© Anna Kiefer 2003

This paper, by Anna Kiefer, was written as a requirement for one of her grad classes' term paper. It is not a complete study, but represents a starting point for a possible thesis topic. No copying of this paper is authorized, its use is intended solely for reading.

The Logistics of Supply and the Forbes Campaign of 1758

The Logistics of Supply and the Forbes Campaign of 1758

The obstacles which we had to surmount were immense, 200 miles of wild and unknown country to cross; obliged to open a road through woods, mountains, and swamps; to build forts along our lines of march for the security of our convoys; with an active and enterprising enemy in front of us, elated by his previous successes, and superior in this type of war.1

Henry Bouquet to William Henry Cavendish Bentink, Third Duke of Portland

Historians have concurred that the problem of supply is of great importance in modern warfare. Supplies, or lack thereof, could make or break even the greatest of generals. For example, Carl von Clausewitz suggests that part of the reason for Napoleon Bonaparte’s failed Russian campaign lay in supply. He argues that it is "undeniable that the lack of care over supplies was responsible for the unprecedented wastage of his [Napoleon’s] army on the advance, and for its wholly calamitous retreat."2 In order to properly supply an army, stocks had to be amassed either through purchase or from the state’s demesnes. These were then stored in depots and later distributed to troops by the army’s own transport. This method began to change the nature of the army; "military institutions," writes Clausewitz, "thus tended to become more and more independent of the country and the people."3 Warfare became more regular, better organized, and more attuned to the purpose of war. However, the reliance on supplies limited movement and led to a constrained, less vigorous warfare. Military leaders were now tied to the problem of supplying their army, limited by the range of transports, and rations were cut to a minimum.

Historians agree that it was the brutality of the Thirty Years War that revolutionized warfare. These changes are seen as a reaction to the devastation caused by the Thirty Years War4 and the intellectual and moral attitudes of the Enlightenment. During the late seventeenth and into the eighteenth century, Europeans moved toward more restrained, rational conflict— limited warfare. War began to be based upon a philosophy of rationalism and a stressing of judicial restraint in warfare. Military art and science became a serious study; warfare became more regimented as kings, princes, and generals authored and studied treatises and manuscripts on the subject and put them into action. But the advent of the Seven Years’ War threw a wrench into the well-oiled machine of traditional warfare. The British commanders-in-chief and officers in North America had been trained in the formal European style of warfare.5 Among the many challenges that commanders faced was the acquisition and transportation of supplies to regiments that were stationed beyond the pale along the frontiers of North America. Armies at war in America had to operate in the wilderness beyond settlements, negotiate through wooded, mountainous terrain, all while carrying the necessary supplies to feed men and animals and enough artillery to hammer any adversary into the dirt.6 How did the British adapt to wilderness campaigning? And how were the supplies necessary to sustain the army obtained and transported?

The first few years of the Seven Years’ War appear to be a kind of trial and error for wilderness logistics. Braddock’s defeat on the Monongahela and William Shirley’s disastrous Niagara campaign were among the failures (or trials) that would eventually lead to successful campaigns and eventual North American domination by the British. Logistics and luck would rule North American armies: "only bad luck could nullify the natural English superiority," notes John Shy, "and only rashness or faulty logistics could enhance the possibility of bad luck."7

But what was the best method to supply an army in hostile wilderness? There were several ways of supplying an army according to Clausewitz. Foraging was the easiest way to meet an army’s needs, but there were two limitations. First, it was the utmost of importance to fight on enemy soil so that an army would not deprive a friendly population of its much needed sustenance; second, it was impossible to stay in one place for an extended period of time. Foraging placed a greater burden of devastation and strain on a region than a system of local requisitions. Requisitioning could be accomplished four ways. Supplies could be furnished by local households; provisions for several days were available in any community. A town was able to furnish supplies and lodging for a day for as many inhabitants. For example, Clausewitz claims that a population of 3,000 to 4,000 per 25 square miles could feed an equal number of troops. If provisions were requisitioned from the community rather than individual households, then 2,000 to 3,000 people per 25 sq. miles could feed a force of 150,000 combatants for at least a day or two.

The second option for the provisioning of an army was essentially no different than the first—troops would requisition supplies themselves. This, states Clausewitz, was not a good way to supply a substantial force.

The third option, general requisitioning, was the simplest and most efficient. It required the cooperation of local authorities; food was not seized by force and was delivered in an orderly way. Time was of the utmost importance—"the more time, the wider distribution, the lighter the burden, and the more successful the operation."8 This method was not a problem if troops were stationed in their homeland or if an army was moving to the rear. Even the largest army could rely on requisitions, provided it carried with it a few days of rations. "This method knows no limits, other than the complete exhaustion, impoverishment, and devastation of the country," writes Clausewitz, although requisitioning gradually tended to become like the depot system.9

This fourth alternative, the depot system, was used from the last thirty years of the seventeenth century to the end of the eighteenth. Clausewitz claims that "warfare based on requisition and local sources of supply is so superior to the kind that relies on depots that the two no longer seem to be the same instrument."10 The high cost of maintaining the depots cut into funds available for armaments and thus limited the size of the army. This "old method of supply" worked better in a rich, densely populated area than a poor, uninhabited one.11 Communications via land and water were better, means of transport were more readily available, and regular commercial links were simpler and more dependable in more densely populated areas. Although Clausewitz determines that the depot system was the least desirable mode of provisioning an army, it happens to be the one that works best for North American expeditions.12

Who, then, was in charge of the all-important provisions? The major responsibility of provisioning the army fell on the British Treasury. At first, English ministers expected the colonies to furnish supplies for the subsistence of the British forces. Few realized the differences between transport under European conditions and those which existed in North America. In the colonies, there were few roads and those that did exist were often in terrible repair and seldom provided access from one colony to another. Any intercolonial commerce was conducted via coastal shipping. There was great difficulty in simply getting the army out of England; supply ships had to be loaded with provisions, hospital stores, ordnance, arms, ammunition, clothing, tents, and much more and these and the troop transports had to rendezvous with men-of-war. Because of the relatively short campaigning season in North America, these ships had to leave during the winter, the most dangerous time for an Atlantic crossing. Once in America, the troops needed shelter and provisions. Necessary supplies were moved via interior routes—boats were in need of skilled boatmen, and wagons needed draft animals and drovers. Where interior routes existed, they often needed to be repaired or cleared of debris and where they did not exist, they needed to be built. Supply depots also required construction. Someone had to make arrangements with local contractors for the delivery of provisions, and depots had to be fortified and garrisons established. "In short," observes K. L. Parker, "a skeleton civilization had to be built in the wilderness…."13 These conditions that the army increased the Treasury’s tasks from previous wars. The Treasury took up the task of contracting for provisions and ensuring their timely delivery. Most of the food and other supplies would eventually come from the colonies, but in the early years of the war, the necessary quantities were shipped from Britain. The Treasury oversaw the negotiation of contracts with London merchants who, in turn, often subcontracted with colonial merchants who actually collected, delivered, and issued the provisions. The task of these contractors was to furnish food, John Shy notes, "when and where it was needed and in a condition to survive rain and heat and dirt for months and still remain edible."14 The new American situation led to the virtual elimination of the ages-old office of commissary general. The office of the commissary general had been in existence for centuries. By the turn of the seventeenth century, the term became identified with the person attached to the army and concerned with the supplying of food. He was not a military officer, but appointed for the duration of the existence of the field unit. Until the American wars, the responsibility of the commissary general was limited to supplying bread, and occasionally fuel, forage, and transportation. The commissary sometimes contracted with local merchants, and often commandeered mills to grind grain into flour and ovens to bake bread. There did remain the office of commissary that held a War Office commission, but the only function of this office was to ensure that provisions contractors fulfilled their contracts in terms of quantity, quality, and timely delivery. The Treasury for the most part relied on civilian contractors who collected provisions and delivered them to storehouses. From there, agents issued supplies to quartermasters. Other tasks, such as the provision of transportation, fuel, and forage were taken over by the quartermaster general and the barrackmaster general.15

The complicated task of provisioning required time, expertise, and patience. If a campaign was to succeed, everything had to go like clockwork.16 This was not always the case. Several British campaigns, including Governor William Shirley’s march on Fort Niagara in 1755, failed in part because of a breakdown in supply lines. It has been speculated that Shirley’s campaign may have succeeded had he not encountered such a problem with provisioning. Shirley was no stranger to North American expeditions; he had taken part in the triumphant 1745 capture of Fortress Louisbourg. But his failure at Niagara ended his military career; Shirley’s conduct was attacked, including the handling of army contracts and charges arising from the conduct of contractors. Historian Theodore Thayer refutes the idea that it was the dishonesty of the contractors chosen by Shirley that caused the campaign to fail. Rather, he concludes, it was not the fault of the contractors, but simply bad timing.

Shirley had chosen as his contractors Peter Van Burgh Livingston and Lewis Morris. Livingston was one of New York’s most prominent merchants with excellent business connections in Europe and America. This contract also included William Alexander, the secretary of the expedition and Livingston’s partner, and John Erving, Jr., his son-in-law and Morris’s partner. Although this arrangement would seem unethical by twenty-first century standards, it was not unusual for the eighteenth century. Shirley had made a wise decision by placing his fate in the hands of those he trusted. Alexander had the complete confidence of Shirley—he was the administrator of the army in Shirley’s absence, was relied upon heavily for advice, and assumed the responsibility of ordering all army supplies and supervising their shipment to Oswego.

The contractors did make an effort to buy the best provisions at the lowest price, for example, when New York City bakers raised the price of bread to take advantage of the demand (16s, 6d. per 100 pounds), Alexander bought 50,000 pounds from Philadelphia bakers at 14s per 100 pounds. When pork and beef needed requisitioning, he sent to Philadelphia for those provisions as well.

Alexander’s tremendous effort is apparent; the expedition was planned at the end of April, supplies had begun to be purchased in May, and by July, the provisions and means to transport them were in place. But Alexander was guilty of a miscalculation of time—after leaving Albany, movement up the Mohawk River took so long that most of the provisions had been exhausted by the time the troops reached the Carrying Place. Low water, a shortage of bateauxmen and wagoners, and carelessness in supply handling, had contributed to this predicament. Supplies that had been carefully packed had been tossed around in the bateaux by rapids and dangerous currents and left exposed to the weather, and the shortage of manpower made the trip twice as long as planned. The troops and remaining provisions were 85 miles from Oswego. Faced with a dangerous food shortage, Alexander sent expresses to Stevenson to purchase—quickly—what provisions he could. But buying supplies in New York City and Albany was more difficult and expensive as a consequence of shortages created by the army’s demands. Some supplies did arrive before the onset of cold weather, but not enough for the entire winter. In late September, Shirley’s men, demoralized by half rations, a shortage of run and money for pay, and the extra work of constructing winter quarters, mutinied. It was not until the spring and early summer of 1756 that the necessary provisions arrived in Oswego. By this time, Shirley had handed over the reins to General James Abercromby, and, by the middle of August, 1756, Oswego had fallen to the French.17

The failure of this campaign illustrates the dependence of an advance outpost or army upon a flow of regular supplies and the American version of the towns and villages of Europe, fortified outposts spaced at regular intervals. Without either of these, it was virtually impossible to maintain superiority in the wilderness—a lesson the British quickly learned.

Both 1756 and 1757 were terrible years for the British. John Campbell, the Earl of Loudoun, led a failed attack on Louisbourg, the French seized Fort William Henry and massacred its garrison, and French-allied Indians pushed the British frontier ever eastward. Loudoun, the commander-in-chief of the British army in North America was replaced by Abercromby in 1758. Despite Loudoun’s ineffectiveness as a field commander, he did make contributions through the reorganization of military transport and supply. Among other things, Loudoun established a permanent supply service. In 1756, the Duke of Cumberland, the Earl of Halifax, Henry Fox, and Loudoun contracted with British merchants Baker, Kilby, and Baker to provision the troops in and going to North America. K. L Parker outlines the terms of this contract:

[O]ne of the contractors was to stay in North America to direct… the supply of the army with provisions. The firm was to arrange for the deposit of provision of good quality in store houses at locations designated to them by the Commander-in-Chief, and was responsible for always having a minimum of six-months’ provisions for 12,000 men in the magazines at any given time. The Commander-in-Chief appointed inspectors of the provisions and if any were found to be damaged or spoiled, the contractors were to replace them immediately with supplies fir for use. The expense of transporting provisions was repaid to the contractors on the basis of receipts issued by a Commissary of Stores for the quantity and kinds of provisions to be transported.18

This contract was valid for twelve calendar months from the date of signing. The firm would be paid 6 pence per day per man fed, which would provide each with a "ration," one-seventh of the weekly allowance of "seven pounds of beef, or in lieu thereof, four pounds of pork, which is though to be equivalent; seven pounds of biscuit bread or the same weight of flour, six ounces of butter, three pints of pease, [and] half a pound of rice…."<19>19 This system remained in place for the duration of the war, although the firm of Baker, Kilby, and Baker was replaced by another in 1760.

Loudoun also created a more efficient transportation system for both land and water. Wagons and carts, along with their drivers, had previously been hired out to work by day and distance. Loudoun established a wagon corps based out of Albany, and estimated that £3,400 was saved in a six month period. He also made an effort to standardize the size of the army’s transport boats.20 Although these changes were highly effectual, they could not save Loudoun from recall. In December 1757, he was replaced as commander-in-chief by General James Abercromby.

The year 1758 was the turning point for British fortunes. There were four major British campaigns that year; perhaps the most noteworthy with respect to feats of logistics and supply was commanded by General John Forbes.

At the same time Loudoun was recalled, Colonel John Forbes was appointed Brigadier General in American and assigned to command the expedition against Fort Duquesne. Forbes had served as the adjutant general at the New York Headquarters of Lord Loudoun until March of 1758. He remained in New York until April, preparing for the coming campaign. Abercromby ordered him to Philadelphia in the middle of that month, and he spent ten weeks there gathering troops, supplies, and money. Forbes left Philadelphia at the end of June, and arrived in Carlisle around July 4, 1758. Forbes remained in Carlisle for about six weeks, still gathering supplies and forwarding them to advance parties. In August, he then traveled to Shippensburg, Fort Loudoun, Raystown, and reached Loyal Hannon at the beginning of November. On November 25, 1758, the British expedition under Forbes captured the strategic Fort Duquesne. In his writings, it is evident that much of Forbes’s time was taken up by the constant worry about supply and transportation.21

Forbes outlined his intentions for the 1758 campaign to Prime Minister William Pitt. He had learned valuable lessons from Braddock’s famous march on Fort Duquesne which had consisted of two prolonged marches—the first from Alexandria, Virginia, to Fort Cumberland, Maryland, and from there on to Duquesne. Braddock had been followed by the ponderous wagon train that was necessary to supply his army. The slow procession of supplies behind troops on offensive operations could present an array of problems on a rough, narrow road "through an almost impenetrable wood, uninhabited for more than 200 Miles."22 Forbes’s plan reduced the chances of his entire army being slowed by the provision wagons. In his letter, Forbes informed Pitt that he was going to advance via a series of fortified posts: "I am therefore lay’d under the Necessity of having a stockaded Camp, with a Blockhouse & cover for our Provisions, at every forty Miles distance."23 Forbes would have the first post built, and then march his army, provisioned with two weeks rations, forty miles forward to build a second post. By the completion of the second fortification, a delivery of another two weeks provisions would have arrived from the first post, and the army would march on to build a third, and so forth, until the goal of Duquesne was reached. This method was extremely dependent on the timely arrival of provisions. Forbes also wrote Pitt that he was certain had Braddock taken Duquesne, his provisions would have been used up without hope of re-supply and his troops would have had to have returned to Fort Cumberland. This plan for a protected advance assured a steady supply of provisions—and the all-important retention of Duquesne. It also served a second purpose. Forbes was plagued by poor intelligence for almost the entire campaign. Although he employed over 400 scouts, it took so long to make the trip to Duquesne and back that by the time they returned, any information they relayed was too old to be trustworthy. He continually received reports that the enemy was equal, or even superior in numbers. Forbes had to assume that either case was true, and could not run the risk of advancing into battle without a fortified base to retreat to.24

This tactical system, the protected advance, is mentioned in Lancelot Turpin de Crisse’s treatise, Essai sur l-Art de la Guerre, written in Paris in 1754. K. L. Parker claims that it resembles recommendations for a similar type of campaigning mentioned in the Memoires authored by Raymond, Count Motecuculi, general of the Imperial forces during the Thirty Years War and a veteran of later campaigns against the Turks in Hungary. Parker notes a close resemblance between de Crisse and Montecuculi and also observes that Forbes had read de Crisse’s Essai.25 He maintains that Forbes’s protected advance was developed in the seventeenth century by European commanders in Eastern Europe. Lightly armed and equipped cavalry and infantry—vital to warfare in North America—had developed irregular techniques in Eastern Europe starting in the thirteenth century. Warfare had been adapted to conditions of sparsely inhabited terrain; these Cossacks, Hussars, Pandours, and others had the advantage of speed and mobility over heavier troops of the same nature. Montecuculi stressed in his Memoires that even the best regular forces were in danger when on an advance in sparsely inhabited territories if a fortified post was not available to which they could retreat. If an army was out in the open and exposed to hit-and-run attacks, not even training, discipline, and firepower could prevent disaster in an exposed situation. In his letter to Pitt, Forbes summarized:

…As the Enemy’s Number had all along been represented to me, not only equall, but even to exceed what I could carry against them so it was absolutely necessary that I should take precautions by having posts along my route, which I have done from a project that I took from Turpin’s Essay Sur le Guerre. Last Chapter 4th Book. Intitled Principe Sur Lequel on peut etabler un project de Campagne, if you will take the trouble of looking into his Book, you will see the Generall principles upon which I have proceeded.26

But before Forbes could test out de Crisse’s protected advance in the woods of North America, he had to collect the supplies necessary to sustain the army for a prolonged campaign. His quest took nearly three months, and he encountered many trials and tribulations along the way. The tardiness of the wagons was just one of Forbes’s many problems. What good were his wagons without the provisions—food in particular—to fill them? Forbes’s contractors did not immediately appear to experience the difficulties in purchasing foodstuffs that William Alexander did for the Niagara expedition. John Blair, the president of the Council of Virginia, wrote to Forbes at the beginning of April to inform him of the food situation. Blair could not convince the Virginia Assembly to assist Forbes in purchasing "Forrage and Oats and Indian Corn" for the horses, he did tell Forbes that "there is Plenty about Winchester for your officer to buy and I suppose he is there before this time. There is great Plenty of Pork and other Provisions may be bought cheap here…."27 But by mid-August, the campaign was placing a strain on the local economies; Joshua Howell wrote to Forbes from Philadelphia:

Sometime Since I Receiv’d a letter from Adam Hoops acquainting me thou Demanded three months Salt pork for 8000 men. This order came a little unexpected as a large Quantity of Pork and live Cattle had lately been sent from these Parts. It laid me under the Necessity of Buying Pork at an Extravagant price….28

To add to the strain, stored provisions often turned up spoiled and useless. Draper Simon Wood was the commissary of stores for the campaign, and the weight of inspections and delivering the bad news to Forbes often fell on his shoulders. Wood sent detailed returns of the stores in various locations to Forbes, with notations about the quality of the provisions laid in. For example, his return of the stores at Carlisle from May 27, 1758 complained bitterly about the stores there:






Bar.ls Bags




1450 20



The Meal that is in the above Return is by no means Conformable to the Contract for it expressly says Flour or Bread also some of the Meal is extreamly course of its Kind29

The Pork purchased in Baltimore may do, but that only consists of One hundred & sixteen Barrels the rest that is to come from Nansemond in Virginia I dread the Consequences of it as it comes from the very places I have already mentioned to You. if a quantity of Pork was sent from Philadelphia I cannot think it would be an imprudent Step but I leave that to your Excellencys better Judgement…

This examination of Carlisle’s provisions prompted an inspection of every supply depot. The returns of the inspections ordered by Colonel Henry Bouquet turned up that the vast majority of the pork kept in storage was "sour" and had to be replaced. This was a major setback—Forbes’s budget was already pushed to its limits and he and his agents were being pressured for payments for other supplies.

Among these pressures was the means necessary to shuttle the provisions from point A to point B. This Duquesne expedition almost failed due to these great numbers of wagons and horses. Forbes informed William Pitt: "My greatest distress and what maybe a real hindrance to me… is the provisions, which altho’ every care imaginable has taken by contracting for great Numbers of Waggons and Baggage horses at a very great Expence."30

Forbes called upon the people of Pennsylvania to supply the necessary transports. Joshua Howell, a sub-contractor for the firm of Baker, Kilby, and Baker, was informed by Adam Hoops that the good citizens of the province would readily supply horses and wagons, provided they were "paid for ‘em in case they should be lost or taken by the Enemy" and that each wagon could "carry Eighteen or Twenty Hundred weight for fifteen shillings a day…."31 Soon after, Forbes informed Pennsylvania governor William Denny that he was going to issue press warrants throughout Pennsylvania to obtain the necessary horses and wagons. Denny, in reply, noted that a Bill sat before him for the impressments and settlement of the hiring of wagons and pack horses, and that the price was, as Howell had claimed, fifteen shillings a day for a waggon and four horses to carry a ton weight, and two shillings a day for a pack horse.32 Sir John St. Clair, the deputy quartermaster general for the campaign, requested that Forbes contract for 300 wagons and between 1000 or 1500 "carrying horses."

But getting these horses and wagons was not so easy. Forbes and his other officers were plagued with the aversion the colonists of Pennsylvania appeared to show toward assisting in British efforts. Spavined packhorses and poor equipment were apparently abundant in Pennsylvania. St. Clair wrote to Forbes from Carlisle on the 1st of July: "… I am extremely ill used by the Inhabitants of York County, the horses of their Contract Waggons are good for nothing which as occasioned me to [illegible] a pretty severe Proclamation."33 Other complaints about the horses and wagons abound. The main reason that his troops were unable to move forward, asserted Forbes:

was the Waggon-Horses failing in bringing up our provisions, neither making proper journeys, nor carrying the stipulated weight, by which the Magazines (upon the faith and strength of which I was to have proceeded) diminished daily, nor is it easy to replenish them, or support the daily Consumption of an Army, 300 miles distance, and that all land Carriage.34

Forbes wrote to Joshua Howell that he was "grosly abused by the Contract waggons who can neither draw 1200 lb. W.t nor march 12 miles a day…."35 The same day, Forbes sent a terse letter to the Pennsylvania Assembly:

The greatest Number of the Waggons Raised in ye different Countys & Districts Was made up with old & poor Horses, & is now found unfit for Service which Lays me under an Absolute Necessity to Demand you wou’d immediately impress or Raise Such Numbers of good able Waggons as Adam Hoops agent Victualer or His Deputy may think Necessary for this transportation of provisions from your Different Countys to Raystown.

Your Duty to your King & the Safety of your Country Demands of you to Expedite the Raising of the above Waggons….36

He was forced to pay the contractors according to the number of hundred weight that each wagon carried to speed up their progress.

Forbes and his officers also experienced problems with the wagoners themselves. Some claimed abuse by the British officers; in every case where the complaint was justified, the offender was punished. Others declared that they could not move faster because there was no forage for their horses along the way; Forbes retorted that there would be no shortage if enough wagons had been available to carry the necessary hay, oats, and Indian corn to the supply posts. Forbes was well aware that if his wagons did not move fast enough and with enough provisions, the entire operation would fail.

The expedition proceeded slowly toward Fort Duquesne, racing with time to avoid a winter layover and thus the loss of a surprise attack. Luck was with Forbes in November 1758— the capture of a French soldier revealed a fatal weakness at Duquesne. Many Indian allies had deserted the French and the numbers of French and Canadian troops stationed at Duquesne had been reduced to a minimum because of a dire shortage of supplies. Fred Anderson writes: "At the beginning of November he [François- Marie Le Marchand de Lignery, commander of the marines at Duquesne] commanded a skeletal garrison of three hundred regulars and militiamen. Only a third were fit for duty."37 Forbes moved quickly, and by November 21, the advance guard of his army was a little over ten miles from Duquesne. When Lignery learned of this, he piled his remaining garrison into canoes and ordered the fort completely destroyed. Forbes’s army occupied the site on November 24 and quickly rebuilt the garrison there. Duquesne, renamed Fort Pitt, would become an important outpost for the remainder of the war.38

Although successful, the campaign to Fort Duquesne nearly met with failure due to, among other things, unforseeable errors of execution, but not conception. Few, if any, of these mistakes were the responsibility of Forbes. But were these mistakes an act of providence? Did the problems of transportation stall the army’s movement just long enough to coincide with the reduction of the French garrison at Duquesne? If Forbes been able to institute an independent transport command such as the one Loudoun had organized for the New York frontier, would the campaign have succeeded? Whatever the answers may be, the capture of Duquesne proceeded effectively via the old European ways of irregular warfare, not in the new tradition.





1Bouquet to the Duke of Portland, Fort Duquesne, 3 December 1758, in S. K. Stevens, Donald H. Kent, and Autumn L. Leonard, eds., The Papers of Henry Bouquet (Harrisburg: The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1951), vol. 2, The Forbes Campaign, 620.

2Carl von Clausewitz, On War, trans. and ed. Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976), 339.

3Ibid., 331.

4An example of the devastation wreaked during the early seventeenth century can be seen in Germany and Bohemia. Commanders allowed their troops to subsist on plunder and advocated a scorched-earth policy. The desert-like wastelands left in these areas made it impossible to support large numbers of men and animals-no provisions or forage could be found for miles.

5It appears that the most successful campaigns were conducted by officers who had served in the less formal campaigns during previous European wars. For example, Brigadier General John Forbes had served as a quartermaster general during the victorious campaign conducted by the Duke of Marlborough in Flanders. Stephen Brumwell, Redcoats: The British Soldier and War in the Americas, 1755-1763 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 141.

6Brumwell, Redcoats,15.

7John Shy, Toward Lexington: The Role of the British Army in the Coming of the American Revolution (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1965), 87.

8Clausewitz, On War, 335.

9Ibid., 336.

10Ibid., 337.

11Ibid., 338.

12The success of the depot system in North America is completely left out of Clausewitz's discourse; surprisingly wilderness warfare in general also fails to make the grade, although Clausewitz should have been familiar with the Seven Years' War.

13K. L. Parker, Anglo-American Wilderness Campaigning 1754-1764: Logistical and Tactical Developments (unpublished PhD diss., Columbia University, 1970), xiv-xvi.

14Shy, Toward Lexington, 87.

15R. Arthur Bowler, Logistics and the Failure of the British Army in America: 1775-1783 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1975), 14-15; 27-29.

16Theodore Thayer, "The Army Contractors for the Niagara Campaign, 1755-1756," The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, Vol. 14, Issue 1 (Jan., 1957), 32.

17Fred Anderson, Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000) 86-157; Daniel J. Beattie, "The Adaptation of the British Army to Wilderness Warfare, 1755-1763," Adapting to Conditions: War and Society in the Eighteenth Century, ed. Maarten Ultee (University, AL: The University of Alabama Press, 1986), 60; Thayer, "Army Contractors," 33-41.

18Because of his previous residence in Connecticut, Christopher Kilby was chosen to direct provisioning in North America; King, Anglo-American Wilderness Campaigning, 185-186.

19Christopher Kilby to James Abercromby, September 3, 1758, War Office 34, vol. 69, quoted in Beattie, "British Army and Wilderness Warfare," 63.

20Beattie, "British Army and Wilderness Warfare," 64-65.

21Alfred Procter James, ed. Writings of General John Forbes relating to his service in North America (Menasha, WI: The Collegiate Press, 193), x- xii..

22Forbes to Pitt, Philadelphia, June 17th 1758, in Ibid., Writings, 117.

23Ibid., Writings, 117.

24Ibid., Writings, 118-119.

25King, Anglo-American Wilderness Campaigning, 267-269.

26Forbes to Pitt, 20th Octobr. 1758, in James, Writings, 240.

27John Blair to Forbes 26 April 1758, in Forbes Papers.

28Joshua Howell to Forbes 23 Aug 1758, in Forbes Papers.

29Wood had previously instructed the contractors not to purchase pork from Tidewater Virginia and North Carolina as it was notoriously bad; Draper S. Wood to Forbes, A Return of Provisions…, 27 May 1758, in Forbes Papers.

30Forbes to Pitt, Fort Loudoun, the 6th September 1758, in James, Writings, 203.

31Adam Hoops was a Pennsylvania merchant, presumably a sub-contractor for Joshua Howell; Joshua Howell to Christopher Kilby, 21 March 1758, John Forbes Papers, 1755-1759, Accession #10034, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

32Denny to Forbes 4 April 1758, in Forbes Papers.

33What proclamation St. Clair may have issued is unknown; St. Clair to Forbes, 1 July 1758, Forbes Papers.

34This problem with horses and wagons was not unusual. St. Clair, who had also the quartermaster general for the Braddock expedition, complained: "I have this moment Received and Express from his Excellency General Braddock Complaining that the County people are very Delatory in sending their Waggons and Teams of horses for our artillery and Stores which are lying at Alexandria this is the only thing that Retards our Operations. I hope you have sent down the Waggons for their loading but I am sorry to acquaint you that the numbers which were to have gone down last are far short of what I expected. You are their fore to warn all the Waggons in the County for his Majesty's Service the numbers mentioned above to be sent to Alexandria and the others are to load stores at Winchester for the Fort… Shou'd any one of the Inhabitants Refuse to go on this service, you are to let me know their names that I may apply to Sir Peter Halkett for a detachment of our soldiers to be Quartered on them; and you may take my word for it, that if those people do not go on this service with their Waggons and horses, I shall convince them that they had better drawn up our artillery gratis from Alexandria and been yoaked in place of their horses"; Camp on Cacapehon April 13th 1755 in St. Clair Letterbook, in Forbes Papers; Forbes to Pitt, 20th Octobr. 1758, in James, Writings, 239.

35Forbes to Joshua Howell, 15 Aug. 1758, in Forbes Papers.

36Forbes to Gentlemen, 15 August 1758, in Forbes Papers.

37Anderson, Crucible of War, 281.

38Ibid., Crucible of War, 282-285.


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