National Geographic : 1976 Oct
river I have ever seene, so that the Thames is but a little finger to it." Father White went fearlessly among the Indians, and when sent back to England, he tried for years to return to his beloved river. * George Washington, the nonpareil, who probably knew the Potomac better than any leader of his day. Born on its banks at Wake field, he swam in the river, fished it, sailed it. At 16, as a surveyor for Lord Fairfax, he ex plored the headwaters. His beloved Mount Vernon overlooked the Potomac. He saw the river as a trade route to the interior, and headed a canal company that bypassed its falls. He chose the sites of the National Capital, the armory at Harpers Ferry. The spirit of Washington is everywhere on the Potomac.* * Grave, gray Robert E. Lee, fated to be come the symbol of the lost cause. He too was born on the banks of the Potomac, at Strat ford Hall (pages 466-7), and he too swam and fished in it, off his boyhood home in Alexan dria. But when I think of Lee and the river, I see him astride his gray horse, Traveller, watching from the shallows as his lean vet erans cross into Maryland at White's Ford while bands play "Maryland, My Maryland." The Battle of Antietam lies ahead. And again, when Gettysburg has turned back the high tide of the Confederacy, the incomparable *See "George Washington: The Man Behind the Myths," by Howard LaFay, GEOGRAPHIC, July 1976.