The French & Indian War (1755-1763)
"Sir, I do myself the Honour of acquainting you that it has pleased God to crown His Majesty's Arms with Success over all His Enemies upon the Ohio, by my having obliged the Enemy to burn and abandon Fort DuQuesne, which they effectuated on the 25th, and of which I took possession next day, the Enemy having made their Escape down the River towards the Mississippi in their Boats, being abandoned by their Indians, whom I had previously engaged to leave them, and who now seem all willing and ready to implore His Majesty's most Gracious Protection. …I have used the freedom of giving your name to Fort DuQuesne, as I hope it was in some measure the being actuated by your spirits that now makes us Masters of the place. …"(Letter from General John Forbes to British Prime Minister William Pitt, dated 27th November 1758)
Thus ended a long and brutal battle between two European superpowers, France and England, for control of the upper Ohio River valley. Fort Duquesne, guardian of the gateway to the west, was renamed Fort Pitt and within two years would become England's mightiest fortification in America. Although the bloody struggle for domination in the New World would not come to an end until the British victory on Quebec's Plains of Abraham and the total defeat of New France, the wheels had been set in motion for the colonies' fight for independence.
The French and Indian War was precipitated through a series of altercations over rights to land in the Upper Ohio Valley. In April 1754, a force of French and Indians traveling down the Allegheny River, with orders from the governor-general of New France to claim this prized territory for France, encountered a small garrison at the forks of the Ohio. This was a strategic location for both the French, who sought unfettered access between their North American settlements on the Great Lakes and Mississippi River, and the British who craved fresh territory for their colonies' expansion. Both coveted the lucrative fur trade with the Indians beyond the Allegheny Mountains. The garrison in question was Fort Prince George, established some months earlier by the young Colonel George Washington while scouting for Virginia's Ohio Land Company. Declaring the area "extremely well-situated for a fort, having command of both rivers," Washington established a British settlement that would eventually develop into the city of Pittsburgh.
Fort Prince George was an unimposing trading post surrounded by a stockade, but it undoubtedly served as an obstacle to the French. Overpowered, the occupants surrendered and were permitted to vacate the fort with their tools and arms intact. The French then set about building their own massive fortification that they named Fort DuQuesne in honor of their governor-general. From this vantage point, they held sway over the Ohio Valley. However, their supremacy would be short-lived.
Tensions escalated as the British returned time and again trying to reclaim the site. Under George Washington's command, a small force engaged and defeated a scouting party of French and Indians near Fort Duquesne. Unable to proceed against the superior French forces in the fort, Washington erected Fort Necessity at nearby Great Meadows. Within a few months, the French countered and the assault forced Washington to surrender Fort Necessity and return to Virginia. This was the first major battle in the French and Indian War. Washington would return the following year, in July 1755, as a volunteer aide-de-camp for General Braddock to again attempt to rouse the French from Fort Duquesne. The battle proved a disaster for the British troops who were unaccustomed to the terrain, the weather, and the guerilla tactics of the Indians. General Braddock was killed in the melee but gave his name to the road his soldiers carved out of the western Pennsylvania wilderness.
On May 15, 1756, with official declaration of hostilities that extended far beyond Pennsylvania, the Seven Years' War began between France and England. Involving all the major European powers, it was the first global conflagration that engulfed all the territories colonized by the French and English from North America to Europe, the West Indies, Africa and India. But the principle struggle remained in North America, where events would not bode well for the English until the elder William Pitt came to power as British Prime Minister in 1756. By the end of 1757, with increased British resources, greater demands on the colonists, and the French facing national bankruptcy, the tide began to turn.
In the summer of 1758, General John Forbes commanded an expedition of nearly 7,000 men over the Alleghenies, carving out a highway that would later be known as Forbes Road. An advance column under Major James Grant made an unsuccessful attempt to take over Fort Duquesne. Aware that Grant's troops were closing in, the French and Indians rushed out from the fort to prevent their advance from the area that is now known as Grant Street in Pittsburgh. Discovering that the French were now in a much weaker position, General Forbes' immense force descended on the fort in mid-November. They met no resistance, as the French had already burned and abandoned Fort Duquesne, and fled on the rivers.
The years 1758-1759 also brought British victories in New France that culminated with the defeat of Quebec. On February 10, 1763, the Treaty of Paris was signed by Great Britain, France and Spain, ending hostilities abroad and signaling British domination in North America. By terms of the treaty, France ceded Canada and all its territory east of the Mississippi River to England, and Spain yielded Florida to England. The treaty signified the colonial and maritime supremacy of Great Britain. But that success would prove costly. The British Parliament's attempt to cover its overwhelming war debts and to pay for a continuing military presence in America by direct taxation of the colonists soon caused strained relations with the colonies and presaged the War of Independence.
A Charming Field for an Encounter: the story of George Washington's Fort Necessity
Washington: Office of Publications, National Park Service, U.S. Dept. of the Interior, 1975.
The Most Extraordinary Adventures of Major Robert Stobo
Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965.
Crucible of War: the Seven Years' War and the fate of empire in British North America, 1754-1766
New York: Vintage Books, 2001.
The Invasion Within: the contest of cultures in Colonial North America
New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.
E98.C89 A93 1985
Battle for a Continent
New York, Oxford University Press, 1965.
Redcoats: the British soldier and war in the Americas, 1755-1763
Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
The French and Indian War
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2004.
History of Colonel Henry Bouquet and the western frontiers of Pennsylvania, 1747-1764
New York: Arno Press, 1971 [c1920].
rE83.76 .B75 1971
A history of the Indian villages and place names in Pennsylvania
Lewisburg, PA: Wennawoods Pub., 1998.
The general history of the late war: containing its rise, progress, and event in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America…
London: Printed fr Edward and Charles Dilly, in the Poultry, and John Millan, at Charing-Cross, 1763-1765. Vol. 1-5.
Empires At War: The French And Indian War And The Struggle For North America, 1754-1763
The French Indian War: a primary source history of the fight for territory in North America
PENNA E199.G17 2004
The French and Indian Wars; the story of battles and forts in the wilderness
Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1962.
Pennsylvania Archives, Colonial Records (available through Google Books)
[including minutes of the Provincial Council, 1683-1775] selected and arranged from original documents in the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Philadelphia: Printed by J. Severns, 1852-1856.
Wolfe at Quebec
Cleveland: World Pub. Co., 1959.
Forts on the Pennsylvania Frontier, 1753-1758
Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1960.
Drums in the forest: Decision at the Forks [and] Defense in the wilderness by Charles Morse Stotz. Pittsburgh: Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, 1958.
PENNA F152.J32 2005x
Empire of Fortune: Crowns, Colonies & Tribes in the Seven Years War in America
New York: Norton, c1988.
Russia and the outbreak of the Seven Years' War
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968
Braddock at the Monongahela
Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, c1977.
A few acres of snow: the saga of the French and Indian wars
New York: J. Wiley & Sons, c1999.
For king and country: the maturing of George Washington, 1748-1760
New York: HarperCollins, c1993.
E312.2 .L48 1993
Struggle for a continent: the French and Indian Wars, 1689-1763
illustrated by Giulio Maestro.
qj E195.M25 2000
Ill-Starred General: Braddock of the Coldstream Guards
Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1958.
The First Global War: Britain, France, and the fate of North America, 1756-1775
Westport, CT: Praeger, 2000.
The Great Frontier War: Britain, France, and the imperial struggle for North America, 1607-1755
Westport, CT: Praeger, 2000.
Peace and war on the Anglo-Cherokee frontier, 1756-63
Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2001.
Guns at the Forks
Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1979, c1965.
F159.P68 F656 1979
Montcalm and Wolfe
E199 .P255 1984
Ambush and revenge: George Washington's adversaries in 1754: Ensign Joseph Coulon de Jumonville and Captain Louis Coulon de Villiers
J.L. Peyser, c1999 (Dunbar, PA: Stefano's Printing)
Robert Rogers: Rogers' Rangers and the French and Indian War
New York: PowerPlus Books, 2002.
George Washington: a life
New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1997.
The French and Indian War, 1754-1763: the imperial struggle for North America
Edison, NJ: Castle Books, 2000.
Lord Chatham: Pitt and the Seven Years' War
London: Bodley Head, 1955.
Soldiers of the French and Indian War
PENNA q E199.S665 2003x
Outposts of the war for empire: the French and English in Western Pennsylvania: their armies, their forts, their people, 1749-1764
Pittsburgh: Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania: Distributed by University of Pittsburgh Press, 1985.
Point of Empire: Conflict at the Forks of the Ohio
Pittsburgh, Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, 1970.
America's first first world war: the French & Indian War, 1755-1763; illustrated with photographs by the author and paintings by Gary S. Zaboly
Grand Rapids, MI: T.J. Todish, 1982.
Forth to the Wilderness: the first American frontier, 1754-1774
New York: Quill/Morrow, , c1961.
Daily life on the old colonial frontier
Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002.
The French and Indian War in Pennsylvania 1753-1763: fortification and struggle during the war for empire
Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1996.
The French in Western Pennsylvania
[Reprinted from The Catholic Historical Review, Vol. XLIII, No. 4, January 1958]
Indian paths of Pennsylvania
Harrisburg, PA: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1993.
(r)qE98.T7 W3 1993x
Breaking the Backcountry: the Seven Years' War in Virginia and Pennsylvania, 1754-1765
Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003.
Wolfe and North America
Port Washington, NY: Kennikat Press, 1971.
Personal Narratives & Journals:
The Papers of Henry Bouquet, Vols. 1-6
Harrisburg: The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1972-1994.
Adventure in the Wilderness
Norman, University of Oklahoma Press .
The Dangers and Sufferings of Robert Eastburn, and his Deliverance from Indian Captivity
[Reprinted from the original ed. of 1758.] Cleveland, The Burrows Brothers Company, 1904.
r 970.1 E18
Wilderness Empire: a narrative
Boston: Little, Brown, 1969.
Forbes-Washington Orderly Book, Sept. 21-Nov. 24, 1758
[Transcribed by Niles Anderson from photostats of the original in the Library of Congress]. qr 974.886 F75fo
Writings of General John Forbes relating to his service in North America
New York: Arno Press, 1971 [c1938].
Braddock's Defeat; the Journal of Captain Robert Cholmley's Batman, the Journal of a British Officer [and] Halkett's Orderly Book
Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1959.
Travels in New France, by J. C. B.
[Prepared by Pennsylvania Historical Survey, Frontier Forts and Trails Survey.] Harrisburg, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Dept. of Public Instruction, The Pennsylvania Historical Commission, 1941.
Journals of Major Robert Rogers
[Reprinted from the original ed. of 1765.] New York, Corinth Books 
Reminiscences of the French war; containing Roger's expeditions with the New-England rangers under his command, as published in London in 1765; with notes and illustrations
Concord, N.H., L. Roby, 1831.
r 973.2 R61r
The History of an Expedition against Fort Du Quesne in 1755
Edited from the original manuscripts. Lewisburg, PA: Wennawoods Pub., 1997 (Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press).
The Battle of Braddock's Field, July 9, 1755
Issued under the auspices of the 175th Anniversary Celebration Committee, July 9, 1930.
George Washington Remembers: Reflections on the French and Indian War
edited by Fred Anderson ; with contributions by Phiander D. Chase ... [et al.].
Also made into a DVD.
Regina, the German Captive; or, True piety among the lowly
Philadelphia [General Council of the Lutheran Church] 1856.
Art & Music:
Music score arranged for piano, harpsichord or organ by E. Power Biggs. McAfee Music Corp., 1977.
The songs and tunes of the mid-18th Century, which would have been familiar to the more educated colonials and military officers of the mid-18th Century, can be found in this keyboard anthology.
q M32.8 .C653
American Art History and Culture
Particularly good coverage of the architecture and decorative arts from 1750-76 and painting after 1750 can be found in the opening chapters of this encyclopedic work.
qN 6505 .C7 1994bx
Music in the New World
W. W. Norton, 1983.
While essentially an overview of western musical development in the Americas, the opening chapter "Music of the Native American" offers insight into the manner and custom of Indian music-making and how their oral traditions were maintained in spite of the early colonists' efforts to convert them to European ways.
ML 200 .H17 1983
Singing our History: Canada's Story in Song
Doubleday Canada Ltd., 1984.
Here is an excellent source that includes traditional French Canadian folksongs, some dating back to the era of the French and Indian War.
M 1678 .S58 1984
Oliver Ditson Company, 1931.
While the focus of this collection of music (music score arranged for 4-part chorus) is on songs and tunes related to the American revolutionary times, W. A. Fischer's historical sketch provides interesting information on the early musical life of the nation, during Washington's formative years.
M1659 .W3 F5x
Arranged by Gerald Moore. Brasstown, NC: Susato Press, c1991.
If you want to play a traditional Iroquois melody on flute or recorder, here's the tune book for you!
q M178.M56 N3 1991x
The Valiant Hero; Benjamin West and Grand-Style History Painting
Discover why America's foremost 18th Century painter - a native Pennsylvanian - lived in London but painted great historical moments in early America, including "The Death of General Wolfe."
ND 237 .W45 A827 1985
Compact Disc - Video & DVD:
Produced by Epic Camera, Ltd. for The Learning Channel. Bethesda, MD: Distributed by Acorn Media, c1997.
The reenactments and commentary by historians in this video tell the story of George Washington's coming of age, as he abandoned his comfortable life as a country squire and pursued a career in the military.
Audiovisual Collection: Documentary Video [VHS]
produced, written, and directed by Peter Argentine ; executive producer, Laura Fisher
Looks at the struggle between between Britain, France and the American Indian for the Ohio country and the French and Indian war. Includes George Washington's participation. Sequel to When the Forest Ran Red.
The love of Hawkeye, rugged frontiersman and adopted son of the Mohicans, and Cora Munro, aristocratic daughter of a British colonel, blazes amidst a brutal conflict between the British, the French and Native American allies in colonial America. Based on the novel by James Fenimore Cooper.
Beverly Hills, CA: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, c1999.
Audiovisual Collection: Feature Film Videos [DVD & VHS]
An American historical drama about a group of settlers known as Rogers' Rangers-- led by Major Rogers--and the hardships of survival and battles with hostile Indians, they encounter in trying to settle the upper New York state area for their families in the late 1750s and early 1760s.
Videocassette release of the motion picture originally produced in 1940 with Spencer Tracy. Culver City, CA: MGM/UA Home Video, c1990.
Audiovisual Collection: Feature Film Videos [VHS]
New World Records, [1993?], p1985.
Includes ceremonial music of the Seneca tribe.
COMPACT DISC Fo Het #5161
Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center in association with the Smithsonian Institution. Pittsburgh, PA: Paladin Communications, c2001.
(DVD) E199.W585 2004x
This documentary explores the battle of Fort Necessity and the events that led to the 1755 campaign of British Maj.-Gen. Edward Braddock and George Washington against the French in the Pennsylvania wilderness.
The Deerslayer, or, the first war-path
Follows the adventures of the brave and bold frontiersman, Natty Bumpo.
The Last of the Mohicans
The Leatherstocking Tales
Two volumes containing The Pioneers or The Sources of the Susquehanna, The Last of the Mohicans, The Prairie, The Pathfinder or The Inland Sea, and The Deerslayer or The First War-Path.
FICTION Coyle, H.
An historical saga about the pivotal years before the American Revolution. From the shores of Lake Champion to Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, the British and the French battle over the unclaimed territories of the West--and experience the fury and passion of war.
Into the Wilderness: The Long Hunters
This is the first book in a romantic/historical series, "Westward America!," which looks at the settling of the United States. The first episode depicts the life of the long hunters who settled in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania in the 1750s, against the backdrop of the French and Indian War.
The Winter People
As the French and Indian War rages in October of 1759, Saxso, a fourteen-year-old Abenaki boy, pursues the English rangers who have attacked his village and taken his mother and sisters hostage.
A novel that relates the experiences of a young woman caught in the fury of the French and Indian Wars. Seventeen-year-old Sarah Wells is taken from a New Hampshire farm by Abnaki Indians and renamed "Ghost Fox."
New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1942.
I am Regina
PENNA FICTION Keehn
In 1755, as the French and Indian War begins, ten-year-old Regina is kidnapped by Indians in western Pennsylvania, and she must struggle to hold onto memories of her earlier life as she grows up under the name of Tskinnak and starts to become Indian herself.
Fire along the Sky
New York: St. Martin's Press, 1992.
FICTION Moss, Ro
The Firekeeper: a Narrative of the Eastern Frontier
FICTION Moss, Ro
A story of love and adventure in colonial America at the time of the French and Indian Wars, this epic novel tells of a forgotten giant of the American frontier, Sir William Johnson, chieftain of the Mohawks and King George's Colonel of the Six Nations--the man who saved the British colonies by convincing the Indians to fight against the French.
This classic novel follows the career of Major Rogers, whose incredible exploits during the French and Indian Wars are told through Langdon Towne, an artist and Harvard student who flees trouble to join the army.
The Silent Drum
The story covers the pre-Revolutionary period, beginning in 1764, when Fred, the Dutch indentured boy of Leslie, who had deserted from Fort Pitt to save his pet bear, is living with the Shawnees on the Muskingum River.
The sequel to The History of Henry Esmond.
War in the Woods: The Day the United States Began July 9, 1755
Windham, ME: Educational Materials Co., c1991.
Crafts, Cookery & Herb Lore:
Handwoven textiles of early New England: the legacy of a rural people, 1640-1880
Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1975.
Early American Herb Recipes
Rutland, VT: C. E. Tuttle Co., 1966.
Colonial Cooking: a treasury of colonial recipes
Maplewood, JN: Hammond Inc., 1975.
Secrets of Native American Herbal Remedies
"a comprehensive guide to the Native American tradition of using herbs and the mind/body/spirit connection for improving health and well-being"
RM666.H33 C585 2001
From sweat lodges to herb recipes, Dr. Cichoke introduces the Native American concept of healing which incorporates body, mind, and spirit and stresses theimportance of keeping all three in balance.
Tools: working wood in eighteenth-century America
Williamsburg: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, c1993.
Native Indian Wild Game, Fish & Wild Foods Cookbook: Recipes from North American Native Cooks
Lancaster, PA: Fox Chapel Pub., c1992.
At the Hearth: Early American Recipes
Baltimore: American Literary Press, c1995.
TX840.F5 L38 1995
The American Indian Craft Book
Designed for creative individuals, group leaders, and teachers, this informative and unusual book is a guide to the crafts of the main North American Indian tribes in the seven basic cultural areas.
Slumps, Grunts, and Snickerdoodles: What Colonial America Ate and Why
Examines the diets and culinary innovations of the American colonists and gives thirteen colonial recipes, including succotash, snickerdoodles, and spoon bread.
The Golden Book of Colonial Crafts: selected from the Family Creative Workshop
New York: Golden Press, 1975.
Compendium of Early American Folk Remedies, Receipts & Advice
New York: Berkley Pub. Corp., 1977.
Colonial Craftsmen and the Beginnings of American Industry
Describes and illustrates the work of craftsmen and artisans in Colonial America. Shows types of work done in town shops and manufacturies, as well as, in homes, village shops, and country forges.
American Indian Clothes and How to Make Them
New York: McKay, c1979.
Weapons & Militia:
Virginia's Colonial Soldiers
Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1988.
Firearms in Colonial America: the impact on history and technology, 1492-1792
Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1980.
Virginia Colonial Militia, 1651-1776
Baltimore, Genealogical Pub. Co., 1965.
r 929.3755 V34c
Uniforms of the Seven Years War, 1756-1763, in color
New York: Hippocrene Books, c1977.
Pennsylvania Archives, 5th Series, Volume 1: Officers and Soldiers in the Service of the Province of Pennsylvania
Harrisburg Publishing Co., State printer, 1906.
The Black Watch at Ticonderoga and Major Duncan Campbell of Inverawe
Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 1999.
Guns on the Early Frontiers: a history of firearms from colonial times through the years of the Western fur trade
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1957.
Massachusetts Officers in the French and Indian wars, 1748-1763
Boston: Society of Colonial Wars in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, c1975.
The American Colonial Militia
Lewiston, NY: E. Mellen Press, c1997.
r E181.W59 1997
Recommended Web Sites:
The Seven Years War Website
A visually intriguing site containing links to articles on battles, military uniforms, regimental histories, 18th century maps, etc. (Also, watch the video clips.)
New York State French and Indian War 250th Anniversary Commemoration
The strategic waterways in New York—the Hudson-Champlain corridor, the Mohawk Valley, and the St. Lawrence—made the state a focal point of the war.
ExplorePAHistory: The French and Indian War in Pennsylvania
Information from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
French & Indian War, Mohican History Links
Loads of links to battle sites, re-enactment groups, Indian tribal histories, etc. Especially strong on French Canadian, Indian, and New York forts and histories.
War for Empire
This French & Indian War, 250th Anniversary Commemorative site is very comprehensive with links to battlefield websites, commemorative events, news, maps, photographs, etc.
Wikipedia: French and Indian War
The French and Indian War, also known as the Seven Years' War and in Canada (particularly in Quebec) as the War of the Conquest (French: Guerre de la Conquête), was a war fought in North America between 1754 and 1763 and forms part of a larger conflict also known as Seven Years' War that was occurring in Europe.
Bushy Run Battlefield
The opening of western Pennsylvania to settlement was the result of a decisive victory over the Native Americans at the Battle of Bushy Run, August 5th and 6th, 1763.
Fort Pitt Museum
The Fort Pitt Museum, located in historic Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh, is a two-floor, 12,000-square-foot museum that tells the story of Western Pennsylvania’s pivotal role during the French & Indian War, the American Revolution, and as the birthplace of Pittsburgh.
Fort Necessity National Battlefield:
This website is easy to navigate with links to teacher aids and to other interesting related sites. Also, check coming programs and events.
- Fort Ligonier
Be sure to take the Virtual Tour of the fort. Also of interest is the reconstruction of the original fort, description of artillery, recent research, and coming events.