The Acadians and the fort

Fort Beauséjour – Fort Cumberland National Historic Site

The Acadian population was comprised of the families who first settled around the fort at Beauséjour, and others who had fled their lands on the east side of the Missaguash River. These refugees helped with maintenance work on the fort and with the building of dykes.

Provisioning the garrison was one means of deriving economic benefit, although needy refugees received rations from the fort. Trade with Louisbourg and Île Saint-Jean via Baie Verte and Tatamagouche constituted another source of income for the Acadians in the region. They exported cattle, poultry, fish, vegetables, flour, furs and lumber.

Appeasing the locals

In 1754 the French missionary, Le Loutre, undertook a vast dyke-building project for which he had been able to obtain considerable monies from Versailles. The project was designed to appease the original Acadian settlers who did not welcome the arrival of hundreds of refugees into the area. Le Loutre also hoped to pacify the latter who wanted to go back to their farms. The refugees even sent two representatives to Quebec to petition civil and ecclesiastical authorities on their behalf. They were not greeted with much sympathy and, in fact, were criticized for the lack of gratitude and loyalty with regard to their missionaries and their mother country.

Defending the fort

Out of a total of about 3,000 Acadians living on the Isthmus of Chignecto and in the Shepody, Petitcodiac and Memramcook region, Commandant de Vergor estimated that about 700 were able to bear arms. However, all of them feared British reprisals if they took up arms. In June 1755, Vergor was only able to rally between 200 and 300 Acadian and a number of Indigenous people to join the 200 soldiers defending the fort at Beauséjour.

Next part: Tensions in the 1750s

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