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that last military honor which he had recently paid to the remains of an Indian warrior.
The place of his sepulchre is still known and pointed out^s

After detailing the destruction of the stores and munitions by Dun-
bar, Sargent tells the finale of the ill-fated expedition :

It was not until Sunday, July 13th, that all this was finished ; and the army with its
dyiag General proceeded to the Great Meadows, where the close was to transpire :

Last scene of all,

That ends this strange, eventful history.

Ever since the retreat commenced, Braddock had preserved a steadfast silence, un-
broken save when he issued the necessary commands. That his wound was mortal he
knew; but he knew that his fame had received a not less fatal stab; that his military
reputation, dearer than his own life to a veteran or those of a thousand others, was
gone forever. These reflections embittered his dying hours; nor were there any means
at hand of diverting the current of his thoughts, or ministering to the comfort of his
body; even the chaplain of the army was among the wounded. He (Braddock) pro-
nounced the warmest eulogiums upon the conduct of his officers (who indeed had
merited all he could say of them) and seems to have entertained some compunctions at
not having more scrupulously followed the advice of Washington, or perhaps at the
loss of power to provide for that youngs soldier's interests as thoroughly as he would
have done had he returned victorious. At all events, we find him singling out his
Virginia aide as his nuncupative legatee, bequeathing to him his favorite charger and
his body>servant Bishop, so well known in after years as the faithful attendant of the
patriot chief. The only allusions he made to the fate of the battle was to softly repeat
once or twice to himself — "Who would have thought it?" Turning to Orme — "We shall
better know how to deal with them another time," were his parting words. A few
moments later he breathed his last. Thus about eight on the night of Sunday the 13th
of July honorably died a brave old soldier, who, if wanting in temper and discretion,
was c^tainly, according to the standard of the school in which he had been educated,
an accomplished officer; and whose courage and honesty are not to be discussed. The
uttermost penalty that humanity could exact, he paid for his errors ; and if his misfor-
tune brought death and woe upon his country, it was through no shrinking on his part
from what he conceived to be his duty. He shared the lot of the humblest man who fell
by his side.29

"So terminated the bloody battle of the Monongahela, a scene
of carnage which has been truly described as unexampled in the annals
of modern warfare," observes Sargent.

Three officers must receive further brief mention, especially Dunbar,
"a most indifferent soldier." Thomas Dunbar, colonel of the 48th
Regiment, was superseded in November, 1755, because of his "injudi-

a8"Life of Washington;" W. Irving, VoL I, p. 20a 'Washington's Life and Mill-
tary Career ;" Hancock, p. 85.

29"Braddock's Expedition;*' pp. 236-237.

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cious conduct" and was sent "into honorable retirement" as lieutenant-
governor of Gibraltar. He was never again actively in service. He
died in 1777.

Col. John St. Clair, also found spelled "Sinclair," remained a long
time in service in America. In 1756 he was made a lieutenant colonel
of the 60th Regiment, and in 17^2 became a colonel. In the battle he
was shot through the body.

Lieut.-Col. Thomas Gage was also wounded. He lived to become
one of the' most obnoxious of British commanders prior to and during
the Revolution.

John Campbell is a celebrated name in Pittsburgh history, for he
laid out the first plan of the town in 1764, known as the "Old Military
Plan." The following letter from him will show the difficulty and
uncertainty of communication in those days as compared with these,
when but eight hours take the traveler from Braddock's Field to Phila-
delphia, the following letter received by the Provincial Council of
Pennsylvania on July 23rd, fourteen days after the battle, is inserted.
It is curious also for the simplicity of primitive days which it discloses:

Sir, I thought it proper to let you know that I was in the tuittle where we were
defeated ; and we had about eleven hundred and fifty private men besides officers and
others, and we were attacked the gth day about twelve o'clock, and held till about
three in the afternoon and then were forced to retreat when I suppose we might bring
about three hundred whole men besides a vast many wounded ; most of our officers were
either wounded or killed ; General Braddock is wounded but I hope not mortal. All the
train is cut off in a manner. Sir Peter Halket and his son. Captain Poison, Captain
Getfaen, Captain Rose, Captain Tatten killed and many others; Capt. Orde of the train
is wounded but I hope not mortal. We lost all our artillery entirely and everything else.

To Mr. John Smith and Buchannon, and give it to the next Post and let htm shew
tills to George Gibson, in Lancaster, and Mr. Bingham, at the sign of the ship and you'll
oblige. Yours to command,

John Campbell,


P. S. And from that to be told to the Indian King.

N. B. The above is directed to Mr. Smith and Buchannon, in Carlisle.80

A few of the contemporary newspaper accounts from leading British
journals are presented, as showing graphic descriptions and what was
thought of the whole affair.

The Public Advertiser— Extnct of a letter from Will's Creek, July 10, 1755 :
Dear Sir, I send you the following melancholy account: On the 6th of July, Gen-
eral Braddock near Frazier settlement, six miles to the south of Fort DuQuesne on the
Monogahela river, came up with the French army of 1500 regulars and 600 irregulars
drawn out of their lines, they having made choice of a very advantageous ground and
intrenched in a masterly manner; General Braddock with Sir Peter Halkefs regiment
of 700 and Col. Dunbar's of 700, with laoo Virginians, Marylanders and Carolinians,
and 100 Indians advanced against them.

Before our men could get within musket shot of the French, the Indians in ambus-
cade surprised our army by firing singly at the General and other particular officers, and
as soon as Colonels Gage and Burton had begun the attack, which was very fierce, the

80"ColoniaI Records ;" Vol. VI, p. 481. Orde, of the artillery, was not wounded. He
was sick, and was hauled all the way out in a chaise. ["Braddock's Expdn.," p. 364].

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Indians immediately gave the war-hoop, and rising from the thickets, discovered them-
selves, when the advanced guard being between the Hres gave way and was rallied by
their officers, gave one fire, and then retreated in the greatest confusion imaginable, till
they had thrown Dunbar's regiment in to disorder; their officers with a great deal of
trouble, after having run several times through, rallied them the second time, when they
stood a fire from the French, and without returning it retired in great disorder witfi
Dunbar's regiment, and left their officers a sacrifice to the enemy, and out of sixty of
them but five escaped, being either killed or wounded. The Virginians, etc., engaged
afterwards closely for three hours, but were obliged to retire. Gen. Braddock, after
having five horses shot under him, was wounded in the lungs, and died on the fourth
day after the battle at Will's Creek. Among the slain are reckoned Sir Peter Halket
and his two sons, Capt Morris, Capt. Cholmondley, Secretary Shirley, in all about 14
officers, and near 600 men missing ; amongst the wounded are Colonel Gage and Burton
mortally wotmded; Col. Sinclair and Capt Orme. The General declared that never did
officers behave better, nor private men worse, this being the second time of their sacri-
ficing their officers, being the same regiment that deserted Sir Peter at the battle of
Preston-Pans under Sir John Cope. Our army lost all its baggage, provisions, etc., and
had these two regiments stood the ground, it would very probably have put an end to
the contest in America.

London Evening Post, August 26 to 28, 1755 — ^It is rumored that most of the officers
were killed by the European Troops firing upon them when they endeavored to rally them ;
and that very few of our men were killed by the enemy ; in short, that a full account of
this action would disclose such a scene as was never seen before in our, or perhaps in
any other army. As many prejudiced, or misinformed, people take occasion from a little
inaccuracy in the first account of the defeat of the forces that went to attack Fort
Duquesne, to cause very tmjust reflections on the Irish nation in general, and lay the
whole blame of that unfortunate affair on the two regiments that were sent over from
Ireland to Virginia; it is fit to take notice, that regiments of the Irish establishment are
not properly speaking Irish Troops, but consbt of English and Scotch, with a few
natives of Ireland mixed with them, and sometimes none at all. And from divers cir-
cumstances we are inclined to conclude that the defeat of General Braddock was not
owing to the misbehavior of the two regiments in question, but to the want of sufficient
numbers of Indians to fight those on the French side in their own way; for according
to some private accounts, when the Regular Troops ran away they told their officers it
was in vain to stand and spend their ammunition to no purpose against trees and bushes,
but that they could have a sight of the enemy, they would fight him. If this was really
the case it should seem that a retreat oug^t to have been resolved upon, the moment they
found they had fell into an ambuscade and were flanked on both sides by the Indians
and French Rangers, who being excellent marksmen and having the advantage of the
woods, were an overmatch for any regular troops.

London Evening Post, September 9 to 11, 1755 — ^As for this unfortunate battle, the
accounts are very confused. It is generally allowed that the troops never saw above
300 Frenchmen, Indians and all included; that the flight of men was occasioned by the
great disgust they had to their officers. The soldiers from their first arrival, had shewed
much discontent; and the officers resolved to get the better and punish them fre-
quently, but the more the punishments, the more the discontents increased. They say the
troops were shot at from behind trees, and could not see their enemies, on which they
ran away, the officers have forced them to stand, and killed some of the men for not
standing, so it became a fight between the men and officers, for the men fired on the
officers that struck them, and ran quite away to the meadows, where Col. Dunbar was
with 800 fresh men ; they carried him with them and all went to Will's Creek, and I fear
they will not long stay there. Their leaving the meadows in such haste and disorder
has had a worse effect than defeat on General Braddock, there our men were charged by
an enemy, but they left their forts in the meadows, nobody can guess why .81

In the issue of the "Register*' of May 9, 1818, Niles has handed down
to us another letter which is most valuable from the standpoint of

•iSee "Pcnna. Magazine of History, 1899;" VoL XXIII, pp. 310-3x81

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Pittsburgh history, and his opening paragraph shows his appreciation
of the letter and the fact that he was alive to the value of preserving
anything of first record. He headlines the article, "The following
extract of a letter from the venerable William Findley, Esq., to the
editor, dated at Youngstown, Pa., March 27^ 1818, contributes something
to the stock of information we are so desirous to collect as to the
earlier events in the history of the United States, and pays a handsome
tribute in the virtues of the Father of His Country."

William Findley's Letter.

Sir : On perusing the different accounts given of Braddoclc's defeat, in the Register
of June 15, Vol. X., my attention was forcibly struck by the statement of Smollett, page
351, in which he says, "at last the general, whose obstinacy seemed to increase with the
danger, after having had some horses shot under him, received a musket shot through
his right arm and lungs, of which he died in a few hours, having been carried off the
field by the bravery of Lieut. CoL Gage and another of his officers." I was surprised,
indeed, to see Gage's bravery boasted of, to whom I had always heard cowardice ascribed,
from the time I first heard of his name. Ofhcers engaged in the same battle frequently
vary in their accounts of it, yet paying a strict regard to truth ; but this is an absolute
falsehood; I am enabled to say on the authority of Gen. Washington himself, to whom
falsehood, misrepresentation, or vain boasting never was imputed.

It was well known to those acquainted with him that Gen. Washington rarely, if
ever, in mixed companies, introduced or engaged in conversation on the event of the
Revolutionary War; but he was much less reserved with respect to earlier scenes, and
particularly about the Western country; and as I, for some time was the only member
of Congress from the Western coimties of Pennsylvania, and before this time acquainted
with the President, he frequently introduced conversation about that cotmtry with me.
On one occasion in a mixed company, some question being asked of me, then sitting next
the President, about the Big Meadows and Dunbar's Run, by Col. Sprigg of Maryland,
which I could not answer, the President, to whom I referred the question, in answering
them, described Dunbar's camp, to which the remains of Braddock's army retired after
the defeat. From this, in compliance with such inquiries as I suggested, he entertained
us with the most particular information of that defeat that I had heard. He asked me
if I knew Braddock's road — I said I did, but that it was now changed in many places.
He said it was then new and hard to find in the dark; that there had been a coldness
between the General and Dunbar, a circumstance which too frequently took place between
the first and second in command; that in consequence of this he, as aid-de-camp, was
under the necessity of going with the orders to Col. Dunbar, but first to stop the retreat
in a proper situation, which was the easier done, as the enemy did not pursue. That he
overtook Col. Gage three miles ahead of the place in which he had halted the retreating
army, and to which he sent Gage back; that this being done, he, with two men in com-
pany, in one of the most wet and darkest nights, in which they had often to alight and
grope for the road, and after traveling 40 miles, arrived at Dunbar's camp about sun-
rise. He said he had taken care of the wotmded general and had carefully brought him to
Dunbar's camp in a tumbril ; and that on a retreat over the mountains being determined
on by Dunbar, without necessity, he buried Gen. Braddock's corpse in the middle of the
road, making wagons and horses to pass over it, to conceal it from the Indians, design-
ing at some future day to erect a monument to his memory, which he had no oppor-
tunity of doing till after the Revolutionary War, when he made diligent search for his
grave, but the road had been so much turned and the clear land so extended that it
could not be found

I had, in the course of conversation, mentioned the bad impression I had received
of Gen. Braddock as an officer, both in Ireland and this country, ever since I was a
small boy. "True, true," says he, '"he was unfortunate, but his character was much
too severely treated; he was one of the honestest and best men of any British officer
with whom he had been acquainted ; even in the manner of fighting he was not more to
blame than others-— that of all that were consulted only one person objected to it" (prob-

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ably himself), and looking around seriously to me, he said, "Braddock was both my
general and my physician. I was attacked with a dangerous fever on the march and he
left a sergeant to take care of me, and James' fever powders, with directions how to
give them, and a wagon to bring me on when I would be able, which was only the day
before the defeat, the first day I had ridden a horse for a considerable time, and then
had to ride with a pillow under me." This conversation, though I thought it interesting
at the time, is of little importance now further than to show the absolute falsehood of
Smollett's character of Gage; that instead of conducting the retreat, carrying off the
body of the general, etc., he was among the foremost to rtm away and rtm the furthest—
which justly entailed on him the character of cowardice ever after.

Since I am in the way of writing about Washington, I will add one serious scene
through which he passed, which is little known, and with which he concluded thb con-
versation. He asked me how near I lived to Loyalhana Old Fort, and if I knew a
run from the Laurel Hill that fell into the creek near it I told him the distance of
my residence, and that I knew the run. He told me that at a considerable distance up
that run his life was in as great hazard as ever it had been in war. That he had been
ordered to march some troops to reinforce a bullock guard on their way to the camp;
that he marched his party in single file with trailed arms, and sent a runner to inform
the British officer in what manner he would meet him. The runner arrived and deliv-
ered his message, but he did not know how it was that the British officer paid no atten-
tion to it, and the parties met in the dark and fired on each other, till they killed thirty
of their own men; nor could th^ be stopped till he had to go in between the fires and
threw up the muzzles of their guns with his sword.

The fort, which, in conversing with me, he and many others always called Loyal-
hana, after the name of the creek, was also named Ligoniers, near which there is now a
town of that name. This took place during Gen. Forbes' campaign.

William Fxndley, by whom this letter was written, was a native
of Ireland, who came to Pennsylvania in early life, served in the Revo-
lution, and settled in Westmoreland county, where he became active in
politics. He was a member of the Legislature and of the State Con-
vention that adopted the Federal Constitution. This he actively op-
posed on the ground of its centralized power. He was eleven times
elected to Congress, serving from 1791 to 1799 and from 1803 to 1817.
He was an ardent supporter of the Jeffersonian party and was a great
power as a speaker.

Youngstown, the home of William Findley, still exists, a village, a
few miles from Latrobe. It has been a borough since about 1840. In
the early days of Westmoreland county it was a place of some im-
portance. The building of the Pennsylvania railroad relegated it to
obscurity, Latrobe becoming the chief town of the region. William
Findley was well known as the author of the "History of Western
Insurrection," the whiskey insurrection of 1794, during Washington's
second term.

Smollett, the author referred to in the letter, was Dr. Tobias Smol-
lett, novelist and poet, in the colonies best known from his "History
of England," to which reference is made.

Col. Gage, promoted to major-general at the beginning of the Revo-
lution, was in command of the British troops in Boston. The American
school children probably know more of his history than of any British
general that ever lived. Gage was at one time in supreme command
of the British forces in North America. Of a certainty Washington
knew whether Gage ran away or not, but that Gage was a coward seems

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hard to believe. There was a panic at Braddock's battle. His regulars
certainly misbehaved. It is equally hard to believe that Gage, too, was
panic-stricken. The affairs at Lexington and Concord and the battle
of Bunker Hill proved Gage's undoing. Blamed for mistakes of the
ministry, he resigned in 1776. He died in 1787, aged sixty-six.

Among the documents known as the Burd Papers is one containing
the report of the Commission on the Wagoners' Accounts relating to
Braddock's Expedition, of which the following is the preface :

On January 31, 1756, Governor Robert Hunter Morrb appointed and commis-
sioned Edward Shippen, Samuel Morris, Alexander Stedman and Samuel McCall, Jr.,
to "audit, liquidate and settle'' the accounts of the owners of All Wagons, Teams and
Horses hired or destroyed in the expedition of General Braddock against Fort Da
Quesne. This commission is printed in the First Series of Pennsylvania Archives, Vol-
ume II, page 598.

The following is endorsed as the account settled by the above named four gentle-
men ; it is, however, entirely in the handwriting of Edward Shippen.

It is believed that this account, printed from the original, in the possession of the
editor, is of sufficient interest to students of American History to warrant its publi-

In this little book there are accounts of 195 persons who were with
the expedition. A silhouette of Edward Shippen forms the frontispiece
of the book.8«

Soon after the Pennsylvania railroad was opened through to Pitts-
burgh, a guide book was published in Philadelphia in which a brief
account was given concerning each station. Of Braddock's Fields Sta*
tion much was written. From this small work the following paragraphs
have been extracted :

Braddock's Fields is the battle ground on which Gen. Braddock was totally defeated
by the French, and Indians on the 9th of July, 1755. At an early day in the history
of this country, the French, ascending from the mouth of the Mississippi, and descend-
ing from Canada, had penetrated the west in various directions, and had made many
settlements still indicated by their names, as Vincennes, Vandalia, St. Louis, etc.
Among these was Fort Du Quesne, on the point at the junction of the Monong^ela
and Alleghany Rivers, on the ground now occupied by the freight depot of the Penn-
sylvania Railroad, appropriately named "Du Quesne Depot." In June, 1775, while the
war was raging which made the noblest of modem orators, William Pitt, Earl of
Chatham, the greatest of English ministers, which carried British arms in triumph by
sea and land around the circumference of the globe, and first taught the American
colonists their growing power, an army composed of British regulars and Provincial
militia marched, under command of Gen. Braddock, from Cumberland to attack the
French in the western wilderness. Pitt, the orator, sent out this expedition. Franklin,
the philosopher, furnished the means of transportation. Washington, the patriot,
accompanied it Does history record any event which united in a common enterprise
men such as these three?

Slowly, with difficulty, encumbered with baggage, still more encumbered by mili-
tary formulas unsuited to the warfare of the woods, this army proceeded westward,
and on the 9th of July crossed to the right bank of the Moncmgahela at a ripple about a
mile below the mouth of Turtle Creek, and within ten miles of Fort Du Quesne.

If a traveler will look to the left soon after passing Brinton's Station, he will see
the pool made by a dam across the river. This is the spot where the army crossed.

^^The Burd Papers.—Tht Settlement of the Waggoner's Accounts Relating to
General Braddock's Expedition toward Fort Du Quesne by Edward Shippen, et. aL,
Commissioners. Edited by Lewis Burd Walker, 1899.


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Ascending from the river, he will perceive for some distance an alluvial bottom, inter-
spersed with ravines of various extent. These increase in number and depth as you
approach and ascend the bank above the railroad. In these ravines the enemy (comp
pletely concealed by the dense forest) was posted. The British forces, "in all the pomp
and circtunstances of glorious war," crossed the river, marched through the level
ground, and, as the advance guard approached the hills, a heavy and quick iire was
opened upon them by their concealed enemy.

The author of this work justly observes "that this catastrophe was
the result of the presumptuous confidence of the English officers there
can be no doubt. The stubborn Anglo-Saxon spirit which despises
danger and sometimes makes courage rashness, is still unchanged, and
has been recently shown by Lord Cardigan in the Crimea, as it was one
hundred years ago by Gen. Braddock on the Monongahela."

Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 47 of 81)