George Washington told of an angel who revealed a prophetic vision of America to him at Valley Forge. See Example( s )
Collected via Alexander, 1861
“Washington’s Vision” (reproduced as the example above) is a narrative presented as the 1859 reminiscences of 99-year-old Anthony Sherman, who was supposedly present with George Washington’s army at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777 and overheard Washington tell an officer that an angel had revealed a prophetic vision of America to him. The passage of more than 150 years has since obscured the origins and purpose of this narrative, leading many who encounter it now to believe that it is a true account of an incident from Washington’s life rather than a fictional tale created for political purposes long after Washington’s death.
The tale of “Washington’s Vision” was penned by
The meaning of “Washington’s Vision” was apparent to Alexander’s contemporary audience. First published in
During the war Alexander penned several similar tracts featuring both historical and contemporary American figures (e.g., Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis,
As the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research noted of “Washington’s Vision” and “General McClellan’s Dream” in 1917:
It seemed to us that the remarks which prefaced the dream itself plainly intimated that the latter was a literary production written for a patriotic purpose.
The [article] is from the pen of Wesley
Bradshaw, Esq.,and makes a fitting companion to “Washington’s Vision,” which sketch, written by the same author, at the commencement of our national difficulties, was widely copied by the press, and commended by Hon. EdwardEverett as “teaching a highly important lesson to every true lover of his country.” There is here no attempt to put forth the “dream” as authentic. It is a “sketch” written by a gentleman who shortly before had written another sketch about a dream or vision attributed to Washington.
(Although an officer named Anthony Sherman did serve in the Continental Army, he was at Saratoga under the command of Benedict Arnold at the end of 1777 and therefore wasn’t with Washington’s forces at Valley Forge during the winter of
Alexander’s expression of the theme that America can never be conquered by external enemies but can be brought down only through the failings of its own citizens gained renewed currency in 2001 among Americans in need of booster shots of patriotism after the events of
At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against
it? — Shallwe expect some transatlantic military giant to step the Ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! — Allthe armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.