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Braddock's Folly: An Incident of the French and Indian War, and a Metaphor for our Region, Probably
from Lossing's New History of the United States, from the Discovery of the American Continent to the Present Time, Benjamin J. Lossing, LL.D. (New York: Gay Brothers & Co., 1886).
The western expedition, under General Braddock, was long delayed on account of difficulties in obtaining provisions and wagons. The patience of the commander was sorely tried, and in moments of petulance he used expressions against the colonists, which they long remembered with bitterness. He finally commenced with his march on the 10th of June, 1755, with about two thousand men, British and provincials. Anxious to reach Fort du Quesne before the garrison should receive re-inforcements, he made forced marches with his twelve hundred men, leaving Colonel Dunbar, his second in command, to follow with the remainder, and the wagons. Colonel Washington had consented to act as Braddock's aid, and to him was given the command of the provincials. Knowing, far better than Braddock, the perils of their march and the kind of warfare they might expect, he ventured, modestly, to give advice, founded upon his experience. But the haughty general would listen to no suggestions, especially from a provincial subordinate. This obstinacy resulted in his ruin. When within ten miles of Fort du Quesne, and while marching at noon-day on the 9th of July, in fancied security, on the north side of the Monongahela, a volley of bullets and a cloud of arrows assailed the advanced guard, under Lieutenant Colonel Gage. They came from a thicket and ravine close by, where a thousand dusky warriors lay in ambush. Again Washington asked permission to fight according to provincial custom, but was refused. Braddock must maneuver according to European tactics, or not at all. For three hours, deadly volley after volley fell upon the British columns, while Braddock attempted to maintain order, where all was confusion. The slain soon covered the ground. Every mounted officer but Washington was killed or maimed, and finally, the really brave Braddock himself, after having several horses shot from under him, was mortally wounded¹. Washington remained unhurt. Under his direction the provincials rallied, while the regulars, seeing their general fall, were fleeing in great confusion. The provincials covered their retreat so gallantly, that the enemy did not follow. A week afterward, Washington read the impressive funeral service of the Anglican Church, over the corpse of Braddock, by torchlight.

¹ Braddock was shot by Thomas Faucett, one of the provincial soldiers. His plea was self-preservation. Braddock had issued a positive order, that none of the English should protect themselves behind trees, and the French and Indians did. Faucett's brother had taken such a position, and when Braddock perceived it, he struck him to the earth with his sword. Thomas, on seeing his brother fall, shot Braddock in the back, and then the provincials, fighting as they pleased, were saved from utter destruction. (Back to text.

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