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those that should serve in that war, two hundred thousand acres of land on the Ohio; or, already enlisted, were gathering into grave knots, or marching forward to the field of action, or helping on the thirty cannon and eighty barrels of gunpowder, which the king had sent out for the western forts. Along the Potomac they, were gathering, as far as to Wills' creek, and far beyond Wills' creek, whither Trent had come for assistance ; his little band of forty-one men was working away, in hunger and want, to fortify that point at the forks of the Ohio, to which both parties were looking with deep interest. A few Indian scouts were seen, but no enemy seemed near at hand; and all was so quiet that Frazier, an old Indian trader, who had been left by Trent in command of the new fort, ventured to his home at the mouth of Turtle creek, ten miles up the Monongahela. But, though all was so quiet in that wilderness, keen eyes had seen the low entrenchment that was rising at the forks, and swift feet had borne the news of it up the valley; and, upon the 17th of April, Ensign Ward, who then had charge of it, was astonished at the sight of sixty batteaux and three hundred canoes, filled with men, and laden deep with can. non and stores, on the Allegheny. The commandant, Contrecæeur, immediately sent in a sunmons to surrender the fort. By the advice of the half king, Ward sought to evade a reply, by referr. ing bim to his superior, Frazier. It was in vain; resistance by his feable band behind unfinished works, against a thousand men, was alike useless; and Ensign Ward surrendered his works, and the next day passed up the Monongahela."
When the news of the surrender of the Forks reached Washington, he was at Wills' creek, with three companies, on his march to Redstone. He sent back to Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland for reinforcements, and advanced to Redstone. On the 9th of May he reached Little Meadows, where he learned that the French had been reinforced by eight hundred men.. At this time French spies and agents were scouring the forests, bribing the Indians and observing the operations of the English. On the 27th, Washington arrived at Great Meadows, where Gist, who then lived on Redstone creek, informed him that a scouting party of French had been at his house the day previous. Washington was also informed that the French were encamped in force not
far distant, and he hastened to join a party of friendly Indians against them. The French were discovered in an obscure place, surrounded by rocks. The English and Indians arrayed for an attack. The French discovering their approach, ran to their arms; a conflict ensued.
" The firing lasted about fifteen minutes, when the French surrendered; Jumonville, their commander, and ten of his men, were slain, twenty-two were taken prisoners, one escaped and carried the tidings of the skirmish to Fort du Quesne. Washington's loss was one man killed and two wounded. The Indians received no loss. The French afterwards claimed that this was an unauthorized attack; and that Jumonville was sent in the character of an ambassador, to warn the English to depart from lands claimed by them. The circumstances of the case, however, proved the fact that they concealed themselves, and reconnoitered Washington's camp; and the fact that they bad instruction from Contreccur with them to examine the country as far as the Potomac, is appealed to by him as the proof that they were, as he had been informed, not messengers, but spies, and hence enemies, according to the usages of war. Deserters from Fort du Quesne, who afterward joined Washington, confirmed the fact that Jumonville and his party were sent as spies, and directed to show a summons which they bore, only if they were overpowered. Washington immediately returned to the Great Meadows, and threw up a fortification, to which he gave the name of Fort Necessity, and then proceeded to cut a road through the wilderness to Gist's plantation.”
After this, Washington, with his provincials, retired to Great Meadows, where they strengthened the little fortification that had been erected there, and prepared to make a bold stand against the French, who were understood to be approaching in great num. bers. On the third of May, 1754, the French and Indians appeared and commenced an attack in the midst of a heavy rain. This they continued until late the following evening, when terms of capitulation were agreed upon, and Washington retired to Wills' creek, where, immediately afterwards, Fort Cumberland was erected.
THE FRANCO-BRITISH COLONIAL CONFLICT.
French and Ecglish Colonies Preparing for War - The Contest — The Fall
of Canada - Taking Possession of the Western Outposts — Pontiac Appears.
ALTHOUGH THE year of 1755 opened with promises of peace,
it soon brought results of war. France, in January, proposed to restore everything to the state it was in, before the last war, and to refer all claims to the commissioners at Paris, to which England, on the 22d of the same month, replied that the west of North America must be left as it was at the treaty of Utrecht.
" On the 6th of February, France made answer, that the old English claims in America were untenable; and offered a new ground of compromise, that the English should retire east of the Alleghenies, and the French, west of the Ohio. This offer was long considered, and at length was agreed to by England, on the 7th of March, provided the French would destroy all their forts on the Ohio and its branches; which the French government refused to do. While all this negotiation was going on, other things had also been in motion. Gen. Braddock, with his gallant troops, crossed the Atlantic, and, on the 20th of February, landed in Virginia, commander-in-chief of all the land forces in America; and in the north, preparation was made for an attack on Crown Point and Niagara. In France, too, other work had been done than negotiation ; at Brest and Rochelle, ships were fitting out, and troops and stores being collected. England had not been asleep, and Boscawen bad been busy at Plymouth, hurrying on the workmen, and gathering the sailors. In March, the two European neighbors were seeking to quiet all troubles ; in April, the fleets of both were crowding sail across the Atlantic, and, in Alexandria, Braddock, Shirley, and their fellow officers, were taking counsel as to the summer's campaign. In America, four points were to be attacked : Fort Du Quesne, Crown Point, Niagara, and the French posts in Nova Scotia. On the 20th of April, Braddock left Alexandria to march upon Du Quesne, whither he was expressly ordered, though the officers in America thought New York should be the main point for regular operations. The expedition for Nova Scotia, consisting of three thousand Massachusetts men, left Boston on the 20th of May; while the troops which Gen. Shirley was to lead against Niagara, and the provincials which William Johnson was to head in the attack upon Crown Point, slowly collected at Albany. The fearful and desponding colonists waited anxiously for news till midsummer; and, when the news came that Nova Scotia had been conquered, and that Boscawen had taken two of the French men of war, and lay before Louisburg, hope and joy spread everywhere.” But this rejoicing was soon crushed by news of Braddock's defeat. " The defeat of Braddock, and the failure of the expedition, left the whole western frontier of the English colonies exposed to the hostile incursions of the French and Indians. At that time the western settlements extended only to the head waters of the Susquehanna, the Potomac, the Shenandoah, James and Roanoke rivers. Settlements, indeed, had been made between 1745 and 1750, near the sources of the Cumberland, Clinch, and Holstou rivers. These were broken up, and the settlers compelled to retire beyond the mountains, by the Cherokees. The valley of the Blue Ridge was desolated by the Shawanees, and to avenge their inroads in Virginia, Gov. Dinwiddie, in January, 1756, dispatched Col. Lewis to destroy their towns on the Scioto, and to build a fort at the mouth of the Great Sandy, as a barrier against their incursions."
It will be seen that the doings of 1755 were not peaceful; nevertheless, war had not yet been declared, nor was it until May following. The whole northwestern frontier was now let loose, and French and Indians roamed in search of conquest. The cause of England languished in the northwest, as elsewhere, until the great Pitt was made prime minister of Great Britain. In the year 1758 there was a great revival of English forces, and on sea and on land, Britain regained what she had lost. In North America, Louisburg yielded before Boscawen, Fort Frontenac was taken