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unmercifully? He said no; it was only an old custom the Indians had, and it was like
how do you do; after that, he said, I would be well used. I asked him if I should be
permitted to remain with the French? He said no — and told me, that as soon as I
recovered, I must not only go with the Indians, but must be made an Indian myself.
I asked him what news from Braddock's army. He said, the Indians spied them every
day, and he showed me by makmg marks on the ground with a stick, that Braddock's
army was advancing in very close order, and that the Indians would surround, take trees,
and as he expressed it "shoot tun 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 up on a wall and viewed the Indians
in a huddle before the gates, where were barrels of powder, bullets, flints, etc., and
every one taking what suited; I saw the Indians also march off in rank entire — ^like-
wise the French Canadians, and some regrulars. 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
hoi>es that I would soon see them fly before the British troops, and that General Brad-
dock would take the fort and rescue me. I remained anxious to know the event of
this great 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

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 to the river, which was the only gap, and make their escape, there
.would not be one man 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, grenades, soldiers' caps, British canteens, bayonets, etc.,
with them. They brought the news of Braddock's defeat 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 anotiier
company with a number of wagon horses, and also a great number of scalps. Those
that were coming in, and those that had arrived, kept a constant firing of small arms,
and also great guns in the fort, which were accompanied with the most hideous shouts

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and ydls 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 blackened — ^these prisoners they burned to death on the bank of the Alle-
gheny river opposite to the fort. I stood on the fort wall until I beheld them begin to
bum one of these men ; they had him tied to a stake, and kept touching him with fire-
brands, red-hot irons, etc., and he screaming in the most doleful manner, — ^the Indians
in the meantime yelling like infernal spirits. As the scene appeared too shocking to me
to behold, I retired to my lodgings both sore and sorry. When I came to 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 dressed in English Officers' dress, with sash, half moons, laced
hats, etc., which the British then wore. A few days after this the Indians demanded
me, and I was obliged to go with ihem. I was not well able to march, but they took
me in a canoe up the Allegheny river, to an Indian town, that was on the north side of
the river, about forty miles above Fort Duquesne.^^

Smith was taken from Fort Duquesne to Kittanning. He was a
prisoner among the Indians for five years and in their nomadic life
lived in many Indian towns in Ohio. He removed to Kentucky in
1788 and located near Paris, Bourbon county, where he was prominent
during the rest of his life.^^ Before leaving Pennsylvania Smith was
prominent in Bedford county, where he served as county commissioner,
and on removing to Westmoreland county near the Yough river was
elected to the same office. Smith accompanied Bouquet in the expedi-
tion to the Muskingum in 1763 ; served during the Revolution, obtain-
ing the rank of colonel, and was with Mcintosh's expedition against
the Ohio Indians in 1778.*®

The Johnston letter referred to ante can be found in the "Pennsyl-
vania Magazine of History" (Vol. XI, pp. 93-96). The magazine editor
has appended an explanatory footnote in which he says that the writer,
William Johnston, was a commissariat officer attached to the expedi-
tion against Fort Duquesne, and that he committed the care of the
letter to Captain Orme and that Orme's Journal will be found in Vol.
V, "Memoirs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania," and that the
Johnston letter is copied frdm the "English Historical Review." The
Memoirs mentioned. Vol. V, is Sargent's "History of Braddock's Expe-
dition," published by the Historical Society in 1855. "This goes by Capt.
Orme, who in returning to England," Johnston wrote. The letter is to
Johston's brother. It will be observed that Johnston was not in the
battle. He writes clearly and tells a most vivid story. His letter com-
plete reads :

24"An Account of the Remarkable Occurrences of My Life ;" James Smith (Edition
1870), pp. 9-13. Original edition published by himself; Lexington, Ky.^ 1799' "Account,"
also in ''Incidents of Border Life ;" Lancaster, Pa., 1841 : reprinted m "Indian Captivi-
ties;" Sam'l G. Drake, 1853, pp. 182-184. For story of capture and events at Fort
Duquesne, see also "Hist. West Penna.," pp. no, in.

a5Cf. "History of Kentucky;" L. Collins, Vol. II, p. 77-

ae'Tiistorical Collections of Penna.;" Sherman Day, pp. 117-121. Niles' "Register,"
VoL III, pp. 57-58

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WiiuAM Johnston's Letter.

Dear Frank. — I did myself the pleasure of writing to you soon after my arrival at
^illiamsburgh, in Virginia, the later end of March last

The loth of June last Gen. Braddock with the troops under his command, consist-
ing of about 2300 men, marched from Fort Ctmiberland towards Fort Duquesne, which
is about 114 miles distant from Fort Comberland, but finding his march greatly obstructed
by a great number of provision wagons and other carriages for stores that we had with
us, we moved but slowly, being obliged to cut a road through a wilderness and levd
little mountains to bring our carriages, etc., forward. These difficulties and obstructions
induced the general to make a division of our little army that he might march with more
expedition; accordingly at the Little Meadows about 20 miles from Fort Cumberland, he
pursued his march with about 1200 men, taking no more baggage or stores than what
was absolutely necessary, and left the command of the remaining part of the army to
G>1. Dunbar, with a great number of provision wagons, etc., who had orders to march
tfter as fast as possible. In this last division I marched widi the military chest, and it
ras very fortunate that I did, as it afterwards proved.

In this manner we pursued our route through a desolate country, uninhabited by
anything but wild Indians, bears, and rattlesnakes, and as we had most of the wagons
with our detachment, and our horses greatly reduced for want of forage, 'twas impos-
sible to keep pace with the general, notwithstanding we made all the expedition we
could. As we had not a sufficient number of horses for all our wagons, we were under
a necessity of leaving a good many behind at every encampment we mardied from, under
a proper guard, and the next day halt to send back horses for those wagons to join us.
In this manner we continued our march, sometimes five and sometimes six miles a day,
without any interruption from an enemy except from a few straggling French Indians
who killed and scalped three or four of our people. By these slow marches the detach-
ment with the general was six days' march in our front, and as he had gone through
several dangerous passes and finding the enemy had not taken advantage of any of them,
it was imagined they were extremely weak and would not stand a siege, much less meet
him in the woods. His detachment marched on cheerfully, passed the Monongahela
twice, and when they were within six miles of the French fort called Duquesne on the
river Ohio, the general's scouts who were at some distance in front, came back upon
the advanced party and told them there were a body of Indians going to attack them,
upon which G>1. Gage, who commanded the vanguard, formed his men for the attack,
which began immediately by a very heavy fire from the enemy which killed and wounded
a great number of his men and put the rest in some confusbn ; nevertheless they fired
Ayrzy but without much execution, the enemy having secured themselves behind trees
in such a manner that our people could not see them. The main body advanced imme-
diately and the action became general for about three hours and a half, during
which time we lost a great number of our men. Several attempts were made by our
officers to make the men save their fire and advance briskly upon the enemy, but they
could not be prevailed upon to do so, and retreated shamefully in great disorder and
confusion, leaving to the enemy the artillery, ammunition, provisions, and baggage ; nor
could they be prevailed upon to stop till they came to a plantation of Gist's which is
very near thirty miles from the place of action, and there only in parts, many of them
proceeding as far as where our detachment was encamped tmder the command of
G>lonel Dunbar, which is about six miles from Gist's. You may easily imagine that I
was greatly alarmed and shocked to hear of the general's defeat and to see so many
gallant officers wounded and the men coming into our camps in small parties and most
of them wounded. The general died of his wounds the 13th of July, being the second
day after he joined us. It was a great happiness I was not with the general ; if I had,
the military chest, vouchers, and all my baggage would have been lost, and myself per-
haps knocked on the head.

As our horses were greatly reduced, and having a great number of wounded officers
and men which we were obliged to carry in wagons, it was judged necessary that we
should destroy a great part of the ammunition and provisions that Colonel Dunbar had
with him lest it should fall into the enemy's hands, which was done accordingly, and
then we proceeded back again to Fort Cumberland with the utmost precipitation.

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In this engagement we had about six hundred men killed and wounded. In our
retreat I had not my clothes off till we arrived at Fort Cumberland, and lay every night
upon a deer-sldn on the ground. I did this to acconunodate two wounded officers who
lay in n^ tent, and notwithstanding this and other hardships I enjoyed a perfect state of
health during the march from and back to Fort Cumberland, excepting a little touch of
the flux for a day or two at the Little Meadows, as we marched upwards. Poor Billy
Porter has had a tolerable share of health, but I dare say was he in Old England again
he would not willingly take another trip to gather laurels upon the banks of the Ohio,
nor should I be very solicitous to undertake it if I was to be subject to the same fatigue
and hardship; but it is necessary we should sometimes taste these bitters, that we may
enjoy the sweets more agreeable.

This much I had intended to have sent from Fort Cumberland when we came there,
but had no opporttmity, and therefore I shall now continue to give you some accotmt
of our march from Fort Cumberland to Philadelphia. After halting about eight days
at the fort we proceeded on our march to this place, and arrived here the beginning of
this month. Pennsylvania is much the best country of any I have ever been upon this
continent, and mudi more plenty of provisions than Maryland or Virginia. The first
town of note we came to in this province was Carlisle, which fron^ a wilderness about
eight years ago is now become a town, a number of good plantations round it, and well
supplied with all kinds of provisions. There are about two hundred houses in it, and
some very good ones built in a genteel taste.

One may pause here to lend an ear to the staccato tones of Thomas
Carlyle, who in his "Frederick the Great" wanders off into little episodes
of the war between France and England in America. He tells in his
own peculiar way of the events preceding Braddock's Expedition and
of Col. Washington's campaign of 1754, and after a paragraph or two
telling of Braddock's arrival and preparations proceeds to express
himself fully as follows, regardless of entire historical accuracy:

About New Year's Day, 1755, Braddock with his two regiments and complete appa-
ratus, got to sea. Arrived, 20th Fd>ruary, at Williamsburg in Virginia ("at Hampden,
near there,'' if. anybody is particular) ; found now that this was not the place to land ; .
that he would lose six weeks of marching, by not having landed in Pennsylvania instead.
Found that his stores had been mispacked at Cork — ^that this had happened, and also
that; — and in short, that Chaos had been very considerably prevalent in this Adventure
of his; and did still, in all that now lay round it, much prevailed. Poor man; very
brave, they say, but without knowledge; except of field drill; a heart of iron, but brain
mostly of pipe clay quality. A man severe and rigorous in regimental points; con-
temptuous of the G>lonial Militia, that gathered to help him; thrice contemptuous of the
Indians who were a vital point in the Enterprise ahead.

Chaos is very strong,— especially if within oneself as well! Poor Braddock took
the Colonial Militia Regiments, Colonel Washington as Aid-de-Camp; took the Indians
and Appendages, Colonial Chaos much presiding; and after infinite delays and confused
hagglings, got on march ; 2,000 regulars, and of all sorts say 4,000 strong.

Got on march ; sprawled and haggled up the Alleghanies, — such a commissariat, such
a wagon service, as was seldom seen before. Poor General and army; he was like to
have starved outright, at one time, had not a certain Mr. Franklin came to him, with
charitable oxen, with 500 pounds worth provisions live and dead, subscribed for at Phila-
delphia, — Mr. Benjamin Franklin, since celebrated over all the world ; who did not admire
this iron-tempered General with the pipe-clay brain. Thereupon, however, Braddock
took the road again ; sprawled and staggered at the long last, to the top ; "at the top of
the Alleghanies, isth June"— and forward down upon Fort Duquesne, "roads nearly per-
pendicular in some places," at the rate of "four miles and even one mile per day.**
Much wood all about, — and the 400 Indians to rear, in a despised and disgusted condi-
tion, instead of being vanward keeping their brightest look.

July 8th (gth), Braddock crossed the Monongahela without hindrance. July 9th
was within 10 miles of Fort Duquesne; plodding along; marching through a wood,
when — ambuscade of French and Indians burst on him. French with defenses in front
and store of squatted Indians on each flank,— who at once blew him to destruction ; him

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and his Enterprise both. His men bdiaved very ill ; sensible perhaps they were not led
very well. Wednesday, pth July, 1755, about three in the afternoon. His two regiments
gave one volley and no more; utterly terror-struck by the novelty, by the misguidance,
at Preston Pans before; shot, it was whispered, several of their own officers, who were
furiously rallying them with word and sword; out of sixty officers only five were not

Brave men clad in soldiers' uniforms, victims of military chaos, and miraculous
nescience, in themselves and others. Can there be a more distressing spectacle?

Braddock, refusing to fall back as advised, had five horses shot under him; was
himself shot in the arm, in the breast; was carried off the field in a death stupor — for-*
ward all night, next day and next (to Fort Cumberland, seventy miles to rear) ; — ^and on
the fourth day died. The Colonial Militias had stood their ground. Col. Washington
now of some use again ; — ^who were ranked well to the rearward ; and able to receive the
ambuscade as an open fight. Stood striving for about three hours. And would have
saved the retreat, had there been a retreat, instead of a panic rout, to save. The poor
General— ebbing homewards, he and his Enterprise, hour after hour — roused himself
twice only, for a moment, from his death stupor; once, the first night, to ejaculate
mournfully, "Who would have thought it?" And again once, he was heard to say, days
after, in a tone of hope, "Next time we will do better !" which were his last words, death
following in a few minutes.

Weary, heavy-laden soul; deep Sleep now descending on it, — soft, sweet cataracts
of Sleep and Rest ; suggesting hope, and tritunph over sorrow, after all : "Another time
we will do better," and in a few minutes was dead. ["Frederkk the Great," Chapman &
Hall, Edn. 1898; Vol. VI, pp. 431, 43^].

Craig inserts the casualty list of officers in his History and in the
"Olden Time":

Casualty List, Officers.

Staff — Major General Braddock, died of his wounds; Robert Orme, Esq., Roger
Morris, Esq., aides-de-camp, wounded; William Shirley, Esq., Secretary, killed; Sir
John St Clair, Deputy Quartermaster General, wounded.

Late Sir Peter Halkefs Regiment— Sir P. Halket, Colonel, killed; Lieut. Col. Gage,
wounded ; Captain Tatton, killed ; Captain Gethins, killed.

Subalterns — ^Lieutenant Littleler, wounded; Lieutenant Dunbar, wounded; Lieuten-
ant Halket, killed; Lieutenant Treeby, wounded; Lieutenant Allen, killed; Lieutenant
Simpson, wounded; Lieutenant Lock, wounded; Lieutenant Disney, wounded; Lieuten-
ant Kennedy, wounded; Lieutenant Townsend, killed; Lieutenant Nartlow, killed; Lieu-
tenant Pennington, wounded.

Colonel Dunbar's Regiment— Lieut. Col. Burton, wounded; Major Sparkes,
wounded; Captain Rowyer, wounded; Captain Ross, wounded.

Subalterns — Barbut, wounded; Walsham, wounded; Crimble, killed; Widman,
killed ; Hanf ord, killed ; Gladwin, wounded ; Edmeston, wounded ; Brereton, killed ; Hart,
killed ; Montreseur, wounded ; Macmullen, wounded ; Crow, wounded ; Sterling, wounded.

Artillery — ^Lieutenant Smith, killed; Lieutenant Buchanon, woimded; Lieutenant
M'Qoud, wounded; Lieutenant M' Culler, wounded.

Engineers — Peter McKeller, Esq., wounded ; Robert Gordon, Esq., wounded ;

Williamson, Esq., wounded.

Detachment of Sailors — ^Lieutenant Spendelow, killed; Mr. Talbot, Midshipman,
killed; Captain Stone, of General Lascelle's Regiment, wounded; Captain Floyer, of
General Warburton's Regiment, wounded.

Independent Companies of New York— Captain Gates, wotmded ; Lieutenant Sumain,
killed; Lieutenant Howarth, wounded; Lieutenant Gray, wounded.

Virginia Troops — Captain Stevens, wounded; Captain Poulson, killed; Captain
Peronie, killed.

Subalterns — Hamilton, killed; Wright, killed; Splitdorff, killed; Stuart, wounded;
Wagoner, killed.ST

2T"History of Pittsburgh;" N. B. Craig (Edition 1917), pp. 44-45. The "Olden
Time;" N. B. Craig, Vol. I, w>. 68-69. •'History of Western Penna.," etc.; p. lod
"Col. Recs.." Vol. VI, p. 489.

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Some errors in names occur in the Virginia list: "Peronie" should
be Peyronie. Stephen and Poison are the correct spellings. All three
were captains under Washington at Fort Necessity.

The official list of the casualties can be found in the Colonial
Records of Pennsylvania (Vol. VI, p. 489). Sargent appends the ros-
ter of the officers to Orme*s Journal, but there are some variations
to be noted. The name Captain "Githius," of Halket's regiment, is
Gethens in other lists. Captain Cholmondeley (found also "Chumley,"
as pronounced), was killed; in some lists (Craig's for one), he is
marked as wounded. He commanded the company in the 48th Regi-
ment (Dunbar's) in which Thomas Fausett served, whom traditions
in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, yet say killed Braddock. for cutting
down his brother, Joseph Fausett, for disobedience of orders in getting
behind a tree. The Fausett story was strengthened by his own boast-
ings to this effect for many years.

There were some noted British soldiers in Braddock's little army,
several of whom fought the Americans in the Revolution ; Lieuts. Dis-
ney and Kennedy; Lieut. Henry Gladwin, hero of Detroit in 1763,
colonel in 1777 and major-general in 1782; and William Edmeston,
major in 1778 and a prisoner at Easton, Pennsylvania, that year. Glad^
win is as often found "Gladwyn;" Montreseur, Sargent has "Montres-
sor;" "Spidolf" in Sargent's list (p. 363), was Ensign Carolus Gustavus
de Splitdorph, a Swede, also found "Splitdorff," who was with Wash-
ington in 1754 and commanded the guard who took the French prisoners
from the Jumonville affair to Williamsburg.

"Stevens," captain in the Virginia regiment, was Adam Stephen,
one of Washington's captains at Fort Necessity, and an officer of high
rank during the Revolution. There are two Stewarts listed — Capt.
Robert Stewart and Ensign Walter Stewart. Of the former's 29th
Light Horse, twenty-five were killed in the action. Ensign Stewart,
says Sargent, became an officer in our army of the Revolution. Capt.
Gates of the "Independents" was afterward Maj.-Gen. Horatio Gates of
the Continental forces with more or less fame. Some of these names will
be found frequently in history.

Of the privates in the Colonial forces there can be named: Daniel
Boone and John Finley, celebrated in Kentucky and border history;
Hugh Mercer, who fell at Princeton; John Neville, who came to
Pittsburgh from Virginia in 1774 to command at Fort Pitt when
Dunmore was governor; and there must be accorded special mention
to Daniel Morgan, of Revolutionary fame, a wagoner in the Braddock
expedition, a victim to the lash for violence to a British officer.

In the retreat Capt. Stewart and a sad remnant of the Virginia Light
Horse accompanied the general as his guard; The captain had been
unremitting in his attentions to him during the retreat. The faithful
Orme, despite his severe wound, kept close to his dying chief. Wash-
ington Irving says:

Braddock was grateful for the attention paid to him, 1^ Captain Stewart of the
Virginia Regiment and Washington, and more than once expressed his admiration of

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the gallantry displayed by the Virginians in the action. It is said, moreover, that in his
last moments, he apologized to Washington for the petulance with which he had rejected
his advice, and bequeathed to him his favorite charger and his faithful servant, Bishop,
who had helped to convey him from the field.

Some of these facts, it is true, rest on tradition, yet we are willing to believe them,
as they impart a gleam of just and generous feeling to his closing scene. He died on
the night of the 13th, at the Great Meadows, the place of Washington's discomfiture in
the previous year. His obsequies were performed before break of day. The Chaplain
having been wounded, Washington read the funeral service. All was done in sadness,
and without parade, so as not to attract the attention of lurking savages, who might
discover and outrage his grave. It is doubtful even whether a volley was fired over it,

Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 46 of 81)