Fort Duquesne, the most important French stronghold in North America, was the key to the new French and Indian War that would characterize the 1750s, to be fought in the Ohio Valley and beyond. Fort Duquesne was a massive fortress, a star-shaped fortification of 60,000 square feet, surrounded on three sides by a moat, and protected by a palisade. A moat with a stone wall, complete with drawbridge, surrounded the palisade. The fort itself was built on a high piece of land overlooking the Monongahela River, and was encircled by an outer stone wall.
Braddock's army reached the Monongahela River in mid-July. Here, Braddock decided to take his army southward to the Monongahela, with the intent of attacking the French in their stronghold at Fort Duquesne.
The British advance was rapidly blunted by the French, and Braddock's men were encircled at Braddock's Field on July 13. The next day, July 14, most of Braddock's men were killed or captured. The survivors then retreated to the town of Fort Cumberland. Afterward, the British executed all 300 or so of the French prisoners they had captured on the battle field, and they buried them in a mass grave.
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