Archaeological investigations have found musket balls at the Fort Necessity battlefield in Fayette County
The site of the first skirmish of the seven-year-long French and Indian War has been verified after four weeks of archaeological excavations
Multiple agencies involved found artifacts from the 1754 battle, including musket balls.
The May 28 skirmish at Jumonville Glen, part of the Fort Necessity National Battlefield in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, lasted just 15 minutes, the National Park Service said in a news release. Virginia provincial troops led by then-22-year-old Lt. Col. George Washington marched under the British flag toward a French campsite by members of the Seneca, Oneida, and other allied tribes.
Both sides engaged in a gunfight and by the end of the skirmish, 13 Frenchmen were killed and 21 captured. The NPS said one British soldier was killed and two or three others were injured. The French and Indian War pitted French troops and British colonists against each other—each side aided by local tribes—and ended when the French ceded most of their territory in North America.
Although the conflict, known as the “Jumonville Affair,” is commemorated with living history programs held at the battlefield, this is the first time experts can say with certainty that it took place at the site. Fort Necessity Superintendent Stephen M. Clark described the archaeological project as “the first serious investigation” of the site.
“We can now conclude, with high confidence, that the site we protect is indeed the location of the May 28, 1754, skirmish,” said Brian Ready, chief of interpretation and site manager at Fort Necessity National Battlefield, in an NPS news release.
The investigation was conducted by members of several organizations, including American Veterans Archaeological Recovery, the National Park Service Northeast Resources Program, the National Park Service Northeast Museum Services Center, Paul Martin Archeology Associates, and Advance Metal Detection for Archaeologists.
Another living history event – where volunteers, activists and historians recreate a moment in history – will be held at the end of May to honor the 269th anniversary of the conflict.
National Park Service archaeologist Dr. William Griswold told CBS News Pittsburgh The discovery of the musket ball and confirmation of the site may help historians learn more about the events of the battle.
“That’s where it happened. That’s where it all started. We’re going to be trying, over the next year or so, to figure out the roles of the fighters, where people were located, what people were shooting and all that going on. To come through different lines of analysis,” Griswold said. said