May 12, 2015
Note: No video of this meeting
Speaker: ROBERT T. MESSNER
Director,Braddock’s Battlefield History Center
Braddock’s Battlefield History Center opened in August of 2012. It commemorates one of the most famous military engagements in the history of Colonial America, the Battle of the Monongahela, or “Braddock’s Defeat” on July 9, 1755 at the beginning of the French & Indian War.
In a surprise encounter for both sides, approximately 650 French allied Indians and 200 French engaged the considerably larger Braddock Expedition, which had been sent to seize Fort Duquesne and thereby to control the “Forks of the Ohio” at the Point in present day Pittsburgh. The result of this engagement , which lasted more than three hours, shocked the Colonies and Europe. It also enhanced the military career of young George Washington, which had previously been undistinguished at best.
The cast of participants in the Braddock Expedition and this engagement reads like a “Who’s Who” of colonial America. Many of them were in their twenties and this experience remained with them for the rest of their lives. After more than 250 years since the Battle, the Braddock’s Battlefield communities finally have a historic tourism center befitting this significant historic event.
Read more about the Museum’s development and Director, Robert T. Messner in Marylynne Pitz’s Post-Gazette article August 18, 2012 — excerpts:
The Battle of the Monongahela, in which French and Indians rained musket fire on British soldiers and killed Maj. Gen. Edward Braddock, lasted three hours on July 9, 1755.
The battle to build a museum dedicated to this major military engagement lasted 17 years and was waged by a lone lawyer from Blackridge, who volunteered all of his time and energy. Braddock’s Battlefield History Center at 609 Sixth St. in North Braddock opens to the public today. The new, 5,000-square foot museum represents a decisive victory for Robert T. Messner, a self-taught historian and retired general counsel for Dollar Bank. His tactical arsenal included a willingness to learn about every facet of the battle of the French and Indian War, a dogged effort to collect 250 artifacts and 50 artworks, and the ability to see how a former auto dealership, overgrown with giant weeds, could be transformed into a museum………
……… The idea of establishing a museum occurred to Mr. Messner one afternoon in 1995 while he looked across the Monongahela River and tried to envision Braddock’s 2,200 men, dressed in wool uniforms, wading through 10 feet of water on a hot summer day……….