James Monroe was born in 1758 in Westmoreland county, Virginia. In 1776 he served as an officer in the continental army, and saved the Battle of Trenton against the British. During the battle he was standing at his post and a farmer came out and told them to get of his property. The battle was on Christmas day. Monroe and the other soldiers with him identified themselves as American soldiers and the farmer apologized.
Later the man who was also a doctor brought them out some hot drinks and food for them, the man stayed out there and refused to go back inside.
Monroe felt encouraged that the people that local citizens detested the Hessians (British soldiers). General Washington wanted the attack to take place at dawn. Captain Washington and lieutenant Monroe were ordered to break the Hessians defense. The Americans attacked and forced them back. 20 soldiers got on their horses and galloped away.
Monroe heard a cry and saw captain Washington on the ground wounded.
Monroe hesitated, and then took command and charged right up to the enemy line. All of a sudden a musket ball ripped through his left shoulder in pain, shock, and massive loss of blood he lost consciousness. When he woke up he was in the doctors house. The farmer-doctor said that if they got him there any later he might have died because the musket ball cut through a lot of arteries.
Later general Washington spoke of Monroe’s bravery. The Americans won the battle and captured more than 1,000 prisoners and a lot of ammunition. Monroe didn’t speak of his courage though. But general Washington promoted Monroe to the rank of captain, and wrote a report to the Continental Congress, Washington wrote:
“Our forces were exemplary, extraordinary conduct of lieutenant James Monroe, Third Virginia Infantry. Second in command of the vanguard, he assumed command when Captain William Washington was wounded. His own safety meaning nothing to him, Lieutenant Monroe demonstrated courage far beyond the call of duty.
I recommend that Congress offer him congratulations and enter this commendation on his personal record. I have myself, today, promoted him to the rank of captain. Would that we had one thousand officers like him.”
It was 40 years later 1817 when he became the 5th president of the United States. He was president for the years 1817-1825. In 1799 in his homeland he was elected governor because everyone expected him to win so no one ran against him. He held the highest office record in 1800, 1801, and 1802. In 1786 he got married to Elizabeth Kortright. He was elated in 1803 when he was appointed minister to France by Thomas Jefferson to help make the Louisiana Purchase. He served as a minister to England & Spain.
He died on July 4, 1831. He was 73 years old.
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