French and Indian War

French and Indian War Tour 2014

French and Indian War Tour MapOn September 13, 2014, Tim and I embarked on a week-long cruise of coastal Canada. Our ports of call included Halifax, Nova Scotia, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Québec City, Québec, and Montréal, Québec.

Tim called this trip our vacation; I called it our “French and Indian War Tour.”

In this post you will find information about the sites I saw during my “French and Indian War Tour.”

Tip: Did you know that you can make my photos larger by clicking on them?


Halifax, Nova Scotia

I had to make tough choices about the history sites and museums I wanted to visit during out 8.5 hours in Halifax.

In the end, I chose a full-day trip to Grand Pré and a Nova Scotia winery in the Annapolis Valley.

Located along the Bay of Fundy’s Minas Basin, Grand Pré stands as a UNESCO World Heritage Site that memorializes the Expulsion of the Acadians by the British between 1755 and 1764.

Grand PreAcadians are descended from French colonists who settled in Nova Scotia during the 1680s.

Many of the colonists established farms on the rich alluvial soils along the Bay of Fundy. The farmers constructed a system of dykes and wooden sluices to drain and protect their land from the Bay’s extreme tidal range of 40-60 feet.

Both Great Britain and France claimed sovereignty over Nova Scotia. As a result, imperial warfare caused the island to change hands several times between 1700 and 1755. Each war ended with Great Britain returning the island to France, until the French and Indian War; the Treaty of Paris 1763 ended the war and awarded Nova Scotia to the Great Britain.

Neither the French nor the British trusted the Acadians. During each war, the farmers declared neutrality. In theory, they refused to supply either army with supplies, weapons, or men. In practice, both the French and British armies extracted assistance from the Acadians by threatening their families and property holdings.

In 1755, the British officers worried that the Acadians would reverse their hard-won victory over the French Army. They feared that the Acadians would invite French soldiers to attack them and assist the French effort.

The British military lessened its fears by expelling the Acadians from Nova Scotia.

The Grand Pré World Heritage Site tells the story of the British Expulsion of the Acadians (1755-1764). Exhibit placards and a multimedia show present information about the Acadian diaspora from both Acadian and British points of view. An exhibit in the visitor center also depicts how the Acadians drained and protected their land with dykes and wooden sluices using sizable models.

Sydney, Nova Scotia

Our stop in Sydney afforded Tim and I the opportunity to visit the most contested site in colonial North America: Fortress Louisbourg.

The Treaty of Utrecht (1713) ended Queen Anne’s War (1702-1713), but its articles did little to assuage French fears that the British might seize all of their possessions in North America. The articles awarded Great Britain all North American lands along the Atlantic seaboard with the exception of Île Royale (Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia).

LouisbourgThe French sought to strengthen its hold of Île Royale. Between 1720 and 1740 they built a large fortress near a prosperous fishing village on the northeastern tip of the island. The French called the fortress and the settlement around it Louisbourg and they protected both with a massive stone wall.

New Englanders despised the French presence in New France. Not only were the French predominately Catholic, but between 1689 and 1713, French soldiers and Native Americans raided frontier settlements in the region. The Yankees feared that the French would use Louisbourg as an additional base from which to attack them.

In 1745, New Englanders seized the opportunity afforded by King George’s War (1744-1748) to attack Louisbourg. Against the odds, the Yankees captured the fortress and its town. However, their possession proved short-lived. In 1748 the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle ceded Louisbourg back to the French.

The French and Indian War rekindled British desires to reacquire Louisbourg. In 1758, a large British force laid siege to the fortress and town.

The French surrendered after 6 weeks of daily bombardment.

The 1758 surrender of Louisbourg brought forth the predictions the French government had made in 1713: the British used the fortress as a launching point for its Siege of Québec in 1759.

In 1760, the British did not know that the Treaty of Paris 1763 would uphold their possession of Île Royale. In an effort to prevent the French from retaking Louisbourg, the British blew up the fortress, town, and the thick stone walls that protected them.

The fortress and town that stand at Louisbourg today are exact reproductions of the original fortress and town buildings.

In 1960, the Canadian government commenced a project to rebuild the Fortress, some of its walls, and 1/5th of the buildings that stood within the town.

Today, Parks Canada operates Louisbourg as a living history museum. In most buildings and areas throughout Louisbourg you will find men and women dressed as 18th-century French soldiers and townsfolk. These interpreters interact with you and explain how the French colonists and soldiers lived and work.


Québec City, Québec

Our French and Indian War Tour ended on the Plains of Abraham, located in Québec City.

Established in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain, Québec City stands as one of the oldest European settlements in North America.

QuebecIn 1985, UNESCO declared the Historic District of Old Québec to be a World Heritage Site in an effort to protect the remains of the stone walls that once protected the city.

The Plains of Abraham lie just outside of these walls.

The 1759 British Siege of Québec climaxed with a Battle on the Plains of Abraham.

The battle took place on September 13, 1759 and lasted about 30 minutes.

General James Wolfe and his 4,800-man British army fought General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm and his 2,000-man French army. Both generals fought on the field and both received mortal wounds.

Wolfe’s army won.

The British victory did not end the French and Indian War, but it ended the British quest for dominance in North America.

Wolfe’s victory brought New France under British control, a fact which the Treaty of Paris 1763 confirmed and maintained.

In the early 1900s, the Canadian government established the Plains of Abraham as its first national park. Today, Parks Canada administers this grand park, which provides Québec’s urban populace with museums, gardens, and outdoor recreational space.

Monuments and memorials recounting and commemorating events that took place during the 1759 battle dot the landscape.

Tim and I spent several hours walking through the park. We found where Wolfe received his mortal wound and the monument that commemorates the place where he died. We also walked along the cliffside boardwalk.

Peering over Québec's cliffs gave me a new appreciation for the efforts Wolfe and his men exerted when they scaled them 255 years ago.


Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

In between our stops in Sydney and Québec City, our ship docked at Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

In addition to taking a scenic drive and visiting the Anne of Green Gables House, Tim and I walked around Charlottetown where we found Province House, the birthplace of the Confederation of Canada.

PEIIn 1864, the political leaders of Prince Edward Island invited representatives from Canada’s maritime provinces to Charlottetown to discuss forming a confederation of the Canadian maritime provinces. Representatives from the mainland heard about this meeting and invited themselves to it.

In September 1864, twenty-three political leaders from Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Québec gathered in Charlottetown to discuss what forming a confederated and united Canadian government might look like and mean for the British colonies.

Three years later, on July 1, 1867, Parliament passed the British North America Act. Queen Victoria signed the act and the Dominion of Canada was born.

I had no idea that my visit to Prince Edward Island would lead me to the birthplace of Canadian Confederation. Although the Province House did not fit within my French and Indian War-themed tour, it provided a nice epilogue to it.

The Province House museum and site tells the story of how Canada evolved from a group of British colonies to a united, independent nation.



Tim and I enjoyed our cruise through coastal Canada and down the St. Lawrence River. Our brief 6-8 hour stops in Nova Scotia, PEI, and Québec introduced us to the history and natural beauty of these provinces. Some day we hope to return and spend more time exploring them.


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Blog Vacation: I Will Return September 22, 2014

Dear Friends, I have embarked on a cruise ship for Canada.

Tim and I have traveled a lot this year, but we planned this trip as our vacation over a year ago.

Well, Tim calls it "vacation," I call it "French and Indian War Tour 2014."


I am wicked excited about this trip.

We will stop twice in Nova Scotia, where I will see both the remnants of early Acadian settlements near the Bay of Fundy and Fortress Louisbourg. Our stop in the town of Sydney, Nova Scotia will allow me to stand near where Albany's Loyalist Mayor Abraham C. Cuyler settled after the British evacuation from New York City in 1783.

Although I am excited about all of the above, I am most excited about the days we will spend cruising the St. Lawrence River.

As we cruise the river, our ship will stop at Quèbec City, where I will disembark to see the Plains of Abraham. (Yes, I want to see the spot where General James Wolfe fell.)


Our final stop will be Montreal.

This trip comes at a great time as I am writing about the Albany-Montreal Trade during the early eighteenth century. I will get to cruise the St. Lawrence and see the sites of the early North American fur trade. I have brought my laptop so I can write about the trade as we go.

You can expect at least a blog post about my Canadian adventure when I return.

Thank you for following this blog and for your support.

Have a Great Week!





The American Revolution Comes to Albany, New York, 1756-1776

On Thursday, August 14, 2014, the Journal of the American Revolution posted "The American Revolution Comes to Albany, New York, 1756-1776." This article began as a conference paper, which came out of my dissertation. The Albanians' experiences with quartering will appear in much more detail in my future book AMERICA'S FIRST GATEWAY. I wrote "The American Revolution Comes to Albany" not only to share this great story with a wider audience, but also to experiment with how an historian could re-purpose their conference papers into other formats. I incorporated some of the feedback I received on my conference paper and added a bit of explanation for a non-specialist audience to this piece.

At some point I may repurpose the story of how Albany became revolutionary for an academic article--although I also like the idea about an article on loyalism in Albany.


The American Revolution Comes to Albany, New York, 1756-1776 

"The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world…He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation: For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us.”Declaration of Independence

On June 11, 1776, the Second Continental Congress appointed its Committee of Five to draft a declaration of independence from Great Britain. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston composed a document that proclaimed why the thirteen colonies had no other recourse but to separate from the British Empire. They declared that “The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states.” The committee added weight to the colonists’ claims by providing a long list of specific examples of the king’s injustices towards them. Among the enumerated grievances: King George III had given his “assent” “For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us.”

The colonists experienced the king’s unjust quartering throughout the French and Indian War (1754-1763). It all started when John Campbell, Earl of Loudoun assumed command of the British forces in 1755. Loudoun lamented how the British soldiers had lost the 1755 campaign to the French because his predecessor William Shirley could not find winter quarters for them near the front lines. Loudoun sought to rectify this situation by ordering the governors of Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania to erect barracks in Boston, New York City, Albany, and Philadelphia. The governors either refused or informed Loudoun that their colonial assembly would provide only some of the funds needed to build barracks or rent rooms in inns and public houses within those cities. Eventually, each city built at least some of the barracks Loudoun had demanded, but only in Albany, New York did Loudoun resort to forcibly quartering his troops in private homes.

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Coming Attractions: Book, Podcast, Blog, and Travel

Coming-SoonOver the next few months, Uncommonplace Book will feature posts about exciting projects, content, and trips. In this post you will find a sneak preview of upcoming blog posts as well as status updates on my 3 major projects.



For the last two months I have felt frustrated with my first chapter. I am just about finished with my second draft and until last week I felt like I had all the pieces of the story, but no idea about how they fit together.

Last week I had a eureka moment: Why should I begin my narrative with Henry Hudson?

The realization that I do not have to cover Hudson's voyage or the early days of the New Netherland and West India Companies has led me to decide that I will begin my chapter with an example from 1657. I will use this example to explore the community of Beverwyck and expound upon its earlier history when necessary.

Will this tactic work? I have no idea.

I am giving myself until Friday, August 15, 2014 to finish this draft. I need to be quick with this third draft because I have to move onto my second chapter by August 15, if I plan to finish 4 chapters by early February.  I have to have to submit a good draft of my fourth chapter to the Boston Early American History Seminar by February 3, 2015.



I have scheduled the first interviews for “Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History.” I begin recording on August 13.

I have requested 7 or 8 interviews and the responses have been positive. I have booked 5 interviews, I am coordinating dates with 2 guests.

My goal is to record most, if not all episodes on Wednesdays. A set recording day will allow me to better organize my workflow.

I am trying to book 1 guest per week as I would like to turn my twice monthly podcast into a weekly show by the beginning of 2015.

I am still looking for guests and plan to send out more e-mails once I have set the interview dates for the 3 guests I am coordinating with.

If you have a project related to early American history that you would like to promote to a non-specialized audience please checkout my “Be a Guest" information page. I would also be grateful if you would send the URL ( for that page to any historian you know who may like to be a guest.



Here’s a sneak peak at posts that will appear over the next several weeks.


Conference Recaps

I attended both the Conference on New York State History and the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic conferences this summer.

You can expect to see 2 posts recapping panels from the CNYSH this month. The first post will summarize a panel about writing historical narratives. The second post will review a panel about life in the 17th-century Hudson River Valley.

I had the opportunity to attend several great panels at SHEAR. Topics include women and property, yellow fever, citizenship, relations between the United States and South America, early American contact with the Muslim world, and slavery and freedom. Recaps of these panels will appear over the next few months; they will be interspersed among other content.


TravelTravel Posts

I have 2 trips coming up that will likely result in multiple posts.

On August 20, I leave for 8 days in Zürich, Switzerland. Tim has to travel there for work and asked if I would like to accompany him. (A rhetorical question.)

Tim and I plan to tour Lucerne during the weekend and I will spend the rest of the week in Zürich visiting museums and cultural sites in the morning and working on my book revisions in the afternoon.

On September 13, Tim and I will embark on a cruise from Boston to Canada. Tim calls this trip a vacation, but I refer to it as “French and Indian War Tour 2014.”

The ship will stop in Maine, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Québec City, and Montreal. I am wicked excited to travel down the St. Lawrence River and imagine how some of my Albanians used the river to conduct the fur trade.

I am also excited as our stops will include a look at the first Acadian settlement areas along the Bay of Fundy; Fortress Louisbourg, famous in New England for its capture by the Yankees in 1744; and Le Château Frontenac and the Plains of Abraham in Québec City. The British won a decisive battle over the French at the Plains of Abraham in 1759; the victory led to the British acquisition of Canada at the end of the French and Indian War in 1763.


Thursday Posts

In February, I mentioned that I would experiment with posting on Thursdays. Since that initial post I have posted nearly every Thursday.

Over the next several weeks you may see fewer Thursday posts.

I intend to remain as regular as possible with these posts, but I am working out a new workflow. I need to figure out how I can best add my podcast project to my present workflow that consists of book, blog, and freelance project time. As you know, some weeks present more challenges than others and I may have to give something up in order to meet my larger book, blog, and podcast goals.

You will not miss out on any content if I find that I need to reduce the frequency of my Thursday posts. I maintain a list of every post idea I have and I take notes at every conference, seminar, and event I attend. You will still receive great content here at Uncommonplace Book.


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What projects, trips, new endeavors will you be working on over the upcoming weeks and months?