Historical Markers
Fort Duquesne Historical Marker
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Fort Duquesne

Pittsburgh Region


Marker Location:
Point State Park, Pittsburgh

Dedication Date:
May 8, 1959

Behind the Marker

The most important of the French posts built in the Ohio Country, Fort Duquesne commanded "the Forks" (modern Pittsburgh), where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers meet to form the Ohio. It was named for Ange de Menneville, marquis de Duquesne, the Governor-General of New France from 1752 to 1755.

A French force arrived at the Forks on April 17, 1754 to find a small and undersupplied contingent of Virginia militiamen and laborers hastily trying to complete their own defensive works. After chasing them off, the French built a more impressive structure that would proclaim their possession of the Ohio Country to the British and local Indians. Two British expeditions, the first led by markerGeorge Washington in summer 1754 and the second by markerEdward Braddock a year later, failed to dislodge the French from this site, and for the following three years, it served as a base of operations for French-sponsored Indian attacks on the Pennsylvania and Virginia frontiers.
This diagram of Fort Duquesne shows its strategic location at the convergence of two rivers. This area is now Pittsburgh.
This diagram of Fort Duquesne shows its strategic location at the convergence...

Ultimately, Fort Duquesne fell prey to France's shifting fortunes in the Seven Years' War. A British naval blockade of the St. Lawrence River cut New France's trans-Atlantic supply line, and the Quebec government was unable to maintain its forces in the Ohio Country. On November 23, 1758, as a British army commanded by markerGeneral John Forbes was cutting its way through the Pennsylvania wilderness to the Forks, the French commander of Fort Duquesne decided to blow up the post and retreat northward to markerFort Machault. The advancing British heard the explosion ten miles away.

Forbes's army was thus deprived of its prize, but gained the strategic ground all the same. It immediately set to work building its own fortifications at the Forks.
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