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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 forces 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
Battle of the Wilderness
On July 9th the 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 Indians 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 trying to regain order
in his units, General Braddock was seriously wounded. Colonel Dunbar, with
the rear supply unit was now in command. He ordered supplies and cannon
destroyed before withdrawing. 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).