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Fort Beauséjour

Fort Beauséjour

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Fort Beauséjour, was built during Father Le Loutre's War
Father Le Loutre's War
Father Le Loutre’s War , also known as the Indian War, the Micmac War and the Anglo-Micmac War, took place between King George's War and the French and Indian War in Acadia and Nova Scotia. On one side of the conflict, the British and New England colonists were led by British Officer Charles...

 from 1751-1755; it is located at the Isthmus of Chignecto
Isthmus of Chignecto
The Isthmus of Chignecto is an isthmus bordering the Maritime provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia which connects the Nova Scotia peninsula with North America....

 in present-day Aulac
Aulac, New Brunswick
Aulac is a Canadian community in Westmorland County, New Brunswick.Aulac is situated upon the Aulac Ridge, a prominent rise running west-east across the Tantramar Marshes on the Isthmus of Chignecto, approximately 2 kilometres west of the Missaguash River which forms the southern part of the...

, New Brunswick
New Brunswick
New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. The property is now a National Historic Site officially known as Fort Beauséjour – Fort Cumberland National Historic Site.

To maintain the land route between Louisbourg and Quebec, the French built this fort and two satellite installations: one at present-day Port Elgin, New Brunswick
Port Elgin, New Brunswick
Port Elgin is a Canadian village in Westmorland County, New Brunswick.Port Elgin is situated near the Nova Scotia border at the mouth of the Gaspareaux River where it empties into Baie Verte.-History:...

 (Fort Gaspareaux
Fort Gaspareaux
Fort Gaspareaux was a French fort at the head of Baie Verte near the mouth of the Gaspareaux River and just southeast of the modern village of Port Elgin, New Brunswick, Canada, on the Isthmus of Chignecto...

) and the other at present-day Saint John, New Brunswick
Saint John, New Brunswick
City of Saint John , or commonly Saint John, is the largest city in the province of New Brunswick, and the first incorporated city in Canada. The city is situated along the north shore of the Bay of Fundy at the mouth of the Saint John River. In 2006 the city proper had a population of 74,043...

 (Fort Menagoueche
Fort Menagoueche
Fort Menagoueche was a French fort at the mouth of the St. John River, New Brunswick, Canada. French Officer Charles Deschamps de Boishébert et de Raffetot built the fort during Father Le Loutre's War and eventually burned it himself as the French retreated after losing the Battle of...

).

Fort Beauséjour is notable as the site of the Battle of Fort Beauséjour
Battle of Fort Beauséjour
The Battle of Fort Beauséjour was fought on the Isthmus of Chignecto and marked the end of Father Le Loutre’s War andthe opening of a British offensive in the French and Indian War, which would eventually lead to the end the French Empire in North America...

, which was both the final act in the long fight between Britain and France for control of Acadia, and the opening act of the final struggle between the two great empires for North America.

Renamed Fort Cumberland by the British, who were victorious, it was the site of the Battle of Fort Cumberland
Battle of Fort Cumberland
The Battle of Fort Cumberland was an attempt by a small number of militia commanded by Jonathan Eddy to bring the American Revolutionary War to Nova Scotia in late 1776...

 during the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

.

Historical Context



Fort Beauséjour was one of several French forts erected after King George's War
King George's War
King George's War is the name given to the operations in North America that formed part of the War of the Austrian Succession . It was the third of the four French and Indian Wars. It took place primarily in the British provinces of New York, Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, and Nova Scotia...

 (1748) to strengthen the French position in North America against the British. Louisbourg was rebuilt (1749), Fort Niagara was established on Lake Ontario (1749), Fort Duquesne was constructed near present-day Pittsburgh (1749), and Fort Rouille was built (1750). In Acadia, Fort Menagoueche was built to the west of the mouth of the St. John River (1748), further up the river they re-occupied Fort Nerepis (1749), Fort Gadiaque - a fortified supply depot - was built at Indian Island (Skull Island), Shediac Bay (1749).

Following the Treaty of Utrecht
Treaty of Utrecht
The Treaty of Utrecht, which established the Peace of Utrecht, comprises a series of individual peace treaties, rather than a single document, signed by the belligerents in the War of Spanish Succession, in the Dutch city of Utrecht in March and April 1713...

 in 1713, the part of Acadia which is known today as peninsular Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

 changed from French to British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 control, and became another British colony on the eastern seaboard. Due to disagreements in interpretation of the treaty provisions delineating Acadia's boundaries, the ownership of present-day New Brunswick continued to be disputed. An informal dividing line was eventually established on the Isthmus of Chignecto
Isthmus of Chignecto
The Isthmus of Chignecto is an isthmus bordering the Maritime provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia which connects the Nova Scotia peninsula with North America....

 at the Missiguash River. As tensions between France and Britain escalated in the 1740s, the territorial dispute over colonial limits became an important issue.

Father Le Loutre's War


One historian suggests that the French were probably using Beauséjour Ridge, just to the west of the Missiguash, as a camp as early as 1744. During Father Le Loutre's War
Father Le Loutre's War
Father Le Loutre’s War , also known as the Indian War, the Micmac War and the Anglo-Micmac War, took place between King George's War and the French and Indian War in Acadia and Nova Scotia. On one side of the conflict, the British and New England colonists were led by British Officer Charles...

, on May 1, 1750, Major Charles Lawrence arrived with 400 men to secure the Beauséjour Ridge. Finding a landing impossible, given the presence of French troops, the flotilla moved further up the basin to the village of Beaubassin, on a second ridge immediately east of the Missaguash. When it was clear that Lawrence intended to land, the local priest, Abbé Jean-Louis le Loutre
Jean-Louis Le Loutre
Abbé Jean-Louis Le Loutre was a Catholic priest and missionary for the Paris Foreign Missions Society...

, ordered the village burnt to ensure the British could not use it. The displaced Acadians took refuge with the French encampment on Beauséjour Ridge.

In May 1750, Lawrence was ill-prepared to build a fort or to launch an attack on the French, so he retreated. He returned in September 1750 with a force of 700 men. Le Loutre and Acadian militia leader Joseph Broussard
Joseph Broussard
Joseph Gaurhept Broussard , also known as Beausoleil, was a leader of the Acadian people in Acadia; later Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Broussard organized a resistance movement against the forced Expulsion of the Acadians...

 resisted the British assault. The British troops defeated them and began construction of Fort Lawrence
Fort Lawrence
Fort Lawrence was a British fort built during Father Le Loutre's War and located on the Isthmus of Chignecto .-Father Le Loutre's War:...

 near the site of the ruined Acadian village of Beaubassin. The work on the fort proceeded rapidly and the facility was completed within weeks.

Construction of Fort Beauséjour



France responded to the construction of Fort Lawrence in September 1750. Work on the French fortress did not begin until the following spring, but by April 1751 construction was underway under the command of Claude-Antoine de Bermen de La Martinière
Claude-Antoine de Bermen de La Martinière
Claude-Antoine de Bermen de La Martinière was a Quebec born son of Claude de Bermen de la Martinière.Claude-Antoine de Bermen became an officer in the colonial regular troops. He enjoyed a career marked by important assignment and recognition of his efforts were marked by his receipt of the Order...

. By the early summer of 1751, La Valiere reported, approximately 250 Acadians had enrolled in the local militia. Construction was slow, and the fort was incomplete when it was attacked in 1755. It was still a more substantial construction than Fort Lawrence, given its earthworks and commanding position overlooking the Cumberland Basin. In 1753, Le Loutre and the Acadians began to build a cathedral just outside the fort.

At about the same time, the French built two satellite forts, Fort Gaspareaux
Fort Gaspareaux
Fort Gaspareaux was a French fort at the head of Baie Verte near the mouth of the Gaspareaux River and just southeast of the modern village of Port Elgin, New Brunswick, Canada, on the Isthmus of Chignecto...

 and Fort Menagoueche, to shore up defenses of Acadia. For four years, until the outbreak of the French and Indian War
French and Indian War
The French and Indian War is the common American name for the war between Great Britain and France in North America from 1754 to 1763. In 1756, the war erupted into the world-wide conflict known as the Seven Years' War and thus came to be regarded as the North American theater of that war...

, garrisons at Fort Beauséjour and Fort Lawrence kept watch across the frontier between French and British territory on the Isthmus of Chignecto.

French and Indian War


In 1755, Fort Beauséjour became the scene of a significant battle in the war as well as the site of beginning the Expulsion of the Acadians. The area afterward was a center of Mi'kmaq and Acadian armed resistance.

Battle of Fort Beauséjour


On June 4, 1755 the British conquest of all of France's North American territory began when a force of British regulars and New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

 militia attacked Fort Beauséjour
Battle of Fort Beauséjour
The Battle of Fort Beauséjour was fought on the Isthmus of Chignecto and marked the end of Father Le Loutre’s War andthe opening of a British offensive in the French and Indian War, which would eventually lead to the end the French Empire in North America...

 from Fort Lawrence under command of Lt. Col. Robert Monckton
Robert Monckton
Robert Monckton was an officer of the British army and a colonial administrator in British North America. He had a distinguished military and political career, being second in command to General Wolfe at the battle of Quebec and subsequently being the Governor of New York State...

. Le Loutre and Broussard were active in the unsuccessful defense. The British-led force took control of Fort Beauséjour by June 16, 1755, after which they changed its name to Fort Cumberland. Le Loutre's last act of defiance was to burn the cathedral so that it would not fall into the hands of the British. He was eventually captured, and imprisoned for eight years for his role leading the resistance against the British occupation of Acadia.

The Expulsion of the Acadians


In the months following the fort's capture, British forces attempted to persuade Acadians living in the Beaubassin region to sign an oath of allegiance to the British Crown; but, the Acadians refused, saying they preferred to stay neutral. Although Le Loutre and Broussard escaped, some of the remaining captured Acadians reported that they had been coerced into assisting in the defense of Fort Beauséjour. The British used this fact against them and in August 1755, they began expelling Acadians under the orders of Charles Lawrence, now Governor of Nova Scotia.

This event was the start of what would come to be known as the Great Upheaval
Great Upheaval
The Expulsion of the Acadians was the forced removal by the British of the Acadian people from present day Canadian Maritime provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island...

 (le Grand Dérangement) of Acadian society. It commenced with the Acadians in the Beaubassin region. British forces burnt Acadian homes at Beaubassin and the vicinity of the fort to prevent their return. As the British army had relocated to the more substantial facility at Fort Cumberland, they abandoned and burned Fort Lawrence on October 12, 1756. Fort Cumberland became one of four sites in which the British imprisoned or temporarily held Acadians during the nine years of the expulsion. (The other sites were Fort Edward (Nova Scotia)
Fort Edward (Nova Scotia)
Fort Edward is a National Historic Site in Windsor, Nova Scotia, Canada and was built during Father Le Loutre's War. The fort was created to help prevent the Acadian Exodus from the region...

; Fort Frederick, Saint John, New Brunswick
Saint John, New Brunswick
City of Saint John , or commonly Saint John, is the largest city in the province of New Brunswick, and the first incorporated city in Canada. The city is situated along the north shore of the Bay of Fundy at the mouth of the Saint John River. In 2006 the city proper had a population of 74,043...

, and Fort Charlotte, Georges Island, Halifax
Georges Island, Halifax
Georges Island is a glacial drumlin and the largest island entirely within the harbour limits of Halifax Harbour located in Nova Scotia's Halifax Regional Municipality. The Island is the location of Fort Charlotte, which was built during Father Le Loutre's War and is now a National Historic...

.)

Acadian and Mi'kmaq Resistance


Under the leadership of French officer Boishebert, Acadians and Mi'kmaq resisted the Expulsion. In the early spring of 1756, a band of Acadian and Mi'kmaq partisans ambushed a small party of New England soldiers' cutting wood for Fort Cumberland, killing and mutilating nine men. In April 1757, after raiding Fort Edward, a band of Acadian and Mi'kmaq partisans also raided Fort Cumberland, killing and scalping two men and taking two prisoners. On July 20, 1757 Mi'kmaq captured two of Gorham's rangers outside Fort Cumberland. In March 1758, forty Acadian and Mi'kmaq attacked a schooner at Fort Cumberland and killed its master and two sailors. In the winter of 1759, five British soldiers on patrol were ambushed while crossing a bridge near Fort Cumberland. They were ritually scalped and their bodies were mutilated as was common in frontier warfare
Scalping
Scalping is the act of removing another person's scalp or a portion of their scalp, either from a dead body or from a living person. The initial purpose of scalping was to provide a trophy of battle or portable proof of a combatant's prowess in war...

.

Battle of Fort Cumberland



The Beauséjour Ridge fort became a strategically important British military emplacement during the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

 as it guarded the overland route to peninsular Nova Scotia and also the upper reaches of the Bay of Fundy
Bay of Fundy
The Bay of Fundy is a bay on the Atlantic coast of North America, on the northeast end of the Gulf of Maine between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, with a small portion touching the U.S. state of Maine...

. In 1776, early in American Revolutionary War, Fort Cumberland and its British garrison repelled a rebel attack
Battle of Fort Cumberland
The Battle of Fort Cumberland was an attempt by a small number of militia commanded by Jonathan Eddy to bring the American Revolutionary War to Nova Scotia in late 1776...

 from local guerrillas led by the American sympathizer Jonathan Eddy
Jonathan Eddy
Jonathan Eddy served for the British in the French and Indian War and for the American Patriots in the American Revolution. After the French and Indian War he settled in Nova Scotia as a New England Planter, becoming a member of the General Assembly of Nova Scotia. During the American...

. This event had historical significance as the imperial loyalties of some Nova Scotian settlers (especially recent planters) were suspect; and if Fort Cumberland had fallen, Nova Scotia might have joined in the revolutionary effort.

War of 1812


Fort Cumberland was abandoned in the late 1780s. With the British resumption of hostilities
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

 with the United States in 1812, British forces reoccupied and refurbished the fort. Although it did not see any action during this conflict, the presence of a British garrison served as a deterrent to attack. The British military in 1835 declared the fort surplus property. It was abandoned. In 1926 the property was declared a National Historic Site by Canada.

In popular culture

  • The "Father of Canadian Poetry", Charles G.D. Roberts
    Charles G.D. Roberts
    Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts, was a Canadian poet and prose writer who is known as the Father of Canadian Poetry. He was "almost the first Canadian author to obtain worldwide reputation and influence; he was also a tireless promoter and encourager of Canadian literature......

    , wrote The Raid from Beausejour (1894), a novella about this period. It was his first published prose work.
  • C.A.M Edwards wrote Brook Watson of Beausejour (1957), a novel dealing with this period. Its lead character Brook Watson
    Brook Watson
    Sir Brook Watson, 1st Baronet was a British merchant, soldier, and later Lord Mayor of London, perhaps most famous as the subject of Watson and the Shark , a painting by John Singleton Copley which depicted a shark attack on Watson as a boy, as a result of which he lost his right leg below the...

     was a man notable as the subject of a 1778 painting which he commissioned by John Singleton Copley
    John Singleton Copley
    John Singleton Copley was an American painter, born presumably in Boston, Massachusetts, and a son of Richard and Mary Singleton Copley, both Irish. He is famous for his portrait paintings of important figures in colonial New England, depicting in particular middle-class subjects...

    ; it portrayed the event of a shark's attacking him as a youth.

Legacy

  • 1926, designated a National Historic Site. A museum has been built there, and portions of the fort restored. Its major earthworks command a large area.

Affiliations


The Museum is affiliated with: CMA
Canadian Museums Association
The Canadian Museums Association is a national organization for the promotion of museums in Canada.The Canadian Museums Association is the national organization for the advancement of the Canadian museum sector, representing Canadian museum professionals both within Canada and internationally. The...

, CHIN
Canadian Heritage Information Network
The Canadian Heritage Information Network is a Canadian government-supported organization that provides a networked interface to Canada's heritage, largely through the World Wide Web. It aims to give access to Canada's heritage for both Canadians and a worldwide audience, by supporting the...

, and Virtual Museum of Canada
Virtual Museum of Canada
The Virtual Museum of Canada is Canada's national virtual museum. With a directory of over 3,000 Canadian heritage institutions and a database of over 600 virtual exhibits, the VMC brings together Canada's museums regardless of size or geographical location.The VMC includes virtual exhibits,...

.

Further reading

  • Chris M. Hand, The Siege of Fort Beausejour 1755, 2004, Fredercton: Goose Lane Editions
    Goose Lane Editions
    Goose Lane Editions is a Canadian book publishing company founded in 1954 in Fredericton, New Brunswick as Fiddlehead Poetry Books by Fred Cogswell and a group of students and faculty from the University of New Brunswick. After Cogswell retired in 1981, his successor, Peter Thomas, changed the name...

     and the New Brunswick Military Heritage Project. ISBN 0-86492-377-5.
  • Bernard Pothier, Battle for the Chignecto Forts, 1995, Toronto: Balimuir.
  • Dr. John Clarence Webster
    John Clarence Webster
    John Clarence Webster was a Canadian-born physician pioneering in Obstetrics and gynaecology who in retirement had a second career as an historian, specializing in the history of his native New Brunswick...

    , The Forts of Chignecto, 1930, self published.
  • Dr. John Clarence Webster, Thomas Pynchon: The Spy of Beausejour, 1937, Sackville: Tribune Press.
  • Dr. John Clarence Webster, The Building of Fort Lawrence in Chignecto, 1941, Saint John: New Brunswick Museum.
  • Fred Anderson, Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766, 2000, New York: Knopf. ISBN 0-375-40642-5.
  • John Grenier. The Edge of Empire. Oklahoma Press. 2008.
  • Ernest Clarke, The Siege of Fort Cumberland, 1776, 1995. Montreal: McGill-Queen's Press. ISBN 0-7735-1323-X.
  • Ross, Sally (translator), The Fort of Beauséjour, 1993, Les Éditions d'Acadie, Moncton, New Brunswick.
  • Schmeisser, Barbara M., Yorkshire Immigrants in Search of a Better Life, 1772–1775, 2001, Fort Beauséjour NHS bulletin, Parks Canada.
  • Parks Canada, "Fort Beauséjour", National Historic Park brochure, 2001
  • Parks Canada, Memories of the Marsh: Burials at Fort Beauséjour, NHS brochure, undated (2001 ?).
  • Various British soldiers kept journals of the deportation from Beaubassin
    Beaubassin
    Beaubassin was the first settlement on the Isthmus of Chignecto, Nova Scotia, which was Acadian. The area is now known as the Tantramar Marshes. Beaubassin was settled in 1672, the second Acadian village to be established after Port Royal. The village was one of the largest and most prosperous in...

    , such as Jeremiah Bancroft
    Jeremiah Bancroft
    Jeremiah Bancroft was born in Reading, Massachusetts, on July 27, 1725 and died there from smallpox on November 25, 1757. Bancroft was an ensign in the French and Indian War. Bancroft is best known for the diary he kept of his account of the fall of Fort Beausejour and the Expulsion of the Acadians...

    .

External links