of the
Seven Years War


of the
French and Indian War

1754-1763 in North America

1756-1763 in Europe and India

The Seven Years War (1756-1763)
is one of the top ten wars in history
since the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 A.D.

The period 2004-2013 is the 250th anniversary of the
Seven Years War, a.k.a. the French and Indian War

In Canada, the designation French and Indian War is nearly unknown.
English Canadians typically refer to the war as the Seven Years War, while
French Canadians call it the Guerre de la conquete (War of the Conquest),
since it is the war in which New France was conquered by the British and
became part of the North American portion of the British Empire.
More by Wikipedia

The Seven Years War is the first world war,
with important battles in Europe and India,
as well as North America.

This timeline focuses mainly on events in North America.

Brief Overview:
The Scene at the Beginning

In 1748, several wealthy Virginians established the Ohio Company.  One of the earliest investors was George Washington, another was Robert Dinwiddie.  The shareholders were mostly residents of the colony of Virginia [now the states of Virginia and West Virginia].  They were interested in making money in land speculation and the fur trade.  They hoped to buy land west of the Appalachian Mountains from England and then sell it to settlers at a profit.

In 1749 the English government granted the Ohio Company 200,000 acres of land near the headwaters of the Ohio River [generally in the vicinity of what is now Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania].  In return, the company was to distribute the property among 100 families and build a fort to protect them and the British claim to the area.

200,000 acres is about 300 square miles or 800 square kilometres.

The activities of British explorers, trappers and traders in these western lands quickly became known to the French, who had no interest in sharing the region with anyone, and especially not Englishmen (a term that then included people who lived in the thirteen British colonies along the Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to North Carolina, including Virginia).  They responded by constructing a string of forts in the contested area [now western Pennsylvania and Ohio] to assert sovreignty and to exclude Englishmen.

The effort to control the Ohio Country was the most direct cause of the French and Indian War.

The French, who had long claimed the Ohio Country as their territory, felt threatened by the Ohio Company's venture.  In 1753, 1,500 French soldiers entered the disputed area and established several forts, including Fort Le Boeuf and Fort Venango.

Robert Dinwiddie, Virginia's lieutenant governor, upon hearing of France's actions, immediately sent George Washington and Christopher Gist to Fort Le Boeuf to persuade the French to leave.  The French commander refused and told the Englishmen that the French would arrest any English (that is, non-French) settlers or merchants entering the Ohio Country.
French and Indian War by Ohio History Central
Ohio Country by Ohio History Central
Background of the Conflict by the United States National Park Service
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Land by Daniel M. Friedenberg

1739 - 1749
French military expeditions explored and mapped the Ohio River valley.
These expeditions were led by Le Moyne and Celeron 1739
and Celeron and Bonnecamps 1749 (the lead plate expedition).
1739 Delongueuil Expedition
1749 Celeron Expedition

1746 August 30   O.S. – British calendar
1746 September 10   N.S. – French calendar

Duc d'Anville arrives at Chebucto with 13,000 soldiers in 70 ships
His orders from the King of France:
        Expel the British from Nova Scotia,
        then burn Boston, ravage New England...

The government of France, totally exasperated by the loss of Louisbourg in 1745, set out in 1746 to put the matter straight.  There was to be a lesson taught to those who thought they could interfere with the might of France.  The teacher was to be Admiral Jean-Batiste, De Roye de la Rochefoucauld, Duc d'Anville, a French aristocrat, in his thirty seventh year.  He carried "the French king's commission to retake and dismantle Louisbourg, effect a junction with the army of Bay Verte, and expel the British from Nova Scotia, consign Boston to flames, ravage New England, and waste the British West Indies."  D'Anville led a fleet of more than 70 sailing vessels and 13,000 men over the wide Atlantic; leaving France on the 22nd June 1746, and arriving at Chebucto [now Halifax Harbour, Nova Scotia] on the 10th of September...
Excerpted from:
The d'Anville Armada 1746 a detailed account by Peter Landry
Duc d'Anville by Peter Landry

1747 February 11   O.S.
1747 February 22   N.S.

Massacre at Grand Pre, Nova Scotia

A surprise attack is launched at 3am during a blinding snowstorm, on Col. Arthur Noble's detachment of British troops from Massachusetts, by a French and Indian force under Coulon de Villiers.  In the close fighting, Noble and about 70 of his men were killed.
More a detailed account by Peter Landry
Memorial monument by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board

The successful raid of de Villiers, in the winter of 1747, convinced the English that so long as Chignecto was in possession of the French, and was used as a base of operations to defy the English Government, there could be no lasting peace or security for settlers of British blood. Taking this view of the matter, Governor Cornwallis determined to take measures to drive the French from the Isthmus.
Excerpted from:
Chignecto Isthmus: First Settlers by Howard Trueman


The Ohio Company is formed in Virginia
Early real-estate developers, hoping to make a lot of money
        selling land to settlers in the wilderness

The shareholders were mostly wealthy and influential residents of the colony of Virginia [now the states of Virginia and West Virginia].

1748 June 19

Treaty of Fort Pickawiallany gives England access to Ohio area

The Miami town of Pickawillany was located on the Great Miami River [about 3 km north of present-day Piqua, Ohio].  In the historical record, the first references to Pickawillany appear around 1750 when the British were establishing trading posts with the Indians on the frontier.  While the strength of other Miami towns was decreasing due to French or English influence, many Miamis moved their families to Pickawillany and soon the village was largest concentration of Miamis on the Ohio frontier.  Indians from other tribes were also moving there and soon, Pickawillany had one of the largest concentrations of Indians in the Ohio Country.

The Treaty of Pickawiallany is signed by the Twigtwee Indians, a group of Miami-speaking Indians under the leadership of a sachem named Memeskia, known as "Old Britain" by the English and "La Demoiselle" by the French.  This treaty establishes trade between the Twigtwees and the English.  When the French find out, they are furious.
Pickawillany by Ohio History Central
Fort Pickawillany by Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission
Pickawillany by Shelby County Historical Society
Journey from Logstown to Pickawillany, in 1752

1748 September 1

Conrad Weiser "Set up the Union Flag on a long Pole" on September 1st, 1748, the first time the flag of Great Britain was ever unfurled along the upper Ohio River.

1748 October 7   O.S.   (Old Style – Julian)
1748 October 18   N.S.   (New Style – Gregorian)

The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle is signed [in the city then known as Aix-la-Chapelle and now known as Aachen, Germany].  It gave back to Britain and France the territory each side had lost in the war 1744-1748.  The French returned the barrier towns to the Dutch, and Madras in India to the British.  The British returned to France the fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island in Canada, which had been captured by British forces in 1745, and held by England 1745-1748.

France Feels Pressure
from English Activities
in central North America

The treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle did very little to set matters at rest in North America  It provided only a short breathing spell before the numerous unsettled questions gave rise to another and far greater war.

The treaty did little or nothing toward marking out boundaries either at the east in Acadia, or at the west toward the Ohio valley, and it was in the latter region that the next great storm was to burst.

By 1748 the schemes of La Salle had developed as far as they were ever destined to do.  A thriving colony had been founded near the mouth of the Mississippi River, and that region was connected with Canada [Quebec] by a straggling series of fortified villages at great distances apart – such places were Kaskaskia and Cahokia, as well as Fort Chartres in the Illinois country, and Detroit.

But the French were now beginning to feel the disadvantage of scarcity of numbers distributed over long exterior lines.  Every year that brought them closer to contact with the English made this disadvantage more apparent.

Since La Salle's time a great change had come over the land.  In his day, Pennsylvania was merely the banks of the Delaware River, while the Maryland and Virginia settlements were confined to the tidewater regions; but by 1748 not only had these English populations spread for many miles into the interior, but a fresh migration from Europe, conducted on a greater scale than any of its predecessors, had introduced into the middle Appalachian region an active and aggressive population.  Of the 3,000,000 inhabitants of the United States in 1776, at least one in six were Presbyterians who had come from the north of Ireland since 1720.  Along with these there was a considerable population of Protestant Germans who had come at about the same time.  By far the greater part of this population had passed through the old settled seaboard districts and made homes for itself on what was then the western frontier – that is to say, the Alleghany region of northwestern Pennsylvania.

By 1748 the settled English population was fast approaching the Appalachian ranges, and the more mobile company of hunters, trappers, fur-traders, and other pioneers were passing beyond them and fast making their mark upon the western country.  A company had already been formed in Virginia for the improvement of lands on the Ohio River, and in this company were interested some of the most prominent men in the colony, including two brothers of George Washington.  Meanwhile the Indian trade was lucrative.  Now this advance of the English frontier was an advance against the centre of the whole French position.

In those days there were two great routes, whether for military purposes or for trade, between the Atlantic seaboard and the Mississippi valley.

One of these was from Albany to the Niagara River, and thence westward either to the north or to the south of Lake Erie.

The other was from Philadelphia or Baltimore to Pittsburg, and thence down the Ohio River.

It followed, therefore, that if the English could firmly hold both the Niagara River and the junction between the Allegheny and the Monongahela, where Pittsburg now stands, it would be in their power to strike at the centre of the long exterior line held by the French, and forever to cut Louisiana asunder from Canada.  By degrees the more far-sighted Frenchmen who administered the affairs of Canada [Quebec] had been taking in the alarming character of the situation...
Excerpted from:
New France and New England by John Fiske

France Establishes Control

In the early 1700s, French outposts were established on the Wabash, Illinois, Mississippi and other western rivers.  In 1729, French traders and groups of Delaware, Shawnee, and Mingo established Lower Shawneetown in Ohio.

Excellent map:
How France spread its influence along the Ohio River
and throughout the Ohio watershed area:
Prelude to the French and Indian War
Part One: Settlement
by Charles C. Hall

Prelude to the French and Indian War
Part Two: Scheming Developers and Traders
by Charles C. Hall

Excellent map:
George Washington's route to Fort LeBoeuf in late 1753:
Prelude to the French and Indian War
Part Three: Invitation to the Dance
by Charles C. Hall

Prelude to the French and Indian War
Part Four: The Spark that Sets the World Ablaze
by Charles C. Hall

Excellent map:
Fort Necessity Campaign
Prelude to the French and Indian War
Part Five: A Charming Field for a Defeat
by Charles C. Hall


In 1749, the French begin to implement a plan to solidify their presence in the Ohio River country [now western Pennsylvania and the states of Ohio and Kentucky].  An expedition of 250 French troops and Indians under Captain Pierre-Joseph de Celeron de Blainville travels from Quebec up the Saint Lawrence River, across Lakes Ontario and Erie and over the Chautauqua Portage (near present-day Westfield in New York State) to reach the headwaters of the Ohio River.  Celeron travels down the Ohio River as far as the Miami River, burying lead plates or plaques at intervals along the banks of the Ohio, claiming the land for Louis XV of France.
More by the Erie Maritime Museum, Erie, Pennsylvania

"Over the Chautauqua Portage to reach the headwaters of the Ohio River" Map showing Lake Erie to Chautauqua Lake
(Above) Modern map showing Lake Erie to Chautauqua Lake

Celeron's expedition had to cross the divide, from the Great Lakes
watershed where water flows eastward to the Atlantic Ocean, to the
Ohio-Mississippi watershed, where water flows southward to the Gulf
of Mexico.  At the location shown on the map above, this divide is close
to – within ten km of – the south shore of Lake Erie.  When Celeron
portaged overland from Lake Erie to Chautauqua Lake, he crossed this
divide.  The water in Chautauqua Lake flows southward into Chadakoin
River, then into Cassadaga Creek, then into Conewango Creek, then
into the Allegheny River (map below).  At the Forks of the Ohio, the
Allegheny River flows into the Ohio River, and the Ohio flows into
the Mississippi River, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico.

(Below) Modern map showing Chautauqua Lake to Allegheny River
Map showing Chautauqua Lake to Allegheny River

Celeron's Journal
"Journal of the Campaign: Which I, Celeron, Chevalier of the Military Order of St. Loius, Captain Commanding a Detachment, sent to the Belle River by the order of the Marquis de la Galissonniere, Commanding General of all New France and Country of Louisiana."

I left de la Chine on the 15th of June 1749 with a detachment formed of a captain, eight subaltern officers, six cadets, an armorer, twenty men of the troops, one hundred and eighty Canadians...

16th, I arrived at noon at the portage of Chatakouin [near present-day Barcelona, New York]...

22d, We have achieved (completed) the portage, which could be counted as four leagues, and we arrived on the border of Lake Chatakium [Lake Chautauqua]. At this place I had my canoes repaired and rested my men...

24th, I went out of the lake early in the morning and drew into the river Chatakium. The water being found low, I had transported the greater part of the baggage by land...

29th, I entered at noon into the Belle Riviere [modern name Allegheny River]. I buried a lead plate (the first), on which is engraved the possession taken, in the name of the king, of this river and of all those which fall into it. I also attached to a tree the arms of the king, engraved on a sheet of white iron...

(August 3d, 1749) This evening I buried a lead plate (the second) and the arms of the king by a tree...

(August 13th, 1749) ...have interred a Plate of Lead (the third) at the foot of a large cone (pine tree?) at the entrance of the river and on the south bank of the Kenawah, which discharges itself to the east of the river Ohio...

15th of August, 1749: ...buried a Fourth Lead Plate, at the entrance of the River Yenanguekouan...

18th of August, 1749: ...buried the Fifth Plate of Lead, placed at at the foot of a tree, on the southern shore of the Ohio and the eastern shore of Chiniondaista...

August 31, 1749: ...the Sixth Plate of Lead, buried at the entrance of the River a la Roche (Miami)...

Bonnecamp's Map, 1749 showing the burial locations of the first five lead plates

1749 June 21   O.S.
1749 July 2   N.S.

Halifax founded

Edward Cornwallis arrives at Chebucto (Halifax Harbour, Nova Scotia) and begins the work of establishing a new military base and town to be named Halifax.

1749 July 18   O.S.
1749 July 29   N.S.

France Starts Burying Lead Plates Along the Ohio River
Celeron's Expedition:  250 men in 23 large canoes

In 1749 the Marquis de la Galissoniere, who governed Canada [Quebec], sent a party of about 250 men to inspect the country between the Niagara and Ohio rivers, to take possession of it in the name of the King of France, and to ascertain the sentiments of the native tribes.

The command of this party was entrusted to a captain and chevalier named Celeron de Bienville. They went up the St. Lawrence as far as Fort Frontenac, crossed Lake Ontario in canoes which they carried up by the bank of the Niagara River, and launching them at a safe distance above the falls, made their way into Lake Erie.  Then for seven days they forced their way through the dense forest to the placid waters of Chautauqua Lake, and after landing where Jamestown now stands, and struggling once more with the tangled woods, they reached the Allegheny River.  This route was chosen because, instead of flowing north into the nearby Lake Erie, the water from Chautauqua Lake drains to the south, entering the Allegheny River and the Ohio River, ultimately flowing into the Gulf of Mexico at the mouth of the Mississippi River.

At that point of their route, on the 29th of July 1749 they took possession of the country in the name of Louis XV.

This act of taking possession was performed as follows: The royal arms of France stamped upon a tin plate were nailed to a tree. At the foot of the tree a plate of lead was buried, upon which was an inscription stating that Monsieur Celeron had buried this plate "as a token of renewal of possession heretofore taken of the aforesaid river Ohio, of all streams that fall into it, and all lands on both sides to the source of the aforesaid streams, as the preceding kings of France have enjoyed or ought to have enjoyed it, and which they have upheld by force of arms and by treaties, notably by those of Ryswick, Utrecht, and Aix-la-Chapelle."

It will be observed that this is the usual style which France has maintained for some centuries. Whenever her borders have been extended it has always been officially declared to be simply taking possession of what was hers already.

Upon various other spots as they descended the river our party of Frenchmen buried these leaden tablets, the last place being at the mouth of the Great Miami River.  Some of the plates have since then been dug up and preserved in museums.
Excerpted from:
New France and New England by John Fiske

The governor of Canada [Quebec], in 1749, dispatched Celeron de Bienville with a band of men in twenty-three birch-bark canoes to take formal possession of the Ohio River valley.  Leaving La Chine [Montreal] on 15 June, they paddled up the St. Lawrence River and across Lake Ontario, arriving at the mouth of the Niagara River on 6 July 1749.  They carried their canoes over the Niagara portage to Lake Erie, and, skirting the southeastern shore of that lake, they landed on 15 July and worked their way through dense forest about fifteen kilometres to Chautauqua Lake.  Here they embarked, paddled down the lake to its outlet, then downstream to the Allegheny River.  (This part of the trip, between Lake Chatauqua and the Alleghany River, was difficult – the water was low: "In some places – and they were but too frequent – the water was only two or three inches [5-7 cm] deep; and we were reduced to the sad necessity of dragging our canoes over the sharp pebbles, which, with all our care and precaution, stripped off large slivers of the bark.")

Once on the Allegheny River, on 29 July the ceremony of taking possession began. The men were drawn up, and Louis XV was proclaimed king of all the region drained by the Ohio. The arms of France stamped on a sheet of tin were nailed to a tree, at the foot of which a lead plate was buried in the ground.  On the plate was an inscription claiming the Ohio, and all the streams that run into it, in the name of the King of France.

A second plate was buried below the mouth of French Creek, and a third near the mouth of Wheeling Creek.  The fourth plate, at the mouth of the Muskingum, was buried on 16 August 1749) — where half a century later, in 1798, it was found protruding from the river bank by a group of boys while swimming.  Yet another was unearthed at the mouth of the Great Kanawha by a freshet, and was likewise found by a boy while playing at the water's edge.  The last plate was hidden where the Great Miami joins the Ohio.  This done, Celeron crossed Ohio to Lake Erie and went back to Montreal, arriving there on 10 November 1749.

Celeron buried six lead plates, but only two have been found.  One is in possession of the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Masssachusetts; the other is at the Virginia Historical Society Museum in the Lee House, Richmond, Virginia.

Image of lead plate buried by Celeron
by Virginia Historical Society

Image of lead plate buried by Celeron
by American Antiquarian Society

There was a seventh lead plate that was never buried.  Somehow it fell into the hands of Indians, who took it to Sir William Johnson, the English superintendent of Indian affairs.  He in turn sent it to Governor Clinton, governor of New York colony, who sent it across the Atlantic Ocean to the Lords of Trade in London.  This alerted the British to the increasing activity of the French in lands claimed by Great Britain.  Britain decided to challenge the French claim, first by scattered skirmishes and finally by war.

    Translation of the Entire Inscription on Each Plate
In the year 1749, during the reign of Louis XV, King of France, we, Celeron, commander of a detachment sent by the Marquis de la Gallissoniere, commander in chief of New France, to restore tranquillity in some savage villages of these districts, have buried this plate at the confluence of (location details vary from plate to plate) near the river Ohio, alias Beautiful River, as a monument of our having retaken possession of the said river Ohio and of those that fall into the same, and of all the lands on both sides as far as the sources of the said rivers, as well as of those of which preceding kings have enjoyed possession, partly by the force of arms, partly by treaties, especially by those of Ryswick, Utrecht, and Aix-la-Chapelle.

Above excerpted from the following:

A Gutenberg Project e-book:
A School History of the United States by John Bach McMaster, 1897

Another Gutenberg Project e-book:
Montcalm and Wolfe by Francis Parkman, 1884

Discovery of the Ohio The History of Jefferson County, Iowa 1879
Mardos Memorial Library, American History and Genealogy Project

Discovery of the Ohio
The Combined History of Moultrie and Shelby Counties, Illinois

Seeing is Believing
We Dined in a Hollow Cottonwood Tree: During the Celeron Expedition in the summer of 1749, the French were on a mission formulated by the French crown to assert claims to the Ohio Valley by depositing lead plates to mark their territory. As they traveled to Logstown, the party stopped for the night and dined in the enormous tree in the Allegheny Forest...

Indian God Rock Indian God Rock is located on the bank of the Allegheny River about 8 miles south of Franklin, Venango Co., Pennsylvania. The rock is 22 feet in height and composed of a hard sandstone with sloping sides. In 1984, Indian God Rock was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In the summer of 1749 a French expedition headed by Bienville de Celeron traveled down the Allegheny River and laid claim to the territory for the French. At important locations, lead plates were buried, claiming the lands for the French King. One of the sites selected was the Indian God Rock, and the following entry appears in de Celeron's diary for 3 August 1749: "Buried a lead plate on the south (sic) bank of the Ohio [Alleghany] river, four leagues below the Riviere Aux Boeufs (French Creek), opposite a bald mountain and near a large stone on which are many figures crudely engraved."

#33 Celoron de Blienville Plaque – Virginia Street, Marietta
Contains a quote stating the plaque is a replica of the one engraved on a lead plaque buried there Aug. 15, 1749, for Celoron de Blienville and of which a fragment recovered in 1798 is preserved by the American Antiquarian Society, Worchester, Mass.
A county full of history: Historical markers in Washington County
The Marietta Times, Marietta, Ohio

The monument marking the Celeron de Blienville lead plate at Virginia and Gilman streets has been in poor condition in recent years with glass strewn around the base and leaves and weeds growing around it. The monument marks where a lead plate was buried by a French explorer in 1749 to mark the Ohio Valley for France...
Excerpted from: Who looks after our monuments? by Justin McIntosh
The Marietta Times, Marietta, Ohio, 3 July 2005

1749 July 23   O.S.
1749 August 3   N.S.

Louisbourg Fortress is handed back to France

Des Herbiers, the new French governor, marches into Louisbourg, Cape Breton Island, and officially takes over from the English, thus fulfilling one of the terms of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle.

Joshua Mauger

At the time of the transfer of British authority from Louisbourg to Halifax, a remarkable but shadowy figure enters Nova Scotia history.  Joshua Mauger (pronounced Major) had become victualler to the Royal Navy at Louisbourg, an appointment which suggests that he had influential friends in London.  He moved to Halifax in 1749 and spent most of the next eleven years in Halifax.  During this time, Mauger developed wide business interests, some of which, like his trade with Louisbourg, led to conflicts with government authorities.

Mauger became owner of the largest non-government fleet of ships in Halifax.  He owned or was a partner in 27 vessels, some bought in New England, some acquired at public auction after the Vice-Admiralty Court seized them for illegal trade, some purchased as prize vessels.  Mauger shipped fish and lumber to the West Indies and brough back rum, molasses, and sugar.  He imported a variety of goods from foodstuffs to grindstones.  There is some evidence he dealt in slaves.

The Seven Years War provided him with a new outlet for his energies.  He invested in privateers, as well as in the purchase of prize vessels, and acted as agent for the officers and crews of British navy vessels which captured French ships off Cape Breton.  He became very wealthy.  In 1760 he moved to England, where he lived for the rest of his life.
Excerpted from:
Joshua Mauger Dictionary of Canadian Biography
Joshua Mauger The Canadian Encyclopedia

1750 September-October

England constructs Fort Lawrence

In 1750, a British Army expeditionary force under Major Charles Lawrence arrived at Beaubassin [about 2 km northwest of present-day Amherst, Nova Scotia]. The village was ordered burnt by a local French priest to ensure that the British could not profit from its seizure, however the British forces soon found they were outnumbered by Acadians and Mi'kmaq.  Lawrence's troops retreated but returned in September 1750 in greater numbers and began construction of a palisade fort on a ridge immediately east of the Missaguash River, generally understood to be the historic boundary line between Acadia and Nova Scotia since the Treaty of Utrecht was signed in 1713.  The work on the new Fort Lawrence proceeded rapidly and the facility was completed within weeks.  [It was located about 2 km northwest of present-day Amherst, Nova Scotia].
More by Wikipedia
Fort Lawrence memorial plaque by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board

The fort at Fort Lawrence, is located on the high land that separates the valleys of the Missiquash and La Planche rivers, a little less than two miles distant from Fort Beausejour.  It was constructed in the month of September 1750.  Lieutenant-Colonel Lawrence arrived at the Isthmus with a strong force, consisting of the 48th Regiment, and three hundred men of the 45th Regiment.  "The Indians and some of the French were rash enough to oppose the landing of so formidable a body of troops, but they were driven off after a sharp skirmish, in which the English lost about twenty killed and wounded."  A short distance from where they landed Colonel Lawrence erected a picketal fort with block-houses, which was named for himself.  A garrison of six hundred men was maintained here until the fall of Beausejour.
Excerpted from:
Chignecto Isthmus: First Settlers by Howard Trueman

1750 October 6   N.S.

Ambush at Missaguash River increases French-English tension

Edward How – a prominent and wealthy member of the English establishment in Nova Scotia, justice of the peace, militia officer, member of the Nova Scotia Council – is shot to death in an ambush on the bank of the Missaguash River [now the border between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick].  Accounts of the murder differ.  Some say it was an ambush, others that an Indian killed How.  Many writers have put the real responsibility on the Abbe Jean-Louis Le Loutre, but his role has not been proved conclusively.  There "are three versions of this tragedy, all from French sources, differing somewhat in details, but all agree in describing the affair as a carefully planned murder.  Two of the accounts state that it was the work of Le Loutre, one saying that this priest actually carried the white flag which lured How to his death..."  Whoever the guilty party might have been, How's death certainly made conditions throughout Acadia more tense.
Edward How Dictionary of Canadian Biography
More (1) by Peter Landry
More (2) by Peter Landry

1751 April 12   N.S.

France begins construction of Fort Beausejour

Marquis de la Jonquiere, Governor of New France, issued an order dated April 12th, 1751, "to construct a picket fort at Point Beausejour and another at the Gaspereau River." By that time, the construction of nearby Fort Lawrence by the British is near completion.

The new Fort Beausejour is placed at a strategic location overlooking the Bay of Fundy, on the Fundy side of the Isthmus of Chignecto, the narrow strip of land that connects mainland Nova Scotia to the North American continent.  By 1754, Fort Beausejour is a much more substantial military stronghold than the nearby British Fort Lawrence.  These two forts – the British Fort Lawrence, and the French Fort Beausejour – lie within sight of each other, only three km apart, on opposite sides of the tiny Missaguash River that then was the effective boundary between the British and French Empires [and now is the boundary between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick].
More (1) by Peter Landry
More (2) by Peter Landry

1752 June 13

Logstown Treaty is signed, giving England claim to Ohio

Logstown was one of the larger Indian towns on the upper Ohio River in 1730s-1750s [north of present-day Ambridge, Pennsylvania – about 25 km northwest of Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh)].  Important conferences were held there between the British, French, and Indians in the mid-1700s, during the struggle for control of the Ohio country.

The Logstown Treaty, signed at Logstown on 13 June 1752, between Christopher Gist and Delaware and Shawnee tribes, provided England with claims to some regions east of the Mississippi River, including some areas west of the Allegheny Mountains to the Ohio River.  It was one of a series of treaties defining the boundaries separating English and Native American Territories.  In the Logstown Treaty, Gist secured permission from the Indians for the Ohio Company to build a storehouse at the Forks of the Ohio, where fur traders could keep goods and conduct business with Indian customers.
Image of the Title Page of the Logstown Treaty
A meeting of the Ohio tribes, Delawares, Shawnees, and Mingoes, to form a treaty of alliance with Virginia, took place at Logstown...

1752 June 21

English settlement at Pickawillany is destroyed by French

French and Indians from Detroit take Pickawillany – the most important English trading post in the area – by surprise.  The Miami Indian chief Old Britain, thirteen of his followers and one white trader were killed.  Some accounts say the Indians allied with the French boiled and ate Old Britain.  The Pickawillany site – the earliest known permanent settlement in Ohio [near the present-day town of Piqua, Ohio] – was destroyed during the attack and never occupied again.

The destruction of Pickawillany has been called the first battle of the French and Indian War – the war that finally ended France's dream of vast colonial empire in the New World.

Charles-Michel Mouet de Langlade was a cadet in the colonial regulars. His first recorded military exploit occurred in 1752 at Pickawillany.  The British and the French were in bitter competition for control of the Ohio valley and its native population.  When Pierre-Joseph Celeron de Blainville was unable to persuade the Miamis under Memeskia (La Demoiselle) to move from Pickawillany, which was within the British sphere of influence, Langlade was sent there with a force of about 300 Indians and French.  Attacking on 21 June 1748 when most of the Miamis were away hunting, Langlade forced the remaining few and the British traders present to surrender.  Memeskia was boiled and eaten.
Charles-Michel Mouet de Langlade Dictionary of Canadian Biography

1752 July 1   N.S.

Marquis de Duquesne arrives at Quebec

Marquis de Duquesne arrives at Quebec to begin his duties as the new Governor General of New France.  Immediately, he starts work to strengthen the French claim to the route down the Ohio River.  The King of France had asked Duquesne to devote special attention to ensuring the territorial integrity of the French empire in America – in particular he was to drive the British merchants out of the Ohio valley and establish peace with the Indian tribes that had been hostile since the uprising in 1747.  The name 'Fort Duquesne' appears prominently in the history of the Seven Years War in North America.
Ange Duquesne de Menneville, Marquis Duquesne Dictionary of Canadian Biography

1752 August 3   O.S.
1752 August 14   N.S.

Peregrine Hopson takes over as the new governor at Halifax, replacing Edward Cornwallis, Cornwallis returns to England.
Peregrine Thomas Hopson Dictionary of Canadian Biography

1752 September 14

The everyday working calendar is changed from Julian to Gregorian.  Eleven days are removed from the calendar, by making September 14th the day following September 2nd.  The days 3-13 inclusive are deleted.  The month of September 1752 has only 19 days instead of the usual 30 days in this month.  This change applied to Great Britain and all of its colonies, including those in North America.
From now on, all dates are stated in the Gregorian Calendar.


First settlers at the town of Lunenburg [now in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia].

1753 May 3

France begins construction of Fort Presque Isle

In the spring of 1753, French forces depart Montreal to establish a chain of forts in the Ohio country [the area now known as western Pennsylvania, and Ohio]. The French force arrive at Presque Isle [now Erie, Pennsylvania] on 3 May 1753. They begin work preparing the site for a fort on a bluff [now Garrison Hill] overlooking the peninsula and Lake Erie. Fort Presque Isle is completed by August 3rd, just three months after work had begun. At the same time, construction of Fort Le Bouf [about 25 km south of Fort Presque Isle] is under way.  Between them, these two forts control the northern end of the important Venango Path that is the connecting link, in the French transportation route, between Lake Erie and the headwaters of the Ohio River – a crucial part of the French route through the continental interior, connecting Quebec with Louisiana.
More by ExplorePAhistory.com
Venango Path

Presque Isle was chosen because of the short portage from there to Lake LeBoeuf, and from Lake LeBoeuf canoes could be floated down French Creek to the Allegheny River.
History of Erie County by Samuel P. Bates

The French were here early on.  Maps of North America drawn by French cartographers as early as 1640 show reasonably accurate representations of Lake Erie's size, shape, and location.

1753 July

France begins construction of Fort LeBoeuf

French forces begin construction of Fort sur la Riviere aux Boeufs, usually known as Fort LeBouf, as part of a system of fortifications extending from the St. Lawrence River to the Gulf of Mexico.  Fort LeBoeuf, located about 25 km south of Fort Presque Isle [now Erie, Pennsylvania] is intended to help protect the Ohio Valley from incursions by English explorers, traders and settlers.  Captain Marin, commander in chief of the French expedition to the Ohio country, arrives at Presque Isle early in June 1753.  He selects the site for Fort LeBoeuf, the second French fort in what is now Pennsylvania, at the south end of the supply road to French Creek, or Riviere aux Boeufs (Buffalo River) as it was known to the French.
More (1): History of the Fort de Riviere au Boeuf by Nick Bolla
More (2): History of the Fort de Riviere au Boeuf by Nick Bolla
Fort LeBoeuf by ExplorePAhistory.com
Description of Fort LeBoeuf by George Washington, 13 December 1754

LeBoeuf Creek is about 5 km long, from its headwaters at the Lake LeBoeuf outlet to its junction with French Creek.  In modern times, the main stem of French Creek is navigable by canoe all the way from the Union City Dam at Wattsburg, to its confluence with the Allegheny River at Franklin.

Map showing the location of Fort Presque Isle, Fort LeBoeuf, Fort Machault, and Fort Venango
Modern map showing the location of
Fort Presque Isle, Fort LeBoeuf and Fort Machault (a.k.a. Fort Venango)
on the southern shore of Lake Erie.
Hutchins' Map of Indian Towns and Bouquet's Route, 1764
showing locations of
Fort Presque Isle, Fort LeBoeuf, Fort Venango
Fort Pitt, Braddock's Road, Forbes' Road, Fort Ligonier

A Very Strategic Location

These two military sites, Fort Presque Isle and Fort LeBoeuf, both controlled by the Governor of New France, are located at the summit (highest altitude) of the inland French transportation and communication route between Quebec and New Orleans.  They are on opposite sides of the divide between two huge watersheds, one draining southward into the Gulf of Mexico, and the other draining eastward into the Atlantic Ocean.

In the 1750s, these two forts are connected by a fairly good road, the Venango Path, cut through the forest, ten metres wide; most of this road is "low and swampy", and is built with corduroy across the soft sections.  The distance between the two forts is only 25 km, short enough for soldiers to march from one to the other in less than a day.
[This road is now Pennsylvania State Highway 97.]

You can go to Fort LeBoeuf at the south end of the road, put your canoe on the water of LeBoeuf Creek beside the fort, and have a continuous water surface all the way to New Orleans, downhill all the way.  LeBoeuf Creek flows into French Creek, which flows into the Allegheny River, which flows into the Ohio River, which flows into the Mississippi River, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico.  "A cork dropped into tiny LeBoeuf Creek, would flow out through the mouth of the Mississippi at New Orleans into the Gulf of Mexico."  In the early to mid-1750s, the whole distance was controlled by France.

Or you can go to Fort Presque Isle at the north end of the road, put your canoe on the water of Lake Erie beside the fort, and have a continuous water surface, downhill all the way, across Lake Erie, to the Niagara River, then across Lake Ontario to the St. Lawrence River and on to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and then through Cabot Strait between Newfoundland and Cape Breton Island into the North Atlantic Ocean.

In these days (any time before the 1840s) when there are no railways, no hard-surfaced roads – in most places no roads at all – the rivers and streams are the main method for transportation and communication.  There are no telephones, no radio, no electric telegraph.  When the Governor at Quebec wants to issue instructions to an official anywhere in New France – on the shores of any of the Great Lakes, or in the Ohio country, or in Louisiana, the message is written on paper and someone carries that paper to its destination.  The message travels at the speed of a horse on land, or on water at the speed of a vessel – a canoe on inland waters, or a sailing ship on the ocean.  For messages between Quebec and New Orleans, it is faster (and safer) to go via the inland rivers than to travel by a sailing ship down the Atlantic coast and around Florida to New Orleans.  The same is true for messages going the other way, from Louisiana to Quebec.  The forts at Presque Isle and LeBoeuf are at the heart of the French communication system in North America; everything goes through them.

In December 1753, George Washington counted 220 canoes lying around Fort LeBoeuf.  This may have been what we would now call a "Rent-a-Canoe" operation.  Travellers arriving on foot from Fort Presque Isle could arrange to take a canoe for continuing their journey southward.  Travellers arriving from the south could leave their canoe at Fort LeBoeuf and continue on foot or horse northward toward Fort Presque Isle.  No doubt a similar arrangement was available at Fort Presque Isle for westbound travellers arriving by canoe from Fort Niagara, or eastbound travellers arriving on foot from Fort LeBoeuf.

George Washington's Trip To Fort LeBoeuf in the Winter of 1753-54

In the summer of 2005, students from Lawrence Technological University will recreate an historic canoe trip from Detroit to Pittsburgh via Lake Erie to mark the 250th anniversary of the French and Indian War...

The administrative capital of Louisiana was at Mobile 1702-1720, then at Biloxi 1720-1723, and finally at New Orleans from 1723.  For all of these locations, the preferred communications route between the French Governor at Quebec and the local Louisiana government was by inland water – the St. Lawrence River, Lakes Ontario and Erie, and the Allegheny, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

Excellent map showing these locations:
    ♦  Fort Presque Isle
    ♦  Fort LeBoeuf
    ♦  Venango, Fort Machault
    ♦  Logstown
    ♦  Forks Of The Ohio, Fort Duquesne
    ♦  Christopher Gist's Plantation
    ♦  Wills Creek

French and Indian War Sites (1754-1760) in Pennsylvania

French Forts in North America
Forts in New York State: 1615-1760
Forts in Western New York State

Newspaper Coverage of the English and French War
For Control of North America, 1754-1760

Stories of Enemy Atrocities, Letters From the Front
and Battle-Field Reports Gave Readers a
Running Account Of the Fight For a Continent.
by David A. Copeland

1753 October 29

Captain Marin, commander in chief of the French expedition to the Ohio country, becomes ill during the summer of 1753; on October 29, 1753, he dies.

1753 October 31

George Washington leaves Williamsburg, Virginia, with a letter written by Governor Dinwiddie to the French commanding officer at Fort LeBoeuf, demanding that the French forces depart from the area.

1753 November 15

George Washington and Christopher Gist leave Wills Creek, on their way to deliver Governor Dinwiddie's letter to the French commanding officer at Fort LeBoeuf.

1753 November 23

George Washington and Christopher Gist arrive at the Forks of the Ohio, on their way to deliver Governor Dinwiddie's letter to the French commanding officer at Fort LeBoeuf.

1753 November 30

George Washington and Christopher Gist leave Logstown, on their way to deliver Governor Dinwiddie's letter to the French commanding officer at Fort LeBoeuf.

1753 December 11

George Washington and Christopher Gist arrive at Fort LeBoeuf, to deliver Governor Dinwiddie's letter to the French commanding officer there.

1754 January 6

George Washington and Christopher Gist arrive Wills Creek, bringing with them the reply given by the French commanding officer at Fort LeBoeuf to Governor Dinwiddie's letter.  There is still a long way to go to get the French reply to Governor Dinwiddie at Williamsburg, Virginia.

1754 January 16

George Washington arrives at Williamsburg, Virginia, and gives to Governor Dinwiddie the reply by the French commanding officer at Fort LeBoeuf.  77 days have gone by between the departure of Dinwiddie's letter from Williamsburg, and the arrival of the reply.  This eleven-week time is typical of the slow communications of those times; in fact this was quick work, considering that the trip was made in winter with deep snow on the ground and ice in the rivers for most of the time, and Washington was travelling through primeval wilderness without roads.

France held most of North America

In 1754-1755 France held most of North America, including
what is now eastern and central Canada as well as New France
(that is, the wide swath of land south and west from Lake Erie,
following the Allegheny, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers all the way
from Lake Erie to Louisiana).

At this time, Britain held a narrow territory – mostly extending inland
only a hundred miles or so – along Atlantic coast from what is now
Maine to Carolina.  The farthest western extent of British control
was along the Hudson River.  At the time of the Albany Congress,
in June 1754, Albany (now the capital of New York state) was the
last outpost of European-style civilization before the frontier.

The territory controlled by France was much larger than that
controlled by Britain.

This continued until William Pitt the Elder became the effective
leader of the British government in June 1757.


First settlers at Riverport [now in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia].


The French and Indian War begins in North America in 1754.  It becomes the Seven Years War when fighting spreads to Europe in 1756.


Fort de Chartres is renovated and improved

In 1718 the French reorganize the administration of their American possessions and remove the Illinois Country from Canadian jurisdiction and make it part of Louisiana.  The Government of this vast territory is located in New Orleans and is turned over to the Company of the Indies, a commercial enterprise chartered by King Louis XV.  In December of 1718 a contingent of soldiers, officials and workmen are sent north to establish a civil government in the region.  A wooden fort is soon constructed thirty kilometres north of the village of Kaskaskia from which the civil authority would operate and whose military presence it was hoped would pacify the Fox Tribe.

Work on a larger fort, located farther inland, begins around 1725.  In 1731 the Company of the Indies goes out of business, and returns control of Louisiana to the King of France.

During the 1730s the French government begins planning a new stone fort near the old site.  Construction of the new fort was delayed for years due to indecision about where the new fort was to be located.  Construction finally begins in 1751 when an Irish soldier of fortune named Richard MacCarty becomes commander of the fort.  The original fort has fallen into ruin by this time and his orders are to construct a new one using slave labor and local limestone.  The new fort takes three years to build; the enormous expense is paid by the government of France.  When completed in 1754, the fort encloses an area of more than four acres and can house over 400 soldiers.  It has a stone powder magazine, a storehouse, a prison with four dungeons, barracks, and quarters for officers.

Under the Treaty of Paris that ends the Seven Years War in 1763, France surrenders most of its North American possessions, including Fort de Chartres, to Great Britain. British troops of the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment take official possession of Fort de Chartres in October 1765 and rename it Fort Cavendish.  This fort is not important to the British.
More by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
More by Wikipedia
More by greatriverroad.com
More by Troy Taylor

Map showing the location of Fort de Chartres and Fort Kaskaskia
Modern map showing the location of
Fort de Chartres and Fort Kaskaskia
on the east side of the Mississippi River.

1754 January

The first skirmish of the French and Indian War occured when a small force under George Washington engaged and defeated a reconnaissance party of French and Indians near Fort Duquesne (now Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania).  In January 1754, Major Washington returned to Williamsburg from his winter trip to deliver Governor Dinwiddie's letter to the French that demanded they vacate English territory.

1754 February 17

England initiates the construction of Fort Prince George

Governor Dinwiddie claims the Forks of the Ohio for Virginia.  Captain William Trent and Ensign Ward are ordered to the Forks to begin building Fort Prince George.
Forts at the Forks by Jane Ockershausen

The Forks of the Ohio River is a strategically
located site where the Allegheny and Monongahela
rivers come together to form the Ohio River.
This is now downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Map showing the Forks of the Ohio
Modern map showing the Forks of the Ohio – the confluence of
the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers to form the Ohio River.
Now downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

•  Fort Prince George — February - April 1754
•  Fort Duquesne — April 1754 - November 1758
•  Fort Pitt — after November 1758

1754 April 17

France wins a big one:
English Fort Prince George becomes French Fort Duquesne

George Washington, at Wills Creek, receives the news that Trent's advance party, that had been sent to start building the fort at the Forks of the Ohio, had been surrounded by a 600-man French force and forced to return to Virginia.  The French, commanded by Claude-Pierre Pecaudy de Contrecoeur, immediately destroy the partially completed British Fort Prince George and start building their own larger and stronger fort, named Fort Duquesne in honour of the Marquis Duquesne, Governor General 1752-1755 of New France – all French colonies in North America.
Claude-Pierre Pecaudy de Contrecoeur Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Arrival of the French at Fort Duquesne by Nat Youngblood
Allegheny Land Trust

The Governor General of New France was the head of
state representing the King of France in North America.
A French noble, he was appointed to govern the colonies
of New France, which included Canada (Quebec),
Acadia (Nova Scotia) and Louisiana. The residence of
the Governor General was in Quebec City.

The Governor General was responsible for military
and diplomatic matters affecting New France.

Because of the very slow speed of communications in
those days, the French colonies of Acadia and Louisiana
had their own local governors who handled internal affairs
for each colony.

Marquis Duquesne was the next-to-last Governor
General of New France.  French control of this area
effectively ended with the capture in 1760 of Quebec by
British General James Wolfe, and ended officially with
the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763.

1754 May 28

Battle of Jumonville Glen

On the morning of 28 May 1754, young Virginia militia officer Major George Washington and forty soldiers attacked the Canadian [Quebec] militia under the command of Ensign Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville.  A shot was fired, no one really knows by whom, and soon the peaceful glen was filled with the crash of musketry and the sulphurous smell of powder.  The skirmish lasted about fifteen minutes. When it was over, ten Frenchmen were dead and 21 captured.  One escaped and made his way back to Fort Duquesne at the forks of the Ohio.  Washington's casualties were one man killed and two or three wounded.
Jumonville Glen by United States National Park Service
The Case of the Missing Diplomat by Paladin Communications
The Battle of Jumonville Glen by Wikipedia
Jumonville by Sarah F. Melcher
Jumonville Glen by jumonvilleglen.com
The Virginia - Pennsylvania Border during the French and Indian War
by the Fort Edwards Foundation of Capon Bridge

Getting Away with Murder: The Tragic Story of George Washington at Jumonville Glen
by Jacob Blosser
...While historians have been quick to applaud Washington or to forget the incident, few have attacked the young Virginian for his actions at Jumonville Glen.  Indeed, no Anglo-American historian has ever questioned Washington's peacetime killing of ten French ambassadors.  The few books that blame Washington for the attack have been written in French by Quebec historians.  Rarely translated into English, these books have been received by a very limited audience...

"The volley fired by a young Virginian in the backwoods of America set the world on fire."
    — Horace Walpole, prominent British statesman

...The battle at Jumonville caused an international scandal with prominent diplomatic consequences...
Remembering Washington at Jumonville by Len Barcousky
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 23 May 2004

...In winning the war, Great Britain won control of the North American continent... It all started here in southwestern Pennsylvania.  The initial skirmish of the French and Indian War occurred on Washington's second mission to establish a fort in the Ohio Valley (the French beat the English to the Point at present-day Pittsburgh with the construction of Fort Duquesne).  On May 28, 1754, Colonial soldiers under Washington's command and his American Indian allies surprised a small French force, killing (the French would later say assassinating) envoy Ensign Coulon de Jumonville, and several of his soldiers.  The glen where the skirmish took place is now named after the French officer killed there... The Laurel Foundation submitted the winning bid of $834,500 at the Oct. 9, 2002, auction...
Manuscript tells story of French and Indian War by Jerry Storey
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 16 February 2003

In the spring of 1754, a twenty-two-year-old officer named George Washington led a small group of soldiers over the Allegheny Mountains.  The Virginia militia's mission was peaceful: to construct a fort near the head of the Ohio River.  It turned to disaster when a Seneca chief persuaded Washington to attack some French soldiers nearby.  The skirmish lasted no more than fifteen minutes.  When it was over, ten Frenchmen were dead, including a French ensign tomahawked by the Seneca chief.  These were the first shots in a war...
Clash of the Empires: How the French and Indian War Redrew the Map of North America
by Laura Wolff Scanlan

Jumonville Glen, located in Mt. Summit, Pennsylvania, is the site where Ensign Coulon de Jumonville was killed in a skirmish in 1754 with Virginia troops led by Col. George Washington - believed to be the flashpoint leading to the French and Indian War. http://www.nps.gov/fone/index.htm
Jumonville Glen United States National Park Service

...It had been a lopsided skirmish.  Around the rim of the hollow three of Washington's troops were wounded, and one lay dead; at its bottom the French had suffered fourteen casualties.  One of the wounded, a thirty-five-year-old ensign named Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville, identified himself as the detachment's commander.  Through a translator he tried to make it known that he had come in peace, as an emissary with a message summoning the English to withdraw from the possessions of His Most Christian Majesty, Louis XV.  The letter he carried would make everything clear.  His interpreter would read it.  As the combatants' adrenaline levels subsided and the wounded men moaned, the translation went badly.  The letter had to be read a second time, and Washington turned to take it back to his own translator.  As he withdrew, Tanaghrisson stepped up to where Jumonville lay.  "Tu n'es pas encore mort, mon pere," he said; Thou art not yet dead, my father.  He raised his hatchet and sank it in the ensign's head, striking until he had shattered the cranium.  Then he reached into the skull, pulled out a handful of viscous tissue, and washed his hands in Jumonville's brain.  The tall Virginian who until that instant had thought himself in command did nothing while the Half King's warriors, as if on signal, set about killing the wounded.  Within moments only one of the Frenchmen who had been hit in the firefight was left alive...
Introduction: The Crucible of War by Fred Anderson

1754 June 3

Fort Necessity is completed, more or less
England's farthest west outpost in North America

George Washington finishes the hastily-built stockade at Great Meadows.  This is Fort Necessity.  Fort Necessity is located near present-day Farmington, Pennsylvania, near the three-way junction of the borders of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland – in June 1754 this was the farthest west outpost of the British Empire in what is now the United States.

Fort Necessity consisted of a circular stockade 50 feet in diameter made from ten-inch white oak logs.  Inside was a fourteen-foot square storehouse made from bark and hides in which provisions and gun powder were stored.  This stockade might hold 50 soldiers when quite crowded.
More by Francis H. Straus II

Fort Necessity fort was little more than a few logs lashed together to surround Washington's hapless army.
Study Guide by Spark Notes

1754 June 9

George Washington is promoted to full Colonel in charge of the Virginia Regiment.

1754 June 19 - July 11

Albany Congress

The Albany Congress met in Albany, New York.  At the time, Albany is the last outpost of European-style civilization before the frontier.  The Albany Plan of Union of 1754 is mainly the work of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Hutchinson.  Conrad Weiser is there.  Virginia is not there.  Benjamin Franklin suggests a union of the colonies ("Join or Die"); it is rejected.
Albany Congress by Wikipedia
Albany Plan of Union University of Groningen, Netherlands
Albany Plan of Union The Avalon Project at Yale Law School
Albany Plan of Union The University of Oklahoma Law Center
Albany Plan of Union The University of Chicago
Albany Plan of Union The Constitution Society

1754 July 3

Battle of Great Meadows
English Fort Necessity is captured by French

Col. George Washington surrenders Fort Necessity to the French.  The French are now masters of the Ohio country – the area now known as western Pennsylvania, the State of Ohio and the State of Michigan.

1754 July 9

Start of construction of Fort Lyman, a.k.a. Fort Edward

Early in July 1755, General Phineas Lyman begins building a new fort at a sharp bend on the Hudson River known as "The Great Carrying Place."  On 21 September 1755, Sir William Johnson changes the name of the fort from Fort Lyman to Fort Edward – it is to become the major British staging area in the Northeast theatre of operations.  In 1757, Fort Edward will also become the headquarters of an innovative group of Colonials known as Roger's Rangers.  At several times during the late 1750s Fort Edward will quarter upwards of 15,000 British regulars and provincials.
More by Fort William Henry Museum
More by the Town of Fort Edward
More by Adirondack Regional Chambers of Commerce

How do things stand now?

In August 1754, things do not look good for the British in North America.
The loss of Fort Prince George at the Forks of the Ohio in April 1754,
quickly followed by the loss of Fort Necessity early in July 1754, meant
that British-controlled territory in North America had been significantly
diminished, and French-controlled territory in North America had been
significantly enlarged.
At the time that the Seven Years War began, no one could be certain
of British victory.  Despite the fact that the colonists' population was
far greater than that of the French settlers in Canada, the British
colonial system suffered from severe weaknesses, including a lack
of centralized authority and bitter jealousies among the colonists...

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, New York City

1754 August 28

The settlement at Hoosick (Rensselaer County, New York) is attacked by a group of French and Indians.  Two persons are killed, and the houses, barns, and crops are destroyed.  The next day, the settlement of San Coick, south of Hoosick, was also destroyed.

1754 September 24

Major General Edward Braddock is appointed Commander in Chief of British forces in the Thirteen colonies.  Braddock is an experienced officer with more than forty years in the British Army.  His orders call for the removal of the French forces from the Ohio river valley and possibly the expulsion of the French from North America.

1754 December

George Washington resigns his commission when Governor Dinwiddie reorganizes the Regiment and reduces officer's rank.

1755 February 23

Gen. Braddock arrives in Williamsburg.


France begins construction of Fort Carillon

Governor-General Vaudreuil, the new French Governor of Canada, orders a fort to be constructed on the Ticonderoga peninsula, a strategic location on Lake Champlain that protected the important portage to Lake George.  The fort is completed in the summer of 1757, and is named Fort Carillon.

14 April 2005

250th anniversary

1755 April 14
Alexandria Council

The governors of the British colonies:
      Governor Shirley of Massachusetts
      Governor Dinwiddle of Virginia
      Governor Dobbs of North Carolina
      Governor Morris of Pennsylvania
      Governor Sharpe of Maryland
      Governor Delancy of New York
meet at Alexandria, Virginia, to determine a strategy to force the French from North America.  It was decided to attack the French – notwithstanding that the two countries were at peace – at four points, all at once:
    •  Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh),
    •  Fort Niagara,
    •  Crown Point (upstate New York) and
    •  Fort Beausejour (Acadia).
General Braddock is to attack Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh);
Governor Shirley, Fort Niagara;
Colonel William Johnson, Crown Point; and
Colonel Robert Monckton, Fort Beausejour.

1755 April

Fort Cumberland at Wills Creek

Gen. Braddock and his soldiers start for Wills Creek, the Ohio Company's store house that will become Fort Cumberland.  After the loss of Fort Necessity the year before, Wills Creek is the farthest west English outpost.  Fort Cumberland is located on the north side of the Potomac River at the confluence of Wills Creek and the Potomac River [present-day Cumberland, located in mountainous Allegany County, Maryland].
Fort Cumberland at Wills Creek (1)
Fort Cumberland at Wills Creek (2)

Two Fort Cumberlands

There are two forts named Cumberland in this story.
One is located in present-day Cumberland, Maryland.
The other is near present-day Amherst, Nova Scotia.

1755 June 6

Battle of the Grand Banks

The Grand Banks are a group of shallow underwater plateaus southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland.
Grand Banks by Wikipedia

In response to the appointment of General Braddock with orders capture Fort Duquesne and evict French forces from central North America, in the spring of 1755 the Government of France sends a fleet of 43 ships, commanded by Admiral de la Motte, to reinforce French positions in New France.  Its first call is to be Louisbourg.

The French fleet leaves Brest on May 3rd, 1755.  Aboard are six battalions of French soldiers, 3,000 men in all.  The French troops arre under the command of a German veteran by the name of Baron Dieskau.

In early June 1755, off Newfoundland, Britain's Admiral Boscawen intercepts three ships, part of this French fleet, that had been separated from the main French fleet in a storm.  After a two-day chase the British ran three of the stragglers down: Alcide (64 guns, Captain Hocquart), Lys (64 guns) and Dauphin. Boscawen captures Alcide and Lys, but under the cover of fog Dauphin gets away.  Alcide and Lys are taken to Halifax as prizes.
More by Peter landry

Admiral Boscawen by Peter Landry
Admiral Edward Boscawen Dictionary of Canadian Biography
Admiral Edward Boscawen by Wikipedia

Admiral de la Motte:
Emmanuel-Auguste de Cahideuc, Comte Dubois de La Motte Dictionary of Canadian Biography
Emmanuel-Auguste de Cahideuc, Comte Dubois de la Motte by Wikipedia

16 June 2005

250th anniversary

1755 June 16

Fort Cumberland in Acadia

French Fort Beausejour becomes English Fort Cumberland

When Fort Beausejour is captured by the British, it is renamed Fort Cumberland, and the British garrison at Fort Lawrence is transferred to Beausejour.  This military stronghold is located on Beausejour Ridge, a.k.a. Aulac Ridge [about 5 km northwest of present-day Amherst, Nova Scotia, and about one km west from present-day Aulac, New Brunswick].  After the garrison is transferred, Fort Lawrence is abandoned.
More by Peter Landry
Fort Beausejour by Wikipedia
Fort Cumberland by Wikipedia
Map: The Taking of Fort Beausejour, 1755

Monckton changed the name of Fort Beausejour to Fort Cumberland, in honor of the Royal Duke who won the victory at Culloden, and as it was a much better fort than the one on the south side of the Missiquash, the troops were ordered to remain at Fort Cumberland.  This fort stands in a commanding position on the south-west summit of the high ridge of upland that separates the Missiquash from the Aulac valley.  It was a fort of five bastions, with casemates, and was capable of accommodating eight hundred men.  It mounted thirty guns.  After it fell into the hands of the English it was greatly improved.  A stone magazine (a part of which is still standing) was built outside the southern embankment.  The moat was excavated to a much greater depth.
Excerpted from:
Chignecto Isthmus: First Settlers by Howard Trueman

In November 1776, Fort Cumberland (formerly Fort Beausejour) became
the site of the Eddy Rebellion, an episode in the American Revolution.
The Siege of Fort Cumberland, 1776 (book)
by Ernest Clarke, published 1999

The Eddy Rebellion at Cumberland by Peter Landry

17 June 2005

250th anniversary

1755 June 17

French Fort Gaspereau captured by English

Fort Gaspereau was built at Baie Verte [now in southeastern New Brunswick, close to Tidnish Bridge in Nova Scotia], on the Northumberland Strait side of the Isthmus of Chignecto about 22 km northeast of Fort Beausejour.  This was the last French fort in Acadia, other than Fortress Louisbourg.
More by Peter Landry
Fort Gaspareaux

1755 July 3

Shawano Indians attack the New River Settlement in Virginia.  Several settlers killed.

9 July 2005

250th anniversary

1755 July 9

Battle of the Monongahela

Gen. Braddock's British forces en route to capture Fort Duquesne are ambushed and routed by French and Indians [at a site now in Braddock, Pennsylvania] forcing retreat and failure of the expedition.  Braddock loses 63 of his 86 officers and two-thirds of his men.  General Braddock is mortally wounded when he and his force of British troops and colonial militia are caught in a French and Indian ambush.  Braddock had just crossed the Monongahela River on his way to attack Fort Duquesne [now downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania].
Historian debunks myths about American colonial troops' warfare tactics
University of North Texas News Service
...According to legend, Washington, then a junior officer, pleaded with Braddock to allow him to head the army's provincial troops in a guerilla attack on the French.  But Braddock refused...

13 July 2005

250th anniversary

1755 July 13

General Edward Braddock dies from the wound he received four days earlier at the Battle of the Monongahela.  George Washington assumes command of the retreating army.
More by United States National Park Service
Edward Braddock by Ohio History Central

Map showing the location of Braddock's Grave and Jumonville Glen
Modern map showing the location of Braddock's Grave, Fort Necessity, and Jumonville Glen
near Farmington, Pennsylvania

14 July 2005

250th anniversary

1755 July 14

A letter is sent by Governor Charles Lawrence to Vice-Admiral Boscawan and Rear-Admiral Mostyn inviting them to attend a Council meeting at Halifax to discuss the Acadian question.

25 July 2005

250th anniversary

1755 July 25

News of Braddock's death reaches Halifax in the morning of July 25th.  Later that same day, another meeting of Council is convened at Halifax and another memorial signed by 207 French Acadians is read: they continue to refuse to take any kind of a new oath.
More by Peter Landry

28 July 2005

250th anniversary

1755 July 28

The governing Council at Halifax, resolves: "After mature consideration it was unanimously agreed, that, to prevent as much as possible their attempting to return and molest the [English] settlers that may be set down on their lands, it would be most proper to send them to be distributed amongst the several colonies on the continent, and that a sufficient number of vessels should be hired with all possible expedition for that purpose."
More by Peter Landry

2 September 2005

250th anniversary

1755 September 2

John Winslow issues his order that all males above the age of 20 years are to meet on Friday, September 5th, at the church at Grand Pre [Nova Scotia], that he has something to tell them.
More by Peter Landry

8 September 2005

250th anniversary

1755 September 8

Battle of Lake George
Bloody Morning Scout
Bloody Pond Massacre

The English forces are defeated at Lake George by Baron Dieskau.
More by Fort William Henry Museum

10 September 2005

250th anniversary

1755 September 10

"...141 young men and 89 married men are put on board the five transport vessels" that were in the Minas Basin.  The transports that had brought Winslow and his men over from Chignecto were to act as prisons in the stream of the Gaspereau River (Minas); with their "fighting men" under lock and key, the rest of the Acadian population – the women, the old,and the young – were easily rounded up.
More by Peter Landry

1755 September 10

Their best men having been now taken from them, the rest of the Acadians are assembled at the church at Grand Pre and told that they are prisoners; and that they and their families are to be transported out of the province.  All that is needed is a suitable number of transport ships; as soon as these arrive, they will be gone with only their easily portable possessions.
More by Peter Landry

16 October 2005

250th anniversary

1755 October 16

Penns Creek Massacre
Leroy Massacre

This was the first case of Indian hostility in the region after Braddock's defeat.  A marker on the bank of Penns Creek north of Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, commemorates the massacre (1755) of settlers by Native Americans, with fourteen killed and eleven taken captive.  The Leroy Massacre site is about 2 km southeast of Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania.  Near here, John Jacob Leroy was killed by Indians on 16 October 1755, following the Penn's Creek Massacre.  In response, Conrad Weiser organizes local defence.  Fort Augusta at Shamokin [now Sunbury, Pennsylvania], the largest of Pennsylvania's frontier forts, was built 1756 as a result of this conflict.

27 October 2005

250th anniversary

1755 October 27

Fourteen british transport vessels sail from Minas Basin, together with ten others that had come in from Chignecto. Thus, by this date, the Acadians had been deported from Nova Scotia.
More by Peter Landry

9 December 2005

250th anniversary

1755 December 9

The first post office in what is now Canada is established at Halifax, under the direction of Postmaster-General Benjamin Franklin.

Winter 1755-1756

Black Winter At French Cross
More by Peter Landry
Memorial monument

Bounties for Scalps

On 12 June 1755, Massachusetts Governor William Shirley offered
£40 for Indian male scalps and £20 for female scalps.
The following year, on 14 April 1756, Pennsylvania Governor
Robert Hunter Morris "declared war and proclaimed a general
bounty for Indian enemy prisoners and for scalps."
The bounties to be paid were £130 for a male scalp
and £50 for a female scalp.

1756 February

Andrew Lewis in expedition against Indians attacking the area of New and Kanawah Rivers crosses a corner of Kentucky and reaches the Ohio River.  He is the first English speaking man to reach the Ohio.  Reportedly, the French explorer La Salle reached the Ohio River in 1669, and thereafter French explorers and traders passed along it occasionally.

18 April 2006

250th anniversary

1756 April 18

Battle of Great Cacapon (Mercer's Massacre)

This battle near Fort Edwards is the largest of the French and Indian War to have occurred in what is now West Virginia.  From this fort on 18 April 1756, a group of soldiers of Col. Washington's Virginia Regiment go in pursuit of a few Indians and some of them stumble into an ambush of over 100 French and Indian raiders.  Lt. John Fenton Mercer and Ensign Thomas Carter and fifteen soldiers are killed.

12 May 2006

250th anniversary

1756 May 12

Marquis de Montcalm, the newly-appointed commander in chief of the French forces in North America, arrives at Quebec.  This energetic and accomplished military leader immediately concentrates his troops and leads them southwest.  He drives the English from all of their holdings in and around the Great Lakes and establishes a solid communication network between the St. Lawrence through to the upper Ohio.

1756 Summer

France constructs Fort Machault

In 1756, French forces build Fort Machault, the last new fort built by France in North America.
French Fort Machault
British Fort Venango

From 1754 to 1758, the French were Winning
in North America

Under the effective generalship of the Marquis de Montcalm, New France enjoyed victory after victory.  In 1756, Montcalm forced the surrender of the British fort at Oswego on Lake Ontario, thereby breaking this British attempt to wrest control of the Great Lakes from the French.  A year later he destroyed Fort William Henry at the south end of Lake George, dashing British hopes for an advance through the Champlain Valley to Crown Point.  The northern frontier seemed to be collapsing in upon the British colonies along the east coast of North America.

Despite all the military activity in the previous few years, it wasn't until 1756 that war was officially declared between the French and British.  The military activity that year and the following was relatively inconclusive, though the French generally had the upper hand, capturing Fort Oswego on Lake Ontario and Fort William Henry.

In 1758 the tide began to turn and the British started to take the upper hand.  They launched a three part attack on the French, against Louisbourg on the Atlantic Coast, Fort Carillon (Ticonderoga) on Lake Champlain, and Fort Frontenac at the eastern end of Lake Ontario.  That summer the British finally captured the city of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia, establishing control of the Gulf of the St. Lawrence.  And while they failed in an assault on the Fort Carillon, they did gain control of Lake Ontario by capturing Fort Frontenac with troops under Lt. Colonel John Bradstreet.

In July 1758, Brigadier General John Forbes assembled a large force to move against Fort Duquesne.  Despite an initial setback, Forbes had great success.  He held a council at Fort Bedford with the Indian tribes of region, establishing peace between them and the British.  When the French realized they would no longer have Indian allies, and knowing their their communication with Montreal was cut off with the capture of Fort Frontenac, they quickly abandoned Fort Duquesne, destroying as much of the fort as possible.  Forbes occupied the site, which he soon had rebuilt and renamed Fort Pitt, establishing British control of the upper Ohio Valley for the first time.

The Philadelphia Print Shop Limited, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

England formally declares war on France

This is the official beginning
of the Seven Years War

18 May 2006

250th anniversary

1756 May 18

England formally declares war on France.  This war is known as the Seven Years War in Europe and the French and Indian War in the United States.

The Seven Years War, 1756-1763, was a worldwide war fought in Europe, North America, and India between France, Austria, Russia, Saxony, Sweden, and Spain on the one side and Prussia, Great Britain, and Hanover on the other.

The Seven Years War

The Seven Years War (1756-1763) was one of the major conflicts in history since the fall of Rome.  It had Bourbon King Louis XV on one side trying as hard as possible to repeat the golden days of Louis XIV, and on the other side Frederick II of an emerging Prussia backed by British gold provided by William Pitt.

The Seven Years War was mainly the result of trading rights.  The British colonials (Americans) were pinned up against the Atlantic seaboard, with only the Hudson Bay company in the north challenging the French trading.  With thirty-three times the population in less than half the land area, the British found the need to expand.  But doing so, they would enter the Ohio Valley, controlled by France...
More by Philip Keffer

Department of Humanities Computing, University of Groningen, Netherlands

British Victory Not Assured

In retrospect, the British victory in the Seven Years War was one of the truly pivotal events in American history.  Not only did the war give Britain all French lands in Canada and east of the Mississippi River (with the exception of two small islands south of Newfoundland), it also set in motion a train of events that culminated in the American Revolution.

Yet at the time that the Seven Years War began, no one could be certain of British victory.  Despite the fact that the colonists' population was far greater than that of the French settlers in Canada, the British colonial system suffered from severe weaknesses, including a lack of centralized authority and bitter jealousies among the colonists...

More The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, New York City

The population levels of France and Britain (including Scotland and Ireland)
stood out in stark contrast – Britain, 9 million; France, 21 million.
Each year with her climate and soil, France renewed her riches;
England had to make do with what she had, and agriculturally it was much less.
Louis XIV proved to be England's greatest ally as he went about
draining France of her resources in order to support his corrupt court.

More by Peter Landry

10 July 2006

250th anniversary

1756 July 10

(2006) Col. George Washington holds a Council of War at Fort Cumberland to discuss the chain of English forts that is to be built across western Virginia from the Maryland border to the North Carolina border.  It is hoped that this chain of forts will protect the settlers from attacks by the French and their Indian allies.

1756 July 13

Capt. Robert McKenzie is ordered to take command at Fort Pearsall.

15 August 2006

250th anniversary

1756 August 15

Important Victory for France
English Fort Oswego falls
England loses control of Lake Ontario

Gen. Montcalm captures Fort Oswego giving France control of Lake Ontario.  (Fort Oswego was called Fort Chouagen by the French.)  After the battle was over and Fort Oswego was demolished, Montcalm and his soldiers departed for the Quebec, taking with them 1,700 prisoners and captured British flags that are soon displayed in the churches of Montreal and Quebec City. The French victory at Fort Oswego was important to the overall war effort – it made a very strong impression on the Indian allies of the British, who then believed that the British were likely to lose the conflict.  Some members of the Six Nations decided to maintain their neutrality and others, the Seneca and Oneida, moved to the French side.

Fort Oswego was located at the mouth of the Oswego River on the southeast shore of Lake Ontario [now Oswego, New York].  Fort Oswego was originally built by the British in 1726, captured by Montcalm in 1756, reoccupied and rebuilt by the British in 1759, and finally passed to the United States in 1796.
Fort Oswego by Wikipedia
Fort Oswego by New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs

1756 September (about 6th to 8th, the date is not precisely known)

Kittanning Raid

More by Wikipedia
Armstrong's Victory at Kittanning by Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
More by explorePAhistory.com
An account of the Kittanning Raid by Col. John Armstrong, 14 Sept. 1756
"Col. John Armstrong's official report to the provincial council is an exciting, detailed and well-paced narrative of the fight...For Armstrong, war is a grim business, and he forthrightly addresses desertion, cowardice, and indiscriminate killing."

Historian Fred Anderson notes that equivalent raids by Indians on Pennsylvania villages were usually labeled massacres.

12 October 2006

250th anniversary

1756 October 12

Abandoned Fort Lawrence is burned

As the British army was now using the more substantial facility at Fort Cumberland (the former Fort Beausejour), British forces decided to demolish the abandoned works at Fort Lawrence to prevent the facility being used as shelter by Acadians who may have escaped to nearby forests. Fort Lawrence was razed by fire on 12 October 1756, only six years after its construction.  Today the site of Fort Lawrence is a barren field behind a visitor information centre [about 2 km northwest of present-day Amherst, Nova Scotia].
More by Wikipedia

4 December 2006

250th anniversary

1756 December 4

William Pitt becomes the Prime Minister of England.  Pitt is the architect of the eventual British victory over France in the Seven Years War.

1757 April

William Pitt is forced to resign as Prime Minister of England.

1757 June

The elder William Pitt (1708-1778), the first Earl of Chatham, was brought into the British government as secretary of state (under an arrangement that gave him the effective decision-making power for military and diplomatic affairs).  One of the first things he did was to replace tentative and ineffectual military commanders with younger men charged with carrying out a dynamic offensive strategy.  For example, Pitt selected James Wolfe to lead the attack on Quebec.
More by Edward J. Dodson, Department of Humanities Computing
University of Groningen, Netherlands

1757 Summer

Fort Carillon is completed.  French General Montcalm uses the new Fort Carillon as a base from which to launch his attack on British Fort William Henry on Lake George.

9 August 2007

250th anniversary

1757 August 9

Another French Victory: Fort William Henry falls

Colonel Munro surrenders Fort William Henry to Montcalm.

8 December 2007

250th anniversary

1757 December 8

Second Battle of Bloody Creek

Second Battle of Bloody Creek [now in Annapolis County, Nova Scotia]
Memorial monument by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board

1758 March 13

Battle on Snowshoes

Robert Rogers is wounded and almost captured; he loses 14 men killed.
More about Rogers Rangers by Wikipedia
More about Robert Rogers by Wikipedia
More about Robert Rogers by Dictionary of Canadian Biography

1758 June 8

French Fortress Louisbourg Attacked

Fortress Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, is attacked by the British.  This is the largest battle in North America until the American Civil War over 100 years later and is still the largest amphibious invasion in North American history.

The first lighthouse in what is now Canada was built at the fortress of Louisburg by the French Government in 1734.  British troops destroyed the beacon during the 1758 siege.

1758 July 3

Decision to build the Forbes Road

In 1758, William Pitt puts John Forbes in command of a new army in Pennsylvania to take the lands west of the Allegheny mountains again.  This time, the British general in command will carefully build a Pennsylvania route that is fortified at the end of every days march.  This new route is called the Forbes Road; it starts in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania and ends in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Several large forts are built along the Forbes Road – Fort Loudon, Fort Littleton, Fort Juniata Crossing, Fort Bedford, Fort Dewart, and Fort Ligonier.
Troops Assembling at Fort Bedford by Nat Youngblood
Allegheny Land Trust

Difficult Decision

The most difficult decision that Forbes has to make is: What route will he take?  The decision is made more difficult by the competing interests of Pennsylvania and Virginia in the western country.  To Washington and the other Virginians it seems preposterous that the road already cut by Braddock will not be used, because, though it is admittedly a more roundabout route, for the army and the supplies, than the traders path through Pennsylvania, an immense amount of labor will be required to make the Pennsylvania route passable for an army.

Had Forbes contemplated a rapid expedition – a raid, fast in and fast out – the old route would have been the better, but instead of speed he was more concerned with insuring a continuous supply of provisions for his army of occupation over a longer period of time.  His plan was not only to take Fort Duquesne, but to stay and hold the area to prevent the French from coming back to rebuild.  Whatever route he chose, it would have to be kept in daily use for heavy supply wagons for some time after Fort Duquesne was dealt with.  This consideration argued against the Braddock Road, which required several difficult crossings of the deep and swift Monongahela and Youghiogheny rivers, compared to only one relatively easier river crossing of the Juniata River for the route now known as the Forbes Road.

In the beginning, Forbes expected to go by way of Fort Cumberland, using Braddock's route, but he soon learned of the possibility of the shorter route, and in June 1758 he sent Bouquet forward with the advance division to Raystown, over the road that had been cut by James Burd in 1755.  At Raystown a stockade had been constructed by Pennsylvania militia in 1755 which was now enlarged and strengthened and named Fort Bedford.  It was still possible to move the main army through the valley to Fort Cumberland instead of transferring the Virginia troops, which were assembling at that point, to Bedford, but Bouquet sent out exploring parties along the traders path and collected all available information about it.  By the end of June he was convinced that it was a practicable route.  Washington at Fort Cumberland was still pressing for the use of the Braddock route and he and Bouquet met halfway between Cumberland and Bedford to discuss the matter, but Bouquet could not be shaken in his conviction in favor of the northern route, and on July 3 Forbes, over Washington's continuing objections, issued the order for the cutting of the new road.

Where to Place the New Road?

Building his new road involved Forbes in two significant difficulties.  First, nobody was certain how to get through Pennsylvania's largely uncharted western forests, nor where or how to clear an adequate way over four or five steep ridges of the Alleghenies that could carry not only 6,000 soldiers but also the continuous supply columns and wagons required to sustain that army.

Before the new road could be cut, its route had to be determined.  In 1755, Pennsylvania's James Burd had already started to open a road part of the way, from Shippensburg to the summit of the Allegheny Ridge, to provide Braddock with supplies from eastern Pennsylvania.  The older Burd road thus solved the problem of getting Forbes' army from Shippensburg to a point somewhat west of Raystown [now Bedford].  Forbes and his engineers decided to strike northwest from the point where Burd's unfinished route turned southwest.

The principal obstacle to determining how to proceed involved discovering suitable passes through the Allegheny and Laurel Ridges.  A great deal of time was lost in reconnoitering a feasible route.
Army Train Ascending the Allegheny Front by Nat Youngblood
Allegheny Land Trust

Forbes and Bouquet did not rush the decision about the route, however.  During July 1758, while troops and supplies were being moved from Fort Loudoun to form a new base of supplies at Fort Bedford, more exploring parties were sent out, and late in the month Major George Armstrong led a detachment over Laurel Hill and discovered a site for another fort at Loyalhanna . "The situation," he reported, "is undoubtedly Good for nature has supplyed it with all the conveniences, and what makes it more desirable is the Western breezes carrying with them the Smell of the French brandy" (a metaphorical reference to the objective, the garrison at Fort Duquesne). 

General Forbes' Road to War by James P. Myers
Military History, December 2001

Forbes Road

The Forbes Road and the Campaign of 1758

General John Forbes by Keith and Lois Forbes
"American history has never acknowledged the debt owed by George Washington to General John Forbes. There is no mention at all of it on the Mount Vernon web site."

Nat Youngblood's paintings of the Forbes Road Paladin Communications Inc.

Scenes from the French and Indian War by Nat Youngblood
Allegheny Land Trust

Forbes Road

1758 July 8

France wins the Battle of Fort Carillon

British General Abercrombie leads an army of 16,000 British and Colonial troops against a small French force of 3200 entrenched at Fort Carillon.  Despite being outnumbered 4 to 1, the French forces inflict a humiliating defeat on Abercrombie.

1758 July 26

France wins the Battle of Sabbath Day Point

In the Battle of Sabbath Day Point, Lake George, New York, General Montcalm's men destroy much of the New Jersey Regiment.

1758 July 27

French Fortress Louisbourg captured by British

The French Fortress at Louisbourg, Nova Scotia – by far the strongest fortress in North America at the time – surrenders to the British under Admiral Edward Boscawen and General Jeffrey Amherst after a 48-day siege.

The assault on Louisbourg was front-page news in the British colonies to the south, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and Pennsylvania.
View of the city and harbour of Louisbourg
New York Mercury, 14 August 1758

The Turning Point

Before July 1758, France Was Winning

After July 1758, England Was Winning

1758 August 27

French Fort Frontenac captured by British

Nova Scotian Lt. Col. John Bradstreet of the Royal Americans captures the French Fort Frontenac on Lake Ontario.  Fort Frontenac is the main French supply depot on Lake Ontario.  Bradstreet demonstrates how vulnerable Fort Duquesne's supply line is, by destroying vast quantities of provisions destined for Forts Niagara, Detroit and Duquesne, together with the boats that were to deliver them.

The Forbes Expedition
Autumn 1758

Forbes' expedition against Fort Duquesne in 1758 was one of the great triumphs of the war in Pennsylvania.  At Bedford he assembled a force of 350 Royal Americans, 1,200 Highlanders, 1,600 Virginians under Washington and other commanders, and 2,700 Pennsylvanians.  General Forbes' second in command was Colonel Bouquet.  For 150 kilometres westward a road was cut over the mountains.  Most of the wagons and horses were supplied by the Pennsylvania Dutch.  Forbes himself was so ill that he had to be carried in a litter.  Four months later he died and was buried in the chancel of Christ Church, Philadelphia.

1758 September 4

England begins construction of Fort Ligonier

The Fort at Loyalhanna, Pennsylvania

In 1758, Secretary of State William Pitt and Sir John Ligonier, Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, organize their strength to drive the French from the New World by simultaneous attacks on Louisbourg, Crown Point, Niagura and Duquense.  General John Forbes is ordered to organize and lead a campaign against the French at Fort Duquesne.  British General John Forbes, assigned the task of taking Fort Duquense, decides to abandon the Braddock route and extend the path westward through the forests from the recently completed Fort Bedford.  A series of fortifications were built along the "Forbes Road" constructed across Southern Pennsylvania.  The distance to the Forks of the Ohio is too great for an army to travel without rest and reprovisioning.  Almost exactly half way from Bedford to the Forks, at Loyalhanna Creek [now Ligonier, Pennsylvania], Forbes decides to build a fortified camp to serve as the staging area for the final assault on Fort Duquesne.  Work begins on 4 September 1758 on this cap, later to be named Fort Ligonier in honor of Sir John Ligonier.  It is first called the Fort at Loyalhanna until mid-November 1758, when it first appears in Col. Bouquet's accounts as Fort Ligonier. 
Fort Ligonier by Michael D. McCumber
Fort Ligonier by the Fort Ligonier Association
Fort Ligonier by Westylvania Heritage Corporation
Construction of Fort Ligonier by Nat Youngblood
Allegheny Land Trust

1758 September 14

Battle of Grant's Hill

By September 1758, the British army under General Forbes is massed at Fort Ligonier, only fifty kilometres from Fort Duquesne. In keeping with his methodical strategy, Forbes decides to send a scouting party to Fort Duquesne. This seemingly sound military decision would lead to a significant defeat. Major James Grant of the 77th Highland Regiment was chosen to lead the scouting expedition. Under his command were 800 men. On September 9, Major Grant and his little army left the protection of Fort Ligonier and begun the march west. Five days later, a sortie from the garrison of Fort Duquesne commanded by de Ligneris surrounds the English, and many of the latter, including Grant, are taken prisoner. 273 English troops are killed, captured, or missing.

Battle of Grant's Hill

Battle of Fort Pitt (mostly about the Battle of Grant's Hill)
from Pittsburgh, The Story of a City by Leland D. Baldwin

Major Grant's Piper

Major General James Grant
Grant's Engagement, 9 September 1758 by Nat Youngblood
Allegheny Land Trust

1758 October 12

Battle of Fort Ligonier

The French and Indian army at Loyalhanna was under command of De Vitri. He began battle almost immediately on their arrival. The firing began about eleven o'clock in the forenoon and lasted four hours. The battle was fought on or near the ground where is now the town of Ligonier. The army at Ligonier numbered twenty-five hundred on its first arrival from Bedford; but nearly three hundred were lost in Grant's fiasco, leaving only about twenty-two hundred...
Volume 1, Chapter 1, Part 2 (Fort Ligonier) History of Westmoreland County
Westmoreland County History Project

Consider the size of the army assembled at Ligonier.  By early November 1758, some 4,000 troops were encamped around the fort.  This made Ligonier the second-largest community in Pennsylvania, after Philadelphia, with its nearly 17,000 people.

1758 October 12

Proclamation issued by Governor of Nova Scotia
invites New Englanders to settle there

Charles Lawrence, Military Governor of Nova Scotia, issued a Proclamation that is published in the Boston Gazette.  It informed the people of New England that since the enemy which had formerly disturbed and harassed the province was no longer able to do so, the time had come to people and cultivate, not only the lands made vacant by the removal of the Acadians, but other parts of "this valuable province" as well.  The Proclamation concluded with the words "I shall be ready to receive any proposals that may be hereafter made to me for effectually settling the vacated, or any other lands within the said province."
More by Peter Landry

This proclamation created a great deal of interest and inquiry, and finally led to a considerable number of New England farmers settling in different parts of Nova Scotia, Chignecto getting a good share of them.  The first proclamation had, however, to be supplemented by a second, in which full liberty of conscience and the right to worship as they pleased was secured to Protestants of all denominations.  This guarantee was not included in Lawrence's first invitation to the New Englanders, and the descendants of the Puritans had not read in vain the history of the sacrifices made by their forefathers to worship in their own way.
Excerpted from:
Chignecto Isthmus: First Settlers by Howard Trueman

1758 October 2

Canada's oldest Legislative Assembly first meets

Nova Scotia Provincial Parliament is established – 19 members met on 2 October 1758.  For the first hundred years, this Assembly is known as the Provincial Parliament, and an elected member is called "MPP" – Member of the Provincial Parliament.  Since Confederation in 1867, the name "Parliament" has been reserved for the federal assembly at Ottawa, and the Nova Scotia Assembly has been known as the "Legislature", with an elected member called "MLA"– Member of the Legislative Assembly.

1758 October 12-13

A French force attacks General Forbes's army at Fort Ligonier and is repulsed.  The British continue a slow but determined advance toward Fort Duquesne.

1758 November 25

Fort Duquesne abandoned by French forces

The French abandon and burn Fort Duquesne.

1758 November 26

French Fort Duquesne becomes English Fort Pitt

In honour of William Pitt, the demolished Fort Duquesne is renamed Pittsburgh by General Forbes.  The next day, Forbes writes a letter to Pitt, dated from "Pittsburgh".  The letter reaches Pitt in England in April 1759, a month after Forbes died.

Forbes Arrives at Fort Duquesne by Nat Youngblood
Allegheny Land Trust

1758 December

Col. George Washington resigns his commission and retires to Mount Vernon awaiting his January wedding to Martha Dandridge.


First settlers at Chester [now in Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia].

1759 April 18

Five agents from New England arrived at Halifax to take a look at the land promised by Governor Lawrence.
More by Peter Landry

1759 July 26

French Fort Niagara surrenders

Fort Niagara was strategically located at the mouth of the Niagara River, where it flows into Lake Ontario.
Final Stage of Conquest by Edward J. Dodson, University of Groningen, Netherlands
Battle of La Belle Famille by Youngstown Business and Professional Association
Battle of Fort Niagara by Wikipedia
Guardhouse of the Great Lakes by the Old Fort Niagara Association
A brief history of Old Fort Niagara by Peter A. Porter

1759 July 26

French Fort Carillon becomes English Fort Ticonderoga

Fort Carillon, on Lake Champlian, is attacked again by the British under the leadership of General Jeffrey Amherst.  After their victory at Fort Carillon early in July 1758, the war had not gone well for the French.  They suffered numerous losses elsewhere in the war and the small garrison at Fort Carillon was weak.  This time, the British forces took Fort Carillon.  Amherst renamed it Fort Ticonderoga.
More by Wikipedia
More by James P. Millard
More by Lee D. and Amberleigh R.

1759 September 13

Battle of the Plains of Abraham

The Battle of the Plains of Abraham was a decisive battle of the North American theatre of the Seven Years' War.  It was fought on a plain just outside the walls of Quebec City in New France (Quebec province).  Combat lasted only half an hour, ending a three-month siege of Quebec City.
More by Wikipedia

1759 September 18

Capitulation of Quebec

Wolfe's capture of Quebec.
Articles of Capitulation The Pennsylvania Gazette, 22 November 1759

1759 October 4

Fort LeBoeuf and Fort Presque Isle abandoned by France

After the capture of Fort Niagara by the British, the French abandon and burn Fort LeBoeuf, and Fort Presque Isle.

1759 November 20

Battle of Quiberon Bay

The naval Battle of Quiberon Bay took place on 20 November 1759 during the Seven Years' War in Quiberon Bay, off the coast of France near St. Nazaire.  British admiral Edward Hawke with 23 ships of the line caught up with a French fleet with 21 ships of the line under Marshal de Conflans.  The outnumbered Conflans decided to take refuge in the bay thinking the British would not dare follow him onto a lee shore.  He was wrong.  After hard fighting, most of the French ships were sunk, captured, or forced aground, thus giving the Royal Navy one of its greatest victories.
The Battle of Quiberon Bay (1) by Wikipedia
The Battle of Quiberon Bay (2) by Wikipedia
The Battle of Quiberon Bay 1759 by the Royal Navy
The Battle of Quiberon Bay 1759 Royal Navy History
The Battle of Quiberon Bay Musee du Patrimonie Quiberon
20 Nov. 1759: The Battle of Quiberon Bay (painting)
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England
21 Nov. 1759: The Day After The Battle of Quiberon Bay (painting)
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England

The Battle of Quiberon Bay, on the southwest coast of France, and not the more celebrated Battle of Quebec, was the decisive military event of 1759.
"...in the end, it was Lagos and Quiberon Bay that proved decisive at Quebec, and control of the Atlantic that settled ownership of Canada..."
— Fred Anderson, page 383 in his book "Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766"
Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2000
Fred Anderson's Crucible of War review by by Major Robert Bateman
Department of History, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York

Neither the Anglo-American seizure of Fort Duquesne in 1758 nor the conquest of Quebec in 1759 proved decisive.  What finally determined the outcome of the war in America were two nearly simultaneous, reinforcing developments in 1759: the Battle of Quiberon Bay (November 20) and the Six Nations's decision to abandon the neutral stance it had maintained since 1755 and join the Anglo-Americans in the Niagara campaign.  The battle cost the French navy its ability to operate on the Atlantic, denying Levis the reinforcements and supplies he needed to capture Quebec and resist the invading Anglo-American armies.  The absence of trade goods and weapons simultaneously prevented him from rebuilding the Indian alliances that Montcalm had destroyed, so that the Iroquois alliance with the Anglo-Americans tipped the strategic balance irrevocably against the French...
Round Table introduction by Fred Anderson
Associate Professor of History, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado

The Seven Years' War has been hidden in plain sight for nearly 250 years...
The Global History of the Seven Years' War
Round Table comments by David Armitage
Associate Professor of History, Columbia University, New York

Frantic graduate students and overcommitted academics may well despair when they begin Fred Anderson's new book, Crucible of War.  Length is not the problem, exactly.  The trouble is that it is long and utterly readable, compelling, and impervious to skimming.  Sadly, serious history books are not supposed to be this much fun nowadays, and readers might experience a bit of guilt for spending the extra time on such a good story...
Narrative Syle and Indian Actors in the Seven Years' War
Round Table comments by Brian Delay
PhD candidate, Department of History, Harvard University, Boston

The world war that commenced on the banks of the Ohio in 1754 has never been an easy one to name...
Whose Great War for Empire? British America and the Problem of Imperial Agency
Round Table comments by Eliga H. Gould
Associate Professor of History, University of New Hampshire

...By October 1754, the British plan for operations in North America included an advance on the French forts in the Ohio country, and the destruction of French forts on Lake Ontario, Lake Champlain, and the Nova Scotia isthmus.  In early 1755, General Braddock and two regiments of British troops arrived in Virginia.  That spring, British ships tried to intercept French reinforcements bound for Canada.  In July 1755, Braddock's advance into the Ohio country culminated in the Battle of the Monongahela.  This all occurred before an official declaration of war....
The Spanish Empire and the Seven Years' War
Round Table comments by Paul Mapp
PhD candidate, Department of History, Harvard University, Boston


1759 proved to be a year of stunning successes for England in North America.

One British expedition took Niagara.  Another, led by Amherst himself, seized
both Ticonderoga and Crown Point, thereby opening the way to Montreal.
A third, commanded by young General James Wolfe, sailed up the St. Lawrence
River and, after much difficulty, defeated Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham
just outside Quebec.  The surrender of Quebec itself soon followed.

In 1760, Amherst completed the conquest of Canada with a successful
three-pronged offensive against Montreal.

By the end of 1760, French resistance in North America had virtually ceased.

More by Ronald W. McGranahan
United States Naval Academy, Annapolis (retired)


First settlers at Canning [now in Kings County, Nova Scotia].


Many New England soldiers at Fort Cumberland (Beausejour) and Fort Lawrence return home after their enlistments expire.  Governor Lawrence encourages them to stay and to take up land grants – some do (Troop, Tongue, Huston, others).


Fort Presque Isle taken over by England

England occupies the site of Fort Presque Isle and rebuilds the fortification.

1760 April 28

Battle of Sainte-Foy

After the disaster of the Plains of Abraham on 13 September 1759, the French army retreats from Quebec to Montreal and regroups under General Levis.  In April 1760, Levis returns to Quebec with an army of over seven thousand men, including Canadian militia and First Nations warriors.  He hopes to besiege Quebec and force its surrender in the spring, when he expects a French fleet to arrive.  During the battle, the British army loses over one thousand killed and wounded, and the French almost nine hundred, making the Battle of Sainte-Foy one of the bloodiest battles on Canadian soil.  However, Levis is unable to retake Quebec City.  The British force remains besieged in the city until naval reinforcements are able to arrive.  The French fleet never arrives – France's navy having been smashed at Quiberon Bay the previous autumn – and when HMS Lowestoft raises its flag as it nears Quebec, Levis abandons the siege and retreats to Montreal, where he surrenders in September 1760 to overwhelming British force.
More by Wikipedia

1760 September 8

French Montreal is captured by English forces

Surrounded on all sides by superior forces, French Governor Vaudreuil surrenders Montreal and all of New France to the English under the command of General Jeffrey Amherst.  General Levis, after burning his flags, reluctantly agrees to lay down his army's weapons. The French soldiers are paroled back to France.

1760 October

In North America, the fighting ends

Although the French and Indian War does not officially end until 1763, in North America the fighting comes to an end after British General Jeffrey Amherst captures French Montreal in September 1760.  England and France continue the war in Europe and India.

1760 October 9

Charles Lawrence, Military Governor of Nova Scotia, dies suddenly at Halifax

1760 October 25

King George II dies.  George III becomes King of England.

1763 February 10

Final Treaty of Paris is signed

Britain acquires Quebec, Florida, Minorca and large additional parts of India and the West Indies.  France keeps the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon.

After the Seven Years War was over, Britain controlled all of North America east of the Mississippi River.

1763 October 7

Royal Proclamation of 1763

This document has been called the "Magna Carta of Indian Rights" and recently has been held by the courts to have "the force of a statute which has never been repealed".  It was issued after the Treaty of Paris ended the Seven Years War and was intended to organize the governments of Britain's new acquisitions on the mainland of North America.

Compare this timeline with
French and Indian War timeline
by French and Indian War 250 Inc.

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