Published on February 4, 2013 by Carol
In 1758, great preparations were made by the English for the reduction of the French posts. In July, an army of 7,000 men, under General John Forbes, left Carlisle, Pennsylvania, destined for the reduction of Fort Duquesne. About the middle of September, the advanced guard, under Colonel Henry Boquet, having reached Loyalhanna, Pennsylvania, dispatched Major James Grant to reconnoiter, with 800 Highland Scotch and 200 Virginians, under Major Andrew Lewis, who subsequently commanded at the bloody Battle of Point Pleasant in present-day West Virginia.
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As they drew near the fort undiscovered, Major Grant thought he could surprise the garrison, and thus disappoint his general of the honor of the conquest. Major Lewis, in vain, remonstrated against the folly of the attempt; but Grant, desirous of monopolizing all the honor, ordered Lewis with his provincials to remain behind with the baggage. Early in the morning, Major Grant, with his Scotch Highlanders, advanced to the attack by beating drums upon Grant’s Hill, as it was afterward called, within the site of Pittsburgh. This incautious bravado aroused the Indians, who, to the number of 1,400, were lying on the opposite side of the river, and soon Grant was surrounded by an overwhelming number, when the work of death went on rapidly, and in a manner quite novel to the Scotch Highlanders, who, in all their European wars, had never before seen men’s heads skinned. Major Lewis soon perceiving, by the retreating fire, that Grant was overmatched, came to the rescue with his provincials, and falling on the rear of the Indians, made way for Grant and some of his men to retreat; but, his own party was overwhelmed by numbers. This action proved disastrous to the English, with more than one-third of the whole force being killed. Grant and Lewis were both taken prisoners, and the remnant of the detachment was saved mainly through the bravery and skill of Captain Bullet, of the Virginia provincials, the only officer who escaped unhurt.
Colonel Boquet, while remaining at Loyalhanna with the advance, was, shortly after, twice attacked by the French and Indians with great vigor; but, he successfully repulsed them, with a loss on his part, of only 67 in killed and wounded. The entrenchment he threw up at that place, was afterward called Fort Ligonier.
In November, the commandant of Fort Duquesne, unable to cope with the overwhelming force approaching under General John Forbes, destroyed the fortress, and descended the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans. On his route, he erected Fort Massac, on the Ohio Rriver, about 40 miles from its mouth, in the Illinois country. General Forbes repaired Fort Duquesne and changed its name to Fort Pitt; where now stands the the flourishing city of Pittsburgh.
The English were now, for the first time, in possession of the whole Upper Ohio River region. In the spring of 1759, they established posts on the eastern side of the Ohio River, prominent among which, was Fort Burd, on the site of Brownstown, Pennsylvania, later called Redstone Old Fort. They also soon had possession of Presque Isle, Detroit, and other French posts in that region.
While these events had been transpiring in the west, most brilliant successes had attended the English arms on the north. Ticonderoga, Crown Point, Fort Niagara and Quebec, were taken in 1759; the next year, Montreal fell, and with it, the whole of Canada. By the Treaty of Paris, in 1763, France relinquished all her claims to Canada, and the western country, east of the Mississippi River, to Great Britain; to Spain, she ceded her claims to all lands west of the Mississippi River.