Forbes Expedition

Forbes Expedition

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The Forbes Expedition was a British military expedition led by Brigadier-General John Forbes in 1758, during the French and Indian War
French and Indian War
The French and Indian War is the common American name for the war between Great Britain and France in North America from 1754 to 1763. In 1756, the war erupted into the world-wide conflict known as the Seven Years' War and thus came to be regarded as the North American theater of that war...

. Its objective was the capture of Fort Duquesne
Fort Duquesne
Fort Duquesne was a fort established by the French in 1754, at the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers in what is now downtown Pittsburgh in the state of Pennsylvania....

, a French fort constructed at the confluence of the Allegheny
Allegheny River
The Allegheny River is a principal tributary of the Ohio River; it is located in the Eastern United States. The Allegheny River joins with the Monongahela River to form the Ohio River at the "Point" of Point State Park in Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania...

 and Monongahela River
Monongahela River
The Monongahela River is a river on the Allegheny Plateau in north-central West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania in the United States...

s (present-day Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the US Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Allegheny County. Regionally, it anchors the largest urban area of Appalachia and the Ohio River Valley, and nationally, it is the 22nd-largest urban area in the United States...

) in 1754.

The expedition methodically constructed a road across what is now southern Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, but was then largely Indian territory. This was in contrast to a similar expedition
Braddock expedition
The Braddock expedition, also called Braddock's campaign or, more commonly, Braddock's Defeat, was a failed British military expedition which attempted to capture the French Fort Duquesne in the summer of 1755 during the French and Indian War. It was defeated at the Battle of the Monongahela on...

 led by Edward Braddock
Edward Braddock
General Edward Braddock was a British soldier and commander-in-chief for the 13 colonies during the actions at the start of the French and Indian War...

 in 1755 that ended in disaster
Battle of the Monongahela
The Battle of the Monongahela, also known as the Battle of the Wilderness, took place on 9 July 1755, at the beginning of the French and Indian War, at Braddock's Field in what is now Braddock, Pennsylvania, east of Pittsburgh...

. Working for most of the summer on the construction of the road, fortifications, and supply depots, the expedition did not come within striking distance of Fort Duquesne until September 1758. In mid September, a reconnaissance force was soundly defeated
Battle of Fort Duquesne
The Battle of Fort Duquesne was a British assault on the eponymous French fort that was repulsed with heavy losses on 14 September 1758, during the French and Indian War....

 when its leader, Major James Grant, attempted to capture the fort instead. The French, their supply line from Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

 cut by other British actions, attacked
Battle of Fort Ligonier
The Battle of Fort Ligonier was a battle of the French and Indian War...

 one of the expedition's forward outposts, Fort Ligonier
Fort Ligonier
Fort Ligonier is a British fortification from the French and Indian War located in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, United States. The fort served as a staging area for the Forbes Expedition of 1758. During the eight years of its existence as a garrison, Fort Ligonier was never taken by an enemy...

, in an attempt to either drive off the British or acquire further supplies, but were repulsed.

When the expedition neared to within a few miles of Fort Duquesne in mid November, the French abandoned and blew up the fort. Forces led by Colonel George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

 entered the smoking remnants of the fort on November 24. General Forbes, who was ill with dysentery
Dysentery
Dysentery is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon, that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and/or blood in the faeces with fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, dysentery can be fatal.There are differences between dysentery and normal bloody diarrhoea...

 for much of the expedition, only briefly visited the ruins. He was returned to Philadelphia in a litter, and died not long afterward.