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Braddock Expedition

The Braddock Expedition was a failed British attempt to capture the French Fort Duquesne in the summer of 1755 diring the French and Indian War. It is named for General Edward Braddock who led the British and died in the effort.

Braddock led a force of composed of two regiments of the British Army and including about 250 Virginia militia, led by Lt. Colonel George Washington. The expedition traveled through the wilderness from Virginia into western Pennsylvania. They progressed slowly, in some cases moving as little as two miles a day. Due to the size and equipment of the expedition they were making their own road which later became known as the Wilderness Road[?]. The French garrison at the Fort contained only about 200 regulars and Canadian militia accompanied by about 900 Indians. The Indians were camped outside the fort.

Battle of the Wilderness

On July 9th advance unit under Lt. Colonel Thomas Gage crossed the Monongahela River about nine miles south of the fort. As they climbed the hills across the ford, they were ambushed by about 600 Indians and a few regulars. After an initial defense, they concluded that they couldn't close with the enemy and retreated. In the narrow confines of the road, they ran into the main body which was advancing rapdly to theirt support. The entire column was thrown into disorder, as the Indian continued to fire from the woods and ravines.

The militia, more familiar with frontier warfare, spread out, took cover, and returned fire. The regulars kept trying vainly to reform units into regular order within the confines of the road. Still tying to regain order in his units, General Bradock was seriously wounded. Colonel Dunbar, with the rear supply unit was now in command. He ordered supplies and cannon destroyed before withdrawal. About 150 wagons were burned on the spot. By sunset, the surviving British and American forces were fleeing back down the road they had built. The final results for the British force of 1460 men were 456 dead and 421 wounded. This included 63 of the 87 officers accompanying the expedition.

Edward Braddock died of his wounds on July 13, 1755. He was buried at Great Meadows (near Uniontown, Pennsylvania).

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