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Welcome to
Fort Necessity National Battlefield

 

Fort Necessity National Battlefield - BEST Places to Picnic

One Washington Parkway
Farmington, PA 15437
By Phone: Headquarters - 724-329-5512
Interpretation and Education Center Staff - 724-329-5811

GPS: 39.81645, -79.59927


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After returning to the great meadows, Washington decided it prudent to reinforce his position. Supposedly named by Washington as Fort Necessity or Fort of Necessity, they constructed a storehouse to store supplies such as gunpowder, rum, and flour. 

The crude palisade they erected was built to defend supplies in the fort's storehouse from Washington's own men who he described as loose and idle. 

By June 12, 1754, Washington had under his command 293 colonials and nominal command of 100 additional regular British army troops from South Carolina. Washington spent the remainder of June 1754 extending the wilderness road further towards his destination for an advanced base which was Redstone Old Fort, near present-day Brownsville, Pennsylvania, on the Monongahela River.

Late in the day, Washington did not know the French situation. Feeling that their position was untenable, Washington accepted surrender terms which allowed the peaceful withdrawal of his forces which he completed on July 4, 1754. 

The French subsequently occupied the fort and then burned it. Washington did not speak French, and stated later that if he had known that he was confessing to the "assassination" of Jumonville, he would not have signed the surrender document.

Park Formation and Structure

Attempts to preserve the location of Fort Necessity were undertaken and on March 4, 1931, Congress declared the location a National Battlefield Site under management of the War Department. Transferred to the National Park Service in 1933, the park was re-designated a National Battlefield on August 10, 1961. 

As with all historic sites administered by the National Park Service, the battlefield was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. Subsequent archaeological research helped to uncover the majority of the original fort position, shape and design. A replica of the fort was completed in the 1970s. 

A new visitor center, which also is home to a National Road interpretive center opened on October 8, 2005. The battlefield and fort are currently being improved, with a the fort replica being reconstructed to look more historically accurate, new informative signs being added, and the historic treelines and charge locations being outlined.

Along with the fort, the national battlefield also features two other historic sites. On a hillside adjacent to the battlefield and within the boundaries of the park is Mount Washington Tavern, a classic example of the many inns lining the National Road, America's first federally-funded highway. 

The land on which the tavern was built was originally owned by George Washington, who purchased the site on which he commanded his first battle just a few months before his death in 1799. In 1827, Judge Nathnial Ewing of Uniontown constructed the tavern. James Sampey acquired the land and constructed an inn along the new highway. 

It was operated by his family until the railroad construction boom caused the National Road to decline in popularity, rendering the inn unprofitable. In 1855, it was sold to the Fazenbakers and served as a private home for the next 75 years, until it was acquired by the National Park Service in 1933 and restored. 

The Mount Washington Tavern demonstrates the standard features of an early American tavern, including a simple but congenial barroom that served as a gathering place, a more fancy parlor room that was used for relaxation, and crowded bedrooms in which people would crowd in order to catch up on sleep.

In a separate unit of the park lying about one mile east of the battlefield lies the grave of General Edward Braddock. The legendary British commander oversaw many French and Indian War battles and led the construction of a useful, but inadequate wilderness road through Western Pennsylvania. 

Braddock was severely wounded in a failed siege on Fort Duquesne. He and his regiment fled along the wilderness road to a site near Great Meadows. Here, on July 13, 1755, the worn-out general died and was buried in an elaborate ceremony presided and officiated by George Washington. 

His grave was hidden by the British, hoping to keep the site's location out of the hands of the enemy. His body was discovered in 1804 by men making repairs to the wilderness road. A fitting marker was erected in 1913.

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