BOOK TWO:  The Great Upheaval


BOOK ONE:      Acadia

BOOK THREE:  French Louisiana

BOOK FOUR:   A New Acadia               

BOOK FIVE:     The Bayou State


The Acadians on the eve of Le Grand Dérangement

As every student of American history knows, the final war between Britain and France over control of North America erupted in the upper Ohio valley, where the French established posts to hem in the British colonies along the Atlantic seaboard.  Robert Dinwiddie, the royal governor of Virginia, which claimed the western region, sent a young militia officer named George Washington to the forks of the Ohio in the spring of 1754 to drive the French away.  In the opening round of the new war, Washington ambushed a small French force in western Pennsylvania, killed the French commander, who just happened to be a younger brother of the now-deceased Nicolas-Antoine Coulon de Villiers, hero of Grand-Pré, and built Fort Necessity nearby as a base for further operations.  Before Washington could attack Fort Duquesne at present-day Pittsburgh, the French surrounded Necessity, captured Washington's entire force, and sent the young colonel and his militiamen trudging back to Virginia.  The British retaliated the following year by sending a column of regulars under General Edward Braddock to obliterate the French presence in the Ohio country.  Again, using their Indian allies to good effect, the French ambushed the British column, mortally wounded Braddock, and compelled Washington and the redcoat survivors to fall back to Virginia.  What had started as a dispute over frontier territory gave every promise of erupting into another trans-Atlantic conflict, and so it did.01a  

But there was more to the war's beginning than that.  Sadly, the Acadians of peninsula Nova Scotia, some of them eagerly, more of them reluctantly, played an important part in the coming of the last French and Indian War.  After 1749, the French were quick to respond to British creation of a new power center facing Louisbourg, and especially to the importation of hundreds of Protestants to populate the area around Halifax in Nova Scotia.  The authorities at Québec and Louisbourg were determined to coax the Acadians and the Indians into joining their effort not only to resist British encroachment but also to regain what they had lost in 1710.   Acadian hotheads like Joseph Broussard dit Beausoleil of Petitcoudiac and Joseph LeBlanc dit Le Maigre of Minas, who had actively opposed the British during King George's War, were eager to fight the British once again.  Most Acadians, however, expressed their usual reluctance to abandon neutrality.

The Mi'kmaq, on the other hand, were eager to take up the tomahawk against the redcoat interlopers.  Historian Naomi Griffiths explains:  "For their own reasons, the Mi'kmaq responded favourably to the proposals of the French.  Although they were encouraged in their hostility to the British by the French, it was the British intrusion into land that the Mi'kmaq considered their own territory, particularly in the region of Halifax, that was the real basis for the disputes between them and Cornwallis.  ... [T]hroughout the years of the European exploration and settlement of Acadia, the Mi'kmaq never ceased to consider themselves the rightful tenants of the land.  Further, the Mi'kmaq were not so much allies of the French in the 1750s as they were a people convinced of their own autonomy, who were taking all means within their power to ensure their continued independence.  Their use of land might not have given them the type of territorial imperative that European politics had inculcated in the inhabitants of that continent, but the very importance that the Europeans attached to land ownership had taught the Mi'kmaq a great deal.  The Mi'kmaq had long-established gathering places, some of which were inhabited year-round, on the sites which the British were now attempting to build.  After 1748, British settlement seemed to pose a much greater threat to Mi'kmaq control over their lives than possible French expansion.  On 24 September 1749," only three months after Cornwallis had arrived at Halifax, "the Mi'kmaq formally declared their hostility to the British plans for settlement without more formal negotiations."01 

The closest Mi'kmaq presence to the new British capital was Ste.-Anne at Shubenacadie, the Catholic mission south of Cobeguit.  Head of the mission in 1749 was a man who would become one of the most controversial figures in Acadian history.  Abbé Jean-Louis Le Loutre arrived at Shubenacadie in 1738 and soon established influence not only with the Mi'kmaq but also with many Acadians in the regions.  At first he understood and respected Acadian neutrality, but that soon changed.  Two months after news of a war declaration in Europe had reached Louisbourg, Le Loutre led the first attack on Annapolis Royal, in July 1744.  When a French force from Louisbourg attacked Annapolis Royal for a second time the following September, Le Loutre, though he still was in the colony, did not participate in the operation.  After the fall of Louisbourg in June 1745, authorities at Québec turned to Le Loutre to organize and maintain a force of Mi'kmaq on the peninsula to co-operate with future French operations there.  As a result, the British placed a 100-livre bounty on his head.  In the summer of 1746, the abbé, from his post at Chebouctou Bay on the Atlantic side of the peninsula, urged yet another attack on Annapolis Royal, but this operation also failed.  Le Loutre then returned to France, probably to report to his superiors in Paris.  He attempted to return to his mission later in the war, but the British captured and held him twice.  Not until 1749, the war having ended, did they allow him to return to Nova Scotia.01c 

The British would soon realize their mistake. 

Le Loutre arrived at Louisbourg in late June 1749--only a week after Cornwallis's flotilla had appeared at Chebouctou down the coast.  Having crossed from Rochefort with Charles Des Herbiers de La Ralière, the new governor of Île Royale and Île St.-Jean, the abbé and the governor no doubt had discussed the role of Le Loutre and his Mi'kmaq, and well as of the Acadians, in French plans to overawe the British in the region.  Back at Shubenacadie, Le Loutre, now more than ever a military leader, could see for himself how perilously close was his mission to the new British stronghold at Halifax.  Just north of him stood the Acadian settlement of Cobeguit, as yet unfortified, but he could not know how long Cornwallis would wait before stationing a garrison there.  Such a move would isolate Shubenacadie and render it useless as a military base.  The abbé had no choice but to abandon the mission and move his Mi'kmaq closer to the lines of communication with Louisbourg and Québec.  In late 1749, he transferred his base of operations from Shubenacadie to Pointe-à-Beauséjour, on the west side of the Missaguash at Chignecto.  The new camp at Beauséjour stood three times as far from Halifax as the old mission at Shubenacadie. However, a base at Chignecto possessed easy access to Baie Verte with its seaborne communication with Louisbourg and Québec.  Chignecto's location at the northwestern end of the Bay of Fundy and its proximity to an inland line of communication with Québec via Rivière St.-Jean not only would open up more points of attack for his Mi'kmaq raiders but also protect their flanks and rear.  Around, in front, and behind Le Loutre and his Mi'kmaq were the rich fields and pastures of the Acadians at Chignecto and trois-rivières.  On the upper Petitcoudiac, he visited the homes of Acadian partisans, including the Beausoleil Broussards, men who harbored no illusions about neutrality in the struggle with Britain, who had grown up among the Mi'kmaq and Maliseet and could be just as deadly with tomahawk and knife.01b 

Although peace had come--again--in April 1748, the abbé and his Mi'kmaq would have none of it.  In September 1749, Mi'kmaq elders had issued a proclamation protesting the British occupation of Chebouctou, one of the main Mi'kmaq gathering places on the peninsula.  The proclamation, written in French and Mi'kmaq by Abbé Maillard, asserted Mi'kmaq independence so forcefully that, in early October, Cornwallis issued a proclamation of his own in which he instructed all British subjects in the colony "to Annoy, distress, take or destroy the Savages commonly called Micmacks, wherever they are found."  The governor then offered a 10-guinea bounty for Mi'kmaq scalps!  Cornwallis was aware, also, of Le Loutre's part in stirring the Indians "to begin hostilities."  It was then that Cornwallis dispatched troops to Rivière Gaspereau and Pigiguit to build new fortifications among the Minas Acadians.  Cornwallis also ordered that a road be cut from Halifax to Minas so that he could reinforce the new garrisons there.  Le Loutre and his Mi'kmaq saw this as a declaration of war, which prompted their move from Shubenacadie.02

And then there were the Acadians and their annoying refusal to join the struggle against the British.  Le Loutre had not been around when Canadians, Indians, and Acadian partisans had won a bloody victory over the New Englanders at Grand-Pré in February 1747, but, along with the French authorities at Québec and Louisbourg, he was certain of the result:  "... the victory at Grand-Pré had made the Acadians once more subjects of France."  There would be no more Acadian "neutrality."  It was time for them to acknowledge that they were, and always had been, Frenchmen, that their true and everlasting allegiance was to their motherland France, not to Britain.03  

Prompted by Mi'kmaq threats (that is to say, by Abbé Le Loutre), a dozen Minas Acadians attacked British troops at Rivière Gaspereau in December 1749.  The redcoats easily deflected the ambush.  Acadian leaders, especially Honoré Gautrot of Cobeguit, helped the British commander at Annapolis Royal compile a list of 11 of the Minas miscreants, but Governor Cornwallis and his staff were not assuaged by Acadian assistance in the matter.  They were especially alarmed by Le Loutre's move to Chignecto, but their response had to wait until the weather improved.04

Cornwallis made his move at Chignecto the following spring.  In late April 1750, Major Charles Lawrence reached the head of the basin below Beaubassin with a small flotilla of transports.  Aboard were 400 redcoats, including field artillery, ready to do battle.  Lawrence's orders were to destroy any fort that the French had erected at the isthmus and to construct a palisade of his own from which he would assert British authority in the area.  As his boats approached the landing at Beaubassin, the major was dismayed to see the lower village in flames.  Legend insists that the abbé himself set fire to the village church and assisted his Mi'kmaq in torching the houses and barns so that the approaching British could not use the place. 

Le Loutre's Mi'kmaq were not the only armed force to meet Lawrence and his redcoats.  Captain Louis de La Corne, who had defeated the New Englanders at Grand-Pré three years earlier and wore a Cross of St.-Louis to show for it, had been at Chignecto since the previous November to secure oaths of allegiance from habitants already living in the area and from those who came into French territory from other Acadian settlements.  La Corne also had been tasked with organizing the Acadian partisans of the trois-rivières and building whatever fortifications were needed there.  He then moved to the Beauséjour ridge with his Canadians and Acadians and encouraged the newly-arrived Abbé Le Loutre and his Mi'kmaq to coax Chignecto settlers still living east of the Missaguash to remove themselves to the French-secured areas west of the river.05

Apprised of the approach of Lawrence and his redcoats, La Corne met the major at the Beaubassin landing, the lower village still smoldering behind him.  Lawrence had expected resistance at the landing.  Cornwallis had instructed him, if he should meet La Corne, to order him back to Canada, or he would be "treated as an Incendiary" (strangely prophetic words).  Lawrence asked why La Corne was there with a force of Canadians in British territory.  La Corne replied that he was under orders from his governor-general to take possession of the settlements in the region until a commission could decide the exact boundaries between the two powers.  Whether it was La Corne's words or the tone in which he delivered them, Lawrence lost his temper and demanded to see the Canadian's orders.  La Corne ignored the demand.  Lawrence asked where were the Acadian deputies from the area and why were they not there to meet with him.  La Corne informed the major that many of the Acadians in the area had come over to the French and that there were no more deputies among them.  He added that the Indians, not he and his men, had burned Beaubassin.  The sharp-eyed Lawrence could see that he did not have force enough to overawe La Corne and Le Loutre, so he wisely broke off the tête-à-tête and retreated to Minas. 

There, at Beaubassin, not on the frontier of western Pennsylvania, began the final confrontation between Britain and France over control of North America.  La Corne occupied the Beauséjour ridge west of the Missaguash, with Le Loutre and his Mi'kmaq encamped behind him.  Lawrence, now a lieutenant colonel, returned to Beaubassin the following September with a force nearly twice as large as the one he had brought in April.  La Corne and his Canadians did not resist him, but Le Loutre's Mi'kmaq and Acadian militia led by Beausoleil Broussard put up a spirited fight before retreating back across the swollen Missaguash.  Having secured the landing site, Lawrence ordered the construction of a log palisade--Fort Lawrence--on the ashes of Beaubassin village.  The following spring, a Canadian force under Claude-Antoine de Bermen de La Martinière began construction of a fort of their own atop the ridge west of the Missaguash, aptly named Fort Beauséjour.  The Canadians also constructed a second fort, called Gaspereau, near Baie Verte.06

Britain and France had their "boundary" at last. 

And so the Acadians at Chignecto were the first to endure a lasting disruption of their lives.  Before Lawrence's return to Beaubassin and his construction of a fort there, La Corne, determined to deny the British any subsistence from the area, ordered the evacuation of the hundreds of Acadians still living east of the Missaguash.  They, too, were compelled to take an oath of allegiance to France and were used as unpaid labor in constructing the Chignecto forts.  After Lawrence's return, the Canadians, Mi'kmaq, and Acadian partisans, under the direction of La Corne and Le Loutre, burned the farms south and east of Fort Lawrence, including crops not yet harvested, so that there would be nothing left for the Acadians to return to and nothing in the area to sustain the British garrison.  Soon the area east of the Missaguash was a smoking wasteland.  Menoudy, Maccan, Nappan, Rivière-des-Hébert, La Planche, Beaubassin--communities that had stood for half a century were no more.  In October, six or seven hundred Acadians from the area, "in pitiable condition," crossed the Mere-Rouge to Île St.-Jean.  More followed in 1751, so that by 1752 a total of 1,188 Acadians from mainland villages, most of them refugees from Chignecto, had resettled on Île St.-Jean.  Many of the Chignecto Acadians remained in the crowded settlements west of the Missaguash or moved on to the trois-rivières settlements.  Something the British feared, and the French had long encouraged, finally was coming to pass:  hundreds of Acadians, most of whom had considered themselves neutral in the struggle between the imperial rivals, now were living in French-controlled territory, driven there by two of their greatest fears, the threat of "a general massacre by savages...'" or the imposition of an unqualified oath of allegiance that would force them to fight against their fellow Frenchmen.  The ranks of the Acadian partisans swelled with new recruits, while neutralists in the area became few and far between.07 

Only two years after the conclusion of the previous conflict, the final French and Indian War had come to Acadia.10   


In early 1752, Jean-Louis de Raymond, Comte de Raymond, the new governor of Île Royale, ordered Joseph, sieur de la Roque, a young surveyor, to conduct a census of the colony.  De la Roque's count would start with Île Royale and move on to Île St.-Jean, where the population had been doubled during the past two years by refugees from the Nova Scotia mainland.  One would be hard put to find a more thorough census conducted during this era.  De la Roque not only counted the people--their names, ages, origins, the size of their holdings, the kinds and numbers of their animals, the amount of food they had on hand, even the time they had been "in the country"--but, being a surveyor, he also described in great detail the land itself.  ...08


In the same year as De la Roque's census of the Maritime islands, Abbé Le Loutre, determined to put the Acadians west of the Missaguash to work, received 50,000 livres from the governor-general and intendant of New France to launch what could have been the largest Acadian dyking operation of them all ...  if it could have been completed.  The abbé sought to expand the dykes of the Tintamarre, "the greatest of the North American Atlantic tidal marshes," drained by Rivière Aulac.  ...15


Charles Lawrence, who neither trusted nor respected the Acadians, became lieutenant-governor of the colony in September 1754.  All-out war being imminent, the authorities in London expected him to control the Acadian population and make certain that they did not aid their fellow Frenchmen in a contest that was quickly spinning out of control.  Lawrence was ready to use the harshest measures to subdue the troublesome "French Neutrals," even banishing them from the colony and replacing them with New Englanders.  Historian Naomi Griffiths reminds us that, "as has been shown earlier" in its history, "the British crown considered transportation of recalcitrant or rebellious populations, whether Scots, Cornish, or English, an acceptable procedure."  Lawrence and his colleague, Massachusetts Governor William Shirley, were well aware of this history.  They, too, perceived the benefits of mass deportation for New England as well as Great Britain.  That they could transport with any efficiency thousands of Acadians out of the country to who knows where was another matter.  What does matter is that by the summer of 1755, these men, and other British officials in the region, possessed the will, if not the way, to do it.  ...09  

Exactly how many Acadians must Lawrence and Shirley transport from Nova Scotia in order to clear the country of its "hostile" population?  Estimates run as low as 6,630 and as high as 18,000.  After a close study of population estimates for Nova Scotia during the first half of the eighteenth century, historian/geographer Andrew Hill Clark concludes:  "Allowing a very generous figure of five hundred to account for all the possible people in outlying settlements [Cap-Sable, Mirliguèche, and other Atlantic coast communities, as well as Rivière St.-Jean and Passamaquoddy] (but not including Isle St-Jean or the Acadians on Cape Breton Island) the writer suggests that there were approximately 10,000 Acadians in the settlements of present peninsula Nova Scotia and New Brunswick about mid-century, distributed thus:  Annapolis Royal district, 1,750; Minas north and west of Pisiquid, 2,500; Pisiquid, 1,500; Cobequid and the Gulf Shore [Remsheg and Tatamagouche], 1,000; Memramcook, Petitcodiac, and Shepody (together) [the trois-rivières], 1,200; and outlying settlements, 500 or fewer.  If the Acadians on Isle St-Jean and Cape Breton Island were added the total might reach 12,500." ...13 

The Fall of Fort Beauséjour, June 1755

Le Grand Dérangement: Exile of the Acadians from British Nova Scotia to the Atlantic Colonies, 1755-56

What Shirley, Lawrence, Amherst, Moncton, Winslow, and their ilk saw as a coordinated military effort to rid British Nova Scotia of a hostile population, the Acadians saw as nothing less than the destruction of their way of life.  From before the ashes cooled and the buzzards stopped circling, down to the present day, sides have been drawn between apologists for the British and descendants of that "hostile" population.  Anglophile historians, for example, call it the Bay of Fundy Campaign.  Descendants of the Acadians call it ... something else.  ...

Amazingly, Winslow and his New Englanders counted closely the people and animals they rounded up at Minas during the summer of 1755.  In his Journal, the colonel counted 2,743 people, 5,007 cattle, 8,690 sheep, 4,197 hogs, and 493 horses--an impressive haul.  ...14

Le Grand Dérangement:  Acadian Resistance, 1755-57

Le Grand Dérangement:  Acadians in Canada, 1756-63

The Fall of Louisbourg and Québec, 1758-59

Le Grand Dérangement:  Exile of the Acadians from the Maritimes to France, 1758-59

Le Grand Dérangement:  End of Acadian Resistance, 1758-63

During the early 1760s, at Fort Cumberland, Fort Edward, and Georges Island, Halifax, the Broussards and their kin were joined by hundreds of other Acadians whom the British had rounded up at Restigouche, Miramichi, and other places of refuge in the Maritimes region.  Many of these prisoners were kin to the Broussards by blood or by marriage and thus were part of their extended family.  They included fellow Acadians named Arseneau, Babineau, Bergeron, Bernard, Boudrot, Bourg, Bourgeois, Breau, Brun, Caissie dit Roger, Comeaux, Cormier, Darois, Doucet, Dugas, Gautrot, Girouard, Godin, Guénard, Guidry, Guilbeau, Hébert, Hugon, Landry, LeBlanc, Leger, Martin, Michel, Pellerin, Pitre, Poirier, Prejean, Richard, Robichaux, Roy, Saulnier, Savoie, Semer, Surette, Thibodeau, Trahan, and Vincent.

Most of these captured Acadians, especially the resistance fighters and their families, were held in close confinement at the three prisoner-of-war compounds, but some Acadians were enticed to leave the compounds and help fulfill a dream of Governor William Shirley of Massachusetts.  The result was one of the strangest ironies of the Acadian experience. 

In 1760, during the last year of his life, one of Nova Scotia Governor Charles Lawrence's most cherished schemes, inherited from Governor Shirley, came to fruition in the Annapolis valley.  New England "planters" began to occupy the Acadian lands in the vicinity of Annapolis Royal.  According to a student of Acadian geography, if these New Englanders hoped to find their agricultural paradise Nova Scotia, they would have been disappointed.  "The expansion of Acadian agriculture was confined chiefly to the marshland areas.  Repeatedly their governors [had] urged them to clear and farm the wooded areas, but with little effect.  The great fertility of their dyked fields gave Acadian soils a reputation for richness which they were far from deserving and which led to continual disappointment as the post-Acadian colonists cleared the forests and made their farms," as they had done back in New England.  "Even had they made full use of the Acadian dyked lands, as they did not, those lands would have accommodated only a fraction of Nova Scotia's immigrants of the late-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries."11 

No matter, the transplanted Yankees, succumbing to the reputation of Nova Scotia's richness, saw the Acadians' land as the key to agriculture in the region, but they had no idea how to maintain the dykes and aboiteaux that kept the basin's fertile fields from becoming tidal marsh again.  Responding to the crisis, Halifax authorities enticed Acadian prisoners being held at forts Cumberland and Edward to go to Annapolis and rebuild and maintain the dykes that had transformed their corner of the world into an agricultural paradise.  The Acadians worked diligently for their New England "masters," who paid them in Canadian currency.  Despite their plunge from proud landowners to mere laborers on their former lands, many of these Acadians harbored the forlorn hope of reclaiming their homesteads once the war was over. 

But this was not to be.  The war against Britain finally ended with the Treaty of Paris of February 1763.  Article 14 of the treaty gave all persons dispersed by the war 18 months to return to their respective territories.  In the case of the Acadians, however, this meant that they could return only to French soil.  The Acadian settlements in Nova Scotia had not been part of French territory for half a century, and Chignecto, Chepoudy, and Petitcoudiac now were part of Nova Scotia as well, so British authorities refused to allow any of the Acadian prisoners in the region to return to their farmsteads as proprietors.  If Acadians chose to remain in Nova Scotia, they could live only in the interior of the peninsula in small family groups, away from their fertile lands along the Bay of Fundy, or they could continue to work for low wages as laborers on their former lands.  If they stayed, they must also take the hated oath of allegiance to the new British king, George III, without reservation.  ...

Le Grand Dérangement:  Îles St.-Pierre and Miquelon, 1763-85

Le Grand Dérangement:  Acadians in the Caribbean Basin and South America, 1764-85

Le Grand Dérangement:  Acadians in France, 1759-85

Many of the hundreds of Acadians from the St.-Malo area who chose to go to Poitou in 1773 did not care much for the venture from the start.  One of them, Jean-Jacques LeBlanc of Grand-Pré, who had come to France via Virginia and England in 1763, proved to be an especially sharp thorn in the sides of the settlement's promoters.  Back in March 1772, Jean-Jacques, "one of the Acadian representatives of the Saint-Malo department," had submitted a petition to the French government to pay for the emigration of Acadian families to Louisiana.  Like an earlier entreaty by other Acadians in 1766, Jean-Jacques's petition also was rejected.  Perhaps responding to Acadian frustrations, a council meeting of the king's ministers that summer sparked the idea of settling the exiles on a nobleman's land near Châtellerault.  Jean-Jacques and his family were among the St.-Malo Acadians who grudgingly went to Poitou, but he did not give up on the idea of going to Louisiana: "... from this date more or less [March 1772, Jean-Jacques] constantly argued in favor of an emigration to Louisiana, an option that for him seemed as being the most politically acceptable for the government and thus the most likely to succeed."  Beginning in October 1775, after two years of fruitless effort, most of the Poitou Acadians, including Jean-Jacques and his family, retreated from Châtellerault to the coastal city of Nantes; Jean-Jacques and Nathalie took the fourth and final convoy out of Poitou in March 1776.  The Poitou fiasco must have motivated him to try even harder to emigrate to Louisiana; Jean-Jacques's name appears on another petition for emigration to the colony in 1777; this petition also was rejected.  After Jean-Jacques died at Nantes in November 1781, "the Louisiana destination gathered even less support among the Acadians than in his lifetime, as he had been the main promoter of this emigration."  A few years later, Frenchman Henri-Marie Peyroux de la Coudrenière, long-time resident of French Louisiana, and Acadian Olivier Terrio, a master cobbler living in Nantes, took up the cause.  By the summer of 1785, they had succeeded in coaxing over 1,500 of Terrio's fellow Acadians into going to Spanish Louisiana.  Among them were Nathalie Pitre, Jean-Jacques LeBlanc's second wife and widow, and two of his teenage children.12 ...


And so, after a quarter of a century of living in a mother country that seemed to care little for its wayward children, nearly 1,600 Acadian exiles in France prepared to go to Spanish Louisiana to begin a new life for themselves.  They knew that Louisiana once was French but only recently had become a part of the Spanish realm.  They probably knew from their letters that most Louisianians, not just their fellow Acadians there but also the majority of the population known as Creoles, still spoke, and acted, French, still considered themselves to be "French."  But they still had many questions about going to Louisiana.  How different was the lower Mississippi valley from France or from their homes in old Acadia?  How well had their Acadian cousins adjusted to the place?  Would the Spanish really welcome them?  Peyroux de la Coudrenière and Olivier Térrio had promised that their life in Louisiana would be so much better.  So they packed up their many children and their few belongings and prepared to board the transports assigned to them.  They would see for themselves if Spanish Louisiana was worth another ocean crossing. 


BOOK ONE          BOOK THREE           BOOK FOUR               BOOK FIVE


01.  Quotation from Griffiths, From Migrant to Acadian, 390.  See also Brasseaux, Founding of New Acadia, 179. 

01a.  The French officer killed by Washington in western PA in late May 1754 was Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville, known as Jumonville, who was 10 years younger (b. Sep 1718) than the hero of Grand-Pré.  See W. J. Eccles, "Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville, Joseph," in DCB, 3:150-51.

01b.  See Marshall, Acadian Resistance, 71-72.   

01c.  Clark, Acadia, 193, says of Le Loutre:  "Few men involved in Acadian history, even including the La Tours, have aroused more acrimonious debate among later historians.  The stealth and savagery of the Indian attacks he directed and inspired, and his position as a religious leader of a proscribed and hated faith, led to his vilification by British, and especially New England, authorities of the 1740's and 1750's and a scarcely better reputation with British scholars.  Yet his obvious concern with ultimately religious purposes (whatever the means), in his effort to extirpate heretical and anglicizing influences on the Acadian life and mind, and his considerable local successes in a warfare that the French ultimately lost, and that led directly to the deportation of the Acadians in 1755, have resulted in a kind of apotheosis of his person by many chroniclers of Acadian origin and sympathies."  For e.g., Francis Parkman, a New English historian of the late 19th century, who calls the priest Joseph-Louis Le Loutre, has nothing good to say of him.  See France & England, 2:695, 913-1018. 

02.  Quotation from Griffiths, From Migrant to Acadian, 391. 

03.  Quotation from ibid., p. 366.  This sentiment was expressed by Jean-Baptiste-Nicolas-Roche de Ramezay, commander of French forces in Nova Scotia at the time of the Grand-Pré assault, but it was the "official" line of French authorities in the region & therefore of the abbé himself. 

04.  See ibid., p. 392.  Though Griffiths states that Gautrot was then "living at Annapolis Royal" when he helped compile the list, he was from Cobeguit--born there in c1716, and perhaps married there in c1745.  See White, DGFA-1, 698-99.  His efforts to provide names of fellow Acadians to the British authorities gives an idea of how divided was the Acadian community on the question of neutrality. 

05.  See Brasseaux, Founding of New Acadia, 179-80; Russ, "La Corne, Louis," 3:331-32. 

06.  See Marshall, Acadian Resistance, 94-97. 

The remains of Fort Beauséjour, later Fort Cumberland, is today a Parks Canada historic site near present-day Amherst, NS.  The remains of Fort Gaspereau, also spelled Gaspareaux, later Fort Moncton, can be found at the mouth of the Gaspereau River near present-day Port Elgin, NB. 

07.  Quotations from Griffiths, From Migrant to Acadian, 393; Brasseaux, Founding of New Acadia, 180.  See also Clark, Acadia, 221-22.  Clark, pp. 193-94, notes:  "The outstanding, and rather astonishing, fact is that most of the Acadians, despite suffering from pressure of repeated raids and the coming and going of larger or smaller contingents of regular or irregular forces of both sides, remained throughout the whole period, and especially in the most troubled years of declared war from 1744 to 1748, almost completely neutral.  That there was widespread sympathy and even passive support for the French among many of the Acadians is unquestioned...."  Italics added. 

Griffiths, p. 393, gives the numbers of refugees from the mainland who resettled on Île St.-Jean.  The resettlement of refugees from the mainland more than doubled the population of the island.  It also placed hundreds of more Acadians in French-controlled territory. 

Marshall, Acadian Resistance, 95, says that, while retreating in the face of Lawrence's advance from the Cumberland Basin to Beaubassin in Sep 1750, Le Loutre's Mikmaq & Beausoleil Broussard's Acadian partisans, "Rather than allow the British to benefit from the crops that the Beaubassin Acadians had planted the previous spring, ... set fire to every one of the fields then headed toward the [Missaguash] river and the relative security of the village of Beauséjour."  Unfortunately, Marshall's work is undocumented, so one has no clue where she got the information.  See also ibid., pp. 96-97. 

Personal note:  the author's Cormier ancestors lived at Rivière-des-Héberts, one of the burned-out communities, but they did not migrate to Île St.-Jean.  They resettled in the Aulac area, west of the Missaguash. 

08.  For a complete transcription of La Roque's Île St.-Jean census of 1752 in English, see <>. 

09.  Quotation from Griffiths, From Migrant to Acadian, 349.  As ibid. points out, even Lt. Gov. Paul Mascarene, long open-minded about Acadian neutrality, considered, but eventually rejected, the possibility of "eviction" as a solution to the Acadian problem.  Mascarene, like Lawrence, was close to Shirley, who was an early proponent of Acadian expulsion. 

10.  Anglophile historians call the conflict in Nova Scotia from 1749-55, among other things, "Father Le Loutre's War."  Wikipedia, "Father Le Loutre's War," describes it as a "petite guerre behind Anglo-American lines" & asserts: "The upheaval caused by this war was unprecedented.  Atlantic Canada witnessed more population movements, more fortification construction, and more troop allocations than ever before in the region.  Twenty-four conflicts were recorded (battles, raids, skirmishes) during the war, 13 of which were Mi'kmaq and Acadian raids on the capital region Halifax/Dartmouth.  As typical of frontier warfare, many additional conflicts were unrecorded."  The end of the war is considered to be the fall of French Fort Beauséjour in Jun 1755, followed by the deportation of the Acadians of Nova Scotia. 

11.  Quotations from Clark, Acadia, 54. 

12.  Quotations from Mouhot, "Emigration of the Acadians from France to LA," pp. 141-44, 167.

13.  Quotation from Clark, Acadia, 211.  See also ibid., pp. 212, 235. 

14.   See ibid., pp. 235-36. 

15.  Quotation from ibid., pp. 220-21.  See also ibid., pp. 240-41, including note 122, p. 241. 


Oubre, Vacherie, 53-54. 

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BOOK ONE:      Acadia

BOOK THREE:  French Louisiana

BOOK FOUR:   A New Acadia               

BOOK FIVE:     The Bayou State

Copyright (c) 2001-13  Steven A. Cormier