The Diaries: Volume 1

DATE January 1748 – December 1765

The first volume of the Diaries spans the years 1748 to 1765, beginning with Washington’s account, written as a boy of sixteen, of a surveying expedition for Lord Fairfax to the western part of Virginia. It is followed by a vivid account of his 1751-52 voyage to the island of Barbados with his critically ill half brother Lawrence and two dramatic military journals that recount the opening phases of the French and Indian War: his 1753-54 journey to the commander of the French forces on the Ohio River and his 1754 expedition as lieutenant colonel of Virginia troops to stop French encroachment on the colony’s borders.

Washington’s first years as master of Mount Vernon are partially recorded in his diary accounts of 1760-65, which give a valuable picture of business and social life on a pre-Revolutionary Virginia plantation. A brief 1763 journal tells of an inspection trip to the Great Dismal Swamp on the Virginia-North Carolina border.


Donald Jackson, ed., The Papers of George Washington: Diaries volume 1, 1748 – 1765. Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1976.