"We this day passed the ?Aligany' Mountain (Big Savage Mountain) which is a rocky ascent of more than two miles, in many places extremely steep?"
Captain Robert Orme, June 15, 1755
British General Edward Braddock led a 2,100-man army through this wild country in 1755. The troops intended to dislodge the French from the "Forks of the Ohio" (Pittsburgh) almost 100 miles away. They were blazing a new trail, forever known as "Braddock's Road."
As they crossed this formidable mountain about a mile south of here, Braddock's aide, Captain Robert Orme, recorded the difficulties. "Its descent is very rugged and almost perpendicular; in passing which we entirelydemolished three wagons and shattered several." After Orme listed the passage of 2100 soldiers, 30 wagons, 400 horses, siege artillery and tons of supplies, General Braddock took a young George Washington's advice. He soon created a "flying column," shedding most of the cumbersome equipment and moving more quickly to his objective.
(Sidebar): Retracing General Braddock's Route
More than 150 years after Braddock's march to a disastrous defeat, John Kennedy Lacock, a Harvard Professor, led an expedition to retrace the original route of Braddock's Road. Here, Lacock and his colleagues rest near the summit of Big Savage Mountain. The old twelve-footwide road is clearly visible between them.