Before the Revolutionary War, tensions between Britain’s King George II and France’s King Louis XV, and their allies, escalated into the first global war – the Seven Years War, which in America was called the French and Indian War.
The war spread to every major power in Europe and their colonies around the world, from the Caribbean, to India, the Philippines and Africa.
Over a million died.
It was sparked by the ambush in 1754 of a French detachment in the Ohio Valley by British militia led by 22-year-old Virginia Colonel George Washington.
In 1755, 1,400 British troops marched over the Appalachian Mountains to seize French Fort Duquesne, near present day Pittsburgh.
One of the wagon drivers was 21-year-old Daniel Boone.
On July 9, 1755, as they passed through a deep wooded ravine along the Monongahela River eight miles south of the fort, they were ambushed by French regulars, Canadians, and Potawatomi and Ottawa Indians.
Not accustomed to fighting unless in an open field, over 900 British soldiers were annihilated in the Battle of the Wilderness, or Battle of Monongahela.
Col. George Washington rode back and forth during the battle delivering orders for General Edward Braddock, the Commander-in-Chief of British forces in America.
Eventually, Braddock was killed and every officer on horseback was shot, except Washington.
Washington carried Braddock from the field.
Braddock’s field desk was captured, revealing all the British military plans, enabling the French to surprise and defeat British forces in succeeding battles at Fort Oswego, Fort William Henry, Fort Duquesne, and Carillon.
These British losses convinced the Iroquois tribes of Senecas and Cayugas to switch their allegiances to the French.
Before he died Braddock gave Washington his battle uniform sash, which Washington reportedly carried with him the rest of his life, even while Commander-in-Chief and President.
Washington presided at the burial service for General Braddock, as the chaplain was wounded. Braddock’s body was buried in the middle of the road so as to prevent his body from being found and desecrated.
Shortly thereafter, writing from Fort Cumberland, George Washington described the Battle of Monongahela to his younger brother, John Augustine Washington, July 18, 1755:
“As I have heard, since my arrival at this place, a circumstantial account of my death and dying speech, I take this early opportunity of contradicting the first, and of assuring you, that I have not as yet composed the latter.
But by the All-Powerful Dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me!”
An Indian warrior later declared:
“Washington was never born to be killed by a bullet! I had seventeen fair fires at him with my rifle and after all could not bring him to the ground!”
The Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s books here.