Mount Saint Elias

Above: First sited in 1741 by Europeans, Mount Saint Elias, 2008. Courtesy National Park Service. Right: Fort Necessity, French and Indian War.

Fort Necessity

Pre-Revolution Timeline - The 1700s

1740-1759



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  • Timeline

  • 1744 Detail

    May 23, 1744 - First battle of King George's War begins with raid by New French against the British port of Canso. Four year conflict against northern British colonies takes heavy toll after battles in Maine and Fort Louisbourg in New France.

    General John Bradstreet and Canso Fort

    They had been at it in two previous French and Indian Wars, those French and British settlers and soldiers; King William's War and Queen Anne's War, but their treaties had solved nothing that could prevent a third. A British outpost had been established at Canso, Nova Scotia in 1604, then upgraded to a fort in 1620. It had been instrumental in Dummer's War (1722-1725). And for establishments sake, was one of only two British settlements in Nova Scotia prior to Halifax and is the oldest fishing port in mainland North America.

    Of course, none of that would stop another conflict from coming to Canso on May 23, 1744. Fortunately for the British, previous raids had convinced them to build a stronger fort, Fort William Augustus in 1720, and a blockhouse was added and other buildings rebuilt in the 1730's by Edward How, a British officer. There were fifty families residing at Canso by 1744. However, the surprise of the upcoming attack by New France would be took much for even the stronger fort or the residents to withstand in battle.

    The New France settlement at Fort Louisbourg had been made aware of France's declaration of war on Great Britain on May 3, 1744. France had declared war on England two months earlier on March 15, 1744; England against France on April 9, 1744. Louisbourg was very concerned that the war would cut off what meager supplies that would be needed at the struggling fort, and decided or were ordered by the French Minister of the Navy, the Count of Maurepas, that a surprise attack on Canso would be the first prudent course of action. Their thought was to destroy a possible base in order to attack Louisbourg. A flotilla left Louisbourg on May 23; it arrived the next day, comprised of Mi'kmaq militia and French marines, three hundred and fifty-one men and seventeen ships under Captain Francois Dupont Duvivier. Canso was unprepared and lightly defended with around one hundred men. The French bombarded the blockhouse. After a short while, the British knew they were outgunned and surrendered. The French destroyed the settlement, took the prisoners, including General John Bradstreet, back to Fort Louisbourg, and arranged for the women and children to be taken to Boston. King George's War in the America's, part of the War of Austrian Succession in Europe, had begun.

    New France and their Indian allies, the Wabanaki Confederacy (Abenaki, Micmac, Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet), and the British colonists and their native allies, the Iroquois Confederacy (Onondaga, Cayuga, Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida) were on the path for four years of fighting. The Massachusetts colony made their own declaration of war against New France and Quebec on June 2, 1744. But there were still problems at Fort Louisbourg with supplies and adding one hundred prisoners drained their supplies even further. The French decided to parole them, sending them back to Boston in September.



    Fort Louisbourg


    The French had made a mistake by sending the prisoners back to Boston, particularly General John Bradstreet. He provided his British command with a bevy of information about how Fort Louisbourg could be defeated. In addition, the French troops were on the verge of mutiny by December 1744 due to a lack of part of the spoils of the Canso raid, plus overdue pay and poor conditions. Acting Governor Louis Du Pont Du Chambon released their pay, but held onto a tense situation in the fort through the winter.

    Meanwhile, as spring of 1745 approached, William Shirley, the Governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay got narrow support from the legislature to attack Fort Louisbourg. He put together a coalition of the other colonies to assist; a total of four thousand two hundred men and ninety ships were prepared for the invasion from the colonies of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. The colonial ships were protected by the Royal Navy in order to protect the fisheries.

    The fleet began for Louisbourg in stages, beginning in March 1745. They picked up an additional sixteen ships in Canso while stopping for provisions, before ice fields slowed their progress for the invasion until April. On May 2, 1745, Port Toulous, today's St. Peters, Nova Scotia, was attacked, followed by other coastal towns between there and Louisbourg.

    After initial trouble landing their troops near the fort, the British managed, by the end of the day on May 11, 1745, to have two thousand soldiers ashore. They immediately attacked the Royal Battery at the North East Harbor. The French vacated, leaving operational guns, which the British trained on the fort. The Island Battery took six weeks to take from the French when ten British cannon from Lighthouse Point silenced it. That date was June 27. The next day, the French surrendered.


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    Timeline of King George's War


    May 23-24, 1744 - Raid on Canso, Nova Scotia. Surprise attack by French forces captures and destroys Canso.

    July 12, 1744 - French attack with three hundred Mi'kmaq warriors against the capital of Nova Scotia, Annapolis Royal. Four day assault ended when seventy British reinforcements arrived on the ship Prince of Orange.

    May 11, 1745 - Forty-six day siege of Louisbourg begins by British forces and their allies and eventually captures Fort Louisbourg.

    May 2, 1745 - French respond to the siege of Louisbourg with three week siege of Annapolis Royal. Five hundred French soldiers and Indian allies attack the two hundred and fifty man force of the British in Fort Anne. British burned their own buildings in order to stave off siege; siege ended when French were recalled to defend Louisbourg.

    November 28, 1745 - French and their Indian allies destroy the town of Saratoga, New York. More than one hundred citizens were killed or captured, resulting in all settlements north of Albany to be abandoned.

    June to October, 1746 - Attempt to recapture Fort Louisbourg, and destroy Annapolis Royal and Boston by a French expedition from Europe, the Duc d'Anville Expedition, ends in disaster despite a fleet of sixty-four ships and eleven thousand men. Bad weather, illness, and the death of the commander caused their return to France.

    August 19-20, 1746 - One thousand French and Indian soldiers attack Fort Massachusetts, defended by only twenty-two men, three women, and five children. Now, today's Adams, surrendered after depleting its ammunition and supplies.

    February 10-11, 1747 - Battle of Grand Pré, Nova Scotia. French forces of two hundred and fifty surprised and defeated a force of five hundred Massachusetts militia and rangers that had been occupying the town since December 1746.

    July 18, 1748 - French Indian allies attack Schenectady, New York, killing many residents and soldiers. Known as the Poopendal Massacre.

    Image above: Montage (left) Drawing of the blockhouse and fort at Canso, 1744, unknown author. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons; (right) British General John Bradstreet, 1764, Thomas McIlworth. Courtesy National Portrait Gallery via Wikipedia Commons. Image Below: Attack on Louisbourg in 1745, Unknown date and author. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Info Source: schenectadyhistory.org; https://www.warpaths2peacepipes.com/; Historyofmassachusetts.org; Wikipedia Commons.


    Attack on Louisbourg, 1745





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