The Siege of Fort Beauséjour, 1755
Almost since Champlain's men first settled on St. Croix Island in 1604, the French and the English fought for control of Acadia, a huge area consisting of today's Maritime Provinces and parts of Quebec and Maine. The British assault on Fort Beauséjour in 1755 was the final act in this long struggle. The frontier between the two imperial powers lay along the Chignecto Isthmus, the neck of low, fertile marshlands and parallel ridges joining Nova Scotia to the mainland. Of great strategic importance, this land was the scene of a few pitched battles and constant petty warfare.
By 1750, the present-day New Brunswick-Nova Scotia border was a fortified camp amid the fertile lands that generations of Acadians had farmed. The English were building Fort Lawrence on one side of the Missaguash River, near present-day Amherst, Nova Scotia. Meanwhile, the French were constructing Fort Beauséjour in plain view on the opposite side, only three kilometres away, near what is now Sackville, New Brunswick. Relations among the British soldiers, the soldiers from France, the Acadian inhabitants, and the native Mi'kmaq were complex. Acadians and their Mi'kmaq allies traded with British soldiers by day and attacked them at night. The French boasted that Beauséjour was the third-strongest fort in North America, but it was poorly sited and unfinished, and the Acadians forced to work on it demanded payment in British gold. When a combined force of New England volunteers and British regulars wrested the fort from its defenders in June 1755, Beauséjour fell, and so did Acadia.
In The Siege of Fort Beauséjour, 1755, Chris Hand outlines the events leading up to this final clash and gives a running account of the siege itself. The 30 site plans, maps, and drawings and paintings, archival and modern, show a realistic picture of the battle that made the Expulsion of the Acadians not only possible but inevitable.
The Siege of Fort Beauséjour, 1755 is Volume 3 in the New Brunswick Military Heritage Series.
Pub date: April 27, 2004