Saturday, May 8, 2010

May 8 “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” ~Ben Franklin

"Stand Your Ground" by Dan Troiani

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty not safety. ~Benjamin Franklin: Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Soon after the defeat at Fort Necessity, Britain learned that 78 French troops had been deployed to attack the British fort Oswego, in Canada. The British Parliament responded by providing more money to the colonies to fund an expanded militia. They also sent British regiments to the colonies. In February 1755, the first British general to ever set foot in the colonies, Edward Braddock, arrived in Virginia to take charge. Braddock had had 45 years of experience in European style warfare, but was completely ignorant of how to fight in the North American wilderness. Here, “Indian fighting” took the place of formal, face-to-face combat. Upon his arrival, Braddock developed a three-part strategy for defeating the French. The Massachusetts regiments were sent to reinforce the defenses at Oswego, and to capture Fort Niagara on the south shore of Lake Erie. Colonel William Johnson was assigned to capture Fort Frederick at Crown Point, on the banks of Lake Champlain. Braddock himself was to take Fort Duquesne in Pennsylvania.

The battle for Fort Duquesne was the first significant battle of 1755. Though the British outnumbered the French by more than two to one (2,200 men to 1,000 men), the French defeated them easily. As Braddock’s men marched toward the Monongahela River in formal columns, the French ambushed them using the surrounding trees as cover. Braddock refused to allow his men to break ranks and seek cover. Panic ensued as the soldiers were fired upon relentlessly by an invisible (hidden behind trees and rocks) enemy. In the end, 977 British soldiers were killed, while only 9 French soldiers lost their lives. Braddock was also killed.