An Anonymous British Officer on Braddock's Defeat
Between 12 & 1 after we had marched 800 Yards from ye river our first flank upon the left was fired on & every Man of them killed or wounded; the alarm quickly became general & ye fire was brisk from right to left, ye Indians were all planted behind trees & fired with the utmost security; the ground where the Enemy was posted was rising & advantagious. Upon our right were a couple of immense large trees fallen on each other which the Indians were in possession of & anoyed us from very much; but an Officer & a party of men soon dislodged ym, & by a pretty brisk fire kept our right tollerably easy; ye Guns which were all rather to ye left fired both round & grape shott doing great execution. The Indians whether ordered or not I cannot say kept an incessant fire on the Guns & killed ye Men very fast. These Indians from their irregular method of fighting by runing from one place to another obliged us to wheel from right to left, to desert ye Guns and then hastily to return & cover them. At ye first of ye firing the General [Braddock]: who was at ye head of ye detachment came to ye front, & ye American Troops though without any orders run up immediately some behind trees & others into ye ranks & put ye whole in confusion. The men from what storys they had heard of the Indians in regard to their scalping and Mawhawking [Mohawking, i.e. merciless fighting], were so pannick struck that their Officers had little or no comand over them, & if any got a shott at one the fire imediately ran through ye whole line though they saw nothing but trees; the whole Body was frequently divided into several parties, & then they were sure to fire on one another. The greatest part of the Men who were behind trees were either killed or wounded by our own people, even one or two Officers were killed by their own Plattoon. Such was ye confusion, that ye men were sometimes 20 or 30 deep, & he thought himself securest who was in the Center; during all this time the Enemy kept a continual fire & every shot took place. The General had given orders that they should fire in Platoons (which was impossible to be effectd) which would not have answered at all as the Enemy were situated. Within about two hours & an half the Men were obliged (or at least did) retreat three or four times & were as often rallied. We found that we should never gain ye day unless we dislodged them from the rising ground, upon which Lt: Coll: Burton with the Grenadiers pushed & attempted ye Hill; for sometime we were in hopes of their success, but some Shot killing 2 or 3 of them, the rest retreated very fast, leaving their Officers (entreating & comanding but) without any regard to what they said. The Indians were scalping at the begining of the affair which we heard was a sign they were dubious of Success, but [it] is certain they never gave ground. General Braddock who was in the heat of ye Action the whole time, was greatly exposed: he had 4 horses shot under him & shot through several parts of his cloaths; at the latter end of ye affair an unlucky Shot hit him in the Body which occasioned his death in 3 or 4 days afterwards.