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   Chapter 7 ALARM FOR THE FUTURE

The Wonderful Story of Washington By Charles M. Stevens Characters: 2600

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:04


Washington's journal, covering his journey and his observations, was printed, and it awakened the colonies to the fact that, if the French took possession of the Ohio Valley, the English would have no future beyond the Alleghenies. The French commander's evasive reply, coupled with his statement that he was there by his superior's orders and would obey them to the letter, made it plain that, however much the two home countries were at peace, the American colonies would have to fight for their rights, as they conceived them to be, in these Western regions. As is to be seen, this colonial English war with the colonial French was destined to accomplish three far-reaching results. It would unite the English colonies, it would give them an extended view of their human rights, and it would develop a leader in George Washington.

At first the support given the Governor, even in Virginia, was very meagerly and grudgingly given.

"Those who offered to enlist," says Washington, "were for the most part loose, idle persons, without house or home, some without shoes or stockings, some shirtless, and many without coat or waistcoat."

One of the French officers had boasted to Washington that the French would be the first to take possession of the Ohio lands, because the English were so sl

ow, and it proved true.

Captain Trent had been sent with about fifty men to build a fort at the fork of the Ohio River, the place recommended by Washington. But, when it was less than half done, a thousand Frenchmen appeared and ordered the English fort-builders to leave. They were glad to have that privilege. A few days after Washington arrived at Will's creek, with probably two hundred men, the fort-builders came in and told their story.

It was known that the French had abundance of war-supplies, could receive reinforcements on short notice, were already at least five to one in numbers, and had the assured support of at least six hundred Indians.

Washington's men were undisciplined, and Trent's men being volunteers for other service were insubordinate. There were no supplies, and reinforcements were doubtful.

But even in such a forlorn condition, he must be master of the situation or all would indeed be lost. He decided to fortify the Ohio Company's storehouses at Redstone Creek, acquaint the colonies of his condition and await necessary reinforcements. In this management under difficulties, he had an experience and training, probably of great service to his country in the nobler cause of political liberty, that was destined to be his task for grander years to come.

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