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Title: Historic Highways of America (Vol. 5) - The Old Glade (Forbes's) Road
Author: Hulbert, Archer Butler, 1873-1933
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  The Old Glade (Forbes's) Road


  _With Maps and Illustrations_






  PREFACE                                      9
    I. THE OLD TRADING PATH                   15
   II. A BLOOD-RED FRONTIER                   35
  III. THE CAMPAIGNS OF 1758                  65
   IV. THE OLD OR A NEW ROAD?                 81
    V. THE NEW ROAD                          124
  VII. THE PENNSYLVANIA ROAD                 190


        RIVERS, AND BRADDOCK'S ROAD (1759)                        29

   II. FRONTIER FORTS AND BLOCKHOUSES IN 1756                     51

  III. FORBES'S ROAD TO RAYSTOWN (1757)                          103



When General Edward Braddock landed in Virginia in 1755, one of his
first acts in his campaign upon the Ohio was to urge Governor Morris to
have a road opened westward through Pennsylvania. His reason for wishing
another road, parallel to the one his own army was to cut, was that
there might be a shorter route than his own to the northern colonies,
over which his expresses might pass speedily, and over which wagons
might come more quickly from Pennsylvania--then the "granary of

It was inevitable that the shortest route from the center of the
colonies to the Ohio would become the most important. The road Braddock
asked Morris to open was completed only three miles beyond the present
town of Bedford, Pennsylvania, when the road choppers hurried home on
receipt of the news of Braddock's defeat.

Braddock made a death-bed prophecy; it was that the British would do
better next time. In 1758 Pitt placed Braddock's unfulfilled task on the
shoulders of Brigadier-general John Forbes, who marched to Bedford on
the new road opened by Morris; thence he opened, along the general
alignment of the prehistoric "Trading Path," a new road to the Ohio. It
was a desperate undertaking; but Forbes completed his campaign in
November, 1758 triumphantly--at the price of his life.

This road, fortified at Carlisle, Shippensburg, Chambersburg, Loudon,
Littleton, Bedford, Ligonier, and Pittsburg became the great military
route from the Atlantic seaboard to the trans-Allegheny empire. By it
Fort Pitt was relieved during Pontiac's rebellion and the Ohio Indians
were brought to terms. Throughout the Revolutionary War this road was
the main thoroughfare over which the western forts received ammunition
and supplies. In the dark days of the last decade of the eighteenth
century, when the Kentucky and Ohio pioneers were fighting for the
foothold they had obtained in the West, this road played a vital part.

When the need for it passed, Forbes's Road, too, passed away. Two great
railways, on either side, run westward following waterways which the old
road assiduously avoided--keeping to the high ground between them.
Between these new and fast courses of human traffic the old Glade Road
lies along the hills, and, in the dust or in the snow, marks the course
of armies which won a way through the mountains and made possible our
westward expansion.

The "Old Glade Road," the old-time name of the Youghiogheny division
(Burd's or the "Turkey Foot" Road) of this thoroughfare, has been
selected as the title of this volume, as more distinctive than the
"Pennsylvania Road," which would apply to numerous highways.

                                                              A. B. H.

MARIETTA, OHIO, December 30, 1902.

The Old Glade (Forbes's) Road



When, in the middle of the eighteenth century, intelligent white men
were beginning to cross the Allegheny Mountains and enter the Ohio
basin, one of the most practicable routes was found to be an old trading
path which ran almost directly west from Philadelphia to the present
site of Pittsburg. According to the Indians it was the easiest route
from the Atlantic slope through the dense laurel wildernesses to the
Ohio.[1] The course of this path is best described by the route of the
old state road of Pennsylvania to Pittsburg built in the first
half-decade succeeding the Revolutionary War. This road passed through
Shippensburg, Carlisle, Bedford, Ligonier, and Greensburg; the Old
Trading Path passed, in general, through the same points. Comparing
this path, which became Forbes's Road, with Nemacolin's path which ran
parallel with it, converging on the same point on the Ohio, one might
say that the former was the overland path, and the latter, strictly
speaking, a portage path. The Old Trading Path offered no portage
between streams, as Nemacolin's path did between the Potomac and
Monongahela. It kept on higher, dryer ground and crossed no river of
importance. This made it the easiest and surest course; in the wintry
season, when the Youghiogheny and Monongahela and their tributaries were
out of banks, the Old Trading Path must have been by far the safest
route to the Ohio; it kept to the high ground between the Monongahela
and Allegheny. It was the high ground over which this path ran that the
unfortunate Braddock attempted to reach after crossing the Youghiogheny
at Stewart's Crossing. The deep ravines drove him back. There is little
doubt he would have been successful had he reached this watershed and
proceeded to Fort Duquesne upon the Old Trading Path.

As is true of so many great western routes, so of this path--the bold
Christopher Gist was the first white man of importance to leave reliable
record of it. In 1750 he was employed to go westward for the Ohio
Company. His outward route, only, is of importance here.[2] On
Wednesday, October 31, he departed from Colonel Cresap's near
Cumberland, Maryland and proceeded "along an old old Indian Path N 30 E
about 11 Miles."[3] This led him along the foot of the Great Warrior
Mountain, through the Flintstone district of Allegheny County, Maryland.
The path ran onward into Bedford County, Pennsylvania, and through
Warrior's Gap to the Juniata River. Here, near the old settlement Bloody
Run, now Everett, the path joined the well-worn thoroughfare running
westward familiarly known as the "Old Trading Path." Eight miles
westward of this junction, near the present site of Bedford, a
well-known trail to the Allegheny valley left the Old Trading Path and
passed through the Indian Frank's Town and northwest to the French
Venango--Franklin, Pennsylvania. Leaving this on his right, Gist pushed
on west over the Old Trading Path. "Snow and such bad Weather" made his
progress slow; from the fifth to the ninth he spent between what are now
Everett in Bedford County and Stoyestown in Somerset County.[4] On the
eleventh he crossed the north and east Forks of Quemahoning--often
called "Cowamahony" in early records.[5] On the twelfth he "crossed a
great Laurel Mountain"--Laurel Hill. On the fourteenth he "set out N 45
W 6 M to Loylhannan an old Indian Town on a Creek of Ohio called
Kiscominatis, then N 1 M NW 1 M to an Indian's Camp on the said
Creek."[6] The present town of Ligonier, Westmoreland County, occupies
the site of this Indian settlement. "Laurel-hanne, signifying the middle
stream in the Delaware tongue. The stream here is half way between the
Juniata at Bedford and the Ohio [Pittsburg]."[7] Between here and the
Ohio, Gist mentions no proper names. The path ran northwest from the
present site of Ligonier, through Chestnut Ridge "at the Miller's Run
Gap, and reached the creek again at the Big Bottom below the present
town of Latrobe on the Pennsylvania Central Railway; there the trail
forked ... the main trail [traveled by Gist], led directly westward to
Shannopin's Town, by a course parallel with and a few miles north of the
Pennsylvania Railway."[8]

The following table of distances from Carlisle to Pittsburg was
presented to the Pennsylvania Council March 2, 1754:

  From Carlisle to Major Montour's                            10
  From Montour's to Jacob Pyatt's                             25
  From Pyatt's to George Croghan's at Aucquick Old Town[9]    15
  From Croghan's to the Three Springs                         10
  From the Three Springs to Sideling Hill                      7
  From Sideling Hill to Contz's Harbour                        8
  From Contz's Harbour to the top of Ray's Hill                1
  From Ray's Hill to the 1 crossing of Juniata[10]            10
  From 1 crossing of Juniata to Allaquapy's Gap[11]            6
  From Allaquapy's Gap to Ray's town[12]                       5
  From Ray's town to the Shawonese Cabbin[13]                  8
  From Shawonese Cabbins to the Top of Allegheny Mountain      8
  From Allegheny Mountain to Edmund's Swamp[14]                8
  From Edmund's Swamp to Cowamahony Creek[15]                  6
  From Cowamahony to Kackanapaulins                            5
  From Kackanapaulins To Loyal Hanin[16] foot Ray's Hill      18
  From Loyal Hanin to Shanoppin's Town[17]                    50

By this early measurement the total distance between Carlisle to
Pittsburg by the Indian path was one hundred and ninety miles;
ninety-seven miles from Carlisle to Raystown and ninety-three miles from
Raystown to Pittsburg.[18] When it is remembered that this was the
original Indian track totally uninfluenced by the white man's attention
it is interesting to note that the great state road of Pennsylvania from
Carlisle to Pittsburg, laid out in 1785, so nearly followed the Indian
route that its length between those points (in 1819) was just one
hundred and ninety-seven miles--seven miles longer[19] than that of the
prehistoric trace of Indian and buffalo. Perhaps there is no more
significant instance of the practicability of Indian routes in the
United States than this. The very fact that the Indian path was not very
much shorter than the first state road shows that it was distinctively a
utilitarian course. One interested in this significant comparison will
be glad to compare the courses of the old path and that of the state
road as given by the compass.[20]

Other references to the Old Trading Path are made by such traders as
George Croghan and John Harris. Croghan wrote to Richard Peters, March
23, 1754: "The road we now travel ... from Laurel Hill to Shanopens
(near the forks of the Ohio), is but 46 miles, as the road now goes,
which I suppose may be 30 odd miles on a straight line."[21] In an
"Account of the Road to Loggs Town on Allegheny River, taken by John
Harris, 1754" this itinerary is given:

  "From Ray's Town to the Shawana Cabbins      8 M
  To Edmund's Swamp                           8 M
  To Stoney Creek                             6 M
  To Kickener Paulin's House, (Indian)        6 M
  To the Clear Fields                         7 M
  To the other side of the Laurel Hill        5 M
  To Loyal Haning                             6 M
  To the Big Bottom                           8 M
  To the Chestnut Ridge                       8 M
  To the parting of the Road[22]              4 M
  Thence one Road leads to Shannopin's Town the other to
    Kisscomenettes, old Town."[23]

So much for the Old Trading Path before the memorable year of 1755. It
is significant that the route had already been "surveyed"; Pennsylvania
herself desired a share of the Indian trade which Virginia hoped to
monopolize through her Ohio Company, which already had storehouses built
at Wills Creek on the Cumberland and at Redstone Old Fort on the
Monongahela. But with the beginning of hostilities with the French,
precipitated by Washington and his Virginians in 1754, the Indian trade
was now completely at a standstill.

General Braddock and his army which was destined to march westward and
capture Fort Duquesne arrived at Alexandria, Virginia, February 20,
1755. Already Braddock's deputy quartermaster-general, Sir John St.
Clair, had passed through Maryland and Virginia and had decided upon the
route of the army to Fort Cumberland, the point of rendezvous. Four days
after Braddock reached Alexandria, Governor Morris of Pennsylvania
received a letter from St. Clair asking him to "open a road toward the
head of Youghheagang or any other way that is nearer the French forts,"
in order that the stores to be supplied by the northern colonies might
take a shorter course than by way of the roads then being opened through
Maryland and Virginia.[24] Morris immediately replied "... there is no
Waggon Road from Carlisle West through the Mountains but only a Horse
Path, by which the Indian Traders used to carry their Goods and Skins to
and from the Ohio while that Trade remained open."[25] Though Morris
usually made requests of the assembly in vain, the request concerning
this road was granted, and Morris was empowered, in the middle of March,
to open a road "through Carlisle and Shippensburg to the Yoijogain, and
to the camp at Will Creek."[26] He immediately appointed George Croghan,
John Armstrong, James Burd, William Buchannan, and Adam Hoops to find a
road to the three forks of the Youghiogheny--or "Turkey Foot" as the
spot was familiarly known on the frontier. On April 29 Burd reported as
follows to Morris: "... We have viewed and layed out the Roads leading
from hence to the Yohiogain and the camp at Will's Creek, and enclosed
You have the Draughts thereof.... We have dispersed our Advertisements
through the Counties of Lancaster, York, and Cumberland, to encourage
Labourers to come to Work, and We intend to set off to begin to clear up
on Monday first."[27] Thus, slowly, the Old Trading Path was widened
into a rough roadway westward from Carlisle. On May 26, John Armstrong
wrote Governor Morris that there were over a hundred choppers at
work.[28] Five days later Burd wrote Richard Peters that there were one
hundred and fifty at work; but he adds, ominously: "The People are all
anxious to have arms, and if You can procure me arms I would not trouble
the General for a cover; but if you can't they will not be willing to go
past Ray's Town without a guard."[29] Little wonder: the van of
Braddock's army had struck westward into the Alleghenies the day before
this was written, and already the woods were full of spies sent out by
the French, and many massacres had been reported. The horses and wagons
which Franklin had secured for Braddock comprised almost his whole
equipment. These had gone to Fort Cumberland by the old "Monocasy Road"
and Watkins Ferry.[30]

On the twelfth of June Allison and Maxwell wrote Richard Peters that
"Sideling Hill," sixty-seven miles west of Carlisle, and thirty miles
east of Raystown, "is cut very artificially, nay more so than We ever
saw any; the first waggon that carried a Load up it took fifteen Hundred
without ever stopping;" there were, however, many discouragements--"for
four Days the Labourers had not one Glass of Liquor!"[31] On June 15
William Buchannan reported that the road was cleared to Raystown.[32]
But some of the wagons were "pretty much damnified." On the seventeenth
Edward Shippen wrote Morris from Lancaster: "I understand Mr. Burd has
cut the Road 5 Miles beyond Ray's Town, which is 90 Miles from
Shippensburg."[33] On the twenty-first General Braddock wrote as follows
to Governor Morris from Bear Camp (seven miles west of Little
Crossings): "As it is perfectly understood here in what Part the Road
making in your Province is to communicate w^{th} that thro' w^{ch} I am
now proceeding to Fort Du Quesne, I must beg that you and Mr Peters will
immediately settle it, and send an express on Purpose after me with the
most exact Description of it, that there may be no Mistake in a Matter
of so much Importance."[34] On July 3 Morris wrote Burd, who was in
command of the working party, concerning this request of Braddock's. He
takes it "for granted ... that the Road must pass the Turkey Foot ...
and that there cou'd be no Road got to the Northward." Under such
circumstances he affirmed that the nearest course to Braddock's Road
would be a straight line from Turkey Foot (Confluence, Pennsylvania) to
the Great Crossings of the Youghiogheny (Smithfield, Pennsylvania). He
asked Burd to settle this point and send his decision immediately to

RIVERS AND BRADDOCK'S ROAD (1759) (_Great Crossings was the intended
junction of Paddock's Road and Burd's_)

(_From the original in possession of Pennsylvania Historical Society_)]

The working party on the Pennsylvania road was attacked early in July
and needed every one of the five score men whom Braddock had been able
to spare for their protection.[36]

Burd replied[37] from the "Top of the Alleghanies" on July 17, while
still in ignorance of Braddock's utter rout: "At present I can't form
any Judgment where I shall cut the General's Road, further than I know
our Course leads us to the Turkey Foot, By the Information of Mr.
Croghan when we run the Road first. Mr. Croghan assured me he wou'd be
on the Road with me in order to pilott from the Place where we left off
blaizeing. Instead of that he has never been here, nor is there one Man
in my Company that ever was out this Way to the Turkey Foot, But the
Party I send will discover the Place where we shall cut the Road and
inform the General, and upon their return I will order 'em to blaize
back to me."

The news of Braddock's defeat came slowly to the cutters of this
historic roadway from central Pennsylvania to the Youghiogheny. On
Tuesday night, July 15, a messenger was sent to them from Fort
Cumberland, who arrived the night of the day the above letter was
written.[38] Dunbar wrote Morris from "near ye great Crossings" on the
sixteenth: "I have sent an Express to Captain Hogg, who is covering the
People cutting Your New Road, as I can't think his advancing that Way
safe, to retire immediately."[39] Burd reported to Morris from
Shippensburg July 25, that his party had retreated to Fort Cumberland
from the top of Allegheny Mountain July 17; "St Clair told Me," he
added, tentatively, "that I had done my Duty." He had left before
Dunbar's messenger had arrived.[40]

Such is the first chapter of the story of the white man's occupation of
the Old Trading Path and the Old Glade Road--the name commonly applied
to the portion which Burd opened from the main path from where it
diverged four miles west of Bedford to the summit of Allegheny Mountain.
This branch was also known as the "Turkey Foot Road."[41] The Old
Trading Path was now a white man's road from Carlisle to Bedford and
four miles beyond. But the tide of war now set over the mountains after
Braddock's defeat, putting an end to any improvement of the new rough
road that was opened. Yet not all the ground gained was to be lost.
Governor Shirley, now in command, wildly ordered Dunbar to move westward
again to retrieve Braddock's mistakes, but sanely added, that, in the
case of defeat "You are to make the most proper Disposition of his
Majesties' Forces to cover the Frontiers of the Provinces, particularly
at the Towns of Shippensburg and Carlisle, and at or near a place called
McDowell's Mill, where the New Road to the Allegheny Mountains begins
in Pennsylvania, from the Incursions of the Enemy until you shall
receive further orders."[42]

Was this a hint that Braddock had been sent by a wrong route and that
his successor would march to Fort Duquesne over the Old Trading Path?



There is no truer picture of the dark days of 1755-56 along the
frontiers of Pennsylvania and Virginia than that presented in the
correspondence of Washington at this time. A great burden fell upon his
young shoulders with the failure of the campaigns of 1755. Though far
from being at fault, he suffered greatly through the faults and failures
of others. The British army had come and had been routed. Now, after
such a victory as the Indians had never dreamed possible, the Virginia
and Pennsylvania frontiers, five hundred miles in length, lay helpless
before the bands of bold marauders drunk with the blood of Braddock's

The young colonel of the remnant of the Virginia Regiment took up the
difficult task of defending the southern frontier as readily as though a
quiet, happy life on his rich farms was an alternative as impossible as
alluring. But perhaps a bleeding border-land never in the world needed a
twenty-three year old lad more than Virginia now needed her young son. A
flood-tide of murder and pillage swept over the Alleghenies. The raids
of the savages brought the people to their senses, as the most terrible
of tales came in from the frontier. But soon the question arose, "Where
is the frontier?" The great track Braddock had opened for the conquest
of the Ohio valley became the pathway of his conquerors, and soon Fort
Cumberland, the frontier post, was far in the enemies' country. The
Indians soon found Burd's road on the summit of the Alleghenies and
poured over it by Raystown toward Carlisle and Shippensburg. Each day
brought the line of settlements nearer and nearer the populous portions
of Virginia and Pennsylvania, until Winchester became an endangered
outpost and fears were entertained for Lancaster and York. Hundreds now
who had refused the despairing Braddock horses and wagons saw their
wives and children murdered and their homesteads burned to the ground.

Whether Dunbar did right or wrong in hurrying back to Virginia, it was a
bitter day for Virginia and Pennsylvania. When his army hastened from
the frontier, it became the prey of the foes whose appetite that army
had whetted. Yet Shirley, reconsidering his former scheme, ordered
Dunbar to New York. After drawing the full fire of the French and
Indians upon Virginia and Pennsylvania, this army was sent to New York.

Looking backward, with the stern years 1775-82 in mind, it is easy to
see that then, in 1755, Pennsylvania and Virginia were to be put through
a hard school for a glorious purpose. They were to be trained in the art
of war. Of it they had known practically nothing. They had no effective
militia. Of military ethics they had no dream. They knew not what
obedience meant and could not understand delegated authority. Their
liberty was license or nothing. Of the power of organization,
concentration, discipline, routine, and method they were almost as
ignorant as their redskinned enemies. Although the men of New England
had not been given such great obstacles to overcome, it is undoubtedly
true that their militia was far more adequate than anything of which
Pennsylvania or Virginia knew, at least until 1758.[43] And yet Braddock
died cursing his regulars and extolling the colonials!

Washington was elected commander-in-chief in Virginia on his own
dignified terms; the army was increased to sixteen companies and £40,000
were voted for general defense. By October the young commander was at
Winchester, where he faced a situation desperate and appalling. The
country-side was terror-stricken, and few could be found even for
defense; many chose "to die with their wives and families." The few
score men who attempted to stem the tide of retreat were almost
powerless. "No orders are obeyed," Washington wrote Dinwiddie, "but such
as a party of soldiers, or my own drawn sword enforces." Such was the
frenzy of the retreat of the frontier population that threats were made
"to blow out the brains" of all in authority who opposed them. But the
young commander continued undaunted. He impressed men and horses and
wagons, and sent them hurrying for flour and musket-balls and flints; he
compelled men to erect little fortresses to which the people might flee.

Not the least of his trials--undoubtedly the most discouraging--was the
faithlessness of the troops sent out by Governor Dinwiddie upon the
reeking frontier. Many of them were themselves panic-stricken and fled
back with the rabble. The whole militia régime was inadequate; there was
no authority of sufficient weight vested in the commanding officers to
enable them to deal even with insolence, much less desertion. "I must
assume the freedom," Washington wrote the governor, "to express some
surprise, that we alone should be so tenacious of our liberty as not to
invest a power, where interest and policy so unanswerably demand it....
Do we not know, that every nation under the sun finds its account
therein, and that, without it, no order or regularity can be observed?
Why then should it be expected from us, who are all young and
inexperienced, to govern and keep up a proper spirit of discipline
without laws, when the best and most experienced can scarcely do it with

As the winter of 1755-6 approached, the Indian atrocities ceased and for
a few months there was quiet. But by early spring the raids were renewed
with merciless regularity. Every day brought a new tale of murder and
pillage; and very soon every road was filled with fugitives "bringing to
Winchester fresh dismay."

With his few men this first hero of Winchester (who by the way was at
his post, not "twenty miles away") was again straining every nerve that
Virginia might not lose the great stretch of beautiful country west of
the Blue Ridge. "The supplicating tears of women and moving petitions
of the men, melt me into such deadly sorrow, that I solemnly declare, if
I know my own mind, I could offer myself a willing sacrifice to the
butchering enemy, provided that would contribute to the people's ease."
Perhaps the vacillating Dinwiddie threw this letter down as too ardent a
one for a military hand to pen; if so Edward Everett has raised it aloft
to show his thrilled audiences "the whole man" Washington. "The
inhabitants are removing daily," he again wrote--"... in a short time
will leave this country as desolate as Hampshire." To such a degree were
the people terrified that secret meetings were held where leaders openly
spoke of making terms with the French and Indians by renouncing all
claims to the West--no less traitors to the best good of the colonies
than those who celebrated over Braddock's defeat.[44]

The campaign of 1756, as conducted by Shirley, contained no hope of
relief for Pennsylvania or Virginia; "so much am I kept in the dark,"
Washington exclaimed, "that I do not know whether to prepare for the
offensive or defensive; yet what might be absolutely necessary in the
one, would be quite useless in the other." He well knew a determined
stroke at Fort Duquesne, "a floodgate to open ruin and woe," was the
only hope of the southern and central colonies. In the meantime he led a
desperately exasperating life attempting to hold the frontier with his
tatterdemalion army by following Pennsylvania's example of building a
line of forts to defend the country. There was no destitution or
distress of which he did not know; at times he was begging for blankets
to cover his naked soldiers, and again for shoes and shirts; there were
few guns in a state of repair and at times in days of danger hundreds
flocked to him who could neither be fed nor armed. His life must have
been known to Lord Fairfax who wrote in the following strain: "Such a
medley of undisciplined militia must create you various troubles, but
having Cæsar's Commentaries and perhaps Quintus Curtius, you have
therein read of greater fatigues, murmurings, mutinies, and defections,
than will probably come to your share." The fact is, in these days
there was no officer's duty with which Washington was not acquainted. He
supervised the building of forts, the transportation of stores and guns
and ammunition, here reprimanding a coarse mountaineer for profanity,
there leading the scouts as they threshed a mountain for lurking
Delawares; he personally hurried off wagons to endangered outposts with
flour and powder, and then listened to and quieted the fears of frantic
women and men.

Is the splendid lesson of these years clear? By Providential
dispensation these colonies were a miniature of the America of 1775,
suddenly thrown upon its own resources and in war. The divine hand is
not more clearly seen in our national development than in the struggle
of the colonies between 1745 and 1763, which prepared a nation for the
hour her independence should strike. And now it was that Washington,
Gates, Mercer, Gladwin, Lewis, Putnam, Crawford, Gibson, Stephen, St.
Clair, and Stewart learned for themselves and then taught their
countrymen to fight; now Washington found what it meant to be the
commander of bare-foot armies, already a hero of two defeats, he was yet
to play the hero in bitter, pitiful extremities, to become a dogged
believer in hopeless, last alternatives, a burden-bearer for hundreds of
homeless ones--a people's mainstay when other men were faltering. Now,
as in 1775, his task was to rouse a people only half awake to the
crisis; to demonstrate the superiority of wisely ordered liberty over
license, and the inferiority of personal independence compared with a
unity made strong through faithful coöperation, and hallowed by mutual
self-sacrifice. And fortunate it was for all the colonies that England
compelled them to learn how to carry war's heavy harness now, against
the day when they should be assailed by something more disastrously
fatal to the cause of liberty than savages fired to murder and pillage
by French brandy.

In all these wild days, the old path westward from Shippensburg and
Carlisle was often crowded with fugitives fleeing from the reeking
frontier, and, quite as often, shrouded in a cloud of dust raised by
squads of wan militia hastening westward to the defense of the
outposts. Though no officer guarding this strategic passage-way became
endeared to his countrymen as Washington, here heroism and devotion were
displayed, if ever on this continent. The plans of England during these
years will be described elsewhere, but it is to our purpose to know now
that for the present she deserted the southern provinces; that she was
"willing to wait for the rains to wet the powder, and rats to eat the
bow-strings of the enemy, rather than attempt to drive them from her
[southern] frontiers." Until 1756 the matter of the defense of the
Pennsylvania frontier was left almost entirely to individual initiative.
But already the road through Carlisle and Shippensburg had been
fortified. Fort Lowther was erected in Carlisle as early as 1753. It was
an important post on the route to Virginia, over which the wagons and
horses raised by Franklin for Braddock, were, in part, forwarded to Fort
Cumberland. Here Governor Morris came, to be in closer touch with
Braddock, and here the news of the defeat reached him.

Fort Franklin was erected on the old road at Shippensburg, twenty miles
west of Carlisle and thirty-six from Harris Ferry (Harrisburg). It was
built sometime previous to Braddock's time but was not used after 1756.
Ten miles further on at Falling Springs (Chambersburg) there was no
fortification in 1755, nor was there one at Loudoun (Loudon) thirteen
miles west of that point. Two miles south of Fort Loudoun Morris erected
a deposit at McDowell's Mill (Bridgeport, Franklin County) but, though
the spot was well known on the frontier, there seems to have been no
regular fort there until 1756.[45] It was at this point that the new
road toward Raystown diverged westward from the main road running south
to Virginia. This junction was considered a strategic point by the time
of Braddock's defeat, as shown by Shirley's order to Dunbar quoted at
the close of the last chapter.

Up to the time of Braddock's defeat the Pennsylvania Assembly had done
nothing toward the preservation of the colony, save ordering the road
cut from Carlisle to the Youghiogheny river. They furnished not a man
for Braddock's army and voted not a pound toward the expense of securing
the wagons and horses which made Braddock's march possible. The stores
which Governor Morris laid in along the line of the road, at
Shippensburg and McDowell's Mill, were secured and forwarded without aid
from the Assembly. Though many Pennsylvanians served, in one way or
another, in the unfortunate expedition, the public was divided on this
issue. Some were loyal to the Assembly and many favored warlike
measures. It has been asserted that had not Forbes's Road been built in
1758 its building would have been postponed twenty years.

Passing this interesting speculation, it is sure Braddock's defeat
brought to Pennsylvania a terrible and bloody awakening; nothing can
show this more strikingly than the fact that when Braddock's successor
came, only three years later, the Pennsylvania Assembly quickly
supported him by voting twenty-seven hundred men for offensive service
and appropriating half a million dollars for war.

The change was not more striking than was the need for it. All the
terrifying scenes in Virginia were reproduced in Pennsylvania; the
savages poured through the mountain gaps and fell with unparalleled fury
upon a hundred defenseless settlements. Pennsylvania had not expanded
further at this time than to the Blue Mountains. Her frontier was not,
therefore, nearly as broad as Virginia's, and the frontier firing-line
was not so far removed from the populated districts. At the same time it
is probable that the Indians from Logstown and Kittanning could get a
scalp quicker (so far as distance was concerned) from Pennsylvania than
from Virginia--and the French paid as much for one as for the other!

Late in 1756 the Pennsylvania Assembly, now awakened to the condition of
affairs caused by their shortsighted, prejudiced policy, took the matter
of protection of the frontier into their own hands. Failing to furnish
the ounce of prevention, they came quickly with the pound of cure. A
chain of forts was planned which, stretching along the barrier wall of
the Blue Mountains from the Potomac to the Delaware, should guard the
more prominent gaps. "Sometimes the chain of defenses ran on the south
side, and frequently both sides of the mountains were occupied, as the
needs of the population demanded. Some of these forts consisted of the
defenses previously erected by the settlers, which were available for
the purpose, and of which the government took possession, while others
were newly erected. Almost without exception they were composed of a
stockade of heavy planks, inclosing a space of ground more or less
extensive, on which were built from one to four blockhouses, pierced
with loopholes for musketry, and occupied as quarters by the soldiers
and refugee settlers. In addition to these regular forts it became
necessary at various points where depredations were most frequent, to
have subsidiary places of defense and refuge, which were also garrisoned
by soldiers and which generally comprised farmhouses, selected because
of their superior strength and convenient location, around which the
usual stockade was thrown, or occasionally blockhouses erected for the
purpose. The soldiers who garrisoned these forts were provincial troops,
which almost without exception were details from the First Battalion of
the Pennsylvania Regiment, under the command of that brave and energetic
officer, Lt. Colonel Conrad Weiser."[46] The appended map is a
photograph of the original which was made in this year, 1756--for the
forts of 1757 are not included. It is of particular interest because it
gives the complete cordon of forts along the frontier from the Hudson to
the last fort in Virginia which Washington was building. Among other
things this map shows clearly how much wider were the frontiers of the
southern than those of the northern colonies. The most westerly fort in
Virginia was fifty miles further west than Fort Duquesne. The
Appalachian range trends southwesterly and its influence upon the
expansion of the colonies is most significant.

(_From the original in British Public Records Office_)]

In this year, though a western campaign on Fort Duquesne did not
materialize, the line of the old road was greatly strengthened and a
blow was struck at the Indians on the Allegheny that was timely and
effective. The former was a most important task--of far greater
importance than was dreamed at that date. No one then knew the part this
road westward from Carlisle was to play in our national development; it
could not have been conceived, in 1756, that this route was to be the
only fortified highway into the West--the most important military road
of equal length on the continent throughout the eighteenth century.

That Fort Lowther at Carlisle was in ruins in 1756 is shown by the
following letter written by William Trent to Richard Peters February 15,
1756, which also gives a realistic picture of the state of affairs which
compelled the Pennsylvania Assembly to begin the fort-building of that
year: "All the people had left their houses, betwixt this and the
mountain, some come to town and others gathering into the little
forts.[47] They are moving their effects from Shippensburg; every one
thinks of flying unless the Government fall upon some effectual method,
and that immediately, of securing the frontiers, there will not be one
inhabitant in this Valley one month longer. There is a few of us
endeavoring to keep up the spirits of the people. We have proposed going
upon the enemy tomorrow, but whether a number sufficient can be got, I
cannot tell; no one scarce seems to be affected with the distress of
their neighbours and for that reason none will stir but those that are
next the enemy and in immediate danger. A fort in this town would have
saved this part of the country, but I doubt this town in a few days,
will be deserted, if this party [of savages] that is out should kill any
people nigh here." Commissioner Young was at Carlisle soon after,
putting Fort Lowther into proper condition; he wrote Governor Morris: "I
have endeavored to put this large fort in the best possible defense I
can; but I am sorry to say the people of this town cannot be prevailed
on, to do anything for their own safety.... They seem to be lulled into
fatal security, a strange infatuation, which seems to prevail throughout
this province." The fort was not completed in July; Colonel Armstrong
wrote Morris on the twenty-third of that month. "The duties of the
harvest field have not permitted me to finish Carlisle Fort with the
soldiers, it should be done otherwise, the soldiers cannot be so well
governed, and may be absent or without the gates at the time of the
greatest necessity." In the same letter Colonel Armstrong--the
Washington of Pennsylvania--wrote: "Lyttleton, Shippensburg and Carlisle
(the two last not finished) are the only forts now built that will in my
opinion be serviceable to the public." It is significant that these
three forts were on the old road westward, showing that this route was
of utmost importance in Armstrong's eyes.

Fort Lyttleton was one of four important forts erected, at Armstrong's
direction, by Governor Morris west of the Susquehanna late in 1755 and
early in 1756. It was built "at Sugar Cabins upon the new road"; wrote
Morris to Shirley February 9: "It [Fort Lyttleton] stands upon the new
road opened by this Province towards the Ohio, and about twenty miles
from the settlements, and I have called it Fort Lyttleton, in honor of
my friend George. This fort will not only protect the inhabitants in
that part of the Province, but being upon a road that within a few miles
joins General Braddock's road, it will prevent the march of any regulars
into the Province and at the same time serve as an advance post
or magazine in case of an attempt to the westward." The site of
this fort was on land now owned by Dr. Trout, of McConnellsburg,
Pennsylvania--about sixty feet on the north side of the old state

Fort Morris at Shippensburg was building in November 1755; "we have one
hundred men working," wrote James Burd, "... with heart and hand every
day. The town is full of people, five or six families in a house, in
great want of arms and ammunition; but, with what we have we are
determined to give the enemy as warm a reception, as we can. Some of our
people have been taken prisoners, but have made their escape, and came
to us this morning." There had, as noted, been some sort of
fortification here at an earlier date, Fort Franklin. As said
previously, Fort Morris was still uncompleted July 23, 1756. It was in
Fort Franklin, undoubtedly, that the magazine was placed during
Braddock's campaign. Fort McDowell, at McDowell's Mill, was also erected
in 1756, being an important point at the junction of the old road into
Virginia and the new road to Raystown. The savage onslaughts of the
Indians were felt no more severely in any quarter than near here. At
Great Cove, in November 1755, forty-seven persons were murdered or taken
captive out of a total population of ninety-three. The strategic
position of Fort McDowell at the junction of the roads was emphasized by
Colonel Armstrong, who, after saying that Forts Lyttleton, Shippensburg,
and Carlisle were the only ones that would be useful to the public,
added: "McDowell's, or thereabouts, is a necessary post; but the present
fort is not defensible."

Fort Loudoun was erected on the old road in 1756, one mile east of the
present village of Loudon, Franklin County. The spot was historic even
before it was fortified, the settlement here being one of the oldest in
that section of the state. This point was a famous rendezvous both in
the early days when the Old Trading Path was the main western highway,
and in after days when the path became Forbes's Road. From here the
pack-horse trains started westward into the mountains loaded--two
hundred pounds to a horse--with goods which had come this far in wagons
from Lancaster and Philadelphia. The site of Fort Loudoun therefore
marks the western extremity of the early colonial roadways and the
eastern extremity of the "packers' paths" or trading paths which
offered, until 1758, the only route across the mountains.[49] Fort
Loudoun was built late in 1755, after considerable debate as to its
location. Colonel Armstrong, after examining a spot near one Barr's,
finally determined to locate it "on a place in that neighborhood, near
to Parnell's Knob, where one Patton lives ... as it is near the new
road; it will make the distance from Shippensburg to Fort Lyttleton two
miles further than by McDowell's."

Ten miles southwest of Shippensburg, Benjamin Chambers, a noted
pioneer, erected Fort Chambers at Falling Spring, the present
Chambersburg. It was a private fort completed in 1756; by some means the
owner had secured two four-pound cannon which he mounted in his little
fort, the roof of which he had already covered with lead. It was feared
that Chambers's little fort would be captured by the savages and the
guns turned upon Shippensburg and Carlisle. But their owner repudiated
the insinuation and even held the guns from Colonel Armstrong, who was
armed with the governor's order to surrender them. Incidentally, also,
he made good his boasts and held the fort with equal pugnacity from the
savages. Colonel Chambers was of great assistance to General Forbes in
the days of 1758, and, as an aged man, sent his three sons, raised in
the lead-roofed fortress with its "Great Guns," to Boston in 1775 to
fight again for the land he had helped to conquer from the Indians in
the dark days of Braddock and Forbes. Such men as Benjamin Chambers made
Forbes's Road a possibility. The state road built westward over the
track of Forbes's and Bouquet's armies is well known in eastern
Pennsylvania as the "Chambersburg and Pittsburg turnpike."[50]

These forts west of the Susquehanna were garrisoned by the eight
companies of the second battalion of the Pennsylvania regiment. While
the work of completing the forts not yet finished went on, a campaign of
more importance than was realized was conceived by ex-Governor Morris
and explained to Governor Denny and the Council. It comprised a bold
stroke by Lieutenant-colonel Armstrong at the Indian-infested region of
Kittanning on the Allegheny. Here the Delaware Captain Jacobs held
bloody sway, having, according to the report of an Indian spy who had
recently visited the spot, nearly one hundred white prisoners from
Virginia and Pennsylvania captive at that point.

Fort Shirley was appointed the place of rendezvous and the little
campaign was kept as secret as possible. As the map shows, Fort Shirley
(no. 23), Fort Lyttleton (no. 24) and Shippensburg form a triangle, the
longest side of which marks the straight line between the two latter
posts. Fort Loudoun was near this line between Fort Lyttleton and Fort
Morris at Shippensburg. Near Fort Loudoun a branch of the old Kittanning
Path ran northwesterly by Fort Shirley and onward to the Allegheny.[51]
Over this track the bold band, which rendezvoused at Fort Shirley late
in August, was to enter the Indian land. It numbered three hundred and
seven men, almost precisely the size of Washington's party which
precipitated war in 1754. But with the gloomy fate of Washington's band
and Braddock's army in mind this must have been a thoughtful company of
men that proceeded from Fort Shirley on the next to the last day of
August 1756. Their success was all out of proportion to their
expectation but not out of proportion to their bravery. Within a week
Kittanning was reached, surrounded when it was darkest before dawn, and
savagely attacked in the grey of the misty morning. The town was utterly
destroyed, some three score savages killed and eleven prisoners rescued
and brought back over the mountains. The moral effect of this dash
toward the Allegheny was of exceeding benefit to the whole frontier, and
Armstrong--always feared by the Indians--became their especial _bête
noire_. The expedition, having been made from lethargic Pennsylvania,
had a wholesome effect upon all the other colonies and did much to
cement them into the common league which accomplished much before two
years had passed. Armstrong, as one of the builders of the new road
through Raystown, as efficient officer in the work of fortifying this
route, and now as leader of an offensive stroke at once daring and
successful, was slowly being fitted for more useful and more important
duties when the flower of Pennsylvania's frontier should be thrown
across the Alleghenies upon Fort Duquesne.

This officer's opinion, already quoted, that the only forts worth the
candle west of the Susquehanna were the three or four which fortified
the main route westward from Carlisle to Raystown, appears to have met
the approval of those in authority by 1757; on April 10, Governor Denny
wrote to the Proprietaries: "Four Forts only were to remain over
Susquehannah, viz., Lyttleton, Loudoun, Shippensburg, and Carlisle."[52]
If this is considered a backward step it must also be considered as a
concentration of energy in a most telling manner. If the frontier from
the Susquehanna to the Maryland line could not be held at every point
the decision seems to have been that the line of the old road must be
secured at all costs, whereupon all the public forts were abandoned save
the four which guarded this western highway. But the decision meant more
than this. It was in fact an offensive measure. Instead of holding a
line of forts at the mountain gaps as a shield to the settlements, the
line of the roadway westward was to be protected and even prolonged--a
bristling sword-point stretching over the Alleghenies into the very
heart of the French and Indian region. This is proved by the building of
a new fort yet further west than Lyttleton--at Raystown, near the point
where Burd's road, cut in 1755 toward the Youghiogheny, left the Old
Trading Path. This significant undertaking was evidently on the tapis
early in the winter. On February 22, Armstrong wrote Burd: "This is all
that can possibly be done, before the grass grows and proper numbers
unite, except it is agreed to fortify Raystown, of which I, yet, know
nothing." On the fifth of May he addressed a letter to the governor in
which he said: "... prompts me to propose to your Honour what I have
long ago suggested, to the late Governor and gentlemen commissioners,
that is the building a fort at Raystown without which the King's
business and the country's safety can never be effected to the
westward.... 'Tis true this service will require upwards of five hundred
men, as no doubt they will be attacked if any power be at Fort Duquesne,
because this will be a visible, large and direct stride to that place."
Thus it is clear that every step westward on the new-cut roadway from
Fort Lyttleton toward Raystown was a step toward Fort Duquesne, and
every fortification built on this track was a "visible, large and
direct" stroke at the power of France on the Ohio. A fort was erected at
Raystown within the year.



"Between the French and the earthquakes," wrote Horace Walpole in 1758
to Mr. Conway, "you have no notion how good we have grown; nobody makes
a suit of clothes now but of sackcloth turned up with ashes." The years
1756 and 1757 were crowded with disappointments. With the miscarriage of
the three campaigns of 1755, Governor Shirley became the successor of
the forgotten Braddock and assembled a council of war at New York
composed of Governors Shirley, Hardy, Sharpe, Morris, and Fitch,
Colonels Dunbar and Schuyler, Majors Craven and Rutherford, and Sir John
St. Clair. As though in very mockery, the king's instructions to the
betrayed and sacrificed Braddock were read to the council, after which
General Shirley announced a scheme for campaigns to be conducted during
the new year. The new "generalissimo" proposed four campaigns: one army
of five thousand men was to assemble at Oswego, four thousand of whom
were to be sent to destroy, first, Fort Frontenac, then Forts Niagara,
Presque Isle, La Boeuf, and Detroit; a second army of three thousand
provincials was to march over Braddock's Road against Fort Duquesne; an
army of one thousand men was to advance to Crown Point on Lake Champlain
and erect a fort there; a fourth army of two thousand men was to "carry
fire and sword" up the Kennebec River, across the portage, and down
Rivière Chaudière to its mouth near Quebec. The Council agreed, as
councils will, to all this Quixotic program; insisting, however, that
ten thousand men should be sent to Crown Point and six thousand to

In spite of Shirley's earnestness things moved very slowly, and the
bickering between governors and assemblies and the jealousy of men out
of power of those in power retarded every movement. The deadlock in
Pennsylvania resulted in the abandonment of that province and Virginia
so far as offensive measures were concerned, and the two governors
busied themselves in fortifying their smoking frontiers, as described
above. And finally the northern campaigns toward the lakes came to a
sudden stand when General Shirley was superseded in his command by Lord
Loudoun who, lacking the sense to forward Shirley's plans, officiously
altered them completely at a time when everything depended on quick and
concerted action. As a result, Loudoun moved northward at a snail's

It seemed as though affairs in America were momentarily paralyzed by the
shock of the tremendous conflict now opened on the continent. On the
eighteenth of May England had declared war on France and twenty-two days
later France responded, and the most terrible conflict of the eighteenth
century opened, in which the great Frederick eventually humbled, with
England's help, the three empresses whose hatred he had drawn upon
himself. But while Louis sent an army of one hundred thousand against
Frederick, he had yet twelve thousand to hurry over to New France to
make good the successes of 1755. These sailed under that best and
bravest of Frenchmen since the days of Champlain, Montcalm, on the
third of April. In three months Montcalm had swept down Lake
Champlain to Fort Ticonderoga. Then, as if to make sport of his
antagonist--Loudoun, who had abandoned Shirley's Oswego scheme--Montcalm
returned to Montreal, hurried with three thousand soldiers down the St.
Lawrence and across to Oswego, which surrendered at once with its twelve
hundred defenders. The outwitted Loudoun crawled slowly up to Lake
George; the winter of 1756-57 came on, and the two commanders glared at
each other across the narrow space of snow and ice that separated them.
The two important campaigns planned by Shirley were utter failures, and
the westward campaign against Fort Duquesne was not even attempted. The
French were strengthening everywhere. "Whoever is in or whoever is out,"
exclaimed Chesterfield, "I am sure we are undone both at home and
abroad.... We are no longer a nation." But one of Shirley's _coups_ had
succeeded; Winslow captured Beauséjour. In the west Armstrong had razed
the Indian town of Kittanning on the Allegheny. On the other hand these
minor successes were far overbalanced by the destruction of Oswego and
Fort Bull, between the Mohawk and Lake Oneida, and the menacing position
Montcalm had assumed with the strengthening of Ticonderoga, Crown Point,
and Frontenac.

Pitt, a fine example of a man too powerful to hold office with peace,
was forced into the premiership again near the end of this black year of
1756. Parliament refused to support him, the Duke of Cumberland,
captain-general of the army, opposed him, and the king hated him; early
in April 1757 he was dismissed. England had found her man but the
pigmies in power shrank from acknowledging him. With that sublime
confidence which once or twice in a century betokens latent genius, Pitt
exclaimed: "I am sure I can save this country, and that nobody else
can." Meantime Chesterfield was sighing: "I never saw so dreadful a
time." The year of 1757 dragged on as gloomily as its predecessor.
Montcalm, master of the situation, pushed southward upon Fort William
Henry on Lake George, and General Webb at Fort Edward. Loudoun
abandoned the scene and went gallantly sailing with the fleet against
Louisbourg. Fort William Henry surrendered and Montcalm spread terror to
Albany and New York. Had he pressed his advantage it is questionable if
he could not have occupied the whole Hudson Valley. Why he did not could
have been explained better in Quebec than in New York. It was ever the
foe behind Montcalm that was his worst enemy, and which eventually
compassed his ruin.

If official jealousies were now the bane of New France, incapacity until
now had handicapped her enemies. When Pitt was forced out of office in
April, England was "left without a government." "England has been long
in labor," said the Prussian Frederick, "and at last she has brought
forth a man." Her hour was long delayed, but early in 1758 Pitt was
again made Secretary of State with old Newcastle First Lord of the
Treasury. "It was a partnership of magpie and eagle. The dirty work of
government, intrigue, bribery, and all the patronage that did not affect
the war, fell to the share of the old politician. If Pitt could appoint
generals, admirals, and ambassadors, Newcastle was welcome to the rest.
'I will borrow the Duke's majorities to carry on the government,' said
the new secretary."[53]

Seldom indeed has the elevation of one man to power produced such almost
instantaneous results as did the elevation of Pitt. The desperateness of
England's condition undoubtedly intensified, by contrast, the successes
which came when he assumed full power. England had been fighting, not
France and her allies, but the stars; all the bravery and sturdiness of
her soldiers and sailors could not counteract the ignorance and
incapacity of those who had heretofore commanded them. Now, capacity and
ability were in league; like an electric shock the realization of this
significant union passed from man to man. The people felt it, and the
army and navy; the political pigmies about the throne felt it, as well
as the king. Pitt, vain as any genius, asked for the latter's
confidence; the reply was "deserve it and you shall have it"--and a
Hanoverian king of England kept his word. "I shall now have no more
peace," he had sighed when Pelham died; and had not the reins of power
soon passed into the hands of Pitt it is doubtful if he ever could have
had peace with honor. It was the skilful surgeon's knife that England
needed, and no time for men who feared the sight of blood; the "Great
Commoner" proved the skilful surgeon and at once gave England a motto
Pelham never knew: "Neither fleet nor army should eat the bread of the
nation in idleness."

Pitt at once displayed a prime qualification for his post of honor by
choosing with unfailing discernment men who should lead both fleets and
armies from idleness into action. His American campaign of 1758 embraced
three decisive movements, an attack on Louisbourg--stepping-stone to
Quebec--an invasion upon Montcalm on Lake Champlain, and an expedition
to Fort Duquesne. For these three movements he chose two of the three
leaders. The two he chose completed their assignments with utmost
courage and success. The third, Abercrombie, whom Pitt could not
prevent succeeding the incompetent Loudoun--met with defeat. As if to
reaffirm his sagacity, Ferdinand of Brunswick, whom Pitt sent to
Frederick the Great in the place of the disgraced Duke of Cumberland,
was also signally victorious over the foes who had compelled the king's
brother, the year before, to sign a convention in which he promised to
disband his army.

Admiral Boscawen set Amherst down before Louisbourg with fourteen
thousand men at the beginning of June, young Wolfe leading the army up
from the boats over crags which the French had left unguarded because
they were, seemingly, inaccessible. At the same time Abercrombie was
gathering his army, of equal strength, at the head of Lake George,
preparatory to proceeding northward upon Fort Ticonderoga.

The command, of the Fort Duquesne campaign was given by Pitt to
Brigadier John Forbes, a Scot, ten years younger than his century. Of
Forbes little seems to be known save that he began life as a medical
student; abandoning his profession for that of arms he made a brave and
good officer. That Pitt chose him to retrieve the dead Braddock's
mistakes speaks loudly of his commanding abilities; the numerous
quotations from his correspondence given elsewhere in this monograph
will present a clearer picture of this almost unknown hero than has ever
yet been drawn. "Though a well-bred man of the world," writes Parkman,
"his tastes were simple; he detested ceremony, and dealt frankly and
plainly with the colonists, who both respected and liked him."[54]
The correspondence between Forbes and his chief assistant,
Lieutenant-colonel Henry Bouquet, a Swiss, commanding the regiment of
Royal Americans, is convincing proof of the democratic plainness and
whole-hearted earnestness of Braddock's successor.

The condition of the frontiers of Virginia and Pennsylvania during the
years succeeding Braddock's defeat has been previously reviewed, and the
greatness of the task now thrown upon General Forbes's shoulders can be
readily conceived. Yet there was much in his favor; the colonies were
quite aroused to the danger. Pennsylvania and Virginia were at last
ready to put shoulder to shoulder in an attempt to drive the French
from the Ohio. Pennsylvania promised Forbes twenty-seven hundred men;
sixteen hundred were to come from Virginia and other of the southern
provinces. Twelve hundred Highlanders from Montgomery's regiment were
given Forbes, also the Royal American regiment, made up largely of
Pennsylvania Germans and officered by men brought for the purpose from
Europe. The force, when at last gathered together, amounted to between
six and seven thousand men. The very proportions of this army were its
principal menace. No one believed that Fort Duquesne, far away in the
forests beyond the mountains, could hold out against this formidable
array. That the French, now being attacked simultaneously in the east
and in the north, could send reënforcements to the Ohio was no more
likely. But there still lay the Alleghenies, their crags and gorges.
Could this large body of troops cross them and take provisions
sufficient to support men and horses? As with Braddock, so now with
Forbes, it was the mere physical feat of throwing an army three hundred
miles into the forests that was the crucial problem. Fort Duquesne could
have been captured with half of Forbes's army; Wolfe had hardly more
than that at Quebec in the year succeeding. If Forbes could move this
army, or any considerable fraction of it, across the mountains, there
was no reasonable doubt of his success.

Forbes was much more delayed in getting his expedition off than was
either of his two colleagues, Abercrombie and Amherst. Little dreaming
that it would not be until the middle of June that his stores would
arrive from England, Forbes had in March settled upon Conococheague
(Williamsport, Maryland) as a convenient point of rendezvous for his
army.[55] In this he acted upon the advice of his quartermaster-general,
Sir John St. Clair, who was sent forward to examine routes and provide
forage, but for whom, however, Forbes had little respect. Some time
later St. Clair urged Forbes to alter this plan and make the new outpost
on Burd's Road toward the Youghiogheny, Raystown, the point of
rendezvous. The difficulty of the route from Conococheague to Fort
Cumberland undoubtedly induced St. Clair to advise this change of base;
later Governor Sharpe had a road cut from Fort Frederick to Fort
Cumberland, but that was not until late in June. Following St. Clair's
advice, Forbes changed his original plan and Raystown (Bedford,
Pennsylvania) became the base of supplies and point of rendezvous. On
the twenty-third of April Colonel Bouquet, commanding the Royal
Americans, wrote Forbes of his arrival at New York and in less than a
month this exceedingly efficient officer was on his way over the old
road westward through Shippensburg and Carlisle. He was at Lancaster May
20, and wrote Forbes: "I arrived here this morning, and found Mr Young
waiting for money to clear Armstrong's Path the Commissioners having
disappointed him."[56] On the twenty-second he wrote again outlining the
route and stages on the road to Raystown:

  "The first Stage (from Lancaster)         Shippensburg
  2^d                                       Fort Loudon
  3                                         Fort Littleton
  4  18 miles 1/2 way to Rays Town, where I shall have a stockade Erect'd
  5  17 miles at Rays Town where we shall Build a Fort."[57]

General Forbes reached Philadelphia by the middle of April but found
himself as yet without an army. The raising of the provincials
progressed slowly; his Highlanders were not yet arrived from South
Carolina; his stores and ammunition had not come from England. However,
on May 20, he wrote Bouquet giving orders concerning the formation of
magazines and ordered him to contract for one hundred and twenty wagons
to transport provisions "backwards to Rays town," and to select at that
point a site for a fort. He added: "By all means have the road
reconnoitred from Rays town to the Yohageny"--the road Burd had
completed to the summit of Allegheny Mountain in 1755. It is plain that
Forbes intended, at this time, to march to Fort Cumberland by way of
Carlisle and Bedford, and go on to Fort Duquesne over Braddock's Road.
In this case he much needed Burd's road to the Youghiogheny--for the
same reasons that Braddock did. There is no evidence that Forbes
conceived the plan of using a new road westward from Raystown until he
and Bouquet came to realize that, with that point as a rendezvous, the
Fort Cumberland route would necessitate a long detour from a direct line
toward Fort Duquesne.

Bouquet pushed on westward. He left Fort Lowther, at Carlisle, June 8,
and was writing Forbes from Fort Loudoun on the eleventh. On the
twenty-second he reached the Juniata and wrote Forbes on the
twenty-eighth from his "Camp near Raes Town," which now became the
rendezvous of the summer's campaign. Here Fort Bedford was built, making
the most westernly fort in the chain of fortresses built through central
Pennsylvania. It was one of the leading features of General Forbes's
plan to extend this chain of forts all the way to the Ohio. "It was
absolutely necessary," he wrote to Pitt, explaining this feature of his
campaign, "that I should take precautions by having posts along my
route, which I have done from a project that I took from Turpin's Essay,
_Sur la Guerre_. Last chapter 4^{th} Book, Intitled _Principe sur lequel
on peut établir un projet de Campagne_, if you take the trouble of
Looking into this Book, you will see the General principles upon which I
have proceeded."[58]

The Highlanders did not arrive from South Carolina until the seventh of
June, and the army stores and artillery did not arrive from England
until the fourteenth. The work of raising the provincial troops was not
forwarded with any greater despatch. In general terms Forbes did not get
fairly started from the seaboard until three weeks later than Braddock
had left Fort Cumberland. Thus, though personally blameless, Forbes
began his campaign under an almost fatal handicap. And, with this army
converging from many points upon Fort Bedford, arose the vital question
of routes to be pursued.



So many are the versions of the story of the building of Forbes's Road
through Pennsylvania that it was with utmost interest that the present
writer took up the task of examining the only sources of reliable
information: the correspondence of General Forbes, Colonel Bouquet, and
Sir John St. Clair, as preserved in the Bouquet Papers at the British
Museum, and at the British Public Records Office. While these letters
were supplemented by frequent personal interviews which have never been
recorded, yet the testimony given by them is overwhelming that, until
the very last, both men, Forbes and Bouquet, were quite undecided what
route to Fort Duquesne was most practicable; both were open to
conviction, and were equally disinterested parties, thinking only of the
good of the cause to which both soon gave their lives. No one can read
this voluminous correspondence and believe for one moment that General
Forbes was prejudiced in favor of a Pennsylvania route by Pennsylvania
intriguers, as has been frequently asserted;[59] nor that the brave
Swiss Bouquet was at any time determined to guide the army whose van he
bravely led by any but the most expeditious and practicable
thoroughfare. That both men knew of the bitter factional fight which was
waging, this correspondence makes very clear; that both were made doubly
proof against factional arguments, because of this knowledge, is equally

Before entering upon a consideration of the Forbes-Bouquet-St. Clair
correspondence, it must be always remembered that General Forbes had
originally planned to make the campaign by the old Braddock Road from
Virginia and had issued orders for the assembling of both provincial and
regular troops at "Conegochieque" (Conococheague), on the road built by
Governor Sharpe from Alexandria to Fort Frederick in 1754, over which
Dunbar's column marched.[60] It was undoubtedly his purpose to march
south from Philadelphia over the old Monoccasy road to the Potomac and
then westward over the Braddock routes which converged upon Fort
Cumberland. From there the main track of Braddock's army offered an open
way toward Fort Duquesne. As previously suggested it was the advice of
Sir John St. Clair, his quartermaster-general, that influenced Forbes to
alter his plan and march straight westward from Philadelphia toward
Lancaster and the Pennsylvania frontier. Whatever may have induced St.
Clair to give this advice, it is sure he had learned some lessons from
the disastrous campaign of 1755 when he led Braddock through a country
quite devoid of carriages, horses, and produce; Pennsylvania, on the
other hand, was the granary of America;[61] and, if a road was lacking,
horses and wagons were not, and it was better to lack what could be
provided than to lack that which could not possibly be obtained.

On May 20, Forbes wrote Bouquet from Philadelphia that it was time the
magazines were being formed. One week later (May 21), Sir John St. Clair
wrote Bouquet from Winchester: "Governor Sharpe has been here with me
and is returned to Frederick Town in Maryland." It would seem that Sir
John's change of mind concerning the advisability of Forbes opening a
new route westward dated from Governor Sharpe's visit; for, on the day
following (May 28), he writes Bouquet: "I am not anxious about the
cutting the Road to Rays Town from Fort Cumberland, it may be done in 4
days, or in 2, if the two Ends are gone upon at the same time; but I am
afraid you will have a deal of work from Fort Loudon to Rays Town, which
I am afraid will be Troublesome." On the cover of this letter Bouquet
made the following memorandum: "The Officer Commanding the Virginia
Troops, soon to March into Pennsylvania, is to take Directions from
Henry Pollan living upon the Temporary line, or in his absence, from any
Sensible person about his House, for the nearest and best Waggon Road
From said Pollans or the Widow McGaws to Fort Loudon, to which place
the Troops are to March, Shippensburg being much out of the Way."[62]

Bouquet reached Carlisle on the twenty-fourth of May, and wrote Forbes
as follows on the day after: "I shall order Washington's Regiment to
Fort Cumberland and as soon as we take post at Reas Town 300 of them
must cut the Road along the Path from Fort Cumberland to Reas Town and
join us."

The evident plan of Sir John St. Clair to divert Bouquet from the route
he had originally outlined is disclosed further in a letter written from
Winchester on May 31, in which he says: "I cannot send Col^o Byrd to you
as all the Cherokees have resolved never more to go to Pennsylvania, on
account of the Soldiers of fort Loudon, taking up arms against them, by
Cap^t Trent's Instigation." Under the same date, however, Bouquet wrote
St. Clair and in the letter gave the order which he had preserved in
form of a memorandum on the back of St. Clair's letter of May 28. Sir
John, however, became more and more insistent that the Virginia and
Maryland routes should be employed; on June 6 he wrote Bouquet that "the
Pattomack has as much water in it as the Po at Cremona," intending to
show how useful the stream would be for transporting army stores to Fort
Cumberland. On June 9--when Washington arrived at Winchester--St. Clair
wrote Bouquet: "I send you this by John Walker who is the best Woodsman
I ever knew, he will be usefull in reconnoitering the road to be cut on
the other Side of the Mountain, but do not attempt it too far to the
Right." In this letter St. Clair again reiterates the threat that the
Cherokees will not go into Pennsylvania. And in a postscript, written in
French, he adds a parting shot: "I think you will have some trouble to
find a road from the mountain to the great falls of the Yougheogany." On
June 11 St. Clair again wrote: "I had great dependence on John Walker
the Guide for finding the Road from the Allegheny Ridge to the great
Crossing, I detained him the other day, on purpose, to know if he wou'd
attempt to find it. The answer that he made me, was, that he knew that
Country very well, having hunted there many years, that the Hills run
across the line the Road ought to go and are very steep: That he was
sent by Col^o Dunbar, from the great Crossing, to acquaint Col^o Burd,
of the defeat of the Army, and that the year after he was taken prisoner
by the Shanese, and carried [over] that Road, to the french fort; and
that the Shanese (who he was acquainted with and speaks their Language)
told him, that was the best way to get out of these Mountains and
Laurell Thicketts. On the whole he says that the Road may be made, with
a great deal of labor, & time, but that it must be reconoiter'd, when
the leaves are off the Trees; being impossible to do it at this season.
Considering all these Circumstances and the Season of the Year advancing
so fast, and the Small Number of Indians we have left, I must send you
my opinion (which always was that if I was to carry a Convoy from
Lancaster to fort Cumberland I would pass by, or near Reas Town). That
we have not time to reconoitre the Road in question, and open it,
without taking up more time than we have to spare, and which wou'd give
the french and Indians too favorable an opportunity of attacking on that
laborious Work. I think it will be more eligible to fall down on fort
Cumberland, and get on from thence to the great Crossing, after making a
Block house, at the little meadows. This will advance us 40 miles from
fort Cumberland, and a deposite may be made at that place."

No one can read this strange letter without realizing Bouquet's unhappy
situation: a vacillating know-nothing for quartermaster-general, and a
commander-in-chief detained from coming to the front. Bouquet wrote to
Forbes, who answered that the course of the proposed new road should be
examined before that route was abandoned. "I have yours of the 14^{th},"
wrote Forbes on June 19, "from Fort Loudon and I am sorry that you are
obliged to change our Route, and shall be glad to find the road proposed
by Gov^{r} Sharp practicable, in which case I should think it ought to
be sett about immediately.[63]... I suppose you will reconnoitre the
road across the Allegany mountains from Reas town and if found
unpracticable, that the Fort Cumberland Garrison should open the old
road[64] forward towards the Crossing of the Yohagani.... I find we must
take nothing by report in this country, for there are many who have
their own designs in representing things, so I am glad you have
proceeded to Reas town, where you will be able to judge of the roads and
act accordingly.... Let there be no stops put to the roads as that is
our principall care at present." No one can believe that the author of
this letter was the blindly prejudiced man some have painted him.

Bouquet was, however, not to be contented with an examination of one
route westward; his scouts were out in three directions: on Braddock's
Road, on the Old Trading Path running westward from Raystown (now
Bedford), and also on the upper path toward the Allegheny by way of the
Indian Frank's Town. In all this Forbes seconded him as shown by his
letter of June 27: "I approve much of your trying to pass the Laurel
Hill leaving the Yohageny to the left, as also of knowing what can be
done by the path from Franks town or even from the head of the
Susquehannah, For I have all along had in view to have partys, to fall
upon their Settlements about Venango and there abouts while we are
pushing forward our principale Design." In the meantime old Sir John
kept up his current of objections, so wretchedly ill-timed; he wrote
thus from Carlisle June 30: "I shall be glad you may find a Waggon Road
leaving the Yougheagany on the left, it is what I never cou'd find, I
think the Experiment is dangerous at present and going on an uncertainty
when by falling down upon fort Cumberland, we have our Road opened;
should [the wagon road] be made use of, then the Collums of our army
would be too far assunder." St. Clair had been pushing the opening of
the road from Fort Frederick to Fort Cumberland in the expectation that
the army would consequently "fall down" to the more southernly westward
road even before reaching Fort Cumberland. Three days previous to the
last letter quoted he wrote Bouquet: "I have this morning [June 27]
received the report that the road from fort Frederick to Fort
Cumberland is practicable."

Bouquet evidently laid the sum and substance of St. Clair's letters
before General Forbes who, on July 6, delivered himself in reply as
follows: "Sir John St. Clair was the person who first advised me to go
by Raes town, why he has altered his sentiments I do not know, or to
what purpose make the road from Fort Frederick to Cumberland, as most
certainly we shall now all go by Raes town, but I am afraid that Sir
John is led by passions, he says he knows very well that we shall not
find a road from Raes town across the Allegany, and that to go by Raes
town to F. Cumberland is a great way about, but this he ought to have
said two months ago or hold his peace now. Pray examine the Country
tother side of the Allegany particularly the Laurell Ridge that he says
its impossible we can pass without going into Braddock's old road. What
his views are in those suggestions I know not, but I should be sorry to
be obliged to alter ones schemes so late in the day, particularly as it
was S^{ir} Johns proper business to have forseen and to have foretold
all this. Who to the Contrary was the first adviser. Let the road to
Fort Cumberland from Raes town be finished with all Diligence because if
we must go by Fort Cumberland it must be through Raes town as it is now
too late to make use of the road by Fort Frederick and I fancy you will
agree that ... there is no time to be lost." General Forbes wrote an
interesting letter to Pitt under the date of July 10. Speaking of
Raystown he writes: "The place having its name from one Rae, who
designed to have made a plantation there several years ago." Speaking of
the country he observes: "Being an immense Forest of 240 miles in
Extent, intersected by several ranges of mountains, impenetrable almost
to any thing human save the Indians (if they be allowed the appelation)
who have foot paths or tracks through those desarts, by the help of
which, we make our roads.... I am in hopes of finding a better way over
the Alleganey Mountain, than that from fort Cumberland which General
Braddock took. If so I shall shorten both my march, and my labor of the
road about 40 miles, which is a great consideration. For were I to
pursue M^r Braddock's route, I should save but little labour, as that
road is now a brush wood, by the sprouts from the old stumps, which must
be cut down and made proper for Carriages as well as any other passage
that we must attempt." Yet his letter to Bouquet on the day after, July
11, says that Forbes was not stickling for the new road: "I shall hurry
up the troops, directly," he wrote, "so pray see for a road across the
Alligeny or by Fort Cumberland, which Garrison may if necessary be
clearing Braddocks old road." However, lest he be put under the
necessity of taking the longer route, he wrote again to Bouquet by James
Grant: "that the Road over the Allegany may be reconnoitred, for he
(Forbes) is unwilling to be put under the necessity of making any

On July 14 General Forbes wrote Bouquet from Carlisle: "I ... have all
along thought the road from F. Frederick to Cumberland superfluous, if
we could have done without it, which I am glad to understand we can do
by Raes town. It would have been double pleasure if from thence we
could have got a good road across the Laurell hill, But by Cap^t Wards
journal I begin to fear it will be difficult, altho I would have you
continue to make further tryalls, for I should be very sorry to pass by
Fort Cumberland. I am sensible that some foolish people have made partys
to drive us into that road, as well as into the road by Fort Frederick,
but as I utterly detest all partys and views in military operations, so
you may very well guess, how and what arguments I have had with S^{ir}
John St Clair upon that subject. But I expect Governor Sharp here this
night when I shall know more of this same road. I hope your second
detachment across the Allegeny have been able to ascertain what route we
must take, and that consequently you are sett about clearing of it.... I
have sent up Major Armstrong with one Demming an old Indian trader who
has been many a time upon the road from Raes town to Fort duquesne, he
says there is no Difficulty in the road across the Laurell Hill and that
He leaves the Yohageny all the way upon his left hand about 8 miles, and
that it is only 40 miles from the Laurell Hill to Fort duquesne, along
the top of the Chestnut ridge.... As I presume you may want Forage, and
as S^{ir} John has confessed that he had provided none but at Fort
Cumberland (I suppose on purpose to drive me into that road, for what
purpose I know not) If you therefore think it necessary, send Waggons to
Fort Cumberland for part of it.... Let me hear immediately your
resolution about the road."

To this Bouquet replied that he had sent orders to have Braddock's Road
reconnoitred and cleared; "at all events it may serve to deceive the
Enemy." He was daily in expectation of news from his exploring parties
on Laurel Hill and promised Forbes to forward their report as soon as he
received it.

Washington had now reached Fort Cumberland and was soon in
correspondence with Bouquet at Raystown thirty-four miles to the
northward. July 16 he wrote: "I shall direct the officer, that marches
out, to take particular pains in reconnoitring General Braddock's road,
though I have had repeated information, that it only wants such small
repairs, as could with ease be made as fast as the army would
march."[65] On the twenty-first he wrote: "The bridge is finished at
this place, and tomorrow Major Peachey, with three hundred men, will
proceed to open General Braddock's road. I shall direct them to go to
George's Creek, ten miles in advance. By that time I may possibly hear
from you ... for it will be needless to open a road, of which no use
will be made afterwards."[66] Thus it is clear that, as late as July 20,
Washington at Fort Cumberland, Bouquet at Raystown, and Forbes at
Carlisle were all in doubt as to the army's route.

On July 21 Bouquet wrote General Forbes: "I waited for the return of
Captain Ward before replying [to Forbes's letters of the 14th and 17th
inst]. He arrived yesterday evening, his journal being so vague and
confused that I could not understand anything from it. Captain Gordon is
making an extract from it which I send with this. They are convinced
that a waggon road could be made across Laurell Hill, not so bad as
that from Fort Littleton to this place, & that there is water and grass
all the way, but little forage between the two mountains. The slope of
the Alleghany is the worst, the country between that and Laurell Hill is
passable, and this last mountain, (of which they have made a sample--)
is very easy to cross: all the guides & officers who were on the Ohio
agree that from Lawrell Hill onwards there are no further difficulties;
it is a chain of hills easy to cross. They have thought it impracticable
to continue the road cut by Colonel Burd to join the Braddock road,
except by following the whole length of Lawrell Hill, which would make
the road longer than if taken through Cumberland; the rest of the
country is rendered impassable by marshes, &c. The pack horses have just
arrived. We must give them a day's rest, & on the day after tomorrow
Major Armstrong will set out with a party of 100 volunteers to mark out
the road, and will send me a man every day (or every two days) to inform
me of his progress & observations. There is no spot suitable for the
making of a depôt until one comes to the foot of the other slope of
Lawrell Hill, which may be about 45 miles from here; there is sufficient
water there, and forage, but as it would entail too great a risk to
leave his party on the other side of Lawrell Hill, I shall give him
instructions to reconnoitre, & to mark out the site of the depot, & then
return to Edmund's Swamp, where I will in the first place send him a
reinforcement with provisions, so that he may make an entrenched camp
there, which will serve as flying base; and if the report he makes of
his route is favourable, I shall send 600 men (in all) to take a post at
Loyal Hanny, which I conceive to be the proper place for the chief
depôt; from there it will be more easy to push his parties forward than
from this place. I hope you will be here before the main detachment
marches, and in that case I shall go myself, if you approve. I wish the
new levies may be able to join before that time, so as to be able to
form the three Pennsylvania battalions, and get them into order. I shall
have here the two companies of workmen from Virginia, to be employed in
cutting the road as soon as you shall have decided upon your route. I
shall await your arrival before beginning, because the pack horses cross
without difficulty, and will suffice to carry their provisions. As
regards your route the Virginia party continues in full force, and
although the secret motive of their policy seems to me not above
suspicion of partiality, it nevertheless appears to me an additional
reason for acting with double caution in a matter of this consequence,
so as to have ample answers for all their clamors, if any accident
happens, which they would not fail to attribute to the choice of a fresh
route. Captain Patterson, who set out two days after Captain Ward with a
party of 13 men to reconnoitre the fort, has returned with them without
accomplishing anything. He tried to cross the two mountains in a direct
line with the fort, but he found Lawrell Hill impassible, and the
different reports agree in the fact that there is no other pass to be
found except the Indian Path reconnoitred by Captain Ward. The guide
Dunning speaks of a gap he crossed 16 years ago, but no one knows this
gap, which he declares he found in 'Hunting Horses.' He is marching
with the Major and two or three other guides.... The communication with
Cumberland is cut, and it is an excellent road."[67]

On July 20 Forbes wrote, by the hand of St. Clair, to Bouquet asking
that all the guides then with him be sent to Carlisle for a conference
with the general. Three days later Bouquet answered as follows: "Major
Armstrong has three guides (and three Indians) with him: McConnell,
Brown and Starrat. I am sending you all that are left there,--Frazer,
Walker, Garret, and the two that are at Littleton,--Ohins and Lowry. If
those from Cumberland arrive in time, I will send them on afterwards."

On July 25 Washington wrote Bouquet from Fort Cumberland: "I do not
incline to propose any thing that may seem officious, but would it not
facilitate the operation of the campaign, if the Virginian troops were
ordered to proceed as far as the Great Crossing, and construct forts at
the most advantageous situations as they advance, opening the road at
the same time? In such a case, I should be glad to be joined by that
part of my regiment at Raystown. Major Peachey, who commands the working
party on Braddock's road, writes to me, that he finds few repairs
wanting. Tonight I shall order him to proceed as far as Savage River,
and then return, as his party is too weak to adventure further.... I
shall most cheerfully work on any road, pursue any route or enter upon
any service, that the General or yourself may think me usefully imployed
in, or qualified for, and shall never have a will of my own, when a duty
is required of me. But since you desire me to speak my sentiments
freely, permit me to observe, that after having conversed with all the
guides, and having been informed by others, who have a knowledge of the
country, I am convinced that a road, to be compared with General
Braddock's, or indeed, that will be fit for transportation even by
packhorses, cannot be made. I have no predilection for the route you
have in mind, not because difficulties appear therein, but because I
doubt whether satisfaction can be given in the execution of the plan. I
know not what reports you may have received from your reconnoitring
parties; but I have been uniformly told, that, if you expect a tolerable
road by Raystown, you will be disappointed, for no movement can be made
that way without destroying our horses. I should be extremely glad of
one hour's conference with you, when the General arrives. I could then
explain myself more fully, and, I think, demonstrate the advantages of
pushing out a body of light troops in this quarter. I would make a trip
to Raystown with great pleasure, if my presence here could be dispensed
with for a day or two, of which you can best judge."

[Illustration: FORBES'S ROAD TO RAYSTOWN (1757) [_The dotted
line to the Youghiogheny shows the line of Burd's Road_]
(_From the original in the British Museum_)]

With Washington's letter came also one from General Forbes, written July
23. From it these extracts are to the point: "As I disclaim all parties
(factions) myself, I should be sorry that they were to Creep in amongst
us. I therefore conceive what the Virginia folks would be at, for to me
it appears to be them, and them only, that want to drive us into the
road by Fort Cumberland, no doubt in opposition to the Pennsylvanians
who by Raes town would have a nigher Communication (than them) to the
Ohio. S^{ir} John St. Clair was the first person that proposed and
enforced me in to take the road by Raes town, I having previous to this
ordered our Army to assemble at Conegochegue which I was obliged
afterwards to alter to Raestown at his Instance, altho he then declared
that he nor nobody else knew any thing of the road leading from the
Laurell hill, but as he has represented it of late impracticable to me,
I was therefore pressing to have the Communication opened from Raes town
to Fort Cumberland. S^{ir} John I am afraid had got a new light at
Winchester, and I believe from thence proceeded to the opening the road
from Fort Frederick to Fort Cumberland. I put the Question fairly to him
yesterday morning by asking him if he knew of any Intention of making me
change measures and forcing me into the Fort Cumberland road, when he
knew that it was at his Instance solely, that I had changed it to Raes
town; I showed him Cap^t Ward's Journal & description of the road from
Raestown to the top of the Laurell Hill, telling him at the same time,
that if an easy road could be found there, or made there, that I was
amazed he should know nothing off it, which was evident by his telling
me of late that the Laurel hill was impracticable, he appeared
nonplused, but rather than appear ignorant, he said that there were many
Indian Traders that knew those roads very well; I stopt him short by
saying if that was the case, that I was very sorry he had never found
them out, or never thought it worth his while to examine them. In short
he knows nothing of the matter. Col^l Byrd in a paragraph of his letter
from Fort Cumberland, amongst other things writes, that he has upwards
of sixty Indians waiting my arrival, and ready to accompany me, but they
will not follow me unless I go by Fort Cumberland. This is a new system
of military Discipline truly; and shows that my Good friend Byrd is
either made the Cats Foot of himself, or he little knows me, if he
imagines that Sixty scoundrels are to direct me in my measures. As we
are now so far advanced as Raestown I should look fickle in my measures,
in changing, to go by Fort Cumberland, without being made thoroughly
sensible of the impracticability of passing by the shortest way over the
Laurell Hill to the Ohio. The difference at present in the length of
road the one way and the other stands thus--

"From Raestown to Fort Cumberland, 34 miles or upwards

"From Fort Cumberland to Fort Duquesne by Ge^{nl} Braddocks, 125 miles
in all 160 to which add the passage of rivers &c and the last 8 miles
not cut.

"The other road--

"From Raestown to the top of the Laurell Hill 46 miles

"From then to Fort Duquesne suppose 40 or 50 miles in all 90 with no
rivers to obstruct you and nothing to stop you that I can see, except
the Bugbear, a tremendous pass of the Laurel Hill.

"If what I say is true and those two roads are compared, I don't see
that I am to Hesitate one moment which to take unless I take a party
[join a faction] likewise, which I hope never to do in Army matters.

"I have now told you my Opinion, and what I think of the affairs of the
road, but to judge at such Distance, and of a Country I never saw, nor
heard spoke off but in Cap^t Ward's account, I therefore can say nothing
decisive, so have sent up S^{ir} John St Clair in order that he may
explore that new road and determine the most Ellegible to be pursued,
but this I think need not hinder you from proceeding upon the new road
as soon as you can Conveniently.... I have spoke very roundly upon this
subject [roads and forage] to S^{ir} John, who was sent up the Country
from Philadelphia for no other purpose than to fix the roads and provide
forage, both of which I am sorry to say it, are yet to begin--but all
this _entre nous_ until I see you."

Under the same date (July 25) General Forbes wrote as follows to
Major-general Abercrombie: "Scouting Parties have been sent out, with
the best Guides we could find, and according to the Reports which some
of them have made, the Road over the Allegeny Mountain and the Lawrel
Ridge will be found practicable for Carriages, which will be of infinate
Consequence, will facilitate Our Matters much by shortening the March at
least 70 miles, besides the Advantage of having no Rivers to pass, as
We shall keep the Yeogheny upon our Left.... The Troops are all in
Motion ... but I have Retarded the March of some of them upon the Route
from this Place, as I am unwilling to bring them together till the Route
is finally determined."

On the twenty-sixth Bouquet wrote Forbes as follows:

"I am sending you a letter I have received from Major Armstrong. By the
report of the two guides he sent out it seems the thing is very
practicable; in an affair of so much consequence as this I thought I
ought to act with greatest caution. While the waggoner returned today
with an escort to reconnoitre how the road could be laid so as to avoid
all the detours and windings of the path; and I have asked Colonel Burd
to go with Rhor tomorrow to the top of the mountain (Allegheny) to
determine the straightest line from here to the foot of the ascent, and
to mark the turnings of the road to reach the top. I hope you will be
here on their return, and could then judge if it would be well to risk
this route. In 3 days the Major will return to Edmund's Swamp, where
there is abundant forage, and he will let me know what we must expect
from Lawrell Hill. A man who has been 50 times by this path to the Ohio
says that the remainder of the route after Loyal Hanny is a long series
of hills, with swamps and bogs, but not of great ascent. He is a man
named Fergusson, very limited, from whom one can elicit nothing precise;
I have sent him with the Major and Dunnings. Upon the Major's report, we
shall be sure of the route as far as Loyal Hanny; and, as regards the
remainder, I am sending out Captain Patterson tomorrow with 4 men, to
follow this same path to the end, and return forthwith to report,
observing the bad places, and the facilities afforded by the country for
obviating them, such as trees, stones, &c., the quantity of grass and
water, the defiles, distances, &c. He ought to be back in 12 days at
latest. Colonel Washington has had the beginning of the road cut from
Braddock, [along Braddock's Road?] which I have fixed at 10 miles from
Fort Cumberland. You will have been informed by the guides I sent you
of the advantages of this route which is open, and needs very little in
the way of repair; its drawbacks consist in the want of forage, its
length, its defiles, and the crossing of rivers. Colonel Washington, who
is animated with sincere zeal to contribute to the success of this
expedition, and is ready to march wheresoever you may decide, writes me
that, from all he has heard and from all the information he has been
able to collect, our route is impracticable even for packhorses, so bad
are the mountains, and that the Braddock road is the only one to take

"There, my dear General, you have in brief the reports and opinions
which have reached me; I will add no reflection of my own, hoping to see
you every day. Do you not think it would be well to see Colonel
Washington here, before making your decision? and if our parties
continue to send favourable news, to convert him to give way to the

In reply to Washington's letter of the twenty-fifth Bouquet wrote:
"Nothing can exceed your generous dispositions for the service. I see
with the utmost satisfaction, that you are above the influences of
prejudice, and ready to go heartily where reason and judgement shall
direct. I wish, sincerely, that we may all entertain one and the same
opinion; therefore I desire to have an interview with you at the houses
built half way between our camps. I will communicate all the
intelligence, which it has been in my power to collect; and, by weighing
impartially the advantages and disadvantages of each route, I hope we
shall be able to determine what is most eligible, and save the General
trouble and loss of time."[68]

Concerning this meeting Washington wrote as follows to his friend Major
Francis Halket, then in Forbes's camp at Carlisle: "I am just returned
(August 2^{nd})[69] from a conference with Colonel Bouquet. I find him
fixed, I think I may say unalterably fixed, to lead you a new way to the
Ohio, through a road, every inch of which is to be cut at this advanced
season, when we have scarce time left to tread the beaten track,
universally confessed to be the best passage through the mountains. If
Colonel Bouquet succeeds in this point with the General, all is
lost,--all is lost indeed,--our enterprise will be ruined, and we shall
be stopped at the Laurel Hill this winter; but not to gather _laurels_,
except of the kind that covers the mountains. The Southern Indians will
turn against us, and these colonies will be desolated by such an
accession to the enemy's strength. These must be the consequences of a
miscarriage; and a miscarriage is the almost necessary consequence of
our attempt to march the army by this new route. I have given my reasons
at large to Colonel Bouquet. He desired that I would do so, that he
might forward them to the General. Should this happen, you will be able
to judge of their weight. I am uninfluenced by prejudice, having no
hopes or fears but for the general good. Of this you may be assured, and
that my sincere sentiments are spoken on this occasion."

Concerning the same interview Bouquet wrote Forbes (July 31): "I have
had an interview with Colonel Washington, to ascertain how he conceives
the difficulties could be overcome; I got no satisfaction from it; _the
majority of these gentlemen do not know the difference between a party
and an army_, and, overlooking all difficulties, they believe everything
to be easy which flatters their ideas. What I shall have to tell you on
this point cannot be discussed in a letter...."

In this same letter Bouquet wrote, concerning the general situation:
"You will see from the extract appended from Major Armstrong's letters
the report he makes thereupon. All seems practicable and even easy, but
I put too little confidence in the observations of a young man without
experience to act upon his judgement. I have therefore sent Colonel
Burd, Rhor and Captain Ward to reconnoitre the Allegheny, to make an
examination of all the difficulties, and thus put me into a position to
decide what reliance is to be placed on the rest of the discoveries.
Unfortunately they have found things very different, and this mountain
which these gentlemen crossed so easily is worse than Seydeling Hill,
and the ascent much longer. Considering that it was impossible to cut a
waggon road on this slope without immense labour, they searched along
the mountain for another pass, and found about two miles to the North a
gap of which no one was aware.... It seems that, with much labour, one
might make a much easier road there than the other; it remains to be
seen what obstacles are still to be encountered before Loyal Hanning.
Sir John has arrived, and I have communicated to him all I know on the
subject; and he starts today or tomorrow morning with Colonel Burd, Rhor
and 200 men to reconnoitre this gap, and the whole route as far as Loyal
Hanning. He will spend 6 or 7 days on this survey, and I hope on his
return you will be able to form a decision. And, in order that no time
may be lost, I will make a commencement of the work if the thing is
practicable without awaiting your orders. I have thought it best not to
do so up to the present, in order not to lay ourselves open to public
reflections if we commenced and abandoned different routes. I agree with
you that you cannot take the Cumberland route untill you are in a
position to demonstrate the impossibility of finding another road, or at
any rate the impossibility of opening one without risking the expedition
by too great an expenditure of time. We are in a cruel position, if you
are reduced to a single line of communication. It is 64 miles from
Cumberland to Gist, and there are only three places capable of
furnishing forage sufficient for the army; the rest would not suffice
for a single night. The frost, which commences at the end of October,
destroys all the grass, and the rivers overflowing in the spring cut off
all communication.... If we open a new route, we have not enough axes."
On the same day Forbes wrote Bouquet by the hand of Halket a decisive
letter in which he said: "he [Forbes] thinks that no time should be lost
in making the new Road, he has directed me to inform you that you are
immediately to begin the opening of it agreeable to the manner he wrote
to you in his last letter, as he sees all the advantages he can propose
by going that Route, and will avoid innumerable Inconveniencys he would
encounter was he to go the other, he is at the same time extremely
surprised at the partial disposition that appears in those Virginia
Gentlemans sentiments, as there can be no sort of comparison between the
two Routes when you consider the situation of the Troops now at
Reastown, & that their is not the least reason to expect that we shall
meet with any difficulties but what may be easily surmounted." On the
next day but one Forbes wrote: "he [Halket] told you my opinion of the
Laurell Hill road, and that I thought it ought to be sett about
directly, as it is good to have two Strings to one Bow."

On this day Washington wrote a last letter to Bouquet in behalf of the
Braddock route:

"The matters, of which we spoke relative to the roads, have since our
parting, been the subject of my closest reflection; and, so far am I
from altering my opinion, that, the more time and attention I bestow,
the more I am confirmed in it; and the reasons for taking Braddock's
road appear in a stronger point of view. To enumerate the whole of these
reasons would be tedious, and to you, who are become so much master of
the subject, unnecessary. I shall therefore, briefly mention a few only,
which I think so obvious in themselves, that they must effectually
remove objections. Several years ago the Virginians and Pennsylvanians
commenced a trade with the Indians settled on the Ohio, and, to obviate
the many inconveniencies of a bad road, they, after reiterated and
ineffectual efforts to discover where a good one might be made, employed
for the purpose several of the most intelligent Indians, who, in the
course of many years' hunting, had acquired a perfect knowledge of these
mountains. The Indians, having taken the greatest pains to gain the
rewards offered for this discovery, declared, that the path leading from
Will's Creek was infinitely preferable to any, that could be made at any
other place. Time and experience so clearly demonstrated this truth,
that the Pennsylvania traders commonly carried out their goods by Will's
Creek. Therefore, the Ohio Company, in 1753, at a considerable expense,
opened the road. In 1754 the troops, whom I had the honor to command,
greatly repaired it, as far as Gist's plantation; and, in 1755, it was
widened and completed by General Braddock to within six miles of Fort
Duquesne. A road, that has so long been opened, and so well and so often
repaired, must be much firmer and better than a new one, allowing the
ground to be equally good.

"But, supposing it were practicable to make a road from Raystown quite
as good as General Braddock's,--I ask, have we time to do it? Certainly
not. To surmount the difficulties to be encountered in making it over
such mountains, covered with woods and rocks, would require so much
time, as to blast our otherwise well-grounded hopes of striking the
important stroke this season.

"The favorable accounts, that some give of the forage on the Raystown
road, as being so much better than that on the other, are certainly
exaggerated. It is well known, that, on both routes, the rich valleys
between the mountains abound with good forage, and that those, which are
stony and bushy, are destitute of it. Colonel Byrd and the engineer, who
accompanied him, confirm this fact. Surely the meadows on Braddock's
road would greatly overbalance the advantage of having grass to the foot
of the ridge, on the Raystown road; and all agree, that a more barren
road is nowhere to be found, than that from Raystown to the inhabitants,
which is likewise to be considered.

"Another principal objection made to General Braddock's road is in
regard to the waters. But these seldom swell so much, as to obstruct the
passage. The Youghiogany River, which is the most rapid and soonest
filled, I have crossed with a body of troops, after more than thirty
days' almost continued rain. In fine, any difficulties on this score are
so trivial, that they really are not worth mentioning. The Monongahela,
the largest of all these rivers, may, if necessary, easily be avoided,
as Mr. Frazer the principal guide informs me, by passing a defile, and
even that, he says, may be shunned.

"Again, it is said, there are many defiles on this road. I grant that
there are some, but I know of none that may not be traversed; and I
should be glad to be informed where a road can be had, over these
mountains, not subject to the same inconvenience. The shortness of the
distance between Raystown and Loyal Hanna is used as an argument against
this road, which bears in it something unaccountable to me; for I must
beg leave to ask, whether it requires more time, or is more difficult
and expensive, to go one hundred and forty-five miles in a good road
already made to our hands, than to cut one hundred miles anew, and a
great part of the way over impassable mountains.

"That the old road is many miles nearer Winchester in Virginia, and Fort
Frederic in Maryland, than the contemplated one, is incontestable; and I
will here show the distances from Carlisle by the two routes, fixing the
different stages, some of which I have from information only, but others
I believe to be exact.

  _From Carlisle to Fort Duquesne by way of Raystown._

    From Carlisle to Shippensburg                 21
      "  Shippensburg to Fort Loudoun             24
      "  Fort Loudoun to Fort Littleton           20
      "  Fort Littleton to Juniatta Crossing      14
      "  Juniatta Crossing to Raystown            14
      "  Raystown to Fort Duquesne               100

  _From Carlisle to Fort Duquesne, by way of Forts Frederic and

    From Carlisle to Shippensburg                 21
      "  Shippensburg to Chambers's               12
      "  Chambers's to Pacelin's                  12
      "  Pacelin's to Fort Frederic               12
      "  Fort Frederic to Fort Cumberland         40
      "  Fort Cumberland to Fort Duquesne        115

"From this computation there appears to be a difference of nineteen
miles only. Were all the supplies necessarily to come from Carlisle, it
is well known, that the goodness of the old road is a sufficient
compensation for the shortness of the other, as the wrecked and broken
wagons there clearly demonstrate....

"... From what has been said relative to the two roads, it appears to me
very clear, that the old one is infinitely better, than the other can be
made, and that there is no room to hesitate in deciding which to take,
when we consider the advanced season, and the little time left to
execute our plan."

But Forbes's letter of the thirty-first was decisive, and, following his
orders, Colonel Bouquet began cutting a new road westward from Raystown
August 1.



The correspondence included in the chapter preceding affords probably
the utmost light that can be thrown today upon the reason of the making
of the great Pennsylvanian thoroughfare to the Ohio. It cannot be
affirmed, as has often been said, that Forbes was early prejudiced in
favor of a Pennsylvania route; he never could have been such a hypocrite
as to pen the words to be found on page 94. That his first plans were
completely altered at the advice of Sir John St. Clair is very plain
from his letters to Governor Denny (March 20) and to Colonel Bouquet
(July 6); but up to the very last he leaves the question open, to be
decided wholly according to the reports of the guides and explorers. It
is difficult, however, to reconcile the words in Forbes's letter to
Bouquet of July 23, in which he states that St. Clair, when advising
the Raystown route, affirmed "that he nor nobody else knew anything of
the road leading from Laurell hill." It is evident from this that Forbes
originally expected to fall down to the Braddock road from Raystown, but
that when once on the ground, with the distances clear in his mind, he
was compelled to find a shorter road westward if there was one to be
found. This is the only explanation of his immediate change of plan at
St. Clair's advice, knowing that St. Clair had found no route westward
by Laurel Hill; it seems that St. Clair thought only of proceeding via
Raystown to Fort Cumberland, as he affirmed in his letter of June 9 to
Bouquet. St. Clair was undoubtedly right in deciding that the best
course to Fort Cumberland from Philadelphia for the army was through
populous Pennsylvania, and his understanding that the Braddock Road
would be followed from that point would easily explain why he had
provided forage at Fort Cumberland, which occasioned Forbes's criticism
in his letter of July 14. Indeed from Forbes's letters of June 16, 19,
and 27, it does not seem that he had any definite plan for the
construction of a new road.

On the other hand Forbes very correctly doubted the advisability of
using Braddock's long route when his army was once gathered together
along the road from Carlisle to Raystown. Bouquet stated his (Forbes's)
position very soundly when he said: "You cannot take the Cumberland
until you are in a position to demonstrate the impossibility of finding
another road, or at any rate the impossibility of opening one without
risking the expedition by too great an expenditure of time." Moreover,
Forbes had a comprehensive view of the situation such as probably no one
else had.

So far as Bouquet's position was concerned, his correspondence shows
that he was assiduous in carrying out Forbes's directions; as to any
conspiracy on his part to win Forbes over to the Pennsylvania route, as
Washington insinuated, who can believe one existed after reading his
letters? Bouquet very properly threw the burden of ultimate decision
upon Forbes, as it was his duty to do; he sent him all the information
which he could obtain, pro and con, concerning all routes; he sent
Colonel Burd out, with his guides, in order to have testimony upon which
he was sure he could rely; he urged Forbes to defer his decision of
route until he (Forbes) could have a personal interview with Washington;
he had Braddock's Road partly cleared and plainly described it as
needing "very little in the way of repair;" he never seems to have
attempted to minimize the difficulties of making a new route or maximize
those of the old; he continually urges the necessity of great caution in
the selection of a route.

The motives which directed the movements of Sir John St. Clair during
these months of controversy are quite beyond fathoming. It is easy to
believe that the "new light," which Forbes said Sir John had received
"at Winchester," made it clear that if he did not send the army over the
southern route (Fort Frederick-Fort Cumberland) to Cumberland, it was
possible that Forbes would never traverse Braddock's Road at all. It is
certain that upon Governor Sharpe's and Washington's arrival upon the
scene, Sir John began to shower upon Bouquet letters advising the
opening of the Fort Frederick-Fort Cumberland road; "and I believe from
thence," Forbes wrote of St. Clair's meeting with Governor Sharpe,
"proceeded to the opening the road from Fort Frederick to Fort
Cumberland." Indeed, it would be interesting to know whether it was not
St. Clair's suddenly raised clamor over the length of the Raystown route
to Fort Cumberland (hoping to "drive" Forbes over the Fort Frederick
route) that determined Forbes to ignore Fort Cumberland and push out on
a new, shorter route to the Ohio.

Whatever were St. Clair's reasons for such vacillating plans, it is sure
he fell into disgrace in Forbes's eyes. In addition to the upbraiding he
received from the general's own lips, Forbes wrote in his letter of July
14 that the wagons were the plague of his life and denied that St. Clair
had taken "the smallest pains" or made the "least inquiry" concerning
the matters he had been detailed to care for. Again, in Forbes's letter
to Bouquet of July 17 he says: "Sir John acknowledges taking some
(kettles &c from Pennsylvania troops) and applying them to the use of
the Virginians &c which is terrible." In a letter previously quoted
Forbes affirms that St. Clair--who was sent in advance of the army to
settle the matter of route--"knows nothing of the matter." Forbes's
wrath at St. Clair reached a climax before the end of August when he
savagely declared that he suspected his "heart as well as the head."[70]

And now as to Washington. His letters are typical of the young man to
whom these western forests were not unfamiliar; they are patriotic and
loyal. Though he was standing for election to the House of Burgesses in
his home county, he had refused to accept a leave of absence to do his
electioneering--which in no wise prevented his election. I cannot find
any ill-boding prophecy in his letters, concerning the making of a new
road westward from Raystown, which after events did not justify. He
affirmed that Forbes could not reach Fort Duquesne by a new road before
the winter set in; and no prophecy ever seemed more accurately
fulfilled. For before Fort Duquesne was reached it was decided not to
attempt to continue the campaign further. An unexpected occurrence
suddenly turned the tide and Forbes went on--to a splendid conquest.
But, nevertheless, Washington's prophecy was, not long after it was
made, found to have been that of a wise man. Had Forbes been one iota
less fortunate than Braddock was unfortunate, Washington's words would
have come true to the letter. So much for his judgment, which Forbes

But Washington's knowledge was limited, so far as the general situation
of the army was concerned. Forbes's expedition was one of three
simultaneous campaigns; and the three commanders were somewhat dependent
upon each other. At any time Forbes might be called upon to give
assistance to Abercrombie or Johnson. Forbes was in constant
correspondence with both of his colleagues; after Abercrombie's repulse
the prosecution of the Fort Duquesne campaign, it may almost be said,
was in question. At any rate it was important to have open the shortest
possible route of communication to the northern colonies where the other
campaigns were being pushed; in case Fort Duquesne was captured a
straight road through populous, grain-growing Pennsylvania would be of
utmost importance; especially as Pennsylvania abounded in vehicles,
while in Virginia they were scarce.

Washington thought only of a quick campaign completed in the same season
as begun. Forbes, however, was not in eager haste and had good reason
for moving slowly. As early as August 9 he wrote Bouquet: "Between you
and I be it said, as we are now so late, we are yet too soon. This is a
parable that I shall soon explain." Three reasons appealed to Forbes for
moving slowly, though it is doubtful if he intended moving as slowly as
he actually did move: Frederick Post, the missionary, had been sent to
the Indians on the Beaver asking them to withdraw from the French; the
Indian chiefs were invited to the treaty at Easton, where their alliance
with the French would, it was hoped, be undermined; winter was drawing
on apace, when the Indians who were with the French would withdraw to
their villages and begin to prepare for the inclement season.

One of the direct serious charges brought against Washington was that he
did "not know the difference between a party and an army." This is
brought by Colonel Bouquet and I do not believe that he was in error or
that the accusation can be proved unjust. Washington had had much
experience, such as it was, in the Fort Necessity campaign, with
Braddock, and on the Virginia frontier. But the Fort Necessity campaign
was conspicuous as a political, not a military event. The force he led
west did not number two hundred men. This was, surely, a party, not an
army. Now, be it remembered, the great difficulty of leading any body of
men, small or great, lay in provisioning them and feeding the horses.
The larger the army the greater the difficulty--indeed the difficulty
trebled as the number of men and horses was doubled. On those mountain
roads the second wagon was drawn with much greater difficulty than the
first. Again, a small body of men could, in part, be supplied with food
from the forests; in the case of an army this source of supply must be
ignored. In the case of Washington's Fort Necessity campaign, how did
his handful of men fare? They nearly starved--and capitulated because
they did not have the food to give them the necessary strength to
retreat. This was not Washington's fault, for he, properly, left this
matter with those whose business it was; but the experience certainly
did not teach him how to handle an army.

I cannot see that he had the opportunity to learn much more in
Braddock's campaign in 1755. He was that general's aide, a carrier of
messages and orders, and a member of the military family. He had ever
before his eyes a thousand examples of carelessness, chicanery, and
mismanagement, but those could not teach him how an army was to be cared
for properly. His advice was often asked and minded, but he gave it in
the capacity of a frontiersman, not as a tactician or officer. The one
exception was when he urged that Braddock divide the _army_ into two
_parties_ by sending a small flying column rapidly against Fort

It is clear from preceding pages that, on the Virginia frontier, he
learned no lessons on the control of large bodies of men.

But now, in 1758, as colonel of an important branch of the army General
Forbes was throwing across the Alleghenies, Washington came forward
conspicuously as a champion of a certain route to be pursued by an army
of five thousand men. Frankly, what did he know of the needs of five
thousand men on a march of two hundred miles from their base of
supplies? His correspondence on this point is not satisfactory. He had
never passed over the Pennsylvania Road, and, though he understood
better than anyone what it meant to cut a new road, he does not answer
the argument that the Braddock Road failed to offer as much pasturage
for horses and cattle as the Pennsylvania route. He confines himself
largely to the matter of celerity: and the situation, as we have
explained, did not demand haste. Forbes had the best of reasons for
moving slowly. From a commissary's standpoint Washington's argument
could have had no weight whatever.

Washington was strongly prejudiced in favor of the Virginia route; and
no man could have had better reasons for prejudice, as will be shown. He
argued conspicuously and vehemently on a subject with which he had no
experience. Great and good as he became, and brave and faithful as he
was, it is all the easier to confess to a weakness which was due to a
lack of experience and to loyal, old-time Virginia pride. It is an
exceedingly pleasant duty to emphasize the fact that, after his repeated
arguments were cast aside by his superiors and a route was chosen in the
face of the strongest opposition he could bring to bear on the subject,
the young man swallowed his chagrin and the slights under which his fine
spirit must have writhed, and worked manfully and heroically for
measures which he had heartily opposed. In all that he had done in the
past five years he never played the man better than here and now.

It is very difficult to unravel what General Forbes continually calls
the plot of certain Virginians to force him into Braddock's Road. The
matter is of additional interest because, in his letter to Bouquet of
August 9, Forbes utters a very sharp criticism of Washington: "By a very
unguarded letter of Col. Washington's that accidentally fell into my
hands, I am now at the bottom of their scheme against this new road, a
scheme that I think was a shame for any officer to be concerned in, but
more of this at [our] meeting." Again on September 4 he wrote:
"Therefore [I] would consult C. Washington, altho perhaps not follow his
advice, as his Behaviour about the roads, was in no ways like a
soldier." What letter this was of Washington's I do not know. It could
not have been the letter written to Halket (page 113); it hardly seems
possible that it could have been the following letter which Washington
wrote to Governor Fouquier: "The Pennsylvanians, whose present as well
as future interest it was to have the expedition conducted through their
government, and along that way, because it secures their frontiers at
present, and their trade hereafter, a chain of forts being erected, had
prejudiced the General absolutely against the old road, and made him
believe that we were the partial people, and determined him at all
events to pursue that route."[71] The doubt is not whether Forbes would
have spoken sharply if he had seen this letter, but whether it could
have fallen into his hands. It was undoubtedly sent from Fort Cumberland
straight to Winchester and Williamsburg. From one point the letter does
Washington no credit, though it shows plainly that there was a bitter
factional fight and that he felt strongly the righteousness of the
Virginian side of the question, for which he is not to be blamed. As to
his accusation against his general, it seems to me unreasonably bitter.
Forbes's correspondence with Bouquet is convincing proof of the
falseness of Washington's theory that the Pennsylvanians "had prejudiced
the General absolutely against the old road ... and determined him at
all events to pursue that (new) route." After wrestling with the route
question two months Forbes wrote General Abercrombie as late as July 25
that he was unwilling to bring the divisions of his army together "till
the Route is finally determined." Forbes had no predilection for
Pennsylvanians; when, in September, a spirit of jealousy appeared
concerning the province from which the army provisions should be
obtained, Forbes wrote Bouquet (September 17): "I believe neither you
nor I values one farthing where we get provisions from, provided we are
supplyed, or Interest ourselves either with Virginia or Pennsylvania,
which last I hope will be damn'd for their treatment of us with the
Waggons, and every other thing where they could profit by us from their
impositions, altho at the risque of our perdition."

The controversy as to whether Forbes's route should be through
Pennsylvania or Virginia serves to bring into clear perspective one of
the most interesting and one of the most important phases of our
study--the meaning of the building of a road at that time to either one
of those colonies. Nothing could emphasize this more than the sharpness
of the quarrel and the position of those concerned in it. It meant very
much to Pennsylvania to have Forbes cut a road to the Ohio in both of
the two ways suggested by Washington to Governor Fouquier--it fortified
her frontier and opened a future avenue of trade. The Old Trading Path
had been her best course westward and her trade with the Indians had
been nothing to what it would now become. But such as it had been, it
was most distasteful to the Virginians to the south who called the West
their own. This rivalry was intense for more than a quarter of a century
and came near ending in bloodshed; the quarrel was only forgotten in the
tumultuous days of 1775. General Forbes seems to have understood very
well that his new road would be of utmost importance to Pennsylvania as
that province would then have a "nigher Communication [than Virginia] to
the Ohio;" and that was the very reason he cut it: because it was
shorter--not to please Pennsylvania. If Fort Duquesne was to be captured
and fortified and manned and supplied, the shortest route thither would
be, as the dark days of 1764 and 1775 and 1791 proved, a desperately
long road to travel.

On the other hand the building of Forbes's road in Pennsylvania was a
boon which that province far less deserved than Virginia. Virginia men
and capital were foremost in the field for securing the Indian trade of
the Ohio; they had, nearly ten years before, secured a grant of land
between the Monongahela and Kanawha, and sent explorers and a number of
pioneers to occupy the land; their private means had been given to clear
the first white man's road thither and erect storehouses at Wills Creek
and Redstone; the activity of these ambitious, worthy men had brought on
the war now existing. When open strife became the colonies' only hope of
holding the West, Virginia was first and foremost in the field; the same
spirit that showed itself in commercial energy was very evident when war
broke out, and for four years Virginia had given of her treasure and of
her citizens for the cause. During this time Pennsylvania had hardly
lifted a finger, steadily pursuing a course which brought down upon her
legislators most bitter invectives from every portion of the colonies.
And now, in the last year of the war, the conquering army was to pass
through Pennsylvania to the Ohio, building a road thither which should
for all time give this province an advantage very much greater than that
ever enjoyed by any of the others. True, Braddock's Road curled along
over the mountains, but after the defeat by the Monongahela it had
never been used except by small parties on foot and had become well-nigh
impassable otherwise. We do not know what Washington wrote in the letter
which Forbes so roundly criticised, but it can easily be conceived,
without detriment to his character, that he might have spoken in a way
Forbes could not understand concerning lethargic Pennsylvania's
undeserved good fortune.[72] But Forbes had the present to deal with,
not the past, and the shortest route to the Ohio was all too long.

This became alarmingly plain in a very short time after the day, August
1, on which Bouquet began to cut it. The story of the hewing of this
road cannot be told better than by quoting the fragments appertaining to
it contained in the letters of those closely concerned in its building.
Old St. Clair, who, as we have seen, was sent on by Forbes to Bouquet,
was the advance supervisor. As early as August 12 he was writing Bouquet
from "Camp on y^e Side of Alleganys" that not as much progress had been
made as he had hoped, and that the "Work to be done on this Road is
immense. Send as many men as you can with digging tools, this is a most
diabolical work, and whiskey must be had. I told you that the road wou'd
take 500 Men 5 Days in cutting to the Top of the Mountain." On the
sixteenth he wrote: "A small retrench^t is picked out at Kikeny

  "... The Stages will be from Rays Town
          to the Shanoe Cabins                       11 Miles,
          to S^r Allan McLeans camp             9 or 10 Miles
          to Edmunds Swamp                      9 or 10 Miles."

"... The Pack Horses returning from Kikoney Paulins have taken the
other Road, so you may send them back loaded."

Forbes, writing to Bouquet, refers as follows to the new road August 7:
"Extremely well satisfied with your accounts of the Road, and very glad
to find that you have, entered upon the making of it;" (August 9): "I
hope your new road advances briskly, and that from the Alleghany Hill to
Laurell Hill may be carrying forward by different partys, at the same
time, that you are making the pass of the Allegany practicable;" (August
15): "I hope the new road goes on fast and that soon we shall be able to
take post at Loyal Haning. I see nothing that can facilitate this more
than by still amusing the Enemy by pushing Considerable parties along
M^r Braddock's route, which parties might endeavour to try to find
communications betwixt the two roads where they approach the nearest, or
where most likely such passages can be found. As it will be necessary
very soon to make a disposition of our small Army I beg you will give
your thoughts a little that way. At present I think the greatest part
ought to be assembled at Raestown to make our main push by that road,
while Col^l Washington, or some other officer might push along the
other road and might join us if a Communication can be found when called
upon. But this is only an Idea in Embryo...." (August 18): "In carrying
forward the new road I think there might easily be a small road carried
on at the same time, at about 100 yards to the right and left of it, and
parallel with it, by which our flanking partys might advance easier
along with the line. I dont mean here to cut down any large trees, only
to clear away the Brushwood and saplins, so as the men either on foot or
on horseback may pass the easier along...."

Bouquet forwarded this order to St. Clair on August 23, also writing:
"Colonel Burd is to command on the West of Lawrell Hill, and to march
without delay and before the Road is cut to Loyal H-- [Hannan]." On the
same date St. Clair wrote Bouquet from Stoney Creek as follows: "I wrote
you yesterday ... that three waggons have got to this place, the Road
not so good as I shall make it.... I hope to get to Kikoney Pawlins to
morrow night, if not shall do it next day. Tell Mr Sinclair to send me
my Down Quilt the weather is cold." That evening he wrote again, in
reply to Bouquet's letter, from "Kikoney Paulins:" "It is impossible for
me to tell you any more than I have done about the Road to L-- H--
[Loyal Hannan]. I required 600 Men to make the Road over the Lai Ri--ge
in three days on condition I was to see it done my Self, and perhaps I
might reach L-- H the 3^d Day. I expect to get the Road cleared as far
as the clear fields a Mile from the foot of L--R on this Side, by the
time the A--y [army] comes up, and work afterwards with as many men as
the Other Corps will give me." From Edmonds Swamp St. Clair wrote next
(no date): "I got the Waggons safe as far as this post yesterday the
road is so far good, and if it had not rain'd so hard I was in hopes to
report the Road good this Night to Kikoney Pawlings.... If you think the
Road from Rays town to the Shanoe Cabins will be wet in the autumn, it
wou'd be well to open the Road over the two Risings, and it wou'd be
shorter for our Returned Waggons. I shall send out a Reconoitering party
25 Miles northward that we may know the Paths that lead to sidling

By the last of August all parties concerned were beginning to realize
that the young Washington had been telling some plain truth when he
urged Forbes not to try this new route. On the twenty-seventh Bouquet
wrote St. Clair: "I am extremely disappointed in my Expectation of the
Road being open before this time to the foot of Lawrell Hill ... push
that Road with all possible dispatch ... the Chief thing we want is the
Communication open for Waggons to Loyal Hannon. Employ all your Strength
there, and Colonel Burd has order to cut backwards to you from L.
Han.... Capt Dudgeon and M^r Dapt will oversee some Part of the Road,
and every body is to stir and make amend for their unaccountable
slowness." Bouquet blamed St. Clair for the delay and Forbes wrote him
from Shippensburg August 28: "The slow advance of the new road and the
cause of it touch me to the quick, it was a thing I early foresaw and
guarded again[st] such an assistant with all the force and Energy of
words that I was master of, but being over ruled was resolved to make
the most I could of a wrong head ... the Virginians who are able to
march ... might advance as far forward upon Braddock's road as to that
part of it which is most contiguous to our second deposite, which I
think might be about Saltlick Creek.... The using of Braddock's road I
have always had in mind was it only a blind--pray lose no time as that
does not oblidge us to march, before we see proper."

Forbes alone realized that despatch was not to be, necessarily, the
secret of the success of his campaign, though he had urged Bouquet to
hasten the roadmaking as fast as possible. He had his eyes fixed
elsewhere than on the Allegheny ranges; he knew the Indians at Fort
Duquesne were weary of the listless campaign; that Bradstreet had been
sent against Fort Frontenac (which, if captured, would shut Fort
Duquesne completely off from Quebec); that by the first of September a
hundred Indians were already gathered at Easton ready for a treaty; that
the brave Post was now among the Delawares bringing the final
opportunity for them to abandon the French cause. On September 2 he
wrote Bouquet hinting of all these circumstances and urging delay in
everything but mere road-building. On the sixth of September Forbes
wrote Pitt:

"In my last I had the honour to acquaint you, of my proceedings in the
new road across the Alleganey mountains, and over Laurell Hill, (leaving
the Rivers Yohieganey and Monongahela to my left hand) strait to the
Ohio, by which I have saved a great deal of way, and prevented the
misfortunes that the overflowing of those rivers might occasion.

"I acquainted you likewise of the suspicions I had, of the small trust I
could repose in the Pennsylvanians in assisting of me with anyone
necessary, or any help in furthering the service that they did not think
themselves compelled to do by the words of your letter to them.... My
advanced post consisting of 1500 men, are now in possession of a strong
post 9 miles on the other side of Laurell Hill, and about 40 from Fort
Du Quesne, nor had the Enemy even suspected my attempting such a road
till very lately, they having been all along securing the strong
passes, and fords of the rivers upon Gen^l Braddock's route."[73]

Forbes had been in Philadelphia while Bouquet was struggling away at
Raystown with his thousand perplexities. Early in July he had proceeded
to Carlisle where he remained stricken down "with a cursed flux" until
the eleventh of August. Two days later he reached Shippensburg, where he
was again prostrated and unable to advance until the middle of
September. It is difficult to realize that the campaign had been
directed so largely by this prostrate man whose "excruciating pains"
often left him "as weak as a new-born infant" and who, when able to be
about camp, retired "at eight at night, if able to sit up so late." All
of this might well have been stated long ago but it is of particular
significance now that Forbes's correspondence of the whole summer has
been systematically reviewed. The very trials and perplexities, the
crying need for his bravery and resolution, seemed in a measure to keep
him alive.

No one can study this campaign without yearning to know more of the
impetuous soul which threw its last grain of strength into making it a
triumphant success. The Indians called Forbes "The Head of Iron"--and no
words can better describe the man. Giving all praise possible to Bouquet
for his sturdy and active service throughout the summer, it is still
plain that the dying Forbes was the magnetic influence that made others
strong. Those were dark days at Raystown when at last the pale general
arrived upon the ground; "had not the General come up," wrote an officer
on the spot, "the Consequence wou'd have been dangerous."[74] Bouquet
was an invaluable man but the "Head of Iron" in command was needed.

The remainder of the campaign has been often told and in detail.
Washington and his Virginians came northward over the newly-cut road to
Fort Bedford at Raystown and plunged westward to the Loyalhannan, to
which point Armstrong and St. Clair pushed the road-building. Washington
himself supervised the cutting of Forbes's road westward from Fort
Ligonier toward Fort Duquesne. Much as he had wrangled with Bouquet as
to the propriety of making a new road he was as good as his word and
worked heroically for its success. Never, even in Braddock's death-trap
on the Monongahela, did he come nearer giving his life to his country.
Forbes's first check came when Grant's command, sent forward from Fort
Ligonier to reconnoitre Fort Duquesne, was cut to pieces on Grant's Hill
within sight of the French fort. Eight hundred men went on the
expedition; two hundred and seventy-three were killed, wounded, or
captured. Bouquet reported the disaster to Forbes on the seventeenth of
September, upon which the sad man "deeply touched by this reverse,"
writes Parkman, "yet expressed himself with a moderation that does him
honor." "Your letter of the seventeenth I read with no less surprise
than concern, as I could not believe that such an attempt would have
been made without my knowledge and concurrence. The breaking in upon our
fair and flattering hopes of success touches me most sensibly. There are
two wounded highland officers just now arrived, who give so lame an
account of the matter that one can draw nothing from them, only that my
friend Grant most certainly lost his wits, and by his thirst of fame
brought on his own perdition, and ran great risk of ours." The brave
generosity of these words is not so significant as the fact that this
pain-racked man, far behind on the road, had such a grasp of the
minutest detail of the whole campaign that Bouquet, he believed, would
not even send out a scouting party in force without his "knowledge and

A letter from Forbes to Bouquet dated Reastown, September 23rd, contains
some interesting paragraphs: "The description of the roads is so various
and disagreeable that I do not know what to think or say. Lieutenant
Evans came down here the other day, and described Laurell Hill as, at
present, impracticable, but he said he could mend it with the assistance
of 500 men, fascines and fagots, in one day's time. Col. Stephens
writes Col. Washington that he is told by everybody that the road from
Loyal Hannon to the Ohio and the French fort is now impracticable. For
what reason, or why, he writes thus I do not know; but I see Col.
Washington and my friend, Col. Byrd, would rather be glad this was true
than otherways, seeing the other road (their favourite scheme) was not
followed out. I told them plainly that, whatever they thought, yet I did
aver that, in our prosecuting the present road, we had proceeded from
the best intelligence that could be got for the good and convenience of
the army, without any views to oblige any one province or another; and
added that those two gentlemen were the only people that I had met with
who had shewed their weakness in their attachment to the province they
belong to, by declaring so publickly in favour of one road without their
knowing anything of the other, having never heard from any Pennsylvania
person one word about the road; and that, as for myself, I could safely
say--and believed I might answer for you--that the good of the service
was the only view we had at heart, not valuing the provincial interest,
jealousys, or suspicions, one single two-pence; and that, therefore, I
could not believe Col. Stephen's descriptions untill I had heard from
you, which I hope you will very soon be able to disprove. I fancy what I
have said more on this subject will cure them from coming upon this
topic again."

Forbes's next check was more ominous than Grant's scrimmage. It was not
administered by the French--though they followed up the decisive victory
on Grant's Hill with various attacks in force upon Fort Ligonier--but by
the clouded heavens. A wet autumn set in early as if to make St. Clair's
road doubly "diabolical." Forbes wrote Bouquet on October 15: "Your
Description of the roads pierces me to the very soul yet still my hopes
are that a few Dry days would make things wear a more favourable aspect
as all Clay Countries are either good or bad for Carriages according to
the wet or dry season. It is true we cannot surmount impossibilities nor
prevent unforseen accidents but it must be a comfort both to you and I
still that we proceeded w^t Caution in the choice of this road and in
the opinion of every Disinterested man, it had every advantage over the
other. And I am not sure but it has so still considering the Yachiogeny
& Monongehela rivers--so I beg y^t you will without taking notice to any
body make yourself master of the arguments for and objections against
the two roads so that upon comparison one may Judge how far we have been
in the right in our Choice. N. B. If any party goes out after the Enemy
they ought to have instructions always with regard to the roads forward
as likewise ye Communication twixt Loyalhana and the nearest part of M^r
Braddocks road which want of all things to be reconnoitred in order to
stop foolish mouths if it chances to prove anyways as good or
practicable. May not such a communication be found without crossing
Laurel hill?"

These are exceedingly interesting words when we know that failure stared
Forbes in the face. This might mean official inquiry or court martial;
in such a case there would have been, no doubt, question raised as to
the "right" of Forbes's and Bouquet's "choice." But the fact that
Forbes desired to know the exact condition of Braddock's Road, to get
into it if it seemed best, and to prove the soundness of his judgment if
it was found to be useless, is especially significant because it shows
so plainly that the weary man already scented failure. In a few days he
wrote again: "These four days of constant rain have completely ruined
the road. The wagons would cut it up more in an hour than we could
repair in a week. I have written to General Abercrombie, but have not
had one scrap of a pen from him since the beginning of September; so it
looks as if we were either forgot or left to our fate."

Early in November the poor man was carried on over the mountains to Fort
Ligonier where the whole army, approximately six thousand strong, lay.
Hope of continuing the campaign had fled and the desperate prospect of
wintering amid the mountains, with no certainty of receiving sufficient
stores to keep man and beast alive, stared the whole army in the face.
Nevertheless, at a council of officers it was decided to attempt nothing
further that season.

In a few hours three prisoners were brought into camp who reported the
true condition of affairs at Fort Duquesne. Bradstreet had destroyed the
stores destined for the Ohio by the destruction of Fort Frontenac.
Ligneris, the commandant, had consequently been compelled to send home
his Illinois and Louisiana militia. The brave Post had succeeded in
alienating the Ohio Indians. The remainder at Fort Duquesne were glad
now to hurry away into their winter quarters in their distant homelands.
The gods had favored the brave.

Immediately Forbes determined upon a hurried advance with a picked body
of twenty-five hundred men, unencumbered. Washington and Armstrong
hastened ahead to cut the pathway. A strong vanguard led the way. Behind
them came the hero of the hour and of the campaign, Forbes, borne on his
litter. The Highlanders occupied the center of the rear, with the Royal
Americans and provincials on their right and left under Bouquet and
Washington. On the night of the twenty-fourth the little army lay on its
arms in the hills of Turkey Creek, near Braddock's fatal field. At
midnight a booming report startled them. Were the French welcoming the
long-expected reënforcements from Presque Isle and Niagara--or had a
magazine exploded? In the morning some advised a delay to reconnoitre.
Forbes scorned the suggestion; "I will sleep," he is said to have
exclaimed, "in Fort Duquesne or in hell tonight."

At dusk that November evening the army marched breathlessly down the
wide, hard trace over which Beaujeu had led his rabble toward Braddock's
army and, without opposition, came at last within sight of the goal upon
which the eyes of the world had been directed so long. The barracks and
store-house of Fort Duquesne were burned, the fortifications blown up
and the French--gone forever.

Two days later a weary man sat within an improvised house and with a
feeble hand indited a letter to the British Secretary of State. And all
it contained was summed up in its first words: "Pittsbourgh 27^{th}
Novem^r 1758." It was Pitt's bourgh now. The region about the junction
of the Allegheny and Monongahela was known in Kentucky as "the Pitt

The generous Bouquet expressed the sentiment of the army when he
affirmed: "After God, the success of this expedition is entirely due to
the General." When Forbes's physical condition is understood, his last
campaign must be considered one of the most heroic in the annals of
America. "Its solid value was above price. It opened the Great West to
English enterprise, took from France half her savage allies, and
relieved the western borders from the scourge of Indian war. From
southern New York to North Carolina, the frontier populations had cause
to bless the memory of the steadfast and all-enduring soldier."[75]

Forbes soon became unable to write or dictate a letter. On the terrible
return journey over his freshly-hewn road he suffered intensely,
sometimes losing consciousness. He was carried the entire distance to
Philadelphia on his litter, and in March he died. His body, at last free
from pain, was laid with befitting honors in the chancel of Christ

The following death notice and appreciation of General Forbes appeared
in the Pennsylvania _Gazette_ March 15, 1759:

"On Sunday last, died, of a tedious illness, John Forbes, Esq., in the
49th year of his age, son to ---- Forbes, Esq., of Petmerief, in the
Shire of Fife, in Scotland, Brigadier General, Colonel of the 17th
Regiment of North America; a gentleman generally known and esteemed, and
most sincerely and universally regretted. In his younger days he was
bred to the profession of physic, but, early ambitious of the military
character, he purchased into the Regiment of _Scott's Grey Dragoons_,
where, by repeated purchases and faithful services, he arrived to the
rank of Lieutenant Colonel. His superior abilities soon recommended him
to the protection of General Campbell, the Earl of Stair, Duke of
Bedford, Lord Ligonier, and other distinguished characters in the army;
with some of them as an aid; with the rest in the familiarity of a
family man. During the last war he had the honor to be employed in the
post of Quarter-Master General, in the army under his Royal Highness,
the Duke, which duty he discharged with accuracy, dignity and dispatch.
His services in America are well known. By a steady pursuit of
well-concerted measures, in defiance of disease and numberless
obstructions, he brought to a happy issue a most extraordinary campaign,
and made a willing sacrifice of his own life to what he valued more--the
interests of his king and country. As a man he was just and without
prejudices; brave, without ostentation; uncommonly warm in his
friendships, and incapable of flattery; acquainted with the world and
mankind, he was well-bred, but absolutely impatient of formality and
affectation. As an officer, he was quick to discern useful men and
useful measures, generally seeing both at first view, according to their
real qualities; steady in his measures, and open to information and
council; in command he had dignity without superciliousness; and though
perfectly master of the forms, never hesitated to drop them, when the
spirit and more essential parts of the service required it.

"Yesterday, (14th,) he was interred in the Chancel of Christ's Church,
in this city."

A fellow-countryman of Forbes has built beside Forbes's Road (now Forbes
Street), in the city of Pittsburg, a magnificent library. What could be
more fitting or beautiful than that this brave Scotchman's memory should
be honored with a monumental pillar here on his road which "opened the
Great West to English enterprise?" And let it bear the sweet human
testimony of a British historian: "No general was ever more beloved by
the men under his command."[76]



There is another hero of Forbes's Road. The rough days of that summer of
1758 were only suggestions of what was to come. Other armies than that
of Forbes were to pass this way, for, be it understood at once, Forbes's
Road became the great military highway into the West. No single road in
America witnessed so many campaigns; no road in America was fortified by
such a chain of forts. For a generation this route from Lancaster by
Carlisle, Bedford, Ligonier to Pittsburg was the most important
thoroughfare to the West.

The French retired from Fort Duquesne, down the Ohio and up the
Allegheny. The remainder of the war was fought far away on the St.
Lawrence. Hardly a shot was fired in the West after the skirmishes at
Fort Ligonier succeeding Grant's defeat. The French at Venango and
Detroit made light of Forbes's occupation of Fort Duquesne. They had
retired voluntarily and swore to return in the spring. In a dozen
western posts the French bragged still of their possession of the West
and of their future conquests. The Indians believed each boast.

In the next year's campaign Quebec fell. New France passed away, and all
French territory east of the Mississippi, save only a fishing station on
the island of Newfoundland came into the hands of the English. But this
campaign was fought in the far northeast. Of it the West and its
redskinned inhabitants knew nothing. Fort Niagara was the most westerly
fort which had succumbed; Fort Duquesne, technically, was evacuated. The
real story of the successive French defeats was, perhaps, little heard
of in the West; or, if communicated to the Indian allies there, the
logical conclusion was not plain to them. How could a land be conquered
where not a single battle had been fought? So far as the Indians were
concerned, France was never more in possession of their western lakes
and forests than then. Was not the blundering Braddock killed and his
fine army utterly put to rout? Were not the French forts in the
West--Presque Isle, Venango, Le Boeuf, Miami, and Detroit, secure?
Fort Duquesne could be reoccupied whenever the French would give the
signal. The leaden plates of France still reposed at the mouths of the
rivers of the West and the Arms of the King of France still rattled in
the wind which swept the land.

Fancy the surprise of the Indians, then, when little parties of redcoat
soldiers came into the West, and, with quiet insolence, took possession
of the French forts and of the Indian's land! And the French moved
neither hand nor foot to oppose them, though through so many years they
had boasted their prowess, and though ten Wyandots could have done so
successfully. Detroit was surrendered to a mere corporal's guard, and
the lesser forts to a sentry's watch each. It remained for the newcomers
to inform the Indians of the events which led to the changing of the
flags on these inland fortresses--to tell them that the French armies
had been utterly overwhelmed, and the French capital captured, and
French rule in America at an end.

But these explanations, given glibly, no doubt, by arrogant English
officers, were repeated over and over by the Indians, and slowly, before
a hundred, yea, a thousand dim fires in the forests. We can believe it
was not all plain to them, this sudden conquest of a country where
hardly a battle had been fought for eight years, and that battle the
greatest victory ever achieved by the red man. Perhaps messengers were
sent back to the forts to gain, casually, additional information
concerning this marvelous conquest by proxy. French traders, as
ignorant, or feigning to be, as the Indians, were implored to explain
the sudden forgetfulness of the French "Father" of the Indians.

It was inexplicable. The news spread rapidly: "The French have
surrendered our land to the English." Fierce Shawanese around their
fires at Chillicothe on the Scioto heard the news, and sullenly passed
it on westward to the Miamis, and eastward to the angered Delawares on
the Muskingum, who had now forgotten Frederick Post. The Senecas on the
upper Allegheny heard the news. The Ottawas and Wyandots on both sides
of the Detroit River heard it--and before the fires of each of these
fierce French-loving Indian nations there was much silence while
chieftains pondered, and the few words uttered were stern and cruel.

Cruel words grew to angry threats. By what right, the chieftains asked,
could the French surrender the Black Forest to the English? When did the
French come to own the land, after all? They were the guests, the
friends of the Indian--not his conquerors. The French built forts, it is
true, but they were for the Indian as well as for the French, and were
forts in name only, and the more of them the merrier! But now a
conqueror had come, telling the Indian the land was no longer his, but
belonged to the British king.

Threats soon grew into visible form. Where it started is not surely
known--some say from the Senecas on the upper Allegheny--but soon a
fearful Bloody Belt went on a journey with its terrible summons to war.
It passed to the Delawares and to the Shawanese and Miamis and Wyandots,
and where it went the death halloo sounded through the forests. The call
was to the Indians of the Black Forest to rise and cast out the English
from the land. If the French could not have it, certainly no one else
should. The dogs of war were loosened. The young warriors of the
Allegheny and Muskingum and Scioto and Miami and Detroit danced wildly
before the fires, and the old men sang their half-forgotten war chants.

The terrible war which in 1763 burst over the West has never been
paralleled by savages the world over in point of swift success. This may
be attributed to the fact that a leader was found in Pontiac, a
chieftain in the Ottawa nation, who for daring and intelligence was
never matched by a man of his race. He had the courage of sweeping and
patriotic convictions. He saw in the English occupation of the land the
doom of the red man. Indeed he must have seen it before, but if so he
had not had an opportunity to put his convictions to a public test. The
Indian was becoming a changed man. The implements and utensils of the
white man were adopted by the red. The independent forest arts of their
fathers were beginning to be forgotten. Kettles and blankets and powder
and lead were taking the place of the wooden bowls and fur robes and
swift flint heads. In another generation the art of making a living for
himself in the forest would be forgotten by the Indian, and he would
henceforth be absolutely dependent upon the foreigner. All this Pontiac
saw. He felt commissioned to lead a return to nature. The arts of the
white man must be discarded and the Indians must come back to their
primitive mode of living in dependence upon their own skill and

And so Pontiac waged a religious war. At a great convention of the
savages he told them that a Delaware Indian had, while lost in the
forests, been guided into a path which led to the home of the Great
Spirit, and, on coming there, had been upbraided by the Master of Life
himself for the degenerate state to which his race was falling. The
forest arts of their fathers must be encouraged and relied upon. The
utensils of the white man must be banished from the wigwams. Bows and
arrows and tomahawks and stone hatchets should not be discarded.
Otherwise the Great Spirit would take away their land from them and give
it to others. And so, much of the fury which accompanied the war was a
sort of religious frenzy. "The Master of Life himself has stirred us
up," said the warriors.

Pontiac's plot--undoubtedly the most comprehensive military campaign
ever conceived in redman's brain--was discovered by the British at Fort
Miami, on the Maumee River, in March 1763, four years after the fall of
Quebec. There the Bloody Belt was found and secured before it could be
forwarded to the Wabash with its murderous message. By threats and
warnings the untutored English officers thought to quell the
disturbance. Amherst, his Majesty's commanding general in America,
haughtily condemned the signs of revolution as "unwarranted." Moreover
he gave his officers in the West authority to declare to the Indian
chieftains that if they should conspire they would in his eyes, make "a
contemptible figure!" Time passed and the garrisons breathed easily as
quiet reigned.

It was but the lull before the storm. On the seventh of May, Pontiac,
who led his Ottawas at Braddock's defeat, appeared before Detroit, the
metropolis of the northwest, with three hundred warriors. The
watchfulness of the brave Major Gladwin, a well-trained pupil in that
school on Braddock's Road, and the failure of Pontiac to capture the
fort by strategy, though his warriors were admitted within its walls and
had shortened guns concealed beneath their blankets, was the dramatic
beginning of a reign of terror and a war of devastation all the way from
Sault St. Marie to even beyond the crest of the Alleghenies. Pontiac
immediately invested Detroit and throughout the Black Forest his
faithful allies did their Ottawa chieftain's will. On the sixteenth of
May, Fort Sandusky was surrounded by Indians seemingly friendly. The
British commander permitted seven to enter. As they sat smoking, by the
turn of a head the signal was given and the commander was a prisoner.
As he was hurried out of the fort he saw, here one dead soldier, there
another--victims of the massacre. Nine days later a band of Indians
appeared before the fort at the mouth of the St. Joseph. "We are come to
see our relatives," they said, "and wish the garrison good morning."
Within two minutes after their entrance the commanding officer and three
men were prisoners and eleven others were murdered. Two days later the
commander of Fort Miami, on the Maumee River, came, at an Indian girl's
pitiful plea, to the Indian village to bleed a sick child. He was shot
in his tracks. Four days later the commander of Fort Ouatianon, on the
Wabash, was inveigled into an Indian cabin and captured, the fort
surrendering forthwith. Two days later Indians gathered at Fort
Michilimackinac to engage in a game of lacrosse. At the height of the
contest the ball was thrown near a gate of the fort. In the twinkling of
an eye the commanding officer who stood watching the game was seized,
and the Indians, snatching tomahawks from under the blankets of squaws
who were standing in proper position, entered the fort and killed
fifteen soldiers outright and took the remainder of the garrison

Sixteen days later Fort Le Boeuf, on French Creek, where Washington
delivered his message to the haughty St. Pierre a decade before, was
attacked by an overwhelming army of savages. Keeping the enemy off until
midnight, the garrison made good its escape, unknown to the exultant
besiegers who had already fired one corner bastion, and fled down the
river to Fort Pitt. On their way they passed the smouldering ruins of
Fort Venango. Two days later Fort Presque Isle was attacked. In two days
the commander, senseless with terror, struck his flag. The same day Fort
Ligonier on Forbes's Road was invested by a besieging army.

Thus the campaign of Pontiac, prosecuted with such swiftness and such
success, bade fair to end in triumph. "We hate the English," the Indians
sent word to the French on the Mississippi, "and wish to kill them. We
are all united: the war is our war, and we will continue it for seven
years. The English shall never come into the West!"

But Fort Detroit and Fort Pitt stood firm. For months Pontiac
beleaguered the northern fortress, gaining advantages whenever the
garrison attacked him, but unable to reduce the fort. All summer long
the eyes of the world were upon Detroit; and the gallant defense of Fort
Pitt, was, comparatively, forgotten. But the maintenance of this
strategic point was of incalculable importance to the West. The garrison
felt this. And here, if anywhere, was courage shown in battle. Here, if
ever, brave men faced fearful odds with unshaken courage worthy of their
Saxon blood.

In planning his campaign Pontiac delegated the Shawanese and Delawares
to carry Fort Pitt. If they could not do it he might be assured that the
position was impregnable. They were his most reliable warriors, and,
once given the task of carrying out the second most important _coup_ of
their great leader's plan, could be trusted to use any alternative
savage lust could suggest, or trick savage cunning could invent in order
to accomplish their portion of the terrible conquest of the West. The
defense of Detroit was brave; but Detroit was on the great water highway
east and west. Succor was possible, in fact probable, in time; if not,
there was a way of escape. At Fort Pitt could either be expected? The
only approach to it was this indifferent roadway hewn westward from
Bedford in 1758. Moreover the fort had never been completed. On three
sides the flood tides of the rivers had injured it. Ecuyer, its valiant
defender, threw up a rough rampart of logs and palisaded the interior.
And in this fragile fortress, hardly worthy of the name, behind which
lay the darkling Alleghenies and about which loomed the Black Forest,
were gathered some six hundred souls, a larger community, probably, than
the total population of Detroit. And around on every side were gathered
the lines of ochred warriors preparing for another charge even to the
very blood-bespattered walls. The garrison might well have believed
itself beyond the reach of succor, if indeed succor could avail before
need of it had vanished. The bones of Braddock's seven hundred slain
lay scattered about the forests only seven miles away. Could another
army come again? Little wonder that the Shawanese and Delawares were
already flushed with victory as they renewed their unavailing attacks.

The task of relieving Fort Pitt was placed upon the tried shoulders of
Colonel Henry Bouquet, whose brilliant services in Forbes's campaign
have been fully described. Amherst, then commanding in America, sent him
the remains of the Forty-second and Seventy-seventh regiments, which
amounted to the pitiful total of three hundred and forty-seven men and
officers; concerning additional troops Amherst was painfully plain:
"Should the whole race of Indians take arms against us I can do no
more." Recruits joined the army as it moved along through Lancaster and
Carlisle, which augmented the force slightly.

But the brave Bouquet, with an army not exceeding five hundred men, set
out westward from Bedford on the rough road he himself had made with the
vanguard of the "Head of Iron" five years before. The appalling
condition in which he found the country along the border would have
daunted a less bold man. Every fort from Lake Erie to the Ohio had been
razed to the ground. The whole country was panic-stricken. Houses were
left vacant or burned, together with crops, and the mountain roads were
blocked with fugitives, half famished, who threw themselves upon the
intrepid Bouquet at his camps. It was indeed a trying time, a time for
such a man as Bouquet to show himself.

Never did the success of a campaign in the history of war depend more on
the sagacity, bravery, and personal knowledge of a single commanding
officer. This daring Swiss was everywhere and everything. He knew that
the enemy, though they retired before him even as he approached Fort
Ligonier, were watching every movement of the coming army. He knew they
were cognizant of his weakness, the debility of his men, the lack of
provision, the paucity of scouts and spies. He knew, and so did the
silent, lurking spies of the enemy, that Braddock's slain outnumbered
his whole force.

But Ligonier--named by Bouquet himself from a warrior whose bravery was
now his inspiration--was not a place to pause, though just beyond lay
the death-trap where Aubrey had defeated the ill-fated Grant five years
before. On he went. As the inevitable battle-ground was neared Bouquet
redoubled his watchfulness. When a darker defile than usual was reached,
with a rifle across his lap, the commander went forward and himself led
the army's van into it.

On the morning of the fifth of August tents were struck early and
another day's march commenced. Over broken country enveloped in forests
the army went its way. By one o'clock they had made seventeen miles and
were not less than half a mile from Bushy Run, their proposed camping
place. Suddenly was heard the report of rifle fire in front. As the main
army listened the noise quickened to a sharp rattle--and the decisive
battle of Bushy Run was commenced.

The two foremost companies were ordered forward to support the vanguard
now hotly engaged. This causing no abatement, the convoy was halted and
a general charge formed. By an onward rush, with fixed bayonets, Bouquet
and his eager men cleared the field. But firing on the right and left
and in the rear announced that both flanks and the convoy were
simultaneously attacked. An order was given to fall back. This having
been executed, an unbroken circle was formed about the terrified horses.

Though in number the combatants were nearly equal, the savages had all
the advantage of a superior force fighting under cover. Bouquet's army,
like Braddock's, was in the open. With furious cries accompanied by a
heavy fire, the Indians attempted to break the iron circle. And they
fought with sly cunning. Not waiting to receive the answering attacks,
they leaped behind the nearest trees, only to come back to the attack
with increased ferocity from another quarter. The English suffered
severely while the active Indians, under cover, were almost untouched.
Nothing but implicit confidence in Bouquet could have inspired this
little army with the steadiness it displayed. No one lost composure.
Each man knew they could not retreat or advance--fight they must and
fight they surely did.

Night came, and under cover of the darkness the wearied soldiers cared
for the wounded. Placed in the cleared center of the circle, a rude wall
of sacks of flour was built around them. Here, enduring agonies of
thirst, for not a drop of water could be obtained, they lay listening to
the fiendish yells of the enemy--a poor cure for wounds and burning

When the necessary arrangements for the night had been completed and
provision made against a night attack, Bouquet, doubtful of surviving
the morrow's battle, wrote to Sir Jeffrey Amherst a brief and concise
account of the day's fight. His report ends with these words:

"... As, in case of another engagement, I fear insurmountable,
difficulties in protecting and transporting our provisions, being
already so much weakened by the losses of this day, in men and horses,
besides the additional necessity of carrying the wounded, whose
situation is truly deplorable."

Even before morning light, the beastly, impatient cries of the Indians
began to be heard on every side, soon accompanied by a deadly fire. As
on the preceding day the return fire had little effect, for the savages
silently vanished at the gleam of leveled bayonets. But at ten o'clock
the ring remained unbroken though the troops were already fatigued and
were now crazed by torments of thirst, "more intolerable than the
enemy's fire." The horses, often struck and completely terrified, now
broke away by scores and madly galloped up and down the neighboring
hills. The ranks were constantly thinning. It was plain to all that a
decisive and immediate bold stroke must be made.

The commander was equal to the emergency! The confidence of the foe had
grown so overbearing that Bouquet determined to stake everything upon
the very recklessness of his enemies. The portion of the circle which
immediately fronted the Indians, and which was composed of light
infantry, was ordered to feign retreat. As this movement was
accomplished, a thin line of men was thrown across the deserted
position from the sides, drawing in close to the convoy. Thinking this
to be a retreat, which the new line had been summoned to cover, the
Indians, with cutting screams, jumped out from every side and rushed
headlong toward the centre of the circle. Then, suddenly upon their rear
poured the light infantry, which had made a marvelous detour through the
woods. With a frightful bayonet charge and with highland yells as
piercing as those of the Indians, the grenadiers, flushed with victory,
drove the terrified savages through the forests. In the twinkling of an
eye the outcries of the savages ceased altogether and not a living foe
remained. Sixty Indian corpses lay scattered about the camp. Only one
captive was taken and he was riddled with English bullets. The loss of
the English amounted to eight officers and one hundred and fifteen men.
This was the first English victory over the Indians of the central West.
Fort Necessity, Braddock's Field, and Grant's Hill were now avenged. It
was a late victory but was far better late than never. Fort Pitt was


What Forbes's Road was to Pittsburg and the West in the Old French War
and in Pontiac's Rebellion it was in the Revolutionary days, 1775-83.
For thirty years after it was built it was the main highway across the
mountains. It is impossible to estimate the worth of this straight
roadway to the Ohio; had Forbes followed Braddock's Road to Fort Pitt,
western travel ever after would have been at the mercy of the two
rivers, the Youghiogheny and Monongahela, which that road crosses. In
the winter months it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to
have kept open communication between a line of forts and blockhouses on
Braddock's Road. This was done on Forbes's Road throughout the half
century of conflict.

At the opening of the Revolutionary War, the continental war office
being at Philadelphia, Forbes's Road became more strategic than ever in
its history. It was now known as the "Pennsylvania Road," and was the
direct route to the military center of the West, Fort Pitt. Braddock's
Road--now known as the "Virginia Road"--was the main route from
Virginia and Maryland. In the dispute between Virginia and Pennsylvania
for the region of which Fort Pitt was the center, the two routes thither
were the avenues of the two contending factions. With the drowning of
this quarrel in the momentous struggle precipitated in 1775, Forbes's
Road at once became preëminently important. Cattle and goods were
frequently sent over Braddock's Road as far as Brownsville and forwarded
by water to Fort Pitt and the American forts on the Ohio. But far
greater was the activity on Forbes's Road. Forts Bedford and Ligonier,
and a score of fortified cabins at such points as Turtle Creek,
Sewickly, Bullock Pens, Widow Myers, Proctors, Brush Run, Reyburn's, and
Hannastown served to guard the main thoroughfare to the Ohio. Between
these points scouts were continually hurrying, and over the narrow
roadway passed the wagons and pack-horses laden with ammunition and
stores. Hannastown and Ligonier became the important _entrepôts_ between
Carlisle and Fort Pitt in the Revolution. Carlisle was the important
eastern depot of troops and ammunition from which both eastern and
western commanders received supplies.[77] Garrisons along the
Pennsylvania Road were ordered at the close of the war to report at
Carlisle for their pay.[78] Hannastown, thirty miles east of Fort Pitt
and three miles northeast of the present Greensburg, was the first
collection of huts on the Pennsylvania Road between Bedford and
Pittsburg dignified by the name of a town. At the breaking out of the
Revolution it was the most important settlement in all Westmoreland
County save only those about Forts Pitt and Ligonier. "These huts
scattered along the narrow pack-horse track among the monster trees of
the ancient forest, was that Hannastown, which occupied such a prominent
place in the early history of Western Pennsylvania where was held the
first court west of the Alleghany where the resolves of May 16, 1775,
were passed."[79] From this rude little cluster of huts on Forbes's
Road, deep in the Allegheny mountains, came one of the first and most
spirited protests against British tyranny. From such sparks the flames
of revolution were soon fanned. Hannastown "was burned last Saturday
afternoon," wrote General Irvine to Secretary of War Lincoln, July 16,
1782; "... that place is about thirty-five miles in the rear of Fort
Pitt, on the main road leading to Philadelphia, generally called the
Pennsylvania [Forbes's] road. The Virginia [Braddock's] road is yet
open, but how long it will continue so is uncertain, as this stroke has
alarmed the whole country beyond conception."

In winter the road was almost impassable; Brodhead wrote Richard Peters:
"The great Depth of Snow upon the Alleghany and Laurel Hills have
prevented our Getting every kind of Stores, nor do I expect to get any
now until the latter End of April."[80] General Irvine wrote his wife
January 8, 1782: "If the road was fit for sleighing I could now go down
(to Carlisle) snugly, but it is quite impracticable; it is barely
passable on horseback." Fort Pitt was invariably supplied with regular
troops from Lancaster or Carlisle, which marched over the Pennsylvania



Such had become the importance of the Pennsylvania Road that, soon after
the Revolutionary struggle, Pennsylvania took active steps to improve
it. On the twenty-first day of September an act of the Assembly of
Pennsylvania gave birth to the great thoroughfare at first called "The
Western Road to Pittsburg," and familiarly known since as the Pittsburg
or the Chambersburg-Pittsburg Pike.[82] This state road was, as
heretofore recorded, one hundred and ninety-seven miles in length from
Carlisle to Pittsburg. The road built in 1785-87 follows practically the
course of the present highway between the same points. Here and there
the traveler may see the olden track a few rods distant on his right or
left; at points it lies several miles to the south. The present
Pittsburg Pike passes through Greensburg, while old Hannastown on
Forbes's Road lies three miles to the northwest. The old route was a
little less careful as to hills than the new, and made a straighter line
across the country; the telephone companies have taken advantage of this
and send their wires along the easily discerned track of the old road at
many points. There is no point perhaps where the old road of 1785 is so
plainly to be remarked as on the side of the upper end of Long Hollow
Run, Napier township, Bedford County, a few miles west of historic
little Bedford.[83]

The Pennsylvania Road and its important branch, the "Turkey Foot" Road
to the Youghiogheny, became one of the important highways to the Ohio
basin in the pioneer era. With the digging of the Pennsylvania canal up
the valley of the Juniata, the Pennsylvania Road became less important
until it became what it is today, a merely local thoroughfare. For the
last two decades in the eighteenth century, the Pennsylvania Road held a
preëminent position--days when a good road westward meant everything to
the West. But the road could never be again what it was in the savage
days of '58, '63 and '75-'82, when it was the one fortified route to the
Ohio. The need for Forbes's Road passed when Forts Loudoun, Bedford,
Ligonier, and Pitt were demolished. While they were standing, the open
pathway between them meant everything to their defenders and to the
farmers and woodsmen about them. But it meant almost as much to the
fortresses far beyond in the wilderness of the Ohio Valley--Forts
McIntosh, Patrick Henry, Harmar, Finney, and Washington. The vast
proportion of stores and ammunition for the defenders of the Black
Forest of the West passed over Forbes's Road, and its story is linked
more closely than we can now realize with the occupation and the winning
of the West.

Mr. McMaster has an interesting paragraph on Forbes's Road in pioneer

"From Philadelphia ran out a road to what was then the far West. Its
course after leaving the city lay through the counties of Chester and
Lancaster, then sparsely settled, now thick with towns and cities and
penetrated with innumerable railways, and went over the Blue Ridge
mountains to Shippensburg and the little town of Bedford. Thence it
wound through the beautiful hills of western Pennsylvania, and crossed
the Alleghany mountains to the head-waters of the Ohio. It was known to
travelers as the northern route, and was declared to be execrable. In
reality it was merely a passable road, broad and level in the lowlands,
narrow and dangerous in the passes of the mountains, and beset with
steep declivities. Yet it was the chief highway between the Mississippi
valley and the East, and was constantly travelled in the summer months
by thousands of emigrants to the western country, and by long trains of
wagons bringing the produce of the little farms on the banks of the Ohio
to the markets of Philadelphia and Baltimore. In any other section of
the country a road so frequented would have been considered as
eminently pleasant and safe. But some years later the traveler who was
forced to make the journey from Philadelphia to Pittsburg in his
carriage and four, beheld with dread the cloud of dust which marked the
slow approach of a train of wagons. For nothing excited the anger of the
sturdy teamsters more than the sight of a carriage. To them it was the
unmistakable mark of aristocracy, and they were indeed in a particularly
good humor when they suffered the despised vehicle to draw up by the
road-side without breaking the shaft, or taking off the wheels, or
tumbling it over into the ditch. His troubles over, the traveler found
himself at a small hamlet, then known as Pittsburg."[84]

Forbes's Road, strictly speaking, began at Bedford, as Braddock's Road
began at Cumberland. In these pages the main route from
Philadelphia--the Pennsylvania Road--has been considered under the head
of Forbes's Road. The eastern extremity of this thoroughfare, or the
portion, sixty-six miles in length, between Philadelphia and Lancaster,
became the first macadamized road in the United States and demands
particular attention in another volume of this series[85].

Nothing could have been more surprising to the writer than to find how
remarkably this road held its own in competition with the Braddock or
the Cumberland Road south of it. Explain it as you will, nine-tenths of
the published accounts left by travelers of the old journey from
Philadelphia, Baltimore, or Washington into the Ohio Valley describe
this Pennsylvania route. The Cumberland Road was built from Cumberland,
Maryland to Wheeling, West Virginia, on the Ohio (1806-1818) at a cost
of nearly two million dollars, yet during the entire first half of that
century you will find that almost every important writer who passed over
the mountains went over the Pennsylvania Road. It is exceedingly
difficult to find a graphic picture of a journey over Braddock's Road
before 1800; contemporaneous descriptions of a journey over the
Cumberland or National Road are not numerous. On the other hand a
volume could be filled with descriptions of the old Pennsylvania Road
through Bedford and Ligonier. I believe the fame of the Cumberland Road
was due rather to the fact of its being a national enterprise--and the
first of its kind on the continent--than to any superiority it achieved
over competing routes. The idea of the road was grand and it played a
mighty part in the advancement of the West; but, such was the nature of
its course, that it does not seem to have been the "popular route" from
Washington to Pittsburg, the principal port on the Ohio River.

The Pennsylvania Road was the most important link between New England
and the Ohio Valley in the days when New England was sending the bravest
of its sons to become the pioneers of the rising empire in the West.
True, Venable has written:

  "The footsteps of a hundred years
    Have echoed, since o'er Braddock's Road,
  Bold Putnam and the Pioneers
    Led History the way they strode.

  "On wild Monongahela's stream
    They launched the Mayflower of the West,
  A perfect state their civic dream,
    A new New World their pilgrim quest."

It is due to the Pennsylvania Road, however, to correct the history of
these lofty strains. Putnam and his pioneers did not travel one step on
Braddock's Road, nor did they launch their boats on wild Monongahela's
stream. They came over the worn track of Forbes's Road through Carlisle
and Bedford, proceeding southwest through the "Glades" to the
Youghiogheny River at West Newton, Pennsylvania.[86]

Braddock's Road would have been exceedingly roundabout for New England
travelers, as Forbes long before clearly established. Pennsylvania's new
road, begun in 1785, was not a tempting route of travel for these New
Englanders in this year, 1788. "The roads, at that day," wrote Dr.
Hildreth, "across the mountains were the worst we can imagine--cut into
deep gullies on one side by mountain rains, while the other was filled
with blocks of sand stone.... As few of the emigrant wagons were
provided with lock-chains for the wheels, the downward impetus was
checked by a large log, or broken tree top, tied with a rope to the back
of the wagon and dragged along on the ground. In other places, the road
was so sideling that all the men who could be spared were required to
pull at the side stays, or short ropes attached to the upper side of the
wagons, to prevent their upsetting.... All this part of the country, and
as far east as Carlisle, had been, about twenty-five years before,
depopulated by the depredations of the Indians. Many of the present
inhabitants well remembered those days of trial, and could not see these
helpless women and children moving so far away into the wilderness as
Ohio, without expressing their fears.... Three days after ... they
reached the little village of Bedford. During this period they had
crossed "Sideling Hill," forded some of the main branches of the
Juniata, and threaded the narrow valleys along its borders. Every few
miles long strings of pack-horses met them on the road, bearing heavy
burthens of peltry and ginseng, the two main articles of export from the
regions west of the mountains. Others overtook them loaded with kegs of
spirits, salt, and bales of dry goods, on their way to the traders in
Pittsburg.... Four miles beyond Bedford, the road to the right was
called the "Pittsburg Road," while that to the left was called the
"Glade Road," and led to Simrel's ferry, on the Yohiogany river. This
was the route of the emigrants...."

This imperfect glimpse of these "founders of Ohio" toiling over the
Pennsylvania Road in 1788 on their way to Marietta--the vanguard of that
Ohio Company which made possible the "sublime" Ordinance of 1787--is
striking proof that this pathway was the link between the old and the
new New England.

The Pennsylvania Road was also a common route from Baltimore and
Washington; it was Arthur Lee's route to Pittsburg in 1784,[87] and Col.
John May's route from Baltimore to Pittsburg in 1788.[88] Francis Baily,
F.R.S., President of the Royal Astronomical Society of England, was
one of the well-known Englishmen who left a record of experiences on
this pioneer highway. In 1796 this gentleman started upon a tour from
Washington to Pittsburg. He mentions no other route than the one he
traversed, and it is altogether probable that he pursued the most
popular. On October 7 he left Washington, and, passing through
Fredericktown, Hagerstown, and Chambersburg, met the Pennsylvania Road
at McConnellstown, and traveled westward on it to Pittsburg.[89] That
Mr. Baily pursued the main route westward there can be no doubt. An
entry in his _Journal_ for October 11 reads: "Chambersburg is ... a
large and flourishing place, not inferior to Frederick's-town or
Hagar's-town; being, like them, on the high road to the western country,
it enjoys all the advantages which arise from such a continual body of
people as are perpetually emigrating thither."

The celebrated Morris Birkbeck, founder of the English settlement in
Illinois, journeyed from Washington, D.C., to Pittsburg, in 1817, by way
of Frederickstown and Hagerstown and the Pennsylvania Road. At
"McConnell's Town," under the date of May 23, he wrote in his journal:
"The road we have been travelling [from Washington, D. C.] terminates at
this place, where it strikes the great turnpike from Philadelphia to
Pittsburg."[90] Of the scenes about him Mr. Birkbeck writes:[91] "Old
America seems to be breaking up, and moving westward. We are seldom out
of sight, as we travel on this grand track, towards the Ohio, of family
groups.... To give an idea of the internal movements of this vast hive,
about 12,000 wagons passed between Baltimore and Philadelphia, in the
last year, with from four to six, carrying from thirty-five to forty
cwt. The cost of carriage is about seven dollars per cwt., from
Philadelphia to Pittsburg, and the money paid for the conveyance of
goods on this road, exceeds £300,000 sterling. Add to these the numerous
stages loaded to the utmost, and the innumerable travellers, on
horseback, on foot, and in light waggons, and you have before you a
scene of bustle and business, extending over a space of three hundred
miles, which is truly wonderful." Birkbeck does not mention the
Cumberland Road, though it is drawn on the map accompanying his book.
His advice to prospective immigrants is, in every instance, to come
westward by the Pennsylvania Road.[92]

W. Faux, the English farmer who came to America to examine Birkbeck's
scheme went westward by Braddock's (Cumberland) Road.[93] He returned to
the East, however, by the Pennsylvania Road. In examining the works of a
score of English travelers this was the only one I happened to find who
had gone westward over the Cumberland Road. Later travelers, as Charles
Augustus Murray, Martineau, and Dickens passed westward over the
Pennsylvania Canal and incline railway.

No sooner did this northern canal route and railway rob the Pennsylvania
and Cumberland roads of much business, than the Baltimore and Ohio
Railway, in turn, took it away from the canal. The building of the
railway was one of the epoch-making events in our national history; "I
consider this among the most important acts of my life," affirmed the
venerable Charles Carroll, the Maryland commissioner for the railway,
"second only to my signing the Declaration of Independence, if even it
be second to that."[94]

For a number of years the Baltimore and Ohio Railway--the heir and
assign of Braddock's Road and the famed Cumberland Road--was the great
avenue of western movement and progress. But brain and muscle, even
genius, cannot make two miles one mile. The shortest route across the
continent was, inevitably, to become the important highway. It must be
remembered that in the early days Philadelphia was the metropolis of
America, and Baltimore its chief rival. As long as these cities held the
balance of power and trade, a southerly route to Pittsburg, such as that
of Braddock's Road, then the Cumberland Road and, finally, the Baltimore
and Ohio Railway would be successful. But with the vast strides made by
New York, the center of power stole northward until no route to the Ohio
could compete with the most direct westward line from New York and

The question then became the same old-time problem which Forbes met and
decided. The straightest possible line of communication between
Philadelphia and Pittsburg was equally necessary in 1860 and in 1760.
The only difference was that made necessary by the doing away with the
heavy grades of pioneer roads and following the water courses.

The result was the Pennsylvania Railroad--and its motto is full of
significance, "Look at the Map." There is to be found the secret of its
splendid success. The distance from Philadelphia to Pittsburg on the
Baltimore and Ohio Railway (Connellsville route) is four hundred and
thirty-eight miles. The distance between Philadelphia and Pittsburg on
the Pennsylvania Railroad is three hundred and fifty-four miles--a
saving of eighty-four miles. These railways do not follow the old
highway routes closely but they mark their general alignment and are
frequently close beside them.

"Look at the map" was practically Forbes's challenge to those who
disputed his judgment a century and a half ago when he determined to
build a straight road from the heart of the colonies to the strategic
key of the Ohio Valley. His wisdom has been triumphantly confirmed in
the present generation.


[1] Affirmation of Shawanese to the Indian trader, John Walker; see Sir
John St. Clair's letter, p. 86 ff.

[2] _Historic Highways of America_, vol. vi, ch. I.

[3] Darlington's _Christopher Gist's Journals_, p. 32.

[4] _Id._, pp. 32, 33.

[5] _Pennsylvania Colonial Records_, vol. v, p. 750.

[6] Darlington's _Christopher Gist's Journals_, p. 33.

[7] _Id._, (notes), p. 91. Cf. Errett in _Magazine of Western History_,
May 1885, p. 53.

[8] _Id._, (notes), pp. 91-92.

[9] Later the site of Fort Shirley, Shirleysburg, Huntington County. See
_Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania_, vol. ii, p. 457.

[10] Menchtown, at the foot of Ray's Hill.

[11] Mt. Dallas.

[12] Bedford.

[13] Mile Hill, one mile east of Schellsburg, Bedford County.

[14] Buckstown, Somerset County.

[15] Quemahoning--"Stoney Creek."

[16] Ligonier, Westmoreland County.

[17] Delaware Indian village of some twenty huts situated in that part
of Pittsburg contained between Penn Avenue, Thirtieth Street and Two
Mile Run in the Twelfth Ward, along the shore of the Allegheny.

[18] Cf. _Forbes-Bouquet_, pp. 102-108.

[19] Proved by comparison with Dana's _Description of the Bounty Lands
in the State of Illinois; also the principal Roads and Routes_, pp. 55,

[20] For course of Indian path by compass see _Colonial Records_, vol.
v, p. 750, 751; for route of state road by compass see _Id._, vol. xvi,
pp. 466-477.

[21] _Pennsylvania Archives_, vol. ii, p. 132.

[22] The branch which left the main trail here led northwest to the
Kiskiminitas River and down that river to Kiskiminitas Old Town at Old
Town Run, seven miles distant from the Allegheny River. In the survey of
the main trail previously referred to (note 20) we read: "N. 64, W. 12
Miles to Loyal Hanin Old Town; N. 20. W. 10 Miles to the Forks of the
Road." The discrepancy is so great as to lead one to think there were
two routes from "Loyal Haning" to "the parting of the Road."

[23] _Pennsylvania Archives_, vol. ii, p, 135.

[24] Pennsylvania _Colonial Records_, vol. vi, p. 300.

[25] _Id._, p. 302.

[26] _Id._, p. 318.

[27] _Id._, p. 377.

[28] _Id._, p. 403.

[29] _Id._, p. 404.

[30] Sioussat's "Highway Legislation in Maryland," _Maryland Geological
Survey_ (special publication), vol. iii, part iii, p. 136.

[31] Pennsylvania _Colonial Records_, pp. 434, 435.

[32] _Id._, p. 435.

[33] _Id._, p. 431.

[34] _Id._, p. 446.

[35] _Id._, p. 452.

[36] _Id._, pp. 431, 460.

[37] _Id._, p. 485.

[38] _Id._, p. 493.

[39] _Id._, p. 499.

[40] For road-cutters' claim of £5000, see Pennsylvania _Colonial
Records_, vol. vi, pp. 523, 620-621.

[41] _Land Records of Allegheny County, Maryland_, Liber D, fol. 225.

[42] _Id._, p. 561.

[43] See Davies's Sermon, _Virginia's Danger and Remedy_, (Glasgow,
1756) 2d ed., p. 6; Cort's _Colonel Henry Bouquet_, p. 74; London
_Public Advertiser_, October 3, 1755; _Bouquet au Forbes_, July 31,
1758, p. 113; "I know of only one remedy for the frightful indolence of
the officers of these provinces, which would be to drum one out in the
presence of the whole army"--_Bouquet au Forbes_, July 1758; _Bouquet
Papers_, 21, 640, fol. 95. Bury: _Exodus of the Western Nations_, vol.
ii, pp. 250-251.

[44] Pennsylvania _Colonial Records_, vol. vi, p. 503.

[45] _Morris to Braddock_, July 3, 1755.

[46] _Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania_, vol. i, pp. 4, 5.

[47] Cabins fortified by their owners and neighbors.

[48] _Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania_, vol. i, p. 558.

[49] Braddock's Road cannot be considered as a wagon road at this time;
long before hostilities had ceased it had become impassable for wagons.

[50] _Frontier Forts of Pennsylvania_, vol. i, p. 536.

[51] _Historic Highways of America_, vol. ii, p. 85.

[52] _Pennsylvania Archives_, vol. iii, p. 119.

[53] Parkman: _Montcalm and Wolfe_, vol. ii, p. 41.

[54] _Montcalm and Wolfe_, vol. ii, p. 132.

[55] See note 60.

[56] This, as with all succeeding quotations from the correspondence of
Bouquet, Forbes, and St. Clair, was copied by the writer from the
originals in the _Bouquet Papers_ in the British Museum.

[57] The main route westward was, the year before, in poor condition
between Philadelphia and Bedford. _Loudon to Denny_, Pennsylvania
Archives, iii, pp. 278-279.

[58] _Forbes to Pitt_, October 20, 1758.

[59] By Hildreth and others.

[60] _Forbes to Governor Denny_ (of Pennsylvania), March 20, 1758:
Pennsylvania Records, N, p. 206.

[61] Note 43, first reference.

[62] Cf. _Historic Highways of America_, vol. iv, p. 192.

[63] Fort Frederick-Fort Cumberland route.

[64] Braddock's Road.

[65] Sparks: _Writings of Washington_, vol. ii, p. 295.

[66] _Id._, p. 298.

[67] Bouquet never exaggerates the difficulties that would attend Forbes
if he chose to march by Fort Cumberland.

[68] Sparks: _Writings of Washington_, (1834) vol. ii, p. 300, note.

[69] Quotations from Washington's correspondence can be identified by
dates in Sparks's _Writings of Washington_.

[70] _Forbes to Bouquet_, August 28, 1756.

[71] Sparks: _Writings of Washington_ (1834), vol. ii, p. 308, note.

[72] Washington's jealousy of Virginia's welfare appeared in 1755 when
the question of Braddock's route from Alexandria to Fort Cumberland
arose. It would seem to us today that conditions in Virginia must have
been pitiable if the marching of an army through the colony could have
been considered in any way a boon. Yet such was Washington's attitude in
1755 toward the Governor of Maryland's new road. In a letter to Lord
Fairfax dated May 5, 1755, Washington objected to Dunbar's regiment
marching to Cumberland by way of Frederick, Maryland; in a letter to
Major Carlisle written from Fort Cumberland May 14, 1755, he ridicules
the route: "Dunbar had to recross [the Potomac] at Connogagee
[Williamsport, Maryland] and come down [into Virginia]--laughable

[73] As to the correctness of Forbes's statement see _Bougainville au
Cremille_, Pennsylvania Archives (2d series), vol. vi, p. 425; also
_Daine au Maréchal de Belleisle_, _id._, pp. 420, 423.

[74] _Armstrong to Richard Peters._ Pennsylvania Archives, vol. iii, p.

[75] Parkman: _Montcalm and Wolfe_, vol. ii, p. 162.

[76] Entick: _History of the Late War_ (1763), vol. iii, p. 263, note.

[77] _Lincoln to Irvine_, July 25, 1782.

[78] _Id._, June 23. 1783.

[79] Egle's _History of Pennsylvania_, pp. 1153, 1154.

[80] _Pennsylvania Archives_, vol. viii, p. 120.

[81] _Brig. Gen. Hazen to Irvine_, September 21, 1782.

[82] _Colonial Records_, vol. xv, pp. 13, 121, 273, 274, 322, 326-327,
330, 331-337, 346, 359, 431, 519, 594, 599, 635; vol. xvi, pp. 466-477.

[83] Several items of interest to students of Forbes's Road will be
found in _History of the County of Westmorland, Pennsylvania_, pp.

[84] McMaster's _History of the People of the United States_, vol. i,
pp. 67, 68.

[85] _Historic Highways of America_, vol. xi.

[86] Darlington's note in Edes's _Journal and Letters of Col. John May,
of Boston_, p. 31; Dr. S. P. Hildreth: _Early Immigration_, p. 124.

[87] _The Olden Time_, vol. ii., p. 335.

[88] _Journal and Letters of Col. John May_, p. 30.

[89] _Journal of a Tour in Unsettled Parts of North America_, London
1856, pp. 129-143.

[90] _Notes on a Journey in America_, 3d edition, 1818, p. 30.

[91] _Id._, pp. 31, 36.

[92] _Letters from Illinois_ (London 1818), pp. 52, 77; _Additional
Extracts_, p. 111.

[93] _Memorable Days in America_ (London 1823), p. 164.

[94] _History and Description of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad_, 1853,
p. 20.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

1. Passages in italics are surrounded by _underscores_.

2. Obvious errors in spelling and punctuation have been corrected.

3. Footnotes have been moved to the end of the main text body.

4. Images have been moved from the middle of a paragraph to the closest
paragraph break.

5. Certain words use an oe ligature in the original.

6. Carat character (^) followed by a single letter or a set of letters
in curly brackets is indicative of subscript in the original book.

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