I’ve gone back and forth in my life when it comes to Washington. When I was younger I thought Washington was overrated. Later on, I looked at it differently.
All of the British generals who did well in the Revolution fighting against American troops in traditional battles were decent enough commanders, some were very good commanders. However, I doubt any single one of them could have taken the opposite side (commanded the continentals) and won against the British forces commanded by some other general.
A big part of Washington’s problem in direct confrontation is just because he was going up against a trained professional military force with men who were not nearly as well trained and only semi-professional (sometimes not even receiving regular pay as often as they should.)
Washington’s real brilliance, aside from some blundering here and there, is he recognized precisely his weakness against the British and fought the war on the terms most favorable to his strengths. That’s pretty much the core of what it means to be great strategist.
Of course, I do think the historical view of the American Revolution: that it was a great upset with an upstart colonial power beating the world’s pre-eminent power, isn’t entirely accurate.
At the time I believe the UK had 8-10m people, the colonies had 2.5m. This wasn’t really a case where the British had to subdue a small country, the colonies had a lot of people, and most importantly a ton of land. Compare the size of the thirteen colonies to the British Isles or even some of the bigger theaters of war in Continental Europe that the British had fought in prior to the Revolution. The colonies were large and decentralized, the British had a massive supply line. Longer than the supply line for any major war they had fought in to that point. Because of the size of the colonies, they had to actually move substantial military forces that whole distance. Because of the decentralized nature of the colonies, there was no transportation or commerce hub which when captured would “knock out” the colonists. Instead the British could capture New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Charles Town and etc but ultimately those victories were hollow because the capture of those cities didn’t actually weaken the ability of the colonists to keep fighting.
The colonists had long been self-sufficient on the staples of life, and thus the British weren’t going to have any sort of hope of beating the colonists through attrition. Even the things that needed to be shipped in, the entire American Atlantic seaboard is just far too large to fully blockade in the 18th century by any navy that existed at that time.