Braddocks Cannon & Mortars

starsplitter

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Jan 20, 2007
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Braddock's Cannon & Mortars

A couple of years ago I did a great deal of research on Braddock's treasure. Much of it was primary. While I came to the conclusion that the gold was most likely nonexistent, other things came up. One of them was cannon and mortars. According to the information I came across, including some from the UK, cannon and mortors were buried during the retreat.

I had an ongoing conversation going with a man from the area who did a lot of his own credible Braddock research, and had a lot of finds to prove it. I wish I still had the gentleman's info (I lost everything when my laptop crashed). He was a very impressive and genuinely nice guy. He was also aware of the guns and mortars.

Due to distance, I have never followed up on anything. Perhaps someone might like to take it up (I'm sure there are many out there already interested and searching for Braddock relics).
 

littleneckhalfshell

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Jun 21, 2005
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Re: Braddock's Cannon & Mortars

I have always been interested in Braddock's retreat and always wondered exactly what ground it covered. From what I could tell (though I might be wrong) it seemed to go through the present town of Braddock PA, and possibly the ground that the Edgar Thompson Steel mill occupies. I always wondered if the area there was part of the retreat. I was the pastor of one of the church's in Braddock PA back in the early 80's and the ground level of the crawl space under the Nave of the church was a good two feet lower than the present day outside ground level.
(apparently a lot of dust and dirt can build up over the years) The church, had prior to my time there, found a 'well' under the church and excavated it but only found some old bottles and junk. I always wondered if the well could have been there when Braddock and Washington were there.
 

bigmac6006

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Re: Braddock's Cannon & Mortars

I have to dive back into my notes and papers, but as I recall, Braddock was pretty much broke by the time he was ambushed. The whole march took way to long, as he had his army build a 'fitting road' as they went. Any payroll he would have had would have been distributed to keep the men from defecting/going AWOL. The men would have either hoarded the loot, or spent it along the trail on booze, shoes, food, clothes, etc. Generally, the armies would leave out with only the equipment they need to meet the objective, then after success, send for resupply (to include payroll). As far as the path, I have a map that gets close to the march, but i'm sure the same map is available to anyone on the web. As far as the cannon and mortar goes, Braddock left much of it behind, as these pieces slowed the march even more. I would guess that the French got amost all of it... and destroyed what they didn't want. The other issue to consider when discussing Braddock, is that of the indians. They were afforded the opportunity to take what they wanted, and in most cases concerning the British, they sold back what they obtained during battles. Good public relations, sell back what you stole... and claim you found it.
 

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starsplitter

starsplitter

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Jan 20, 2007
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Re: Braddock's Cannon & Mortars

littleneckhalfshell...

Yes, Braddock is the area of the ambush. The topography has changed a great deal since the battle. While I have heard (I believe in TNet), of finds being made there they have been few and far between. As for the well under the church - no, it was almost certainly not there at the time. I did a lot of reading, much of it primary accounts, and saw nothing about a cabin or well, etc. at the battle site. It is a fascinating story. When the British came back later and took Duquense, skeletal remains were still visible along the retreat "road" and battle site. There are some real "amateurs" out there who are very enthusiastic and in my opinion no less knowledgable than the PhD types. When it comes to Braddock's gold, there isn't any. Never was (at least not with him). That being said... enthusiasts are still finding ordnance today along the retreat route leading east (Jumonville Camp and Braddock Road). Do a search on TNet for "Braddock" and many of their posts should pop up.
 

bigmac6006

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Re: Braddock's Cannon & Mortars

Here you go guys. This is a paper I wrote for one of my college classes some time ago. If you want the references (as marked in the document) I will be happy to e-mail them to you. It is a pretty basic paper, but it might help.

“Braddock’s Disaster”
by C.K. McArdle, American Military University

The Battle of the Monongahela turned out to be one of the biggest blunders by the British military during the French and Indian War. Poor planning, poor leadership, and a lack of supplies compounded by a false sense of dominance lead to a terrible British defeat just nine miles from a major strategic objective, Fort Duquesne. Fort Duquesne, during the mid 18th century, was a major French staging point supporting the Ohio Valley, messenger routes from Louisiana to Quebec, and access to the west. Located at the mouth of the Allegany and Monongahela Rivers, this fort offered the French an advantage in the world fur trade and control over the western wilderness . The British stood much to gain by seiging Fort Duquesne. Three situations lead to the British decision to mount an offensive on the river fort. The first was the lobby action by Robert Dinwiddie, Depute Governor of Virginia, for military action to push the French away from the Ohio. The second was the looming irritation as a result of the colonial surrender of Fort Necessity in July 1754 (which was under the command of Lt. Col. George Washington). The third contribution to the decision of attack was all of the skirmishes between the British and the French in the region over the previous two years . This battle was to be one of three coordinated offensives against the French strong hold of the west.
The expedition to Fort Duquesne was lead by General (Gen.) Edward Braddock, a sixty year old British officer who was rather arrogant and did not have any experience in new world warfare. Gen. Braddock’s expedition began from Will’s Creek Virginia –Fort Cumberland- where the troubles began. The only planning at hand was to take two regiments accompanied by approximately 500 colonial regulars and remove the French from the fort. The supply levels were bleak from the onset. If it were not for the aid of Benjamin Franklin in obtaining supplies by way of Pennsylvania , the expedition may have never made it off. Adding insult to injury, Gen. Braddock ordered all colonial brigade commanders to be absolved of rank. George Washington and men like him, served as aid-de-camp . The march to Duquesne would lead a force of approximately 1600 soldiers across some very vigorous terrain. The march proved to be very slow, as Gen. Braddock (at the request of Dinwiddie) insisted a road be laid as the army moved toward their objective . This action hurt the British forces in two ways: it gave the French time to plan and prepare for the siege, and it depleting food supplies which lead to illness and fatigue.
George Washington proved to be one of Gen. Braddock’s greatest assets; however, Braddock rarely ever acted on his advice. Washington was quiet familiar with the region as a result of an expedition he lead the previous year that included the construction and command of Fort Necessity from June 9th to July 4th 1754. Washington new first hand of the French resistance the Braddock Expedition would encounter, as they would face the same French units that took Necessity. At Little Meadows -just 20 miles into the march- Washington urged Braddock to split the force in two in order to hasty the advance toward Duquesne. Braddock obliged this advice and allowed the main supply force and artillery to lag behind the infantry. This move did not have the outcome Washington and the other aid-de-camps had hoped. The advance was still very slow. Illness took its toll on Washington around Bear Camp , or 22 days into the advance. He was forced to remain in the rears until his recovery a day or so before the battle.
On July 9, 1755 Braddock’s force made it to the Monongahela River. Up to this point resistance and acts of ambush were unexpectedly light. A false sense of security influenced Braddock to maintain proper rank and file and abandon the idea of sending a formal scouting party ahead after the second river crossing. This negligence proved fatal later that afternoon, as the French forces were well informed that Braddock’s army was closing in on the fort. The British assumed an ambush at two different river crossings, and if it had not been for French delays, they would have been correct. Instead, to the surprise of both sides, the French and the advancing British party -lead by Lt. Col Gage- meet on the path just north of Frasier’s Cabin, or seven miles from the fort. The French defensive force was made up of primarily Indians, who intelligently mounted a devastating attack on the British power undercover of wood line. This forced Gage’s men to fall back to the main force where congested forces made easy targets for the French defense force now deep on both flanks. Confusion and shock paralyzed Braddock’s army. Making matters worse, Braddock would not allow his military to pursue their attackers through the woods. He ordered them to fight in formation from the path. Between the cross fire from the now surrounding French force and the cross fire of the British lines, Braddock’s army sustained heavy casualties in a short time. Braddock himself was critically wounded during the fight. Most of Braddock’s officers were wounded or killed during the lead rain resulting in many of the soldiers to default to retreat for lack of command and control. George Washington-after Braddock’s incapacitation-heroically did what he could to maintain some order and regroup the slaughtered army. Washington stayed to the front until the very end with a group of colonials to cover the retreat . Amidst the heavy volleys, Gage and Washington rescued General Braddock from the ground and escorted him to the rear, thus preventing French capture. A short time later the formal retreat was marked. Fortunately for the British, the French forces did not pursue their aggressors. Braddock’s army was able to regroup and march east towards English territory. The long journey to Philadelphia was lead by Col. Dunbar –originally the commander of Braddock’s rear force-. As the ranks approached the remains of Fort Necessity, General Braddock fell victim to his wounds and perished. Fearing Indian pursuit and consequence, Braddock’s body was buried under the road just one mile from the stocks of Necessity in order to avoid defile .
Braddock’s defeat at Monongahela was a terrible atrocity. Poor planning, inadequate leadership, and a lack of supplies (compounded by an unacceptable ego), lead to the devastation of his army on July 9, 1755. The goal of removing the French from the Ohio was not met and many British soldiers lost their lives at the hand of incompetence. The concurrent plans for the coordinated attack against New France were aborted. Fort Duquesne remained under French control for many years after Braddock’s day of infamy with virtually no physical British threat.


Braddock’s and Forbe’s Road 1755-1758 (the map... to big to upload... do a search, it'll come up)

References cited in the original document in Chicago Manuscript format. This program does not support the format of the original document. This document is on file with American Public University System, and thereby protected under copyright laws.
 

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starsplitter

starsplitter

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Re: Braddock's Cannon & Mortars

"Instead, to the surprise of both sides, the French and the advancing British party -lead by Lt. Col Gage- meet on the path just north of Frasier’s Cabin, or seven miles from the fort."

I remember now, Frazier... is there a marker where the cabin once stood? Wouldn't it be a hoot if the church was built atop of it?
 

bigmac6006

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Re: Braddock's Cannon & Mortars

(Chuckling with excitement)... I'm glad I could help. A little side note, if I may... If the well was found below the church, then the cabin would have been either forward of and to the right or left of the well. The well most likely would have been between the cabin and the livestock area of the property... barn, stable, pen, etc. Just like today, most of the engineering and architecture was repetative. I recall coming across a drawing of the cabin plot somewhere... I may have it at home in my notes. It was significant for some other reason too... To many battles studied, they tend to blend sometimes.
 

littleneckhalfshell

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Jun 21, 2005
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Re: Braddock's Cannon & Mortars

would love to see a plot of where the cabin was or any information on the cabin. The church from what I can tell from maps, is on a direct line between...

"The Colonel George Washington Monument" (Dedicated July 9, 1930 to Colonel George Washington, who served as aide-de-camp to General Edward Braddock in the Battle of Braddock's Field around this site July 9, 1755)

And...

The "Braddock's Crossing" monument (Below this hill, about midday on July 9, 1755, a British army of 1300 made its second crossing of the river and advanced to drive the French from Fort Duquesne. A few hours later, with General Braddock mortally wounded and his army routed, survivors recrossed, pursued by the French and Indians) ((near present day Kennywood park))

We could hear the rollercoasters in action at Kennywood from the church.
 

littleneckhalfshell

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Jun 21, 2005
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Re: Braddock's Cannon & Mortars

Is there more than one "Fraser's cabin" ? Different spelling than 'Frasier's cabin', but how many similar names would be out that far? or how many cabins did this guy maintain?

I found this in a time line, 1753 Fall "The French seize John Fraser's cabin, a trader for the Ohio Company, at the confluence of French Creek and the Allegheny River (present-day Franklin PA), and establish a presence there which will become Fort Machault." (http://rangersoftheohiocompany.org/FIWarHist.htm)

That is quite a bit North of Braddock PA and would not fit in with the line of march of Braddock's army.
 

bigmac6006

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Re: Braddock's Cannon & Mortars

The "Frasier's Cabin" in question concerning the battle was just 7 miles from Ft. D... It was almost inline with the march. I'm not sure of another cabin... but the location of the Fraser Cabin in your quote was nowhere near the battle site. I would assume it to be a different cabin. I haven't gotten a chance to look up the history of Frasier's Cabin, but I will. I have to go back into Deepweb to find the first person accounts, as all I have is references (cited links). Something else happened there before the British blunder. I would do your best to measure back between 5.5 and 8.5 miles from Fort D..., as see where you end up. The well may be significant. Fort Machault was a major communications and supply hub in 1755. It was right in line with the overland portage and the water portage from Lake Erie to the Ohio. This area would have been avoided by the British, as there were actually two routes from Lake Erie to the French Creek, the Allegany, then to the Ohio. Winning Fort Machault just was not in the plan of crushing the lines of supply and communications. The other three selected forts were the best option, but Braddock screwed that all up.
 

bigmac6006

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Re: Braddock's Cannon & Mortars

Too answer one of the other questions about the second crossing, All signs point to 11th St. if I am correct about the street name. It is to the west of a big steel plant. Where is the church... never mind, don't tell me on here. We could end up with folks taking it apart.
 

littleneckhalfshell

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Jun 21, 2005
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Re: Braddock's Cannon & Mortars

yeah, the church fits the profile of being 5.5 to 8.5 miles from the point where Fort Duquesne stood.
so now the question is how close to the Monongahela river was the cabin? And if 11th street is thought to be roughly the path of march, if it is east of 11th street, the field of battle is under the Edgar Thompson Steel works, which runs right up to the edge of 11th street down by the river. Be a heck of a job to try to discriminate with all that iron there :wink: even if you could get over the fence and get permission to hunt. :(
 

bigmac6006

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Re: Braddock's Cannon & Mortars

The important thing to remember, is that the battle was not faught on an open field, like most battles of the day were. It was waged on a road and wood line probably no wider than a four lane highway (at best, and this includes the tree lines). This had significance later in the war by Lewiston NY... the British turned the tides on the French by using their own tactic against them... to the T! (1759)
 

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starsplitter

starsplitter

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Re: Braddock's Cannon & Mortars

I remember some people replying about their finds in and around Braddock. I can't remember what now. It might be worth combing old newspaper files (early as possible to start), but perhaps especially during the period when Braddock was being built (after all, they dug up the ground for utilities, streets, etc.). I'd go to the local historical society first.

During my research, I never focused on Braddock, rather the retreat route. Once I came to the opinion that the mortors/cowherns were probably smashed I lost interest - for some reason I was just fascinated by the idea of finding one. Anyways, hints might crop up that can lead to a specific area of town.

I envy the guys close to this one - not some big treasure deal, but lots of history.
 

bocceguy

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Apr 15, 2009
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Re: Braddock's Cannon & Mortars

I remember some people replying about their finds in and around Braddock. I can't remember what now. It might be worth combing old newspaper files (early as possible to start), but perhaps especially during the period when Braddock was being built (after all, they dug up the ground for utilities, streets, etc.). I'd go to the local historical society first.

During my research, I never focused on Braddock, rather the retreat route. Once I came to the opinion that the mortors/cowherns were probably smashed I lost interest - for some reason I was just fascinated by the idea of finding one. Anyways, hints might crop up that can lead to a specific area of town.

I envy the guys close to this one - not some big treasure deal, but lots of history.
Re: Braddock's Cannon & Mortars

I remember some people replying about their finds in and around Braddock. I can't remember what now. It might be worth combing old newspaper files (early as possible to start), but perhaps especially during the period when Braddock was being built (after all, they dug up the ground for utilities, streets, etc.). I'd go to the local historical society first.

During my research, I never focused on Braddock, rather the retreat route. Once I came to the opinion that the mortors/cowherns were probably smashed I lost interest - for some reason I was just fascinated by the idea of finding one. Anyways, hints might crop up that can lead to a specific area of town.

I envy the guys close to this one - not some big treasure deal, but lots of history.
 

bocceguy

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Apr 15, 2009
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I know this is an old thread but I just came across it today . My wife is a descendant of John Fraser whose cabin was repeatedly mentioned in this thread . He was the first white trader west of the Allegheny Mountains licensed by the British his first cabin was at french creek near modern day Franklin pa he was forced out by the French and his cabin incorporated into the french built fort there He then set up shop at the mouth of Turtle Creek present day Braddock Pa while there he was visited by George Washington and Christopher Gist who stayed with him for several days before continuing on there missions to contact the French. When the French took control of the the British fort being constructed at the point modern day Pittsburgh he once again was forced to flee . . On his journey he came into contact with George Washington at Fort Nesesity and was there during the Battle. Later because of his knowledge of the land and his relationship with the local Indians he was called on by General Braddock to be the scout for Braddocks ill fated expedition they crossed the River very close to Fraser’s cabin.. He was once again called to be the scout for general Forbes. In later years he settled in Bedford Pa his son was the first white child born in Bedford County. He was the magistrate in Bedford and a successful land speculator owning the property that St Vincents Collage sits on today as well most of what is modern day Braddock he died in Bedford in 1773 . His wife Jane Fraser was famous in her own right having been kidnapped by Indians for 18 months then escaping and returning to her husband the story is recounted in the book Red Morning by Ruby Fraser Frey . Today the site of Fraser’s cabin is unmarked depending on who you talk to it is either under the Edger Thomson Steel works or maybe not I once talked to a man who claimed he was given permission to explore the site and found some artifacts. sorry to be so long winded but it is a subject which I love
 

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bocceguy

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Apr 15, 2009
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Years ago i read about a lost cannon in the murrysville area and just within the last couple of years I was told by a reliable person who has seen it that one was found on a farm I have been trying to see it but the person who has it is reluctant he is afraid someone (government) will take it from him . I don’t think Braddock retreat went through murrysville but it is a stones throw from Bushy Run and Forbes trail
 

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I may as well throw my hat into the ring while we're all here. Sadly this thread is going to require an act of necromancy to bring it back. I was visiting treasure week at Fox Den Acres in New Stanton when another attendee told me that the two cannons at the gate were dug up nearby. The campground is only two miles from the route Braddock took, specifically Salt Lick Camp in Hunker. Another person told me the cannons had been purchased at an auction. I may go back and take pictures of the cannons to see if they are consistent with what Braddock had.
 

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