Pittsburgh: The Story of a City

By Leland D. Baldwin | Go to book overview

II How Are the Mighty Fallen!

JUNE 18, 1755. General Edward Braddock--a red-faced, stout- hearted Irishman, slightly stupid when military routine did not prescribe an easy course of action, an elderly libertine and rakehelly if you wish, and a crusty martinet, but not the supercilious cad of American tradition--watched the long wagon trains of his army toil up the rocky heights of Meadow Mountain, as infantrymen tugged at the ropes or strained at the wheels, their scarlet coats gleaming in the cursed, unnaturally bright, American sun. There had been ten eternal days of this crawling up and down the sides of inhospitable mountains, of decrepit wagons breaking down and overworked horses foundering. Ten eternal days--two thousand men crazed by heat, thirst, fever, dysentery, and chiggers; constant fear of stealthy death in the shape of Red Indians or scarcely less savage Frenchmen, a fear only too often realized by careless detachments or lone stragglers.

Two fantastically painted Indians appeared in the road as though by magic. One of them spoke in English to an aide and Braddock recognized beneath the war paint the features of George Croghan, a fellow Irishman from Dublin, now thoroughly metamorphosed into one of the half-Indian provincials.

-27-

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