(Editor’s Note: Happy Independence Day to you and yours! Have a safe and enjoyable holiday!)
This week, we’ll celebrate the birth of our nation. However, this week also holds the date for a very important day in Pittsburgh history as well. The Battle of the Monongahela began, and ended, on July 9th, 1755.
The Battle of the Monongahela was one of the most influential battles at the beginning of the French and Indian War. The battle saw General Edward Braddock lead a force of 1,300 troops from Great Britain and British America, attempting to take control of a very loosely protected Fort Duquesne. Or so General Braddock thought.
Met by an unpredictable and unique fighting style by French and Indian forces, Braddock and his troops were defeated handily and retreated roughly three hours after the battle began. Braddock suffered what would end up being a fatal gunshot wound to the lung. This came to a surprise to the Redcoats, as many thought there would even not be a battle, but merely a takeover of Fort Duquesne. The British soldiers outnumbered French and Indian fighters by more than a 2-1 ratio.
The Battle of the Monongahela has been characterized as one of the most disastrous in British Colonial History. Braddock’s failure awakened British and British American leaders, encouraging them to deploy new tactics in future battles. For example, using skirmishers, increasing speed, loosening attacks, and breaking away from “the line of battle”.
Without the failures of The Battle of the Monongahela, no one can really say how history would’ve written itself. As we celebrate Independence Day, let’s also celebrate the biggest lesson from this battle…learning from our mistakes. And after all…learning from our mistakes to achieve greater success is the American way, isn’t it?
Happy 4th, everyone!