The Richard Bard Raid

During the French and Indian War (1754-1763), settlements east of South Mountain had been relatively safe to live in. Then, in the spring of 1758, the Indians and some of their French allies raided the settlements along South Mountain. On April 5, 1758, near modern day Cashtown, Mary Jemison, her parents, and some of her relatives were taken prisoner. She would be the only survivor, as to lighten the load the Indians killed her parents. They would take her to Fort Duquesne where she was sold to Seneca Indians.

A few days later, another raiding party traveled along the eastern base of South Mountain to the home and mill of Richard Bard. Richard Bard was born in 1736 and lived at the base of South Mountain where he operated a mill at Mud Run with his wife Catherine Poe Bard and their seven month old son. This area today is known as Virginia Mills, and is located on Mount Hope Road, a few miles east of Monterey Pass.


April 13, started like any other day for the Bard family. The Bard family was inside the house entertaining Richard’s cousin Thomas Potter and small children Hannah McBride and Frederick Ferick. Out in the nearby fields working were Samuel Hunter and Daniel McManimy. William White, a young boy, was on his way to the mill for a visit.

Hannah was by the front door, when she saw the indians coming, about nineteen Delaware Indians total. By the time that Bard and Potter knew what was happening, it was too late. The Indians rushed into the house. Potter and one Indian armed with a cutlass struggled for a bit until Potter took the weapon and began striking the Indian, wounding the warrior.

Bard grabbed a pistol and when he went to pull the trigger, it failed to go off. The Indians began fleeing from the house. One of Indians by the door saw what was happening, fired a shot, and wounded Potter. The main door was closed by the Indians. The Bard family knew they were outnumbered and feared that the Indians would fire the house. The Indians surrounded the cabin and forced the Bard’s and their friends to come to terms with a surrender. After working out a surrender, the Bard family and other occupants came out and surrendered.

Hunter and McManimy, who were working in a nearby field, were also captured, including the young boy White. Nine total were captives of the Indians. As the Indians began moving westward over South Mountain, they killed Potter, scalping him. About three or four miles into South Mountain, the young toddler John Bard was speared, repeatedly beaten, and was scalped as well.

The Indians, with their war trophies, moved northward toward modern day Mont Alto Gap. Many deep gorges made the journey difficult. The Bard’s were hungry and tired. The prisoners were not allowed to socialize with one another, and the Indians even went as far as to paint red over Richard’s face. He thought that he would be the next to suffer the hatchet.

The party continued northward along South Mountain, entering the Conococheague Valley near modern day Scotland. The Indians feared the garrison of Fort Loudon several miles to the west. They also feared traveling too close to Fort Chambers and Fort McCord, which were in line of their route. By nightfall, they had moved some forty miles on foot.

The next day, the Bard’s moved through Yankee Gap into Bear Valley, to Horse Valley, and finally Path Valley. During the day, the Indians killed Hunter, sinking the hatchet into his head as he and Bard sat down. Then they scalped him. They moved to Sideling Hill, where they would encamp for the night.

By the third day, the party made it’s way between modern day Huntingdon and Raystown (Bedford). During the day, the Indians held a council on whether Richard should be killed. They painted half of his face red, but he lived on. The fourth day, the Indian raiders and their prisoners were the crossing the Allegheny Mountains. That night, snow fell. The prisoners were not allowed to be near the fire. By now, the prisoners were in dire need of rescue. Certain death was near if they couldn’t get help. Richard’s wife was still mourning the murder of her seven month old boy.

On the fifth day, Richard was beaten badly by one of the Indians and almost disabled, as he was crossing a stream. Realizing that death was so close, Richard still was not permitted to talk to his wife. One of the Indians shot a turkey and ordered the Bard’s to pluck the feathers and clean it out. There, Richard planned his escape to get help after a diversion was made by his wife.

bardfamilyhistor00inseil_0208Richard waited for the right moment. That moment came during the late evening when the Indians began dressing themselves in women’s clothing that they had captured along the way. Richard made his way toward a bush and concealed himself inside. HIs wife Catherine, kept the Indians attention on a gown. One of the other Indians noticed that Richard had gone missing.

The Indians quickly searched for Richard, but came up empty handed. The Indians and their captives made their way to the Allegheny River and to Fort Duquesne. They would remain there for one night before moving twenty miles down the Ohio to an Indian village. There, Catherine was beaten by several of the Indian squaws.

The prisoners were escorted to Kaskaskunk, a village ran by the Glickhickan. There, McManimy was killed after being beaten. The two boys and Hannah were left behind while Catherine was taken to another village. Once there, she would be adopted to replace a dead sister of two Indian brothers. The women who beat her, were punished for their actions.

Catherine was moving with her new Delaware family to the headwaters of the Susquehanna. The journey was painful for her, as she had not recovered from being taken prisoner. She was given a horse to ride upon, until it was used to replace a pack horse that was dying. 500 miles since her capture, she came to her new home, a cabin. The only thing she had to her name was a blanket that was given to her by her captors. Catherine would be forced to learn her adopted native language in order to communicate.

While, Catherine was being adopted, her husband, Richard had a difficult time navigating through the mountains. His feet blistered as his shoes were worn out. He took briars to sew up the deep cuts on the bottom of his feet. He ripped portions of his breeches to wrap around his feet, giving them some type of soles. He was starving, tired, and fatigued.

By the eighth day of his escape, he arrived at Juniata in the evening. Moving through the night, cold and wet, he made his way through the wilderness. The next day, he ran into three Cherokee Indians who escorted him to Fort Lyttleton. Richard Bard was finally saved.

For the next two years, Richard Bard searched for his wife. In 1758, after the fall of Fort Duquesne, Richard Bard headed to the fort to find his wife. At the newly rebuilt Fort Duquesne, now called Fort Pitt, Bard discovered some of the same Indians that were with him on his journey as a prisoner. They threatened to kill him if he came back.

Richard Bard came back to Fort Pitt and found the location of his wife. Bard made arrangements to pay forty pounds for her release. After being held in captivity for two years and five months, she was released and the ransom was paid.

The ordeal had officially come to an end. The Bards would rebuild their lives moving to Williamson in Franklin County, PA. Richard would die in 1799, survived by his wife Catherine. She would die in 1811. They would have four children, all of whom are buried in Church Hill Graveyard, Mercersburg, PA.


Terror On The Monongahela, Part Three

The scene was in complete disorder. The British never fought a battle in these conditions. They had no targets, nor could they see what was in their front. The colors were advanced in several places to separate the soldiers of the two regiments. Major General Braddock ordered his officers to rally their men, however the officers could not reform the men, and Maj. Gen. Braddock could not persuade them to advance. The Indians moved fast and remained hidden, using the forest to their advantage, which caused the soldiers to miss their targets. The Indians had extended their lines from the front of the British advance and were bearing down on the rearguard. The British soldiers began firing wildly in the air and all around, loading faster and firing quickly, sending lead in every direction.

Realizing that their gunfire was slowing, the British officers began trying to organize their men into platoons. This would allow a more controlled volume of firing. Up until now, they were firing at anything that moved or at puffs of smoke. With only twenty four rounds of ammunition being issued earlier, every round needed to count. This helped the British soldiers with a more sustained firing. It also helped the men to move forward about twenty yards, before the column halted.

While Maj. Gen. Braddock tried to take control of the situation in the front, the Indians attacked the rearguard where Col. Halket was positioned. Since the flankers moved in to help secure the wagons and their teams, the Indians were not checked. While the Col. Halket’s command was stopped, many of the Indians began coming out of the woods and came upon the rear of his column. Colonel Halket rode toward the front of his position to size up the scene.

Colonel Halket arrived and began organizing his lines. He ordered his detachment into two ranks and deployed them on both sides of the narrow road. A 12-pounder cannon was deployed for his support. With artillery support, Col. Halket ordered his detachment to fire by platoons. As Col. Halket directed his men, Christopher Gist, a local trader and British guide, witnessed the moment when an Indian took aim and fired his gun, shooting Col. Halket. Christopher Gist, after reloading his rifle, fired back, shooting the Indian in the head. Lieutenant James Halket, ran to his father’s side and he too, was shot and killed. His lifeless body fell upon the body of his father, where he died.

By 3:00 p.m., Lt. Col. Gage’s vanguard were still desperately trying to hold. Many British soldiers were being shot down while in formation in the middle of the road. Many of the Virginian troops ran and ducked behind trees, fighting back with some success. At one point, they tried to launch an attack on the higher ground located on the British right flank. They deployed behind any natural breastwork they could find and were gaining ground.

The Virginians opened again with another volley. But with the smoky and natural conditions of the battlefield, the British thought that they were Indians attacking them, and the British opened fire. This ended the Virginia fight, as they lost more than half of their men. Shortly afterward, Lt. Col. Gage’s men heard the attacks from the rear and thought they were being surrounded. This created a wave of disorder and panic. No officer, at least none still left in the ranks, could restore order.

By 4:00 p.m., the British were running low on ammunition for their infantry and artillery. The British army was about at it’s breaking point. Major General Braddock and his staff tried to keep order within the ranks. Heavy smoke, screams, and gunfire didn’t help with the situation. As the Indians attacked with great precision, they helped to secure the French victory. Major General Braddock tried desperately to gain a hand on the crumbling situation. He swung around his saber slapping the backs of his men to get them into line.

As Maj. Gen. Braddock maneuvered on the battlefield, he felt insulted by seeing so many colonial troops hiding behind trees and rocks. He had cursed one soldier as a coward and smacked him with his saber. This insulted the Colonials. At the same time, Colonel Washington had advised Maj. Gen. Braddock to use similar tactics, and asked for permission to detach two to three hundred men to fight in the same style as the Indians, but he refused. Maj. Gen. Braddock’s fourth horse was shot from under him, and as he began mounting his fifth horse of the battle, a musket ball tore through his right arm and went into his lungs.

Major General Braddock’s staff, including Colonel Washington and Lt. Col. Gage, attended to him. By this point, the order to retreat was given. With a lack of real leadership, mass panic began to ensue, but order was quickly restored. Major General Braddock was carried off the field and taken to the rear where the wagoners were hotly engaged.

Back at the rearguard, the wagoners knew the battle was lost. One by one, they began making their way to the river to get out of harm’s way. Only 110 soldiers remained with the wagons. These were colonial provincials from South Carolina and Virginia troops. They were holding the passage open for the retreat.

As the British fell back to the trains, silence filled the air as the Indians prepared for their final assault. Then war cries came hurling from the wilderness and the British survivors began firing. Now, Colonel Washington, one of two officers in the field on the western side of the river, rallied the men for a few moments. The British soldiers retreated and it became every man for himself. Colonel Washington tried to rally as many men as he could without any success. Lieutenant Colonels Gage and Burton, both wounded, were trying to halt the column on the other side of the river.

By 5:00 p.m., the battle was over. The British troops were pouring through the Monongahela River. On the eastern side, the British formed a defensive line to cover the survivors fording the river. The Indians were still pursuing the British until they came to the river. After that, the Indians began going through the supplies that were left behind. The Battle of Monongahela was finally over. The British casualties were high. Of the 1,400 combatants, 456 soldiers were killed and 422 were wounded. Of 86 total officers, 26 were killed and 37 wounded. The French, Canadian and Indian losses were light. They had 30 men killed and 57 wounded.

The sight upon the battlefield was horrid. Many of the lifeless bodies and wounded men were scalped, as the Indians scavenged the battlefield for souvenirs from the bloody battle. Wagons were raided and supplies were taken. Although, Maj. Gen. Braddock ordered the camp followers to stay with Col. Dunbar, upwards to fifty did make the journey. Only five of these women made it back with their lives. Several of their lifeless bodies laid by the wagon train. Many of them were stripped of their clothing.

As Maj. Gen. Braddock was gasping for breath, he ordered Col. Washington to ride out to Col. Dunbar’s camp and tell him to send wagons and supplies to their position, which would be Gist’s Plantation. Colonel Washington realized that Col. Dunbar’s camp was over fifty miles to the rear. He rode all night and reached the camp some twelve hours later. Being tired and fatigued, Col. Washington was forced to stay in the camp. Some of the survivors from the wagon trains came into Col. Dunbar’s camp and brought news from the battlefield.

The British army retreated through the night and most of the day. Finally, they made camp at Gist’s Plantation, west of Great Meadows late on July 10. Supplies from Col. Dunbar arrived for the survivors of Braddock’s army. Among the supplies were medical bandages for the wounded.

By July 11, the remnants of the British army arrived at Col. Dunbar’s camp. The next day, Major General Braddock gave his last orders for the retreat to Fort Cumberland, The wounded Maj. Gen. Braddock then handed over command of the army to Col. Dunbar. Colonel Dunbar ordered all extra supplies to be destroyed including extra stores of ammunition and black powder. Wounded were loaded into the wagons.

The next morning, on July 13, the army got underway. Major General Braddock died that evening. Before he passed, he asked Col. Washington to oversee his burial. He gave Col. Washington his red sash as a keepsake. There, in the middle of the road west of Great Meadows, Col. Washington oversaw his burial as he was placed in the middle of the road. After a quick funeral service, the dirt covered his grave and the retreating army on the way to Fort Cumberland marched over top of his grave to their camp a short distance away at Steep Bank.

On July 17, Col. Dunbar led the British army to Fort Cumberland. Remaining there for several days, Colonel Dunbar led the British regulars to Philadelphia, where he arrived in late August. The Colonial Provincials remained at Fort Cumberland for some time before leaving or deserting back into Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. The frontier in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland were now defenseless.

It wouldn’t be until 1758, that the British and Colonial Provincials would launch another major campaign against Fort Duquesne. Many of the survivors, including Col. Washington, and Maj. St. Clair would participate in this campaign. Learning from the mistakes of Maj. Gen. Braddock, British Brigadier General John Forbes would take the French fort on November 25, 1758.


Crocker, Thomas E. Braddock’s March, Westholme Publishing, Yardley, PA, 2009.

Hall, Charles (editor). Gen. Braddock’s Defeat, Fort Edwards Foundation, Capoon Bridge, WV, 2005.

Netherton, Ross. Braddock’s Campaign and the Potomac Route to the West, Higher Ed. Publishers, Falls Chruch, VA. 1997.

Kopperman, Paul E. Braddock at the Monongahela, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA. 1977.

McCardell, Lee. Ill-starred General, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA. 1958.

Wahll, Andrew J. Braddock Road Chronicles 1755, Heritage Books, Westminster, MD. 2006.

Parkman, Francis. Braddock’s Defeat, 1755, The French and English in America, Maynard, New York, NY, 1890

Preston, David. Braddock’s Defeat, Oxford University, Oxford NY. 2015.

The Ohio Country and the War It Would Bring

The year was 1700, and three of the most powerful empires of Europe were laying claim to North America. This was an ongoing product since the discovery of the new world in the 1400’s when both of the Americas were being claimed. But 1700 seems to be the peak of control of America by England, Spain and France. Spain declared much of Mexico, Florida, and the Southwestern and Pacific regions of the North America calling it New Spain. To the north, France declared Canada, Acadia, Newfoundland and Louisiana. This was known as New France and the boundaries included the Hudson Bay of New York to the Gulf of Mexico and areas west to the Rockies. England claimed much of the eastern coast to the Appalachian Mountains. 1

In July 1701, a war erupted known as the War of the Spanish Succession and continues until 1712. In 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht is signed by several European countries including France, Spain and Britain. In this treaty, France ceded some land around the Hudson Bay and Newfoundland to Britain. However, there was one provision in that treaty where the Iroquois Confederacy in the Ohio Country was considered as British subjects. This also included the land that the Iroquois Confederacy occupied. 2

In 1722, the Treaty of Albany was signed and the Ohio Country was coming to center. This treaty was between several Indian tribes and colonies of New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia which would limit the French influence from the Mississippi Valley and Canada. But in the 1744, the Treaty of Lancaster was signed after a dispute between colonial settlers settling on lands that belonged to the Iroquois and some blood was spilled. The Treaty of Lancaster gave Britain full rights to the Ohio Country, but this too would cause tensions with the Iroquois. Although, the Iroquois felt that this only gave the colony of Virginia the rights to the Shenandoah Valley and not the Ohio Country. 3

In 1747, the Indians took their case against the French, who to them were invading the Ohio Country, accessing the Mississippi Valley. The result was the 1747 Treaty of Philadelphia and the second Treaty of Lancaster of 1748. Tensions of trade were almost at the boiling point between the colonies and the Indians. The 1748 treaty would help to settle and allow trade with all parties in the “Chain of Friendship.” 4

In 1748, the Ohio Company was formed by Thomas Lee and brothers Lawrence and Augustine Washington, as a land investment company. This company would try to block any attempt by France to settle the land of the Ohio Country. It was also to represent Virginia’s interests in the Ohio Country for settlements and trading. The land investments included some of Virginia’s wealthy planters and political leaders including Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie, Thomas Cresap, John Mercer and his oldest son George Mercer. 5

A year after the Ohio Company was founded, George Mercer petitioned King George for England to begin allowing settlements on the land. England agreed and in 1749, a grant in two parts allowed for 500,000 acres of land for settlement over a two year period. 300,000 acres of that 500,000 were granted to the Ohio Company. With settlements came protection and Virginia was required to build a fortification at their expense. 6

The Ohio Company employed Thomas Cresap who owned a trading post near Wills Creek in Maryland. He was hired to blaze a road over the Allegheny Mountain to the Monongahela River. The Ohio Company also hired Christopher Gist to survey key areas of the Ohio Country where settlements could be made. During the years between 1750-1753, both men blazed and surveyed the land as requested by the Ohio Company. Thomas Cresap used an ancient Indian Trail known as the Nemacolin’s Trail to transverse the mountains. The land that Gist surveyed for settlement consisted of modern day West Virginia and western Pennsylvania. 7

One key feature of this new land for settlement was an area called the forks. This is where the rivers of the Allegheny and Monongahela came together and formed the Ohio River, shaped much like the letter “Y” with a small natural island forming the tip in between where the two rivers meet. The Ohio River connects to the Mississippi River near modern day Cairo, Illinois. From there, the Mississippi River flows to the south to modern day Louisiana where it flows directly into the Gulf of Mexico. Whoever controlled this point and the rivers connected to it, ultimately controlled North America. 8

This area was thought to be part of the land grant that was ceded by the King to Lt. Governor Dinwiddie for the Ohio Company. However, this area was also claimed by the colony of Pennsylvania or at least that is what Pennsylvania’s officials thought. At the same time, the French were trying to lay their own claims to it by simply occupying parts of the Ohio Country. 9

Beginning in 1753, the French under Paul Marin de la Malgue were ordered into the Ohio Country and build a series of forts to protect their King’s interests. He was given command of 2,000 French Marines and Indians and move to the south shore of Lake Erie and built a fortification. From there, he was to construct a road to the head waters of the Allegheny River. Reaching that point, he was to build a series of forts along the river leading down to the Forks of the Ohio. 10

Paul Malgue was selected by Governor Michel-Ange Du Quesne de Menneville to lead this expedition into the Ohio Country. By the summer, the first fort was built called Fort Presque Isle. Fifteen miles to further to the south along French Creek was Fort Le Boeuf. Construction of Fort Le Boeuf began in July and on October 29, Malgue passed away while at Fort Le Boef. By December Jacques Legardeur de Saint-Pierre was the fort’s commander. 11

In December, Major George Washington who had been tasked with meeting with the French officials at Fort Le Boef, hand delivered an ultimatum regarding their encroachment on land claimed by the Ohio Company. There, he noticed many canoes which meant one thing. The French were planning on moving southward by Spring. The French response to Lt. Governor Dinwiddie was to take his case to Quebec City, the capital of New France. 12

By 1754, a few months after George Washington met Saint-Pierre with Lt. Governor Dinwiddie’s ultimatum, the French began finishing the building Fort Machault where French Creek meets the Allegheny River. By April Captain Chabert de Joncaire was finished with its construction. This was the last stop for supplies headed to the Forks of the Ohio. 13

While the French were moving south with their chain of forts, Lt. Governor Dinwiddie, in January ordered the construction of a fort near or at the Forks of the Ohio to protect the investment of the Ohio Company. William Trent had purchased land and operated a trading post with his partner George Croghan. When the Virginia Militia recruited manpower, William Trent was given the rank of captain. 14

By February, Captain Trent and his company of Virginia militia were in process of building Fort Prince George. In April, during the building of Fort Prince George, French Captain Claude-Pierre Pécaudy de Contrecœur appeared with his force. Captain Trent was away on business at Wills Creek meeting with his second in command Lieutenant John Fraser. This left Ensign Edward Ward in command of the fort and he was forced to surrender it to the French on April 18. From that point the French took possession of the Forks of the Ohio. War would soon follow by England and the Colonies that also laid claim to the Forks. 15

  1. Wikipedia basic definitions of New Spain, New France and British America.
  2. The Treaty of Utrecht:
  3. Treaty of Albany 1722: and the text of the Treaty of Lancaster is found here.
  4. Treaty of Philadelphia:;c=darltext;cc=darltext;type=simple;q1=Indians%20of%20North%20America–Treaties.;rgn=subject;view=image;seq=0001;idno=31735054857614;didno=31735054857614 The Treaty of Lancaster 1748:
  5. The formation of the Ohio Company:;cc=pittpress;idno=31735057893798;rgn=full%20text;didno=31735057893798;view=image;seq=29;node=31735057893798%3A1.6;page=root;size=s;frm=frameset;
  6. Ibid
  7. Ibid
  8. Papers of the Ohio Company:;cc=ascead;q1=ohio%20company;rgn=main;view=text;didno=US-PPiU-dar192502
  9. Ibid
  10. Canadian Dictionary:
  11. Ibid,
  12. Stotz, Charles Morse (2005). Outposts Of The War For Empire: The French And English In Western Pennsylvania: Their Armies, Their Forts, Their People 1749-1764. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.
  13. Journal of George Washington:
  14. Ibid, Canadian dictionary:, Kenneth P. Bailey, The Ohio Company of Virginia and the Westward Movement, 1748-1792: A Chapter in the History of the Colonial Frontier (Glendale, CA: The Arthur H. Clark Company), 1939.