At Fort Necessity on July 3, 1754, George Washington lost 30 men in the opening battle of the French & Indian War, also known as the Seven Year's War. Set among the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, Fort Necessity seems an unpretentious place for such a momentous battle - the first major event in the military career of George Washington, and the only time he ever surrendered to an enemy.
What to Expect:
The 903 acre Fort Necessity park includes the Fort Necessity National Battlefield and Visitor Center, the early 19th-century Mount Washington Tavern, a nearby monument to Major General Edward Braddock, and Jumonville Glen, site of the first skirmishing of the French and Indian War on May 28, 1754.
Fort Necessity National Battlefield is open daily from sunrise to sunset on a year-round basis. The Visitor Center is open from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., except on major holidays (including George Washington's birthday).
Admission & Fees:
Entrance fees to Fort Necessity National Battlefield are $5 for a seven-day admission. Children 15 and under are admitted free. Entrance is also free to anyone with a National Parks Pass.
Location / Directions:
Fort Necessity National Battlefield is located 11 miles east of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, on US 40.
Things to Do at Fort Necessity:
The Visitor Center at Fort Necessity offers movies, talks, tours and historic weapons demonstrations, especially during the summer months. From there a short, paved path leads to the Great Meadow and Fort Necessity, where the French & Indian War began. Five miles of hiking trails wander through the meadows and trails around Fort Necessity. Plan on 1 to 1 1/2 hrs to see the historic sites in the main area of the park.
Mount Washington Tavern:
Sitting high atop a hill overlooking Fort Necessity, Mount Washington Tavern is accessable by road from the Visitor Center. George Washington purchased the land on which it stands 15 years after the ill-fated battle at Fort Necessity, and owned it until his death in 1799. The Mount Washington Tavern was built about 1828 stagecoach stop for travellers along the National Road and is furnished to reflect tavern life during the Road's heyday. Closed November 1 - April 30.
Braddock's Grave monument, another part of the Fort Necessity National Battlefield, commemorates the final resting place of British officer Major General Edward Braddock who died during a surprise skirmish with French and Indian forces while in route to Fort Duquesne in present-day Pittsburgh. A trace of the Braddock Road is clearly visible at this site. Located approximately 1.5 miles west from the Fort Necessity vistor's center on US Route 40.
Located approximately 7 miles from Fort Necessity is the site of Washington's first encounter with the French, known as Jumonville Glen. A natural rock outcropping and interpretive signs mark the site of the skirmish. Jumonville Glen is part of the Fort Necessity National Battlefield and is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.