Archived Story

American Heritage: Washington sets out on foot

Published 9:32pm Wednesday, October 10, 2012

According to George Washington’s journal, he and Christopher Gist had to make a decision. George wanted to get back to give Dinwiddie the answer from the French.

Taking the horses was almost impossible with the weather and terrain they were facing. His decision? Go on foot.

All he took with him, besides Mr. Gist, was his gun, the intelligence he obtained while at the forts, the letter that contained the answer to Dinwiddie’s letter, the clothing on his back and a pack with his provisions. He and Mr. Gist set out on their journey back. He stated that on the way back, they met with a group of French Indians. Gist stated, in his journal, that one of the Indians called out to him using Gist’s name. Gist thought he recognized the Indian and asked him to be his guide. The Indian agreed.

After traveling for about eight or 10 miles, Washington recommended they make camp. The Indian guide, however, told them his camp was not too far away and recommended they travel on to his camp. Washington and Gist agreed and traveled on.

When coming to an open field, the Indian guide separated himself from Gist and Washington by about 15 feet. At this point, the Indian stopped, turned and faced

Washington and Gist, pointed a gun at them and pulled the trigger. Neither Washington nor Gist was hit, but Gist was very angry and headed toward the Indian and had in mind to kill him. George stopped him from doing so.

George said he believed it was an accident. However, the Indian was allowed to go on his own and Washington and Gist went on without him.

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