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General Edward Braddock

General Edward Braddock (January 1695 –13 July, 1755) was a Britishmarker soldier and commander-in-chief for North America during the actions at the start of the French and Indian War (1754–1763). He is generally best remembered for his command of a disastrous expedition against French Canada in 1755, in which he lost his life.

Early life

Braddock was born in Perthshiremarker, Scotlandmarker circa 1695. His military career started with the Coldstream Guards in 1710. In 1747 as a Lieutenant-colonel he served under the Prince of Orange in Hollandmarker during the siege of Bergen op Zoom. In 1753 he was given the colonelcy of the 14th (Buckinghamshire) Prince of Wales Own Regiment of foot (now known as the West Yorkshire Regiment), and in 1754 he became a major-general.

Early biographies of Braddock (see for example Winthrop Sargent, The History of an Expedition Against Fort Du Quesne, in 1755; Under Major-General Edward Braddock, Generalissimo of H. R. M. Forces in America. Philadelphia; J. B. Lippincott & Co. for the Pennsylvania Historical Society, 1856. Original issued in series: Memoirs of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania ; v. 5.) did not ascertain his date or place of birth.

He was not born in Perthshire, Scotland, but rather in London, England. See Lee McCardell, Ill-Starred General: Braddock of the Coldstream Guards (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1958).

Edward Braddock was baptized at St. Margaret's, Westminster, in January 1695:"Edward Bradocks to Capt Edw by Mary" (McCardell 1958, 18, 276-277n105).

McCardell, Ill-Starred General, pp. 276-277n105>"Baptismal Register, St. Margaret's Church, Westminster (All previously published biographical sketches of Edward Braddock [1694-1755] which have ventured to give the place of his birth have suggested that he was born i Perthshire, Scotland. This error appears to have been based upon information contained in a New Orleans newspaper clipping which was reprinted in Notes and Queries, Third Series, XII 5. In 1946 the author visited perthshire in search of some verification of the claim but could find non. A subsequent search of Scottish marriage and baptismal records in the Register House, at Edinburgh, failed to produce any information indicating that any Braddocks were living in Scotland circa 1695. Later the London baptismal record was found at St. Margarets.)"

McCardell, Chapter II, "Ancestry and Education of a Guardsman," also provides information on Braddock's grandparents and additional information about his father. His grandfather, Edward Braddock, a London wax-chandler of St.-Martin's-in-the-Fields parish, was a sufficiently good singer that he became one of the Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal (twenty singers in the king's chapel in Whitehall) at age 18. He married Elizabeth Cooke, daughter of Richard Cooke, a farrier of the London parish of St.-Giles-in-the-Fields, in 1663, at St. Magdalen's, Old Fish Street, London. Some years later, he also became a member of the Westminster Abbey choir, where he advanced to the position of master of the Abbey children (McCardell 1958, 6). He died in 1707, leaving a will (McCardell 1958, 27-28).

The sister of Braddock's father married Dr. John Blow, organist at Westminster Abbey and the Chapel Royal, composer, and also a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal (McCardell 1958, 6).

Braddock's father had an extensive military career (McCardell 1958, pp. 7, 10, 15-20, 26-28). McCardell comments: "On New Year's Day, 1710, he was one of twenty-four officers promoted to be major-generals. This was almost as high as an undistinguished commoner of his station could hope to rise. He still held his commission as lieutenant-colonel of the Coldstream" (McCardell 1958, 28).


The grave of General Edward Braddock.
  • Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography (1791) includes an account of helping General Braddock garner supplies and carriages for the general's troops. He also describes a conversation with Braddock in which he explicitly warned the General that his plan to march troops to the fort through a narrow valley would be dangerous because of the possibility of an ambush.
  • In 1804, human remains believed to be Braddock's were found buried in the roadway about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) west of Great Meadows by a crew of road workers. The remains were exhumed and reburied. A marble monument was erected over the new grave site in 1913 by the Coldstream Guards. The grave site is considered to be British territory.
  • General Braddock is the namesake of Braddock, Pennsylvania, and Braddock Heights, Marylandmarker.

North America

Appointed shortly afterwards to command against the French in America, he landed in Virginia on February 19, 1755 with two regiments of British regulars. He met with several of the colonial governors at the Congress of Alexandria on April 14 and was persuaded to undertake vigorous actions against the French. A general from Massachusetts would attack at Fort Niagaramarker, General Johnson at Crown Pointmarker, Colonel Monckton at Fort Beausejourmarker on the Bay of Fundymarker. He would lead an Expedition against Fort Duquesnemarker at the Forks of the Ohio.

After some months of preparation, in which he was hampered by administrative confusion and want of resources, the Braddock expedition took the field with a picked column, in which George Washington served as a volunteer officer. The column crossed the Monongahela River on 9 July, 1755, and almost immediately afterwards encountered an Indian and French force. Braddock's troops were completely surprised and routed, and Braddock, rallying his men time after time, fell at last, mortally wounded by a shot through the right arm and into his lung.

Braddock was flown off the field by Washington and another officer, and died on 13 July, 1755, just four days after the battle. Before he died Braddock left Washington his ceremonial sash that he wore with his battle uniform. Reportedly, Washington never went anywhere without this sash for the rest of his life, be it as the Commander of the Colonial Army or with his presidential duties.

He was buried just west of Great Meadowsmarker, where the remnants of the column halted on its retreat to reorganize. Braddock was buried in the middle of the road and wagons were rolled over top of the grave site to prevent his body from being discovered and desecrated. George Washington presided at the burial service, as the chaplain had been severely wounded.

See also


  • Fort Necessity National Battlefield
  • NNDB
  • Fred Anderson, Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America: 1754-1766 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000).
  • Paul Kopperman, Braddock at the Monongahela (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1977).
  • Lee McCardell, Ill-Starred General: Braddock of the Coldstream Guards (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1958).
  • Louis M. Waddell and Bruce D. Bomberger, The French and Indian War in Pennsylvania:Fortification and Struggle During the War for Empire (Harrisburg, PA: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1996).

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