George Washington Is Sent Accompanied by Christopher Gist to the Ohio Country As An Emissary to Meet With the French

George Washington and Christopher Gist Inspecting Ohio country

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George Washington Meeting With French at Fort LeBoeuf

George Washington and Christopher Gist Attempting to Cross the Allegheny River on a Raft In the Midst of Winter

George Washington and Christopher Gist On Their Way to the Ohio Country

Hearing of French plans to establish a series of forts in the Ohio country, Virginia’s Governor Dinwiddie decided to send an emissary to meet with the French commander at Fort LeBoeuf near Lake Erie to demand that they vacate the Ohio country – since it was claimed by Virginia and the British.  Even though he had no experience, George Washington volunteered to be such an emissary and undertake such an expedition.  Meeting up with the Ohio Company’s representative Christopher Gist near Will’s Creek (now Cumberland, Maryland), Washington traveled on horseback, foot and canoe across the Appalachian Mountains all the way to the Ohio River and then up almost to the shores of Lake Erie to the French Fort LeBoeuf.  Along the way, Washington had various meetings with the Indian Chiefs of the area.  In particular, Washington enlisted the support of Half-King, who was to be the key Indian chief supporting the British-Americans in the subsequent French and Indian War.  After delivering his message to the French, Washington and Gist’s Indian guide turned on them and attempted to murder them.  Overcoming the Indian guide, Washington decided to let him go – but then proceeded as quickly as possible in case the guide returned with additional hostile Indians.  Eventually, Washington and Gist had to abandon their horse and walk as the snow was so deep.  Reaching the Allegheny River, they built a raft to attempt to cross it.  While doing so, however, Washington was knocked overboard by the ice-strewn river.  To dry out, Washington and Gist sought refuse on an island in the middle of the river where they spent the night in wet clothes without being able to make a fire.  Luckily, in the morning they awoke to discover that the river was totally frozen over with ice, allowing Washington and Gist to walk to the shore.  Afterwards, Washington proceeded as quickly as possible all the way back to Williamsburg to report the French response to Virginia Governor Dinwiddie.

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~ by americanpresidents on March 14, 2010.

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