Braddock Expedition in the Northeast Coast Campaign of 1755 Essay
British Strategy for the Campaign of 1755
The British military forces used Time-honored European methods, a strategy where soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder in an open ground and fired mass volleys against the enemy in unison (Lundquist 38). This strategy had been successful in the past, and General Braddock believed that it was the most appropriate strategy to defeat the enemy. To use this strategy effectively, the British army had to spend a lot of time preparing a road from their own camp towards their area of target. The road would help in the transportation of supplies and heavy artillery that would be used in war. The weapons used in this strategy could not be successful in the forest, and that is why Braddock’s forces were forced to prepare the road (Chartrand 92). Although some of the lieutenants of General Braddock saw a number of flaws in the strategy of their campaign and raised these issues with their commander, the general was convinced that the strategy would work.
How Braddock’s Defeat Affected the Strategy
According to Chartrand, the defeat of General Braddock was not expected because of a number of reasons (23). First, Braddock had almost thrice as many soldiers as the French and Canadian forces. The British soldiers were also well trained and they had superior weapons. The defeat, therefore, had serious consequences on the strategy employed by the British forces. The defeat inflicted panic and confusion in the British camp, especially following the death of General Braddock. The remaining forces were unable to employ this strategy effectively because they realized that their opponents were using guerrilla tactics which was a superior strategy to that used by the British forces (Gregory 74).
Given that the battleground had many forests, the guerilla strategy was more appropriate than the Time-honored European strategy that was employed by the British forces. Braddock’s death made the British forces to believe that they had lost even though they still had a chance of winning the war. It is recorded that by the time of retreat, the British forces still outnumbered the French, Canadian, and Indian opponents, and they also had supplies (Derby 44). However, their mentality was that they had failed, and therefore, could not continue with the war. They had to retreat.
Successful Aspects of This Campaign
Some of the aspects of this campaign were successful, especially at the initial stages. The decision to build a road, although it slowed the pace of their movement, was very successful because it allowed the British more time to survey the area and organize their attacks. It also made it easy to move the weapons and supplies (Preston 81). The road played a critical role in enabling the British forces to retreat when they noticed that they were overpowered. Another success in this campaign was the discipline of the forces. After the death of their commander, the other lieutenants such as George Washington were able to organize the entire force and make a timely retreat to reduce the casualties. Lack of such level of discipline would have resulted into more deaths and injuries of the British forces. The ability to convince a number of local Indians to join the forces as scouts was also beneficial (Kalayjian and Eugene 119). These locals knew how to monitor activities going on in Monongahela and this helped the British forces in planning their attacks.
Chartrand, Rene. Monongahela 1754-55. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Limited, 2013. Print.
Derby, Paul. Indian Trails, Military Roads, and Waterwheels: Cultural and Ecological Transformations at Glen Lake, New York: Cengage, 2008. Print.
Gregory, Sheila. Voices of Native American Educators: Integrating History, Culture, and Language to Improve Learning Outcomes for Native American Students. Hoboken: Wiley, 2013. Print.
Kalayjian, Ani, and Dominique Eugene. Mass Trauma and Emotional Healing Around the World: Rituals and Practices for Resilience and Meaning-Making. Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2010. Print.
Lundquist, Suzanne. Native American Literatures: An Introduction. New York: Continuum, 2005. Print.
Preston, David. Braddock’s Defeat: The Battle of the Monongahela and the Road to Revolution. Hoboken: Wiley, 2015. Print.
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British Strategy for the Campaign of 1755 The British military forces used Time-honored European methods, a strategy where soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder in an open ground and fired mass […]