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The Siege of Fort Beauséjour, 1755
The Siege of Fort Beauséjour, 1755

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.


Born in Scarborough and raised near Boston Mills, Ontario, Major Chris Hand joined the Canadian Forces in 1981 and attended the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario, graduating in 1986 with a BA in history. In 2002, Major Hand completed studies at Canadian Forces Command and Staff College in Toronto and a MA in history from the University of New Brunswick. The Siege of Fort Beauséjour, 1755 is based on his master's thesis, which he completed while serving at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown. Major Hand has had a number of overseas postings, including postings in Cypress, Bosnia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. He is now the Canadian Exchange Officer with the British Army in Land Warfare Centre, in Warminster, Wiltshire UK. He has two children, Sarah and William.

"Hand paints such a vivid picture that you can visualize the siege unfolding ... [It] makes one realize that this region, Canada, and possibly the continent may have been a different place had this fort been successfully defended." — Chronicle Herald

128 pages
Pub date: April 27, 2004