Слике страница

lightning were nothing more than the report and spark of a grand electric discharge from cloud to cloud. Experiment only could determine whether he was right. He had often amused himself in childhood with paper kites; he now made one of silk, and resolved to raise it to the clouds. If the fluid passed down the string to his fingers, his theory would be correct; if not, the speculations of years were groundless. With his son, to whom alone he intrusted his secret, he went out into the fields, in June, 1752, to try the experiment. The kite was raised, and, as it reached a threatening cloud, the philosopher with anxiety awaited the result. There was no sensation. Another cloud came. Franklin presented his knuckle, and to his unspeakable joy received a spark. When the string was wet, the electric fluid gathered in abundance. His theory was thus established beyond doubt

or cavil. The news created a great sensation throughout Europe, and the name of Franklin was everywhere spoken with admiration. The lightning-rod was the immediate result of this discovery; and who can calculate the disasters this simple instrument has averted? The poet Barlow did not exaggerate the achievements of Franklin, when he said,

“See the descending streams around him burn,
Glance on his rod, and with his guidance turn !
He bids conflicting heavens their blasts expire,
Curbs the fierce blaze, and holds the imprisoned fire."


BRADDOCK'S CAMPAIGN. 237. Though France and England were nominally at peace, war continued to desolate the disputed frontier in America. The British ministry at last concluded to aid the 1755]

lightning? Give an account of the experiment by which he tested his theory. How was the news received in Europe ? What was the immediate result of this discovery? What does the poet Barlow say of Franklin ?

237. Despite the nominal peace that prevailed between France and England, where did war continue to rage? Whom did the British ministry send to the aid of the colonists ? How many expeditions were planned? Which did Braddock himself undertake? Wbat posts did he propose successively reducing ? How did he treat the warnings of the Americans ? To what frontier post did he advance ? [See Map, p. 158.-Where is Will's Creek ?] Who joined Braddock at this place ? How large was his force? When did they start? How did they march? What is said of the French commandant ? 238. What progress had the English army made by July 9th? What kind of an appearance did they present on the bank of the Monongahela ? Describe the road on which they were marching. Who were in front? Where was Braddock ? What was taking place all this time at Fort du Quesne? What did the Indians declare? 239. At what point did the French and English meet ? What was immediately done by the French ? What fatal error was made by Colonel Gage? What followed ?



colonies, and early in 1755 sent over General Brad'-dock and a detachment from the army in Ireland, for that purpose. Four expeditions were planned; the most important of which, that against the French in the Ohio valley, the commander-in-chief undertook in person. Fort Du Quesne was the first post to be reduced; thence he would direct his victorious arms against Niagara and Frontenac. Conceited and obstinate as he was brave, Braddock would listen to no warnings of danger from Indian ambuscades. The savages might be formidable, he said, to raw American militia, but could make no impression on the king's regulars. Fort Cumberland, at Will's Creek (see Map, p. 158], was soon reached; and here Washington joined the army as aide-decamp [aid'-e-kawng] to the general. Horatio Gates also arrived with two companies from New York. The whole force now amounted to over 2,000 men. A detachment was sent forward to open the roads, and early in June, 1755, the commander-in-chief started with the main body. A march of 130 miles was before them, and they advanced but slowly, levelling the hills and bridging the streams that lay in their path. The French commandant at the fort received tidings of Braddock's advance, and would have retreated had it not been for the urgent advice of a single officer.

238. On the 9th of July, the English army was within seven miles of Fort Du Quesne, moving in perfect military order along the bank of the Mo-non-ga-he'-la. Washington declares that he never saw any thing more imposing than the march of the army on that bright summer morning. All were dressed in full uniform; their polished arms glanced in the sun-light; every movement was made with perfect precision; and the full strains of martial music, startling the

l wild deer from his lair, broke with strange but striking effect

[ocr errors]

on the solitude of the forest. The road led up a gradual ascent; and near it, on each side, was a ravine ten feet deep, concealed by thick woods and underbrush. The army

moved slowly forward through a path about twelve feet wide. In front was a detachment of 350 men under Lieutenant-colonel Gage (afterwards General), and a working body 250 strong. Braddock was behind with the main body.

Twice had the French proposed to the Indians to attack the invading army on its march, and twice had they refused. The commandant was in despair, but one of his officers made a final effort. “I shall go,” said he to the chiefs, “and will you suffer

your father to go alone?” The Red Men were at last persuaded, and early that same morning on which their enemies were deploying in military splendor on the bank of the Monongahela, a body of 230 Frenchmen and 637 Indians started from the fort, both full of confidence, and the latter declaring that they would shoot down all the English like a single pigeon.

239. The two ravines described above, after running parallel with the road for some distance, converged till they met, and at this point the French encountered the advanced guard of the English. Commencing the attack without delay, they extended their lines down the ravines, and thus commanded both flanks of the enemy. Had Colonel Gage promptly sent aid to the division first attacked, and repelled the foe in front, the issue of the battle might have been different; but, while he hesitated, the critical moment passed. The advanced body and flank guards were simultaneously driven back, and fell in confusion on a regiment that had just come up and was endeavoring to form. The appalling warwhoop was heard on right and left; and the well-trained troops of Britain, who had seen much service elsewhere but none like this, beheld with consternation their brave men fall thick and fast by shots from an invisible foe. In vain




they returned the fire, at trees and rocks. In vain their gallant officers exhorted them to follow, and clear the adjacent ravines and hills of the lurking enemy.

The bewildered men would not obey. They fired wildly, and even shot their own comrades in mistake.

The Virginia Rangers alone retained their presence of mind. Familiar with Indian warfare, each selected a tree and fought the savage in his own style. Washington seemed everywhere present. The other aides had been early disabled, and he alone was left to transmit the orders of his general to the different parts of the field. Four balls passed through his coat, and two horses were shot under him. The Indians singled him out specially for death, but in vain. “Some mighty Manitou protects him,” said a disappointed chief, who, with his braves, repeatedly covered him with his musket,—and it was even so.

Braddock had five horses wounded under him, but was still too proud to retreat before the savages. At last a musket-ball passed through his lungs. As he was placed on a cart, sinking from loss of blood, he faintly asked Washington, " What is to be done?” “We must retreat," was the answer; "the regulars will not fight, and the rangers are nearly all killed." The order was given. Frightened, and deaf alike to commands and threats, the regulars broke from their ranks and disgracefully fled, leaving their stores and artillery, and even the private papers of their general, in the hands of the enemy. Never was rout more disastrous. On the side of the English, 26 officers fell and 37 were wounded; the loss among the privates amounted to 714. The enemy had only three officers and 30 men killed, and an equal number wounded.

240. On Washington, whose advice, had it been followed, would have saved the army from surprise, now devolved the melancholy duty of conducting the retreat, or rather cover

How did the British regulars behave? How did the Virginia Rangers conduct themselves ? What is said of Washington? What befell Braddock ? What passed between him and Washington, after he was wounded ? Describe the retreat. What was the loss on both sides ? 240. Who covered the flight of

[ocr errors]

ing the flight, of the survivors. They reached Will's Creek in complete disorder, and filled the garrison with consternation. Dunbar, who was in command of the camp, destroyed the remaining stores and artillery, worth not less than £100,000, to facilitate the evacuation of the place. Braddock died the fourth day after his defeat. The destruction of an army from which so much had been expected excited universal horror throughout America. Attempts to raise new forces for the defence of the border met, for a time, with little success. The French and Indians ravaged the Virginia frontier, and escaped beyond the mountains before the colony had recovered from its alarm.

241. The expedition against Niagara under Gov. Shir'ley, of Massachusetts, accomplished nothing. Braddock was to have aided in this enterprise, and the news of his defeat, added to a series of obstacles, disheartened the army. They advanced no farther than Oswego, at the southeastern extremity of Lake Ontario. After rebuilding the fort at this place and garrisoning it with 700 men, Shirley returned to Massachusetts (Oct. 24th, 1755).

242. The third expedition, directed against the French fort at Crown Point, had been intrusted to William Johnson. With 3,400 men, mostly New England militia, Johnson advanced to the southern shore of the beautiful sheet called by the Indians Hor'-i-con, by the French St. Sacrement [sang sak-re-mong'], and named by him, after his king, Lake George. Here he waited for stores and artillery, apparently in no hurry to prosecute the enterprise. Meanwhile, the brave Dieskau [de-es-ko'] was descending Lake Champlain, with about 1,400 Canadians and Indians, for the purpose of striking an unexpected blow. He intended to surprise Fort Edward, which had been recently erected, but, misled by his guides, found himself on the way to Johnson's encampment. A body of English, sent against the invaders, were repulsed

the surviving British? Where did the remnant of the army assemble? Who commanded there? What did he do? What became of Braddock? What feeling was excited in the colonies by the news of Braddock's defeat ? Where did the enemy commit depredations ? 241. Give an account of the second expedition. Where is Oswego ? 242. Against what post was the third expedition

« ПретходнаНастави »