WEEDON, GEORGE. (1730–1793). Continental general. Virginia. A Fredericksburg innkeeper and prewar acquaintance of Washington, he served in the French and Indian War, rising to captain. He was characterized in 1774 by an English visitor as "very active in blowing the seeds of sedition." He became lieutenant colonel of the Third Virginia on 13 February 1776 and colonel on 13 August, joined Washington's army in mid-September with slightly more than six hundred men, and took part in the New York and New Jersey campaigns. On 20 February 1777 he became acting adjutant general to Washington and on 21 February was promoted to brigadier general. After a long leave of absence he rejoined the army at Morristown in time for the Philadelphia campaign. Leading Greene's division, he reached the Plowed Hill at Brandywine just as the American defenses were collapsing; his men calmly opened ranks to let the fugitives pass and reformed to check the enemy. As part of Greene's column he participated in the attack at Germantown and expressed the (questionable) view that the Americans were within fifteen minutes of victory when their attack collapsed. He was among the nine brigadier generals who memorialized Congress against General Thomas Conway's promotion and has been characterized with General John Peter Muhlenberg and William Woodford as one of the "jealous, ambitious men" competing for promotion (Freeman, vol. 4, p. 613 n.). On 18 August 1778 he appealed to Congress to be put on the inactive list; by November "Weedon had gone home and kept both his complaint and his commission" as a Continental brigadier general (ibid, 5, p. 79). In the Virginia military operations that followed, Weedon helped organize military resistance to the British raids and in the Yorktown campaign commanded the militia investing Gloucester.
"Joe Gourd," as the tavern-keeping general was known to his soldiers, idolized the former patron who became commander in chief. On 14 April 1777 he wrote John Page,
no other man but our present General, who is the greatest that ever did or ever will adorn our earth, could have supported himself under the many disappointments and disgraces he was subjected to from this singular system of carrying on a war against the most formidable enemy in the world (ibid., 4, p. 411 n.).
He died in November 1793. Weedon was the brother-in-law of General Hugh Mercer. Weedon's wife, Catherine, raised Mercer's two sons after Mercer's death at the Battle of Princeton.
SEE ALSO Virginia, Military Operations in.
Ford, Allyn K. Weedon Correspondence Collection. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota.
Freeman, Douglas Southall. George Washington. Vols. 3-5. New York: Scribner, 1951–1952.
Ward, Harry M. Duty, Honor, or Country: General George Weedon and the American Revolution. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1979.
Weedon, George. Valley Forge Orderly Book of General George Weedon. New York: Arno Press, 1971.
Weedon Correspondence collection. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Weedon Correspondence collection. Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.
revised by Harry M. Ward