As the French began to construct forts to protect their route from Lake Erie to the Mississippi River by way of the Ohio River, the British government decided to take action. In October, 1753, Virginia Governor Robert Dinwiddie sent a young Militia Adjutant, Major George Washington, to find the French at the Ohio forts and deliver a letter demanding that the French leave territory claimed by Britain. In extremely harsh winter weather Major Washington with his guide, Christopher Gist, made their way along the Allegheny River to French Creek. They found the French commander at Fort leBoeuf. The French refused to comply with the demand since they had discovered the river long before the British.
When Major Washington returned to Williamsburg he wrote a report for Gov. Dinwiddie. Evenually the report was published in London. George Washington became something of a hero for his courageous exploits. This map accompanied the published report.