George Washington at Battle of Fort Necessity, Triggering Start of French and Indian War

Uniforms Worn by the French Soldiers During the French and Indian War

Uniforms Worn by George Washington’s Virginia Regiment (i.e. the Virginia Blues) During the French and Indian War

Clothes Worn by British Soldiers During the French and Indian War

Clothes Worn By a Typical Colonial Militiaman

Illustration of Washington With American Colonial Mlitia at Fort Necessity

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Photograph of Reconstructed Fort Necessity at Fort Necessity National Battlefield

George Washington at Fort Necessity

After his trip to the Ohio country as an emissary to meet with the French, Major George Washington was again sent to the Ohio country to try to establish a British-American fort at the Forks of the Ohio before the French could do so.  Initially, George Washington was to be second-in-command, but Colonel Frye who was to be the commander was killed on the way, leaving Washington in command.  As Washington and his small force neared the Forks of the Ohio, he received word of a French military party and decided to mont a surprise attack before his own force could be attacked.  This led to what has since been called the Jumonville incident as a result of the French commander de Jumonville being scalped by Washington’s Native Indian ally Half-King and his warriors after de Jumonville had surrendered.  Receiving word of an even larger French party approaching, Washington decided to mount a defense at a temporary stockade built in a clearing called Fort Necessity.  It was Washington’s plan to position his soldiers in a trench outside the fort to induce the French and Indian forces to attack, after which Washington planned to use the swivel guns/cannons that he had in the fort to overcome the attacking French and Indians.  Unfortunately, Washington’s plans were upset by the fact that a heavy rain fell, turning the clearing into a muddy marsh, with the result that the French and Indians decided to remain in the surrounding wooded hillsides to fire down upon the Americans.  What made the American situation worst was the fact that their powder became wet from being exposed to the rain.  Eventually, the situation became so desperate that when the French offered to allow the Americans surrender and return back to Virginia, George Washington accepted such an opportunity to surrender.  Unfortunately, unknown to him, the surrender document, which was written in French, including a statement or admission that Washington had been responsible for the assassination of the French officer de Jumonville.  For this reason, Washington was severely criticized in France, but was nevertheless hailed as a hero in Virginia.  More importantly, the Battle of Fort Necessity was the trigger that set off the subsequent French and Indian War (or Seven Years War as it was known in Europe).

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~ by americanpresidents on March 14, 2010.

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