It is spring in the great Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The fields are greening, the gardens are sprouting, the trees are blooming and a great army is marching to war.
Someone got up early to start the coffee.
Our story begins very early on the morning of May 3, 1755. Although the town of Winchester has been a buzz of activity for several weeks as parts of the great army of Maj. Gen. Edward Braddock have been arriving, today is the day when the commander himself will arrive from Frederick with our own Mr. George Washington newly appointed as an Aide de Camp.
Maj. Gen. Edward Braddock
Gen. Braddock has brought two regiments of soldiers from Ireland, Col. Halkett's 44th and Col. Dunbar's 48 Regiments of Foot, to march to the Forks of the Ohio River and take the recently built French Fort Duquesne. Our town of Winchester being the last town on the frontier will be a gathering place before the troops march to Fort Cumberland, Britian's westernmost outpost at Will's Creek.
When the General arrives we will have an encampment on the grounds of "Abram's Delight," a beautiful limestone home built just last year, 1754, along the banks of Abram's Creek by Isaac Hollingsworth. Isaac's father, Abraham Hollingsworth, a Quaker, was an early settler in the Winchester area and had found the Shawnee Indians camped beside a bountiful spring and declared the property, "A Delight to Behold." He claimed 582 acres and paid the Indians a cow, a calf, and a piece of red cloth.
Gen. Edward Braddock in front of Abram's Delight
Recruiting and Training
There were two important matters that concerned the General while he was in Winchester: first there was the need to recruit enough men to fill the ranks of the understrength Regiments which he brought from Ireland. Then he also had to train the recruits to act and fight like soldiers. These jobs fell to several of his soldiers. First, the Drummer was instrumental in getting new recruits. He would go into a town like Winchester and "drum" for recruits; this means that he would play military music to gain peoples attention and to raise the patriotic spirit among the young men. As you can see above, he is raising some interest here.
It usually fell to the older, more experienced soldiers to train the new recruits. Here we see an experienced soldier showing the use of the musket to the recruits. First he shows them how to load and shoot and then he shows them what to do after the ammunition has run out - he uses the bayonet!
News of Gen. Braddock's campaign has spread all through the colonies and men have come from everywhere. Here we met a young man from Georgia who says he is a trader, but we think that he has come to see about signing up as a soldier. We are not sure if he can become one because of the bad shape of his teeth. Perhaps if the surgeon would pull them all out, he could be recruited. Even now he has to cook his beans very well in order to be able to chew them. Even if they will not take him as a soldier he can probably get a job as a "batman" to an officer; that is a kind of servant who carries the officer's things and takes care of his uniform and does other jobs for him. Or perhaps one of the wagoneers needs a helper.
The Master Carpenter
Among the craftsmen camped with the army we note this carpenter. Carpenters are very necessary to an army because they make many necessary tools for the army, repair equipment, especially wagons, help build boats and bridges to cross rivers and streams and do many other important jobs. We did not get this man's name, but because his cap makes him look a bit French, we will call him "Le Master Carpenter." He is beginning some project this morning with his tools; perhaps he is making something for himself since he could only carry his tool box on his pack horse and had no room to bring his shop equipment. We will check back with him later to see how he is coming.
Although we did not see Daniel Morgan, the tough wagoneer from Battletown here in the valley, we did see a number of transport wagons so necessary to the campaign. Here we see Mr. Art Snyder of Pennsylvania with his wagon already loaded; the horses must be grazing out by the pond.
This wagon is a normal farm wagon with a tongue to hitch four horses to it. However, since the army will be going over very rough and steep terrain, the tongue has a chain attached at the front to allow for another two horses making this a six horse hitch.
In camp night often comes before everyone has done their chores for the day, so some candle light is necessary. Here we find the candlemakers hard at work "dipping candles." That means they take the wick (a heavy thread or string) and dip it into the melted wax in the hot black pot. When you lift the wick out there is a layer of wax on it. After doing this several times allowing the wax to harden between dippings you build up enough wax around the wick to make a good candle.
Continued - Go to Page 2
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