In the first engagement of the French and Indian War, a Virginia militia under 22-year-old Lieutenant Colonel George Washington defeats a French reconnaissance party in southwestern Pennsylvania. In a surprise attack, the Virginians killed 10 French soldiers from Fort Duquesne, including the French commander, Coulon de Jumonville, and took 21 prisoners. Only one of Washington's men was killed.
The French and Indian War was the last and most important of a series of colonial conflicts between the British and the American colonists on one side, and the French and their broad network of Native American allies on the other. Fighting began in the spring of 1754, but Britain and France did not officially declare war against each other until May 1756 and the outbreak of the Seven Years War in Europe.
On July 3, the French descended on Fort Necessity with their full force, and after an all-day fight Washington surrendered to their superior numbers. The disarmed colonials were allowed to march back to Virginia, and Washington was hailed as a hero despite his surrender of the fort. The story of the campaign was written up in a London gazette, and Washington was quoted as saying, "I have heard the bullets whistle; and believe me, there is something charming in the sound." Reading this, King George II remarked, "He would not say so if he had been used to hear many."
In October 1754, Washington resigned his commission in protest of the British underpayment of colonial offices and policy of making them subordinate to all British officers, regardless of rank. In early 1755, however, British General Edward Braddock and his army arrived to Virginia, and Washington agreed to serve as Braddock's personal aide-de-camp, with the courtesy title of colonel. The subsequent expedition against Fort Duquesne was a disaster, but Washington fought bravely and succeeded in bringing the survivors back after Braddock and 1,000 others were killed.
With the western frontier of Virginia now dangerously exposed, Governor Dinwiddie appointed Washington commander in chief of all Virginia forces in August 1755. During the next three years, Washington struggled with the problems of frontier defense but participated in no major engagements until he was put in command of a Virginia regiment participating in a large British campaign against Fort Duquesne in 1758. The French burned and abandoned the fort before the British and Americans arrived, and Fort Pitt was raised on its site. With Virginia's strategic objective attained, Washington resigned his commission with the honorary rank of brigadier general. He returned to a planter's life and took a seat in Virginia's House of Burgesses.
Taken from: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-blood-of-the-french-and-indian-war [28.05.2013]