Thursday, 23rd November 2017

General Braddocks Golden Cannons

Posted on 22. Jun, 2010 by admin in Mysteries, Seven Year's War, Treasure

General Braddocks Golden Cannons

The American frontier was a killing field in 1755. The French with their Indian cohorts where in strife with the English colonies with much fatigue on both sides.  Enter General Edward Braddock from the mother country along with 1,000 British regulars and an additional 700 Virginia militia by his side – yeah future President George Washington, Thomas Gage, Horatio Gates and Daniel Boone served with these Gentleman as well.

Braddocks Mission: March on the main French army at Fort Duquesne  (now Pittsburgh).

Braddock was from the old warfare tactics popular in Europe. Must we be reminded that Europe is small scale compared to America. His initial thoughts of glorious shock and awe came to a quick check as he attempted to travel with his troops and cannon across the great distances and terrain he was not accustomed to. Withstanding small skirmishes and ambushes along the way, Braddock’s failures can be debated from the lack of frontier tactics or the “misuse of traditional military doctrine,” non-the-less these set backs were not what he expected. Additional set backs French Fort Duquesne occurred as his landing was right in time for the raining season in Virgina (April – June).

June arrived as he sat in Alexandria collecting troops for his journey westward. Through the Shenandoah Valley lies the then fur trading town of Winchester.  With 2,500 men, 4 howitzers, 4 12-pounders and 4 6-pounders,  Braddock began building a road to reach Fort Duquesne starting from Alexandria toward Winchester that become agonizingly slow through the heat and mud.  In less then two weeks, traveling about 2 miles a day, Braddock’s army had only reached “Newgate” (renamed Centreville in 1798). His hopes of going North or any further where deluded as the wagons and cannons met their match in the Virginia clay.

Desperate, Braddock gave orders that included a split of his troops into a “flying column” and gave additional orders to bury artillery such as two of the brass 6-pounders (weighing 1,500 pounds each) pointing skyward in the ground.  He dismissed all but a few trusted officers  and these cannons soon became vaults.

According to papers that had found their way back to England, later discovered by an archivist, Braddock and his officers poured  $30K in gold coins that was to be used to pay troops and war efforts. The cannons where plugged and sealed.

“50 paces east of a spring where the road runs north and south” – Braddock carefully noted the location of the treasure.  Yes – Braddock Road where the road runs North to intersect rt29-211 in Centreville, VA!

General Braddock’s demise:  Marching on to Western Pennsylvania with his remaining 1,300 men to what is know as the Battle of the Monongahela on July 9, 1755, both armies came upon each other about 10 miles south of the fort. The engagement lasted from 1-3 hours.   As the sun fell, the surviving army of American and British forces was able to fallback  but lost many infantry and officers – as well as witnesses to the cannons filled with gold coin.

“We marched to that place, without any considerable loss, having only now and then a straggler picked up by the French and scouting Indians. When we came there, we were attacked by a party of French and Indians, whose number, I am persuaded, did not exceed three hundred men; while ours consisted of about one thousand three hundred well-armed troops, chiefly regular soldiers, who were struck with such a panic that they behaved with more cowardice than it is possible to conceive. The officers behaved gallantly, in order to encourage their men, for which they suffered greatly, there being near sixty killed and wounded; a large proportion of the number we had.” ~ George “Hero of the Monongahela” Washington

Of the approximately 1,300 men Braddock had led into battle, 456 were killed and 422 wounded. Commissioned officers were prime targets and suffered greatly: out of 86 officers, 26 were killed and 37 wounded. Also, of the 50 or so women that accompanied the British column as maids and cooks, only 4 survived.

Braddock was lucky enough to escape as rumored four horses were shot from under him, however mortally wounded he did not make it through the night.  General Braddock  died of his wounds July 13, 1755.

Noteworthy: Braddock was borne off the field by Washington and another officer, just four days after the battle. Before he died Braddock left Washington his ceremonial sash that he wore with his battle uniform.

Reportedly, Washington never went anywhere without this sash for the rest of his life, be it as the Commander of the Colonial Army or with his presidential duties.

Up for discussion: What are the odds that the golden cannons still exist after all these years? You may be surprised to know that this hollow ground may still be untouched….thoughts?

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One Response to “General Braddocks Golden Cannons”

  1. epalmer 1 February 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    You may be correct but if you know anything about wet Virginia clay it’s like a vice that will stop even the best 4×4 in it’s tracks. I imagine the between the harsh “travel” conditions and the thought of having to fall back if necessary it may have made sense to stash the cache in the general proximity. Interesting debate to be had….


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