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Why, then, a final note prolong,
AMONG other brilliant achievements designed for the campaign of 1758, was the capture of Fort Du Quesne, the key to the Ohio valley, in the attempt to obtain which Braddock had lost his life and army. The capture of Fort Du Quesne had been the dream of Washington ever since he had been forced to capitulate at Fort Necessity.
While Abercrombie was suffering defeat in the north, and Wolfe was dreaming of Quebec, General Joseph Forbes had gathered about six thousand men at Fort Cumberland, in Maryland, preparatory to a march against Du Quesne. Washington was already there with about two thousand Virginians, and Colonel Bouquet had came up from the Carolinias with over a thousand Highlanders, three hundred royal Americans, and a body of Cherokee Indians. Du Quesne was feebly garrisoned, and Washington advised an immediate advance over Braddock's road. It was then July, and, had Washington's advice been heeded, Du Quesne might have been taken before August; but other counsel prevailed, and. Forbes, who was so ill that he was carried on a litter, determined to construct a new road for his troops over the Alleghanies. This proved to be an almost fatal mistake. Autumn came, and the capture of Frontenac by Bradstreet had discouraged the Indians, causing many of them to leave the French army, yet the force designed to capture Du Quesne was slowly creeping over the mountains. Washington, impatient and indignant at delay and folly, wrote to the speaker of the Virginia assembly:
“See how our time has been misspent. Behold how the golden opportunity has been lost, never more to be regained !"
About the time of Washington's writing his letter, Bouquet, with two thousand men, went forward to Loyal Hanna in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, to build a fort. Anxious to win renown, Bouquet sent out Major Grant with eight hundred IIighlanders and some Virginians under Captain Bullitt to reconnoitre Fort Du Quesne. Grant managed things so badly that he was attacked and severely defeated. His regulars broke and ran, and the Virginians were forced to cover their retreat. The French, elated at their success, proceeded to attack Bouquet at Loyal Hanna; but, after a fight of four hours, they were repulsed with considerable loss.
Washington, who was all eagerness to advance, was sent forward to Loyal Hanna, and placed at the head of a brigade of provincials and ordered to move in front of the army. The far-sighted and ambitious general was chagrined at the long delay, for it was November before General Forbes, with the artillery and main force, came up, and full fifty miles of rugged, untrodden country yet lay between them and Fort Du Quesne. A council of war was held, at which it was determined, owing to the lateness of the season, to defer the attack on Fort Du Quesne. Washington, who was indig. nant at delay, asked permission to push on with his provincials and capture the Fort. He reported that he had positive assurance of the weakness of the French garrison. Permission was given, and then, fearing the provincials would gain all the glory, the main army followed after him; but Washington and his provincials first gained the Fort. The French, only five hundred strong, set fire to it and fled down the Ohio. The English flag soon floated over the ramparts, and the name of Du Quesne was changed in honor of America's
greatest friend to Fort Pitt. The town which sprang up about it was called Pittsburg and is now one of the large manufacturing towns in North America. Two Virginia regiments were left at Fort Pitt as a garrison, and the main army returned to the borders of civilization. The great object of the war in the middle colonies was accomplished. The basin of the Ohio was secured to the English.
With the capture of Fort Du Quesne and the ending of the campaign which accomplished this achievement, ended, for a while, the military career of Washington. His great object was obtained, the restoration of quiet and security to his native province; and, having abandoned all hope of obtaining rank in the regular army (the chief desire of his heart), and his health being much impaired, he gave up his commission at the end of the year and retired from the service, followed by the applause of his fellow-soldiers and the admiration of all his countrymen.
We must return to a point in the life of General Washington just before the Fort Du Quesne campaign.
He had assembled at Winchester an army of nineteen hundred provincials and about seven hundred Indians, who were ill-supplied with arms, provisions, munitions of war and camp equipage for the march against Du Quesne. After repeated representations, by letter, of the destitute state of the Virginia troops, but without avail, Washington was ordered by Sir John St. Clair, the quartermaster-general of the forces under General Forbes, to repair to Williamsburg and lay the state of the case before the council. He set off promptly, attended by Bishop, the well-trained military servant who had served under the late General Braddock. For the domestic happiness of Washington, it proved an eventful journey. In crossing the ferry of the Pamunkey, a branch of York River, he fell in company with a Mr. Chamberlayne, who lived in the neighborhood of the ferry, and who, in the spirit of good old Virginia hospitality, insisted on Washington becoming his guest. So impatient was Washington to reach Williamsburg, that it was with great difficulty he could be prevailed on to halt for dinner.
As an inducement to win the militia general for his guest, Mr. Chamberlayne said:
Come with me, general, and I will introduce you to one of the most lovely ladies whom you ever met. Egad! she is a charming creature, and, I vow, will make your stay pleasant.”
Washington smiled faintly. He had had his love dream, and, like many another young man, , had at this moment made up his mind to pass his days in bachelorhood. He consented after long