Edward Savage (1761—1817)

by Edward Savage (1761—1817)

Oil on canvas. Adams National Historical Park, Quincy, MA.

by Edward Savage (1761—1817)

Oil on canvas. Adams National Historical Park, Quincy, MA.

by Edward Savage (1761—1817)

Oil on canvas; 76.1 x 63.3 cm (29 15/16 x 24 15/16 in). National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

by Edward Savage (1761—1817)

Oil on canvas; 213.6 x 284.2 cm (84 1/8 x 111 7/8 in). The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

by Robert Edge Pine (1730—88)

Oil on canvas. Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection, Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent, Philadelphia, PA.

by Edward Savage (1761—1817)

Stipple engraving printed on hand laid paper; 47.9 x 65.5cm (18 7/8 x 25 13/16"). National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian), Washington, DC.

Washington was imperfect. In strictly military terms, he does not merit comparisons that have sometimes been made between him and generals like Marlborough, Frederick the Great, Napoleon, or Robert E. Lee. Yet he remains a remarkable man, one of those Tolstoyan figures whose acts determine the course of history. James Thomas Flexner has called him the indispensable man. Nobody — not Nathanael Green or Henry Knox, and certainly not Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, or John Adams — united the military, political, and personal skills that made Washington unique ... without George Washington there could have been no victory in the Revolutionary War, no United States. As a soldier he was erratic but competent. As a man he was impulsive, vindictive, brave, hardworking, intelligent, and virtuous. And as a leader he was great. Those who mourned Washington’s passing in 1799 were right to regard him, for all his flaws, as the savior of his country.

Edward G. Lengel
General George Washington: A Military Life (2005)