29. Losing a Battle, but Capturing the Enemy Commander’s Dog
George Washington was a great leader, but only a so-so general who lost more battles than he won. Fortunately for him, the battles he won included the American Revolution’s final and most important battle: the Siege of Yorktown, that ended with the surrender of a British army. The fights he lost included the Battle of Germantown, near Philadelphia, in which a British army led by Sir William Howe defeated Washington and his forces on October 4, 1777.
After the loss, the retreating Americans discovered that their ranks included an unexpected addition: an unknown but clearly well kept terrier. When they inspected the dog’s collar, the Americans discovered that it belonged to Sir William Howe. The British commander’s dog had wandered into the battlefield, and during the confusion attached itself to the Americans. The Patriots wanted to keep it in order to taunt Howe and the British, but Washington was too classy to keep another man’s dog.