How George Washington Used Vaccines to Help Win the Revolutionary War

THE UNITED STATES’ victory over the British Empire in the Revolutionary War is our country’s quintessential tale of David overcoming Goliath. Birthed as an underdog, we embrace that mindset still.

Winning independence was not an easy task. It was a success that hinged on pivotal moments. The Continental Army’s narrow escape across the Delaware River, the British surrender at Saratoga, and foreign intervention from Spain and France are a few of those moments. But lesser known is George Washington’s bold decision to vaccinate the entire Continental Army against smallpox. It was the first mass inoculation in military history, and was vital to ensuring an American victory in the War of Independence.

GEORGE WASHINGTON’S first brush with smallpox came long before he was a military commander. At the age of nineteen, he was infected with the disease while traveling in Barbados with his brother. For twenty-six days, Washington battled headache, chills, backache, high fever, and vomiting. He developed the horrific rash and pungent pustules that are the hallmarks of smallpox. At times, his brother wasn’t sure he’d make it. In those days, smallpox mortality rates ranged from 15 to 50 percent.

George Washington realized that merely evading smallpox would no longer suffice; he wanted to prevent it altogether. Inoculation was already available, although the procedure — called variolation — was not without risks. The vaccines we’re accustomed to today were not invented yet, so doctors would simply make a small incision in the patient’s arm then introduce pus from the pustules of an infected victim into the wound. Variolation often resulted in a minor smallpox infection with a speedier recovery and vastly lower fatality rates, around two percent. Survivors were granted lifelong immunity.

At first, Washington simply required new recruits to be inoculated. Then, in February 1777, he bit the bullet entirely.

“Finding the smallpox to be spreading much and fearing that no precaution can prevent it from running thro’ the whole of our Army, I have determined that the Troops shall be inoculated. This Expedient may be attended with some inconveniences and some disadvantages, but yet I trust, in its consequences will have the most happy effects.”

This was a bold move. At the time, variolation was technically outlawed by the Continental Congress, so Washington was openly flouting the law. Whole divisions were inoculated and quarantined en masse, a process that would continue for months. Strict secrecy was maintained to prevent the British from uncovering the program, lest they launch an attack upon the recovering troops. By year’s end, 40,000 soldiers were immunized.



Strange how people know so little about history and the impact of disease on the success or failure in war. George Washington made polio inoculations mandatory for his soldiers which was an illegal act. Today, vaccines have become another method for the pharmaceutical companies to make a profit. Even to the point of creating the disease if necessary. I remember one of my microbiology professors telling the class that he would never get another vaccine and his reasoning in 1977.

How did we get from a position of do no harm as a medical foundation to making biological weapons in order to make a “cure”? How did the United States close down the coronavirus research at UNC-CH but then fund its continuation in Wuhan which caused a worldwide pandemic? I do not see any calls for an international treaty to outlaw such research or even its funding.

This is not an article concerning a SARS-COV-2 vaccine. The dangers behind an S protein vaccination would preclude me from any consideration. I would consider a monoclonal antibody or RNA approach but our best hope is to get infected with a small inoculum and build immunity. This still leaves a risk of the secondary infection against our immune system which our “leaders” are being very careful not to disclose. The redundant infection mechanisms designed into this virus preclude any “natural” evolution.

How can you ensure a limited infection to give your body more time to build antibodies? Wear a mask in public. Think about this next time Dr. Fauci explains why wearing a mask will not protect you. Also think about who will be benefiting financially by a vaccine.

A point could be made that George Washington’s (and Dan Morgan’s) actions were a major factor in winning the Revolutionary war. A point could also be made that our impending war here will be won or lost by the equipment that we have available. And this includes masks. For now, become educated on natural remedies, use common sense and have faith in God’s plan. And next time someone disagrees about the use of masks, explain that masks are not mandatory, that this is a tactic used to divide us and that we can agree to disagree as we unite for a higher cause.

David DeGerolamo

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9 months ago

Here is an excellent article on the effectiveness of various masks:

Can Masks Capture Coronavirus Particles?

Thomas Hanna
Thomas Hanna
9 months ago

Thank you, David.