George Washington and the French and Indian War

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George Washington’s actions from 1753-1758 in Western Pennsylvania greatly affected the French and Indian war. In fact, he basically started it. George Washington himself was the spark that ignited the fire. He created this spark by raiding a peace party, killing Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville, and signing a document proving him guilty. One of the reasons George Washington is guilty of starting the war is that he raided a peace party. In 1754, Virginia’s Governor Dinwiddie sent George Washington, then a commissioned Lieutenant Colonel in the newly created Virginia Regiment (a colonial militia), on a mission to the Ohio Country to surprise the French occupants and attempt to turn them out, thus securing valuable territory for Virginia. Around two hundred fifty-eight years ago this weekend Washington, a crew of 40 Virginians, and a dozen allied Iroquois warriors were somewhere in the mountains near the border of Pennsylvania and West Virginia (today) marching toward infamy. Along the way, Washington’s regiment was destined to ambush a French scouting party, led by Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville. This is where things get messy: Washington assumed their intent was foul play. At daybreak on May 28, he and his men ambushed the French camp (near what is now Jumonville in the SW corner of PA in the Laurel Highlands near Uniontown). Without warning Washington gave the order to fire. The battle lasted only fifteen minutes. Suffering only one casualty of their own, Washington's men killed a dozen Frenchmen and captured over twenty more. This incident obviously got the French angry. Secondly, George Washington helped start the French and Indian War because he killed a French leader. When the British raided the peace party, they took captives including Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville. Victory quickly turned to nightmare, however; in the aftermath of the battle, Tanaghrisson, the leader of the Iroquois in Washington's contingent, led a massacre of...
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