Fort Edward

Coordinates: 44°59′43.43″N 64°7′57.69″W / 44.9953972°N 64.1326917°W / 44.9953972; -64.1326917 Fort Edward is a National Historic Site in Windsor, Nova Scotia, Canada (formerly known as Pisiguit) and was built during Father Le Loutre's War. The fort was created to help prevent the Acadian Exodus from the region. The Fort is most famous for the role it played both in the Expulsion of the Acadians (1755) and in protecting Halifax, Nova Scotia from a land assault in the American Revolution. While much of Fort Edward, including the officers quarters (burned down 1922) and barracks, has been destroyed, the blockhouse that remains is the oldest in North America. (The oldest blockhouse in the United States is Fort Halifax (Maine)). A cairn was later added to the site.

Father Le Loutre's War

Despite the British Conquest of Acadia in 1710, Nova Scotia remained primarily occupied by Catholic Acadians and Mi'kmaq. Father Le Loutre's War began when Edward Cornwallis arrived to establish Halifax with 13 transports on June 21, 1749. By unilaterally establishing Halifax the British were violating earlier treaties with the Mi'kmaq (1726), which were signed after Dummer's War. The British quickly began to build other settlments. To guard against Mi'kmaq, Acadian and French attacks on the new protestant settlements, British fortifications were erected in Halifax (1749), Dartmouth (1750), Bedford (Fort Sackville) (1751), Lunenburg (1753) and Lawrencetown (1754).

Within 18 months of establishing Halifax, the British also took firm control of peninsula Nova Scotia by building fortifications in all the major Acadian communities: present-day Windsor (Fort Edward); Grand Pre (Fort Vieux Logis) and Chignecto (Fort Lawrence). (A British fort already existed at the other major Acadian centre of Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Cobequid remained without a fort.)

Fort Edward was the site of the Acadian church for the parish of l'Assomption (established 1722). After initially failing to take the settlements of Chignecto, Major Charles Lawrence ordered his New England Rangers to firmly control Pisiquid by having the Acadians destroy their church so that Fort Edward could be built in its place (1750). Toward this end, the Rangers engaged the Mi'kmaq in the Battle at St. Croix (1750).

The Fort is named after Edward Cornwallis, who established Halifax, Nova Scotia.

French and Indian War

Fort Edward played an important role in the Bay of Fundy Campaign (1755) of the Acadian Expulsion. At the same time the British imprisoned Acadian men in the church at Grand Pre, they also imprisoned 183 Acadian men in Fort Edward until they could be deported. Fort Edward was one of four forts in which Acadians were imprisoned over the nine years of the expulsion (the others were Fort Frederick, Saint John, New Brunswick; Fort Cumberland; and Fort Charlotte, Georges Island, Halifax). In the early 1760s it was illegal for Acadians to reside in Nova Scotia; families and individuals who had avoided capture in 1755 were imprisoned. The prison lists for Fort Edward between 1761-1762 still exist (For a list of the prisoners see List of Acadian Prisoners - Fort Edward). In 1762, one of the most famous prisoners, Acadian Joseph Broussard (Beausoleil) was imprisoned here. Between June 1763 and 1764, in the Minas region, the British authorities took 363 Acadians into custody at Fort Edward.

Raid on Fort Edward

There was Acadian and Mi'kmaq resistance to the Expulsion. In the April of 1757, a band of Acadian and Mi'kmaq partisans raided a warehouse near Fort Edward, killing thirteen British soldiers and, after taking what provisions they could carry, setting fire to the building. A few days later, the same partisans also raided Fort Cumberland.

While prisoners, the Acadians were made to assist the New England Planters with establishing their farmlands. When the war finished, rather than stay and work as subordinates, the Acadians settled with their compatriots in present day New Brunswick and Saint Pierre and Miquelon.

American Revolution

During the American Revolution the 84th Regiment of Foot (Royal Highland Emigrants), 2nd Battalion were stationed at Forts throughout Atlantic Canada. Fort Edward was the headquarters for the 84th Regiment in Atlantic Canada. The 84th Regiment moved from Halifax to Fort Edward to guard against a land assault on Halifax. Throughout the war, Fort Edward housed prisoners taken from American Privateering ships.

The Jacobite heroine Flora MacDonald spent the winter of 1778 - 1779 at the Fort with her husband, Alan Macdonald, before she returned alone to Scotland.

War of 1812

Fort Edward was also active during the War of 1812. During this time, the Fort continued to protect Nova Scotia against assault by American Privateers.

Fort Edward remained part of the British defenses in Nova Scotia until 1858.

World War I

During World War I, it was utilized as a training depot for Canadian and British soldiers. The site became known locally (but not officially) as "Camp Fort Edward" for the duration of the war. Among the recruits passing through the camp was the ill-fated Hollywood film director William Desmond Taylor.

Windsor Agricultural Fair

The Windsor Agricultural Fair is the longest continuous agricultural fair in North America (beginning 1815). The Windsor Agricultural Fair was first held by the first generation of New England Planters at Fort Edward (1765).