About William Woodford
William Woodford lived a short and exciting life — at least, it was short by today’s standards. He was born in Virginia in 1734 and was only forty-six when he died in 1780. This was at a time when people did not live as long, however, and it was also in a time of war. Woodford was a general during the American Revolution, fighting on behalf of his beloved country and eventually giving his life in her service. He is now considered something of a folk hero in the area, a man who gave all that he had. The town where he was born was called Caroline County at the time and has since been renamed Woodford. His name will always live on through this town, granting him fame well into the future of the country he saw formed.
Woodford served under General George Washington, easily the most famous of the leaders from the Revolution and the first president of the United States, in the French and Indian War. He was in the Virginia Regiment and did such a good job in the fighting that he was given a promotion to lieutenant. This was a big step up for Woodford and something in which he took a lot of pride. He was a military man through and through. After his promotion, he left with William Byrd and Adam Stephen on the Cherokee Expedition, continuing his military service even before the United States had come to exist.
Woodford received another promotion on the eve of the war with England, being lifted to the rank of colonel and set in charge of men who would be fighting the English army when the war broke. As the fighting started, Woodford again proved that he really knew what he was doing with men and machines of war. He attacked the local British governor, Lord Dunmore, during the Battle of the Great Bridge. This was some of the first action of the war to happen in Virginia, and Woodford beat Lord Dunmore soundly.
The war was far from over, however. Woodford became a brigadier general with the victory and was sent to fight at the Battle of Brandywine. He was hurt here but was not killed. He fought again in the Battle of Monmouth — in this clash he was able to capture Comb’s Hill and threw the entire fury of his artillery at the flank of the British army. He was then sent to help in the south, though this proved to be a fatal move for Woodford. He was captured at Charleston and eventually died while sitting on a British ship full of prisoners in the New York Harbor. He was taken onto land and buried in the cemetery at Trinity Church.
All in all, everything about William Woodford suggests that he was a hero of the American army. His name may not grace the cover of history books in the way that Washington’s does, but he led his men well through every encounter and came out victorious in all but his last battle. The town that now bears his name will never forget his contribution to American freedom, and the rest of the country would be wise to follow their example. William Woodford is responsible for forming America to be the country that she is today.