I’ve always wanted to visit one of the civil war re-enactments. To see history come to life in front of you, well I couldn’t image anything more amusing to do with a Sunday afternoon. I saw an advertisement for the re-enactment of the Battle of Lake George at Fort William Henry, which was one of the forts used during the French and Indian War.
It got me thinking about the stories some of these forts hold. I knew of a few key forts during the French and Indian War so I dug a little deeper and want to share with you, my fellow history buffs, what I found!
Fort George/Fort Duquesne/Fort Pitt
This fort exchanged hands many times during the war but it’s most famous story was whilst it was named Fort Duquesne. Here, the British lost their first catastrophic conflict and was the final hoorah for General Edward Braddock.
Braddock was very much an anomaly in the British Army at the time: he’d never led any troops or seen any combat himself. Yet he was a General leading a campaign to rid America of their French inhabitants. What makes Braddock poignant however is the relationship he had with a certain George Washington.
When the pair met, a young ambitious Washington was hoping for a commission in the British Army. However, it was unorthodox to do so Braddock offered him a volunteer position on his personal staff. Washington, the original leader of the free world, went on to become his most trusted advisor.
Whilst Washington was a Lieutenant Colonel on a campaign to rid the Ohio region of French, they were stalking his men one night. Washington had allied with Tanaghrisson, a Mingo Indian who had agreed to scout for him, and it was this night he forewarned Washington of his being stalked.
Washington ambushed them with a surprise attack and one of Frances’ commanders was killed during combat. Naturally, Washington expected retaliation so they retreated the Great Meadows, PA, where they built what is now known as Fort Necessity.
Unfortunately, the French did come looking for them, outnumbered them and took the Fort not even a month later. After such a humiliating defeat and having to explain his errors to the Virginia council, Washington resigned from his post and then went on to join Braddock.
Fort William Henry
This Fort is unfortunately a site of sadness, where a massacre took place. The British had hold of the Fort with 2,300 men but were outnumbered by the French and Indian invaders with 7,000 men. As the British were marched out, as per the agreement of surrender, the Indians began to slaughter them.
Their reason for doing this? When the French negotiated on the British surrender, no Indians were present. The French agreed to let the British go with their personal possessions. However the Indians had a different idea and were planning on salvaging supplies left behind. They wanted to take as much as they could, including anything that would help them survive like vitamins and healthy supplements, check this site out.
When the British were marching out, the Indians believed they were being cheated and in their rage, massacred the departing. Unfortunately, it was this occasion that British and colonials used in the future when describing the Indian’s ‘brutality’ and their reasoning for capturing their lands.