Taken from an account as it was reprinted in the December 1880 National Tribune, (Vol IV, No. 12, Washington DC), a U.S. veterans of war publication, which is today called Stars and Stripes. The December 21, 1950 issue of the Stars and Stripes printed this article again.
GEORGE WASHINGTON’S VISION OF AMERICA
Let us go into the hall (Independence Hall), “ he (Sherman) said. “I want to tell you of an incident of Washington’s life – one, which no one alive knows of, except myself; and if you live, you will before long see it verified.
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 pass 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 to the thicket to pray. Well, it was not only true, but he used to pray in secret for aid and comfort. And God brought us safely through the darkest days of tribulation.”
One day, I remember it well, the chilly winds whistled through the leafless trees, though the sky was cloudless and the sun shone brightly. He remained in his quarters nearly all the afternoon, alone. When he came out I noticed that his face was a shade paler than usual, and there seemed to be something on his mind of more than ordinary importance. Returning just after dusk, he dispatched an orderly to the quarters of an officer, who was presently in attendance. After a preliminary conversation of about half an hour, Washington, gazing upon his companion with that strange look of dignity, which he alone could command, said to the latter:
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 in the apartment seemed to disturb me. Looking up, I beheld standing opposite me a singularly beautiful being. 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 the cause of the visit. 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 rising of the eyes.
By this time I felt strange sensations spreading through me. I would have risen but the riveted gaze of the being before me rendered volition impossible. I assayed once more to speak, but my tongue had become useless, as if 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 to fill with sensations, and grew luminous. Everything about me seemed to rarefy, the mysterious visitor also becoming more airy and yea more distinct to my sight than before. I began to feel as one dying, or rather to experience the sensations, which I have sometimes imagined accompany death. 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.
FIRST GREAT PERIL
Presently I heard a voice saying, Son of the Republic, look and learn, while at the same time my visitor extended an arm eastward. 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 Asia 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 and angel, standing, or rather 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 he cast some over Europe. Immediately a cloud arose from these countries, and joined in mid-ocean. For a while it remained stationary, and then it moved slowly westward, until it enveloped America in its murky folds. Sharp flashes of lightning gleamed through it at intervals, and I heard the smothered groans and cries of the American people.
SECOND GREAT PERIL
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 form 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.
And this time the dark shadowy angel turned his face southward. From Africa I saw an ill-omened specter approach our land. It flitted slowly and heavily over every town and city of the latter. 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. He was bearing the American flag. He placed the flag between the divided nation and said, remember, ye are brethren. Instantly the inhabitants, casting down their weapons, became friends once more and united around the National Standard.
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.
THIRD AND MOST FEARFUL PERIL
Then my eyes beheld a fearful scene. From each of these continents arose thick black clouds that were soon joined into one. And throughout this mass there gleamed a dark red light by which I saw hordes of armed men. These men, 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, which I had seen springing up.
As my ears listened to the thundering of the cannon, clashing of the swords, and the shouts and cries of millions in mortal combat, I again heard the mysterious voice saying, Son of the Republic, look and learn. Where the voice had ceased, the dark shadowy angel placed his trumpet once more to his mouth, and blew a long and fearful blast.
Instantly a light as of a thousand suns shone down from above me, and pierced and broke into fragments the dark cloud which envelope America. At the same moment the angel upon whose head still shown the work 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.
Them once more, I beheld the villages, towns and cities springing up where I has 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 heaven send down dew upon the earth, so long shall the UNION last. And taking from his brow the crown on which blazoned the work 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 disappeared, and 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 for her is the third. But the whole world united shall not prevail against her. Let every child of the Republic learn to live for his God, his land, and 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, the progress, and destiny of the United States.’”
Now that you’ve read the article, is it a true story?
As a genealogist, are you satisfied with the source used as a reference?
Is the reference a Primary Source or one of much lesser value?
Would you use a story like this to ‘prove’ your lineage?
Hopefully, you’ve said ‘No’ to these questions. The article is based on the ‘memory’ of someone else. It may be totally fabricated (and probably was).