History of Braddock Road
Braddock Road (1755) - A military road established in 1755 under the Direction of British Major General Edward Braddock during the French & Indian War. The road ran from Fort Cumberland (2) in Maryland toward Braddocks military objective, the French Fort Duquesne, in present day Pittsburgh. Fort Duquesne was very important because it was located at the strategic junction of the Allegheny River and the Monongahela River where they become the Ohio River.
Braddock's troops set out from their base at Fort Cumberland on 10 Jun 1755 along a path that would later be known as Braddock Road. A year earlier George Washington had been forced to surrender his command to the French at Fort Necessity and after being released by the French, he had marched his men back to Fort Cumberland over this same route. George Washington accompanied the Braddock expedition as a volunteer aide to General Braddock.
Braddock followed Washington's earlier route back toward Fort Duquesne but was forced to widen the road to 12 feet to accommodate the size of his forces. He also split his forces leaving Colonel Dunbar to trail behind.
After crossing the Monongahela River near Fort Duquesne on 9 Jul 1755 the British force was ambushed by the French and their Indian allies. The Indians took deliberate aim at the British officers and managed to kill many early in the fight leading to disorganization and panic in the British ranks. Braddock himself was mortally wounded and carried from the field. George Washington organized the retreat and drew back the remnants of the army to the site of his earlier defeat at Fort Necessity. The British losses were horrific, 900 casualties out of 1,400 men. Braddock died at Fort Necessity on 13 Jul 1755 and was buried in the middle of his road. His troops marched over his grave to hide it from the enemy as they left. Before he died Braddock gave George Washington his cerimonial sash and Washington wore that sash at important events for the rest of his life. The British returned to Fort Cumberland having paid a high price but learning valuable lessons.