Attack at Mocodome

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Attack at Mocodome
Part of Father Le Loutre’s War
John Connor, Old Burying Ground, Halifax, Nova Scotia.jpg
John Connor, Old Burying Ground (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Date February 21, 1753
Location Mocodome (present-day Country Harbour), Nova Scotia
Result Mi’kmaq victory
Mi'kmaq British America
Commanders and leaders
unknown John Connor
James Grace
Michael Haggarthy 
John Power 
Casualties and losses
6 Mi'kmaq 2 killed, 2 prisoners

The Attack at Mocodome (present-day Country Harbour, Nova Scotia)[1] occurred during Father Le Loutre’s War on February 21, 1753 when two English died and six Mi'kmaq. The battle ended any hope for the survival of the Treaty of 1752 signed by Governor Hobson and chief Jean-Baptiste Cope.

Historical context[edit]

Military history of
Mi’kmaq people
Mi’kmaq Warrior
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
Battle of Bloody Creek 1757
Siege of Louisbourg 1758
Lunenburg Campaign 1758
Battle of Restigouche 1760
Halifax Treaties 1761

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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).[2] [3]

To prevent the establishment of Protestant settlements in the region, Mi'kmaq raided the early British settlements of present-day Shelburne (1715) and Canso (1720). A generation later, Father Le Loutre's War began when Edward Cornwallis arrived to establish Halifax with 13 transports on June 21, 1749.[4] By unilaterally establishing Halifax, the Mi'kmaq believed the British were violating earlier treaties (1726), which were signed after Father Rale's War.[5] 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).[6] There were numerous Mi'kmaq and Acadian raids on these villages such as the Raid on Dartmouth (1751).[7]

After the Raid on Dartmouth (1749), Governor Edward Cornwallis offered a bounty on the head of every Mi'kmaq. The British military paid the Rangers the same rate per scalp as the French military paid the Mi'kmaq for British scalps.[8]

After eighteen months of inconclusive fighting, uncertainties and second thoughts began to disturb both the Mi’kmaq and the British communities. By the summer of 1751 Governor Cornwallis began a more conciliatory policy. On 16 February 1752, hoping to lay the groundwork for a peace treaty, Cornwallis repealed his 1749 scalp proclamation against the Wabanaki Confederacy.[9] For more than a year, Cornwallis sought out Mi’kmaq leaders willing to negotiate a peace. He eventually gave up, resigned his commission and left the colony.[10]

With a new Governor in place, Governor Peregrine Thomas Hopson, the first willing Mi’kmaq negotiator was Cope. On 22 November 1752, Cope finished negotiating a peace for the Mi’kmaq at Shubenacadie.[11] The basis of the treaty was the one signed in Boston which closed Dummer's War (1725).[12] Cope tried to get other Mi’kmaq chiefs in Nova Scotia to agree to the treaty but was unsuccessful. The Governor became suspicious of Cope’s actual leadership among the Mi’kmaq people.[13] Of course, Le Loutre and the French were outraged at Cope’s decision to negotiate at all with the British.


According to Charles Morris' account, John Connor and three others on abroad the Schooner Dunk from Canso, Nova Scotia put into Jeddore and stole the Mi'kmaq stores, 40 barrels of provisions given them by the Governor. At present-day Country harbour on 21 February 1753, nine Mi'kmaq from present day Antigonish (Nartigouneche) captured John Connor and the three other crew members James Grace, Michael Haggarthy and John Power. The Mi'kmaq fired on them and drove them toward the shore. Other natives joined in and boarded the schooner, forcing them to run their vessel into an inlet. The Mi'kmaq scalped two of the British crew, Haggarthy and Power.[14] The Mi'kmaq took Connor and Grace captive for seven weeks. After seven weeks in captivity, on April 8, the two British men killed a Mi'kmaw woman and child and then four other Mi'kmaw men. Afterward, they managed their escape.[15] [16]

In contrast, according to Anthony Casteel, after stealing provisions from the Mi'kmaq at Jaddore, the English schooner accidentally was shipwrecked and two of the four crew members drowned.[17] The two British survivors, despite the Mi'kmaw hospitality shown them, killed seven Mi'kmaq: two men, three women, one child and one infant. In response, Mi'kmaq were reported to have gone to Halifax to complain about how to keep their provisions safe during fishing season.[18]

A French officer at Louisbourg did not believe this account of events.[19] [20]If Connor and Grace were only motivated by scalp money as Casteel asserted, it is unclear who would have paid them for Mi'kmaw scalps given Governor Cornwallis ended the bounty for Mi'kmaw prisoners and scalps the previous year.


In response, on the night of April 21, under the leadership of Jean-Baptiste Cope, the Mi'kmaq attacked an English schooner at Jeddore. There were nine English men and one Acadian, Anthony Casteel, who was the British interpreter. The Mi'kmaq killed the English and let Anthony Casteel free at Port Toulouse, where the Mi'kmaq sank the schooner after looting it.[21] Cope's peace treaty was ultimately rejected by most of the other Mi'kmaq leaders. Cope burned the treaty six months after he signed it.[22] Despite the collapse of peace on the eastern shore, the British did not formally renounce the Treaty of 1752 until 1756.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stephen Patterson reports the attack happened on the coast between Country Harbour and Tor Bay (1998. p. 97); Whitehead reports the location was a little harbour to the westward of Torbay, "Martingo", "port of Mocodome" (p. 137); Beamish Murdoch identifies Mocodome as present-day "Country Harbour" (A History of Nova-Scotia, or Acadie, Volume 1 p. 410).
  2. ^ Tod Scott. Mi'kmaw Armed Resistance to British Expansion in Northern New England (1676-1781). Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society Journal. Vol. 19, 2016. pp. 1-18
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ Wicken, p. 181; Griffith, p. 390; Also see "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 14, 2013. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  6. ^ John Grenier. The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. Oklahoma University Press.
  7. ^ Grenier pp. 154–155. 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
  8. ^ 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 French and Mi'kmaq scalps. The regiments of both the French and British militaries were not skilled at frontier warfare, while the Mi'kmaq and Rangers were. British officers Cornwallis, Winslow, and Amherst both expressed dismay over the tactics of the rangers and the Mi'kmaq (See Grenier, p.152, Faragher, p. 405;, Hand, p.99).
  9. ^ Patterson, p. 134
  10. ^ Plank, 1996, p.34
  11. ^ Historian William Wicken notes that there is controversy about this assertion. While there are claims that Cope made the treaty on behalf of all the Mi'kmaq, there is no written documentation to support this assertion (See William Wicken. Mi'kmaq Treaties on Trial: History, Land, and Donald Marshall Jr. University of Toronto Press. 2002. p. 184).
  12. ^ For a detailed discussion of the treaty see William Wicken. Mi'kmaq Treaties on Trial: History, Land, and Donald Marshall Jr. University of Toronto Press. 2002. pp. 183-189.
  13. ^ Plank, 2001, p.135
  14. ^ Halifax Gazette 28 April 1753
  15. ^ Diary of Anthony Casteel; Atkins. Public Documents, pp. 694-695
  16. ^ Diary of Anthony Casteel
  17. ^ Diary of Anthony Casteel, p. 118
  18. ^ Account by Joseph Morrice in the Diary of Anthony Casteel, p. 118
  19. ^ Whitehead, p. 137; Patterson, 1998, p 99
  20. ^ The Mi'kmaq account of the British killing infants or babies in the womb echoes the same accusations against John Gorham in his attack on Mi'kmaq near Annapolis in 1744 (See Malliard's journal). The assertion against Gorham is not supported by the evidence. In both counts, the influence of French priests on the embellishment of these incidents is apparent. Accusing the enemy of killing babies and babies in the womb has a long history in war propaganda to objectify the enemy.
  21. ^ Whitehead, p. 137; Patterson, 1994, p. 135
  22. ^ Plank, 1996, p.33-34
  23. ^ Patterson, 1994, p. 138


Primary Sources
Secondary Sources

Coordinates: 45°18′22″N 61°37′25″W / 45.30611°N 61.62361°W / 45.30611; -61.62361