Review: The Siege of Fort Beauséjour, 1755, Chris Hand

Rating: 5 out of 5

It’s not all that rare for me to say that I’ve found a really good book, but I often think that titles don’t do what they say on their cover. This one definitely does. Mr Hand promises an overview of the Siege of 1755 at Fort Beaséjour, and this is what the reader gets along with the strategic rationale for the site. If the reader has other expectations, they may be disappointed, but if one’s interest is in this particular event, this is the right book! I didn’t know much about this event beforehand but I ended up purchasing the book because it seemed to overview a stronghold, Fort Beauséjour. I’m a fan of seeing what and how others write about military sites, so this was a natural book for me.

Mr Hand goes through the few French commandants, as well as the fort’s raison d’être which also sets out why the British had to conquer it. An insightful look into politics in Northern America in the mid-18th century, first and foremost are impressions on the warring sides, dragging of cannon through marshlands, setting up of siege camps, and approaching enemies via carefully laid-out networks of trenches. These events, the nuts and bolts of an 18th century siege, are described in wonderful detail along with environmental conditions and weather.

The book also works as a very good introduction into the larger conflict and the fall of Acadia, allowing modern readers to put the events into a wider context, and the author’s grasp of the greater conflict allows a reader to look at a map of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, locate the centre of French possessions, Louisbourg, and see that there was no other fate for Beauséjour than to fall. It is rare, in my experience, to find people who manage to cover everything that relates to one site so perfectly and so concisely. I wholeheartedly recommend this!

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