"The volley fired by a young Virginian in the backwoods of America set the world on fire."
NPS photo by M.J. McFadden
Washington Arrives at the Great Meadows
By late May of 1754, Washington had reached a large natural clearing known as the Great Meadows. He made this his base camp. Grass there could provide food for his animals, and water was readily available.
About dawn, Washington met with a friendly Seneca chief, Half King, and made plans to contact the French Camp. As the French commander had not posted sentries, Washington and his men easily surrounded the unsuspecting French.
Controversy surrounds the events that took place at Jumonville Glen, named after Ensign Joseph Coulon de Jumonville. He was the leader of the French detachment, and was killed there.
Washington sent his prisoners to Williamsburg while he returned to the Great Meadows.
Did You Know?
When James Sampey, the tavern keeper at the Mount Washington Tavern, died he had eight children ranging from an infant to a 24 year old. His wife, Rebecca, took over the operation of the tavern. Thomas Searight noted that “in many instances widows kept the best taverns along” the National Road.