Article extracted from the New Brunswick Reporter

NBR – 1845.04.11 – Reminiscences of New Brunswick – #5

[For the Reporter.]

Fort Cumberland, – Fort Lawrence, – Bloody
Bridge, – Bay Verte, – Chediac.

“A tale of the times of old.”

Before leaving this part of the Province, I will take the reader across the great Marsh to what may be called the classic ground of New Brunswick. It will however be requisite first to notice two neat little Chapels at the head of Sackville, belonging to the Baptists. These buildings stand near each other, and although both are owned by Baptists, they are rivals. The separate congregations being as much opposed to each other as the ancient Greek and Latin churches, and if their leaders do not possess the learning, they can boast the obstinacy of the [Homoousians] and [Homoiousians] of the fourth century, and their equally captious and antichristian prejudices, afford an edifying example to the surrounding country, of the baneful effects of discord in religious communities. Near the termination of the Ridge of Point DeBute on a commanding site are the ruins of old Fort Cumberland, formerly called Beau-Sejour, and on the opposite Ridge may still be traced the outlines of Fort Lawrence. The River Missaguash and a Marsh fill up the space between. Those two Ports were formerly garrisoned by the troops of two rival and powerful Nations, and on those two Ridges many tragic scenes were enacted that are now buried in oblivion. Fort Cumberland was taken from the French by Col. Moncton, in 1755. The Fort at that time was strongly fortified, having 24 pieces of cannon mounted, and a numerous garrison, it was supposed capable of resisting any force that could be brought against it. The place was however taken in four days; one of those lucky incidents that sometimes occur in war, having favoured the British. Colonel Moncton having driven the French and Indians from their breastwork into the Fort, transported his artillery and troops from Fort Lawrence across the Marsh, and erected a battery near the works during the night. It the morning the French were surprised to find themselves closely invested, and being discouraged by the loss of most all their officers by the bursting of a shell which exploded in the room where they were at breakfast. A capitulation was soon agreed on, and the Fort was surrendered to the British.
Soon after this, Col. Moncton also took a Fort at Bay Verte, which had been the principal place of arms, and for supplying the French and Indians in that quarter, so that they were driven from all their strongholds in that country.

However, straggling parties of French and Indians still continued to prowl through the wilderness, plundering and burning, and sometimes scalping the settlers. A party of these freebooters formed an ambush in a ravine near a bridge a few miles from Fort Cumberland, and cut off a party, consisting of about twenty men, who had come out under an officer by the name of Dixon, to cut wood for the garrison. These men were nearly all killed by the fire of an unseen enemy, only two or three survivors being made prisoners. The scene of this disaster is still known by the name of Bloody Bridge. Indeed acts of rapine were so frequent in those troublesome times, that the settlers when they laid down at night, were in doubt whether their houses and cattle would not be swept off before morning, for burning and plundering were at that time things of common occurrence; and from the distance of the settlers from each other, and likewise the Fort, it was not easy to combine for mutual defence.

At this period there were but one or two isolated houses at Bay Verte, near where Mr. Chappell at present resides, and the few settlers were separated by a wilderness of several miles from the other settlements, and exposed to the straggling parties of French and Indians who frequented that place, as it was their principal rendezvous. Their only protection was the tact by which they could soothe or awe the passions of the lawless savages. The present settlers who enjoy good roads and houses, with the blessings of peace and society, know little of the anxieties and privations of the first settlers who were not only destitute of many of the necessaries of life, but whose very lives were frequently at the mercy of the irritated and, capricious Indians.

How different is the peace at the Bay Verte now. Instead of a solitary family, the Cove fronting the Bay exhibits a neat village, comprising a number of fine houses and two edifices for Public Worship, Stores, &c. As the traveller enters the village his eye is attracted by a neat little chateau, where a man of Law and a [diciple] of the Divine art have in mercy to the settlers, agreed to exercise their respective callings under the same roof. So that whatever legal disorders or wounds may be inflicted by the man of Briefs, may, as far as art can go, be immediately assuaged by the healing power of the son of Esculapius.

To return to Fort Cumberland, we find every warlike feature crumbling into dust. A part of the old Barrack has however been totally rescued from destruction and converted into a dwelling, and instead of the massy walls and spacious bombproofs that indicated the presence of war and hostility, the whole scene reposes in quietness The peaceful occupation of the Husbandman has succeeded to the sterner calling of the soldier. A few heavy guns lie harmlessly round the site, while the entire Ridge and the adjacent country exhibit a succession of well improved farms, and a wealthy, happy people. Instead of a rude wilderness, the eye now meets a well cultivated country, with good roads in all directions. From the site of Fort Cumberland to Cape Tormentine, a distance of over thirty miles, a fine carriage road passes through a succession of Settlements.

After passing the Cape and the lesser and greater Shemogue with several other rural districts, the traveller arrives at the quiet little town of Chediac, which shews some indications of that active trade so conspicuous in most of the rising Towns in New Brunswick.
(to be continued.)