« PrejšnjaNaprej »
MARCH FROM FORT CUMBERLAND THE GREAT SAVAGE MOUNTAIN-CAMP AT THE LITTLE MEADOWS-DIVISION OF THE FORCES-CAPTAIN JACK AND HIS BAND-SCAROOYADI IN DANGER-ILLNESS OF WASHINGTONHIS HALT AT THE YOUGHIOGENY-MARCH OF BRADDOCK-THE GREAT MEADOWS-LURKING ENEMIES THEIR TRACKS PRECAUTIONS THICKETTY RUN-SCOUTS-INDIAN MURDERS-FUNERAL OF AN INDIAN WARRIOR-CAMP ON THE MONONGAHELA-WASHINGTON'S ARRIVAL THERE-MARCH FOR FORT DUQUESNE-THE FORDING OF THE MONONGAHELA THE BATTLE THE RETREAT-DEATH OF BRADDOCK.
On the 10th of June, Braddock set off from Fort Cumberland with his aides-de-camp, and others of his staff, and his body guard of light horse. Sir Peter Halket, with his brigade, had marched three days previously; and a detachment of six hundred men, under the command of Colonel Chapman, and the supervision of Sir John St. Clair, had been employed upwards of ten days in cutting down trees, removing rocks, and opening a road.
The march over the mountains proved, as Washington had foretold, a "tremendous undertaking." It was with difficulty the heavily laden waggons could be dragged up the steep and rugged roads, newly made, or imperfectly repaired. Often they extended for three
or four miles in a straggling and broken line, with the soldiers so dispersed, in guarding them, that an attack on any side would have thrown the whole in confusion. It was the dreary region of the great Savage Mountain, and the "Shades of Death" that was again made to echo with the din of arms.
What outraged Washington's notions of the abstemious frugality suitable to campaigning in the "backwoods," was the great number of horses and waggons required by the officers for the transportation of their baggage, camp equipage, and a thousand articles of artificial necessity. Simple himself in his tastes and habits, and manfully indifferent to personal indulgences, he almost doubted whether such sybarites in the camp could be efficient in the field.
By the time the advanced corps had struggled over two mountains, and through the intervening forest, and reached (16th June) the Little Meadows, where Sir John St. Clair had made a temporary camp, General Braddock had become aware of the difference between campaigning in a new country, or on the old well beaten battle-grounds of Europe. He now, of his own accord, turned to Washington for advice, though it must have been a sore trial to his pride to seek it of so young a man; but he had by this time sufficient proof of his sagacity, and his knowledge of the frontier.
Thus unexpectedly called on, Washington gave his counsel with becoming modesty, but with his accustomed clearness. There was just now an opportunity to strike an effective blow at Fort Duquesne, but it might be lost by delay. The garrison, according to credible
DIVISION OF THE FORCES.
reports, was weak; large reinforcements and supplies, which were on their way, would be detained by the drought, which rendered the river by which they must come low and unnavigable. The blow must be struck before they could arrive. He advised the general, therefore, to divide his forces; leave one part to come on with the stores and baggage, and all the cumbrous appurtenances of an army, and to throw himself in the advance with the other part, composed of his choicest troops, lightened of every thing superfluous that might impede a rapid march.
His advice was adopted. Twelve hundred men, selected out of all the companies, and furnished with ten field-pieces, were to form the first division, their provisions, and other necessaries, to be carried on packhorses. The second division, with all the stores, munitions, and heavy baggage, was to be brought on by Colonel Dunbar.
The least practicable part of the arrangement was with regard to the officers of the advance. Washington had urged a retrenchment of their baggage and camp equipage, that as many of their horses as possible might be used as packhorses. Here was the difficulty. Brought up, many of them, in fashionable and luxurious life, or the loitering indulgence of country quarters, they were so encumbered with what they considered indispensable necessaries, that out of two hundred and twelve horses generally appropriated to their use, not more than a dozen could be spared by them for the public service. Washington, in his own case, acted up to the advice he had given. He retained no more clothing and effects with him than would about
half fill a portmanteau, and gave up his best steed as a packhorse, which he never heard of afterwards.*
During the halt at the Little Meadows, Captain Jack and his band of forest rangers, whom Croghan had engaged at Governor Morris's suggestion, made their appearance in the camp; armed and equipped with rifle, knife, hunting-shirts, leggings and moccasins, and looking almost like a band of Indians as they issued from the woods.
The captain asked an interview with the general, by whom, it would seem, he was not expected. Braddock received him in his tent, in his usual stiff and stately manner. The "Black Rifle" spoke of himself and his followers as men inured to hardships, and accustomed to deal with Indians who preferred stealth and stratagem to open warfare. He requested his company should be employed as a reconnoitering party, to beat up the Indians in their lurking-places and ambuscades.
Braddock, who had a sovereign contempt for the chivalry of the woods, and despised their boasted strategy, replied to the hero of the Pennsylvania settlements in a manner to which he had not been accustomed. "There was time enough," he said, "for making arrangements; and he had experienced troops, on whom he could completely rely for all purposes.
Captain Jack withdrew, indignant at so haughty a reception, and informed his leathern-clad followers of his rebuff. They forthwith shouldered their rifles, turned their backs upon the camp, and, headed by
• Letter to J. Augustine Washington. Sparks, ii, 81.
A SCIENTIFIC MARCH.
the captain, departed in Indian file through the woods, for the usual scenes of their exploits, where men knew their value, the banks of the Juniata or the Conococheague.*
On the 19th of June Braddock's first division set out, with less than thirty carriages, including those that transported ammunition for the artillery, all strongly horsed. The Indians marched with the advanced party. In the course of the day, Scarooyadi and his son being at a small distance from the line of march, were surrounded and taken by some French and Indians. His son escaped, and brought intelligence to his warriors; they hastened to rescue or revenge him, but found him tied to a tree. The French had been disposed to shoot him, but their savage allies declared they would abandon them should they do so: having some tie of friendship or kindred with the chieftain, who thus rejoined the troops unharmed.
Washington was disappointed in his anticipations of a rapid march. The general, though he had adopted his advice in the main, could not carry it out in detail. His military education was in the way; bigoted to the regular and elaborate tactics of Europe, he could not stoop to the make-shift expedients of a new country, where every difficulty is encountered and mastered in a rough-and-ready style. "I found," said Washington, "that instead of pushing on with vigor, without regarding a little rough road, they were halting to
*On the Conococheague and Juniata are left the history of their exploits. At one time you may hear of the band near Fort Augusta, next at Fort Franklin, then at Loudon, then at Juniata,-rapid were the movements of this hardy band.-Hazard's Reg. Penn., iv., 390; also, v., 194.