Category: Raid on Lunenburg (1756)

Categories: French and Indian War Conflicts | Seven Years' War | New France Armed Forces

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The Raid on Lunenburg (1756) occurred during the French and Indian War when a militia of the Wabanaki Confederacy (Mi'kmaw) attacked a British settlement at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia on May 8, 1756. The native militia raided two islands on the northern outskirts of the fortified Township of Lunenburg, [John] Rous Island and Payzant Island (present day Covey Island). The Maliseet killed twenty settlers and took five prisoners. This raid was the first of nine the Natives and Acadians would conduct against the peninsula over a three-year period during the war. The Wabanaki Confederacy took John and Lewis Payzant prisoner, both of whom recorded one of the few Captivity narratives that exist from Nova Scotia/ Acadia.

When the French and Indian War began, the conflict in Acadia intensified. With the British victory at the Battle of Fort Beauséjour (1755), the Expulsion of the Acadians from the Maritimes began and conflict between the British and the Mi'kmaq, Acadians and Maliseet continued. Fort Cumberland was raided for two days between April 26–27, 1756, and nine British soldiers were killed and scalped. The raid on Lunenburg took place almost two weeks later.

The Governor General of New France, Pierre François de Rigaud, ordered the top military figure in Acadia Charles Deschamps de Boishébert et de Raffetot to send a Mi'kmaw militia to raid Lunenburg. The French garrison was at Ste. Anne's Point (near present-day Fredericton, New Brunswick), where Boishébert was stationed. This site was also close to the location of the Maliseet encampment Aukpaque. The Maliseet left Aukpaque / Ste. Anne and arrived at the outskirts of Lunenburg on May 8, 1756. According to French reports, the Maliseet militia killed and scalped twenty settlers - men, women and children - and burned their homes, although British accounts suggest that only five were killed. There was little resistance. The five remaining residents, Marie Anne Payzant and her four young children, were taken prisoner. Her husband Louis Payzant was one of the settlers who was killed and scalped.

Lieut-Colonel Patrick Sutherland, who was stationed at Lunenburg, immediately dispatched a company of 30 officers and soldiers to repel the raid. Upon their return on May 11, Deputy provost marshal Dettlieb Christopher Jessen reported the number killed was five and that the Maliseet militia and the prisoners were gone.


  • Son John Payzant's account of the Raid of Lunenburg and his subsequent captivity can be found in Brian C. Cuthbertson, ed. "The Journal of the Reverend John Payzant (1749-1834)", Hantsport, N.S.: Lancelot Press, 1981.
  • Son Lewis Payzant's account can be found in Silas Tertius Rand, "Early Provincial Settlers", The Provincial, Halifax, NS.: August 1852, Vol. 1, No. 8.
  • An account by Dr. Elias Payzant, a grandchild of Marie Anne Payzant, can be found in the Payzant family papers, NSARM, MG1, Vol. 747, No. 42.

Person Profiles (8)

1713 Elmsted, Kent, England - 21 Dec 1765
abt 1717 Condé-sur-Noireau, Calvados, Normandy, France - abt May 1796 photo
abt 1698 Caen, France - 08 May 1756
17 Oct 1749 Saint Helier, Bailiwick of Jersey - 10 Apr 1834 photo
26 Dec 1756 Quebec City, Québec, Canada, New France - 1819
03 Jul 1751 Saint Helier, Jersey - 30 Nov 1845
bef 03 Feb 1747 St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands - bef 1804
1746 St. Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands - aft 1795

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