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River on the other. Having crossed the Youghiogheny, we are now on the classic
ground of Washington's early career, where the skirmish with Jumonville, and Fort
Necessity, indicate the country laid open for them in the previous year. About one mile
west of the Great Meadows, and near the spot now marked as Braddock's grave, the
road struck off more to the north-west, in order to reach a pass through Laurel Hill,
that would enable them to strike the Youghiogheny, at a point afterwards known as
Stewart's Crossing, and about half a mile below the present town of Connellsville. This
part of the route is marked by the farm known as Mount Braddock. This second cross-
ing of the Youghiogheny was effected on the 30tfa of June. The high grounds inter-
vening between the river and its next tributary, Jacob's Creek, though trivial in com-
parison with that they had already passed, it may be supposed, presented serious
obstacles to the troops, worn out with previous exertions. On the 3rd of July a council
of war was held at Jacob's Creek, to consider the propriety of bringing forward Col.
Dunbar with the reserve, and although urged by Sir John Sinclair, with, as one may
suppose, his characteristic vehemence, the measure was rejected on sufficient grounds.
From the crossing of Jacob's Creek, which was at the point where Welshons' Mill now
stands, about one and one-half miles below Mount Pleasant, the route stretched off to
the north, crossing the Mount Pleasant Turnpike near the village of the same name,
and thence by a more westerly course, passing the Great Sewickley Creek near Painter's
Salt Works, thence south and west of the Post Offices of Madison and Jslcksonville. it
reached the Brush Fork of Turtle Creek. It must strike those who examine the map,
that the route for some distance, in the rear and ahead of Mount Pleasant, is out of the
proper direction of Fort Duquesne, and accordingly we find on the 7th of July, Gen-
eral Braddock in doubt as to his proper way of proceeding. The crossing of Brush
Creek, which he had now reached, appeared to be attended with so much hazard, that
parties were sent to reconnoitre, some of whom advanced so far as to kill a French
officer within half a mile of Fort Duquesne.

Their examinations induced a great divergence to the left; availing himself of the
valley of Long Run, which he turned into, as is supposed, at Stewartsville,i2 passing
by the place now known as Samson's Mill, the army made one of the best marches of
the campaign, and halted for the night at a favorable depression between that stream
and Crooked Run, and about two miles from the Monongahela. At this point, about
four miles from the battle ground, which is yet well known as Braddock's Spring, he
was rejoined by Washington on the morning of the 9th of July.

The approach to the river was now down the valley of Crooked Run to its mouth,
where the point of fording is still manifest, from a deep notch in the west bank,
though rendered somewhat obscure by the improved navigation of the river. The
advance, under CoL Gage, crossed about 8 o'clock, and continued by the foot of the
hill bordering the broad river bottom to the second fording, which he had effected as
soon as the rear had got through the first.

The second and last fording near the mouth of Turtle Creek, was in full view of
the enemy's position, and about one mile distant. By i o'clock the whole army had



i^Now Trafford City, formerly Stewart's Station, on the Pennsylvania Railroad.



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EDWARD BRADDOCK, GENERALISSIMO 315

gained the right bank» and was drawn up on the bottom land, near Frazier's house,
(spoken of l^ Washington, as his stopping place, on his mission to Le Boeuf ) and about
^ee-fourths of a mile distant from the ambuscade.

The advance was now about to march, and while a part of the army was yet stand-
ing on the plain, the firing was heard. Not an enemy had yet been seen.is

"The following account of the proceedings of the army for a few
days before and after the battle," continues Craig, "is taken from the
Diary of a person, who was evidently a participator in all those trans-
actions, and IS the best narrative we have seen; for which reason we
insert it in full." It seems curious that Craig did not say that this
account taken from the King's Mss., was written by Orme. However,
the account as Craig has it, reads as follows :
Gknsrai, Braddock's ExpsDinoN, i755.~King's Library; Vol. 212, P. 87, to the End.14

July 4th — ^We marched about six miles to Thickettyrun ; the country was now less
mountainous and rocky, and the woods rather more open, consisting chiefly of white
oak

From this part two of our Indians were prevailed upon to go for intelligence
towards the French fort, and also (unknown* to them). Gist, the General's guide.

The Indians returned on the 6th and brought in a French officer's scalp, who was
shooting within a half mile of the Fort They informed the General that they saw
very few men there or tracks, nor any additional works; that no pass was possessed
by them between us and the Fort, and that they believed very few men were out upon
observation. * * * They saw some boats under the Fort, and one with a white
flag coming down the Ohio. (Allegheny).

Gist returned a little after, the same day, whose account corresponded with theirs,
excepting that he saw smoke in a valley between our camp and Duquesne. He had
concealed himself with an intent of getting close under the Fort in the night, but he
was discovered and pursued by two Indians who had very near taken him.

At this camp the provisions from Colonel Dunbar, with a detachment of a captain
and 100 men, joined us, and we halted here one day.

On the 6^ of July we marched about six miles to Monakatuca Camp, which was
called so from an unhappy accident that happened upon the march.

Three or four people loitering on the rear of the Grenadiers were killed by a party
of Indians and scalped. Upon hearing the firing, the General sent back the Grenadier
company, on whose approach the Indians fled. They were discovered again a little
after by our Indians in the front, who were going to Are upon them, but were pre-
vented by some of our out-rangers, who mistaking these, our Indians, for the enemy,
fired upon them and killed Monakatuca's son, notwithstanding they made the agreed
countersign, which was holding up a bough and grounding their arms. When we came
to our grounds, the (kneral sent for the father and the other Indians, condoled with
and made them the usual presents and desired the officers to attend the funeral, and
gave an order to fire over the body.

This behaviour of the General was so agreeable to the Indians, that they afterwards
were more attached to us, quite contrary to our expectations.

The line of carrying horses, extending very often a prodigious length, it was almost
impossible to secure them from insults, though they had yet marched without any inter-
ruption. Every Bat-man having been ordered to carry his fire-lock, and small parties
kept constantly on their flanks. The disposition of march for these horses had
varied almost every day according to the nature of the country, but the most common
was to let them remain upon the ground an hour after the march of the line, under



isSec "Monongahela of Old," Veech, pp. 58-62. Also ''Early SetUements West Va.,"
De Hass, pp. 126, 127.

i^This is part of "Orme's Journal." See "History Expedition Against Fort
Duquesne, etc.;^' Sargent, p. 349, ei seq. "Hbtory of Pittsburgh;" Craig (Edition
1917).



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3i6 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

guard of a captain and one hundred men, by which means there was no confusion in
leaving the ground, and the horses were much eased. They were now ordered^ when
the roads would permit, to march upon the flanks, between the subaltern's picket and the
line; but whenever a country was closed or rocky, they were then to fall in the rear,
and a strong guard marched thither for their security, which was directed to advance
or fall back in proportion to the length of the line of carrying horses, taking particular
care always to leave patties upon the flanks.

Orders at Monakatuca Camp.

If it should be ordered to advance the van, or send back the rear guard, the
advanced parties detached from them are permitted to remain at the posts facing out-
wards. Whenever there is a general halt, half of each of the subaltern's parties are to
remain under arms with fixed bayonets, facing outwards, and the other half may sit
down by their arms.

On the 7th of July, we marched from hence, and quitting the Indian path, endeav-
ored to pass Turtle Creek about twelve miles from the mouth, to avoid the dangerous
pass of the Narrows. We were led to a precipice which it was impossible to descend
The general ordered Sir John St. Clair to take a captain and one hundred men, with
the Indians, guides and some light horses, to reconnoitre very well the country. In
about two hours he returned and informed the General he had found a ridge which led
the whole way to Fort Duquesne, and avoided the Narrows and Frazier's, but that some
work was to be done would make it impossible to move further that day; we therefore
encamped here, and marched the next morning about eight miles to the camp near the
Monongahela.

When we arrived here. Sir John St. Clair mentioned, (but not to the General,)
the sending a detachment that night to invest the Fort, but being asked whether the dis-
tance was not too great to reinforce that detachment in case of an attack, and whether it
would not be more advisable to make the Pass of the M<»iongahela, or the Narrows,
whichever was resolved upon, with our whole force, and then send the detachment from
the next camp, which would be six or seven miles from the fort. Sir John imme-
diately acquiesced, and was of the opinion that would be a much more prudent measure.

The guides were sent for, who described the Narrows to be a narrow pass about
two miles, with a river on the left, and a very high mountain on the right and it would
require much repair to make it passable by carriages. They said the Monongahela had
two extremely good fords, which were very shallow, and the banks not steep. It was»
therefore, resolved to pass this river the next morning, and Lieut. CoL Gage was
ordered to march before the break of day, with two companies of Grenadiers, i6o rank
and file, of the 44th and 48th, Capt. Gates' Independent Company, and two six pounders,
with proper guides, and he was instructed to pass the Fords of the Monongahela, and
to take the post after the second crossing, to secure the passage of that river. Sir John
St. Clair was ordered to march at four o'clock, with a detachment of 250 men, to make
roads for the artillery and baggage, which was to march with the remainder of the
troops at five.

Orders at the Camp Near Monongahela.

All the men are to draw and clean their pieces, and the whole are to load to-morrow
on the beating of the General, with fresh cartridges. No tents or baggage are to be
taken with Lieut Col. Gage's party.

July gth — ^The whole marched agreeable to the orders before mentioned, and about
eight in the morning, the General made the flrst crossing of the Monogahela by passing
over about 150 men in the front, to whom followed half the carriages; another party of
150 men headed the second division; the horses and cattle then passed, and after all
the baggage was over, the remaining troops which till then possessed the heights,
marched over in good order. The General ordered a halt, and the whole formed in
their proper line of march.

When we had moved about a mile, the General received a note from Lieut. CoL
Gage, acquainting him with his having passed the river the second time without any
interruption, and having posted himself agreeably to his orders.

When we got to the crossing, the bank on the opposite side not being yet made
passable, the artillery and baggage drew up along the beach, and halted till one, when



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EDWARD BRADDOCK, GENERALISSIMO 317

the General passed over the detachment of the 44th, with the pickets of the right. The
artillery wagons carrying the horses followed, and then the detachment of the 48th
with the left pickets, which had been posted during the halt upon the heights. When
the whole had passed, the General again halted till th^ formed according to the
annexed plan.

It was now near two o'clock, and the advanced party under Lieut Col. Gage, and
the working party tinder John St. Clair, were ordered to march on until three. No
sooner were the pickets upon their respective flanks and the word given to march, but
we heard an excessive quick and heavy firing in the front The General imagining the
advanced parties were very warmly attacked, and being willing to free himself from
the incumbrance of the baggage, ordered Lieut. CoL Burton to reinforce them with the
van guard, and the line to halt According to this disposition, eight hundred men were
detached from the line, free from all embarrassments, and four hundred were left for
the defence of the artillery and baggage, posted in such a manner as to secure them
from attacks or insults. The General sent word forward an aid-de-camp to bring him
an account of the nature of the attack, but the fire continuing, he moved forward him-
self, leaving Sir Peter Halket with the command of the baggage. The advance detach-
ment soon gave way, and fell back upon Lieut Col. Burton's detachment, who was
forming his men to face a rising ground upon the right The whole were now got
together in great confusion. The colors were advanced in different places to separate
the men of the two regiments. The General ordered the officers to endeavour to form
the men, and tell them off into small divisions, and to advance with them, but neither
entreaties nor threats could prevail.

The advanced flank parties, which were left for the security of the baggage all but
one ran in. Their baggage was then warmly attacked, a great many horses and some
drivers killed, and others escaped by flight Two of the cannon flanked the baggage, and
for some time kept the Indians off; the other cannon which was disposed of in the
best manner, and fired away most of their ammunition, were of some service, but the
spot being so woody, they could do little or no execution.

The enemy had spread themselves in such a manner that they extended from front
to rear, and fired upon every part. The place of action was covered with trees and
much underwood upon the left, without opening but the road, which was only about
twelve feet wide. At the distance of about aoo yards in front, and upon the right, were
two rising grounds covered with trees.

When the General found it impossible to persuade them to advance, and no enemy
appeared in view ; and nevertheless a vast number of officers were killed by exposing
themselves before the men, he endeavoured to retreat them in good order but the panic
was so great that he could not succeed. During this time they were loading as fast as
possible, and firing in the air. At last, Lieut. Col. Burton got together about 100 of the
48th regiment, and prevailed upon them, by the General's order, to follow him toward
the rising ground on the right, but being disabled by his wounds, they faced about to
the right and returned.

When the men had fired away all their ammunition, and the general and most of
the officers were wounded, they, by one common consent left the field, running off with
the greatest precipitation. About fifty Indians pursued us to the river, and killed sev-
eral men in the passage. The officers used all possible endeavors to stop the men, and
to prevail upon them to rally; but a great number of them threw away their arms and
ammunition, and even their clothes, to escape the faster. About a quarter of a mile on
the other side the river, we prevailed upon near 100 of them to take post upon advan-
tageous spot, about two hundred yards from, the road. Lieut. Col. Burton posted some
small parties and sentinels. We intended to have kept possession of that ground till
we could have been reinforced. The General and some wounded officers remained
there about an hour, till most of the men ran off. From that place the General sent
Mr. Washington to Col. Dunbar, with orders to send wagons for the wounded, some
provisions and hospital stores, to be escorted by the two youngest grenadier companies
to meet him at Gist's plantation, or nearer if possible. It was found inpracticable to
remain here, as the General and the officers were left almost alone; we therefore
retreated in the best manner we were able. After we had passed the Monongahela the
second time, were were joined by Lieut Col. Gage, who had rallied near 60 men. We



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3i8 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

marched all that night, and the pext day, and about lo o'clock that night we got to
Gisf 8 plantation.

July II — Some wagons, provisions and hospital stores arrived. As soon as the
wounded were dressed, and the men had refreshed themselves, we retreated to CoL
Dunbar's camp, which was near Rock Fort. The General sent a Sergeant's party back
with provisions to be left on the road on the other side of the Yoxhio Geni for the
refreshment of any men who might have lost their way in the woods. Upon our
arrival at Col. Dunbar's camp, we found it in the greatest confusion. Some of his men
had gone off upon hearing of our defeat, and the rest seemed to have forgot all disci-
pline. Several of our detachment had not stopped till they had reached this camp.
It was found necessary to clear some wagons for the wounded, and as it was impossible
to move the stores, the howitzer shells, some twelve pound shot, powder and provisions,
were destroyed or buried.

July 13 — We marched from hence to the camp near the Great Meadows, where
the General died of his wounds. ^^

Before proceeding with the French accounts of the battle it is
well to "look in" at the fort and epitomize James Smith's narrative.
Accounts of events at the French fort are conflicting. Some say at the
time of the battle Controcceur had departed and Beaujeu was in com-
mand, succeeded by Dumas in line of seniority. Parkman shows that
Contrecceur was in command at the fort, not having been formally relieved.

The wary foe had full knowledge of the trend of events, and consterna-
tion prevailed, for Braddock's numbers had been overestimated. A
young officer at the fort, Capt. Leonard Daniel Sieur de Beaujeu, whom
we must regard as something of a mad-cap, persuaded Contrecceur to
permit the ambuscade with his small force of less than 300 re^lars and
Canadians. The Indians were uncertain and it took much persuasion
on Beaujeu's part to win them over.

Whatever blame on account of the horrors after the return of the
French and Indians, the torture of the twelve prisoners, is to be placed,
must, therefore, fall upon Contrecceur. In extenuation the French plead
that they could not control their Indian allies, but were compelled to
allow them to follow their custom. As the Indians outnumbered them
it is evident they did not try to.

What Indians aided the French? First and foremost, the Ottawas,
led on by that remarkable man and warrior, Pontiac ; then the Hurons,
of Lorette, under their chief, Athanase, and all the Indians in alliance
with the French, "all as keen as hounds upon the scent of blood." And
these had a veritable saturnalia of gore.

James Smith, a youth of eighteen, captured by the Indians shortly
before Braddock's march, was a prisoner at Fort Duquesne at the time
of the battle. He related that at sunset on July 9th he heard at a distance
the harrowing scalp halloo followed by wild, quick, joyful shrieks and
long-continued firing. This surely announced the fate of the day.

About dusk the party returned to the fort, driving before them twelve
British regulars stripped naked and with their faces painted black, an
evidence that the unhappy wretches were devoted to death. Next came
the Indians displaying their bloody scalps, of which they had an immense



iBOrme's "Journal" ends here somewhat abruptly. See Sargcnf s •'Expedition,'' etc.,
p. 357. Also "The Monongahela of Old," Chap. V.



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EDWARD BRADDOCK, GENERALISSIMO 319

number. The Indians were dressed in the scarlet coats, sashes and
military hats of the British officers and soldiers. Behind them came a
train of baggage horses laden with piles of scalps, canteens and soldiers'
accoutrements. The savages were wild with joy. They entered the
fort brandishing their red tomahawks and waving the scalps in air, while
the great guns of the fort replied to the incessant discharge of rifles
without.

Smith in lurid simile declares that "it looked as if hell had given a
holiday and turned loose its inhabitants upon the upper world."

No accurate list of the casualties was ever attained. Lists vary; of
eighty-nine commissioned officers twenty-six were killed and thirty-
seven wounded. Lossing says 714 in all were killed and wounded.
Sparks adds to this sixty- three officers. Judge Veech says 1,450 officers
and men were engaged, of whom 456 were killed and 421 wounded.
James Hadden's total is 830 ; the killed in excess of the wounded. Veech
gets his figures from Orme as published by Sargent ("Expedition,"
p. 238).

The French casualties were trifling. Three officers, including Beau-
jeu, were killed, and four wounded ; four regular soldiers were wounded.
About thirty were killed of the Canadians and Indians — ^mainly Indians.

In the Baptismal Register of Fort Duquesne it is recorded that one
French soldier was buried on the field of battle, two men and Ensign la
Perade died of their wounds, and that M. Dericherville was killed in the
battle. N. B. Craig published a translation of this matter in the "Regis-
ter," in the "Pittsburgh Gazette," July 5, 1858.

A battle where the losses were so disproportionate has had few equals
in the annals of war. It was truly, as Charles McKnight has Halket put
it, "A sorra day."i«

The number of women and servants killed could never be ascertained,
since their names were not entered on the arnly rosters. It is known
that only three servants were spared. The wagoners escaped to a man.
Of the whole number who set out two never returned — one having died
of disease and the other was killed by the Indians while on the march.

Washington's part in this astounding battle is often reverted to;
it shows him the real soldier. Washington, very ill, had been left
behind under the care of Dr. Craik and came up on the evening of the
8th with a hundred men convoying provisions and pack horses which
he had joined on July 3rd.

Washington was hauled in a covered wagon. On the day of the
battle he had ridden on a pillow, so enfeebled was he from his attack
of fever. He formed and covered the retreat, and at night rode miles
to find Dunbar for wagons, provisions and hospital stores. His journey
lasted all night in rain and darkness, and he reached Dunbar at day-
break.



ie'<Captain Jade, or Old Fort Duquesne," and "Onr Western Border One Hundred
Years Ago;"* Uiarles McKnigfat Both published in Pittsbargfa.



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320 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

To quote Irving here:

Washington was disappointed ift his anticipations of a rapid march. The general,
though he had adopted his advice in the main, could not carry it out in detail. His mill*
tary education was in the way ; he could not stoop to the makeshift expedient of a new
country, where every difficulty is encountered and mastered in a rough-and-ready style.
"I found," said Washington, ''that instead of pushing on with vigor, without regarding
a little rough road, they were halting to level every molehill, and to erect bridges over
every brook, by which means we were four days in getting twelve miles."

For several days Washington had suffered from fever, accompanied by intense
headache, and his illness increased in violence to such a degree that he was unable to
ride, and had to be conveyed for a part of the time in a covered wagon. At the Great
Crossing of the Youghiogheny the general assigned him a guard, provided him with
necessaries, and requested him to remain, under the care of his physician. Dr. Craik,
until the arrival of Colonel Dunbar's detachment, which was two days' march in the
rear; giving him his word of honor that he should, at all events, be enabled to join the
main division before it reached the French fort. This kind solicitude on the part of
Braddock shows the real estimation in which Washington was held by that officer.



Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 44 of 81)