MD& PA Historic Commissions: Following Edward Braddock, A State Highway History

With the exception of a few missing campsite markers, one can travel closely to Major General Edward Braddock’s footsteps from Cumberland, Maryland to the town of Braddock, Pennsylvania. As a child, I remember seeing these state highway markers located along Route 40, headed west well into Pennsylvania. I spent a great deal of my life upon the Allegheny Front in Maryland near Red House, Maryland. 

As I was once a Ranger Historian, I used to talk about Braddock’s movements through Fox’s Gap with Colonel Dunbar and his command along with Major General Braddock. The expedition itself, was completed in three phases. Movements from Alexandria, Virginia to Winchester which included the Maryland portion of the expedition. Phase Two from Winchester to Cumberland. And finally, phase three Cumberland to Braddock, PA. What is listed below is the test to the various highway markers from Cumberland, MD to the July 7 campsite. 

Cumberland:

The store houses of The Ohio Company were first located near this point. In 1754 the first fort (called Mt. Pleasant) was built. Gen’l Edward Braddock enlarged the fort in 1755 and renamed it after his friend the Duke of Cumberland.

Near this point on June 10, 1755, after nearly a month’s delay at Fort Cumberland, Braddock’s troops started toward Fort Duquesne to wrest it from the French. On July 9, 1755, he met his terrible death at the Monongahela.

La Vale:

General Braddock’s 1st camp on the march from Fort Cumberland to Fort Duquesne, June 11th to 13th, 1855. After building a road over Wills Mountain, Spendelow, an engineer, discovered a route by “The Narrows” and Braddock’s Run and a second road was opened.

Frostburg:

General Braddock’s 2nd camp on the march to Fort Duquesne June 14th, 15th, 1755. The old Braddock Road passed to the southeast of the National Road from Clarysville to the “Shades of Death” near “Two Mile Run.” The National Road was begun by the Government in 1811.

Big Savage Mountain:

“We this day passed the ‘Aligany’ Mountain (Big Savage Mountain) which is a rocky ascent of more than two miles, in many places extremely steep…”

Captain Robert Orme, June 15, 1755

British General Edward Braddock led a 2,100-man army through this wild country in 1755. The troops intended to dislodge the French from the “Forks of the Ohio” (Pittsburgh) almost 100 miles away. They were blazing a new trail, forever known as “Braddock’s Road.”

As they crossed this formidable mountain about a mile south of here, Braddock’s aide, Captain Robert Orme, recorded the difficulties. “Its descent is very rugged and almost perpendicular; in passing which we entirely demolished three wagons and shattered several.” After Orme listed the passage of 2100 soldiers, 30 wagons, 400 horses, siege artillery and tons of supplies, General Braddock took a young George Washington’s advice. He soon created a “flying column,” shedding most of the cumbersome equipment and moving more quickly to his objective.

Savage River:

General Braddock’s 3rd camp on his march to Fort Duquesne June 16, 1755. The route, later known as the Old Braddock Road, passes to the southeast of the National Road. Captain Orme’s diary says “we entirely demolished three wagons and shattered several” descending Savage Mountain.

Little Meadows:

General Braddock’s 4th camp on the march to Fort Duquesne June 17, 1755. Washington arrived here after Braddock’s defeat July 15th, 1755. Washington also stopped here May 9th, 1754, July 7th or 8th, 1754, October 1st, 1770, November 26th, 1770 and September 10, 1784.

Grantsville:

On the march to Fort Duquesne June 19th, 1755. By Washington’s advice, Braddock pushed forward from Little Meadows to this camp with 1200 chosen men and officers leaving the heavy artillery and baggage behind to follow by easy stages under Colonel Dunbar.

Near Grantsville:

The “Little Crossings” of the Little Youghiogeny River, now called Castleman’s River). So called by George Washington when he crossed on June 19, 1755, with General Edward Braddock on the ill-fated expedition to Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh).

Near Grantsville:

General Braddock’s 6th camp on the march to Fort Duquesne Saturday and Sunday June 20th and 21st, 1755. Washington was forced to remain behind with a guard on account of “violent fevers” until cured by “Dr. James’s Powders (one of the most excellent medicines in the world),” he wrote his brother Augustine.

Markleysburg, PA:

General Braddock’s eighth camp, June 25, 1755, on the march to Fort Duquesne, was about half a mile S.W. Chestnut Ridge, seen on the horizon to the west, was the last mt. range to be crossed. Axemen widened an Indian path for passage of supply wagons and artillery over it.

West of Fort Necessity:

General Braddock’s tenth camp, June 26, 1755, on the march to Fort Duquesne, was at the Half King’s Rock, one mile NE of here. The Rock was named for Washington’s friend Tanacharisson, the Iroquois viceroy (half king) of the Ohio Indians. Washington met him here in 1754.

Connellsville, PA:

General Braddock’s twelfth camp, June 28, 1755, on the march to Fort Duquesne, was north of here, near the Youghiogheny River. On June 30, the army forded the River at Stewart’s Crossing to a point about one-half mile northwest of present-day Connellsville.

Mt. Pleasant, PA:

This tablet marks the site of General Edward Braddock’s fourteenth encampment or bivouac. Here Braddock’s army spent the night July 1, 1755 having marched five miles from their camp on the east side of the Youghiogheny near Connellsville. The army halted here a day until a swamp was bridged or corduroyed. The next day they marched only one mile to “Jacob’s Cabin Camp” where more bridging of the swamp was necessary.

Mount Pleasant, PA:

Gen. Edw. Braddock, equipped to attack Ft. Duquesne, cut a 12 ft. road north through the western wilderness. On July 2nd, seven days before their defeat, his troops rested midday at springs nearby then marched a few miles NW from this point to Jacob’s cabin, their 15th encampment.

Hempfield, PA:

This tablet marks the site of General Edward Braddock’s sixteenth encampment named “Salt Lick Camp.” Here Braddock’s army camped July 3, 1755, after having marched six miles from Jacobs Cabin Camp. The circuitous route via Mount Pleasant was made to get around a great swamp. Six miles beyond was Braddock’s next camp called “Thicketty Run Camp.”

Irwin, PA:

This tablet marks the site of General Edward Braddock’s eighteenth encampment called Monacatootha Camp from an unhappy incident on the march. Monacatooha’s son was shot by accident by Braddock’s own men. General Braddock as soon as the army camped sent for the Indians, condoled with them, made them presents and buried the warrior’s son with military honors. Here Braddock’s army camped July 6, 1755. The next encampment was at Circleville.

Irwin, PA:

This tablet marks the most probable site of General Braddock’s nineteenth camp. Here Braddock’s army camped July 7, 1755, en route to capture Fort Du Quesne. The Turtle Creek defile with its deep and rugged ravines, and its steep and almost perpendicular precipices here caused Braddock’s army to turn at Stewartsville into the valley of Long Run to the Monongahela camp at McKeesport about eight miles distant.

Cumberland_md_braddock_road

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