a changing sky, the Great Meadow - "a charming field for an encounter" - was filled with displays and activities commemorating Braddock's Defeat. The days events included an exciting display of artillery firing from three types of guns that Gen. Braddock hauled over the mountains to use in his expected siege of Fort Duquesne. There were also musket firing demonstrations and military life interpretations. Inside the Visitor Center visitors could view the introductory video, browse for books or buy prints of Robert Griffing's newest painting, "The Wounding of General Braddock."
Visitor Center Activities
View from inside Visitor Center looking toward fort.
Robert Griffing signing
prints of "The Wounding of Gneral Braddock" in
the Visitor Center at Fort Necessity. On the
wall behind Mr. Griffing is his painting, "A
Charming Field for an Encounter." The print of
the wounding of Braddock was for sale; the
bookstore had many other prints as well as books
and maps for sale. See our "Web Links " page for ordering info on the Griffing print.
The highlight of the day was the firing
demonstrations put on by the Oneida Indian Nation
Living History Program. The Oneida have a grand
collection of artillery reproductions in commemoration
of their long history of service to the American
military. They brought three types of pieces that Gen.
Braddock had on his campaign. The firing crew
did a good job of impressing the visitors on the
necessity for safety when using such a powerful and
destructive weapon. One of the crew is shown here
cleaning out the barrel before reloading. Every
precaustion is taken to insure the gun does nor fire
during the loading process.
These two photos give
you a good undestanding of how smoke will cover a
battlefield and make it hard to see your enemy or even
your comrades and officers. The photo at right is
immediately after the howitzer fires; the photo below
is about 10 seconds later. This howitzer was the most
destructive of the cannons because of its ability to
lob exploding shot over walls.
The red line shows the extent of
the photo above right for comparison.
This series of photographs is
of the six pound field piece. This cannon can be
used as a siege weapon, but it was designed
primarily for use on the field of battle against
troops and cavalry. This is a brass gun which is
lighter and stronger than an iron weapon. The high
polish is indicative of the pride that artillery men
take in their pieces.
This cannon is so heavy that in order to
aim it at least two men must pull ropes attached
to the end of the carriage and turn it to aim
The crew is ready to fire.
One can only imagine the confusion on
a battlefield with all the smoke from guns both large
and small and the terrible noise. The British hoped
that such a scene on a field of battle would frighten
the Indians and give the French, who had no field
pieces at the battle, a reason to retreat.
However, among the forests this only added to the
confusion and terror for the British soldiers
themselves who feared the yell and the tomahawk of the
The small carriage at left is for
transporting the large guns. The part of the
howitzer that is on the ground would be placed on the
iron pike of the carriage and men or horses could more
easily move the piece.
We thank Darryl Gillette, Master
Armorer/Ordinance Officer, and his crew for a very
exciting as well as informative demonstration. It is
not often that one gets to see such a collection of
working reproductions and such a competent
crew. To the right is the emblem of this
Artillery Company; they do indeed have fire
Small Arms and Living
There were some small
guns at the fort also. Between artillery
demonstrations there were flintlock musket
the smoke & fire demonstrations there was time to talk to
the living history interpreters and learn all you
wanted to know about colonial life. Especially during
the rain the reenactor's tents were popular places to
visit unless you had a convenient tree for shelter. It
is, of course, tradition that it rains at Fort
Necessity in commemoration of the Battle in 1754
when Lt. Col. Washington surrendered in the
What every good man needs
on the frontier.
Fort Necessity National Battlefield for this
commemoration of General Edward Braddock's failed
campaign. Although the army only crossed the Great
Meadow on their way to and from the battle, this
division of the Park Service operates both Braddock's
Grave and Jumonville Glen Park. For
pictures of the Sunday morning ceremony at
Braddock's Grave click
July 16-17 index