The Defeat, The Lesson, The Victory

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The shock proved irresistible. The Indians were driven like cattle around the perimeter of Bouquet’s position, enabling his other companies to pour a concentrated fire into them as they crossed each front. After delivering another volley before the Indians could rally or reload, four of Bouquet’s companies united in pursuit, driving the Indians into the forest in complete rout.

The victory at Bushy Run, which raised the siege of Fort Pitt and opened the upper Ohio Valley again to settlement, has been called the best contested battle ever fought between whites and Indians. The latter had surprise, experience, and numerical superiority in their favor; yet they were decisively beaten by a man who had the resourcefulness to snatch victory from defeat.

Bouquet had learned many lessons from Braddock’s campaign. Unlike his hapless predecessor, he established a strong advance base from which a new assault could be launched if his own failed. He moved his troops with a minimum of delay and gained mobility by leaving his impedimenta behind. Although he had only half as many men, and no reserve behind him, as Braddock had, and although he was surprised in spite of his elaborate precautions (none of which Braddock took), he was able to win in the face of far greater odds. Bouquet’s willingness to learn the techniques of Indian warfare, his experience, and his study of the enemy’s temperament and tactics, gave him the resourcefulness which meant victory.