Charged with delivering an important diplomatic message, 21-year-old land surveyor George Washington keeps a journal of his dangerous 11-week expedition through 1,000 miles of mostly wilderness.


Sunday, November 30, 2008
By Len Barcousky, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
 
Heavy rains and a "vast Quantity of Snow" made travel difficult for George Washington in the late fall of 1753.
 
Major Washington, age 21, was leading a small expedition through what would become western Pennsylvania on orders from Robert Dinwiddie.
 
Dinwiddie, the lieutenant governor of Washington's home state of Virginia, had given the young man a delicate and dangerous diplomatic task on Oct. 31.
 
Washington was to take messages to the commander of newly built French outposts in the Ohio Country, telling him to withdraw from lands claimed by Great Britain. He was also to foster alliances with local Indian tribes and to bring back intelligence on French economic and military intentions.
 
Dull words that describe a 11-week journey that took him and Christopher Gist through 1,000 miles of mostly wilderness. As he traveled by horse, canoe and on foot, Washington kept a journal. When that journal was published in 1754, just weeks after his return to Williamsburg, then Virginia's capital, it gave Washington his first taste of fame.
 
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