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part of Virginia. The capitulation was the work of haste, and written in the French language, with which neither Colonel WASHINGTON nor any of his officers were acquainted, and unfortunately contained an expression, which the translator, at the time, construed to Colonel Washington to imply, that Mr. Jumonville, in the first action was killed ; but which literally would bear the translation, was assassinated. : In an. swer to a publication of Monsieur de Villier, Colonel Washington, soon after the event, made it fully appear that he did not understand the import of the word; but during his presidency, an enemy had the audacity to call him, upon the strength of this capitulation, an assassin.*
The killed and wounded in the Virginia regiment, on this occasion amounted to fifty-eight. The enemy were stated to have had about two hundred killed and wounded.
The publick gave to this brave band, merited praise ; and the assembly of Virginia expressed their sense of the resolution and judgment displayed in the above action, by a vote of thanks to Colonel WASHINGTON and his officers, and by a donation of three hundred pistoles to the soldiery.
The regiment fell back to Winchester to recruit. At this place, the companies from North-Carolina and Maryland joined the Virginia force ; the whole commanded by Colonel Innes of North-Carolina.
Governor Dinwiddie, with advice of council, ordered the troops to march over the Alleghany mountains; eit her to drive the French from du Quesne, or to erect a fort in a favourable position. The forces were in number much inferiour to thcse of the enemy, and were totally unprovided with articles of ciothing and provisions, essential to a winter's campaign. Orders were also given immediately to fill up the regiment ,
* In an infamous publication in the Aurora, under the sig nature of JASPER DWIGHT.
although no money was voted for the recruiting ser
Colonel WASHINGTON pointedly remonstrated against these measures; but being adopted, did all in his power to carry them into effect. The Legislature soon rose, without providing effectual means for active service, and the troops did not march.
During the succeeding winter, regulations from the war office were published in America, which provided, that general and field officers of provincial troops, when serving with genera' and field officers commissioned by the crown, should have no rank ; and, consequently, that senior provincial officers should be commanded by their juniors belonging to the regular troops.
The military ambition of Colonel Washington had been excited by his experience, and by the applause of his country; but he possessed the spirit of a soldier, and refusing submission to these degrading regulations, he indignantly resigned his comniission. At the same time he declared, that with high satisfaction he would obey the commands of his country, when her service should be consistent with his honour.
1755. Colonel WASHINGTON had at this time succeeded to the estate of his eldest brother, on the Potomack, called Mount Vernon, in compliment to the British Admiral of that name. On this estate he resolved to devote his life to agricultural and philosophick pursuits, a resolution that he did not long retain.
In the spring, General Braddock, who MARCH. 1755.
commanded two British regiments, and a
few corps of Provincials, was making preparation for an expedition to the Ohio. He invited Colo nel Washington to join his arm, , as his volunteer Aid de camp. The opportunity of making a campaign with a gentleman of his professional knowledge and experience was with pleasure embraced. When the General, in April, left Alexandria, Colonel Washington entered his family, and attended him to Will's
Creek, where fort Cumberland was now erected. Here the army remained until the 12th of June, col. lecting horses, wagons, and provisions. Colonel WASHINGTON advised the commander in chief to use as far as possible, pack horses instead of wagons, on account of the roughness of the country. Little atten. tion was given to his opinion at the moment, but, after the commencement of the march, the measure from necessity was partially adopted.
Soon after the army left Cumberland, Colonel WASHINGTON was attacked by a violent fever; refusing to be left behind, he was carried forward in a covered wagon. All the difficulties arising from the state of the roads, which had been foreseen by Colonel WashINGTON, were, on the march, fully realised. General Braddock now advised with him on the most eligible measures to be adopted to secure the success of the expedition. He earnestly recommended, that the heavy artillery and baggage should be left under the charge of a subaltern officer; and, that the commander in chief, with the flower of his army, should with the utmost despatch advance to the Ohio, in the expectation of possessing themselves of Fort du Quesne, be. fore the French garrison could be reinforced by the troops that were known to be on their way for that purpose. The general closed with this advice. Twelve hundred men were selected, a few wagons were attached to the light artillery, and necessary provisions were placed on pack horses. Of this body General Braddock himself took the command, leaving Colonel Dunbar to bring up the other division by slow marches.
General Braddock with his disencumbered troops did not move with the expedition that accorded with the enterprising spirit of his American aid. In a letter written at the moment, he says, “ I found that instead of pushing on with vigour, without regarding a little rough road, they were halting to level every mole hill, and to erect bridges over every brook.” In four days
they advanced only nineteen miles. The indisposition of Colonel Washington now became so severe, that his physicians declared that his life would be the sacri. fice of the continued fatigues of the march. The General therefore absolutely directed him to remain at Yohogany with a small guard, until Colonel Dunbar came up with him. Colonel Washington at length consented, on the promise that he should be brought up with the advanced corps, before its arrival at Fort du Quesne. The day preceding the fatal action, he, in a covered wagon, rejoined the troops, and, in his debilitated state, entered on his duty.
General Braddock was warned of the danger, to which the character of his enemy exposed him, and advised to employ the ranging companies of Virginia to scour the woods, and prevent ambuscades; but not looking for an enemy capable of serious opposition, he without caution moved his army in small columns. Within seven miles of du Quesne, he was suddenly
attacked by an invisible foe; the assaulting JULY 8, 1755.
party of French and Indians fighting under
cover of the thick wood and high grass, with which the country abounded.
Early in the action, the Aids de camp, except Colonel WASHINGTON, were killed or disabled, and he performed the whole of the dangerous service of carrying the orders of the commander to his respective officers. Of all those, who on this fatal day did duty on horsepack, he alone escaped without a wound ; although he had two horses shot under him, and four balls through his coat. Doctor Craik, the physician who attended nim in his last sickness, was a witness of this scene: “ I expected,” says he, “ every moment to see him fall. His duty and situation exposed him to every danger. Nothing but the superintending care of Providence could have saved him from the fate of all around him."
After an action or three hours, the troops broke, and
the efforts of their officers to rally them were fruitless Colonel WASHINGTON assisted to bring General Braddock off the field, who was mortally wounded. He reached furt Cumberland, and there died, and was buried. During the arducus and dangerous conflicts of this hour, Colonel WASHINGTON exhibited that self possession and determined courage, which are essential to the officer. To his quick discernment and sound judgment, the preservation of the defeated troops was in a great measure attrisnted; and had his advice been previously adopted, probably the disaster would not have happened. As soon as relieved from his attention to his unfortunate General, he was despatched to Cumberland, to provide for the retreating army.
Colonel Dunbar being joined by them, de. AUGUST, 1755.
stroyed the stores he could not remove, and
marched his army to Philadelphia into winter quarters.
The British troops had not been accustomed to Indian warfare ; and, on this occasion, Col. Washington indignantly witnessed their pusillanimity. In an official relation of the engagement, to the Executive of Virginia, he observes, They were struck with such an inconceivable panick, that nothing but confusion and disobedience of orders prevailed among them. The officers in general behaved with incomparable bravery, for which they greatly suffered; there being upwards of sixty killed and wounded; a large proportion of what we had.
“ The Virginia companies behaved like nien, and died like soldiers ; for I believe of three companies on the ground that day, scarcely thirty men were left alive. Capt. Peronny and all his officers, duwn to a corporal, were killed. Capt. Poulson had almost as hard a fate, for only one of his escaped. In short, the dastardly behaviour of the regular troops, so called, exposed those who were inclined to do their duty to almost certain death. And at length, in spite of every