Fort Edwards – Timeline
This is “Year:1754”, the opening year of the French and Indian War. In January, Major Washington returned to Williamsburg from his winter trip to deliver Gov. Dinwiddie’s letter to the French that demanded they vacate English territory. In the spring, William Trent and Ensign Ward were ordered to the Forks of the Ohio River to begin building a fort. Before they could progress very far, a larger force of French soldiers appeared and demanded that the English leave. The English had no choice but to retreat back to Wills Creek. By the time they arrived at Wills Creek, Major Washington was preparing to bring more men and supplies to support them.
On April 25, 1754, Washington wrote to Gov. Dinwiddie that Ensign Ward had arrived at Wills Creek with the news the French had ousted the Virginians from the Forks of the Ohio and were beginning to build a formidable fortification there. Hoping to regain the strategic river junction from the French, Washington began to march for the Forks. On the morning of May 28th, he attacked a force of about 30 French soldiers who had been following Washington’s movements for several days.
Just before sunrise, Washington’s force killed Ensign Coulon de Jumonville, and nine soldiers and captured 21 prisoners. One French soldier escaped to take the news to Ft. Duquesne. The French response was swift and powerful. Washington retreated to his hastily erected Fort Necessity and awaited both reinforcements and a French attack. About 300 men arrived to reinforce the Virginians, but the French were sending a force of 600 well provisioned regulars and 100 Indians. When the French attacked on July 3rd, Col. Washington had only 284 men fit for duty. By evening, in a pouring rain, with a third of his men dead or wounded, it was clear that the English position was untenable. The French offered terms and Col. Washington surrendered. The French were now, for a time, masters of the Ohio country.
January, 1755 The 44th and 48th Regiment of Foote set sail from England for America.
February 23, 1755 Gen. Braddock arrives in Williamsburg as commander of British forces in North America and leader of two newly arrived Regiments of British regular soldiers sent from England.
April, 1755 Gen. Braddock starts for Wills Creek, the Ohio Company’s store house that will become Ft. Cumberland. This fort is the farthest west English outpost before the wilderness of the northwest territory and the Ohio country.
July 9, 1755 Gen. Braddock is defeated at the Battle of the Monongahela. He loses 63 of his 86 officers and two-thirds of his men. George Washington and his Virginia soldiers are praised for enabling the retreat of the survivors.
August 14, 1755 Gov. Dinwiddie commissions George Washington a Colonel and commander of the Virginia Regiment.
September 8, 1755 English defeat at The Bloody Morning Scout on Lake George by Baron Dieskau.
September, 1755 – Dieskau defeated and captured by William Johnson at the Battle of Lake George.
Jan. 10, 1756 Col. Washington writes to Commissary Thomas Walker that “There are three thousand weight of pork laid in at Job Pearsall’s…”
April 18, 1756 Battle of Great Cacapon (Mercer’s massacre]. In the largest engagement with French and Indian forces in Virginia, Lt. John Fenton Mercer and Ensign Thomas Carter and fifteen soldiers were killed.
April 22, 1756 Col. Washington writes of Mr. Paris having engaged small band of Indians on North River; Washington sent men to reinforce the contingent at Edwards
May 2, 1756 In a court martial at Winchester, Srgt. Nathan Lewis is found guilty of retreating before the enemy and not aiding Capt. Mercer during battle on April 18th.
May 11, 1756 Col. Washington orders ninety men to Fort Pearsall on the South Branch.
May 18, 1756 England formally declares war on France; it is known as the Seven Years War in Europe and the French and Indian War in America.
July 1756 Lord Loudoun arrives in New York as Commander of British forces in North America. [date?**]
July 1756 Andrew Lewis in expedition against Indians attacking area of New and Kanawah Rivers crosses corner of KY and reaches the Ohio – the first English speaking man to reach the Ohio below Pittsburgh
July 10, 1756 Col. Washington holds Council of War at Ft. Cumberland to discuss the chain of forts that is to be built from the Maryland-Virginia border to the Virginia-North Carolina border. It is hoped that this chain of forts will protect the settlers from the ravages of the French and their Indian allies.
July 13, 1756 Capt. Robert McKenzie is ordered to take command at Ft. Pearsall. [Because McKenzie commanded this fort for some time, it mistakenly is sometimes referred to as “McKenzie’s Fort.”
January 21, 1757 Robert Roger is wounded and almost captured in the Battle on Snowshoes; he loses 14 men killed and seven take prisoner.
June, 1755 William Pitt becomes Prime Minister of England. He plans for the capture of the three most important French forts in North America: Louisbourg, Carillon (Ticonderoga) and Duquesne.
July 26, 1757 Gen. Montcalm’s men destroy much of the New Jersey Regiment at Battle of Sabbath Day Point on Lake George, NY.
c. August 1, 1757 Capt. McKenzie wrote to G.W. that five men were captured by Indians and another killed while harvesting near Ft. Pearsall.
August 9, 1757 Col. Munro surrenders Fort William Henry to Montcalm.,
Jan. 12, 1758 Governor Dinwiddie sails for England and retirement.
June 30, 1758 Washington visits Pearsall’s on his way to join Gen. Forbes for the expedition against Fort Desquene.
July 8(?), 1758 Gen. Abercrombie suffers a humiliating defeat in his attack on Gen. Montcalm at Ft. Carillon.
July 24, 1758 Although he is away on a military campaign, George Washington wins election to the House of Burgesses from Frederick County. This is the start of his political career.
July 27, 1758 Jeffery Amherst and James Wolfe capture Louisburg.
August, 1758 Lt. Col. Bradstreet captures the French Ft. Frontenac on Lake Ontario.
Oct. 12-13, 1758 French force attacks Gen. Forbes’s army at Ft. Ligonier and is repulsed. This will not stop the slow but determined advance of the British toward Ft. Duquesne.
Nov 25, 1758 French abandon and burn Ft. Duquesne; Gen. Forbes arrives Nov 28
Dec. , 1758 Col. George Washington resigns his commission and retires to Mount Vernon awaiting his January wedding to Martha Dandridge