View Full Version : Good Morning...Washington's First Time

5/28/2008, 06:14 AM
...in combat.

May 28, 1754: British soldier George Washington experiences combat for first time

22 year-old Lieutenant Colonel George Washington

254 years ago today, George Washington, a 22 year-old Virginia militia lieutenant colonel who was cross-commissioned in the British Army, leads an attack on French forces at Jumonville Glen in 1754. The battle is later credited with being the opening salvo in the French and Indian War (1754 to 1763).


At the time of the fight, Washington was leading a small party of Virginia troops and their Seneca indian allies in the Ohio Valley to defend Virginia's claim to disputed territory there claimed by the French.

In the biography His Excellency: George Washington, historian Joseph Ellis recounts Washington’s first combat experience. Washington and 40 colonial troops had been encamped near the French garrison at Fort Duquesne in modern western Pennsylvania when he received an urgent message to rescue Iroquois (Delaware) allies in the area who were threatened by French forces.

Outline of Fort DuQuesne in modern Pittsburg. The French built Fort DuQuesne in 1754 but they burned it down to prevent its capture by the British in 1758. It was an 80-feet square log stockade, with earthen outer works along the Allegheny River.

In his official report of the encounter, Washington described how his troops, aided by warriors under the Delaware leader Tanacharison, surrounded a detachment of 32 French soldiers near the fort on May 28 and, within 15 minutes, killed 10 of them, including the garrison’s commander, wounded one and took another 21 prisoner.


Controversy surrounded the attack both at the time and after the war. Historical accounts indicate that the French commander, Joseph Coulon De Jumonville had actually tried to surrender but was slain by Tanacharison.

Delaware warrior c.1754. Many of the peoples descendants now reside in Oklahoma.

Tanacharison’s rash act incited the other warriors to kill and scalp nine other French soldiers before Washington could intervene. Ellis describes Washington as “shocked and hapless” and writes that he later tried to downplay the incident to his commanding officer.

The French vilified Washington as the “epitome of dishonor.” The Jumonville Glen massacre remains a highly debated subject among scholars. In the aftermath of the encounter, Washington resigned his British army commission and returned to his family’s plantation. In 1775, he returned to military service to lead the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War.


5/28/2008, 06:30 AM
You think Duquesne was small...they have a recreation of Ft. Necessity on its original site...it's about the size of my house.