Just wanted to give everyone a heads up that I am dividing this site into two.  Legacy Hunting will be my site for foreign travels:  Canada, Europe, Cambodia, and anywhere else I decide to wander.  Local Legacy Hunting (locallegacyhunting.wordpress.com) will now be my site for US trips.  I figured that would help organize things a bit better.  So, if you want to keep track of me in the US and not just internationally, make sure to follow there too.  I’m off to Cambodia on Tuesday!  Blessings on all your travels and as the Irish say, “May the Road Rise up to Meet You!”  Thanks!

Fort Necessity

I was excited to head to Fort Necessity today (8/1/17) because this is where it all began:  The French Indian War which gave rise to the American Revolution.  So much of Washington is tied up in this area–his worst defeat, his biggest betrayal, his deepest humiliation, and the loss of a surrogate father figure.  Standing on the ground here, I felt, would give me the greatest insight for my book.  It is a truly incredible place.

I hadn’t realized that Washington and his men had spent almost two months clearing land for a road to attack Fort Duquesne.  One thing that has always stood out to me in this area is just how many trees there are–everywhere.  I can’t imagine trying to carve a path through them, much less fighting in them.  When he happened upon the Great Meadows, it must have seemed an oasis in the desert.  He termed it, “A charming field for an engagement.”  For a man who desperately wanted a British commission and who had been trained in the shoulder to shoulder British style of fighting, this spot was perfect.  Still, he hadn’t intended it for military service, but merely a supply station for troops attacking Fort Duquesne.

Another view of the fort

That all changed when three days later, Washington’s ally Tanacharison (the Half King) informed Washington there were French in the area (about 7 miles away).  His actions later make me wonder if this was a set-up, and he was simply using Washington.   Washington and 40 men set out to the Half King’s camp.  When they arrive, his scouts lead them to a ravine where the French are encamped.  From this point, two different versions of the story come into place.  Like typical siblings, both the French and the British claim the other one started it.  The French claim the British surprised them, and they fired back.  The British claim the French saw them approaching and fired first, with the British return fire being self defense.  Whatever actually happened, at the end of the day, the French commander Joseph Coulon de Villiers (Sieur de Jumonville) and 9 others were killed, one wounded, 21 prisoners, and one man who escaped to carry the news to Fort Duquesne.  British casualties were one killed, two wounded.  This would lead me to believe the British fired first, though they did have the high ground, so the disparity in casualties could come from that.  The interesting thing is that Coulon de Villiers was actually only wounded and was possibly trying to surrender–until the Half King got ahold of him–literally.  With a tomahawk.

Diorama of the Fort

When British Colonel Fry falls off his horse and dies of his injuries two days later, Washington is promoted to Colonel.  With the weight of leadership on his shoulders and the expectation of French retaliation from Fort Duqesne, Washington begins to try to make the area a fort, while still trying to do work on the road.  He has men guard those working on the road, but even with reinforcements still only has about 400 men.  His Indian allies meet with him, but when they realize Washington’s supplies haven’t come through as promised, and he has barely enough provisions for his men, they decide the British are a lost cause and refuse to fight.  Thus, Washington will face the 700 approaching Frenchmen and Indians with no allies.  I’m sure this was a huge betrayal by those he thought would stand with him–especially the man who was actually to blame for the incident.  But, it’s about to get a whole lot worse.

Artillery demonstration

It’s a horrible, rainy day on July 3, making fighting sporadic, as both sides are dealing with wet gunpowder, and Washington’s men are standing in trenches, which are slowly filling up.  The commander of the French Army is none other than the Louis, brother of Joseph Coulon de Villiers.  But, Providence will both save Washington and humiliate him.  The Indians with the French prefer the element of surprise and the spoils of war.  Seeing that there is neither at this time, they tell Louis Coulon De Villiers that they will leave in the morning.  He has a choice to make.

He requests a truce to parlay, offering Washington the chance to surrender.  But, when the terms are sent to Washington, they are smudged because of the rain.  Washington’s normal translator had been killed, and the man who was translating was Dutch, but could understand most of what was said.  Most being the key word.  He informs Washington that the terms are generous, allowing Washington and his men to leave with honors of war, taking their baggage and weapons (but no swivel guns–like little cannons) and return immediately to Virginia.  They had to leave two men as hostages (who would volunteer, then provide valuable intelligence as spies.)  Unfortunately, the translator left out the part where, by signing, Washington is admitting to the assassination of Joseph Coulon de Villiers, whom the French claim was acting as an ambassador, in the same role as Washington himself–though papers in his effects give the possibility he was spying as well (as the British would claim).  This report makes it all over Europe and the colonies, and Washington is humiliated.  Though Governor Dinwiddie doesn’t blame Washington when he reaches Virginia, he will disband the Virginia regiments into garrison companies, and will offer Washington the demoted rank of Captain.  When Washington is unable to negotiate a higher rank, he will leave military service less than three months after the Fort Necessity debacle and return to Mount Vernon.

Braddock’s memorial

But, Washington doesn’t get too comfortable in the quiet life as a farmer.  When General Braddock is named Commander in chief of the British forces and arrives in America with two Irish regiments, Washington sends him a note of congratulations–a great way to get noticed.  Because of the way British commissions worked, Washington would be subordinate to even his British inferiors, so he makes the decision to accept the offer to join as Braddock’s Aide de Camp–a volunteer position in which he only answered to Braddock, and he could pave the way to a commissioned rank.

I can’t imagine what he must have felt when his path led him back to Fort Necessity, where the bones of his men were still visible against the landscape (the French had burned Fort Necessity to the ground.)  But, he had another chance to assault Fort Duquesne.  Unfortunately, it would be another devastating loss.

View of Braddock’s original burial site (right) and monument (left)

Braddock has mostly heeded Washington’s advice on the advance.  He has men scouting and protecting the flanks and rear as the army crosses the Monongahela River.  When he doesn’t get ambushed, however, Braddock assumes the French are holed up in the fort and pulls the scouts in, lining his men up, unfurling the banners, and striking up the band.  There’s not a chance the French can miss their arrival.  Unfortunately.  Unbeknownst to him, the French know Braddock’s coming and had made the decision to surprise attack–they just didn’t make it to the river in time.  The two armies slam into each other.  And though the British have over twice the numbers, the French and Indians are fighting ambush style, hitting the flanks from the treeline, and the British lines literally collapse into each other, forming a mass of red coated men–a horribly easy target.  Washington and Braddock, both on horseback, are trying to return order to the situation.  Both have horses shot from under them.  Both have bullet holes in their clothing.  Both are unhit–until Braddock is struck with a bullet to the shoulder which passes into his chest.  Washington is able to get him into a wagon and off the field, then assemble the men and cover the retreat.

The original spot where Braddock was buried.

Unfortunately, Braddock, who had been a sort of father figure to 24 year old George who had lost his own father at 11, would die three days later.  Washington himself will preside over the burial, choosing to bury him in the road he had built where soldiers will march over his grave, obscuring the site from those who would seek to desecrate the body.  He will remain there until 1804 when men repairing this section of the road will stumble upon the remains and move them to the hill.

Ironically, this site of so much pain will be bought by Washington who visited after the war.  For the surveyor, it is indeed a beautiful piece of land, but I can’t imagine being able to see past all the memories he would have had.  But, knowing that he also revisited Valley Forge, I believe Washington didn’t shy away from the hard places.  Perhaps that’s another thing that makes him great.






The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

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A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,500 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

St. Peters--outside the oldest restaurant in Europe

St. Peters–outside the oldest restaurant in Europe

Today (07/11/13), after 2 flights, we landed in Munich, Germany where we rented a car and drove to Salzburg, Austria. Thus begins a month adventure.

If you’ve never travelled to Europe before, I would recommend a few pointers. First, copy the international road signs. While I was pleasantly surprised at how drivers acted on the legendary Autobahn (just stay out of the left lane), I was infinitely glad to have the international signs. This is the version I used: http://ygraph.com/chart/2029 I also discovered that the Autobahn uses “speed zone” and “end of speed zone” signs, which are either posted on the road (the ones that never change) or on an electronic sign (these change.) In short, as you’re driving, there are times when you will have a speed limit, times you may have a limit, and areas where people drive however fast they jolly well please (It is at these points that you want to avoid the left lane!) People DID tend to obey the posted speed (Surprising for one from Chicagoland where standard procedure is to add 10 mph to the speed limit.), and I felt the signs were clearly posted. Additionally, we had purchased an international GPS on loan, which is a helpful option.

One thing I didn’t expect was to have to pay to go to the bathroom at rest areas. The price where we were was $.70 Euros, or about $1.00. (In public places, it’s usually $.50 Euros, but museums and restaurants have free restrooms, so go while you’re there. Just another something to be aware of. A helpful feature is that the signs for rest areas will count down from 300 meters away.

Performers at Mozart Dinner Concert

Performers at Mozart Dinner Concert

After a quick nap and buying groceries (Bring your own bags–another tip), we set off to the Mozart Dinner Concert. This concert features a collection of Mozart favorites, costumed musicians, and food from the era. It was an amazing experience.

Dinner is served in four courses with music in between. It is an elegant experience. (Check out the website: http://www.salzburg-concerts.com/salzburg-mozart-dinner-concert/mozart-dinner-concert/home for pictures and samples of the performance.) For a formal critique, I would have to say the food was good (bread, cream soup with a cheese dumpling, capons and vegetables, and a frozen honey desert), the music was incredible, and I was disappointed by the “historic costumes” which included such modern inventions as zippers and hair pulled back in scrunchies. I’m glad we went, though not sure it was worth the $54 Euros price tag (though if you show your Salzburg card, you get a “free” CD–normally $10 Euros.)

Tomorrow, we’re off on a Sound of Music tour. More fun to come 🙂

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

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600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

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Matthew picks Anne up from the train station

We spent the day today (7/29/11) at Avonlea Village. I expected it to just be a number of vignettes from the Anne of Green Gables series, but there are actually a number of historically accurate buildings as well.

One of the neat features of the Village is that each pass is actually for two days, so if you miss some of the vignettes or shows, you can catch them another day. They cover the major scenes from the Anne story: her first meeting with Matthew and Marilla, apologizing to Rachael Lind, smashing her slate on Gilbert’s head, getting Diana drunk, and Anne dying her hair green. Also, characters from the story walk the streets, work in different stores, and run games and dances for children.

In the middle of the vignettes, there are a number of musical productions, which feature performers from local Ceilidhs, and feature wonderful singing and dancing. There also is a square dance for both children and adults.

Historically, there are a number of buildings significant to L.M. Montgomery that have been moved here for audiences to see. They include the school house where she taught, the church she attended, and the manse she lived in. Additionally–and the coolest thing for me–they have a collection of her photographs, including places that were important to her, as well as family members, scenes, and buildings.

Montgomery's landscape collection

We had intended to attend a Ceilidh in the evening, but found out upon arrival that it was not free as we assumed. For those visitors planning to come to the island, the newspaper “The Buzz” tells all the events the island offers. We also got an insert of Ceilidhs, but some had costs listed, so we assumed the others were free–a wrong assumption, it turned out. But, the Preserve Company offers a free afternoon Ceilidh, so we are planning to check that out. New adventures tomorrow…