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Braddock killed by one of his own men.
killed venturing out to take scalps, but much the larger portion fought wholly in the ravines.
It is not probable, that either General Braddock or any one of his officers suspected the actual situation of the enemy, during the whole bloody contest. It was a fault with the General, for which no apology can be offered, that he did not keep scouts and guards in advance and on the wings of the army, who would have made all proper discoveries before the whole had been brought into a snare. This neglect was the primary cause of his defeat; which might have been avoided. Had he charged with the bayonet, the ravine would have been cleared instantly; or had he brought his artillery to the points where the ravines terminated in the valley, and scoured them with grape-shot, the same consequence would have followed.
But the total insubordination of his troops would have prevented both these movements, even if he had become acquainted with the ground in the early part of the action. The disasters of this day, and the fate of the commander, brave and resolute as he undoubtedly was, are to be ascribed to his contempt of Indian warfare, his overweening confidence in the prowess of veteran troops, his obstinate self-complacency, his disregard of prudent council, and his negligence in leaving his army exposed to a surprise on their march. He freely consulted Colonel Washington, whose experience and judgment, notwithstanding his youth, claimed the highest respect for his opinions; but the General gave little heed to his advice. While on his march, George Croghan, the Indian interpreter, joined him with one hundred friendly Indians, who offered their services. These were accepted in so cold a manner, and the Indians themselves treated with so much neglect, that they deserted him one after another. Washington pressed upon the importance of these men, and the necessity of conciliating and retaining them, but without effect.
A report had long been current in Pennsylvania, that Braddock was shot by one of his own men, founded on the declaration of a provincial soldier, who was in the action. There is another tradition also, worthy of notice, which rests on the authority of Dr. Craik, the intimate friend of Washington from his boyhood to his death, and who was with him at the battle of the Monongahela. Fifteen years after that event, they travelled together on an expedition to the Western country, with a party of woodsmen, for the purpose of exploring wild lands. While near the junction of the Great Kenhawa and Ohio Rivers, a company of Indians came to them with an interpreter, at the head of whom was an aged and venerable chief. This personage made known to them by the interpreter, that, hearing Colonel Washington was in that region, he had come a long way to visit him, adding, that during the battle of the Monongahela, he had singled him out as a conspicuous
1755. object, fired his rifle at him many times, and directed his young warriors to do the same, but to his utter astonishment none of their balls took effect. He was then persuaded, that the youthful hero was under the special guardianship of the Great Spirit, and ceased to fire at him any longer. He was now come to pay homage to the man, who was a particular favorite of Heaven, and who could never die in battle. Mr. Custis, of Arlington, to whom these incidents were related by Dr. Craik, has dramatized them in a piece called The Indian Prophecy.
When the battle was over, and the remnant of Braddock's army had gained, in their flight, the opposite bank of the river, Colonel Washington was dispatched by the General to meet Colonel Dunbar, and order forward wagons for the wounded with all possible speed. But it was not till the 11th, after they had reached Gist's plantation with great difficulty and much suffering from hunger, that any arrived. The General was at first brought off in a tumbril ; he was next put on horse-back, but being unable to ride, was obliged to be carried by the soldiers. They all reached Dunbar's camp, to which the panic had already extended, and a day was passed there in great confusion. The artillery was destroyed, and the public stores and heavy baggage were burnt, by whose order was never known. They moved forward on the 13th, and that night General Braddock died, and was buried in the road, for the purpose of concealing his body from the Indians. The spot is still pointed out, within a few yards of the present national road, and about a mile west of the site of Fort Necessity at the Great Meadows. Captain Stewart, of the Virginia Forces, had taken particular charge of him from the time he was wounded till his death. On the 17th, the sick and wounded arrived at Fort Cumberland, and were soon after joined by Colonel Dunbar with the remaining fragments of the army.
The French sent out a party as far as Dunbar's camp, and destroyed every thing that was left. Colonel Washington being in very feeble health, proceeded in a few days to Mount Vernon.
To this we add a few paragraphs from the memoirs of James Smith who was a prisoner at Fort Du Quesne, at the time of this celebrated action.*
I asked him what news from Braddock's army. He said the Indians spied them every day, and he showed me, by maing marks on the ground with a stick, that Braddock's army was advancing in very close
See also as to Braddock's defeat, Sherman Day’s Historical Collections of Pennsyslvania, published at Philadelphia and New Haven, p. 72 to 75; and for proof of the fact that Braddock was intentionally shot by one of his own men, p. 335. Also pamphlets Damed in the Preface to this volume.
77 order, and that the Indians would surround them, take trees, and (as he expressed it) shoot um down all one pigeon.
Shortly after this, on the 9th day of July, 1755, in the morning, I heard a great stir in the fort. As I could then walk with a staff in my hand, I went out of the door, which was just by the wall of the fort, and stood upon the wall, and viewed the Indians in a huddle before the gate, where were barrels of powder, bullets, flints, &c., and every one taking what suited. I saw the Indians also march off in rank entire ; likewise the French Canadians, and some regulars. After viewing the Indians and French in different positions, I computed them to be about four hundred, and wondered that they attempted to go out against Braddock with so small a party. I was then in high hopes that I would soon see them ly before the British troops, and that General Braddock would take the fort and rescue me.
I remained anxious to know the event of this day; and, in the afternoon, I again observed a great noise and commotion in the fort, and though at that time I could not understand French, yet I found that it was the voice of joy and triumph, and feared that they had received what I called bad news.
I had observed some of the old country soldiers speak Dutch ; as I spoke Dutch, I went to one of them, and asked him what was the news. He told me that a runner had just arrived, who said that Braddock would certainly be defeated ; that the Indians and French had surrounded him, and were concealed behind trees and in gullies, and kept a constant fire upon the English, and that they saw the English falling in heaps, and if they did not take the river, which was the only gap, and make their escape, there would not be one man left alive before sundown. Some time after this I heard a number of scalp halloos, and saw a company of Indians and French coming in. I observed they had a great many bloody scalps, grenadiers' caps, British canteens, bayonets, &c. with them. They brought the news that Braddock was defeated. After that another company came in, which appeared to be about one hundred, and chiefly Indians, and it seemed to me that almost every one of this company was carrying scalps ; after this came another company with a number of wagon horses, and also a great many scalps. Those that were coming in, and those that had arrived, kept a constant firing of small arms, and also the great guns in the fort, which were accompanied with the most hideous shouts and yells from all quarters ; so that it appeared to me as if the infernal regions had broke loose.
About sundown I beheld a small party coming in with about a dozen prisoners, stripped naked, with their hands tied behind their backs, and their faces and part of their bodies blacked; these prisoners they burned to death on the bank of Alleghany river, opposite to the fort. I stood on the fort wall until I beheld them begin to burn one of these
Commencement of the Seven Years' War. 1756. men; they had him tied to a stake, and kept touching him with firebrands, red-hot irons, &c., and he screamed in a most doleful manner; the Indians, in the mean time, yelling like infernal spirits.
As this scene appeared too shocking for me to behold, I retired to my lodgings both sore and sorry.
When I came into my lodgings I saw Russel's Seven Sermons, which they had brought from the field of battle, which a Frenchman made a present to me. From the best information I could receive, there were only seven Indians and four French killed in this battle, and five hundred British lay dead in the field, besides what were killed in the river on their retreat.
The morning after the battle I saw Braddock's artillery brought into the fort ; the same day I also saw several Indians in British officers' dress, with sash, half-moon, laced hats, &c., which the British then wore.*
Although the doings of 1755, recorded above, could not well be looked on as of a very amicable character, war was not declared by either France or England, until May of the following year; and even then France was the last to proclaim the contest which she had been so long carrying on, though more than three hundred of her merchant vessels had been taken by British privateers. The causes of this proceeding are not very clear to us. France thought, beyond doubt, that George would fear to declare war, because Hanover was so exposed to attack; but why the British movements, upon the sea particularly, did not lead to the declaration on the part of France is not easily to be guessed. Early in 1756, however, both kingdoms formed alliances in Europe; France with Austria, Russia, and Sweden; England with the Great Frederic. And then commenced forth with the Seven Years' War, wherein most of Europe, North America, and the East and West Indies partook and suffered.
Into the details of that war we cannot enter; not even into those of the contest in North America. In Virginia many things worthy of notice took place, but most of them took place east of the mountains — among western events we find only the following: -Immediately after Braddock's defeat, the Indians began to push their excursions across the mountains, so that in April 1756, Washington writes from Winchester; “The Blue Ridge is now our frontier, no men being left in this county (Frederick) except a few who keep close with a number of women and children in
Colonel Smith's Captivity, in Drake's Indian Captivities, p. 183.
1756. Expedition against the Indian towns upon the Ohio. 79 forts." Under these, or similar circumstances, it was deemed advisable to send an expedition against the Indian towns upon the Ohio; Major Lewis, in January 1756, was appointed to command the troops to be used in the proposed irruption, and the point aimed at was apparently the upper Shawanese town,* situated on the Ohio three miles above the mouth of the Great Kenhawa.t The attempt proved a failure, in consequence, it is said, of the swollen state of the streams, and the treachery of the guides, and Major Lewis and his party suffered greatly. Of this expedition, however, we have no details unless it be, as we suspect, the same with the “Sandy Creek voyage" described by Withers, in his Border warfare, as occurring in 1757, during which year Washington's letters make no reference to any thing of the kind. Withers moreover says, the return of the party was owing to orders from Governor Fauquier; but Dinwiddie did not leave until January, 1758.; || and the French town of Galliopolis, which, the Border Warfare says, was to have been destroyed by the Virginians did not exist till nearly forty years later. If there were two expeditions, in both the troops underwent the same kind of suffering; in both were forced to kill and eat their horses; and in both were unsuccessful.
Upon a larger scale it was proposed during 1756, to attack Crown Point, Niagara, and Fort Du Quesne, but neither was attacked; for Montcalm took the forts at Oswego, which he destroyed to quiet the jealousy of the Iroquois, within whose territory they were built, and this stroke seemed to paralyze all
One bold blow was made by Armstrong at Kittaning, on the Alleghany, in September,s and the frontiers of Pennsylvania for a time were made safe; but otherwise the year in America wore out with little result.
During the next year, 1757, nothing took place, but the capture of Fort William Henry, by Montcalm, and the massacre of its
The lower Shawanese town was just below the mouth of the Scioto. See Croghan's Journal — Butler's Kentucky, second edition, 462.
+ Sparks' Washington, ii. 527.
| Sparks' Washington, ii. 270. Had the return been owing to the Governor's orders, would Lieutenant M’Nutt, as Withers states, have presented his journal blaming Lewis for returning, to the very Governor whose commands he obeyed ? Border Warfare, 65.
$ Holmes' Annals, vol. ii. p. 73.-Burk’s Virginia, vol. iii. p. 221.-Day's Historical Collections of Pennsylvania, 96. Holmes, (referring to New York Historical Collections, iü. 399,) says the Ohio Indians had already killed one thousand persons on the frontier : Armstrong did not, however, destroy more than forty savages.