The Revolt of Pontiac and the American Invasion

The Defence of Nova Scotia

Fort Beausejour Defended

Officer, 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot, 1768-1784

Caption: Officer, 42nd (Royal Highland) Regiment of Foot, 1768-1784

The dreaded attack came in November, when approximately 500 Americans attacked Fort Cumberland, held by a garrison of 200 soldiers and Loyalist families who had taken refuge there. The garrison had done what it could to prepare the fort, which had been abandoned since the 1760s, and to restore it to a viable condition, even using old French bayonets to make stakes. They did not have the provisions needed, and rations were equally low. The soldiers, who had not been given uniforms, were in rags. Goreham allowed them "to wear the Barrack Rugs and Blankets[,] otherwise they must suffer greatly if not entirely perish." 43

The Americans, without any artillery, launched an assault the night of December 13, but they were turned back. On the 22nd and 23rd they attempted to burn down the fort and managed to destroy several buildings, including the hospital, but Goreham held his ground. On December 28 the warship HMS Vulture appeared, carrying soldiers of the Royal Highland Emigrants and marines, who, when they joined the soldiers of the garrison, were able finally to chase away the attackers.

Garrisons were later posted in Annapolis and other strategic points in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. A few skirmishes occurred, the most serious being the taking of Liverpool by American privateers in September 1778. Generally, though, the Maritime colonies were no longer being bothered by the Americans, most of the people having chosen the British camp.

Additional Images

Private, Royal Fencible Americans, Fort Cumberland, 1775-1776