Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings
At this battlefield, on July 3, 1754, occurred the opening engagement in the French and Indian War, a 7-year struggle between the French and English for control of the North American Continent. It was also George Washington's first major battle. French-English rivalry in the trans-Allegheny territory approached a climax in the 1750's. In the spring of 1754, the British sent Lt. Col. George Washington and a small force from Virginia to contest French possession of the Forks of the Ohio, where the French had erected Fort Duquesne. After defeating a French scouting party at Great Meadows, Washington built a temporary fort there which he called "Fort Necessity." A battle ensued, after which the British were forced to surrender and then allowed to return to Virginia. The French destroyed Fort Necessity and returned to Fort Duquesne. By greater exertions later, however, the British won the war.
Fort Necessity National Battlefield became a part of the National Park System in 1933, and Fort Necessity State Park was transferred to it in 1962. The latter transfer added to the site sections of Great Meadows, where the 1754 battle was fought and part of which George Washington later owned. A stockade, storehouse, and entrenchments have been reconstructed on the exact site of the original structures. The site of Washington's skirmish with the French scouting party and the grave of Gen. Edward Braddock, commander in chief of the British forces in the Battle of Monongahela (1755), also may be seen.
Last Updated: 22-Mar-2005