1707 – Second Siege of Port Royal
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The campaign took place from August to July 1707
In June 1707, an expeditionary force consisting mainly of troops of the Colony of Massachusetts under Colonel March, assisted by a few vessels of the Royal Navy, had made an unsuccessful attempt to capture Port Royal, the main settlement of French Acadia. When the expedition returned to Boston, Governor Joseph Dudley decided to make a new attempt. He chose the lamentable expedient of sending three members of the provincial council to advise and direct March. Two of them had commissions in the militia; the third, John Leverett, was a learned bachelor of divinity, formerly a tutor in Harvard College, and soon after its president, — capable, no doubt, of preaching Calvinistic sermons to the students, but totally unfit to command men or conduct a siege.
Young William Dudley was writing meanwhile to his father how jealousies and quarrels were rife among the officers, how their conduct bred disorder and desertion among the soldiers, and how Colonel March and others behaved as if they had nothing to do but make themselves popular. Many of the officers seem, in fact, to have been small politicians in search of notoriety, with an eye to votes or appointments. Captain Stuckley, of the Deptford (48), wrote to the governor in great discontent about the "nonsensical malice" of Lieutenant-Colonel Appleton, and adds, "I don't see what good I can do by lying here, where I am almost murdered by mosquitoes."
The three commissioners came at last, with a reinforcement of another frigate and 100 recruits, which did not compensate for losses, as the soldiers had deserted by scores. Colonel March resigned command and was replaced by Colonel Francis Wainwright.
Meanwhile, Daniel d'Auger de Subercase, the French governor of Port Royal had erected additional defensive works. Furthermore, the frigate Intrépide under Captain Pierre Morpain arrived at Port Royal from Martinique with captured prize ships, bringing provisions. The crew of the frigate joined the defenders.
In late August, the expedition sailed back to Port Royal.
On 21 August, Wainwright's forces reached the vicinity of Port Royal.
On 22 August, the New England men landed some 3 km south of Port Royal. Wainwright's troops then marched to a position 1km north of the fort.
On 23 August, Wainwright sent a detachment of 300 men to clear a path for the heavy cannon. Subercase sent a detachment to harass them. This detachment managed to drive them back and forced them to retire to their camp.
French and Native American warriors then constantly harassed Wainwright's camp.
On 27 August, the British withdrew to a camp protected by their ships' guns. However, this new camp was not properly fortified, and the troops suffered from sniping and attacks.
On 31 August, Wainwright made a second landing at another point. Subercase himself led 120 soldiers in a vain attempt to oppose the landing.
On 1 September, the British reembarked on their ships, and sailed back to Boston.
The French in their reports claimed to have killed as many as 200 men, but British sources claim only about 16 killed and 16 wounded in the siege.
There was an attempt at a court-martial; but so many officers were accused, on one ground or another, that hardly enough were left to try them, and the matter was dropped. With one remarkable exception, the New England militia reaped scant laurels on their various expeditions eastward; but of all their shortcomings, this was the most discreditable.
This article incorporates texts of the following source which is in the public domain: Parkman, Francis: A Half-Century of Conflict – France and England in North America Part VI in The Works of Francis Parkman, Boston: 1897, Vol. 11, pp. 124-131
Wikipedia – Siege of Port Royal (1707)