Last updated: June 24, 2022
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A short skirmish between French and colonial Virginian soldiers was fought here, the first shots of the French and Indian War. This location is open seasonally and includes a ½ mile walking trail and interpretive signs.
After hiking all night, on the morning of May 28, 1754, Lt. Col. George Washington met with his American Indian allies who led his to the secluded spot where the French were camped. He planned to surround the party of French soldiers and find out what they were up to. However, while getting into position a shot was fired. Washington order the Virginia soldiers with him to open fire. After 15 minutes the French surrendered.
In the confusion that followed, the wounded French commander, Ensign Jumonville, was attacked by one of Washington’s American Indian allies, and killed.
In future years, the commander’s name would be used to identify the out-of-the way spot, Jumonville Glen. Follow the link for more history on the Jumonville skirmish.
An audio clip from the self guided tour that describes the events of May 28th, 1754 at Jumonville Glen
Jumonville Glen is about 7 miles Northwest from the main part of Fort Necessity National Battlefield.
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Over a month before the Battle of Fort Necessity, on May 27th, 1754, a young George Washington was leading a group of British soldiers in building a military road over the Allegheny Mountains into the Ohio River Valley. He was warned by American Indian ally Tanaghrisson that there was a French patrol nearby, led by Joseph Coulon de Jumonville. Jumonville had orders to inform the nearest British officer that they were trespassing on French Territory, while also forcing out British traders in the area.
On May 28th, 1754 these three groups of the British, American Indians, and the French came together in this small glen, and a 15 minute skirmish broke out. The accounts of the parties involved confirm each other in some aspects, yet conflict in others, particularly in who fired the first shots. Ultimately, the French leader Joseph Coulon de Jumonville was killed by Tanaghrisson, and the rest of the French survivors were taken prisoner by George Washington.
To avenge the killing of Jumonville, the French sent a force of approximately 600 French and American Indian allies from Fort Duquesne, lead by Jumonville's elder half brother, Louis Coulon de Villiers. Over a month later, on July 3rd, 1754 that French and American Indian allied force would attack George Washington's British soldiers in the Battle of Fort Necessity.
The skirmish at Jumonville Glen and the Battle of Fort Necessity are considered the opening engagements in the French and Indian War.