Front Matter Our Country Long Ago The Barbarous Indians The Mounds Where the Northmen Went The Northmen in America Queer Ideas Prince Henry the Navigator Youth of Columbus Columbus and the Queen "Land! Land!" Columbus and the Savages Home Again Columbus Ill-treated Death of Columbus How America Got its Name The Fountain of Youth "The Father of Waters" The French in Canada French and Spanish Quarrels The Sky City Around the World Nothing but Smoke Smith's Adventures The Jamestown Men Smith Wounded Pocahontas Visits England Hudson and the Indians The Mayflower Plymouth Rock The First Thanksgiving Snake Skin and Bullets The Beginning of Boston Stories of Two Ministers Williams and the Indians The Quakers The King-Killers King Phillip's War The Beginning of New York Penn and the Indians The Catholics in Maryland The Old Dominion Bacon's Rebellion A Journey Inland The Carolina Pirates Charter Oak Salem Witches Down the Mississippi La Salle's Adventures Indians on the Warpath Two Wars with the French Washington's Boyhood Washington's Journey Washington's First Battle Stories of Franklin Braddock's Defeat Wolfe at Quebec England and her Colonies The Stamp Tax The Anger of the Colonies The Boston Tea Party The Minutemen The Battle of Lexington Bunker Hill The Boston Boys The British leave Boston Declaration of Independence A Lady's Way of Helping Christmas Eve The Fight at Bennington Burgoyne's Surrender Winter at Valley Forge The Quaker Woman Putnam's Adventures Indian Cruelty Boone in Kentucky Famous Sea Fights The "Swamp Fox" The Poor Soldiers The Spy A Traitor's Death Two Unselfish Women Surrender of Cornwallis British Flag hauled down Washington's Farewell

Story of the Thirteen Colonies - Helene Guerber

Braddock's Defeat

In 1754, Franklin, deputy postmaster-general of the colonies, was sent to Albany, where, as we have already seen, a congress of delegates from the colonies met to discuss the best way of opposing the French. Franklin, knowing that it was only by working all together that the best results could be reached, now made a plan for the union of the colonies.

As one can often make people understand things better by telling them stories or showing them pictures, Franklin remembered the common belief that a snake, cut into pieces, would become whole again if the parts were allowed to touch. He therefore placed at the head of his paper the picture of such a snake, cut into pieces to represent the colonies, which he further indicated by their initials. Under this picture he wrote the motto: "Join or die."

Although the colonies did not adopt Franklin's plan of union, they nevertheless voted men and money for the war. The British, on their part, sent over General Braddock, one of their best officers, to take charge of the campaign. Meeting the governors of the different colonies in Virginia, Braddock decided that, while one army marched north from Albany to take Forts Ticonderoga and Crown Point before going on to Quebec, a second should move westward from the same point to Lake Ontario and Niagara.

In the meantime, a fleet was to sail from New England to join the first army in besieging Quebec. But the fourth and principal expedition, led by Braddock himself, was to march across Pennsylvania to Fort Duquesne, so as to drive the French out of the coveted Ohio valley. This plan was very fine; but Braddock, used to the European way of fighting, little knew how to carry on war with the French and Indians in the pathless forests.

At Braddock's defeat


Washington now advised Braddock, his superior officer, to leave the heavy baggage and cannons behind; but the British general would not consent. After much delay, the Pennsylvania farmers loaned their wagons and horses to carry the baggage, thanks to Franklin's personal efforts, and the army set out. But as Braddock insisted upon the army's marching along in an orderly file, a road had first to be built, and Washington once impatiently said that they stopped "to level every molehill."

Washington knew it be best to advance rapidly and surprise Fort Duquesne; but the army moved slowly until, at about eight miles from the fort, it was suddenly attacked by the French and Indians. The British soldiers, clad in red and marching in close ranks, made fine targets for their enemies, who, as usual, hid behind every tree and rock, whence they poured a deadly fire upon them. Braddock bravely rallied his men again and again; but not knowing how to fight unseen foes, they were helplessly slain. The general himself, after seeing great numbers of his men and officers fall, was mortally wounded, and had to order a retreat.

In the midst of this horrible scene, Washington and his Virginian soldiers alone kept cool. Four bullets passed through Washington's coat, and two horses were killed under him, for the Indians aimed specially at him. But all their bullets failed, and they afterwards said with awe that he surely bore a charmed life, and that no shot could ever touch him.

Nearly all the officers were killed, but Washington managed to cover the retreat of the British, and their wounded general was picked up and borne off the battlefield of the Monongahela. Braddock was now full of remorse for not following Washington's advice, and he died four days later, saying: "Who would have thought it? Who would have thought it? We shall better know how to deal with them another time."

Washington sadly buried the brave general in the Pennsylvania woods, making the army march over his grave, so that no trace of upturned soil should betray to the Indians his last resting place. Then the beaten and disheartened troops slowly made their way back, encouraged by Washington, who, going afoot, shared all their hardships, and relieved the weary men by loading their muskets and baggage upon his own horse.

The army marching westward from Albany had, in the meantime, paused discouraged at Oswego, while the one moving northward beat the French on the shores of a lake, which they called George, in honor of the victory won for their king (1755). The French officer Dieskau was captured there, and among the English dead was Ephraim Williams, who left his fortune to found the college in Massachusetts which bears his name.

Expulsion of the Arcadians


Fearing that the Acadian farmers, who still spoke French and loved their mother country, would turn against them, the British now tried to make the peasants take an oath of fidelity. When they refused, the men and boys were bidden to assemble, and then, after some delay, they and their families were sent on board British ships and taken away (1755). In the confusion several families were separated.

Thus ruthlessly torn from home, the Acadians were scattered throughout the colonies. Many made their way to Louisiana, so as to be still under French rule; others escaped into the woods; and a few spent long years vainly seeking those they loved. If you care to learn how one girl wandered thousands of miles in quest of her lover, you should read Longfellow's beautiful poem Evangeline.