Gen. George Washington never hesitated to use young talent.
Example 1: Henry Knox, who grew up poor and uneducated, nonetheless read voraciously and became recognized as a military authority. In 1775, Washington saw that Knox had supervised construction of impressive ramparts north of Boston, made him a colonel and gave him a seemingly impossible task—moving heavy artillery 300 miles, which Knox achieved.
Example 2: David Bushnell, fresh out of Yale, dreamed up the world’s first combat submarine in 1776. Washington supported this “man of great mechanical powers.”
Although the sub didn’t sink Britain’s flagship (simply because a drill bit failed), Bushnell’s vision was finally realized during the Civil War.
— Adapted from “Crackerjack Rifles and a Fighting ‘Turtle,’” John R. Quain, The American Revolution.