24" x 36" oil
In the winter of 1753, a young Major George Washington was sent to Western Pennsylvania to deliver a message to French forces. A return message from the French to the British was entrusted to Washington to be delivered to Williamsburg, Virginia.
His Return: Quotes from Washington's journal (and explanations)
"Pulled off my cloaths, and tied myself up in a Match Coat. ...put myself in an Indian Walking Dress... set out with Mr. Gist fitten in the same manner"
Match Coat - So called originally because skins were matched in the making; later a course woolen English trade item: Match Cloth (Basically wrapped about the upper body).
Indian Walking Dress - A knee-length match coat, belted at the waist; hip-length leggings and moccasins.
Dec. 28, 1753
"The next day we continued traveling till quite dark, and got to the river (Allegheny River). About two miles above Shannapins; (Indian village across the river from Millvale, PA) we expected to have found the river frozen, but it was not, only about 50 yards from each shore; the ice I suppose had broke up above, for it was driving in vast quantities."
Dec. 29, 1753
"There was no way for getting over but on a raft, which we set about with but one poor hatchet and got finished just after sun-setting, after a whole days work; we got it launched and on board of it and set off; but before we were half way over we were jammed in the ice in such a manner that we expected every moment our raft to sink, and ourselves to perish; I put out my setting pole to try to stop the raft, that the ice might pass us by, when the rapidity of the stream threw it with so much violence against the pole that it jirked me out into ten feet water, but I fortunately saved myself by catching hold of one of the raft logs; not withstanding all our efforts we could not get the raft to either shore, but were obliged, as we were near an island, to quit our raft and make to it."
The next morning they walked to shore on ice frozen during the cold night and continued their return to Williamsburg.
Reproductions of this painting were produced.