Copyright The Columbia University PressThe Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. The Columbia University Press
Fort Necessity, entrenched camp built in July, 1754, by George Washington and his Virginia militia at Great Meadows (near the present Uniontown, Pa.). He retired there when he learned that the British fort at the forks of the Ohio (the site of Pittsburgh) had been captured (and renamed Fort Duquesne) by the French. In late May, 1754, a French patrol had been defeated and its leader killed in a surprise attack led by Washington near Great Meadows. A large French reprisal force attacked Fort Necessity and forced Washington to surrender on July 4. He secured easy terms from the French and departed for Virginia with all his surviving men and their baggage. These two skirmishes marked the opening of the last of the French and Indian Wars. Near Fort Necessity National Battlefield (see National Parks and Monuments, table) is the grave of the British general Edward Braddock.