Edward Braddock

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Braddocksgrave.jpg
General Braddock's burial near Great Meadows, Pennsylvania

General Edward Braddock (1695? – July 13, 1755) was a British soldier and commander-in-chief for North America during the actions at the start of the French and Indian War. He was born in Perthshire, Scotland, about 1695, the son of Major-General Edward Braddock (died 1725). His military career started with the Coldstream Guards in 1710. In 1747 as a lieutenant-colonel he served under the Prince of Orange in Holland during the siege of Bergen op Zoom. In 1753 he was given the colonelcy of the 14th foot, and in 1754 he became a major-general.

Appointed shortly afterwards to command against the French in America, he landed in Virginia on February 19, 1755 with two regiments of British regulars. He met with several of the colonial governors at the Council of Alexandria on April 14 and was persuaded to undertake vigorous actions against the French. He planned four separate initiatives; Governor Shirley of Massachusetts would attack at Fort Niagara, General Johnson at Crown Point, Colonel Monckton at Fort Beausejour on the Bay of Fundy. He would lead an Expedition against Fort Duquesne at the Forks of the Ohio.

After some months of preparation, in which he was hampered by administrative confusion and want of resources, he took the field with a picked column, in which George Washington served as a volunteer officer. The column crossed the Monongahela River on July 9, 1755 and almost immediately afterwards encountered an Indian and French force. Braddock's troops were completely surprised and routed, and Braddock, rallying his men time after time, fell at last, mortally wounded. Braddock was carried off the field with difficulty, and died on 13 July 1755.

He was buried just west of Great Meadows, where the remnant of the column halted on its retreat to reorganize. Braddock was buried in the middle of the road and wagons were rolled over top of the grave site to prevent his body from being discovered and desecrated. George Washington presided at the burial service as the chaplain had been severely wounded. In 1804 human remains, believed to be Braddock's, were discovered buried in the roadway about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) west of Great Meadows by a crew of road workers. The remains were exhumed and reburied. A marble monument was erected over the new grave site in 1913.

In Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography, he details an account of helping General Braddock garner supplies and carriages for the general's troops. He also describes a conversation with Braddock in which he explicitly warns the General that his plan to march troops to the fort through a narrow valley would be dangerous because of the possibility of an ambush.

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