Government of Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

CHAPTER 7: The Military Empire

The Ohio Valley (5 pages)

Fort Necessity

Jean-Baptiste-Philippe Testard de Montigny (1724-1786)

Jean-Baptiste-Philippe Testard de Montigny (1724-1786)
(Click image to enlarge)

These events had further repercussions when Captain Louis Coulon de Villiers of the Navy troops arrived at Fort Duquesne with reinforcements on the following June 26 and learned of the death of his brother. He was given command of a corps of some 600 Canadian militiamen and soldiers, as well as 100 Amerindians, and set out in pursuit of the American volunteers. Arriving at the site of the ambush, he interred the scalped, unburied bodies of the French, and then carried on with his pursuit. The Americans were not as skillful as the Canadians at disappearing into the woods, and so they took refuge in a little fort, aptly named Fort Necessity (near Farmington, Pennsylvania). Here Coulon de Villiers caught up with them on July 3. After a heavy exchange of fire, which killed 100 Americans, Washington capitulated. Coulon de Villiers then demonstrated great moderation, allowing the man whom he considered his brother's murderer to return home over the Allegheny Mountains.

Although the act of surrender signed by Washington admitted the attack that had killed Jumonville and the usurpation of French territory, the Americans showed no inclination to respect this signature and the conditions of surrender when it came to occupying the new territories. The strength of the Virginia Regiment was increased to 700 men and three independent companies of reinforcements arrived from New York and South Carolina. In late 1754, these troops were stationed east of the Allegheny Mountains in order to prevent any French incursions. These repercussions of the "Jumonville incident" aroused another diplomatic storm in Europe, but in reinforcing their defences rather than attacking, the Americans once again admitted their inability, from a strictly military point of view, to take on the Canadian forces.