- George Washington remembers Fort Ligonier in his autobiographical remarks.
Fort Ligonier has become an important repository for three extraordinarily rare George Washington treasures. As a young colonel in the service of the Crown on the Pennsylvania frontier in the 1750’s, George Washington was a central figure in the crucible of the French and Indian War, which set America on its future course almost 20 years before the Revolution. This military apprenticeship, which established Washington’s experience and reputation for leadership, was the essential credential that brought him the command of the Continental Army.
George Washington’s Memoirs
A hand-written autobiographical 11-page recollection of Washington’s six dangerous years on the Pennsylvania frontier, called the “Remarks”, are part of the permanent collection at Fort Ligonier as a result of a major gift from the Laurel Foundation and additional private support.
Written by Washington in 1787, the “Remarks” vividly describe incidents found nowhere else in Washington’s voluminous writings, including the twilight foray near Fort Ligonier when his troops mistakenly fired on one another causing many casualties. Risking his life, Washington desperately stepped between the lines, dodging musket balls as he tried to stop the friendly fire incident.
George Washington’s Pistols
The Saddle Pistols come to Fort Ligonier with a very special pedigree, owned by three of the most significant figures in American history. The young Marquis de Lafayette purchased the pair in Europe and brought them to America when he volunteered to fight for the United States. During the American Revolution, Lafayette presented the pair to General George Washington, who all but adopted him as a son. Washington is believed to have carried them at Valley Forge, Monmouth, Yorktown, and during the Whiskey Rebellion when he was president. He cherished the pistols until his death in 1799. Later, the weapons were given to General Andrew Jackson, who called them “sacred and holy relics” and prized them throughout his presidency and bequeathed them back to the Lafayette family.
The guns were purchased at an auction by the Richard King Mellon Foundation, in commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the French and Indian War and the critical role that Washington played in the history of the region and the nation.
Rembrandt Peale’s George Washington
The collection in Fort Ligonier’s Gallery of French and Indian War Art features George Washington, by Rembrandt Peale from the original portrait of Washington painted by Ch. W. Peale in 1772, c. 1825-1850. This painting depicts the young Virginia officer as he might have appeared at Fort Ligonier during the French and Indian War.