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That then the Beaver, brother of Shingass, told him that the Governor of Port
Duquesne had often offered the French hatchet to the Shawanese and Delawares,
who had as often refused it, declaring that they would do as they should be advised by
the Six Nations, but that in April or May last (i755) a party of Six Nation warriors
in company with some Caghnawagos and Adirondacks, called at the French fort in
their going to war against the Southern Indians, and on these the Governor of Fort
Duquesne prevailed to offer the French hatchet to the Delawares and Shawanese, who
received it from them and went directly against Virginia. That neither Beaver nor
several others of the Shawanese and Delawares, approved of this measure, nor had
taken up the hatchet; and the Beaver believed some of those who had, were very

Pitts.— 25

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sorry for what they had done; and would be glad to make up the matters with the

That from Kittanning he went to Logstown, where he found about one hundred
Indians and thirty English prisoners, taken by the Shawnese living at the Lower Shaw-
anese Town, from the western frontier of Virginia, and sent up to Logstown. He was
told the same thing by these Shawanese that the Beaver had told him before, respecting
their striking the English, by the advice of some of the Six Nations; and further he
was informed that the French had solicited them to sell the English prisoners, which
they had refused, declaring they would not dispose of them until they should receive
advice from the Six Nations, what to do with them. That there are more or less of.
the Six Nations living with the Shawanese and Delawafes in their towns, and these
always accompanied them in their excursions upon the English, and took part with
them in war. That when at Logstown, which is near Fort Duquesne, on the opposite
side of the river, he intended to have gone there to see what the French were doing in
that Fort, but could not cross the river for the driving of ice, he was, however, informed
that the number of the French did not exceed four hundred. That he returned to
Kittanning and there learned that ten Delawares were gone to the Susquehanna, and
as he supposed to persuade those Indians to strike the English, who might perhaps be
concerned in the mischief lately done in the county of Northampton.

Mr. Croghan said he was well assured, by accounts given 1^ from other Indians,
that the Delawares and Shawanese acted in this hostile measure by the advice and
concurrence of the Six Nations, and that such of those as lived in the Delaware town,
went along with them, and took part in their incursions.^

To quote Bradley here ("Fight with France," etc., pp. 104-105) :

There was now a tremendous outcry and a general panic The Indians, hounded
on by the French, and swarming in from the north and west, frequently led, too, by
Canadian partisans, threw themselves upon the almost defenceless frontier of Maryland,
Virginia and Pennsylvania, and rolled it back amid an orgie of blood and fire and
tears; while Washington in command of 1,000 ill-disciplined and badly officered mili-
tiamen, was set the hopeless task of defending a line of nearly 400 miles in length.

He was only three and twenty, but was regarded as the natural protector of the
colonies now threatened, and his letters from the western settlements of Virginia
throughout this autumn, winter and spring give a harrowing picture of the Indian
terror that he was endeavoring to combat From the thrifty settlements of the Scotch
Irishmen, and the more adventurous among the Germans which were thickly sprinkled
along the eastern trough of the Alleghenies, came flying in crowds, horse, foot and
wagons, through the mountain passes. "They came through by the fifties at a time,"
writes Washington, "and talk of surrendering to the French if no help comes from
below.'' Braddock's road from the Ohio he Q)eak8 of as being beaten hard with
moccasined feet, as if an army had been over it, while all the Western forests were
alive with Indiuis. In Maryland, a little later, he counted 300 wagons in three day>
hurrying from the wasted settlements. From North Carolina to Western New York
men were scalped and murdered by hundreds, and women and children in still greater
numbers either treated in like fashion or driven into captivity bdiind the Alleghenies.
The tears and supplications of the refugees were a daily torment to this at once tender
and brave-hearted young leader of men, who chafed at the impotence to which he was
consigned by bad and inefficient soldiers, worse officers, and a lack of everything but
scurrilous abuse.

Regarding the question of precedence, Irving states in his "Life of
Washington," Knickerbocker Edn., Vol. I, pp. 287-288:

February 4, 1756, Washington set out for Boston, to consult with Major-general
Shirley, who had succeeded Braddock in the general command of the colonies. In
those days the conveniences of traveling, even between our main cities, were few, and
the roads execrable. The party, therefore, traveled in Virginia style, on horesback,

^''History Western Pennsylvania and West;" pages ii6-iX7.

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attended by their black servants in livery. In this way they accomplished a journey of
five hundred miles in the depth of winter, stopping for some days at Philadelphia and
New York. Those cities were then comparatively small, and the arrival of a party of
young Southern officers attracted attention. The last disastrous battle was still the
theme of every tongue, and the honorable way in which these young officers had
acquitted themselves in it made them objects of universal interest Washington's
fame, especially, had gone before him, having been spread by the officers who had
served with him, and by the public honors decreed him by the Virginia Legislature.
''Your name," wrote his former fellow-campaigner. Gist, in a letter dated in the pre-
ceding autumn, "is more talked of in Philadelphia than that of any other person in the
army, and everybody seems willing to venture under your command."

Ford says :

Washington remained ten days in Boston, attending, with great interest the meet-
ings of the Massachusetts Legislature, in which the plan of military operations was
ably discussed. After receiving the most hospitable attentions from the polite and intel-
ligent society of the place, he returned to Virginia, for the French had made another
sortie from Fort Duquesne, accompanied by a band of savages, and were spreading ter-
ror and desolation through the country. Horrors accumulated at Winchester. Every
hour brought its tale of terror, true or false, of houses burnt, families massacred, or
beleaguered and famishing in stockade forts. The danger approached. A scouting party
had been attacked in the Warm Spring Mountain, about twenty miles distant, by a
large body of French and Indians, mostly on horseback. The captain of the scouting
party and several of his men had been slain, and the rest put to flight

An attack on Winchester was apprehended, and the terrors of the people rose to
agony. They turned to Washington as their main hope. The women surrounded him,
holding up their children, and imploring him with tears and cries to save them from
the savages. The youthful commander looked around on the suppliant crowd with a
countenance beaming with pity, and a heart wrung with anguish. A letter to Governor
Dinwiddie shows the conflict of his feelings.

'*I am too little acquainted with pathetic language to attempt a description of these
people's distresses. But what can I do? I see their situation; I know their danger,
and participate in their sufferings, without having it in my power to give them further
relief than uncertain promises.'' ''The supplicating tears of the women, and moving
petitions of the men, melt me into such deadly sorrow, that I solemnly declare, if I
know my own mind, I could offer myself a willing sacrifice to the butchering enemy
provided that would contribute to the people's ease."*

The unstudied eloquence of this letter drew from the governor an instant order for
a militia force from the upper countries to his assistance. The Legislature, too, began,
at length to act^ but timidly and inefficiently. "The country knows her danger," writes
one of the members, "but such is her parsimony that she is willing to wait for the rains
to wet the powder, and the rats to eat the bowstrmgs of the enemy, rather than attempt
to drive them from her frontiers."*

The historian Bradley draws a sorry picture of the indiflference of
the aristocracy of Virginia and the character of the troops recruited for
border service. The utter apathy of the landed gentry was appalling.
The region about Fort Duquesne was claimed by Virginia. The incur-
sions of the red marauders began at that French fort and extended to
the Carolinas. The scenes of horror depicted in the accounts were the
same on all parts of the frontier. The French while in control of the
Upper Ohio region brought as great horrors upon Virginia as Penn-
sylvania. The four years of French control were absolutely years of
horror. One may quote the incisive Bradley again :

^"Writings of George Washington;" W. C. Ford, Vol. I, p. 248.
•"Life of Washington;" Irving, Vol. I, pp. 226-229.

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He had now been over two years at the frontier village of Winchester, in the val-
ley of Virginia, eating his heart out in vain endeavors to stem the hordes of Indians led
by Frenchmen, who swarmed across the stricken borders of the middle colonies. "I
have been posted," he wrote in the preceding spring, "for more than twenty months on
our cold and barren frontiers to perform, I think I may say, an impossibility; that is,
to protect from the cruel incursions of a crafty savage enemy, a line of inhabitants more
than three hundred and fifty miles in extent, with a force inadequate to the task." He
was still only twenty-five, but a head and shoulders above any colonial soldier outside of
New England. He had no chance of gain or glory with his thousand or so "poor whites,"
ill-paid and discontented, and recruited with infinite difficulty. His officers were
often of no better discipline. One of them, he tells us, sent word on being ordered to
his post, that he could not come as his wife, his family and his com crop, all required
his attention." "Such," says Washington, "such the behavior of the men, and upon such
circumstances the safety of this country depends." Three colonies, Pennsylvania,
Maryland and Virginia, with some half-million whites, to say nothing of rude and
populous North Carolina, could only wring from this large population a wretched, half-
hearted militia of 2,000 men, . recruited largely from the burnt-out victims of the
frontier. Where, one may well ask, were the squires of Virginia and Maryland, who
swarmed along the eastern counties of both provinces, and whose comfortable home-
steads reached to within a hundred miles of the scene of this bloody war, of their
fellow-countrymen's long agony, and of the impudent invasion of their country? To
mention a dozen or two young men of this class who rallied to Washington, would only
be to aggravate the case, if such were possible, in the face of these statistics. Men of
substance and education, accustomed to horse and gun, "outdoor" men in fact or
nothing, were quietly staying at home by the thousands, unstirred by feelings of patriot-
ism or vengeance, and apparently untouched by the clash of arms and the ordinary
martial instincts of youtlL. Their grandfathers had fought; their sons were to fight;
their descendants were in the last civil war to be among the bravest of the brave. What
was this generation doing at such a moment ? Washington whose local patriotism no
one will dispute and whose example shone like a beacon light amid the gloom, cursed
them often and soundly in his letters for doing nothing. It was fortunate for these
colonies that Pitt came forward to save them.

Washington was giving up a life of ease and comfort, neglecting an estate to whose
management he was greatly attached, and those field sports, which, next to fighting, were
the passion of his life. Here, however, on this shaggy blood-stained frontier, without
means to fight effectively, neither glory nor even thanks were to be gained. He lost his
temper more than once, and wrote incontrovertible but imprudent letters to the Virginia
authorities at Williamsburg, falling thereby into the bad books of the gentlemen who
regarded the State of the frontier with such prodigious equanimity .«

The groundwork for the account of Forbes' expedition that follows
will be found in that admirable work of Francis Parkman to which
reference may be had.

The plans of Pitt to drive the French from their American posses-
sions designed to capture Louisburg on Cape Breton Island. Forts Ticon-
deroga and Duquesne. Louisburg fell, Ticonderoga was saved by the
skill of Montcalm. Frontenac, however, fell also, and with its fall
Duquesne was untenable. Far off in the wilderness it was cut off from
its base of supplies and the garrison could not live off the country.
Forbes found that out later.

As to Forbes, properly a few words of biography are in order. He
was born in Pittincrief, Fifeshire, Scotland, in 1710. He was educated
for a physician, but preferring a military life entered the British army,
and in 1745 had advanced to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, serving in

*"Fight With France for North America;" pp. 203-206.

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the Scot* s Greys. He served under the Duke of Cumberland as acting
quartermaster-general and late in 1757 came to America a brigadier-
general. He had seen hard service in the continental wars. April, 1758,
found Forbes still in Philadelphia, as yet without an army. The pro-
vincials were yet to be enlisted and the Highlanders had not arrived.
It was about this time that the general was attacked with the painful
and dangerous malady which would have disabled a less resolute man,
and which ultimately caused his death.

The forces as made up for Forbes' little army consisted of provincials
from Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina, the High-
landers, 1,200 in number, and a detachment of Royal Americans, amount-
ing in all, says Parkman, to between 6,000 and 7,000 men. Other
historians estimate the force at 8,000 men. Parkman's estimate includes
the wagoners and camp followers.

These were crude material, unruly and recalcitrant to discipline.
They brought a mass of worthless stuff to the rendezvous at Carlisle.
Old provincial muskets, the locks of many tied on with strings, fowling
pieces, now known as shot guns ; some carried only walking sticks, and
not a few had never fired a gun in their lives.

Except a few of the officers, and these of the higher ranks, Forbes
characterized the whole body of officers to Pitt as "an extremely bad
collection of broken innkeepers, horse jockeys and Indian traders.''
Forbes was no more flattering toward the men. It was a strangely
heterogeneous body that came under his command ; but in the end "they
were moulded into an efficient organization. ''<^

One can read with tender feeling the extracts from Forbes' letters
en route. Restoring order at Carlisle, in suffering he writes: "I have
been and still am poorly, today with a cursed flux, but shall move day
after tomorrow." But he did not. It was August 9th when he wrote
again: "I am now able to write after three weeks of the most violent
and tormenting distemper, which, thank God, seems now abated as
to pain, but has left me as weak as a new-bom infant. However, I
hope to have strength enough to set out from this place on Friday next."

Forbes' malady was an inflammation of the stomach, involving other
vital organs. When Forbes should have been in bed with complete
repose, he was disturbed, yea, distressed, with the details and worries
of an extremely arduous campaign for which he was in no wise physically

The delays and vexations that wearied the staunch Scotch com-
mander have taken up pages of history. Indeed, the whole story of
Forbes' expedition has had adequate treatment by able writers. Francis
Parkman, John Fiske, Justin Winsor, Isaac D. Rupp, Albert Bushnell
Hart — ^what historian has not been impressed with the story of the
"Head of Iron" and the capture of Fort Duquesne without a blow?

One thing commendable in Forbes was his method of marching —
not encumbered like Braddock with immense trains in the wilderness.

sSee "Expeditioti of Gen. Forbes Against Fort Duquesne;" Publications Carnegie
Library, Pittsburgh, 1908, and "Letters of Gen. Forbes;" Ibid., Feb.-May, 1909.

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When finally Forbes had got under way he pushed on by slow stages
and "did not hesitate," says Parkman, "to embrace heresies which would
have driven Braddock to fury/'

Lieut.-Col. Henry Bouquet, a brave and accomplished Swiss, com-
manded one of the battalions of the Royal Americans, a new organiza^
tion containing many Pennsylvania Germans. Early in June Bouquet,
with the advance guard, encamped at Raystown, where he built Fort

Dinwiddle had been superseded as governor of Virginia by Lieut.-
Gov. Francis Fauquier, a friend of Washington, to whom EHnwiddie
had taken a violent dislike and treated the country's future father with

Washington prepared to join Forbes' expedition against Fort Du-
quesne although his intention had been to abandon a military life. He
proceeded to gather his scattered regiments at Winchester and found
the assembling forces destitute of everything needful.

This necessitated the journey of the youthful colonel to Williamsburg
and it was on this journey that he met the fair young widow, best known
in history as Martha Washington.

Washington proceeded with his force to Fort Cumberland on the
Potomac, arriving there July 2, 1758, and then proceeded to open a road,
a distance of thirty miles, to Raystown, now Bedford, Pennsylvania,
where Col. Bouquet was stationed.

The fate of Braddock had impressed itself deeply on the British
commanders. It inspired a caution that was necessary. Washington,
skilled in frontier service, at once became a valuable aid and adviser to
both Bouquet and Forbes.

Forbes, who relied greatly on Bouquet, liked also Col. James Burd.
He treated Washington with consideration and respect. He expressed
disgust for Sir John Sinclair, who had been Braddock's quartermaster-
general, and his inefficiency. He was justly displeased with his provin-
cial troops.

August nth Forbes left Carlisle carried on a kind of a litter made of a
hurdle slung between two horses. No wonder he was compelled to
stop at Shippensburg complaining that the journey had raised his dis-
order and pains to such a degree that they became intolerable. He
lay helpless in Shippensburg until late in September, writing anon of
his weak state and excruciating pains and his sufferings both of body
and mind. His letters are pathetic in the full sense of the word. He
unjustly condemns Washington in the dispute that arose as to the route,
Washington in the interest of Virginia favoring the Braddock road,
necessitating the march of the army to Fort Cumberland at Wills Creek
on the Potomac to make the start. Forbes, however, made his own
road, which has gone into history under his name. Craig, commenting
upon the determination of Forbes not to follow Braddock's trail, points
out the fact that in the late season (November) the rivers, especially
the wide Monongahela, were unfordable ; the waters high, and impassable,
except in boats, which would require much time for construction.

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Bouquet received intelligence that Fort Duquesne was defended by but
eight hundred men, of whom three hundred were Indians. Bouquet
without the knowledge of his superior officer (Forbes) entrusted to Maj.
James Grant of Montgomery's Battalion a force of Highlanders, Royal
Americans and Provincials, in all eight hundred and thirteen men, with
orders to reconnoiter the enemy's position.

It was on September nth that Maj. Grant was detached from the
main body under Bouquet at what is now Ligonier. He reached the
vicinity of the fort in three days, and his battle was fought September
14, 1758.

The men easily scaled the successive ridges and took post on a hill near Port
Duquesne, not knowing that Aubry had arrived with a remforcement of 400 men from

Grant divided his troops in order to tempt the enemy into an ambuscade, and at
daybreak on September 14 discovered himself by beating his dnmis.

A large body of French and Indians commanded by the gallant Aubry imme-
diately poured out of the fort, and with surprising celerity attacked his troops in
detail, never allowing him time to get them together. They gave way and ran, leaving
295 killed and prisoners. Of the entire force 540 came back safe.

Even Grant, who» in the folly of his vanity, had but a few moments before been
confident of an easy victory, gave himself up to capture, but a small party of Virginians
under the command of Thomas Bullitt arrested the precipitate flight, and saved the
detachment from utter ruin. On their return to camp, their coolness and courage were
publicly extolled by Forbes, and in the opinion of the army, regulars as well as pro-
vincials, their superiority of discipline reflected honor on Washington.6

Bullitt, sometimes found spelled Bullett, had been a captain in one
of the Virginia regiments in Washington's command. Aubry was a
noted French officer who was prominent in all the border warfare in
the struggle for the region about Pittsburgh. With Ligneris, Marin
and Coulon de Villiers he was captured at Niagara by the English forces
under Gen. Johnson in July, 1759.

The facts of Grant's ill-timed battle on the historic "Hump'' at Fifth
avenue and Grant street, are well and succinctly told in one of the
few colonial newspapers of the times, the "Pennsylvania Gazette," the
celebrated newspaper published in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin.
It is a letter written from Annapolis, Maryland, dated October 5, 1758,
and reads:

We are informed by a letter from Frederick county, (Maryland) that on Monday
the nth of September, Major Grant of the Highland regiment marched from our camp
on the waters of the Kiskiminitai, with 37 officers and 805 privates taken from the
different regiments that compose the Western army on an expedition against Fort

The third day after their march they arrived within eleven miles of Fort Duquesne,
and halted till 3 o'clock in the afternoon; then marched within two miles of Fort
Duquesne, and left their baggage there, guarded by a captain, two subalterns, and 50
men, and marched with the rest of the troops, and arrived at li o'clock at night upon
a hill, a quarter of a mile from the fort

Pittsburghers will agree that it is more than a quarter of a mile from
the site of Fort Duquesne at the Point to Grant's Hill, at the Court

•"Montcalm and Wolfe;" Champlain Edition, Vol. II, pp. 359-363-

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House. It is well to remember also that the camp of Bouquet was
about the site of Ligonier on the Loyalhanna, a branch of the Kis-
kiminetas. Resuming the letter:

Maj. Grant sent two officers and 50 men to the Fort, to attack all the Indians, &c,
they should find lying out of the Fort; they saw none, nor were they challenged by
the sentries. As they returned, they set fire to a large storehouse, which was put out
as soon as they left it. At break of day, Maj. Lewis was sent with 400 men, (Royal
Americans and Virginians) to lie in ambush, a mile and a half from the main body on
the path on which they leift their baggage, imagining the French would send to attack
the baggage guard and seize it. Four hundred men were posted along the hill facing
the Fort, to cover the retreat of Capt. McDonald's company, who marched with drums
beating towards the Fort; in order to draw a party out of the Fort, as Maj. Grant had
some reason to believe there were not above 200 men in the Fort including Indians, but
as soon as they heard the drums, they sallied out in great numbers, both French and
Indians, and fell upon Capt. McDonald, and two columns that were posted lower on
the hill to receive them. The Highlanders exposed themselves without any cover and
were shot down in great numbers and soon forced to retreat. The Carolinians, Mary-

Online LibraryAmerican Historical Society George Thornton FlemingHistory of Pittsburgh and environs: from prehistoric days to the ..., Volume 1 → online text (page 55 of 81)