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The son of a wealthy landowner, in 1752 began a military career and during the war with France, he served (1754-59) as an officer of the colonial troops engaged alongside the British Army: distinguished himself in to rescue the survivors after the defeat suffered by the British in Monongahela (1755), he was given command of the militia of Virginia and in 1758 contributed to the capture of Fort Duquesne (now Pittsburgh).
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