Forbes Expedition and Washington’s Capture of Fort Duquesne
After Braddock’s defeat, British Brigadier General John Forbes was named commander of the British and American colonia militia and given the assignment of driving the French out of Fort Duquesne. Instead of following the road that General Braddock had cleared proceeding west from Cumberland, Maryland, Forbes decided to proceed directly across Pennsylvania from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, building a series of forts along his path. Henry Bouquet was named second-in-command and Colonel George Washington was given command of one of the two Virginia regiments. Forbes began his expedition in the summer of 1758 with 7,000 British regular troops. In the Battle of Duquesne on September 15, 1758, an advance force under Major James Grant was soundly defeated by the French. As a consequence, Forbes decided to wait until spring to mount another attack on Fort Duquesne. Forbes changed his mind, however, when he heard that the Native American Indians had withdrawn their support from the French. Seizing this opportunity, Forbes divided his force into three columns, with one led by George Washington, to attempt another attack on Fort Duquesne. As it turned out, the column led by George Washington was the first to reach Fort Duquesne only to discover that the French had burnt Fort Duquesne then fled. Afterwards, General Forbes decided to rebuilt the fort, renaming it Fort Pitt in honor of British Secretary of State William Pitt the Elder.