VISION OF GEORGE WASHINGTON, OUR FOUNDING FATHER
This article is a reprint of a newspaper article first published in the
NATIONAL TRIBUNE in 1859 and reprinted in 1880 (vol. 4, no. 12, Dec.
1880). Later reprinted in THE STARS AND STRIPES newspaper owned by the
NATIONAL TRIBUNE, in 1931 and the latest printing on December 21, 1950.
This article is printed in its entirety by permission of the NATIONAL
TRIBUNE. The vision was related to a reporter named Wesley Bradshaw by an
officer who served under General Washington at Valley Forge, named Anthony
Sherman. In the vision, Washington sees three great trials to overtake the
Union. These were the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the greatest
threat, a war fought on the soil of the United States near the time of
Jesus' return to reign on the earth. It is this third battle, that hold's
our interest as the day draws near.
"From the opening of the Revolution we
experienced all phases of fortune, now good and now ill, one time
victorious and another conquered. The darkest period we had, I think, was
when Washington, after several reverses, retreated to Valley Forge, where
he resolved to spend the winter of 1777. Ah! I have often seen the tears
coursing down our dear commander's care-worn cheeks, as he would be
conversing with a confidential officer about the condition of his poor
soldiers. You have doubtless heard the story of Washington's going into
the thicket to pray. Well, it was not only true, but he used often to pray
in secret for aid and comfort from God, the interposition of whose Divine
Providence brought us safely through the darkest days of tribulation.
"I do not know whether it is owing to the anxiety
of my mind, or what, but this afternoon, as I was sitting at this table
engaged in preparing a dispatch, something seemed to disturb me. Looking
up, I beheld standing opposite me a singularly beautiful female. So
astonished was I, for I had given strict orders not to be disturbed, that
it was some moments before I found language to inquire into the cause of
her presence. A second, a third, and even a fourth time did I repeat my
question, but received no answer from my mysterious visitor except a
slight raising of her eyes. By this time I felt strange sentiments
spreading through me. I would have risen, but the riveted gaze of the
being before me rendered volition impossible. I assayed once more to
address her, but my tongue had become useless, even thought itself had
become paralyzed. A new influence, mysterious, potent, irresistible, took
possession of me. All I could do was to gaze steadily, vacantly at my
unknown visitor. Gradually, the surrounding atmosphere seemed as though
becoming filled with sensations and luminous. Everything about me seemed
to rarify, the mysterious visitor herself becoming more airy, and yet more
distinct to my sight than before. I now began to feel as one dying, or
rather to experience the sensations which I have sometimes imagined
accompany dissolution. I did not think, I did not reason, I did not move;
all were alike impossible. I was only conscious of gazing fixedly,
vacantly at my companion.
"Presently I heard a voice saying, 'Son of the
Republic, look and learn,' while at the same time my visitor extended her
arm eastwardly. I now beheld a heavy white vapor at some distance rising
fold upon fold. This gradually dissipated, and I looked upon a strange
scene. Before me lay spread out in one vast plain all the countries of the
world -- Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. I saw rolling and tossing
between Europe and America the billows of the Atlantic, and between Asia
and America lay the Pacific. 'Son of the Republic,' said the same
mysterious voice as before, 'look and learn.'
"At that moment I beheld a dark, shadowy being,
like an angel floating in mid-air, between Europe and America, dipping
water out of the ocean in the hollow of each hand. He sprinkled some upon
America with his right hand, while with his left hand he cast some on
Europe. Immediately a dark cloud raised from these countries and joined in
mid-ocean. For a while it remained stationary, and then moved slowly
westward, until it enveloped America in its murky folds. Sharp flashes of
lightning passed through it at intervals, and I heard the smothered groans
and cries of the American people.
"A second time the angel dipped water from the
ocean, and sprinkled it out as before. The dark cloud was then drawn back
to the ocean, in whose heaving billows it sank from view. A third time I
heard the mysterious voice saying, 'Son of the Republic, look and learn.'
I cast my eyes upon America and beheld villages and towns and cities
springing up one after another until the whole land from the Atlantic to
the Pacific was dotted with them. Again I heard the mysterious voice say,
'Son of the Republic, the end of the century cometh, look and learn.'
"At this the dark, shadowy angel turned his face
southward, and from Africa I saw an ill-omened spectre approach our land.
It flitted slowly over every town and city. The inhabitants presently set
themselves in battle array against each other. As I continued looking, I
saw a bright angel, on whose brow rested a crown of light, on which was
traced the word "Union," bearing the American flag, which he placed
between the divided nation, and said, 'Remember ye are brethren.'
Instantly the inhabitants, casting from them their weapons, became friends
once more and united around the National Standard.
"And again I heard the mysterious voice saying,
'Son of the Republic, look and learn.' At this the dark, shadowy angel
placed a trumpet to his mouth and blew three distinct blasts; and taking
water from the ocean, he sprinkled it upon Europe, Asia, and Africa. Then
my eyes beheld a fearful scene: from each of these countries arose thick,
black clouds that were joined into one. And throughout this mass there
gleamed a dark red light by which I saw hordes of armed men, who, moving
with the cloud, marched by land and sailed by sea to America, which
country was enveloped in the volume of the cloud. And I dimly saw these
vast armies devastate the whole country and burn the villages, towns, and
cities that I beheld were springing up. As my ears listened to the
thundering of the cannon, clashing of swords, and the shouts and cries of
millions in mortal combat, I heard again the mysterious voice saying, 'Son
of the Republic, look and learn.' When the voice had ceased, the dark,
shadowy angel placed his trumpet once more to his mouth and blew a long
and fearful blast. (Could this be the 7th and last trumpet
"Instantly a light as of a thousand suns shone
down from above me, and pierced and broke into fragments the dark cloud
which enveloped America. At the same moment the angel, upon whose head
still shone the word "Union," and who bore our national flag in one hand
and a sword in the other, descended from the heavens, attended by legions
of white spirits. These immediately joined the inhabitants of America, who
I perceived were well-nigh overcome, but who immediately taking courage
again, closed up their broken ranks and renewed the battle. Again, amid
the fearful noise of the conflict, I heard the mysterious voice saying,
'Son of the Republic, look and learn.' As the voice ceased, the shadowy
angel for the last time dipped water from the ocean and sprinkled it upon
America. Instantly the dark cloud rolled back, together with the armies it
had brought, leaving the inhabitants of the land victorious.
"Then once more I beheld the villages, towns, and
cities springing up where I had seen them before, while the bright angel,
planting the azure standard he had brought in the midst of them, cried
with a loud voice, 'While the stars remain, and the heavens send down dew
upon the earth, so long shall the Union last.' And taking from his brow
the crown on which was blazoned the word "Union," he placed it upon the
Standard, while the people, kneeling down, said, 'Amen.'
"The scene instantly began to fade and dissolve,
and I at last saw nothing but the rising, curling vapor I at first beheld.
This also disappearing, I found myself once more gazing upon the
mysterious visitor, who, in the same voice I had heard before, said, 'Son
of the Republic, what you have seen is thus interpreted: Three great
perils will come upon the Republic. The most fearful is the third, passing
which the whole world united shall not prevail against her.
Let every child of the Republic learn to live for his God, his land, and
the Union.' With these words the vision vanished, and I started
from my seat, and felt that I had seen a vision wherein had been shown me
the birth, progress, and destiny of the United States."