National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Quietly it stands, a single marker, a reminder of a quest for empire that took place more than 200 years ago.
The marker memorializes the final resting this place of British Major General Edward Braddock, leader of an
ill-fated expedition to the forks of the Ohio River to try to capture French-held Fort Duquesne.
After George Washington’s defeat at Fort Necessity, his British force retreated to Williamsburg. The French
used British retreat to their advantage, and soon French- inspired Indian attacks occurred throughout the
frontier. Terrorized settlers streamed eastward.
After appeals from colonial governors, the British
decided to take matters more seriously and sent
Major General Braddock to North America with
two regiments of infantry.
Braddock, a career soldier, had risen through the
ranks, and after 45 years of military service he
became commander-in-chief of all British forces
in North America.
The overall British plan for 1755 was to simultaneously attack many French forts in North America.
Braddock would lead the expedition against Fort
Duquesne personally. That spring, he disembarked his army at Alexandria, Virginia. After augmenting his force with colonial militia and a few
Indians, Braddock had about 2,400 men. Among
the men was George Washington, a volunteer aide
to the general.
The army assembled at Wills Creek, known
today as Cumberland, Maryland. Braddock
decided to follow the road Washington had
blazed over the mountains on his way to
Fort Necessity the previous year. Because the trail
was inadequate for the army’s large wagons and
artillery, it was widened to 12 feet, but only at great
effort and expenditure of time.
The force seemed to move at a snail’s pace. Finally
the army was split in two with Braddock moving
ahead with the bulk of the men and a few pieces
of artillery. The remainder would follow under
the command of Colonel Dunbar.
Battle of the
In early July, the advance group was approaching
the forks of the Ohio. On July 9, a second crossing
of the Monongahela River was made. From that
point, it was a short march to
tinued advancing, adding to the confusion. Disorganization and fear quickly seized the British.
In the smoke of battle, fighting an unseen enemy,
and with many British officers killed early on,
discipline all but ended.
Soon after the river crossing, the woods in front
of the British column
exploded with musket
fire and the whooping of
French soldiers and their
Indian allies as they collided
head-on with the British.
The battle lasted several hours. Finally, as Braddock was carried from the field severely wounded,
the surviving British fled. British losses had been
horrendous: more than 900 casualties out of the
1,400 men engaged.
Advance British units fell back upon
the main body, while rear units con-
The British were completely beaten by a force
they could not see in a wilderness where they did
not want to be. They now were trailed by what
they must have imagined to be a horde of Indians
who would kill them all if they stopped.
Sword believed to have been
carried by Washington on the
The General is Buried
The British camped near here on July 13, and in
the evening Braddock died. Washington officiated
at the ceremony the next day, and the general was
buried in the road his men had built. The army
then marched, over the grave to obliterate any
traces of it and continued to eastern Pennsylvania.
One can only imagine what went through the
general’s mind after the battle. He commanded
what some considered an invincible army. They
were not ambushed, but rather surprised, and
discipline broke down. The rout was a disgrace.
Doctors later reported that the general died more
from anxiety than from his wounds.
Washington later wrote, “...thus died a man,
whose good and bad qualities were intimately
blended. He was brave even to a fault and in
regular Service would have done
honor to his profession. His attachments were warm, his enmities
were strong, and having no disguise
about him, both appeared in full
Re-enactment of burial service for General Braddock during the 250th
After the French and Indian War
ended, the Braddock Road remained a main road in this area. In
1804, some workmen and discovered human remains in the road
near where Braddock was supposed
to have been buried. The remains
were reinterred on a small knoll
adjacent to the road. In 1913 the
marker was placed where it is today,
keeping its silent watch.
The National Park Service preserves special
places saved by the American people so all may
experince our heritage. While visiting Braddock
Grave, please park in designated areas and remain
on exsiting trails and outside of fenced areas..
For more information about the Braddock Campaign read:
“History of an Expedition” by Winthrop Sergeant,
“Braddock at the Monongahela” by Paul Kopperman,
“Guns at the Forks” by Walter O’Meara, or
“The Braddock Road Chronicles” by Andrew J. Wahl.
E X P E R I E N C E Y O U R A M E R I C A™