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The Expulsion of the Acadians, a Military Surgeon’s Diary

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From the blog at http://JohnWood1946.wordpress.com

The Expulsion of the Acadians, a Military Surgeon’s Diary
 Loaded onto ships
A depiction of Acadians being loaded onto ships.
Université de Moncton, via the McCord Museum

Presented here is an English soldier’s diary written in 1755. The full document is about 20 page long, and this excerpt includes only that part written in Nova Scotia about the expulsion of the Acadians. The diary first appeared in The Historical and Genealogical Register of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and was re-published in Volume I of the Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society for the Years 1879-80, Halifax, 1878. The introduction by the Nova Scotia Society’s Recording Secretary, John T. Bulmer, follows:

“Diary of John Thomas”

“Just as we were ready to go to press a copy of The Historical and Genealogical Register come to hand, containing the Diary of John Thomas, a surgeon in Winslow’s Expedition of 1755 against the Acadians, communicated to the “Register” by Frank Moore, Esquire, of New York. As this Diary has an important bearing on the history of the Province, and is in some sense a continuation of the sad story already told in the volume of documents printed by the Record Commission, the Publication Committee determined to give it a place in our first number. It is not second in importance to any document yet published relating to the French expulsion, and is only equalled by the Journal of Winslow himself. The Historical Society hope at an early date to be able to give the public Winslow’s Journal.”
“We acknowledge our great obligations to Mr. Moore, also to the New England Historic Genealogical Society, and trust that the “Register” may circulate widely in this Province. It has reached the 132nd No., and has been published ever since 1846. As it is designed to gather up and place in a more permanent form the scattered and decaying records of New England, the descendants of the loyalists all over the Dominion may peruse it with great advantage.”

J.T.B.
_ _ _ _ _ _

[A note about the initial part of this diary, not included in this blog post:

Surgeon John Thomas’s diary was begun on April 9, 1755, when he was preparing to leave Boston in Colonel Winslow’s regiment for duties in Nova Scotia. The fleet departed Boston on May 22, and passed the Gut into Annapolis Basin four days later. The first military mission was to defeat the French at Fort Beausejour and other posts. This was done by mid-June, and the diary outlines minute details of strategy, injuries, deaths, etc. Some arms were then taken from the Acadians. The Indians were considering making peace with the English, but this was not pursued. Time was then spent treating the wounded and punishing troops who had rioted over the lack of rum-rations. The diary continued as follows, on August 7, 1755. Thomas’s diary is extremely matter-of-fact. There are no regrets and no triumphalism. He refers to ‘invalids’, who were the war-wounded. The ‘inhabitants’ were Acadians. Spelling is as found.]

August ye 7 AD: 1755. Orders Come for Colonol winslow to be in Redyness to Imbark with 4 Companys for menis.

8. Hot Day I went to Foart Lawrance Settled with mr Joshua winslow ye accompt of the Company from ye 10 of Apriel to ye 14 of August & Recd the mony for to Pay them our Invaleds Sailed for New England.

9. Very Hot Day I Paid of the Company.

10. very Hot Several of the inhabitants Come to the Foart by Colonol Munctons orders Capt Cobb Sailed with 30 of our Solders to Sheperdy In order to See the motion of the Enemy thare.

11. Colonol Muncton Got 250 of the Inhabitants Into Foart Cumberland & Confined them major Bourn with 150 men Gaurded the Greater Part of them to Foart Lawrance whare thay are Confined major Prible with 200 men was ordered to Tantamar Capt: Perey with 100 men ware ordered to Point abute & Olake In order to Bring in what thay Could Find Capt Osgood Took a Smal Party as thay ware Driveing of thare Cattle & Brought them to ye Camp Capt Lues of ye Rangers marched this morning with a Party of our men to Cobigate Ramshak & Sum other villages 150 miles Distant.

12. Capt Joseph Gorain Came here from Pisquate with two whale Boats Bring us the News of General Bradock Defeat at ye Ohio yt he is Killed & his whole armey Put to ye Rout.

13. Colonol winslow has Orders to Imbark as Soone as Posible with 4 Companys for Pisquate.

14. Colonol winslow marches with Capt Adams Hobbs & Osgood P:m: & as he Passes by Foart Cumberland Colonol Muncton Sends mr Munereef & Takes his Standard from mr Gay as thay ware on ye march then he marches on to ye River Masaquash Passes the River with his Bagage & thay all Incamped Nigh the vesels yt ware to Recive them.

15. Plesant Day Colonol winslow put his Bagage on Board of Capt Adams ye Rowe Gaily Capt Adams & Hoobs on Board of Capt Hodgkins Capt: Osgood on Board of Capt Pribles Capt: Jones Came in from Gauspereau Brings us an account yt Sum of the Party which marched from us to Cobigate & Ramshak had arived to Gauspereau with 2 vesels which thay Had Taken from ye French In a Harbour as they ware bound for Luesburge with Cattle & Sheap.

16. Capt Me: Cowen Arived from Boston Bacon & Dogget Sailed for Boston Colonol winslow & Party for Pisquate;

17. Cold & Showery Order Came for us to move our Camp up Near Foart Cumberland we Sent the men to Level the Ground.

18. we Moved our Camp & Pitched Near Foart Cumberland Ensign Gorain Returned to Camp from Gauspereau he is one who went to Ramshack with Capt Lues & he was Sent with the vesels yt: ware taken from the French & Sent to Gauspereau.

19. I Built my Tent with Loggs &c.

20. Nothing Remarkble.

21. the Syren Capt Proba Arived from Hallefax with 7 Transports under her Convoy In order to Cary the French Inhabitants of Capt Gay arived from Boston In 63 hours Pasage.

22. Plesant Day Nothing Remarkble.

23. A Party from Gauspereau Doct: Nye Come with them.

24. Cloudy mr Philips Preached at Camp A:m: went to Foart Lawrance P:m:

25. 40 men Returned upon Party that have bin out with Capt willard to Cobigate &c thay Brought in Several Prisoners Burnt Several Fine Viliges.

26. Captt willard Returned with ye Remaining Part yt went out with Capt Lues & those yt went with him the People ware much Fetuged I went to Foart Lawrance.

27. Rany Day.

28. major Frye with a Party of 200 men Imbarked on Board Capt Cobb Newel & Adams to Go to Sheperday & take what French thay Could & burn thare vilges thare & at Potcojack.

29. Exceeding Rany a Party Return from Gauspereru yt Came her after Provisions our Tents Leak very much.

30. Cloudy uncomfortable wather Capt: Gilbert Marched to the Bay of vert with a Party of 50 men to Bing in what Inhabitants he Could Find & Burn thare Viliges.

31. Plesant Day mr Wood the Church Person Preached at Foart Cumberland all our Rigement went to Church thare mr Philips Preached at Camp P:m: & all the Regulars came to hear him.
Sept: ye 1 AD: 1755. Plesant Day Job Crooker Came here in a whale Boat from menis with a Packet for Colonol Munckton.

2. Plesant Day major Frye Sent Leivt Jno Indicut on shore with men to Burn a Vilige at a Place Called Petcojack alter thay had Burnt Several Houses & Barns thay ware about to Burn a New masshouse a Large Number of French & Indians Ran upon them out of the Wood and Fired on them So yt thay ware obliged to Retreat Doct march who had Just Joyned him with 10 men from Capt Speakmans Party who Came on Shore the other Side of ye Vilige was killed on the Spot 22 more Killed & taken Seven wound Badly.

3. Major Fry Returned with his Party & Brought us the afforegoing Acount of his Defeat & the wounded men among whom was Leivt. Bilings Badly wounded threw in the arm & Body, a Party Likewise from ye Bay of vert under ye Comand of Capt Gibbert who had bin & Consumed that vilige & the Houses adjasent.

4. Leivt: Carver Came from Foart Gauspereau with a Partey.

5. Plesant Day orders for Leivt: Lawrence to Imbark with 57 to menis to Joyn Colonol winslow.

6. Sum wet it is Reported yt thare is a Number of Indians Discovered Near the Camp I went to Foart Lawrance Capt: Stone with Lumber arived here from Boston.

7. major Prible & I Came from Foart Lawrance to the Camp much Rumor about French & Indians yt Small Party ware Discovered.

8. Plesant Day Nothing Remarkble.

9. the Camp alarmed.

10. Sent 50 French Prisoners from Foart Cumberland on Board the transports to be Sent out of this Province.

11. Plesant Day I went to Foart Lawranoe to Continue thare a Short Time I being not well.

12. Doct: Tyler went to ye Camp to Take Care of the Sick thare.

13. Raney Day we Continue Sending the Inhabitants on Board the Transports.

14. Plesant Day Capt Sturdifant & I went to ye Camp.

15. Raney Major Prible & Goldthwait marched for Gauspereau with a Party of 400 men to Reconoyter that Place Expecting to find Sum of the Enemy Near thare.

16. Sum Cold.

17. Sum Showery I went to ye Camp Ensigne Hildrake with a Small Party from Gauspereau & make no Discovery of the Enemy I Returned to Foart Lawrance.

18. very Hard Gail of wind much Rain & Snow the Camp Greatly Torne to Peases with ye wind major Prible Returned with his Party having Burnt 200 Houses & Barns.

19. Plesant Day.

20. Plesant Day I went to Camp

21. Plesant Day Capt Sturtivant Sick att Fort Lawrance.

22. Cloudy Leivt Crooker Came in a Row Boat from Menis with a Packet from Colonol winslow to Colonol Muncton.

23. I wrote to Colonol winslow & Doct: whitworth at Menis.

24. Capt: Faget sailed for Menis in a Snow Leivt Crocker with him.

25. Sum Showery Several officers are Building Huts att Camp In order to Secure themselves from Inclemency of the wather.

26. Showery Colonol Munoton Revewed the First Battalion this morning at 6 of ye Clock I came over to Foart Lawrauce P:m:

27. Colonol Muncton Revewed ye 2 Battalions orders Came from Col: muncton for 200 men to Hold themselves In Redyness to march to Gauspereau tomorrow morning I went to ye Camp.

27. [sic] this morning 200 men marched for Gauspereau under ye Comand of major Frye Doct Tyler went with them.

29. Capt: Jno: Dogget arived here from Boston Brings us the News of major General Jonnson Ingagement at Lake George & his obtaining ye Victory thare.

30. Sum Rainy very Hard Storm In ye Evening.

Oct: ye 1 AD: 1755. Stormy Dark Night Eighty Six French Prisoners Dugg under ye wall att Foart Lawrance & Got Clear undiscovered by ye Centery I Receved Letters from New England by Dogget.

2. Plesant Day I went to Foart Lawrance Dined at Bishops.

3. I Returned to Camp A:m:

4. Plesant Day Nothing Remarkble.

5. Plesant Day mr Philips Preached all Day.

6. Sum Rany P:m: ye wind Blowd Hard at S:w: Capt Jones Came here from Gauspereau with Forty men.

7. Very hard Storm of wind & Rain Several vesels Drove from thare Ankering as thay Lay In ye Rhode I Came to Fort Lawrance.

8. Plesant Day I Returned to Camp P:m: ye Regulars Began to Enlist our men Into ye Regular Servis.

9. Capt Rowse arived here from Hallefax In order to Hurrey ye Fleet with ye Prisoners from this Place.

10. Plesant Day a vesel from New York with Provisons.

11. Stormy Day Capt: Dogget Sailed for Boston the Last Party of French Prisoners ware Sent on Board ye vesel In order to be Sent out of the Province.

12. Bad Storm & Cold Last Night Person Philips went to Fort Lawrance to Preach.

13. Capt Rowse Sailed this morning with ye Fleet Consisting of 10 Sail under his Comand thay Caryed Nine Hundred & Sixty French Prisoners with them Bound to South Carolina & George Cap Mackey Arived here from Boston.

14. Rany A:m: I went to Foart Lawrance P:m:

15. Plesant Day I Dined at Capt: Baleys Returned to Camp P:m: Exceeding Bad Traviling over ye mash.

16. Clear wather wind S:w: Blows Hard & Sum Cold.

17. Plesant Day a Party of 37 men under ye Comand of Two Ensigns ware ordered out to Reconoyter the French & See what Discoverys thay Can make.

18. wind S: Blows hard Sum Rain our Party Returned to Camp without making any Great Discovery Except a Party of French at a Distance who made of into the woods

19. Sum Plesant Nothing Remarkble.

20. Sum wet & Rany.

21. Several Gentleman Suped at Capt Malcums.

22. Plesant Day I went to Foart Lawrance P:m: Leivt Curtis with twenty men went up ye River obare to Reconoiter.

23. Rany & Stormy Leivt: Curtis with his Party up ye River Obare as he was Bringing a Number of Cattle Sheap & Horses was Fired upon by a Party of French & Indians Lent Curtis ordered his Party to Persue them: which they Did very vigoreously Keeping a Constand Fireing on Both Sides until thay Discovered 100 men more of the Enemy Laying in Ambush for them upon which Curtis & Party Retreated Recovered the Dyke on ye mash ye Enemy Persued them Sum way but our People kept up So warm a Fire on thare Retreat it Stoped ye Persuers & thay Got Safe to ye Fort this after Noon a Small Party went out from Camp under Comand of Ensign Brewer who had a Small Ingagement at a Place Called Olake but no Great Damage Done on Either Side.

24. Plesant Day Capt Gay arived here Last Night from Boston by whom I recived Letters from Boston I Came to Camp P:m:

25. Considrable Hard Frost Last Night.

26. Snow Squall very uncomfortable wather I went on Board Capt Gays Sloop.

27. Orders Given out for a General Cort marshal for ye Tryal of Capt Samuel Gilbert & Leivt: Lawrance both of the Second Battalion.

28. Cloudy Sum Rain a Gener Court marshal held for the Tryal of Capt Samuel Gilbert & Leivt: Lawrance Colonol munton Precedent & 13 members.

29. I went on Comand with Capt: Steven’s this Eveng our Party Consisted of 150 men.

30. we marched Last Night to Pont De Bute att a Small vilege 3 mile Distant to ye Northward of sd Point we Discovered a Fire upon which we Sorounded ye house & Rushed on it upon which we Received ye discharge of three Guns but we Enterd the house without any hurt but it proved to be Leivt Curtis & Ensign Bruer with 35 men who ware out from Fort Lawrance to Reconoiter upon which we turned our Coarse for Olake it Began to Snow about one of ye Clock this morning we marched as Far as a Large Brige as we Pass over to Tantamar but ye Day Breaking & the Storm Incresing we Did not think it Proper to Proceed any further & So Returned to Camp whare we arived about 12 Clock much Fatuged.

31. a Bad Storm of Snow ye Last 24 Hours & Cold our People underwent Greatly with ye Cold & Storm for: thay continue in Tents.

Camp Cumberland Novb ye 1 AD: 1755. Plesant Day and thawey.

2. Plesant Day for ye Season but bad Training.

3. wind N: very Rany Last Night a Party of 100 men Paraded and Sent to Fort Lawrance under Capt Lamson to Joyn major Bourns Party In order to go up the River Obair & ampong to Get wood for ye Garrison.

4. Plesant Day.

5. three vesels Sailed up ye River obair to Get wood for ye Forts major Bourn went with 300 men to Cut ye wood & Guard ye Vesels.

[6. to 12. No diary entries.]

13. marched out to westcock with Capt willard & 120 men we ware Caryed over ye River Tautamar In Boats we marched this Night as Far as Eastcock we arrived thare about 12 Clock this Night whare we Lodged in a Barn very Cold but Discovered no Enemy.

14. Plesant but Cold we marched about Sun Riseing we Discovered 3 Frenchmen & Fired on them but thay Ran to ye wood So yt: we did not Recover them we marched on to Tantamar where we arived about 11 Clock we Built Fires Killed Sum Hoggs & Sheap & Got a Great Plenty of Roots and Cabish went to Cooking & here we Fired at a Small No of French but thay made thare Ascape into ye wood we Continued here all Day.

15. Plesant Day we Burnt a Large mass house & 97 Houses more we met Capt: Stevens with 200 men to Reinforse us we Returned to west Cock at Night whare we met Capt: Hill with ye Regulars Colonel Scot major Prible & Several other officers with them & a No: of our Troops Came over to us In order to march with us to Memramcook a vilege about 13 miles from west Cock:

16. Lodged at west Cock Last Night this Day Spent in Killing of Cattle & Cooking & Giting in Redyness to march this Evening.

17. Plesant Day we marched Last Night about 11 Clock with 700 men under Comand of Colonel Scot we marched all Night very Bad Travilling Came to memoramcook about Break of Day we Sorounded about 20 Houses but thay were all Deserted Except one house whare we Found 9 women & Children but no man ye most of them ware sick we Burnt 30 Houses Brought away one woman 200 Hed of Neat Cattle 20 Horses we Came away about 10 A m marched for westcock whare we arived with our Cattle about 7 Clock In ye Evening.

18. major Prible marched with 400 men I marched with him about 10 Clock A:m: for Tantamar whare we arived about Sunset which is Six miles from westcock we Incamped killed 8 Hed of Cattle Sum Hoggs Built Fires & Cooked our Provisions.

19. Sum Cold we Gathered about 230 Hed of Cattle 40 Hoggs 20 Sheap 20 Horses & marched Back for westcock ware we arrived about 4 Clock with all our Cattle we exchanged Sum Guns with ye Enemy about a mile before we Came to westcock but no damage on our Side.

20. Plesant Day we mustered about Sunrise mustered the Cattle Togather Drove them over ye River near westcock Sot Near 50 Houses on Fyre & Returned to Fort Cumberland with our Cattle &c about 6 Clock P:m:

21. Plesant Day Reced orders for ye First Battalion to Hold themselves in Redyness to embark at an Hours warning for menis.

22. Plesant Day I went over to Fort Lawrance P:m: to Settle my acconipt & Git in Redyness to Embark.

23. Rany Day I Sent Sum things on Board Capt: Hays Brigg.

24. Clondy Rain Last Night wind S:E

25. Sum Showers & Squally Durty wather Colonol muncton Embarked on Board Capt: Cobb for Pisquid all our Troops ware Drawn up In order to wait on ye Colonol on Board Colouol Scot Takes ye Comand.

26. Plesant Day.

27. Snow Last Night the First Battalion makeing Redy as Fast as Possible to Embark for Pisquid.

28. I wrote to New England by Capt Gay.

29. Plesant Day Capt willm: Nicols arived from Boston Capt: Rogers & Bingham Sailed from this Place for Hallefax with Bagage & Receved 4 months Subsistance which is 33 £.

30. Plesant A:m: I went to Fort Lawrance Returned P:m went on Board ye Brigg Capt: Hayze Bound to Pisquate.

31. [sic] Cold we Came to Sail this morning Came Down as Far as ye Joging Came to Anker by Reason of ye Currant being So Rapid & Wind a Hed of us Sum Squalls of Snow.

December ye 1 AD: 1755. we Came to Sail P:m: wind S:w: Bound for Pisquate.

2. Arived In inenis Bason abont 12 Clock very Cold Blustering Squally wather Sum Snow & very uncomfortable we Came to Anker.

3. Cold we Came to Sail about 7 Clock A:m: Came up as Far as menis Doct: whitworth Came in a whale Boat major Prible mr Philips Capt: Speakman & I went on Share at Grand Pree or menis we went up to Colonol winslows Camp.

4. Plesant Day major Prible Capt: Speakman & mr Philips went to Pisquate In a whail Boat with Job Crooker Doct: whitworth & I Took Ensign Fasset with Fiveteen men all on Hors Back & went to Pisquate by Land, which is about 12 miles from Grand Pree Forded Pisquate River & Came to the Fort about 8 Clock In ye Evening our Troops all Landed Near ye Fort & mash to a vilege a mile from ye Fort.

5. very Plesant Day I Lodged at Fort Edward Last Night Capt: Cox Comanded thare our Troops Lodged att ye vilege Last Night major Prible marched about 2 Clock P:m: Leveing Capt: Lampsoii & Capt: Cobb Companys at Fort Edward we marched about 8 miles to a vilege Called ye 5 Houses whare we arived about 7 Clock In ye Evening.

6. we all Incamped att ye 5 Houses Last Night marched this morning about Sun Riseing marched all Day the Travilling very bad the Land Cheifly abounds with Hemlock & them Grow to a Great Haith the Land Tolirable Good we Passed Sum Large Fresh Rivers Snows all Day we Incamped Near a Brook Called ye Bulls Hed Camp the Snow is now Near Six Intches Deep.

7. we marched about half after seven marched all Day the Land abound with Burch & Hemlock the Soil very Good but very Stony we Incamped Not Far from a Large Fresh River Called ye 12 mile River it being about. 12 miles from Fort Sacvile this River abounds with Salmon.

8. Sum Rany we marched Early this morning Bad Traviling we marched over Large Boggs High Hills Rocky & uneven Ground but the Soyl appears to be Good itt abounds with Burch & Hemlock we Travil 12 miles & Come to a Small Fort Situated att the Hed of a Fine Large Bason Called Hallefax Bason the Fort is Called Fort Sacvile it Contains Near an Acre of Ground it is Built with Pickquits it is 4 Squared But one Canon & a Few Swivel Guns No Garosoned with one Capt one Subaltron & 50 men when we arived att this Fort it is almost Sun Set thare for we Conclud to Continue Here for ye Night it is 10 miles from Hallefax & the Traviling Excessive Bad.

[The remainder of the diary records routine events around Halifax, and the diary ends on December 31, 1755.]

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Written by johnwood1946

September 9, 2015 at 9:36 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. Super interesting read . Thank you SO much M. Wood . …î visualise This army. surgeon writing. all this down and IT is. Fascinating. to read .

    Claudia saint pierre

    September 12, 2015 at 4:51 AM


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