The Acadian Tragedy
An Unchanged Military Situation
Caption: Grenadier officer, 60th (Royal American) Regiment of Foot, 1757-1767
At the beginning of 1756, the military situation in North America was virtually unchanged from the year before. The British continued to pursue the objectives that they failed to meet the previous year: to occupy the Ohio Valley and to take Fort Saint-Frédéric on Lake Champlain and Fort Niagara on Lake Ontario. It was with this in mind that the colonies of New England mobilized several thousand militiamen and asked for extra troops from England, which sent the 35th and 42nd regiments and created the 60th. With four battalions instead of only one, as most regiments had, the 60th consisted in part of American recruits, hence the name "Royal American." General Braddock's defeat nevertheless caused the British staff serious doubts about what methods to employ to weaken New France.
The French recovered very quickly from the loss of General Dieskau. Governor General Vaudreuil knew that he had to earn the esteem of the Amerindian allies for the French armies by doing something dramatic, and he ordered a raid against Fort Bull, near Oswego. On March 27, 1756, Fort Bull was attacked and destroyed by a group of soldiers, militiamen and Amerindians under the command of Lieutenant Gaspard-Joseph Chaussegros de Léry, who at the same time found and drove away an American contingent that had come to the rescue of the fort. The traditional tactic of the Canadians once again proved its worth, and the Amerindians were reassured.
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