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History of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 online

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Washington's reply was couched in terms that evince clearly his

i"Writings of Washington;" Vol. II, p. 64.

^''Braddock's Expedition, etc.;" W. Sargent, p. i55- See note in ''Writings of
George Washington," W. C. Ford, Vol. I, p. 142.

«"Hist West Pa., etc.," p. 95. Sparks' "Washington," Vol. II, p. 68.

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gratification at the compliment. He had addressed a congratulatory
letter to Braddock on his arrival. Washington confessed to a laudable
desire to serve his King and Country. He wrote Orme in accepting the
oflfer, that he wished earnestly to obtain some knowledge in the military
profession, and believing a more favorable opportunity could not oflfer
than service under a gentleman of Gen. Braddock's abilities and experi-
ence. Orme could reasonably suppose this belief had not a little influ-
ence in his choice. Domestic cares kept Washington from reporting
for duty until early in May, when he joined Braddock at Frederick,
Maryland.* Washington was treated with great consideration during
his unavoidable delay, for Orme wrote : "The General orders me to give
you his compliments and to assure you that his wishes are to make it
agreeable to yourself and consistent with your aflfairs, and therefore he
desires you will so settle your business at home as to join him at Wills
Creek, if more convenient to you, and whenever you find it necessary to
return, he begs you will look upon yourself as entirely master, and judge
what is necessary to be done."

Throughout the campaign, Braddock's appreciation of Washington
goes far, as Sargent says, to soften the common impression of bru-
tality and haughtiness attributed to Braddock. Washington and Frank-
lin were the only two natives of America upon whom Braddock bestowed
an unstinted approbation, which Sargent thought argued that Brad-
dock was no common character to have perceived in their dawning the
future meridian brightness of the glorious minds of the future Father
of Our Country, and the sapient Dr. Franklin. Though Washington
and his chief had many a wordy battle, in which Washington held stub-
bornly to his opinions, Braddock maintained a high esteem for his
Virginia aide, and to this eflfect Dinwiddie is on record, saying that
if Braddock had survived "he would have provided handsomely for
Washington in the regulars."

Soon after Gen. Braddock arrived in Virginia, he called upon the
Governors of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and Massa-
chusetts to meet him in convention at Annapolis, Maryland, to concert
measures for future operations. The meeting took place, but was
adjourned to meet at Alexandria. On the 14th of April, 1755, a council
was held at Camp Alexandria, Virginia, in which measures were con-
certed for the united action of the middle and northern colonies. There
were present at this council His Excellency, Edward Braddock, Com-
mander-in-chief of His Majesty's forces in North America; Augustus
Keppel, Commander-in-chief of His Majesty's ships and vessels in North
America; William Shirley, Governor of Massachusetts; Robert Din-
widdie, Governor of Virginia ; James Delancy, Governor of New York ;
Horatio Sharpe, Governor of Maryland; and Robert Hunter Morris,
Governor of Pennsylvania. At this conference the simultaneous attacks
upon Forts Duquesne, Crown Point and Niagara were decreed and the
end of June fixed upon as the time when several attacks should be
carried into execution. Shirley's move against Niagara was a complete

^"Writings of Washington;" Sparks, Vol. II, pp. 68-69.

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fiasco. The timid Johnson's success at Crown Point, gained under the
command of Johnson's subordinates and accredited to Johnson, led only
to the better fortifying of Ticonderoga by the French, to "become a name
of awe for the colonists," observes Julian Hawthorne. Verily the year
1755 was one of gloom for the English and especially for the northern
colonies in America.

The colony of Pennsylvania then contained about 300,000 inhabitants.
It had no debt ; possessed a surplus revenue of fifteen thousand pounds
in bank ; and was able, besides supplying her own people, to afford sub-
sistence to 100,000 men. This amount of surplus produce was annually
exported from Philadelphia, which with other commodities, employed
more than five hundred vessels mostly owned by the merchants of
the city. It has been remarked by historians that the place of debarka-
tion of Braddock's troops was selected with that ignorance and want
of judgment which then distinguished the British ministry. The Vir-
ginia country could furnish neither provisions nor carriages for the army,
while Pennsylvania, rich in grain and well stocked with wagons, could
readily have supplied food and the means to transport the army to any

Accounts of Braddock's march and battle are many from both Eng^-
lish and French sources. The English sources are few, Orme's Journal .
the principal one. His letter to Dinwiddie, and Washington's letters
to his mother and brother, and the letter of William Johnston, a commis-
sariat officer, are most valuable. There were extended accounts pub-
lished in the London newspapers and the "Gentleman's Magazine" of
London in August and September, 1755. Then there is what is known
as the Morris Journal, given by Capt. Hewitt, Royal Navy, to his friend,
Henry Gage Morris, R. N., whose father was an aide-de-camp with
Washington to Gen. Braddock. Then there is also the document
attributed to Engineer Harry Gordon and known as the "Journal of
the Proceedings of the Detachment of Seamen ordered by Commodore
Keppel to assist in the late Expedition to the Ohio, etc.; with an im-
partial account of the late Action on the Banks of the Monongahela on
the 9th of July, 1755 ; as related by some of the Principal officers that
day in the Field from the loth April, 1755, to the i8th August, when
the Detachment of Seamen Embarked on board His Majesty's Ship
'Guarland' at Hampton in Virginia." Winthrop Sargent has used all
these and quotes largely from French sources; Pouchot, Mante, and
others from copies procured by Sparks in the archives of the War
Department at Paris, the gist of which is given by Sparks in his second
volume of "Washington's Life and Writings," to which reference can be
had. Then there are the affidavits of the fleeing and fleet teamsters
in the Colonial Records. Neville B. Craig follows Sargent with copious
extracts from the King's Mss. in the British Museum, that were
presented to the Museum by George IV.

It was a toilsome and laborious march. Gist and his son Nathaniel
were guides, but much of the road had to be cut through a wilderness.

5Cf. "History of Pennsylvania;" Gordon, p. 292.

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This has since gone into history as Braddock's road, most parts of it
long since abandoned.

Commenting on the forebodings of Sir Peter Halket after mention
of Secretary Shirley's as expressed in his letter to Governor Morris
noticed post, Sargent offers this bit of fine writing:

It is with a little surprise that we find reason to suppose the second in command
was not free from similar forebodings. As though gifted with that mysterious power
of "second sight" which is attributed to the seers of his native land, Sir Peter Halket,
whose sands of life had but twelve more hours to run, with a melancholy earnestness
pressed that night upon the General the propriety of thoroughly examining every foot
of ground between his present position and the fort, lest through this neglect he should
peril his army's existence, and as it were plunge his head into the lion's jaws. The
advice, as will be seen, was not altogether neglected ; but its more important feature of
beating the forest as hunters of the Highlands would drive their game was set aside
by Braddock as unsuitable to the exigencies of his position. With a sad presentiment of
undefined evil, Halket withdrew. Did he in sooth possess the fatal power of peering
into futurity, and exploring the secrets of unborn time, what awful visions would have
pressed upon his soull Unconscious of their doom, around him slumbered hundreds of
gallant men, sleeping their last sleep on an unbloody couch, nor heeding the tempest
gathering fast above, which overcoming like a summer's cloud, should pour destruction
on their devoted heads. Through the long summer's day, the wearied army, antici-
pating aught rather than defeat, had marched steadily onward. The encircling woods
shut out all prospect of the heavens save the serene blue sky directly overhead, bright
with meridian splendor; but all around, beyond their narrow ken, a dark curtain hung
like a pall upon the skirts of the horizon, and driving clouds and gathering eagles
boded the coming storm. Footsore and toilwom, the tropps were now steeped in slum-
ber; and in dreams that came from heaven through the ivory gates, they beheld them-

" arrived at last

Unto the wished haven."

They saw their labors crowned with glory, their wanderings rounded with well-
eamed repose. But through the narrow passage that lay between them and their prom-
ised land rolled darkling waters of an unseen stream, blacker than night, deeper than
the grave; for on its shore, not death alone, but dishonor, and disgrace, and defeat, with
welcoming hands, awaited their approach. Behind the western hilb their sun sunk for
evermore, incarnadining in his parting rays the bright current of the Monongahela, over-
hung by stately groves bending to the waters their pensile boughs :

" ^lucos, amoenae

Quos et aquae subeunt et aurae."

To the prophetic vision of the Scottish deuteroscopia, these waters would have
curdled with the clotted gore of the morrow's eve; the moaning trees would have
sighed responsive to the sad wailings of the winds of night; and along the guflty shores
would have flitted in griesly hands the bloody ghosts of the unburied slain.^

The woods with their refreshing waters and wafting airs sound good,
alas I the French and Indians likewise subeunt. They were surely in
the woods.

The condition of the troops at times was distressing, as witness the
following from a letter from an officer to a friend in London, published
there in 1756:

In fine, in Europe, the men were better fed than taught ; now they must be better
taught than fed Indeed the Ofificers are as ill off about Food as the men, and the Gen-
eral himself, who understands good eating, as well as any man, cannot find wherewithal

^"History of Braddock's Expedition ;" Sargent, pp. 214-216.

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to make a tolerable Dinner of, though he hath two good cooks who could make excel-
lent Ragout out of a Pair of Boots, had they but the materials to toss them up with;
the Provisk>n in the Settlements was bad, but here we can get nothing but Indian Com,
or mouldy Bisket; the fresh bread we must bake in holes in the ground having no
ovens, so besides the mustiness of the flour, it is half sand and dirt We are happy if
we can get some rusty salt pork, or Beef, which hath been carried without pickle; for
as we cannot carry Barrels on horses, we are forced to take out the meat and put it in
Packs on Horses backs, sometimes we get a few live Cattle from the Cow-Pens, but
they are so lean that they are Carion and unwholesome. To this is added, the heat of
the country, which occasions such faintness, that the men can hardly carry their arms;
and sometimes when these heats are a little relaxed, there comes such storms of rain,
thtmder and lightening that all the elements seems on fire; numbers of pine trees are
struck to shivers, and such effects of lightening, that if not seen one could hardly
believe; yet we have not as yet had one man killed by lightening, but we have had
several Idlled by the bite of snakes which are mortal, and abound prodigiously in
the swamps, through which we are often forced to march; there is another incon-
veniency, which, though it seems small, has been as teasing to me as the greater,
that is a kind of Tick, or forest bug, that gets into the legs, and occasions inflam-
mations and ulcers, so that the wound itches and makes one ready to tear off the
flesh; this hath greatly distressed both men and officers, and there is not help nor
cure for it but patience; indeed they seldom occasion lameness, tho' sometimes tfaey
do; a soldier in our company was forced to have his leg cut off, for the inflamma-
tion caused by the many bites mortified We have nothing but trees, swamps and
thickets, round us. I cannot conceive how we must do if we are attacked, nor how we
can get up to attack; but the best is what the general said, to reassure the old Soldiers
who are all uneasy for fear of being attacked on the long march in defiles, his Excel-
lency with great Judiciousness says, that where the woods are too thick so as to hinder
our coming at them, they will hinder them from coming at us.7

Of the sachem in command of the Indians who remained, nine in all,
Hadden has this story :

Monacatootha, known also as Scarooyada, with a few of his followers, not more than
eight in number, however, followed Braddock through the campaign and rendered valuable
service. At a council held at Onondago by the Six Nations, Monacatootha had been
selected to succeed Tanacharisson or Half-King, as sachem. The clever pencil of the
artist could not throw upon canvass a more dignified specimen of the noble race. The
majestic form of this warrior as it towers above his followers leading the van, fol-
lowed by the glittering array of the first disciplined army whose martial tread ever
awoke the echoes of these primeval forests was grand in the extreme. His legg^s were
frilled with locks from the dried scalps of his conquered foes ; his own scalp lock,
plaited down his back, a well understood token of defiance^ over which waved the plume
feathers of the eagle, the emblem of American liberty, was further gaudily ornamented
with the gorgeous plumage of the blue jay. On his noble breast was plainly tatooed a
tomahawk, the emblem of war, and on each cheek he bore the signs of the hunter, the
bow and arrow.

The army had marched but a little over twenty miles from Fort Cumberland when
Monacatootha who was a little in advance, was surrounded and taken by some French
and Indians. The former were determined to put him to death but the latter remon-
strated and even threatened to join the English should the French carry out their
design. The sachem was then lashed to a tree and left to his fate, but fortunately was
soon found and released by his son and other Indians.

While the army was encamped at Thicketty Run, July 4th, two of Monacatootha's
men were sent to reconnoiter and returned with the scalp of a French officer which
they had succeeded in taking within half a mile of the fort.

7"Extracts from Letters from an Officer in One of the Regiments, etc;" Chapter
VI in ''Braddock's Road and Three Relative Papers," in ''Historic Highways of Amer-
ica" series. Vol. IV, Archer Butler Hulbert.

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On July 6th, while the army was on the march from Thicketty Run, by a disre-
gard of a preconcerted signal, Manacatootha's son was fired upon and killed by some
outrangers of Braddock's army. The general displayed great sorrow for the unfor-
tunate occurrence and after due expressions of sympathy and donations caused the
body to be buried in the honors of war at the next encampment, which also received the
name of "Monacatootha" in honor of the bereaved sachem.8

Craig reciting pages concerning the very important event of Brad-
dock's defeat states :

We have received from T. C. Atkinson, of Cumberland, Maryland, lately employed
on the Pittsburgh and Connellsville Railroad, a very able and interesting article on the
subject of Braddock's route to the Monongahela, with a very beautiful map of the
country by Mr. Middleton, one of Mr. Atkinson's assistants on the survey of the rail-
road. The article of Mr. Atkinson, and the map furnish all the information as to the
march of Gen. Braddock's army which can now be hoped for.

Mr. Atkinson had for years devoted much time to the examination of the route of
the army of Braddock eastward, and some distance westward of Cumberland, and his
late employ along the Youghiogany and Monongahela, afforded him an opportunity to
complete his work.®

Craig's statements above follow a long letter from Sparks concerning
Braddock's route dated Salem, Mass., Feb. i8, 1847, which appeared in
the October number of "The Olden Time," 1847. In his "History of
Pittsburgh," he says, introducing the extracts from Atkinson and the
King's Library : "We have concluded to give full accounts of the march
of Braddock and his defeat. Fortunately for our present purpose, it so
happened that while the compiler of these annals was publishing the
'Olden Time,' he received from Mr. Atkinson, Civil Engineer, a very
satisfactory account of the march of the army from Cumberland to the
field of battle. It is a document worthy of preservation and we have
concluded to insert it in full as part of our work. Mr. Atkinson pro-
ceeds as follows :^^

Braddock*s Route to the Battle of the Monongahela.

The army struck the Little Cacapehon (though pronounced Cacapon, I have used
for the occasion the spelling of Washington, and various old documents) about six
miles above its mouth, and following the stream, encamped on the Virginia side of the
Potomac, preparatory to crossing into Maryland. The water is supposed to have been
high at the time, as the spot is known as Ferry-fields, from the army having been fer-
ried over. This was about the 4th or 5th of May.

The army thence pursued the banks of the river, with a slight deviation of route
at the mouth of the South Branch, to the village of Old Town, known at that time as
the Shawnee Old Town, modern use having dropped the most characteristic part of
the name. This place, distanced about eight miles from the Ferry-fields, was known at
that early day as the residence of Col. Thomas Cresap, an English settler, and the
father of the hero of Logan's speech. The road proceeded thence parallel with the
river and at the foot of the hills, till it passed the narrows of Wills Mountain, whence
it struck out a shorter line coincident with the present coimtry road, and lying between
the railroad and the mountain to Fort Cumberland.

From the Little Cacapehon to this point the ground was comparatively easy, and the
road had been generally judiciously chosen. Thenceforward the character of. the

^"Washington's and Braddock's Expeditions:" Tames Hadden, pp. 72-74.

©The "Olden Time;" Vol. II, p. 467.

io"History of Pittsburgh;" Craig (Edition 1917), pp. 37-36. The Pittsburgh &
Connellsville railroad since 1871 has been part of tiie Pittsburgh division of the Balti-
more & Ohio railroed.

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ground was altered, not so much in the general aspect of the country, as that the
march was about to abandon the valleys, and now real difficulties of the expedition may
be said to commence. •

The fort [Cumberland] had been commenced the previous year, after the surrender
of the Great Meadows, by Col. Innes, who had with him two independent companies of
New York and South Carolina. It mounted ten four pounders, besides swivels, and was
favorably situated to keep the hostile Indians in check.

The army now consisted of 1000 regulars, 30 sailors, and 1200 provincials, besides
a train of artillery. The company from the former colony was commanded by Capt
Gates, afterwards the hero of Saratoga. On the 8th of June, Braddock, having through
the interest and exertions of Dr. Franklin principally, got 150 wagons and 2000 horses
from Pennsylvania, was ready to march.

Scarooyada, successor to Half-King of the Senecas, and Monacatootha, whose
acquaintance Washington had made on the Ohio, on his mission to Le Boeuf, with
about 150 Indians, Senecas and Delawares, accompanied him. George Croghan, the
Indian agent of Pennsylvania, and a friendly Indian of great value, called Susquehanna
Jack, were also with him.^^

The first brigade under Sir Peter Halket led the way on the 8th, and on the 9th
the main body followed. Some idea of the difficulties they encountered may be had
when we perceive they spent the third night only five miles from the first The place
of encampment which is about one-third of a mile from the toll-gate on the National
Road, is marked by a copious spring bearing Braddock's name.

For reasons, not easy to divine, the route across Wills Mountain first adopted for
the National Road was selected, instead of the more favorable one through the nar-
rows of Will's Creek, to which the road has been changed within a few years, for the
purpose of avoiding that formidable ascent The traces are very distinct on the east
and west slopes, the modem road crossing it frequently. From the western foot the
route continued up Braddock's Run to the forks of the stream, where Clary's tavern
now stands, nine miles from Cumberland, when it turned to the left, in order to reach
a point on the ridge favorable to an easy descent into the valley of George's Creek. It
is surprising that, having reached this high ground, the favorable spur by which the
National Road accomplished the ascent of the Great Savage Mountain, did not strike
the attention of the engineers, as the labor requisite to surmount the barrier from the
deep valley of George's Creel^ must have contributed greatly to those bitter complaints
which Braddock made against the Colonial Governments for their failure to assist him
more effectively in the transportation department.

Passing them a mile to the south of Frostburg (the site of) the road approaches
the east foot of Savage Mountain, which it crosses about one mile south of the
National Road, and thence by very favorable ground through the dense forests of
white pine peculiar to this region, it got to the north of the National Road, near the
gloomy tract called the Shades of Death. This was the 15th of June when the dense
gloom of the summer woods and the favorable shelter which these enormous pines
would give an Indian enemy, must have made a most sensible impression on all minds
of the insecurity of their mode of advance.

This doubtless had its share in causing the council of war held at Little Meadows
the next day. To this place, distant only about twenty miles from Cumberland, Sir John
Sinclair and Major Chapman had been dispatched on the 27th of May, to build a fort;
the army having been seven days in reaching it, it follows as the line of march was
upwards of three miles long, the rear was just getting under way when the advance
were lighting the evening fires.

Here it may be well enough to clear up an obscurity which enters into many nar-
ratives of these early events, from confusing the names of the Little Meadows and
Great Meadows, Little Crossings and Great Crossings, which are all distinct localities.

The Little Meadows have been described as at the foot of Meadow Mountain; it
is well to note that the Great Meadows are about 31 miles further west, and near the
east foot of Laurel Hill.

iiNote two errors— Scarooyada and Monacatootha are different names of the same
person. "Susquehanna Jack" was a white man.

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By the Little Crossings is meant the Ford of Casselman's River, a tributary of the
Youghiogheny ; and by the Great Crossings, the passage of the Youghiogheny itself.
The Little Crossings is two miles west of the Little Meadows, and the Great CtDSsings
17 miles further west. [The Great Crossings was at what is now Somerfield, Somerset
county, Pa. — ^Ed.)

The conclusion of the council was to push on with a picked force of 1200 men and
12 pieces of cannon; and the line of march, now more compact was resumed on the
19th. Passing over ground to the south of the Little Crossings, and of the village of
Grantsville, Md., which it skirted, the army spent the night of the 21st at the Bear
Camp, a locality I have not been able to identify, but suppose it to be midway to the
Great Crossings, which it reached on the 23rd. The route thence to the Great Meadows,
or Fort Necessity, was well chosen, though over a mountainous tract, conforming very
nearly to the ground now occupied by the National Road, and keeping on the dividing
ridge between the waters flowing into the Youghiogheny on the one hand, and the Cheat

Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 43 of 81)