Tuesday October 06, 2015
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19-014 America's Revolution - Washington Strikes Spark II

Tuesday Oct 06, 2015

Lead: In the 1700s the United States broke from England. No colony in history had done that. This series examines America’s Revolution.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Sent by the Governor of Virginia to build and defend a fort on the Ohio River at present-day Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in spring 1754, young militia Lt. Colonel George Washington helped kick off the first true world war. As he approached the site of what he would name Fort Necessity, he discovered the presence of a French scouting party. Fearing treachery, on May 28th Washington and his Indian allies ambushed and captured the French led by Ensign Joseph Coulon de Jumonville. Washington, who spoke no French, was struggling to interrogate Jumonville who spoke no English. While they thrashed about the interview, in one of history’s murkiest events, apparently Washington’s Indian confederate Tanaghrisson murdered Jumonville.

Naturally, the French heard about the murder and were incensed. The main party of French successfully overwhelmed Washington and his men who could not effectively fight them off from the crude unfinished structure of Fort Necessity. Washington was forced to surrender on July 4th. Unfortunately, he signed a confession to Jumonville’s murder which he could not read. He and men were paroled and sent packing back to Virginia. His failure in this event nevertheless gave him much needed experience in combat leadership. This event helped spark the French and Indian War. Washington would be back.

At the University of Richmond’s School of Professional and Continuing Studies, I’m Dan Roberts.


Anderson, Fred. Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766. New York, NY: Alfred Knopf, 2000.

Ellis, Joseph. His Excellency: George Washington. New York, NY: Random House, 2004.

Ferling, John E. Setting the World Ablaze: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and the American Revolution. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Freeman, Douglas Southall. George Washington: A Biography. New York, NY: Scribner, 1948-1957.

O’Meara, Walter. Guns at the Forks. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1965.

Copyright 2015 Dan Roberts Enterprises, LLC.


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