Braddock became a professional soldier at the age of 15 when he joined the Coldstream Guards. In 1754, he was appointed Major General and sent to the colonies to implement a plan aimed at driving the French out of the Ohio Country. Braddock held a conference in Alexandria, Virginia with the governors of five colonies where he laid out the plan and asked for financial assistance. Braddock himself led the expedition that was tasked with taking Fort Duquesne. However, his forces were ambushed by the French and their Indian allies at the Battle of the Monongahela. Braddock was mortally wounded in the battle and died a few days later at Great Meadows.
Facts About His Early Life, Education, and Family
- Born in Perthshire, Scotland.
- Father was Major General Edward Braddock, who died in 1725.
Fact About His Early Military Career
- Purchased an ensign’s commission in the Coldstream Guards in 1710, at the age of 15.
- Commissioned as a Lieutenant of a grenadier company in 1716.
- Commissioned as Colonel of his regiment in 1745.
- Served in the Netherlands under the Prince of Orange during the Siege of Bergen op Zoom in 1747.
- Appointed Major General in 1754.
Facts About His Role in the French and Indian War
- Named commander-in-chief of all British forces in North America.
- Arrived in Virginia in February 1755.
- Lodged at the home of John Carlyle in Alexandria, Virginia.
- Called a conference of colonial governors from Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. He presented the Duke of Cumberland’s plan for three major offensives against the French, which were to take place in the summer of 1755. He also asked for money from the colonies to help fund the expeditions. The colonies declined to provide money, but did agree to the plan and to provide troops.
Facts About His Role in the Battle of the Monongahela (1755)
- Led an expedition that was tasked with taking Fort Duquesne from the French, at the Forks of the Ohio.
- The expedition consisted of roughly 2,400 men, including British regulars and provincials from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.
- George Washington was an aide-de-camp to Braddock.
- The expedition cut a road from Will’s Creek and Fort Cumberland in Virginia through the wilderness and over the Allegheny Mountains. It was the first road over the Alleghenies.
- On July 9, 1755, Braddock’s forces crossed the Monongahela River and were about eight miles from Fort Duquesne when they were attacked by French troops and their Indian allies.
- Instead of ordering a retreat, Braddock ordered his men to form traditional columns, which only exposed them to more fire from the enemy.
- Braddock was mortally wounded during the attack and carried off the battlefield. He died four days later at Great Meadows.
- Braddock was buried in the road that his soldiers had cut through the wilderness and also bears his name, Braddock’s Road. After he was buried, his men trampled the ground above and around his grave so that the enemy would not be able to find it.