On April 15, 1755 a British seaman wrote in his diary:
??On the 15th: Marched at 5 in our way to oneDowden's, a Publichouse ... and encamped uponvery bad ground on the side of a hill. We got ourtents pitched by dark when the wind shifted from the South to the North - from a sultry hotday it became excessively cold, and rained withthunder and lightning till 5 in the morning, whenin 10 minutes it changed to snow, which in 2hours covered the ground a foot and a half.
What were British soldiers doing at Dowden's Ordinary in the middle of a spring snowstorm? The answer begins in 1754 when Great Britainand France renewed their war for control ofNorth America - a war that became known asthe Seven Years' War in Europe. The war'sspark occured when George Washington's Virginia volunteers fired on a French scoutingparty in southeastern Pennsylvania. TheFrench counterattacked and forcedWashington from the area. In response tothis defeat, the British in 1755 sent Major-General Edward Braddock to America toexpel the French from Fort Duquense(Pittsburgh).
Concerned about limited supplies, Braddockdivided his forces, sending the 44th Regiment of Foot and his artillery to Winchester, Virginia and the 48thRegiment of Foot (about 700 troops)under Thomas Dunbar to Frederick by wayof the Great Road through Rockville andClarksburg. At Clarksburg, Dunbar's troops were caught in the snowstorm.Following a few days later, GeneralBraddock took the same route toFrederick as the 48th Regiment, possiblyenjoying a meal or spending a night at Dowden's Oridinary.
On July 9, 1755, a combined French andIndian force attacked Braddock's troopsoutside Fort Duquesne. Mortally wounded, Braddock died five dayslater. Washington and Dunbar led theremaining British and colonial troopsto saftey. [Picture included ]
By 1758, the war shifted in Britain's favor,and in 1763 France surrendered, losing its territory in North America. As aresult of the war, Great Britain imposedtaxes on the colonists to help pay for itsmounting war debt. Colonial oppositionof taxes without consent became animportant cause of the AmericanRevolution.
The three - pound cannon is a replicaof a British brass field piece, threepounds being the weight of an individualcannon ball. The cannon along with itscarriage, weighed about 500 poundsand was drawn by two horses. Alongwith a six-pounder cannon, these lighterweight field pieces were more suitedto the rough roads of colonial Americaduring the French and Indian War.
Route of General Braddock's doomed wilderness march to expel the Frenchfrom the Ohio Valley.