Historical Markers
Forbes Road, 1758. Fort Bedford to Fort Duquesne Historical Marker
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Forbes Road, 1758. Fort Bedford to Fort Duquesne

Pittsburgh Region


Marker Location:
Point State Park (between Fort Pitt Museum and Blockhouse), Pittsburgh

Behind the Marker

The last leg of the markerForbes Road extended from markerFort Ligonier to markerFort Duquesne, and it was completed in fall 1758. General Forbes was gravely ill during the campaign, and he trailed behind the soldiers and laborers who were building the road. When he finally arrived at Fort Ligonier in early November, the campaign season was practically over, but Forbes was heartened by the news that the Iroquois and Delaware Indians had made peace with the British at a treaty conference in Easton the previous month, [Original Document] and he immediately communicated this news to the western Delawares. [Original Document]

Forbes held a council of war with his officers on November 11, in which they agreed that it was too late to lay siege to Fort Duquesne. The army would make its winter quarters at Fort Ligonier and complete its task in the spring. The next day, Forbes reversed himself when he learned that Fort Duquesne was in dire straits. Most of the Indians had abandoned the post after routing an advance force from Forbes's army led by Major James Grant on September 14. The French commander, Francois-Marie le Marchand de Lignery, was left with a dwindling garrison, many of whom were unfit for service.

This map shows both Braddock's Road (red) and Forbes' Road (blue), with the positions of various forts and battles along the way.
Map of Braddock's Road (red) and Forbes' Road (blue), with the positions of...
Forbes decided to strike while the iron was hot. So ill that he had to be carried in a litter, the general led his troops toward Fort Duquesne. Lignery ordered the post destroyed and retreated to markerFort Machault. Forbes's men heard the explosion from ten miles away. The next day, November 25, they occupied the Forks of the Ohio. Forbes renamed the site "Pittsborough" (a name he had initially applied to the site of Fort Ligonier) after Prime Minister William Pitt, and in 1759, the British began construction on Fort Pitt. [Original Document]

Readers of this marker today might be confused or even insulted by its reference to an "Anglo-Saxon supremacy in the United States." That rhetorical flourish has not aged well, but it was intended to convey a sense of the significance of Forbes's victory to the British war effort. With the French dislodged from the Ohio, the war turned decisively in Britain's favor, making possible the invasion of Canada in 1759.

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