This impromptu palisade was constructed by Col. George Washington’s forces in 1754 at the start of the French and Indian war. A reconstruction of the fort stands within the 908-acre Fort Necessity National Battlefield in Pennsylvania. There is also a Fort Necessity/National Road Interpretive and Education Center at the site that opened in 2005. It features a 20-minute orientation film entitled Road of Necessity and numerous interactive and interpretive exhibits. Additionally, there are 5-miles of hiking trails that meander through the forest and meadows that surround the fort.
The Ohio Valley was an important passage from New France to
the ports in Louisiana and was critical to French supplies and commerce. This area was of great importance to the
French, Native Americans, and the British Colonists. This led to frequent
altercations and contributed to the French and Indian War.
A 21 year old Lt. Col. George Washington led a small force to
help defend and fortify the English fort in present day Pittsburgh. Prior to
reaching the fort Washington learned that it had already been lost to the
French. It was then renamed Fort
While awaiting further orders Lt. Col. Washington learned of
a group of French soldiers nearby. On the
morning of May 28th, Washington’s men surrounded, and following a
small skirmish captured 21 French soldiers.
French Ensign Joseph Couldon de Jumonville was killed while in
Captivity. Fearing retaliation from the French, Lt. Col. Washington ordered the
construction of a stock house and palisade on June 4th, 1754. This
was named Fort Necessity.
While at Fort Necessity Washington was promoted to Colonel
and received reinforcements and supplies. On July 3rd, 1754 a combined
force of 700 French and Indian troops attacked the fort. The battle ended with Washington’s negotiated
surrender. Washington and the British forces were allowed to return to Wills
Creek. The French burned the fort before
returning to Fort Duquesne.
The park was established in 1931 and the fort was reconstructed in 1975 in the Fort Necessity
National Battlefield Park. The parks
grounds are open year-round during daylight hours. The site includes The Fort
Necessity/National Road Interpretive & Education Center.