Battles of the French and Indian War: Fort Necessity


This page describes the Battle of Fort Necessity at the beginning of the French and Indian War.


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Fort Necessity

Fort Necessity –

Fort Necessity, located in modern-day Farmington, PA, was the site of the first actual military engagementof the French and Indian War.

George Washington ordered the fort’s construction in 1754, after his forces engaged a French scouting party while marching toward Fort Duquesne. Washington ordered an attack on the party, which resulted in the deaths of at least 10 French soldiers and the capture of 21 more. Washington then withdrew to Great Meadows, a large natural clearing that he made his base camp. At Great Meadows, Fort Necessity was hastily built and reinforced in anticipation of a possible French counterattack.

Word of the attack soon reached French military forces in the region. On July 3, 1754, 600 French troops led by Louis Coulon de Villiers, along with 100 natives ambushed the fort. Washington, who was badly outnumbered, accepted a truce that would allow he and his soldiers to withdraw from the fort peacefully. The French then occupied the fort and soon burned it to the ground. The battle at Fort Necessity marked the only time that George Washington ever surrendered in his military career.