On July 9, 1755, British and colonial troops under the command of General Edward Braddock suffered a crushing defeat to French and Native American enemy forces in Ohio Country. Known as the Battle of the Monongahela, the loss altered the trajectory of the Seven Years' War in America, escalating the fighting and shifting the balance of power. An unprecedented rout of a modern and powerful British army by a predominantly Indian force, Monongahela shocked the colonial world - and planted the first seeds of an independent American consciousness. The culmination of a failed attempt to capture Fort Duquesne from the French, Braddock's Defeat was a pivotal moment in American and world history. While the defeat is often blamed on blundering and arrogance on the part of General Braddock - who was wounded in battle and died the next day - David Preston's gripping new work argues that such a claim diminishes the victory that Indian and French forces won by their superior discipline and leadership. In fact the French Canadian officer Captain Beaujeu had greater tactical skill, reconnaissance, and execution, and his Indian allies were the most effective and disciplined troops on the field. Preston also explores the long shadow cast by Braddock's defeat over the 18th century and the American Revolution two decades later. The campaign had been an awakening to empire for many British Americans, spawning ideas of American identity and anticipating many of the political and social divisions that would erupt with the outbreak of the revolution. Braddock's Defeat was the defining generational experience for many British and American officers, including Thomas Gage, Horatio Gates, and, perhaps most significantly, George Washington. A rich battle history driven by a gripping narrative and an abundance of new evidence, Braddock's Defeat presents the fullest account yet of this defining moment in early American history.
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