Battle of Monongahela – July 1755

The Battle of Monongahela, in which British General Braddock was defeated, was an attempt to retake Fort Duquesne. The Braddock expedition, also called Braddock’s campaign or (more commonly) Braddock’s Defeat, was a failed British military expedition which attempted to capture the French Fort Duquesne (now Downtown Pittsburgh). Because of the speed with which the French and Indians launched their attack and enveloped the British column, the battle is often erroneously reported as an ambush by many who took part. The narrative goes on to say that the French had been unprepared for their contact with the British, whom they had blundered into. In the face of popular narrative, this is not what happened. It was the British who blundered into the French forces. The French commander, Captain Beaujeu knew where Braddock’s forces were the morning of July 9th based upon scouts he sent out to determine their position. In response to their position, he organized the frontal and flanking attack and deserves credit for his plan. From the French perspective, the battle should be known as “Beaujeu’s Victory.” The result of their scouting and speed of their response allowed them to quickly gain the upper hand, and brought about their victory. The French retained control of the Ohio Valley for the next three years. The consequences of this battle are immense as it set in motion not only the French and Indian War (1754-1763) but also the global Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) considered to be the first world war.

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