Acadian-Cajun Genealogy & History » French  
Fort Beauséjour
 

After the British built Ft. Lawrence in September 1750 on the south side of the Missaguash River, the French responded by building Ft. Beausejour less than 2 miles away on the northern side. It was a star-shaped fort build on Beausejour Ridge. Begun in April 1751, it was still unfinished four years later (though it was a larger structure than Ft. Lawrence).

On May 23, 1755, Gov. Shirley of Massachusetts sent 2000 men to join Lt. Col. Monckton. On June 4, 1755, Lt. Col. Robert Monckton led 2350 of his men and the MA men and attacked Ft. Beausejour. They walked down the river and crossed over on a bridge at Pont a Buot. On the route to Ft. Beasejour, the Acadian homes were all burning ... having been set afire by French soldiers to keep them out of the hands of the British. Though the seige had begun, the English didn't start shelling the fort till June 13.

Ft. Beasejour/Ft. Lawrence area
Click on image for larger view [Flash version]

They finally took control of the fort on June 16, 1755 and renamed it Ft. Cumberland. It was the better, larger fort, so the English soldiers stayed there instead of returning to Ft. Lawrence. Monckton wrote that Acadians that had been forced to bear arms would be pardoned. He also sent 300 men to the French fort (Gaspereau?) at Baie Verte and demanded their surrender.

Attack on Beausejour

The following letter, written on June 18 from Fort Cumberland, describes the situation.

"We had a very pleasant passage of four days from Bostonto Annapolis, where we all arrived safe on Monday the 26th of May ; we remained there till Sunday the 1st of June , when we all sailed and got up here the same night, but did not land till Monday. We were not a little pleased to learn on our arrival, that the French had received no reinforcement from Louisbourg , as we heard at Boston, nor were they apprized of our design, till we got here. The troops were quartered the night we arrived, upon the settlers and inhabitants, and Tuesday encamped near our fort, which day was employed in preparing to march to the French side on the next day: Accordingly on the 4th of June , (being the Prince of Wales's birthday) at break of day, the troops were under arms, and joined by all the regulars of our garrison, both officers and soldiers, except Capt. Hamilton , who was left to command fort Lawrence , with whom we left Capt. Brintnal , and about 80 New-England troops. At 7 o'clock, the whole army, being about 2,450 men, marched with 4 field pieces in the front: As soon as they arrived at the carrying place, where was a log-house, with some swivel guns, and a detachment of French troops, they fired upon us, which was soon returned, and they driven from their post, which they set fire to, as they did in their retreat to all the houses between them and the French fort; and before night, almost every house at Beausejour , togewith their large new mass-house, the priest's house, hospital, barns, &c. to the number of about 60, were burnt down to the ground. This step they took that we might not be sheltered by them in our approach, or benefited thereby, in case they were obliged to surrender, as they doubtedly expected they must. We had only one man killed, (a serjeant of our garrison) and cleven wounded one of which is since dead; the French had five or fix. killed, and we suppose more, how, many wounded, we can't tell. Our troops traveled the ground on their side, and reconnoitred the fort pretty neat, without being tired at; their people were employed in strengthening their fort, by a glacis and covered-way, as if they did not intend to surrender without a dispute, but turned their defence chiesly against in allault sword in hand, expecting we should storm the garrison, as they did not apprehend we had any artillery except our fold-pieces and some cohorns. They have since taken off the roofs from their houses and pulled down the chimnies, to prevent the ill consequences of out cannonading, as they are now convinced we have battering cannon and 13 inch shells.—We have lanced our cannon and mortars, and the troops have been employed in clearing a road for transporting them to the place where we design to open our battery (which we hope will be effected this night) within 300 yards of their rimparts. We have reconnoitering frequently out within half musket thos of the sort, which they sometimes fire at, but have not us yet hurt us a man. They have in the fort about regulars, and as many of the inhabita remember, with the women and child gone off to the Bay Vexte , and other places. We have not lost one of the brought from New-England , either by my or sickness; and have only 3 slightly. An other of our by a party of Indians, who were a cople of wood on our site, and not as he was returning (alone) from son to the camp, eatly in the days ago. A stag of truce was sent Monckton from the French same day, with letters from the quaint the colonel of his misfortunate he was well dealt by. The same one of their gamon prisonet, learnt, the they expect a reinforce St. John 's and Loursbourg ; but I they will arrive too late. Our health, and high spirits, and person tigues (which are not a few) with fullness.

Fort C, June 18
SC Gazette, July 31, 1755

   
Plan of Ft. Beasejour, 1752
Ft. Beasejour plan, from Webster's "The Forts of Chignecto" 1930
     
In the early 2000s, an organization known as the Fort Lawrence/Beaubassin Heritage Association worked towards the reconstrution of a full size replica of . Unfortunately, the county council shut down their plans. An archive of their website can be found HERE.
    John Thomas' diary, published in the NSHS V.??? gives a first-hand perspective of someone at Ft. Beasejour in 1755. John Clarence Webster wrote about the fort in a 1930 work, The Forts of Chignecto. More recently, Chris Hand wrote The Siege of Fort Beausejour 1755 FIX LINK (Goose Lane Editions, 2004).

 

     On the south side of the Missaguash River was Ft. Lawrence.

 

Plan of Ft. Lawrence, 1755
Ft. Lawrence
Model of Ft. Lawrence
Ft. Lawrence model

Click on image for a larger view
 

LINKS
- Fort Beauséjour (Parks Canada)
- Ft. Beauséjour (Wikipedia)
- Fort Lawrence/Beaubassin Heritage Association
      This organization was formed to reconstruct a replica of the fort, but the county council forced them to cease their efforts. The site has disappeared, but this links to the archived version.

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Acadia: 1632-1653 * 1654-1670 * 1671-1689 * 1690-1709 * 1710-1729 * 1730-1748 * 1749-1758
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