Copyright
American Historical Society George Thornton Fleming.

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

. (page 48 of 81)
Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 48 of 81)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


No history of Braddock's Expedition is complete that omits the
story of Thomas Fausett, known throughout Fayette county for gen-
erations as the man who killed Braddock because he regarded Braddock
as a madman and to save the few who were permitted to escape after
Braddock's fall. Fausett was a large, ungainly, illiterate man of great
strength and rude habits and strong passions, a veritable lout. In
Braddock's army he and his brother served as privates in Capt. Chol-
mondely's company of the 48th Regiment. They had been enlisted at
Shippensburg by Capt. William Poison, who had served under Wash-
ington the preceding year. It is reasonable to conclude that Fausett
was the type of a man to have shot Braddock. We have equally vengeful
creatures today of greater mentality — to lay aside any references to
personal bravery. Fausett's untutored mind and brutal instincts must
be taken into consideration in the contemplation of the act alleged. It
is not to be denied that Fausett fought in the battle, that he was a
hard character who lived for years afterward in the neighborhood of
Wharton township, Fayette county, and that fifty-seven years after
Braddock's death he pointed out the exact spot where Braddock had
been hastily interred. Upon digging, the bones were found and this
was done in 1812 by Abraham Stewart, father of the elder Andrew
Stewart, member of Congress from the district, and widely known as
"Tariff Andy." Mr. Stewart, William Darby, a historical writer ; Judge
James Veech, his assistant. Freeman Lewis and various old residents
of Fayette county attest this story. It is well authenticated, for others
were present with Mr. Stewart when the bones were disinterred.

Sargent endeavors to disprove the story that Fausett shot Braddock.
It is known that Braddock had five horses shot under him. He was
conspicuous enough mounted and in full uniform, so that it is evident
he was "under a heavy fire," and it took a good eye to follow the bullet
that brought him low. Fausett is alleged to have lived to be 109 years
old and for some years. previous to his death was a public charge. A
variation of the reason for killing Braddock is that the general struck
down — some say killed — a brother of Fausett's named Joseph. The
last mention of Fausett in Fayette county records is in 1820, when the
overseers of the poor of Wharton township claimed credit for sundry
amounts for his keeping. Fausett lived in his last years about two



Digitized by



Google



EDWARD BRADDOCK, GENERALISSIMO 339

miles from Ohiopyle. His grave is near there, the stone attesting he
died March 23, 1822, "aged 109 years 9 mos."**

Sargent tells the story of French preparations and of the inspired
Beaujeu :

There is little reason to doubt that as Braddock drew near, M. de Contrecoeur was
almost decided to abandon his position without striking a blow, and, withdrawing his
men, abandon as did his successor, Ligneris, in 1758, leave to the English a bloodless
victory. He certainly was prepared to surrender on terms of honorable capitulation. A
solitary gun was mounted upon a carriage, to enable the garrison to evacuate with ^e
honors of war ; it being a point of nice feeling with a defeated soldier that he should
retire with drums beating a national march, his own colors flying, and a cannon loaded,
with a lighted match. This deprives the proceeding of a compulsory air; and to pro-
cure this gratification, Contrecoeur made his arrangements. The British army was so
overwhelming in strength, so well appointed and disciplined that he, perhaps, deemed
any opposition to its advance would be not less fruitless than the defence of the works.
However this may be, he had as yet on the 7th of July, announced no definite conclu-
sion, though possibly his views were perceptible enough to his subordinates. On that
day it was known that the enemy, whose numbers were greatly magnified, were at the
head-waters of Turtle Creek« On the 8th, when his route was changed, M. de Beaujeu,
a captain in the regulars, proposed to the commander that he might be permitted to
go forth with a suitable band to prepare an ambuscade for the English on the banks of
the Monongahela, and to dispute with them the passage of the second ford If we may
believe the tradition, it was with undisguised reluctance that Contrecoeur complied with
this request, and even then, it is said, refused to assign troops for the enterprise; bid-
ding him call for volunteers as for a forlorn hope. To that summons the whole garri-
son responded. If this tale be true, Contrecoeur recanted his determination, and wisely
preferred making him a regular detachment conditioned on his success in obtaining the
union of the Indians, who, to the number of nearly a thousand warriors, were gathered
at the place. Accordingly, the savages were at once called to a council. These people^
consisting of bands assembled from a dozen different nations, listened with unsuppressed
discontent to the overtures of the Frenchman. Seated under the palisades that
environed the fort, or standing in knots about the speaker, were gathered a motley but
a ferocious crew.

To these reluctant auditors Beaujeu stated his designs. ''How, my father," said
they in reply, ''are you so bent upon death that you would also sacrifice us? With our
eight hundred men you ask us to attack four thousand Englbh ? Truly, this is not the
saying of a wise man. But we will lay up what we have heard, and to-morrow you
shall know our thoughts." On the morning of the 9th of July, the conference was
repeated and the Indians announced their intention of refusing to join in the expedi-
tion. At this moment a runner, — ^probably one of those dislodged by Gage in the early
dawn — burst in upon the assembly and heralded the advent of the foe. Well versed in
the peculiar characteristics of the savages, by whom he was much loved, and full of
tact and energy, Beaujeu took ready advantage of the excitement which these tidings
occasioned.

"I," said he, "am determined to go out against the enemy. I am certain of victory.
Whatl will you suffer your father to depart alone?" Fired by his language and the
reproach it conveyed, they at once resolved by acclamation to follow him to the fray.
In a moment, the scene was alive with frantic enthusiasm. Barrels of bullets and
flints, and casks of powder, were hastily rolled to the gates : their heads were knocked
out, and every warrior left to supply himself at his own discretion. Then painted for
war and armed for the combat, the party moved rapidly away, in numbers nearly 900
strong, of whom 637 were Indians, 146 Canadians, and 72 regidar troops. Subordinate
to Beaujeu were MM. Dumas and De Ligneris, both captains in the regular army, four
lieutenants, six ensigns, and twenty cadets. Though his numbers were thus not so



»See "Washington's and Braddock's Expeditions;" Tames Hadden, 1910, pp. 1x4-

"History of Brad<- " ^ -^ "^ ^ '

Veech; pp. 70-73.



139.^ "History of Braddock's Expedition;" Sargent, pp^ 244-253. "Mononguiela of
Old,



Digitized by



Google



340 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

greatly inferior to Braddock's it is not likely that Beaujeu calculated on doing more
than giving the English a severe check, and perhaps delaying for a few days their
advance. It is impossible that he should have contemplated the complete victory that
was before him.

On the evening of July 8th, the ground had been carefully reconnoitred and the
proper place for the action selected. The intention was to dispute as long as possible
the passage of the second ford, and then to fall back upon the ravines. But long ere
they reached the scene, the swell of military music, the crash of falling trees, apprised
them that the foe hajd already crossed the river, and that his pioneers were advanced
into the woodlands. Quickening their pace into a run, they managed to reach the
broken ground just as the van of the English came in sight Braddock had turned from
the first bottom to the second, and mounting to its brows was about to pass arotmd the
head of the ravines to avoid the little morass caused by the water course before
described. His route did not lay parallel with the most dangerous defile, where the
banks are so steep and the cover so perfect, but passed its head at an angle of about 45
degrees ; thus completely exposing his face and flanks from a point on the second bot-
tom, at a hundred yards distant, to another within thirty, where he would turn the
ravine. Of course the further he advanced the nearer he would approach to its brink,
till the whole should finally be left behind; thus opening a line of two hundred yards
long, at an average distance of sixty, to the enemy's fire. Had he possessed the least
knowledge of these defiles, he would undoubtedly have secured them in season, since
nothing would have been easier than their occupation by Gage's advanced party. But
not a man in his army had ever dreamed of their existence.^^

Any one of the million or more soldiers who were in action in our
late war can here ask: Why did not Braddock shell the woods and
ravines with his artillery mounted on Kenny wood heights?

The most interesting of the French accounts of the battle is that
furnished by M. Pouchot in his posthumous work, "Memoirs of the Late
War in North America." It is a hearsay account but graphic and in
most particulars agrees with the English accounts. Sargent furnishes
the following information of M. Pouchot and his book:

"Memoirs sur la Demiere Guerre de TAmerique Septentrionale, par M. Pouchot"
(Yverdon, 1781, Vol. I., p. 8). These two volumns contain much curious and authentic
Information respecting the subject to which they relate. The author was bom at
Grenoble, in 1712, and at the age of twenty-two was an officer in the regiment of Beam.
His talents as an engineer under such masters as Vauban and Cohorn, early pointed
him out to favourable notice, and in season he acquired a captaincy in that regiment,
and was created a knight of St. Louis. He came to America on the breaking of the
war of I755» and gained much honor by the part he took therein, particularly in the
defence of Forts Niagara and Levis, where he was in command. He was slain in
Corsica, 8th May, 1769, during the warfare between the French and the natives of the
island. His memoirs, prepared by himself for publication, did not see the light for
several years after his death. They are accompanied with explanatory notes, appar-
ently by a well-informed hand. My opinion of their value is confirmed by that of M.
Garaeau.si^

Justin Winsor in his "Narrative and Critical History" also attests
the value of Pouchot's Memoir, stating that he made it clear that the
French had no expectation of doing more than check the advance of
Braddock. An English edition of Pouchot's work appeared in two
volumes in 1886, from which the following has been extracted with the
accompanying footnotes, found in Vol. I, ibid, pp. 39-43.



«*"History Braddock's Expedition ;" pp. 221-226.
85"History of Braddock's Expedition;" p. 38.



Digitized by



Google



EDWARD BRADDOCK, GENERALISSIMO 34i

M. PoucHOT's Account.

We will here give an account, as received from some Canadian officers who were
present, of the order of battle in which the English were found.

M. de Contre-coeur being apprised by the Indians of the march of a large body of
English from Fort Cumberland, who were opening the road from day to day as they
advanced ;— sent a detachment of two hundred Canadians and colonial troops, under
Captains Beaujeu and Dumas, with several other officers, having under them Indians of
the upper country, and our domiciliated Indians, to the number of five hundred. This
detachment expected to meet the English at some distance, and hoped by some surprise
or check, to retard their march, rather than to prevent them from reaching Fort Du-
quesne, as the officers were told that the enemy was in greatly superior force.

But the latter, confident in their numbers, proposed to come and form an establish-
ment, feeling assured that it would cost them little beyond the trouble of showing
themselves, and convinced that they could take the fort in a day. They, however,
marched with great caution, and upon arriving within three leagues of Fort Duquesne,
they halted, after crossing a little stream near the house of a blacksmith named Frazier,
a German who had settled there to begin his trade with the Indians, but had left when
the French to occupy upon the Ohio.

About eleven o'clock in the morning, the English began to defile over a hill forming
a little mountain, with twenty cavalrymen at the head, ten carpenters, two companies of
Halke's grenadiers, the seven companies of that regiment, six recent companies of Vir-
ginia troops, three on the right and three on the left, while the regiment of Dunbar, and
its grenadiers formed the rear guard. Then followed the laborers and twenty horse-
men, forming the column under the orders of General Braddock. The artillery was in
the center, and the r^imental baggage, munitions and provisions were in the rear. All
these equipages were well protected by troops who were ranged by companies in alter-
nate order.

The cavalry upon reaching the hill top, having discovered the French who were
marching down a hill, fell back upon the advance guard, who were distant from them
a full musket shot

The French, on their part, upon seeing the English threw themselves behind trees
and began to fire, while the Indians passed to the right and left of the hill. They were
thus exposed to a fire of musketry and artillery from the column, and were not accus-
tomed to hear such loud discharges, but seeing the French remain firm, and noticing
that the fire was not very destructive, they with their accustomed cries, resumed each
a place behind every tree.

The English were not expecting this attack, yet they held a firm aspect, facing to
the front and flanks,, but seeing that they covered too much ground, they made a move-
ment to advance, and returned a very sharp fire, the officers on horseback, sword in
hand, animating their men. After the death of M. de Beaujeu, who was killed on the
first fire, M. Dtmias took command of the French, or rather, they continued each one
to do his best in the place they were in.

Soon afterward, the English abandoned two pieces of artillery, and fell back
toward the rear of their column, which still pressed towards the front, to attack, but
they lost their cannon one by one, and were thinned out by the musketry during a space
of five hours. The Indians taking this movement of the column from the front towards
the rear, as a tendency to retreat, rushed upon them with their tomahawks, as did the
French also, when they disbanded, and a great massacre followed.

They pursued the English, who threw themselves into the stream to swim, and many
were killed in crossing. They did not, however, pursue far, because the Indians could
not wait to plunder and drinlc They cotmted on the battlefield six hundred, on the line
of retreat about four hundred, and along a little stream three hundred men. The total
loss was estimated at 1,270.^6 They abandoned their wounded, who mostly perished in



soThe most careful returns of the English showed a total number of 456 killed^ 421
wotmded, and 583 safe. This did not include women and servants. The French loss
was reported at three officers killed and two wounded; two cadets wounded: twenty-
five soldiers and Indians killed, and as many more injured. TThis footnote and No. 58
are by Pouchot, Amn. Ed ; Nos. 37 and 39 are in the original].



Digitized by



Google



342 HISTORY OF PITTSBURGH

the wood5.87 Of one hundred and sixty officers, only six escaped. They took two
twelve pounders, four sixty pounders, four howitzers, twelve Cohom mortars, their
ammunition and provisions, a hundred covered wagons, military chest, and all the bag-
gage of the officers, who were well equipped, and from whom the Canadians and Indians
derived great profit.B8

Pouchot proceeds with his account thus :

This action, the most important and glorious that the Indians had ever witnessed,
and which was partly won by the accuracy of their own fire, only cost them eleven killed,
and twenty-nine wounded. If on a battlefield, with no natund advantage, this event
could happen to brave and well disciplined troops, from knowing how to fire steadily, and
not being acquainted with the kind of enemy they had to deal with, it is an impressive
lesson upon these two points. This victory, which was received on the 9th of July, put
the whole country in good spirits for the campaign, and averted the project of a general
invasion of Canada. According to the plan which had been concerted between Shirley
and Lawrence, governor of Acadia, who had formerly been sent on this business to
London, is was agreed:

ist That Col. Monckton should at once attack the French forts in Acadia, who
executed without delay these orders in the expedition of which we have already noticed
the success.

2nd. It was agreed that Johnson, with a army of about four thousand men, raised
in the northern colonies, should surprise Fort Federic, and render himself its master.

3rd. That Shirley with his own and Pepperell's Regiment, should attack Fort
Niagara, that he should receive a sufficient number of bateaux to transport his troops
and artillery by way of Lake Ontario, and that he should reinforce the garrison of
Oswego, so that it might become a place of safety, in case it was necessary to retreat
under pursuit.

4th. Besides attacking Fort Frederic, Col. Johnson was charged with important
negotiations with the Five Nations, whom they wished to engage absolutely for the
war. He was to deliver speeches already prepared and two thousand pounds were to be
used as presents.

5th. The remainder of the expedition was reserved by General Braddock for him-
self. It was agreed that he should leave on the 20th of April for Frederickstown, so as
to reach the mountains early in May, in order to finish in June, the business he pro-
posed to accomplish upon the Ohio, or the Beautiful River.s^^

Frederickstown refers to what was later known as Frederick City,
now simply Frederick. The plans of campaign Pouchot mentions are
those decided on by the conference between Braddock and the Colonial
governors at Alexandria in April, 1755. The French accounts of the
battle were collected and published in French by Dr. Shea in i860. This
volume contains all the contemporary French accounts that the editor
was able to collect. Among them are: (i) an account of the battle by
M. de Godefroy ; (2) the same by M. Pouchot; (3) the relation of events
after the departure of the troops from Quebec to September 30, 1755;



87About 2,000 effective men were in this action, as shown by the papers of Gen.
Braddock, who lost his life after having five horses shot under him.

88The official return of the captures reported 4 brass pieces of calibre of 11 Ibe.;
4 do. of 55^ lbs.; 4 brass howitzers of 7^ inches; 3 firrenade mortars of 4^ inches;
175 balls of II lbs.; 57 howitzers of 6^ mches, 17 bbl. powder of xoo lbs., 19,740 musket
cartridges, large quantities of articles for a siege, 4 to 500 horses, about 100 head of
cattle, a large amount of flour and other stores, besides the booty and plunder of money,
utensils, clothing, etc.

89We derive these details from the French "Memoire JusHficatif** prepared from
the papers of Gen. Braddock. We have deemed them necessary to illustrate the events
of wis campaign.



Digitized by



Google



EDWARD BRADDOCK, GENERALISSIMO 343

(4) the official reports from the Archives from the War Department
in Paris ; (5) Letter of M. de Lotbiniere to the Count d' Argenson ; and
(6) extracts from the Register of Fort Duquesne. Sparks had copies of
three of these (Nos. 3-4-5, supra), which Sargent published for the
first time en bloc, though their gist had been given by Sparks in his
second volume of Washington.*^

Two accounts have been translated from the French and have been
inserted in the account of the battle in "Frontier Forts of Penna." (Vol.
II, pp. 62-63). Schoolcraft, writing in 1857, says:

It has been asserted that there were but 637 Indians engaged in the action which
resulted in Braddock's defeat These consisted principally of Ottawas, Ojibiwas, and
Pottawattamies, from Michigan; Shawanese from Grave Creek, and the river Mus-
kingum ; Delawares from the Susqudianna ; Abinakis and Gtughnawages from Canada ;
Hurons, or Wyandots, from the mission of Lorette and the Montreal falls, under
Athanase, a Canadian. The whole were conmianded by the popular Beaujeu, who was
killed early in action. This force, including the recreant Abinakis, was, as may be seen,
entirely of the Algonquin family, with the exception of the Hurons, a segregated Iro-
quois tribe, who had always sided with the French, and a few "scattered warriors from
the Six Nations." To this force were added 146 Canadian militia, and 72 regular troops,
who fought according to the Indian mode. It is impossible that such a defeat could
have occurred under ordinary circtunstances ; and the fact conchisively attests the effi-
ciency of an Indian auxiliary force as a vanguard to regular troops, in a wild forest
country, where they can screen themselves from observation, and bid defiance to the
death-dealing artillery, or the attacks of dragoons. No event in American military
annals cast such a blight on American hopes, as this defeat After the lapse of a full
century, a thrill of horror still creeps through the veins at the recital.^ >

Egle has this paragraph pertaining to Beaujeu :

L'an mille sept cinquante cinq le neuf de Julliet a este tue au combat donne contre
les Anglois et le mesme jour que dessus, Mr. Leonard Daniel, escuyer, Sieur de Beau-
jeux captaine d'infenterie commandant du Fort Duquesne et de L'armee, lequel estoit
age d'environt de quarente cinq ans ayant este en confesse et fait ses devotions le mesme
jour, son corps a este inhume le douze du mesme mois dans le cimitiere du Fort Du-
quesne sous le titrc de TAssomption de la Ste Vierge a la belle Riviere et cela avec les
ceremonies ordinaires par nous pre Recolet soussigne aumonier du Roy au susdit fort en
foy de quoy avons signe.**

Egle partly translated the paragraph in a footnote, thus :

M. Leonard Daniel, Esqr., Sieur de Beaujeu, captain of infantry, commander of the
Fort Duquesne, and of the army, on the 9th day of July, in the year 1755, and in the
forty-fifth year of his age. The same day, after having confessed and said his devotions,
he was killed in the battle with the English. His body was interred on the twelfth of the
same month, in the cemetery of the Fort Duquesne, at the Beautiful river.



40Appcndix No. IV, "Braddock's Expedition;" Sargent, pp. 400-413. Shea's com-
pilation is entitled : "Relati<ms diverses sur la bataille du Malanguefe gagn6 le 9 Juillet
1755 par les Francois sous M. de Beaujeu, Commandant du Fort Du Quesne, sur les
Anglois sous M. Braddock." Shea aims to show that Beaujeu and not Contrecoeur
was commandant at Fort Duquesne at the time of their victory over Braddock. Dr.
Shea has much of the same matter in the "Penna. Magazine of History" (1884) ; Vol.
VIII, pp. 121-128.

41^'History Indian Nations, etc.;" Schoolcraft, Vol. VI, p. ai8. Sargent's "His-
tory of Braddock's Expedition; p. 222. See also Ibid., Appendix IV, p. 411, "Relatum
Depuis le Depart des Trouppes, etc" Parkman's "Montcalm and Wolfe," and his
"Conspiracy of Pontiac"— difficult to cite pages from the many editions of Parkman.

«>"The History of Pennsylvania;" William H. Egle, p. 89. See also "Baptismal
Register, Fort Duquesne;" Lambing, pp. 62, 63; 93, 94-



Digitized by



Google



344 HISTORY OF PIITSBURGH

Egle thought the rest immaterial ; the title of the cemetery, "the As-
sumption of the Blessced Virgin/* and that he was buried with the usual
ceremonies.

That there were some spoils from Braddock's defeat can be inferred
from the list below. The losses of the British were much greater than
here given. Dunbar destroyed all his ammunition and most of his stores.
The following is a copy of a French report :

Return of the artillery, munitions of war and other effects belongring to the £ng«
lish, found on the field of battle after the action which took place on the 9th of July,
^755t within three leagues of Fort Duquesne, on the River Oyo, between a detachment
of 350 Canadians and 650 Indians, commanded by Captain de Beaujeu and a body of
2,000 Englishmen under the command of Gen. Braddock, exclusive of the considerable



Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 48 of 81)