The Fort that held the fate of an empire
As summer waned in 1758, the site of a new fortification was chosen by the British army that overlooked the Loyalhanna Creek. It was the last in a string of fortifications along the newly cut Forbes Road that would ultimately stretch from Philadelphia to the site of French Fort Duquesne, the ultimate objective of the Forbes Campaign. When Fort Duquesne fell to the British army in late November of 1758, construction of a new fort, Fort Pitt, began, and the land on which it rose was named Pittsburgh. Find out more about how Fort Ligonier made Pittsburgh possible as you explore the grounds of the finest reconstructed fortification from the French and Indian War.
Brigadier General John Forbes is faced with an incredible challenge: Raise an army, supply that army and build a road and fortifications 300 miles across the mountains, bogs and streams of the Appalachian wilderness from Carlisle to Fort Duquesne.
Build the Post at Loyalhanna
After the army had to cross the imposing Allegheny Mountain and Laurel Ridge from Fort Bedford, they arrived to build the final fortification on the Forbes Road before Fort Duquesne in the summer of 1758. On August 18, 1758, Bouquet wrote to Forbes, “It is time to establish a post at Loyal Hannon…”
Battle of Fort Ligonier
As evening fell on October 12, 1758, British cannoneers at Fort Ligonier, then known as the Post at Loyalhanna, blasted away in the drizzly night, hoping their hissing, exploding shells would deter a raiding party of French and Native American forces from making more attacks. The shellfire had the desired effect, and the attackers slipped away in the darkness heading back to their base at Fort Duquesne.
Friendly Fire Incident
Colonel George Washington desperately tries to stop his confused troops from shooting at each other during a deep-woods patrol gone wrong. He put his life in the balance to stop the gunfire, but not before dozens of his soldiers were killed, wound or missing. Washington however escaped unharmed. From this incident, a French prisoner was taken and valuable information about the French stronghold at Fort Duquesne was divulged. General Forbes immediately changes his decision, moves to attack and successfully captures Fort Duquesne (today’s Pittsburgh).