Norman L. Baker,
Braddock's Road: Mapping the British Expedition
from Alexandria to the Monongahela

(History Press, 2013)

Americans today have a tendency to remember General Edward Braddock as the British soldier who commanded an expedition that ended in disaster early in the French and Indian War in Pennsylvania.

What is less often recalled is the impressive engineering accomplishment that preceded the fatal battle.

To reach his target -- the French fortification Duquesne at the forks of the Ohio River -- Braddock needed to construct a road through nearly 300 miles of wilderness, much of it unfamiliar to his army. The road was necessary in order to move the troops, artillery and supplies required for the engagement.

A young George Washington was among his officers, and Braddock also had the assistance of Indian traders like Christopher Gist, other loyal frontiersmen and even some friendly Indians who knew the territory. Still, the engineering of the route was largely Braddock's responsibility. And, as they progressed north and west, they never knew what obstacles lay ahead. More than once they were attacked by bands of French-allied natives.

The final battle has been chronicled in articles and a number of books.

In this book, historian Norman L. Baker has given his attention to the actual construction of the road and the definitive mapping of its route. Baker did hours of archival research. He also actually walked many miles on remnants of the road in his quest to determine its route.

Baker, a veteran of World War II and Korea, aerospace engineer and journalist/publisher, has compiled a volume that will be of interest to military buffs and historians and of value to future generations.

book review by
John Lindermuth

9 November 2013

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