George Washington

George Washington was only 22 years old when he signed the Articles of Capitulation after the Battle of Fort Necessity.

Battle of Fort Necessity, Articles of Capitulation

July 3, 1754

The French forced George Washington to sign these Articles of Capitulation on July 3, 1754. Due to an error in translation, Washington was apparently unaware that, by signing these Articles, he admitted to the French that he had assassinated Joseph Coulon de Villiers, Sieur de Jumonville. The text below is the English translation of the document.

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Capitulation granted by Mr. de Villiers, Captain and Commander of his Majesty’s Troops, to those English Troops actually in Fort-Necessity.

July the 3d, 1754, at 8 o’clock at Night.

As our Intentions have never been to trouble the Peace and good Harmony subsisting between the two Princes in Amity, but only to revenge the Assassination committed on one of our Officers, bearer of a Summon, as also on his Escorte, and to hinder any Establishment on the Lands of the Dominions of the King my Master: Upon these Considerations, we are willing to shew Favour to all the English who are in the said Fort, on the following Conditions, viz.

Article I.

We grant Leave to the English Commander, to retire with all his Garrison, and to return peaceably into his own Country; and promise to hinder his receiving any Insult from us French; and to restrain, as much as shall be in our Power, the Indians that are with us.

II.

It shall be permitted him to go out, and carry with him all that belongs to them, except the Artillery, which we reserve.

III.

That we will allow them the Honours of War; that they march out with Drums beating, and one Swivel Gun, being willing thereby to convince them, that we treat them as Friends.

IV.

That as soon as the Articles are signed by both Parties, the English Colours shall be struck.

V.

That To-morrow, at Break of Day, a Detachment of French shall go and make the Garrison file of, and take Possession of the Fort.

VI.

As the English have but few Oxen or Horses left, they are at Liberty to hide their Effects, and to come again, and search for them, when they have a Number of Horses sufficient to carry them off; and that for this End, they may have what Guards they please; on Condition, that they give their Word of Honour, to work no more upon any Buildings in this Place, or any Part on this Side the Mountains.

VII.

And as the English have in their Power, one Officer, two Cadets, and most of the Prisoners made at the Assassination of M. de Jumonville, and promise to send them back, with a safe Guard to Fort du Quesne, situate on the Ohio. For Surety of their performing this Article as well as this Treaty, M. Jacob Vambrane and Robert Stobo, both Captains, shall be delivered to us as Hostages, till the Arrival of our French and Canadians above mentioned. We oblige ourselves on our Side, to give an Escorte to return these two Officers in Safety; and expect to have our French in two Months and a Half at farthest. A Duplicate of this being fixed upon one of the Posts of our Blockade, the Day and Year above mentioned.”

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