Posted by: unclesamshistory | December 21, 2011

The First Shot

What an amazing life George Washington had.  He held a military commission of major when barely in his twenties, then was promoted to lieutenant colonel at age twenty six. He was sent on dangerous and important missions by Virginia Governor Dinwiddie.  If you have ever lived in western Pennsylvania I am sure you know about his 1754 trek from Virginia to Waterford in the northwest corner of Pennsylvania to tell the French to get out of British territory. Not only was the mission dangerous but it was carried out in the dead of winter. Yes he was one tough fellow.

An even more important mission came the following year. Washington had been promoted to lieutenant colonel and was given the task of taking a party of workers, along with Virginia militia, to the fork of the three rivers in western Pennsylvania. Also in this group were a number of Indians loyal to the British Crown. When the French at Fort Duquesne heard that such a contingent of British were headed in their direction they sent Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville with approximately thirty five men to meet with Washington and insist they leave French territory.

Washington’s party had made it to the rugged terrain of Fayette County when their scouts warned them of the French heading toward them. Taking only forty men plus the twelve Indian allies they crept up on the French camp. The Indians were sent to cover one side while the Virginians the other. According to reports Washington wrote the French discovered the men advancing so he gave the order to fire. It was over in fifteen minutes. Jumonville was killed along with nine of his men. The rest were taken prisoner.

There are many versions of the killing of Jumonville but we will not go into that here.

This action is considered the breaking point of relations between France and Great Britain, the Seven Years War  (aka The French and Indian War) was officially declared in 1756.

The site now is known as Jumonville and is a Christian retreat center.

Additional tid-bits of  historical information may be found in my books; Frontier Preacher and Frontier at Three Rivers, available from www.samhossler.com, Amazon or your favorite book seller.

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