Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Stewarts - Part 6 - The Battle of Monogahela
Stewarts, Washington, and General Braddock’s Defeat
(A historical story in 7 little parts)
By David L. Green
The rangers urged the General to send scouts ahead and on the flanks so as not to be surprised by Indian attack. The General haughtily dismissed these suggestions.
As the advance group crossed the Monongahela River, the forest erupted in musket shot and war cries from Indians, Canadians, and Frenchmen. Suddenly men were falling like “leaves in autumn”, as one British officer recalled.
(Ferling, 2010 )
The advance group quickly retreated and the British regulars rushed forward at the sound of the gunshots. Pandemonium ensued. The British officers were ordering their men to stand and fight in their neat, orderly ranks. Meanwhile their comrades are falling all around them and they couldn’t even see the enemy who were cleverly hidden in the brush and behind the trees.
The “professional” soldiers are breaking ranks and retreating for their lives while the “provincials”, notably the Virginians, were fighting back in the “Indian way” and covering the retreat of the British. General Braddock was urging his men on – even hitting them with the broad of his sword – while calling them cowards for running.
During the battle, the General has four horses shot from under him. Col. Washington rides to the front to encourage his Virginians as they try to stay and continue to fight as long as possible.
Washington has two horses shot from under him and, though not wounded, he later finds 4 bullet holes in his coat. (Braddocks Defeat by George Washington)
Riding to the aid of the General he arrives just as Braddock is struck with the fatal shot.
Col. Washington assumes command of the fleeing army and orders a cart be pulled around and the General loaded upon it with a few other officers who had fallen.
The army, or what is left of it, retreats several miles to a safe place (General Braddocks Defeat in the French and Indian War). Only a mile from Fort Necessity they finally take their rest.
It is here that General Braddock finally succumbs from the fatal wound. It is said that his final words were, “We shall know how to fight them next time.”(The Battle of Monongahela 1755 - Braddocks Defeat)
Knowing they are still being perused by the Indians and the French, Washington orders a grave to be dug in the middle of the road. The General’s body is laid to rest here.