Actually Washington was only the second-in-command when Dinwiddie dispatched the expedition, but Colonel Joshua Fry died leaving Washington in command. It does appear that Fry sent Washington ahead while Fry followed along more slowly, but this was not unusual in the tactics of the day. This meant that Washington saw all of the early action, and then when Fry died, Washington was left in command not only of the advanced guard but also of the whole expedition. Fry was quickly forgotten in the historical record since he contributed almost nothing to the expedition. Dinwiddie never intended for the expedition to be commanded by a man who was only 22 at the time.