Braddock's Defeat in the French and Indian War

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French and Indian War Project Page

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... ... ... ... served during the French and Indian War.


Young George Washington, (Major)
George Washington.
Robert Dinwiddie, Lt Gov of colonial Virginia
The Virginian Militia
"On Campaign Against Fort Duquesne: The Braddock and Forbes Expeditions, 1755 "..., By Douglas R. Cubbison
General Edward Braddock, British
Braddock's death.
British Army
General Jeffrey Amherst.

General Jeffrey Amherst was born in Great Britain and led the British army over in North America. In Sept, 1758 Amherst was in charge of the 60th (Royal American) Regiment. Then Amherst then led British troops and Colonial militia against the French troops on Lake Champlain, where he captured Fort Ticonderoga in July 1759. After 1759 he served as governor of Virginia.


This battle is lauded as the most important battle that occurred before 1775 in North America.
By the end of the 1740's Virginia settlers' were viewing the Forks of the Ohio River as a good place to resettle. Land there seemed extra fertile and tobacco growers wanted the best soil. They had exhausted the Virginia soil with the cultivation of tobacco, and did not know about crop rotation. A group formed the Ohio company and received a grant of 200,000 acres for 100 families. They agreed to build a fort, settle there. A second group established the Loyal Land Company, for a grant of 800,000 Acres in the area of Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Unfortunately the area appealed to both the British and French.

Early in the 1750's, young George Washington was sent with a message to the French. Message was to inform the French that the French should not settle on land the British had claimed. This resulted in a battle, with over 150 men were killed by the French forces. He had to retreat.

During the Jumonville Affair, young George Washington ambushed the small French force. He fired the first shot, according to the Iroqois warrior, then his men began firing. The French had brought in 600 troops and captured Fort Trent. George Washington attacked, defeated the majority of the British.


George Washington then retreated. His Virginia militia built Fort Necessity to be a British-American block against the French advances into what they felt was British territory. When the French attacked this Fort, they escorted Washington and the Virginians back to Virginia. They made them promise not to try another fort for over a year

Following this episode, the British sent General Edward Braddock in to 'handle' all of colonial America, He had orders to capture the French-held Fort Duquesne (near present day Pittsburgh). Fort Duquesne guarded the Forks of the Ohio River, and was the gateway to the trans- Appalachian West. His orders were to capture the 3 French-held forts, to preserve the British held land, and restore the Native Americans' rights totheir land.

In reading of this man he may have been misrepresented by many. At least as his army marched toward Fort Duquesne, he did have the army stop and repair each bridge.

Map of Duquesne

#16 is the place General Edward Braddock was attacked. (The fort is near there, shown as small square)

General Edward Braddock told the Native Americans that he was supposed to attack, capture the 3 forts and restore the Native Americans' rights to their land. He was probably no worse than other Generals of his time. As his army marched along, he did have them stop and repair each bridge. The General knew Fort Duquesne details as an English hostage of Fort Necessity had smuggled out a diagram and report was smuggled out. All the British needed were to arrive at Fort Duquesne!

See Source: University of Pittsburgh, Robert Stobo to Colonel Innes, July 28, 1754

A Downfall for the American Virginian colonists occurred when General Edward Braddock issued orders which removed the rank of the American field officers and colonial generals. Thus at this time, George Washington had no rank, except aide-de-camp. (Bad on morale.)
Attack of French and Indians on Gen Braddock.

The French forces and their scouts had adapted the same warfare the Native Americans and American colonists, to use natural ravines, or forests for cover. The French kept track of General Edward Braddock's progress toward Fort Duquesne (using scouts) as he and the British troops with American Virginians marched along. The dark forested areas covered them as they watched before they attacked the British. The Native Americans were in the forest also, watching, as the British army under General Edward Braddock began crossing the Monongahela river, and later as General Edward Braddock approached .

The French forces and Native Americans attacked from the natural breastworks-trees.

Native Americans in forest.
The Map:

The British crossed the river, but marched in their orderly European war lines. They were sitting ducks for the French to fire their weapons, or the Indians to throw a tomahawk, arrow, knife.

Attack on Braddock.

Once the attack began, General Edward Braddock gave orders to the British officers to charge up the hill and drive the French the forest. Since they could not see the enemy, they were in terror, and fired straight into the forest randomly. The Native Americans in the woods could creep through ravines and tree cover and fire upon the British in the red coats.

George Washington.

First the French and the Indians allied with them, killed the officers on horseback. Edward Braddock himself found another horse, tried to restore order. General Edward Braddock survived 3 hours, with having 3 horses killed beneath him, then was shot through his arms and lung. This resulted in his death.

During the attack, young George Washington had asked Braddock to use his Virginians' method of warfare. (Using the trees and ravines for cover to fire from shelter). However Braddock refused. He found a fresh horse, as nearly all officers were lost, General Edward Braddock tried to restore order. The only man who could be fired upon without falling was the Virginian Ranger whom Edward Braddock had insulted,George Washington Soon a reinforcement of 800 men under Col. Burton arrived.

Attack on Braddock
George Washington was at this time no more than aide-de-camp.

Two-thirds of the standard British army were defeated by an army composed of American Indians and French. Also killed was General Edward Braddock. It was a slaughter that ended in 3-4 hours. Reasons:

  • British soldiers were hindered by crossing the Monongahela River, which had a considerable bend and high banks, causing them to cross the river twice to reach the fort, July 9, 1755.
  • They assumed they were the superior force
  • The British were using the European order for marching as if on a field-day in England.
  • They marched without advance guards or scouts.
  • When the French and Indians attacked, the British huddled in squads.
Edward Braddock.


Some assume Braddock's road is the old National Road. (U.S. Rt 40.) It is on private land in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and only intersects U.S. 50 in spots.

Braddock Road, Fort Necessity

Scars today are from thousands of settlers using the road to travel westward. Accessible to public are Fort Necessity National Battlefield and the crest of Big Savage Mountain (Savage River State Forest). The rest is private property. The battlefield is in the town of North Braddock, Pennsylvania (outside Pittsburgh).

Forts in the French and Indian war.


George Washington.
  • The Virginian Militia
"On Campaign Against Fort Duquesne: The Braddock and Forbes Expeditions, 1755 "..., By Douglas R. Cubbison
Partial list: of troops
Capt Robert Stewart's Virginia Troop of Horse Rangers (29)
44th Halket's Regiment of Foot
48th Dunbar's Regiment of Foot
Capt. Rutherford's New York Independent Companies
Capt. William Peronee's Virginia Rangers
Capt. Wagner's Virginia Rangers
Capt Adam Steven's Virginia Rangers
Capt. William Polson's Virginia Carpenters
Braddock's death.
  • British Army

Amherst, born in Great Britain, led British army in North America, and was over the 60th (Royal American) Regiment in September 1758. Amherst then led an army against French troops on Lake Champlain, where he captured Fort Ticonderoga in July 1759. After 1759 he served as governor of Virginia.

Major of brigade Lt Francis Halkett (44th )
Royal Regiment of Artillery
Sailors of the Royal Navy under Lt Spindelow)

French army -

Montcalm, Native Americans.
Joseph Louis de Montcalm
Marquis de Vaudreuil

Baron Dieskau

François Marie Marchand de Lignery
Chevalier de Lévis
Joseph de Jumonville
Marquis Duquesne
Daniel Liénard de Beaujeu
10,000 regulars and militia
  • Native Americans
  • Canadian Army

District of Québec: 1759 -militiamen District of Montréal: 1759 - men sent to Quebec City District of Trois-Rivière: 1759 - men sent Quebec City Canadien Cavalry Acadian Militia 1759 Native Indians 1759 -


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This is excellent, Mary!!
posted by Paula J