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The French and Indian War


Part 2: The Beginning of the War

In the early 1750s, French troops arrived in the Ohio Valley. They built a series of forts just west of the Appalachian Mountains. One of the more famous of these was Fort Duquesne. In 1754, a small battle started the war.

Colonel George Washington headed a small force of 150 English militiamen who had been ordered to capture Fort Duquesne. The fort, of course, was guarded by a lot more than 150 men. Washington's men fired on a French patrol but had to retreat. In their haste, they built a crude structure optimistically named Fort Necessity. A large French force surrounded this "fort" and forced Washington to surrender. They sent him back to Virginia with a message that the Ohio Territory was French territory.

The English responded in force. General Edward Braddock, accompanied by Washington, marched on Fort Duquesne. It was a disaster. While the English troops marched in straight lines, the French troops and their Native American allies fired from behind rocks and trees. This guerrilla tactic was hugely successful. Braddock himself was killed in the July 9, 1755 battle.

An ocean away in Britain, a new prime minister, William Pitt, took over. His strategy for winning the war: take Canada.

Next page > The English Take Control > Page 1, 2, 3, 4

 

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