Robert Dinwoodie, the Governor of Virginia, regarded the increased French presence with concern and alarm. Dinwoodie and his associates had formed the Ohio Company in hopes of taking possession of the Ohio Valley and settling new colonists in the area. The settlement of the Ohio had the potential to earn significant profits for Dinwoodie and his colleagues.

In 1753, Governor Dinwoodie sent George Washington into the Ohio Valley on a simple mission. Washington was to order the French to leave "American" territory. The French commander politely received and entertained Washington, but he refused the order with equally courtesy. George Washington went back to Virginia and informed Dinwoodie that the French intended to remain in the area.

In April 1754, Governor Dinwoodie dispatched another expedition into the Ohio Valley to build a fort on the Ohio River. After construction had begun, a large French force under the command of Pierre Marin, Sieur de la Malgue, appeared. The French forced the Virginians to leave, completed the fort, and named it Fort Duquesne. Dinwoodie, enraged by the French action, immediately ordered George Washington to lead a force of Virginia militia and a company of British troops to the Ohio Valley and expel the French.

Washington moved into the Ohio Valley and began to build Fort Necessity. In response, a mixed French force of militia, regular troops, and Native allies attacked Washington's men. The commander of the French force, Coulon de Villiers, accepted Washington's surrender after a nine-hour battle. Washington and his men then returned to Virginia.

The events in the Ohio Valley provoked an angry response from the King of England. In an address to Parliament on 14 November 1754, King George II announced his intention to deal with the French in North America. In January 1755, two British units, the 44th and 48th Regiments of the Line, were on their way to Virginia. Upon their arrival, they were bolstered with the addition of 700 men of the Virginia militia.

 

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