punish gaming.”
On February 26, 1776, General Washington issued the orders:
“All…soldiers are positively forbid playing at cards and other games of chance. At this time of public distress men may find enough to do in the service of their God and their country, without abandoning themselves to vice and immorality.”
On July 4, 1775, General Washington ordered:
“The General…requires…observance of those articles of war…which forbid profane cursing, swearing and drunkenness; And.. .requires… punctual attendance of Divine Services.”
As recorded in The Writings of George Washington (March 10, 1778, 11:83-84, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1934), General Washington ordered:
“At a General Court Marshall…Lieutt. Enslin of Colo. Malcom’s Regiment tried for attempting to commit sodomy….and do sentence him to be dismiss’d the service with Infamy. His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief approves the sentence and with Abhorrence and Detestation of such Infamous Crimes orders Liett. Enslin to be drummed out of Camp tomorrow morning by all the Drummers and Fifers in the Army never to return.”
In his Farewell Address, 1796, Washington stated:
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports.
In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness.”
Driven into Pennsylvania by the British, the Continental Army set up camp at Valley Forge, DECEMBER 19, 1777, just 25 miles from British occupied Philadelphia. Lacking food and supplies, soldiers died at the rate of twelve per day. Of 11,000 soldiers, 2,500 died of cold, hunger and disease. A Committee from Congress reported “feet and legs froze till they became black, and it was often necessary to amputate them.” Soldiers were there from every State in the new union, some as young as 12, others as old as 60, and though most were white, some were African American and American Indians. Quaker farmer Isaac Potts reported seeing General Washington kneeling in prayer in the snow. Hessian Major Carl Leopold Baurmeister noted the only thing that kept the American army from disintegrating was their “spirit of liberty.” In a letter written to John Banister, Washington recorded: “To see men without clothes to cover their nakedness, without blankets to lay on, without shoes, by which their marches might be traced by the blood from their feet…and at Christmas taking up their…quarters within a day’s march of the enemy…is a mark of patience and obedience which in my opinion can scarce be paralleled.”