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The Settlement of the Appalachian Frontier: Braddock's Defeat - - - Letter From George Washington to Gov. Dinwiddie

The Settlement of the Appalachian Frontier

Sharing information, stories, and ideas for teaching students about the settlement of the Appalachian Frontier. Focusing on the little-known people and history of Southwestern Virginia, Northeast Tennessee, and Eastern Kentucky.

Location: Nickelsville, Virginia, United States

Friday, January 07, 2005

Braddock's Defeat - - - Letter From George Washington to Gov. Dinwiddie

Geo. Washington to Gov. Dinwiddie (7/18/1755)
Records of the British Colonial Office,
Class 5 Part 3: The French & Indian War 1754-1763
Roll 1 of 8D000833 roll 19Combat Arms Research Library (C.A.R.L.)Fort Leavenworth, KS

Honble. Sire [sic]As I am favored with an opportunity, I should think myself inexcusable, was I to omit giving You Some Account of our late Engagement with the French on the Monongahela the 9th inst. We continued our March from Fort Cumberland to Frazier's which is within 7 Miles of Du-quesne without meeting with any extraordinary Event Saving only a Straggler or two pick'd up by the French Indians - When we came to this Place, we were attack'd (and very unexpectedly I must own) by about 300 French & Indians, our Numbers consisted of about 1300 well arm'd men, chiefly Regulars, who were immediately struck with a deadly Panic, that nothing but Confusion and Disobedience of Orders prevailed amongst them: The Officers in general behaved with incomparable Bravery, for which they greatly suffered, there being near 60 kill'd and wounded - a large Proportion out of the Number we had! - Our poor Virginians behaved like men, and died like Soldiers, for I believe out of three Companies, that were there that Day, scarce 30 were left alive: Capt. Peyrounie [sic] & all his Officers down to a Corporal were killed; Capt. Polson shared almost as hard a fate, for only one of his Escaped. In short, the dastardly Behavior of the English Soldiers, exposed all those who were inclin'd to do their Duty to almost certain Death, and at length in despite of every Effort to the contrary, broke and run [sic] like Sheep before the Hounds, leaving the Artillery, Ammunition, Provisions, & every Individual Thing we had with us a Prey for the Enemy; and when we endeavored to rally them in hopes of regaining our Invaluable loss, it was with as much Success as if we had attempted to stop the wild Bears of the Mountains - The General was wounded behind the Shoulder into the Breast of which He died three Days after; His two Aids de Camps were both wounded, but are in a fair way of Recovery: Colo. Burton & Sr. John St. Clair were also both wounded, and I hope will get over it. Sr. Peter Halkett with many other Brave Officers were kill'd in the Field. I luckily escap'd without a Wound, tho' I had four Bullets thro' my Coat & two horses shot under me: It is Supposed we left 300 or more in the Field, dead; about that Number we brought off wounded, and it is imagined (I believe with Justice too) that two Thirds of both those Numbers, received their Shot from our own cowardly Dogs of Soldiers, who gathered themselves into a Body contrary to Orders 10 or 12 Deep, would then level, fire and Shoot down the men before them. - I tremble at the Consequence that the Defeat may have upon our back Inhabitants, who I suppose will all leave their Habitations unless proper measures are taken for their Security. - Colo. Dunbar, who Commands at present intends so soon as his Men are recruited at this Place, to continue his March to Philadelphia into Winter Quarters: so that there will no men be left here, unless it is the poor remains of the Virginia Troops, who now are, and will be too weak to guard our Frontiers - As Capt. Orme is writing to Yr. Honr., I doubt not but he will give You a very Circumstantial Acct. of all Things which will make it needless for me to add more than that[.] I amHonble. SirYour most Obedt. & / most hble. Servt.G. Washington.
To the Honble. Govr. Dinwiddie
A true CopyAttr: Wm. Alexander Secy