Guarding the Portage
A French Frontier Fort
Fort de la Presqu'ile was the first in a proposed line of forts that would guard a route to the Mississippi. The lofty goal for 1753 was to build four ports, Presqu'ile, le Boeuf, Machault, and Duquesne. By the late summer it was clear that only Presqu'ile, le Boeuf, and the portage between them would be completed.
The first French forces left Montreal in February, pulling their supplies over ice and snow. Since a large force could not be supported over winter, most of the men had to return in the fall.
Moving heavy supplies and weapons to Fort le Boeuf proved difficult and slow, the road turned to mud and required bridging with logs (corduroy).
The Marin Expedition
The French embarked on a campaign, led by Paul Marin de la Malgue, to establish a line of forts in strategic locations, aimed at controlling the waterways which led from Lake Erie, by way of a portage to French Creek, into the Allegheny River, the Ohio River, and ultimately to the Mississippi. This fort building became a real provocation to the British.
Bird's Eye View Looking North
The fort consisted of a square stockade with bastions, built of logs laid horizontally and stacked to a height of 12', unlike the usual palisade of vertical logs.
Fort de la
French abandon and burn the forts in the face of the British victories.
Fort Niagara falls to the British, leaving the outlying French forts vulnerable.
Fort Duquesne falls to the British.
Main contingent departs for Montral
Half King Tanacharison, leader of the Ohio Iroquois, demands that the French discontinue building forts.
Forts Presqu'ile and le Boeuf completed.
Marin arrives with bulk of the detachment. Finding Presqu'ile well under way, he moves on to begin with le Boeuf.
Françoís le Mercier arrives and work on Presqu'ile begins in earnest.
Fort Presqu'ile laid out by advance forces led by Boishebért.
Céleron conducts expedition into the Ohio River Basin.