The Conquest

Reinforcements from Europe

General Braddock Leads Troops to Virginia

That, then, was the status of the forces when the Jumonville incident occurred in 1754 followed by the capture of Fort Necessity. The assassination of a Canadian officer on a parliamentary mission caused considerable indignation in France, and Great Britain was outraged to learn that French soldiers were chasing American subjects from the Ohio Valley. In the British colonies, exasperation reached a peak. When Virginia raised its own small army, North Carolina, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts were preparing to follow its lead. American politicians unanimously demanded that many regular troops from the British army be sent to America to deal once and for all with the problem of New France.

Giving in to these pressures, the British government towards the end of 1754 authorized the funds for two regiments, the 50th and the 51st, each of which consisted of 1,000 men recruited in the North American colonies. The government also ordered that two regiments of 700 men each, the 44th and the 48th, both under the command of General Edward Braddock, be sent to Virginia. These regiments, with field artillery, left Ireland in January 1755 and reached their destination in mid-March. The British strategy was to weaken New France by taking its outposts. With the help of the colonial troops, Braddock and his soldiers were to chase the French from the Ohio Valley. At the same time, the English troops stationed in Nova Scotia were to take the isthmus of Chignectou, with still others attacking Fort Saint-Frédéric on Lake Champlain and, if possible, Fort Niagara on Lake Ontario.