When General Edward Braddock arrived in Virginia in February 1755, Washington was made a member of the staff, with the rank of colonel. In the calamitous defeat that was to follow, he showed for the first time that fiery energy which always lay hidden beneath his calm and unruffled exterior. He ranged the whole field on horseback, making himself the most conspicuous target for Indian bullets, and, in spite of what he called the dastardly behaviour of the regular troops, saved the expedition from annihilation, and brought the remnant of his Virginians out of action in fair order. In spite of his reckless exposure, he was one of the few unwounded officers. In August, after his return, he was commissioned commander of the Virginia forces, being then only twenty-three years old.
Sally Fairfax was one of Washington's earliest romantic interests. Although there is no evidence of an affair, he continued to write her love letters even after she was married, and Sally, along with her husband, was one of the most frequent visitors to Mount Vernon.
Washington is credited by the American Kennel Club with being one of the people who helped develop the breed known as the American Foxhound. This new breed resulted from a mixture of different hounds imported from England and France, with local American stock.