Braddock Road (Illustrated)

Braddock Road (Illustrated)

by John Kennedy Lacock

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On September 24, 1754, Major-General Edward Braddock was appointed by the Duke of Cumberland, captain-general of the British army, to the command of the British troops to be sent to Virginia, with the rank of generalissimo of all his Britannic Majesty’s forces on the American continent. Before the expedition could start, however, many weeks had to be spent in extensive preparations, a delay which became so irksome to Braddock that he determined to wait no longer on the tardy movement of the transports. Accordingly, on December 21, 1754, accompanied by Captain Robert Orme, one of his aides, and William Shirley, his military secretary, he set sail for Virginia with Commodore Augustus Keppel, and on February 20, 1755, anchored in Hampton Roads. It was not till January 14, 1755, that the rest of the ships were actually under sail, and not till about March 15 that the entire fleet arrived at Alexandria, Virginia, where the troops were disembarked and temporarily quartered.[2]



Meanwhile General Braddock had been busy making the necessary preparations for the expedition against Fort Duquesne. As a matter of first importance, he had written to the governors of the several provinces asking them to meet him in council at Alexandria; and to the five who responded to his invitation on April 14 he submitted various proposals, to which they in turn made formal answer.[3]
Already, however, two days prior to the conference with the governors, the advance column of the army, after much delay caused by the lack of horses and wagons, had set out from Alexandria. The first objective point was Wills Creek,[4] to which the two regiments of the army proceeded by different routes, Sir Peter Halket’s through Virginia via Rock Creek and Winchester, Colonel Thomas Dunbar’s through Maryland via Fredericktown and thence across the Conogogee and into a road five miles north of Winchester. From this point both divisions seem to have marched over the same road to Fort Cumberland.[5] Still further delays were occasioned by the want of wagons and horses for transportation, as well as by the lack of provisions; but by the 19th of May practically all the forces were encamped at the fort, a total of some 2100 men. It had thus taken twenty-seven days to march from Alexandria to Fort Cumberland, a distance of 180 miles; and, one may remark in passing, all the delays up to this point had been occasioned by circumstances over which Braddock had practically no control. He did not reach Fort Cumberland himself till May 10.[6] Then he lost no time in giving his attention to the three matters which were of greatest significance to the success of his expedition,—(1) the Indian question, (2) the arrangements about wagons and provisions, (3) the construction of a road through Pennsylvania to serve as a means of connection with the base of supplies.
Of Braddock’s relations with the Indians there are many conflicting stories; but a careful examination of the most trustworthy accounts will convince an impartial investigator that there is no basis in fact for the charge, often made, that his conduct toward them was impolitic and unjust. On the contrary, it is difficult to find a single fair criticism that can be made against him on this score. However one may account for the circumstance that but eight of them accompanied the expedition, it seems to be practically certain that this small number was not due to the fact that the Indians had not received every reasonable consideration from the English general.
In providing the horses, wagons, and supplies necessary for the undertaking, Braddock was ably assisted by Benjamin Franklin, whose extraordinary efforts, tact, and courage called forth his warm appreciation. “I desired Mr. B. Franklin, postmaster of Pennsylvania, who has great credit in that province,” he wrote on June 5, “to hire me one hundred and fifty wagons and the number of horses necessary, which he did with so much goodness and readiness that it is almost the first instance of integrity, address, and ability that I have seen in all these provinces.”[7]
In the solution of his third problem, that of constructing a road through Pennsylvania in order to have an adequate avenue for securing supplies, Braddock was less successful. He quickly recognized the importance of having the road cut west of the Susquehanna in order to intersect with the route of the army at a place called indifferently Turkey Foot, Crow Foot, or the three forks of the Youghiogheny (at what is now Confluence[8]); and he had the satisfaction of seeing the work of building this road prosecuted with great diligence by Governor Morris of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately for Braddock, however, it proved to be impossible to complete the road in time for it to be of any service to him in the expedition.[9]

Product Details

BN ID: 2940148184355
Publisher: Lost Leaf Publications
Publication date: 01/17/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 964,245
File size: 492 KB

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