W. O. (William Odber) Raymond.

The river St. John, its physical features, legends and history, from 1604 to 1784 online

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the missionaries soon found themselves reduced to
straits in their endeavor to supply them with the
necessaries of life. The Marquis de Vaudreuil was
determined to hold the St. John river country as long
as possible. He wrote the French minister, June 1,
1756 : " I shall not recall M. de Boishebert nor the
missionaries, nor withdraw the Acadians into the heart
of the colony until the last extremity, and when it shall
be morally impossible to do better."


The difficulties surmounted by the Acadians who
succeeded in returning from exile are in some instances
almost incredible. A party who were transported to
South Carolina from Beaubassin, at the head of the Bay
of Fundy, travelled on foot to Fort du Quesne
(Pittsburg). They managed to get from that place to
Quebec, but could not rest content until they
arrived at the River St. John. The ensuing winter
proved most trying and the unfortunate people were
■unable to appear abroad for want of clothes to cover
their nakedness and many of them died. To heighten the
discomfort of their situation war was again declared
between England and France.

The capture of Quebec and Louisburg became now
the ambition of the English Colonies as well as of the
Mother Country. The importance of occupying the
St. John River was not lost sight of. On November
3rd, 1756, the Governor of Nova Scotia writes that he is
gratified that he is to receive a reinforcement which may
enable him to establish a fort at the mouth of the
St. John, and to dispossess the French. English ships
of war continued occasionally to visit the north side of
the Bay of Fundy, so that the French had no opportunity^
to re-establish their fort.

Governor Lawrence determined to wage a merciless
warfare against the Indians. Accordingly, with the
advice and approval of his council, he issued a
proclamation offering a reward of £30 for every Indian
warrior brought in alive, a reward of £25 for the scalp
of every male Indian above the age of sixteen years, and
for every woman or child brought in alive the sum of
£25 ; these rewards to be paid by the commanding
of&cer at any of His Majesty's Forts in the Province on
receiving the prisoners or scalps.

ST. JOHN 213

This cold-blooded and deliberately issued proclamation
can scarcely be excused on the plea that le Loutre
and other French leaders had at various times offered
rewards to their savage allies for bringing in the scalps
of Englishmen. The savages, had, at least, the apology
that they made war in accordance with the manner of
their race, whereas the proclamation of the Governor of
Nova Scotia was unworthy of an enlightened people.
Nothing could be better calculated to lower and
brutalize the character of a soldier than the offer of £25
for a human scalp.

About this time, two of the New England regiments
were disbanded and returned to their homes, their
period of enlistment having expired, and the difficulty
of obtaining other troops prevented anything being-
attempted on the St. John for a year or two. Lawrence
and Shirley, however, continued to discuss the details of
their proposed expedition. Both governors seem to have
had rather vague ideas of the number of the Acadians
on the river and of the situation of their settlements.
Shirley says he learned from the eastern Indians and
New England traders that their principal settlement was
about ninety miles up the river at a place called
St. Annes, six miles below the old Indian town of
Aulipaque. He thought that 800 or 1,000 men would
be a force sufficient to clear the river and that after the
enemy had been driven from their haunts the English
would do well to establish a garrison in order to prevent
their return and to overawe the Indians.



The Surrender of Louisburg — General Monckton's Expedition to the
St. John River — Occupation of St. John and Erection of Fort
Frederick — Plight of the Acadians on the St. John — Map of the
River by Samuel Holland.

THE expected assault of Louisburg did not take
place until 1758. General Amherst was in
command and General Wolfe one of his most
energetic subordinates. Colonel Monckton in
spite of his anxiety to take part in the
operations of the seige was obliged to remain
at Halifax, Governor Lawrence being with Amherst, but
his regiment, the 60th, or Royal American, rendered
good service. After a stout resistance Louisburg
surrendered on the 26th of July.

The next step in the plan of campaign for the
conquest of Canada was to dispossess the French from
their occupation of the territory on the River St. John.
This was regarded by New England as " a consummation
devoutly to be wished. "

In vain did the valiant Montcalm represent to the
court at Versailles that it was essential for France to
retain the territory north of the Bay of Fundy, or failing
in that to leave this territory undivided and in the
possession of its native inhabitants ; no such compromise
would now satisfy the English.

As Monckton was the principal agent in an event of
such historic importance as the permanent occupation of

:ST. JOHN 215

the St. John River by the English, a few words may very
properly be devoted to him.

Robert Monckton was the second son of John, first
Viscount Gal way, by his wife. Lady Elizabeth Manners,
the youngest daughter of the Duke of Rutland. He
entered upon his military career in Flanders in 1742, and
was present in several engagements. Later he came to
America, where, in 1752, we find him at Fort Lawrence,
keeping watch over the French stronghold of Beausejour,
across the river Misseguash. Soon after he was
in command of the garrison at Annapolis Royal. He
commanded the troops at the reduction of Beausejour in
1755, and the next year was appointed Lieutenant-
Oovernor of Nova Scotia. In 1759 he served as second
in command to General Wolfe at the taking of Quebec.
Monckton was conspicuous for his bravery on the Plains
of Abraham,-'- where he was severely wounded.

General Monckton was subsequently appointed Gov-
ernor of New York and at the time of his death, in 1782,
was a member for Portsmouth in the British House of

The people of Massachusetts followed the course of
events at Louisburg with the keenest interest. They
had never been reconciled to its restoration to France
after its gallant capture by the New England expedition
under Sir William Pepperell in 1745. Many of their

* It is a curious circumstance that the presence of Wolfe's army on the
Plains of Abraham was first discovered by Boishebert who was at the
time sick in hospital at Quebec. Happening to glance out of his window
very early one morning, his attention was attracted by the red lines of
the British troops, who during the night had scaled the precipitous
heights. Word was immediately sent to Montcalm, who on his arrival
exclaimed- "There they are, just where they ought not to be! " and
immediately made preparations for battle.


kinsmeu were with Amherst in the second expedition,
and they hailed their success with great satisfaction.
The keen interest of New England in dispossessing the
Acadians settled on the valley of the Saint John is shown
in the newspapers of the day.

The Boston Evening Post of September 4th, 1758,
informs its readers that intelligence has just been
received from Louisburg " that Colonel Monckton, with
a number of men, is to go up St. John's River, by which
means 'tis hoped the French and Indians will be entirely
routed from Nova Scotia. " This service was originally
intended to have been performed in August, 1757, by
the 27th, 43rd and 46th Regiments under Brigadier
La"\vi'ence, but the plan was interfered with by two
of these regiments being ordered to the southward with
the main body of the army, upon receipt of the news of
the unhappy fate of Fort William Henry.

The troops detailed for Monckton's expedition included
350 New England Rangers under Colonel Scott, the
35th Regiment under General Otway, the second
battalion of the Royal Americans and a considerable
artillery force, the whole amounting to 2,000 men.

Exaggerated reports of the strength of Boishebert's
forces and of the numbers of the Acadians settled on the
river were circulated, and, in consequence, Monckton's
force was three or four times as large as was really
necessary to overcome any opposition that might have
been offered, but his having so many men enabled him to
make rapid progress in the establishment of a fortified
post. He experienced great difficulty, however, in
providing provisions and supplies for his little army.
Difficulty, too, was experienced in obtaining sloops and
schooners to carry the troops up the river in order to-


ST. JOHN 217

destroy the Acadian settlements. To facilitate the work,
orders had already been sent to various places in New
England and Nova Scotia to ship materials for the
construction of a new fort and to provide the small craft
required for going up the river.

After waiting several days for a fair wind, the troops
appointed for the expedition sailed from Louisburg for
Halifax on the 28th of August under convoy of two
English frigates. Having completed their preparations,
the expedition left Halifax for St. John on the 11th
of September in the transport ships Isabella, AVade,
Alexander the Second, Viscount Falmouth, Lord
Bleakney, the sloops York and Ulysses, and one or two
others, the whole under convoy of the Squirrel, man-of-
war. The New England Rangers were commanded by
Captains McCurdy, Brewer, Goreham and Stark. The
Rangers proved the most effective of Monckton's troops
in the work which followed.

The fleet anchored at Partridge Island off St. John
harbor on the 18th September, a week after leaving
Halifax. The sloops York and Ulysses, captains
Sylvanus Cobb and Jeremiah Rogers, were sent up the
harbor to reconnoitre, and on their return reported that
they had seen only two or three people and that there
was apparently nothing to prevent an immediate landing.
However, General Monckton thoaght best to defer it to
the next day. He afterwards learned that more than 200
Indians and some Frenchmen were waiting in ambush
to oppose the landing, but the Indians were so overawed
by the unexpected strength of the invaders that they did
not venture to make any resistance and retired up the
river to St. Anne's. The next day the entire fleet came
into the harbor and anchored below the old fort on the-


■west side. Monckton sent Cobb with his sloop to
Fort Cumberland to fetch Benoni Danks' company of
Rangers, and some whale boats and Acadians to serve as

When Monckton landed he found the old French fort
in ruins, but there lay about it the materials, logs, hewn
timber, etc., collected by Boishebert and the Sieur de
Gaspe for its restoration. Everything apparently
remained just as it was when Captain Rous visited the
harbor and drove oS the French three years before.
Monckton' s journal contains a brief account of the events
of the memorable day of occupation :

" Sep'br ye 20th. Made the signal for landing about
nine, and soon after landed near the Old Fort with as
many men as the boats could take, being about 400.
Met with no opposition. The second division being
landed I sent off Major Scott with about 300 Light
Infantry and Rangers to make discovery, and advanced
the two companies of Grenadiers to support him in case
of necessity. The Major returned, having been above
the Falls — he found some few tracks but not the least
signs of any road or path — the woods very thick and
bad marching. The troops being all landed I ordered
the tents to be got on shore, and encamped the two
regiments just at the back of the fort. The Light
Infantry and Rangers under Major Scott encamped on
the hill above. "

With Monckton' s account we may compare that of
Captain John Knox who was at this time with the
garrison at Annapolis.

"September 23d (1758). This day arrived at
Annapolis His Majesty's sloop of war Ulysses, Capt.
Rogers, from St. John River, by whom we learn that

:ST. JOHN 219

Brigadier Monckton with the 35th and second battalion
of the Royal American Regiment, a detachment of the
royal train of arlillery and a large body of rangers had
arrived in that river on Saturday, the 16th instant ; that
they landed without opposition, hoisted the British
colors on the old French Fort, were repairing it with all
expedition and building barracks for a garrison of 300
men. This gentleman adds that upon his ship's first
entering the harbor he saw three of the enemy ; that one
of them fired his piece up in the air, as a signal, and
then they ran into the woods ; that the Brigadier is
making preparations to proceed farther up the river with
a parcel of armed sloops and schooners, in order to
destroy some store houses and an Indian settlement that
are about twenty-five leagues up that river beyond our
New Fort. "

News travelled slowly in those days, and the people
of Boston, though keenly interested in the expedition,
did not learn anything of the course of events at
St. John until about three weeks later. The Boston
Evening Post of October 16th, contains this short
account :

" Last Thursday morning arrived here Capt. Campbell,
from Annapolis Royal. He left that garrison the
Saturday before, and informs us that on the 1st. inst. an
officer arrived there who had been with Brigadier
Monckton up the River St. John with a number of
troops from Halifax, to destroy what fortresses the
enemy might have up that river ; but that upon their
landing they found the old fort had been evacuated a
considerable time, as it was entirely gone to decay, and
shrubs grown up about it ; that there were considerable
quantities of timber lying about, of which the Brigadier


intended to have erected a strong fort ; that our troops
had marched near 40 miles up the river, but discovered
none of the enemy. "

A.fter Brigadier Monckton had landed his infantry,
several days were spent in getting the provisions and
supplies on shore. The heavy Artillery and three field
pieces were also landed. Exploring parties were sent
out from time to time. They found the country so
rough and broken and the forest so dense that all agreed
it was quite impracticable to proceed with the expedition
by land. Monckton's ships were too large to go up the
river or even to attempt with safety the passage of the
Falls. Accordingly, Rogers was sent to Annapolis and
Cobb to Fort Cumberland to press into the King's
service any available sloops or schooners for transporting
provisions and stores up the river. Meanwhile he had
decided to restore the old fort, and work upon it was-
begun on the 24th of September. "My reasons," he
says, "for fixing on this spot, though somewhat
commanded by the hill on the back, were that it was so
much work ready done to our hands, the command it
would have of the harbor, the convenience of landing
our stores, and the great difficulties that would have
attended its being erected farther back from the shore,,
having no conveniency for moving our stores but by
men. Besides, as the season was so far advanced, and
we had still to go up the river, I thought it best to fix
on what would be soonest done. . . . And in regard to.
the hill that has some command of it, it is only with
cannon, which the enemy would find great difficulty in
bringing, and this may hereafter be remedied by
erecting some small work on it. "

ST. JOHN 221

During the next few weeks there was a busy scene at
the old fort. On a spot where just before there had
been scarcely a human habitation, 2,000 men were
encamped, and a fleet of a dozen vessels lay at anchor
near the shore. For a month six hundred men were
daily employed in the construction of the works at the
fort. The sound of the pick and shovel, axe, hammer
and saw, were heard on every hand.

St. John and Annapolis were in close touch in those
days, as will appear from the following extracts from the
journal of Captain John Knox :

" September 25th. This morning the Ulysses, sloop of
war, sailed from Annapolis for St. John's harbor. Our
Fort Major was sent to Brigadier Monckton to give him
a true state of this garrison. "

" September 26th. A sloop arrived here from Old
York [ Portsmouth, Maine, ] with timber, planks and
boards for the new fort on St. John's river. "

" September 28th. Several sloops arrived here today
with stores of all kinds for St. John's. The reason of
their touching at this place is to be assured of our fleet
and forces being there before them. "

Upon Monckton' s arrival Boishebert retired to Canada
with his small force, and the Jesuit missionary, Germain,
also retired with the Indians to Quebec, lest they
should be enticed from allegiance to their old master, the
King of France. The poor Acadians, in their settle-
ments at Grimross, Oromocto and St. Anne's were left
unprotected, and in a state of unrest and alarm. Their
scouts soon divined the intention of the British general
to proceed up the river, and every day increased their
dire forebodings of coming disaster. They sought safety
in the woods and lived after the Indian fashion. Their
condition was pitiable.


While the fort was building, Monckton was engaged in
collecting military stores, provisions and supplies of
various kinds for which, he sent to Fort Cumberland,
Annapolis, Halifax and Boston. Reconnoitring parties
of Rangers went up the river to the distance of eighty
miles and brought back reports of their observations.
The officers barracks were erected on the 2nd of October,
but it was not until the 21st that the expedition was
ready to go up the river.

Carleton never had so many able bodied citizens as
Monckton's 2,000 soldiers, nor the city of St. John so
large a body of troops as lay encamped for two months
on the rising ground back of the fort on the west side of
the habor in the autumn of 1758. The fort, as
re-constructed, was called Fort Frederick, and traces of
its ramparts are visible at the present day.

Captain Cobb returned from Fort Cumberland on the
30th of September with Danks' company of Rangers,
five whale boats and nine Acadians.

The extracts from Knox's journal, which follow, are
interesting :

"October 6th. Vessels are continually running
between this port [Annapolis], Boston, Halifax and
St. John — now Fort Frederic. From the latter of these
places our Fort Major is returned. He says that the
new fort will be a strong compact place, will mount 21
pieces of cannon, from four to twelve pounders, besides
several mortars, swivels and wall pieces, and that the
barracks for the garrison are almost finished. Brigadier
Monckton had detached a small reconnoitring party of
rangers up the country. They proceeded to the distance
of 80 miles, keeping the course of the river, and at their
return reported that they saw several large settlements

ST. JOHN. 22a

witli fields of corn still standing, but did not discover
any of the enemy. The French prisoners that were at
Fort Cumberland have been sent to Fort Frederic to
serve as guides and pilots on the River St. John. They
have informed the Brigadier that Boishebert was-
expected to be at this time at the head of that river with
500 regulars and militia and 200 savages, but that upon
the approach of our armament they will retire, unless
they have lately received orders from M. de Vaudreuil,
Governor Gen'l of Canada to act otherwise. They add
that the two privateers are above the Falls and may be
easily recovered. "

The privateers were the Eagle trading sloop and the
Schooner Endeavour, which were surprised as they lay
at anchor ; Meares and Gerow were the masters, who
with other seamen were sent to Quebec as prisoners.

Captain Knox introduces in his journal a curious
incident that happened at Fort Cumberland, and which
was doubtless very fi'eely discussed by the officers of the
garrisons at Fort Cumberland, Annapolis and Fort

" Colonel James, of the 43d regiment, lately sustained
a severe loss. His servant, who was a Frenchman, or
Swiss, and had been many years a soldier in the
regiment, deserted from Fort Cumberland, and took
with him near 80 guineas, a fusil, a pair of silver
mounted pistols, a sword mounted with the same metal
and several other articles. Before he went off he com-
municated his intentions to the French female prisoners,,
who gave him full directions about the road he should
take and the places it was most probable he would fall
in with the enemy, for which ( and perhaps other
favors ) the deserter rewarded them with a hat full of


silver, being dollars, f ourtlis and eights of tlie same money,
as lie apprehended such a quantity might be too weighty
for him to carry away. A large party of regulars and
rangers were sent in pursuit, but did not come up with
him ; they took one prisoner, destroyed a large settle-
ment and burned about 200 bushels of wheat and other
provisions. Brigadier Monckton being immediately
apprised of this robbery, detached a party of rangers as
far as Pitscordiac [ Petitcodiac ] River in hopes to
intercept the deserter, but they also returned without
meeting him. They surprised two Frenchmen fishing,
who were taken after a fruitless resistance. Upon the
return of the rangers to Fort Frederic, the two prisoners
were very sullen and refused to give any intelligence,
but being threatened with a gibbet, they afterwards
proved more open and were very serviceable. Colonel
James has since recovered the greatest part of the
dollars and small money, which the French women had
concealed in some of their old rags in holes of the
chimney and other hiding places of the apartment where
they were confined. "

The people of New England learned from time to time
of the progress of events at the River St. John, and the
amount of space devoted to the latest news from Fort
Frederick by the Boston Post and other newspapers
shows how general was the interest in Monckton' s opera-
tions. The continuous border warfare between the
people of New England and the French and Indians had
aroused a spirit of bitterness which those who are not
well versed in the history of this period will scarcely
understand. An example of the animosity which
prevailed on the side of the English will be found in the
following passage in Knox's journal :

ST. JOHN 225

" October 27tli. A sloop is returned from Fort
Frederic. The master of her assures us that the Cape
Sable detachment have been very successful ; that they
surprised 100 of the French — men, women and
children, whom they made prisoners burned and
destroyed all their settlements and sent their captives to
Halifax to be transmitted from thence to Europe. With
inconceivable pleasure we now behold the situation of
affairs most happily changed in this province by the
glorious success of His Majesty's arms at Louisburg.
The wretched inhabitants of this country — as well
French as the aborigines — are now paying dear for all
their inhuman and barbarous treatment of British
subjects, and feeling the just weight of our resentment.

The Boston Post, in its issue of the 30th October,
contains the following reference to affairs at St. John :

*' Wednesday last Capt. Miller arrived here in 6 days
with despatches from our forces at St. John's River in
Nova Scotia, by which we learn that Brigadier General
Monckton had almost finished a strong fort, just above
the entrance of that river, on the same spot where the
French some years ago erected a fort, which they after-
wards demolished. That the French and Indians
(jontinue to retire farther up, as our Rangers advance in
their scouting, in which they have discovered several of
their huts and fields, etc., which they had deserted.
That a number of vessels lay ready to carry a body of
our troops as far up the river as they possibly could,
where 'tis said the French have a small fort, and where
they have got up two vessels that were taken from the
Enghsh some time ago in the Bay of Fundy, and after-
wards improved as cruisers. That these troops were to
proceed, as soon as Maj. Morris had joined them from


Cape Sable, from which place they had an express the
17th inst. with an account that Maj. Morris and Capt.
Goreham, with a number of our forces had taken a
French place called Capesse, with 70 prisoners and about
100 head of cattle ; among the prisoners was a French
priest, who has engaged, upon granting them idemnity,
to bring in 200 more to submit themselves ; and 'tis

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