Monday, February 25, 2013

The Legend of General Braddock’s Lost Treasure

The Braddock Massacre

In 1755 war raged across the American frontier. The English colonies were locked in a death grip with the French and their Indian allies. In February, 1755, English General Edward Braddock landed at the port of Alexandria, Virginia with orders to march on the French Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh) and destroy the main French army.

Braddock’s troubles started almost immediately. He could never get used to the terrain and distances of America. Heavy rains from April to June made the land between Alexandria and the fur trading town of Winchester a sea of mud. He began building a road westward. The pace was agonizingly slow. The heat and mud slowed the army at every step. Especially troublesome was the artillery that Braddock had brought from England (four howitzers, four 12-pounders, and four six pounders).

By the ninth day of the march, Braddock’s army had only traveled twenty seven miles to the village of Newgate (renamed Centreville in 1798). Here he turned northward, but the cannons and wagons became hopelessly mired in mud and clay.

In an act of desperation, Braddock took aside a small group of soldiers and buried two of the brass six pounders. The cannons were buried pointing skyward. Dismissing all but a few trusted officers, Braddock poured $30,000 in gold coins, money to be used to pay the troops, into the open ends of the cannons. The mouths of the cannons were then sealed with wooden plugs.

The General carefully noted the location of the treasure, “50 paces east of the spring where the road runs north and south.” The road of which he spoke is now called “Braddock Road”, where the road runs north to intersect U.S. Rt. 29-211 in Centreville, Virginia.

Braddock marched on to disaster in Western Pennsylvania. Ambushed in the thick forests, the red-coated British were easy targets for the concealed French and Indians. Braddock and the trusted officers who had witnessed the burying of the treasure were killed in battle.


Braddock’s papers were sent to England. Years later an archivist found the account of the buried gold located in Virginia. A special committee was dispatched to search for the gold, but returned to England empty handed. So, to this day, two brass cannons filled with gold are said to lie beneath the soil of Virginia.




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