National Geographic : 1932 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE the present-day Butler-Pittsburgh High way, they came to what is known now as the Washington Crossing of the Allegheny River, where there is a handsome bridge. In that day there was a midstream island, afterward known as Wainwright's Island, which since has disappeared (page 17). They expected to find the river frozen over, but were disappointed. Ice extended out 50 yards from either shore, but in mid stream was a moving mass of broken cakes. "There was no way for getting over but on a Raft; Which we set about with but one poor Hatchet, and finished just before Sun setting. This was a whole Day's Work. Then set off; But before we were Half Way over, we were jammed in the Ice, in such a Manner that we expected every Mo ment our Raft to sink, and ourselves to per ish. I put-out my setting Pole to try to stop the Raft, that the Ice might pass by; when the Rapidity of the Stream threw it with so much Violence against the Pole, that it jerked me out into ten Feet Water: but I fortunately saved myself by catching hold of one of the Raft Logs." They finally reached the island and camped. The night was so cold that the next morning the channel was frozen and they crossed safely. From the day after he left Logstown to the day before he departed from Fort Le Boeuf, there was but one day on which it did not rain or snow incessantly, and throughout the whole trip they encountered "but one continued Series of cold, wet Weather." ALIQUIPPA PREFERRED HER BOTTLE OF RUM TO A FUR COAT While waiting for his horses at Frazier's, Major Washington decided to visit Queen Aliquippa, at the mouth of the Youghio gheny. He carried with him as presents for her a fur hunting coat and a bottle of rum, and later reported that she thought the bottle of rum much the better present of the two. On October 31, 1753, Washington had left Williamsburg; on January 16 he re turned. He had traveled more than I,ooo miles, most of the way through an un broken wilderness. So pleased was Governor Dinwiddie with Washington's recital of his trip that he asked for a written report of it. This he made. In the foreword to the printed copy, which he called "An Account of My Proceedings to and from the French on Ohio," he apologized for its style and dic tion and stated that he had only one day in which to prepare it. WASHINGTON BEGINS HIS FIRST CAM PAIGN TO EXPEL THE FRENCH Before ten weeks had passed Washing ton, now a lieutenant colonel, was headed once more for the region between Cumber land and Pittsburgh. The French had occupied the forks of the Ohio and were engaged in building a fort there, in the identical spot he had observed several months before. Washington undertook to build a road from what is now Mount Braddock, south of Connellsville, to Brownsville, on the Monongahela, and to widen the trail be tween Cumberland and Mount Braddock. He also explored the Youghiogheny for about 30 miles, in the hope of finding a waterway open down the river to the forks of the Ohio. But the Ohiopyle falls turned him back (see page 28). He then concen trated his men at the Great Meadows to erect a fort there. Col. Joshua Fry, the commander of the regiment, having died of a fall from his horse on May 31, Washing ton assumed command. Things happened on that trip. The In dians who wanted to be loyal were alarmed at the weakness of the English and at the strength of the French. Jumonville, a French officer, leading a small party of French troops, was discovered trying to ambush the Virginia soldiers. With the support of the Half-King, Washington attacked this force on top of Laurel Hill, to the west of the Great Mead ows. Here Jumonville was killed. The French afterward asserted he was carry ing a message to the Virginia troops and not acting in a military capacity; which claim Washington, with unusual vigor, denounced. THE SURRENDER OF FORT NECESSITY Washington was so displeased with his pay of two dollars a day and with that of the other officers under him that he begged Governor Dinwiddie to let him serve with out pay at all. "I would rather prefer the great toil of a daily laborer and dig for a maintenance . . . than serve upon such ignoble terms," he wrote the Governor.