Fort Necessity National Battlefield

Western Pennsylvania Tour➤

My friend Patty and I hit the road in October of 2022 for a tour of the Western Pennsylvania NPS units. The National Parks of Western Pennsylvania (WEPA) includes the following five parks: Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, Johnstown Flood National Memorial, Flight 93 National Memorial, Fort Necessity National Battlefield and Friendship Hill National Historic Site.

We decided to start the circuit at the southernmost unit, Friendship Hill, and work our way North. Along the way we also toured a Frank Lloyd Wright UNESCO Heritage Site and Ohiopyle State Park. The next stop after Friendship Hill was Fort Necessity National Battlefield.

Fort Necessity➤

The Battle of Fort Necessity took place on July 3, 1754, in western Pennsylvania. This engagement was the result of the May 28 skirmish known as the Battle of Jumonville Glen. This was George Washington’s first military experience.

In May, Washington and the British troops were clearing trees in Western Pennsylvania to forge a National Road. Their mission was to clear the way for British exploration and drive the French off territory they’d claimed. Military from both sides encountered each other in the woods and tensions ran high. French Canadian Officer Jumonville died when shots were fired. Neither side admitted to firing the first shot and this spark ignited the French and Indian War.

George Washington surrendered to the French at the doomed Battle of Fort Necessity, the only surrender of his military career. The French allowed Washington’s men to withdraw peacefully and then burned the fort. Washington failed to realize he’d confessed to the assassination of Jumonville by signing the treaty because he couldn’t read French. This began a global conflict that lasted for seven years.

After watching the park film, “Road of Necessity”, Patty remarked, “I feel dirty.” Our image of George Washington as the leader of the revolution and the first American president was at odds with the inexperienced young man in the red coat. What we witnessed was the failure that helped mold Washington into the experienced general and leader he later became.

After the film, we walked the short trail to the fort. The NPS reconstructed its original position and design through archaeological research in the 1970s.

Western PA Posts➤

  • Fallingwater
  • Friendship Hill
  • Fort Necessity
  • Mount Washington Tavern
  • Ohiopyle
  • Flight 93
  • Flight 93 Tower
  • Johnstown Flood
  • Allegheny Portage

Location: National Pike, Farmington, PA 15437
Designation: National Battlefield
Date designated/established: March 4, 1931
Date of my visit: October 9, 2022

You can view the park film, “Road of Necessity” by clicking the link below:

6 thoughts on “Fort Necessity National Battlefield

Leave a Reply