This is the fourth and last part of a series defending Edward Braddock against his detractors, specifically the movie Alone Yet Not Alone. Part 1 in the series can be found at:http://defendingthelegacy.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-trial-of-edward-braddock-part-1.html
Part 2 can be found at: http://defendingthelegacy.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-trial-of-edward-braddock-part-2.html
And Part 3 can be found at: http://defendingthelegacy.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-trial-of-edward-braddock-part-3.html
In Part 3, Charles Stuart charged Edward Braddock with slighting the Delaware Indians by insulting and self-confident language. Stuart’s narrative claims to be taken from the words of the Delaware chief Shingas, whom Stuart met while a captive. But what do other eyewitnesses say about Braddock’s interaction with the Delaware?
Captain Robert Orme was an aide-de-camp (assistant to General Braddock). Because of this position, he would have known much about any interactions the General had with others. This is how he describes the meeting:
“Some Indians arrived from the Delawars [sic], with whom the General conferred, and to whom he made presents. They promised to join him with their Nation upon the March, which they never performed.”—Captain Robert Orme
An important source of Braddock’s campaign is a journal known as the Seaman’s Journal, which was kept by Midshipman Thomas Gill. Haynes chronicles this meeting with the Delaware Indians thus:
“On the 28th:-- At 11, the Delawares met at the General’s tent, and told him that they were come to know his intentions, that they might assist the Army. The General thanked them and said he should march in a few days towards Fort De Quesne [sic]. The Indians told him they would return home and collect their warriors together, and meet him on his march.”—Seaman’s Journal, kept by Midshipman Thomas Gill
Not only does Gill make no mention of any altercation between the British and the Delaware, but he specifically states that Braddock thanked the Indians for their assistance.
The two previous authors were British, but this next testimony comes from a colonist named George Croghan. Croghan knew many Indians well; in fact, he was appointed Captain of Indians for Braddock’s expedition. These are his words regarding the conference:
"The general had a conference with these chiefs in company with those 50 I had brought with me and made them a handsome present, and behaved as kindly to them as he possibly could during their stay, ordering me to let them want for nothing. The Delawares promised in council to meet ye General on the road, as he marched out, with a number of their warriors, but whether the former breaches of faith on the side of the English prevented them, or that they had before engaged to assist the French, I cannot tell: but they disappointed the General and did not meet him.”—George Croghan (1)
Croghan specifically states that the General “behaved…kindly” towards the Indians. These three testimonies are powerful confirmation that Braddock did his best to establish good relations with the Indians. For more information on the real Braddock, and his interactions with the Delaware and other Indian tribes, check out the book Braddock’s Defeat by David L. Preston.
Why is this important? Edward Braddock met with some Indians. So what? Proverbs 17:15 states that “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.” This series has been written to right the record, to defend Braddock’s reputation against those who seek to distort and destroy his character.
(1) All of these eyewitness testimonies can be found in Winthrop Sargeant’s History of Braddock’s Defeat. This book can be read, for free, at: https://archive.org/stream/historyofexpedit00sarg#page/n5/mode/2up