Although struggles for supremacy had been going on for many decades between France and England in the New World, hostilities intensified in the early 1750’s as both English and French settlers had attempted to colonize land in the Ohio River Valley, near present day Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The English settlers, who had moved northwest from Virginia, and French settlers, who had moved east from the Great Lakes, or south from Canada, each thought they owned the rights to the land.
In 1754, English forces under George Washington had begun their march to Fort Duquesne for the purposes of ousting the French from the region by force. On the way, they encountered a French scouting party near present-day Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Washington’s men massacred the party in what came to be known as The Battle of Jumonville Glen. Washington soon took camp at Great Meadows, a large natural clearing, and ordered the construction of Fort Necessity in anticipation of a French response. The French did respond, as 600 soldiers forced Washington to surrender the fort. The French and Indian War had begun.