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Braddock's camp, in a word, was a complete study for Washington, during the halt at Fort Cumberland, where he had an opportunity of seeing military routine in its strictest forms. He had a specimen, too, of convivial life in the camp, which the general endeavored to maintain, even in the wilderness, keeping a hospitable table ; for he is said to have been somewhat of a bon vivant, and to have had with him “two good cooks, who could make an excellent ragout out of a pair of boots, had they but materials to toss them up with.” *
There was great detention at the fort, caused by the want of forage and supplies, the road not having been finished from Philadelphia. Mr. Richard Peters, the secretary of Governor Morris, was in camp, to attend to the matter. He had to bear the brunt of Braddock's complaints. The general declared he would not stir from Wills' Creek until he had the governor's assurance that the road would be opened in time. Mr. Peters requested guards to protect the men while at work, from attacks by the Indians. Braddock swore he would not furnish guards for the woodcutters, -"let Pennsylvania do it!" He scoffed at the talk about danger from Indians. Peters endeavored to make him sensible of the peril which threatened him in this respect. Should an army of them, led by French officers, beset him in his march, he would not be able, with all his strength and military skill, to reach Fort Duquesne without a body of rangers, as well on foot as horseback. The general, however, “despised his observations." | Still, guards had ultimately to be provided, or the work on the road would have been abandoned.
Braddock, in fact, was completely chagrined and disappointed
• Preface to Winthrop Sargent's Introductory Memoir,
about the Indians. The Cherokees and Catawbas, whom Din. widdie had given him reason to expect in such numbers, never arrived.
George Croghan reached the camp with but about fifty warriors, whom he had brought from Aughquick. At the general's request he sent a messenger to invite the Delawares and Shawnees from the Ohio, who returned with two chiefs of the former tribe. Among the sachems thus assembled were some of Washington's former allies; Scarooyadi, alias, Monacatoocha, successor to the half-king; White Thunder, the keeper of the speech-belts, and Silver Ileels, so called, probably, from being swift of foot.
Notwithstanding his secret contempt for the Indians, Braddock, agreeably to his instructions, treated them with great ceremony. A grand council was held in his tent, where all his officers attended. The chiefs, and all the warriors, came painted and decorated for war. They were received with military honors, the guards resting on their fire-arms. The general made them a speech through his interpreter, expressing the grief of their father, the great king of England, at the death of the half-king, and made them presents to console them. They in return promised their aid as guides and scouts, and declared eternal enmity to the French, following the declaration with the war song, "making a terrible noise.”
The general, to regale and astonish them, ordered all the artillery to be fired, “ the drums and fifes playing and beating the point of war;” the fête ended by their feasting, in their own camp, on a bullock which the general had given them, following up their repast by dancing the war dance round a fire, to the sound of their uncouth drums and rattles, “making night hideous,” by howls and yellings.
“I have engaged between forty and fifty Indians from the frontiers of your province to go over the mountains with me,” writes Braddock to Governor Morris, " and shall take Croghan and Montour into service.” Croghan was, in effect, put in command of the Indians, and a warrant given to him of captain.
For a time all went well. The Indians had their separate camp, where they passed half the night singing, dancing, and howling. The British were amused by their strange ceremonies, their savage antics, and savage decorations. The Indians, on the other hand, loitered by day about the English camp, fiercely painted and arrayed, gazing with silent admiration at the parade oi the troops, their marchings and evolutions; and delighted with the horse-races, with which the young officers recreated them. sclves.
Unluckily the warriors had brought their families with them to Wills' Creek, and the women were even fonder than the men of loitering about the British camp. They were not destitute of attractions; for the young squaws resemble the gypsies, having seductive forms, small hands and feet, and soft voices. Among those who visited the camp was one who no doubt passed for an Indian princess. She was the daughter of the sachem, White Thunder, and bore the dazzling name of Bright Lightning.* The charms of these wild-wood beauties were soon acknowledged. "The squaws," writes Secretary Peters, “ bring in money plenty; the officers are scandalously fond of them.” +
The jealousy of the warriors was aroused; some of them be. came furious. To prevent discord, the squaws were forbidden to
* Seamen's Journal.
own experience, the substitution, as much as possible, of packhorses. Braddock, however, had not been sufficiently harassed by frontier campaigning to depart from his European modes, or to be swayed in his military operations by so green a counsellor.
At length the general was relieved from present perplexities by the arrival of the horses and waggons which Franklin had undertaken to procure. That eminent man, with his characteristic promptness and unwearied exertions, and by his great personal popularity, had obtained them from the reluctant Pennsylvania farmers, being obliged to pledge his own responsibility for their being fully remunerated. He performed this laborious task out of pure zeal for the public service, neither expecting nor receiving cmolument; and, in fact, experiencing subsequently great delay and embarrassment before he was relieved from the pecuniary responsibilities thus patriotically incurred.
The arrival of the conveyances put Braddock in good humor with Pennsylvania. In a letter to Governor Morris, he alludes to the threat of Sir John St. Clair to go through that province with a drawn sword in his hand. “He is ashamed of his having talked to you in the manner he did." Still the general made Frauklin's contract for waggons the sole instance in which he had not experienced deceit and villany. “I hope, however, in spite of all this,” adds he, “that we shall pass a merry Christmas together."
MARCH FROM FORT CUMBERLAND THE GREAT BAVAGE MOUNTAIN-CAMP AT THJ
LITTLB MEADOWS-DIVISION OF THE FORCES CAPTAIN JACK AND HIS BANDSCAROOYADI IN DANGER—ILLNESS OF WASHINGTON-US HALT AT THE YOUGDIOGENY-MARCH OF BRADDOCK-THE GREAT MEADOWS-LURKING ENEMIES, THEIR TRACKS-PRECAUTIONS--THICKETTY RUN-SCOUTS—INDIAN MURDEPSFUNERAL OF AN INDIAN WARRIOR-CAMP ON THE MONONG AHELA-WASHINGTON'S ARRIVAL THERE—MARCH FOR FORT DUQUESVE-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