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[187] Youghiogeny they forded the Monongahela, and
chap. VIII.} 1755.
marched on the southern bank of that tranquil stream, displaying outwardly to the forests the perfection of military discipline, brilliant in their dazzling uniform, their burnished arms gleaming in the bright summer's sun, but sick at heart, and enfeebled by toil and unwholesome diet. At noon they forded the Monongahela again, and stood between the rivers that form the Ohio, only ten miles distant from their junction. A detachment of three hundred and fifty men, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Gage,1 and closely attended by a working party of two hundred and fifty, under St. Clair, advanced cautiously, with guides and flanking parties, along a path but twelve feet wide, towards the uneven woody country that was between them and Fort Duquesne.2 The general was following with the columns of artillery, baggage, and the main body of the army, when a very heavy and quick fire was heard in the front.

Aware of Braddock's progress by the fidelity of their scouts, the French had resolved on an ambuscade. Twice in council the Indians declined the enterprise. ‘I shall go,’ said De Beaujeu, ‘and will you suffer your father to go alone? I am sure we shall conquer;’ and, sharing his confidence, they pledged themselves to be his companions.3 At an early hour, Contrecoeur, the commandant at Fort Duquesne, detached De Beaujeu, Dumas, and De Lignery, with less than two hundred and thirty French and Canadians, and six hundred and thirty-seven savages,

1 Gage to Albemarle, 24 July, 1755, in Keppel's Keppel, i. 213.

2 Journal of General Braddock's Expedition, in British Museum, King's Lib. vol. 212.

3 Relation depuis le Depart des Troupes du Quebec, jusqu'au 30 Sept. 1755.

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