Thursday, March 26, 2009

John Winslow's Journal at Grand-Pré

The Deportation by C. W. Jefferys

Journal of John Winslow
of the
Provincial Troops
While Engaged in Removing the
Acadian French Inhabitants from Grand-Pré
In the Autumn of the Year 1755

From My Camp at Grand-Pre, Nova Scotia,
August 22nd 1755

I embarked on the sixteenth with three hundred and thirteen men, officers included, having with me Captains Adams, Hobbs, and Osgood in three vessels bound for Porte Edward, where we the next day arrived and I found there a memorandum sent by Colonel Lawrence, the Governor of Nova Scotia, which directed me to take up my quarters at the Basin of Minas. Whereupon, on the next tide, I came down the river and entered into the Gaspereau, where we landed.

Have taken up my quarters here in Grand-Pré between the Church and Chapel yard, having the Priest's House for my own accommodation and the Church for a Place of Arms. Am picketing my Camp to prevent a surprise. Expect to be joined with two hundred more men soon.

As to the Inhabitants, commonly called the Neutrals, the point seems to have been settled in relation to them and they are to be removed. They are as yet in Ignorance of the Reason of my coming here. This is a fine day and they seem to be very busy with their harvesting.

I have the pleasure to inform his Majesty's Government that the Army in general enjoys a good state of health, although it is likely we shall soon have our hands full of a disagreeable Business to remove a people from their ancient habitations which in this part of the Country are very valuable.

The Orders of the Day: No soldier to Straggle from this Camp down the street of the Village without special permission and leave from me.

The Main body of the Church to be made clear for the reception of men and provisions. The Troops, with the exception of the Guard and the Sentry, will hereafter lodge in this Camp.

August 24th

Yesterday I received a month's provisions for four hundred men, which I have deposited in the Church. I have pitched my Tents and lodged my men in them; and if my Palisades hold out, shall finish my picjeting this day. There is a small House within the pickets which I have made into a Captains' quarters.

One thing I still lack, which is a guard room, and I have a frame up and partly enclosed and there are old boards enough here to cover it. I shall put His Majesty to n o expense in the whole but for Nails, of which if the Commissary h ave any in store I should be glad of one thousand and can not well do without them, as also a Lock of any kind so it be stout for the Church door.

Jock (Jacques) Terreo (Theriault) informs me that the Inhabitants of Grand-Pré are redily complying with our demand of Cattle and that these should be of the best. We this day drive to the Woods to collect the herds together.

Instructions for Lieutenant-Colonel John Winslow:

Destinations of the Vessels in the Basin of Minas: North Carolina, Mary Land and Virginia. Each person so embarked is to be allowed 5 pounds of flour and 1 pound of pork for every seven days.

With relation to the means necessary for collecting the people together so as to get them on board. If you find that Fair means will not do with them you must Proceed by the most Vigorous measures possible not only in compelling them to Embark, but in depriving those who shall escape of all means of shelter by Burning their Houses and Destroying everything that will afford them means of subsistence in their Country.

As soon as the Transports have received their people on baord and are ready to Sail you are to acquaint the Commander of his Majesty's ship therewith that he may take them under Convoy and put to Sea without loss of Time.

August 30th
As the Corn is now all down, the weather being such as has helped the Inhabitant's housing of it, it is my opinion that the orders be mde public next Friday, on which day we purpose to put these orders into execution.


September 1st

Three of the extra Transports have arrived and the Inhabitants have been on Board eager to know their Errand, but as I was early with the Ships' masters, I gave them instructions to say that they were to come to attend me and the Troopos wherever I pleased. These Transports inform me that there is eleven more Sail coming from Boston and would weigh anchor shortly.

This day, September 2nd, 1755, I posted his Majesty's proclamation in the village of Grand-Pré, giving notice to the People that they assemble in the Church on Friday at three of the Clock.

September 3rd

Past nine in the Evening. whereas there has been just now an Alarm in the Camp, it is positive that the Roll must be called to see who is absent from this Camp whether Regulars or Irregulars, that if there be delinquents they may be treated as such.

September 4th

A Court Martial to be held this morning for the Trial of William Jackson and of Abishai Stetson of the Troops for being out of the Encampment all night and for brining into the Camp a French Fire Shovel and a Sieve. The sentence of the Court is that the Prisoner Jackson receive Twenty Lashes from the hands of the Drummer with a Cat and that the Prisoner Stetson receive Thirty Lashes in the Like manner, and well Laid on, in addition to making Amends to those Houses whose Inhabitants they had Desecrated.

Confirmed and Ordered to be put into Execution at the Relief of the Guard.

September 5th

I have found it expedient to add this clause to the
Proclamation in the village of Grand-Pré:

That all Horned Cattle, sheep, Goats, Hogs and Poultry of all kinds that were this Day suposed to be Vested in the French Inhabitants of this Province are become forfeited to his Majesty whose Property they now are, and every Person of the French Denomination is to take care not to Hurt, Kill, or Destroy anything of any kind nor to rob Orchards of Gardens or to make Waste of anything whatsoever, Dead or Alive, in these Districts without Orders from me.

The Orders of the Day: The French Inhabitants to repair to their quarters in the Church at Tattoo and in the day not to extend their walks to the Eastward of the Commandant's Quarters without leave from the officers of the Guard. A patrol of a Sergeant and twelve men to walk constantly round the Church. The Sentries everywhere to be doubled.

These French people not having any provisions with them in the Church and pleading Hunger, I ordered that for the future they be supplied from their respective families.

Thus ends my Memorable fifth of September, a Day of great Fatigue for me and Trouble.

September 10th

I sent for Father (as in head of the family) Landry, their principal Speaker who talks English, and I told him the time was come for the Inhabitants to begin Embarking and that we would start with the Young Men and that I desired he would inform his Brethren of it. He was greatly Surprised.

I told him that as I Viewed the matter it must be done and that I should order the Prisoners to be drawn up Six Deep, their Young Men on the left, and as the Tide would in a very little time favor my Design I could not give them above an Hour to prepare for going on Board. I then Commanded our whole Party to be under Arms and Post themselves between the two gates and the Church in the rear of my Quarters, which was obeyed and agreeable to my Directions.

The Whole of the French Inhabitants were drawn together in one Body, their Young Men as directed to the left. I then ordered the Prisoners to march, but they all answered that they could not go without their Fathers.

I told them that was a word New England did not understand, for that the King's Command was to me Absolute and should be, on my part, Absolutely obeyed. That I did not love Harsh means but the Time did not permit of parleying. Then I ordered the whole Troops to fix their Bayonets and advance toward the French with the repeated order to march.

The Which they then did, though Slowly, and they went singning and crying and praying, being met by the Women and Children all the way (the road is rough and a mile and a half long) with great lamentations and upon their knees.

I began at once to Embark these Inhabitants who went so Sorrowfully and Unwillingly, the Women in great distress carrying their Children in their arms and Others carrying their decrepit Parents in their Wains and all their Goods moving in dire Confusion. It appeared indeed a matter of Woe and Distress.

Thus Proceeds a Troublesome Job, and little to my liking. After this Captain Adams Fell Down from the Gaspereau.

September 11th

I made strict enquiry how those Young Men made their escape yesterday and by every circumstance found one Francois Hubert (Hebert) was either the Contriver or Abettor, who was on Board at the time and his Effects shipped. I ordered him ashore, allowed him to proceed to hiw own House and then in his presence burned both his House and Barn.

There are certain Instructions which must be given to the Masters of these Transports. Thomas Church of the Leopard, bound for Mary Land, will sail first. I will write him in this wise:

You having received on Board your Schooner certain Men, Women and Children, being part of the French Inhabitants of the Province of Acadie in Nova Scotia, you are to Proceed with them when Wind and Weather permit to his Majesty's Governor in Mary Land and upon your arriving there you are to Wait upon the Honorable Horatio Sharp, Lieutenant-Governor and Commander-in-Chief, and make all possible Dispatch in Debarking your Passengers.

You are to take care that no Arms or offensive Weapons of any kind are on Board with your passengers and to be as careful and watchful as possible during the whole course of your Voyage to prevent these Prisoners from making an attempt to take the Ship. To guard against any attempt to seize your Vessel you will allow only a Small Number to be on Deck at a time.

See that the Provisions be regularly issued to the people and for your greater Security you are to wait on the Commander of his Majesty's Ship Nightingale and desire the Benefit of his Convoy.

Wishing you a successful Voyage, and given under my hand at the Camp of Grand-Pré, Anno Domino, Seventeen hundred and fifty-five.

John Winslow

I have made out a Summary of this Unplesant Business upon which I, Lieutenant-Colonel John winslow of the Army of Boston, was Detailed. I caused to be Burned the following in the region round about the Basin of Minas:

Barns 276
Houses 255
Mills 11
Churches 1
Total 543

I shipped one thousand five hundred and ten Inhabitants from Grand-Pré on certain Vessels to Strange Parts, where these French will needs find themselves Houses. The Brig Hannah, Captain Adams in command, will take her way to Philadelphia. The Industry and the Leopard, Goodwin and Church being their Masters, are on their Route to Mary Land. I have started the Prosperous, the Mary, and the Sally and Molly to the region of Virginia.

Winter will be coming on apace in this Camp and the Sea beats desolately against the Shore.

© Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
Acadian & French Canadian Ancestral Home
2007 - Present

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