George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 28 December 1773]

28. At home all day Mr. Digges & Custis continuing here.

It was probably during this week at Mount Vernon that Benjamin Dulany, George Digges, Jacky Custis, and Charles Willson Peale participated in an event which Peale later related: “One afternoon several young gentlemen, visiters at Mount Vernon, and myself were engaged in pitching the bar, one of the athletic sports common in those days, when suddenly the colonel appeared among us. He requested to be shown the pegs that marked the bounds of our efforts; then, smiling, and without putting off his coat, held out his hand for the missile. No sooner . . . did the heavy iron bar feel the grasp of his mighty hand than it lost the power of gravitation, and whizzed through the air, striking the ground far, very far, beyond our utmost limits. We were indeed amazed, as we stood around, all stripped to the buff, with shirt sleeves rolled up, and having thought ourselves very clever fellows, while the colonel, on retiring, pleasantly observed, ‘When you beat my pitch, young gentlemen, I’ll try again’” (CUSTIS description begins George Washington Parke Custis. Recollections and Private Memoirs of Washington. New York, 1860. description ends , 519).

Index Entries