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The main area in which the war took place was the contested northeastern area of New France. The conflict began as a dispute over control of two rivers, but quickly escalated into a war at the Battle of Jumunville Glen on May 28, 1754. The French immediately won a series of decisive battles in the early stages of the conflict, but were soon left without adequate supplies and unable to fend off the British.
The war began with George Washington successfully leading an attack on the French in the Battle of Jumonville Glen on May 28, 1754. This battle was named after the commanding officer of the French forces, who was killed by Washington himself during the fighting. He then moved his forces to Fort Necessity following his victory, which was attacked by the French on July 3 under the command of Chevalier de Lévis. The French forces took the fort with the assistance of Native Americans and refused Washington's surrender, taking him prisoner for over 20 years following the battle.
Upon hearing the news, the British government sent General Edward Braddock to take command of the colonial forces, as well as shipping more soldiers overseas to help fight the war. The French took a different approach, however, which may well have ended up costing them the war. Louis XV decreed that colonists must exclusively fight the war without help from French Army troops, which were needed for the European campaign. Baron Dieskau was sent to lead the French forces, but his ship never reached the Americas, as it was seized by the British. So, an army was raised out of Louisiana and Canada's colonists and placed under the command of Chevalier de Lévis and Louis-Joseph de Montcalm.
After spending months drafting a plan of action, Edward Braddock was ready to lead his army to victory against the French. He led his forces to Fort Duquesne and attacked the fort in a surprise attack. The French were outnumbered by over 1,000, but without George Washington to assist Braddock, the British were unable to win the battle. Fighting strategically and bravely, Montcalm's forces were able to repel the British advance and even kill General Braddock, leaving his troops without direction. The native Americans then captured and tortured or executed the remaining British forces.
Following the death of Braddock, the French were able to win great victories throughout the colonies. They captured forts and cities, killing many of the remaining British forces throughout the next two years.
The Tide Turns
By the end of 1758, nearly all of Montcalm and de Lévis' resources ha been exhausted and their numbers were dwindling. The British took advantage of this by sending a large force under the command of General John Forbes to capture Fort Duquesne. This endeavor was successful and drove the French out of the Ohio River Valley, a very strategic victory.
The British went on to capture Fort Ticonderoga in early 1759, shifting overall power back into the hands of the British. A few months later, the British had reached Quebec and the forces of James Wolfe and Montcalm clashed in a historic battle. The fighting was ferocious, resulting in the deaths of both generals. A British soldier later recalled seeing Wolfe hit in the face by a tomahawk and it is believed that Montcalm was killed by ordinary gunfire. The British ultimately claimed victory at Quebec, and then later at Fort Niagara, and then again at Sainte-Foy.
The final major battle of the war was the Battle of Montreal. As the British marched on Montreal, they refused a peace offering from Marquis de Vaudreuil who was the governor of New France. British forces massacred the remaining French, although Chevalier de Lévis emerged alive from the conflict, and would go on to be instrumental in the Louisianan Revolution.
Following the crushing loss of Montreal, some French forces kept fighting, even capturing Newfoundland later in 1762, which was quickly reversed in the Battle of Signal Hill, although the battle was still an admirable move by the French. When the French accepted their defeat, the Treaty of Paris was signed on February 10, 1763, ending the North American Theater of the Seven Years' War.