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But as soon as spring opened the Western rivers,

chap. V.} 1754.
and before Washington could reach Will's Creek, the French, led by Contrecoeur, came down from Venango, and summoned the English at the Fork to surrender. Only thirty-three in number, they, on the seventeenth of April, capitulated and withdrew. Contrecoeur occupied the post, which he fortified, and, from the governor of New France, named Duquesne. The near forest-trees were felled and burned; cabins of bark, for barracks, were built round the fort, and at once, among the charred stumps, wheat and maize sprung up on the scorched fields where now is Pittsburgh.

‘Come to our assistance as soon as you can;’ such was the message sent by the Half-King's wampum to Washington; ‘come soon, or we are lost, and shall never meet again. I speak it in the grief of my heart.’ And a belt in reply announced the approach of the Half-King's ‘brother and friend.’ The raw recruits, led by their young commander, could advance but slowly, fording deep streams, and painfully dragging their few cannon. In the cold and wet season, they were without tents or shelter from the weather; without a supply of clothes; often in want of provisions; without any thing to make the service agreeable. On the twenty-fifth of May, the wary Half-King sent word, ‘Be on your guard; the French army intend to strike the first English whom they shall see.’

The same day, another report came, that the French were but eighteen miles distant, at the crossing of the Youghiogeny. Washington hurried to the Great Meadows, where, ‘with nature's assistance, ’

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