Soldiers of the Atlantic Seaboard
Caption: Queen Anne of Great Britain
By signing the Treaty of Utrecht on April 11, 1713, France abandoned all claims to Newfoundland and Acadia, although the boundaries were not clearly defined. The evacuation of French soldiers and civilians from Placentia was completed on September 25, 1714. They were sent to Île Royale (Cape Breton Island), where France hoped to establish a new colony. Today, the exploits of the French soldiers who defended Newfoundland are largely forgotten. Though decried as mutineers and deserters, they were extraordinarily successful at their main occupation and reason for being there: waging war. When defeated, they had returned swiftly with their Amerindian allies to spread consternation among their enemies, who were almost always superior to them in numbers and equipment.
The English created four independent companies for the specific purpose of guarding Newfoundland, for which they had suffered such losses. In theory, each company consisted of three officers and 88 soldiers, although in reality there were only 40 soldiers per company. A detachment of artillerymen accompanied the infantry, and the troops arrived in Placentia in May 1714 to replace the French garrison. It was decided not to detach any soldiers to St. John's but to post them all to Placentia, where they were subsequently all but forgotten, provided only with wooden shoes and barely enough clothing.
Insofar as Acadia was concerned, it became Nova Scotia and the Acadians British subjects, beginning a new page in their history, in which they would have to consider themselves neutral.
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