When news of the two battles reached England in August, the government of the Duke of Newcastle, after several months of negotiations, decided to send an army expedition the following year to dislodge the French. Major General Edward Braddock was chosen to lead the expedition. Word of the British military plans leaked to France well before Braddock's departure for North America, and King Louis XV dispatched a much larger body of troops to Canada in 1755. The British, intending to blockade French ports, sent out their fleet in February 1755, but the French fleet had already sailed. Admiral Edward Hawke detached a fast squadron to North America in an attempt to intercept the French. In a second British act of aggression, Admiral Edward Boscawen fired on the French ship Alcide on June 9, 1755, capturing her and two troop ships. The British harassed French shipping throughout 1755, seizing ships and capturing seamen, contributing to the eventual formal declarations of war in spring 1756.