In 1753, Governor Dinwiddie trusted
Major Washington to deliver a letter
to the French commander who had occupied
the Ohio territory in dispute.
Not only did Washington return,
but he prepared a full report
of the situation, including a map
with the locations of the French forts.
The Ohio Company had begun construction
of an English fort at the junction
of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers.
Washington, now a lieutenant colonel,
was sent in 1754 to complete and defend
this fort. But before his detachment
could reach the fort, the French had captured
it and renamed it Fort Duquesne.
Washington continued his march, and parleyed
with Indians he encountered. He was unable
to convince any to join the English.
On May 28, he attacked and captured
a small French force, thus starting the war.
Finding their advance position dangerous,
he and his men hastily constructed
what they called Fort Necessity.
The French advanced on the English
and a skirmish ensued. There were losses
on both sides. Washington knew
they could not successfully defend
their position. As he prepared to surrender,
he was killed by a French musket ball.
What if George Washington had been killed
at the start of the French and Indian War?
* * * * *
This poem was written in response to yesterday's "what if" prompt at Poetic Asides.
Addendum: Process Notes. The first three stanzas are historically accurate. It's in the fourth stanza that it becomes hypothetical. I've long been fascinated with Washington's military prowess in the American Revolution, but it was here in the French and Indian War (Seven Year's War) that he learned so much that he would later use, as an American, against the English. To the best of my knowledge, the time he surrendered Fort Necessity is the only time he ever surrendered in a military campaign. That seemed to me a logical place to play "what if".