“The Fountain of all Our Disturbance and Trouble”

The Forbes Campaign of 1758 against Fort Duquesne

Authored by: Christopher J. Smith

The Routledge Handbook of American Military and Diplomatic History

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415533805
eBook ISBN: 9781315817347
Adobe ISBN: 9781317813354


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The 25th of November, 1758, found a column of 2,500 British regulars, provincial troops from Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware, and warriors from the Cherokee and Catawaba nations struggling through the backwoods of western Pennsylvania, then known as the “Ohio Country.” Commanded by Major General John Forbes, their objective was Fort Duquesne, the French outpost at the strategically important “Forks of the Ohio,” the confluence of the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela rivers. Although it was a relatively small post, Duquesne loomed large in the minds of British and colonial leaders, as well as beleaguered colonists on the Pennsylvania frontier. The long-standing dispute between Britain and France over the region led to the French establishing the fort in 1754. Over four years of hostilities, the French and their Indian allies made effective use of Fort Duquesne as a base for raids along the Pennsylvania frontier, torching farms and forcing many colonists to abandon their homes. As the British took the offensive in North America in 1758, the ministry of William Pitt deployed significant military assets to drive the French out of the Ohio country and seize Duquesne.

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