Washington was born on February 22, 1732, in Westmoreland County, Virginia. He was the eldest of Augustine and Mary’s six children, all of whom survived into adulthood.
Little is known about Washington's childhood, which fostered many of the fables later biographers manufactured to fill in the gap. Among these are the stories that Washington threw a silver dollar across the Potomac and after chopping down his father's prize cherry tree, he openly confessed to the crime.
In August 1755, Washington was made commander of all Virginia troops at age 23. He was sent to the frontier to patrol and protect nearly 400 miles of border with some 700 ill-disciplined colonial troops and a Virginia colonial legislature unwilling to support him.
After the battles of Lexington and Concord in April 1775, the political dispute between Great Britain and her North American colonies escalated into an armed conflict. In May, Washington traveled to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia dressed in a military uniform, indicating that he was prepared for war. On June 15th, he was appointed Major General and Commander-in-Chief of the colonial forces against Great Britain. As was his custom, he did not seek out the office of commander, but he faced no serious competition. Washington was the best choice for a number of reasons: he had the prestige, military experience and charisma for the job and he had been advising Congress for months.