Young George made his name as a military commander during the French & Indian War. Early on he made command errors that led to slaughter and accusations of war crimes by the French. Later, however, when French & Indian forces surrounded General Braddock and a major expedition force, Washington, acting as his aide-de-camp, saved the day by riding through hails of bullets and leading a successful retreat. Victory and Defeat in the F&I War steeled George for a future as a commander of the Continental Army. By no coincidence, at the Continental Congress, at which he was chose to lead the Revolution, he came dressed in his uniform from that earlier war.

 

Indians allied with the French take seize their booty as the tragedy of Monongahela unfolds.

 

British regulars could not re-load their guns fast enough at Braddock’s defeat. They were surrounded and slaughtered, mostly by Native American warriors.

 

Mike Shafer (right), whose grandfather was a full-blooded Wyandot tribesman, fires back during a re-enactment of the French & Indian War.

 

French officers and Indian allies break camp before the Battle of Monongahela

 

British regulars get a standing review from an officer in charge just before meeting their match and their maker in the woods above the Monongahela River.

 

Frontiersmen, who fought and died alongside British regulars at Monongahela stand at attention before British officers. George Washington would be the only British officer to emerge unscathed from the battle with several bullet holes in his jacket and riding on his third horse. A legend was born.

 

Mike Shafer whose grandfather was a full-blooded Wyandot tribesman takes a seat outside his tent in advance of the Battle of Monongahela.

 

Native American warrior chases down a camp woman in a skirmish before the Battle of Monongahela.

 

Native Americans take toll of the British positions before launching an attack at the Battle of Monongahela.

 

Settlers reload their weapons during a skirmish with Native Americans, during a re-enactment of the French & Indian War.

 

Tom Hinkelman, a hearty Pennsylvanian, plays an “Injun” in the French & Indian War. His get-up includes recently skinned coyotes and a steady supply of Caribbean Rum.

 

Author takes a swig of Carribean Rum offered up by American fur traders.

 

Rough and ready frontiersmen joined George Washington in the fight against the French and Indians.

 

Big and burly frontiersmen joined the fight against the French & Indians, but bad command decision kept them on the losing side of the war for years before reinforcements arrived and the Indians were persuaded to stop backing just the French.

 

General Braddock, known as a rake of a man in his youth, speaks to me as the young lady at his side prepares his pre-battle repast. In the French & Indian war, women “camp followers” often performed such duties.

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