On 9 July 1755 amid the wilderness of North America, Britain suffered one of the most humiliating defeats in her history. General Braddock's army, a mixture of British regulars and American militia, was shattered, losing over 900 men from a force of 1,300. Braddock was killed and the remnants of his army rescued by his aide, Colonel George Washington. The origins of this defeat can be traced back to the death of a junior French officer little more than a year before in a relatively minor skirmish with a party of Virginian militia commanded by the same George Washington. René Chartrand examines the subsequent chain of events that ultimately sparked a world war.