Fort Necessity National Battlefield provides an opportunity for visitors to experience George Washington's first military action and relive the events that started the French and Indian war. The grounds of the National Battlefield are where George Washington surrendered to the French troops. Other historical spots related to the French and Indian War are located in close proximity to the park. British General Braddock's grave site and Jumonville Glen are located a few minutes from the National Battlefield.
The park also commemorates the National Road. Mount Washington Tavern, a building on the park grounds, served travelers on the National Road when it was in operation. The National Road was the first public road construction project undertaken by the United States Federal Government. The road stretched from Cumberland, MD on the Potomac River to Wheeling, WV (Virginia at the time) on the Ohio River. Construction of the road started in 1811 and ended in 1818. The road can trace its roots back to the French and Indian war as it used much of the same path that General Braddock took from the Potomac to the Forks of the Ohio.
The national park captures three different events that span from April 1754 through July 1755. In April 1754, George Washington camped in the Great Meadow which is located on the National Battlefield historical site. While camping, he was alerted that a French encampment was close. Washington led his team to the French camp and attacked at night. During the attack the French diplomat, Jumonville, was killed. The location of this skirmish is marked by Jumonville Glen.
Immediately following the events at Jumonville. Washington, knowing that there was a large French contingent at Fort Duqesne, retreated back to the Great Meadow to strengthen his position. He built the fort as part of the effort to strengthen his position. While strengthening the fort, Washington also cleared a trail toward Fort Duquesne. On July 3, 1754 Washington was attacked by a larger French and Indian army. He retreated back but was unable to withstand the attack. On July 4, 1754 Washington surrendered and led his defeated forces back to Virginia.
The news of Washington's defeat forced the British to increase their force in Virginia to try to remove the French from the Ohio River Valley. The British sent General Braddock to help. In July 1755, a full year after the surrender of Fort Necessity, Braddock attempted to attack Fort Duquesne. Braddock's attack was unsuccessful and he was fatally wounded. He was buried in an unmarked grave near Fort Necessity.
The History of the National Battlefield starts near where Barddock's march ended. The grave where Braddock was buried was unmarked. The troops had flattened it while retreating back to Virginia. In 1804, remains were found in the area where Braddock was believed to be buried. They also found remnants of a British uniform. There was enough evidence that they knew that the remains were those of Braddock. The remains were reburied and the grave was marked. In 1913, a monument was added to Braddock's grave site. In 1931, it was declared a National Battlefield. In 1933, care of the park was transferred to the National Park Service. In 1966, the site was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 2005, marking the 250th anniversary of Braddock's march, the visitor center was built.
Fort Necessity National Battlefield is located 11 miles east of Uniontown,
Pennsylvania on U.S. Highway 40. The visitor center, reconstructed Fort
Necessity, Mount Washington Tavern and picnic area are located in the
main unit of the park. Braddock's grave and Jumonville Glen are located near, but not on the park grounds. See map below.
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