During the 18th century, Britain and France were engaged in an almost continuous struggle to see which nation would be the world’s dominant military power. Wars between the two spilled over to their North American colonies. By the middle of the century the great prize, claimed by both sides, was the Ohio Valley. If France could successfully hold it as part of Canada, the 13 English colonies would not be able to expand west of the Appalachian mountains.
By 1754, when he was 23 years old, Hugh Paul had enlisted in the Virginia Regiment. He was one of 60 men serving under a young officer named George Washington. Hugh Paul must have liked his commanding officer, even though he was only 22, a year younger than Hugh, because he stayed with Washington throughout the French and Indian War. Hugh was one of only 59 soldiers who received a Savage Land Grant, one of the first land grants given for military service.