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twenty-two Frenchmen were captured, all other survivors, only fifteen in number, cutting their way through and making their escape. The prisoners were taken to Fort Necessity and sent over the mountains to eastern Virginia. Only one of the English was killed.
Thus commenced the great French and Indian war, opened by young George Washington, who fired the first gun. That long and bitter contest for the rights of man, like an earthquake, shattered into fragments the institutions of feudal ages, which had been transplanted in our country, and shook the foundations of society in Europe.
Two days after the skirmish, Colonel Fry died, and Washington was left in command. Other troops hastened forward to join him at Fort Necessity. The young commander found himself burdened with forty families of friendly Indians, Half-King among them. . “I believe I will advance at once and attack the French,” Washington declared.
With the slender forces at his command, Washington advanced on Fort Du Quesne; but, learning that the French were advancing to attack him, he fell back to Fort Necessity and proceeded to strengthen it. His coolness, his courage, and the peculiar magnetism, which he possessed seemed to inspire all under him with hope and confidence. He was informed that De Villiers, with six hundred French soldiers and three hundred Indians was advancing to attack him and would reach the fort next day.
An hour before daylight, Noah Stevens was awakened by the well-known voice of young Washington at his side.
“Have the enemy appeared, colonel ?” he asked.
“No; but I feel quite sure they are not far away. I have asked Mr. Gist to go out and reconnoitre, and he has chosen you as his only coinpanion.”
“ Certainly, I will accompany him,” said Noah, bounding to his feet and hurriedly dressing.
“Do you want my rifle?” Washington asked. “It is the best in the army.”
“ Thank you, and if I return I will bring the gun with me.”
Noah found Gist waiting him. The two went . past the outer guards and crept down a path made by the soldiers to a small brook bordered with forests. They plunged into the wood and had not gone a mile before they were halted by the advance of the enemy. Refusing to obey the command, they were fired on and, returning the shots, fell back.
The wild, unearthly screech of Indians was heard on every side, and the dusky denizens of the forest tried to cut off the scouts; but they were too shrewd, and, continuing to load and fire, they fell back before the advancing horde of savages and French. Colonel Washington, having heard the. firing, sent a party to their relief, and the scouts were brought safely into the fort.
By this time it was broad day, and the enemy began the siege. Gun and cannon belched forth their deadly contents. The little fort all day long was a smoking volcano, continually hurling fire and death at the enemy. The smooth-faced boy in command seemed to inspire the men with confidence and courage. He was here and there and everywhere, issuing his commands with the coolness of a veteran. Noah saw him mount the ramparts to repel an assault and saw him fire his pistol almost in the very face of the foe. Such daring and coolness he had never witnessed before. The fight lasted nearly the entire day, and De Villiers, finding his ammunition failing, proposed a parley.
The day had been spent in conflict, and twilight was settling over the scene. The grass and woods about the fort were strewn with dead and dying.
Washington, whose force was so inferior to the French as to make resistance folly, agreed to surrender the fort on condition that he and his men should retire from the stockade with the honors of war and return to the inhabited portion of the
country, the Virginians agreeing to restore the prisoners taken from Jumonville's party and not to erect any establishment west of the mountains for the space of a year.
On the morning of the 4th of July, 1754, the two commanders, seated on a log outside the fort, with Indian chiefs and Virginian officers looking on, signed the capitulations. The troops then recrossed the mountains to Wills Creek, and returned to their homes, while their commander hastened to Williamsburg to report to the governor. Washington's conduct had been so worthy, though he had been forced to retreat, that his actions and the actions of his men were approved, and, when the house of burgesses met, the thanks of the colony were voted them “ for their bravery and gallant defence of the country.” So ended the first campaign of the French and Indian War.
Still linger in our northern clime
MR. BEVERLY ROBINSON's home on the Hudson in New York was a resort for people of fashion. Robinson was rich, influential and a man whose acquaintance every one courted. His wife was a model lady, who had won the respect of all who knew her, and was a belle of the city which in the future was to be the great metropolis of the western continent.
Noah Stevens, shortly after his return from the campaign into the Ohio valley, went to New York in search of the bright spirit which had flitted away like a summer dream five or six years before. What strange spell could Anne Saturfield possess