Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Class Notes 1 Continued

II. The French & Indian War of 1754-63

1760 map of New France (French Canada)

The French & Indian War was a global conflict that flared up in the Ohio Valley, and embroiled British & French North America. Linked to a European theater where nations fought to check Prussia's ambitions, it stretched to & India. West Africa, Cuba, and the Philippines.

A. A Dispute between French & English over Ohio River Valley
Fur traders:

  • English & French both claimed the land west of the Appalachian Mts.
  • 1740s: Both had merchants engaged in fur trade with the Native Americans in Ohio
  • 1750s: English colonists, esp. investors in the Ohio Company, also hoped to settle the wilderness & convert it to productive farmland.
  • 1750s: Hostile moves to control access to the Ohio Country. French soldiers capture English trading posts & build Fort Duquesne to defend territory.
  • 1754: An inexperienced young militia colonel named George Washington leads Virginia troops into Ohio country to drive French out. GW constructs Ft. Necessity near Ft. Duquesne.
  • The French & Indian War begins: French soldiers & Native allies overwhelm Ft. Necessity on July 3, 1754. Washington & men are trapped and captured by French.

B. 1755-57: A season of defeat for the British

C. 1755: General Edward Braddock's celebrated defeat at Fort Duquesne

  • Braddock was convinced that his European combat style would succeed in America. Wrong.
  • G. Washington advises Braddock to change his strategy & teach his regulars to adapt the guerrilla tactics of the enemy; Braddock refused, because gentlemen fought in regular battle lines, not from behind trees & rocks.
  • Braddock’s army of 1460 men is destroyed by 850 French & Indians at Fort Duquesne, with 877 killed or wounded. General Braddock is killed.

D. Harsh Experiences Under British Officers

  • Provincial militiamen resent being made to serve under British Army officers
  • Harsh military discipline: 200, 300, even 1000 lashes for offenses, execution by hanging. Provincial military codes prescribed a maximum of 39 lashes.
  • British officers treat enlisted soldiers with little respect; culture of deference toward "ones’ betters” goes against the colonists’ grain

E. 1757: The Tide Turns for the English.

  • Prime Minister William Pitt decides England’s pos. in European war would be helped by conquest of French in New World
  • 1758: Large-scale troop buildup of British soldiers & provincial militiamen
  • 1758: Ft. Duquesne captured
  • 1759: English captured Fort Niagara & Quebec, New France's main city
    1760: Montreal collapses; British now control French North America.
  • French & Indian War wears on in Europe, Africa, & Asia for 3 more years.
    1763: Treaty of Paris signed, ending war.