Historical Markers
Fort Necessity Historical Marker
Mouse over for marker text

Fort Necessity

Laurel Highlands/Southern Alleghenies


Marker Location:
US 40, Mount Washington, 1 mile Northwest of Farmington

Dedication Date:
July 4, 1926

Behind the Marker

This marker puts the best possible face on an engagement that proved to be the nadir of George Washington's young career. Washington passed through Great Meadows in spring 1754, when he led a small expedition of colonial militiamen into the Ohio Country. He was impressed by the open field of battle and forage for draft animals that this clearing provided, so he decided to build a stockade there.
George Washington's troops at Fort Necessity capitulated to French forces in 1754.
A Charming Field for an Encounter, by Robert Griffing.

After launching the surprise raid on the French encampment at markerJumonville's Glen, Washington and his detachment fell back to Fort Necessity, anticipating French retaliation. Jumonville's brother, Captain Louis Coulon de Villiers, led a French and Indian force to Great Meadows on July 3. The militiamen endured a rain-soaked siege inside their half-finished stockade, their situation so desperate that some broke into the post's rum supply and got drunk in expectation of imminent death.

When Villiers offered terms of surrender that evening, Washington signed articles of capitulation that were prepared in French. The next day, July 4, the remnants of Washington's force began their humiliating retreat home. To compound his embarrassment, Washington soon discovered that the papers he had signed laid blame for Jumonville's murder on him.

The French burned Fort Necessity, but in a fitting historical irony, Washington became the owner of the site in 1782, under patent from Pennsylvania.
Back to Top