Raid on Dartmouth (1749)

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Not to be confused with Raid on Dartmouth (1751).
Raid on Dartmouth (1749)
Part of Father Le Loutre’s War
RaidOnDartmouth1749Plaque.jpg
Plaque to Raid on Dartmouth (1749) and the blockhouse that was built in response (1750), Dartmouth Heritage Museum
Date September 30, 1749
Location Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Result Mi’kmaq victory
Belligerents
Mi'kmaq militia
Acadian militia
British America
Commanders and leaders
Major Ezekiel Gilman[1]
Strength
40 Mi'kmaq 6 British
Casualties and losses
none 4 killed, 2 wounded
Part of a series on the
Military history of
Mi’kmaq Warriors
Micmac.jpg
Mi’kmaq Warrior
Events
Battle off Port La Tour 1677
Raid on Salmon Falls 1690
Raid on Chignecto 1696
Avalon Peninsula Campaign 1696-97
Northeast Coast Campaign 1703
Raid on Grand Pré 1704
Siege of St. John's 1705
‪Battle of St. John's 1709
Siege of Port Royal 1710
Raid on Port Roseway 1715
Battle of Winnepang 1722
Blockade of Annapolis Royal 1722
Raid on Canso 1744
Siege of Annapolis Royal 1744
Siege of Port Toulouse 1745
Siege of Louisbourg 1745
Naval battle off Tatamagouche 1745
‪Battle at Port-la-Joye 1746
Battle of Grand Pré 1747
Raid on Dartmouth 1749
Siege of Grand Pre 1749
‪Battle at St. Croix 1750
Battle at Chignecto 1750
Raid on Dartmouth 1751
Attack at Mocodome 1753
Battle of Fort Beauséjour 1755
Battle of Petitcodiac 1755
Raid on Lunenburg 1756
Battle of Bloody Creek 1757
Siege of Louisbourg 1758
Burying the Hatchet ceremony 1761
Other

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The Raid on Dartmouth (1749) occurred during Father Le Loutre’s War on September 30, 1749 when a Mi’kmaq militia from Chignecto raided Major Ezekiel Gilman's sawmill at present-day Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, killing four workers and wounding two. This raid was one of seven the Wabanaki Confederacy and Acadians would conduct against the settlement during the war.

Historical context[edit]

Despite the British Conquest of Acadia in 1710, Nova Scotia remained primarily occupied by Catholic Acadians and Mi'kmaq. Father Le Loutre's War began when Edward Cornwallis arrived to establish Halifax with 13 transports on June 21, 1749.[2] By unilaterally establishing Halifax the British were violating earlier treaties with the Mi'kmaq (1726), which were signed after Father Rale's War.[3] The British quickly began to build other settlements. To guard against Mi'kmaq, Acadian and French attacks on the new Protestant settlements, British fortifications were erected in Halifax (1749), Bedford (Fort Sackville) (1749), Dartmouth (1750), Lunenburg (1753) and Lawrencetown (1754).

Despite the British Conquest of Acadia in 1710, Nova Scotia remained primarily occupied by Catholic Acadians and Mi'kmaq. By the time Cornwallis had arrived in Halifax, there was a long history of the Wabanaki Confederacy (which included the Mi'kmaq) protecting their land by killing British civilians along the New England/ Acadia border in Maine (See the Northeast Coast Campaigns 1688, 1703, 1723, 1724, 1745, 1746, 1747).[4]

The Mi'kmaq saw the founding of Halifax without negotiation as a violation of earlier agreements with the British. On 24 September 1749 the Mi'kmaq formally declared their hostility to the British plans for settlement without more formal negotiations.[5] Raids started at Canso, then Chignecto and then to present-day Dartmouth. During Father Le Loutre’s War, there were 8 raids on Dartmouth.[6]

Raid[edit]

On September 30, 1749, about forty Mi'kmaq attacked six men who were in Dartmouth cutting trees. The Mi'kmaq killed four of them on the spot, took one prisoner and one escaped.[7] Two of the men were scalped and the heads of the others were cut off. The attack was on the saw mill at Dartmouth Cove (Mill Location ), which was under the command of Major Ezekiel Gilman. A detachment of rangers was sent after the raiding party and cut off the heads of two Mi'kmaq and scalped one.[8]

Consequence[edit]

Major Gilman's (Gilmot's) sawmill, Dartmouth Nova Scotia 1750

To prevent the French and Wabanaki Confederacy massacres of British families, on October 2, 1749, Governor Edward Cornwallis offered a bounty on the head of every Mi'kmaq. Prior to Cornwallis, there was a long history of Massachusetts Governors issuing bounties for the scalps of Indian men, women, and children in response to the Wabanaki raids on British settlers on the New England/ Acadia border.[9] Cornwallis followed New England's example. He set the amount at the same rate that the Mi'kmaq received from the French for British scalps. The British military paid the Rangers the same rate per scalp as the French military paid the Mi'kmaq for British scalps.[10] To carry out this task, Cornwallis raised two companies of rangers, one led by Major Gilman and the other by Captain William Clapham. [11] These two companies served alongside that of John Gorham's company. The three companies scoured the land around Halifax looking for Mi'kmaq.[12]

Cornwallis also stationed 30 men guarding the saw mill over the following winter with two armed vessels. Gilman left unannounced to New England by April 1750. [13][14] By July, Cornwallis had given the saw mill to Clapham to manage.[15] In September, he gave command of Gilman's rangers to Captain Bartelo. [16])

Despite Cornwallis' efforts to defend the community, in July 1750, the Mi'kmaq killed and scalped 7 men who were at work in Dartmouth.[17] In August 1750, 353 people arrived on the ship Alderney and began the town of Dartmouth. The town was laid out in the autumn of that year.[18] The following month, on September 30, 1750, Dartmouth was attacked again by the Mi'kmaq and five more residents were killed.[19] In October 1750 a group of about eight men went out "to take their diversion; and as they were fowling, they were attacked by the Indians, who took the whole prisoners; scalped ... [one] with a large knife, which they wear for that purpose, and threw him into the sea ..."[20]

In March 1751, the Mi’kmaq attacked on two more occasions, bringing the total number of raids to six in the previous two years.[21] Three months later, on May 13, 1751, Broussard led sixty Mi'kmaq and Acadians to attack Dartmouth again, in what would be known as the "Dartmouth Massacre".[22]

Controversy[edit]

Mi'kmaq tribal historian Daniel N. Paul does not trust the British account of this raid. He dismisses the possibility that Mi'kmaq people would attack unarmed civilians and posits, instead, that the woodcutters were probably armed better than the Mi'kmaq. He also affirms the right of the Mi'kmaq to use military action to defend their land. In his book We Were Not the Savages Paul writes,

"The question this poses is, why was this group of 'defenseless' Englishmen sent out into the forest alone to cut wood during a time of war without troop protection and thus left vulnerable to attack? If this was the case then it smacks of gross incompetence on a British officer's part. If the story is true and not propaganda, a more credible reason for them being sent out without troop protection is that they were not defenseless but as well-armed as the Mi'kmaq and probably more so. This can be reasonably assumed because, as woodcutters, they had axes to cut wood with, which alone would have made them possessors of weapons as lethally effective, and probably more reliable, than most of the arms the Mi'kmaq had access to. In any event, because the English were assaulting the Mi'kmaq and stealing their territory, Cornwallis and his Council should not have been so affronted and reacted so barbarously when the Mi'kmaq fought back. In fighting back to preserve their freedom and country, the Mi'kmaq paid a heavy price."[23]

Cornwallis' decision to put a bounty on the Mi'kmaq did not pivot simply on the Raid on Dartmouth in 1749.[24] By the time Cornwallis had arrived in Halifax, there was a long history of the Wabanaki Confederacy (which included the Mi'kmaq) protecting their land by killing British civilians along the New England/ Acadia border in Maine (See the Northeast Coast Campaigns 1688, 1703, 1723, 1724, 1745).[25]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Primary Sources
Secondary Sources
Footnotes
  1. ^ Salusbury, John. Expedition of Honour, p. 164
  2. ^ Grenier, John. The Far Reaches of Empire. War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2008; Thomas Beamish Akins. History of Halifax, Brookhouse Press. 1895. (2002 edition). p 7
  3. ^ Wicken, p. 181; Griffith, p. 390; Also see http://www.northeastarch.com/vieux_logis.html
  4. ^ John Reid.“Amerindian Power in the Early Modern Northeast: A Reappraisal.” in Essays on Northeastern North America: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008) ; Grenier, John. The Far Reaches of Empire. War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2008.
  5. ^ Griffith, p. 390
  6. ^ For the Raids on Dartmouth see the Diary of John Salusbury (diarist): Expeditions of Honour: The Journal of John Salusbury in Halifax; also see A genuine narrative of the transactions in Nova Scotia since the settlement, June 1749, till August the 5th, 1751 [microform] : in which the nature, soil, and produce of the country are related, with the particular attempts of the Indians to disturb the colony / by John Wilson. Also see http://www.blupete.com/Hist/NovaScotiaBk1/Part5/Ch07.htm
  7. ^ Harry Chapman. In the Wake of the Alderney: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 1750-2000. Dartmouth Historical Association. 2000. p. 23; John Grenier (2008). The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. p.150; For the primary sources that document the Raids on Dartmouth see the Diary of John Salusbury (diarist): Expeditions of Honour: The Journal of John Salusbury in Halifax; also see A genuine narrative of the transactions in Nova Scotia since the settlement, June 1749, till August the 5th, 1751 [microform] : in which the nature, soil, and produce of the country are related, with the particular attempts of the Indians to disturb the colony / by John Wilson. Also see http://www.blupete.com/Hist/NovaScotiaBk1/Part5/Ch07.htm
  8. ^ Thomas Beamish Akins. History of Halifax, Brookhouse Press. 1895. (2002 edition). p 18
  9. ^ A particular history of the five years French and Indian War in New England ... By Samuel Gardner Drake, William Shirley. p. 134
  10. ^ Thomas Akins. History of Halifax, Brookhouse Press. 1895. (2002 edition). p 19; While the French military hired the Mi'kmaq to gather British scalps, the British military hired rangers to gather Mi'kmaq scalps. The British regulars were not skilled at frontier warfare, while the French Canadiens, Mi'kmaq and Rangers were. British officers Cornwallis, Winslow, and Amherst expressed dismay over the tactics of the rangers and the Mi'kmaq (See Grenier, p.152, Faragher, p. 405;, Hand, p.99).
  11. ^ https://archive.org/stream/selectionsfrompu00nova#page/n326/mode/1up
  12. ^ Thomas Beamish Akins. History of Halifax, Brookhouse Press. 1895. (2002 edition). p 19
  13. ^ Gilman seems to have returned having purchased at auction the mill again in 1752.
  14. ^ https://archive.org/stream/selectionsfrompu00nova#page/n336/mode/1up
  15. ^ p.617
  16. ^ p. 628
  17. ^ Thomas Atkins. History of Halifax City. Brook Hiouse Press. 2002 (reprinted 1895 edition). p 334
  18. ^ Akins, p. 27
  19. ^ John Grenier (2008). The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. p.159
  20. ^ John Wilson A Genuine Narrative of the Transactions in Nova Scotia since the Settlement, June 1749 till August the 5th 1751. London: A. Henderson, 1751 as recorded by Archibald MacMechan in Red Snow on Grand Prepp. 173-174
  21. ^ For the two raids that happened in March 1751 see John Grenier (2008). The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. p.160
  22. ^ Atkins, p. 27-28
  23. ^ Daniel N. Paul, We Were Not the Savages 2000 ed., p. 111-112.
  24. ^ John Reid.“Amerindian Power in the Early Modern Northeast: A Reappraisal.” in Essays on Northeastern North America: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008); Grenier, John. The Far Reaches of Empire. War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2008.
  25. ^ John Reid.“Amerindian Power in the Early Modern Northeast: A Reappraisal.” in Essays on Northeastern North America: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008) ; Grenier, John. The Far Reaches of Empire. War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2008.

Coordinates: 44°39′50″N 63°34′5.4″W / 44.66389°N 63.568167°W / 44.66389; -63.568167