Braddock’s Road Across the Alleghenies


Major General Edward Braddock is best remembered for his disastrous attempt to capture Fort Duquesne and drive the French from that strategic stronghold on the “Forks”  of the Ohio River.  His army was effectively destroyed by an inferior force of French troops and their Indian allies at the battle at Monongahela on July 9, 1755.

"When this story comes to be related in future Annals," wrote Lieutenant Colonel George Washington, "it will meet with ridicule or indignation; for had I not been witness to the fact on that fatal Day, I sh'd scarce give credit to it now." 

Major General Braddock may have ended his military career in a dramatic and shocking way, but his real triumph was the then unimaginable feat of constructing a road across the Allegany mountains for the transportation of a British and colonial army, with its long caravan of wagons, and a siege train of heavy artillery.

This rough hewn road was to transform the destiny of North America. His skills for the planning and execution of this massive engineering project reflected the professionalism and determination of Britain, a nation that was on the cusp of building an awe inspiring Empire, that one day, would span the globe. It was a task that the self interested and paroquial civil administrations of the Thirteen Colonies could never have managed on their own.

In 1906 and 1909, Professor John Kennedy Lacock of Harvard University conducted two expeditions, with a group of friends and associates, to retrace the route taken by Major General Braddock and his army in 1755. His discoveries were published in 1914 under the title of Braddock's Road, in The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. That article was accompanied by a fairly accurate map depicting of the 20 British army encampments between Fort Cumberland, Maryland, and the Monongahela River, Pennsylvania, at which the final battle was fought.

The camps shown on this map have been dated by this author to indicate the time they were used, as well as their location in current state counties. The listing of the camp sites provides an invaluable framework to describe the logistics undertaken for this expedition.

Key themes of the text include:

  • The irregular topography of the Alleghenies.  The road had to be built across mountainous country composed of six principal ranges, as well as other elevations and passes that presented an equal number of difficulties.
  • The massive forestation of this wilderness country
  • How the British army was employed in a massive engineering project that had only the most rudimentary preparation.

Click to download documentClick here to download the pdf for the full story.




Click to download documentClick here for the map.




Reading Topographic Maps – 10.6 Terrain Features
Map of Braddock's Military Road From Cumberland to Braddock, PA 1755
Compiled by John Kennedy Lacock 1912
Cumberland Road Project provides an excellent source of historic photos and postcards of the general terrain covered on Braddock’s campaign.
Braddock Road Preservation Association
887 Jumonville Road, Hopwood, PA 15445
(724) 439-4912 phone (724) 439-1415 fax
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Allegheny Mountains - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Allegheny Mountain Range (also spelled Alleghany and Allegany) — informally, the Alleghenies — is part of the vast Appalachian . . .