George Washington’s Farewell to His Officers

Presidential History Blog

The quintessential General

“An army of asses led by a lion is better than an army of lions led by an ass.”

The Quote and the Sentiment

British General Edward Braddock

The quote about asses (donkeys) and lions is frequently attributed to George Washington, but it is an ancient quote.  Sometimes it is attributed to Alexander the Great. Sometimes it is attributed to Aesop or just-plain-anonymous. It really does not matter who “coined” the phrase. George Washington definitely quoted it and adhered to its truths.

As a young Virginia militia officer assigned to the British Army, long before American independence was even a glimmer, George Washington learned first hand from his mentor General Edward Braddock, the importance of well-trained and disciplined army officers.

One of the earliest portraits of George Washington

When Washington became General of the Continental Army in 1775, a full fifteen years after his “first retirement,”…

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