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Fort Sackville
Established September 11th, 1749
Location Bedford, Nova Scotia, Canada

Fort Sackville was a British fort located in present-day Bedford, Nova Scotia that was built during Father Le Loutre's War. The British built the fort adjacent to present-sent day Scott Manor House, on a hill overlooking the Sackville River to help prevent French, Acadian and Mi’kmaq attacks on Halifax. The fort consisted of a blockhouse, a guard house, a barracks which housed 50 soldiers, and outbuildings, all encompassed by a palisade. Not far from the fort was a rifle range. The fort was named after Lionel Sackville, 1st Duke of Dorset.

Historical Context[]

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.[1] By unilaterally establishing Halifax the British were violating earlier treaties with the Mi'kmaq (1726), which were signed after Father Rale's War.[2] The British remained largely in Halifax, having attempted to establish a settlement east of Halifax near present day Lawrencetown Beach they quickly abandoned the effort due to the threat of Mi'kmaq attacks. Four years after the founding of Halifax, Lunenburg was established. To guard against Mi'kmaq, Acadian and French attacks on the new Protestant settlements, British fortifications were erected in Halifax (Citadel Hill) (1749), Bedford (Fort Sackville) (1749), Dartmouth (1750), Lunenburg (1753) and Lawrencetown (1754).[3]

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.)[4]

Father Le Loutre's War[]

Captain Alexander Murray

On 11 September 1749, Cornwallis sent New England Ranger John Gorham (military officer) to build a fort at the mouth of the Sackville River.[5] The fort was to protect Halifax from attack by the Wabanaki Confederacy, Acadians and French. Gorham's Rangers were primarily natives from Cape Cod, his own hometown. He was sent with an armed vessel that stayed with him as Fort Sackville was built. Five weeks later, on October 17, Cornwallis wrote, “The Posts of the Head of the Bay and Minas are made secure.”[6]

Gorham used Fort Sackville as his base from which he “scoured the country” for Mi’kmaq scalps as per Cornwallis’ bounty set October 1749.

Cornwallis ordered Gorham to Piziquid November 9 in an attempt to relieve the Mi'kmaq and Acadian Siege of Grand Pre. Gorham also oversaw the establishment of a road to Windsor, which was completed by December 17. Gorham left again on January 3, 1750.[7] He was again ordered to Piziquid to build Fort Edward on March 29, 1750. On his way he engaged in the surprise Battle at St. Croix with Mi'kmaq. Gorham had to seek relief from Captain William Clapham who arrived with rangers from Fort Sackville.

Captain George Scott owned property on which his brother Joseph Scott built the Scott Manor House

In early 1750, Captain Alexander Murray commanded at Fort Sackville (Nova Scotia) and then in September 1751 he was given command of Fort Edward (Nova Scotia).[8]

In August 1750, Cornwallis replaced Gorham at Fort Sackville with Captain Francis Bartelo. Gorham returned to Fort Sackville by March 1751. In the summer of 1751, Gorham built the first registered vessel in Halifax, a brig he named Osborn Galley.[9]

In late September 1752, Mi’kmaq scalped a man they had caught outside the Palisade of Fort Sackville.[10]

American Revolution[]

During this war the Fort was an important way-station between Halifax and Fort Edward in Windsor and points beyond, including Fort Cumberland. As the war went on, the Royal Nova Scotia Volunteer Regiment became competent enough to serve as the garrison of the Fort, under day-to-day command of the senior captain, John Solomon.

Wars of the French Revolution[]

During most of this period (1793 - 1802) Fort Sackville was garrisoned by detachments of the Royal Nova Scotia Regiment. On July 1, 1797, 34 officers and men are shown as being on duty.


  • Fort Sackville Elementary - Grades Primary and grade one, offers early French immersion
  • Fort Sackville Road, Bedford, Nova Scotia

See also[]



  • * The Evolution of the Halifax Fortress, 1749-1928 Piers, Harry, Self, G.M., Blakeley, Phyllis R. (Phyllis Ruth)
  • "Joseph Scott and the Scott Manor House: Research papers prepared for Halifax Regional Municipality" by Brian Cuthbertson and Gillis Architects, Part 5
  • Grenier, John. The Far Reaches of Empire. War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2008.
  • Griffiths, Naomi Elizabeth Saundaus. From Migrant to Acadian: A North American border people, 1604-1755. Montreal, Kingston: McGill-Queen's UP, 2005.
  • Murdoch, Beamish. A History of Nova Scotia, Or Acadia. Vol 2. LaVergne: BiblioBazaar, 2009. pp. 166–167
  • Tolson, Elsie Churchill. The Captain, the Colonel and me. Fort Sackville Press. 1996.
  • Wicken, William. Mi'kmaq Treaties on Trial: History, Land, and Donald Marshall Junior. University of Toronto Press. 2002.


  1. Grenier, John. The Far Reaches of Empire. War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2008; Thomas Beamish Akins. History of Halifax, Brookhouse Press. 1895. (2002 edition). p 7
  2. Wicken, p. 181; Griffith, p. 390; Also see
  3. John Grenier. The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. Oklahoma University Press.
  4. John Grenier. The Far Reaches of Empire: War in Nova Scotia, 1710-1760. Oklahoma University Press.
  5. Tolson, p. 29
  6. Tolson, p. 29
  7. Tolson, p. 34
  9. Tolson, p. 41
  10. (Halifax Gazette September 30, 1752)
  • Young, Richard. “Blockhouses in Canada, 1749-1841: a Comparative Report and Catalogue.” Occasional Papers in Archaeology and History, Canadian Historic Site, 1980.

External links[]

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