Wednesday, May 23, 2012

23-26 MAY 1755—THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR WAS REPORTED IN COLONIAL NEWSPAPERS AND WRITTEN ABOUT IN LETTERS

Young Daniel Boone Wearing a Coonskin Hat
(which his descendants say he never wore; he liked wide-brimmed hats)


The Pennsylvania Gazette
PHILADELPHIA, 23 May 1755

‘We hear from the Camp at Wills Creek, (Fort Cumberland) that his Excellency General Braddock, and all his Forces, were arrived there. That Capt. Dobbs, Son of Governor Dobbs, was also arrived from North Carolina, with a fine Company of 100 men: And that Scarroyady had likewise got to the Camp, with a Number of Indians.’

Monocatootha (Scarroyady) was the Half King who succeeded Tanacharison in 1754.  (He represented the Six Nations on the upper Ohio River.)  The number of warriors with him in Logstown may have been fewer than three dozen.
In all, General Edward Braddock had about two thousand four hundred men in his small army, between army regulars, colonial militiamen, Indians, and ax men and wagoneers.  One of his aides, Lieutenant Colonel George Washington, was a Virginia volunteer.  Among the officers in Braddock’s command were Thomas Gage, one of Braddock’s later successors as Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Army in North America, and Charles Lee and Horatio Gates, both former English army officers who became Revolutionary War generals.  Among the wagoneers were Daniel Boone and Daniel Morgan (Morgan Rifle Companies, Revolutionary War).
Braddock had military experience, but had never before planned a campaign on his own.  He had been in the army more than forty years, but had only fought in Europe.  He had never been to the colonies.  He was a political appointee.  He was promoted from being Colonel of the Prince of Wales’ Own Regiment to being a Major General and sent to Virginia.  His father had been a Major General.
At the Council of Alexandria (Virginia) in April 1755, General Braddock explained his plan to five colonial governors.  Governors Robert Dinwiddie of Virginia and Horatio Sharpe of Maryland were there.  The major military campaign would be launched from their counties.  (An easier road could have been developed through Pennsylvania, but Braddock’s orders said he was to start at Fort Cumberland, Maryland.)  The Governor of Pennsylvania was there, Robert Hunter Morris, as were the governors of New York and Massachusetts, William Shirley and James DeLancey.  (Shirley was to lead a separate force and attack two French forts on Lake Ontario.  Indian Commissioner William Johnson would attack a fort on Lake Champlain. A separate naval attack would be made in Nova Scotia.  It was the only part of the plan that worked.) 
Braddock was going to attack a series of French forts in the Ohio Valley and work his way north.  The cannons that the general had in his command would guarantee his success.  However, hauling cannons through the forest was not going to go rapidly.  They had to have a road to travel on.  (The Royal Army told Braddock to start in Fort Cumberland because Major George Washington allegedly had built a road from there to Fort Necessity, only a year before.) 
An army of more than two thousand men marching through the woods requires a lot of supplies to keep going.  General Braddock asked the governors for money to buy supplies and they turned him down.  They explained that if the Royal Army was going to capture Fort Duquesne in western Pennsylvania, then it should have money already budgeted to it for the campaign.  They didn’t have any to give.
Sometime in early May, General Braddock made his way to Fort Cumberland.  He had already let it be known that he regarded his regular soldiers as invincible, that no Indians were going to defeat his men in battle, and that he needed every wagon in about four colonies to move his army.  He had also discovered that Washington’s road to Fort Necessity was too narrow for the cannons and supply wagons.  It would have to be widened, every single foot of every single mile of its length.
Apparently, Benjamin Franklin and his illegitimate son, William (later Royal Governor of New Jersey), scrounged through Pennsylvania business shops and farms, and gathered about one hundred fifty wagons for General Braddock’s campaign.  They also collected about two hundred fifty horses.  Ben pledged to pay for the wagons and animals, if the Royal Army or government didn’t come through with money for them.  (Braddock’s successor paid for them, even though the wagons had been destroyed.)

The Pennsylvania Gazette
PHILADELPHIA, 23 May 1755 (continued)
The new Post between Philadelphia and Winchester, in Virginia, set out from the Post office in Philadelphia this Morning to continue his weekly Stages, setting out every Thursday Morning, during the Summer.  Letters for Lancaster, York, or Cumberland Counties, in Pennsylvania, for the back Parts of Virginia, or for the Army, should be brought to the Office before Nine a Clock on Thursday Morning.

The Pennsylvania Gazette
Lancaster, May 26, 1755.
Deserted from his majesty’s company of soldiers from North Carolina, commanded by Edward Brice Dobbs; when on their march to Wills Creek, on the 19th instant, the five following recruits:
John Giggs, a Dutchman, about 33 years of age, 6 feet high, and is strong made: He wore his hair when he went off, and had on long trousers, and a brown jacket.  Jeptha Hetherington, born in Carolina, is about 20 years of age, 6 feet 3 inches high, well made, and a little marked with the smallpox.  William Riely, born in England, about 28 years of age, 5 feet 7 inches and a half high, is smooth faced, and has short black hair.  John Maxedon, born in Carolina, about 28 years of age, 5 feet 9 inches and a half high, is smooth faced, and has short black hair.
John Rawlins, born in the Jerseys, about 29 years of age, 5 feet 7 inches and a half high, has a brown freckled face, and is marked with the smallpox: Had on an old brown coat, a red waistcoat, and leather breeches: The rest had on their Regimentals, which is blue coats, with red lapels, and blue breeches. Whoever takes up and secures said deserters in any of his majesty’s jails, and sends a speedy account thereof by the Post to their commanders, or brings them to Wills Creek, shall have Two Pistoles [£24?] reward for each, and reasonable charges, paid by EDWARD BRICE DOBBS.
N.B. The above deserters stole and took with them five wagon horses, and their arms, and it is supposed are gone into Pennsylvania.




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