Battle of Grand Pre to be explored at Truro museum

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TRURO – A well-known archaeologist will be in Truro this month to discuss how Colchester County had a direct role in the Battle of Grand Pre.

Halifax-based Jonathan Fowler will present ‘The Battle of Grand-Pré: Historiography, History and Archaeological Potential’ at the Colchester Historeum on Jan. 24. The illustrated talk, with visuals and slides, will begin at 7:30 at the museum on Young Street.

Fowler told the Truro Daily News it’s important to remember the historical event because its relevance is often forgotten.

“This battle has not received a lot of critical attention,” said Fowler. “It involves the entire landscape of Nova Scotia and the story is far-reaching.”

Indeed. Fowler said he’s been gathering material from as far away as Boston, New York and Rome about the battle that dates back to February of 1747. Historical information from Fowler and the museum indicate the battle began when a force of French and Amerindian fighters surprised a New England expeditionary force billetted at Grand-Pré. During the battle, about 300 troops came through what is now Colchester County on foot and stayed in Belmont. Troops set out for Truro, en route to the Shubenacadie River and then camped near Stewiacke on their way to attack Grand Pré.

The attack on the New England troops took place in a blizzard in the middle of the night, following a 17-day march under the most difficult of winter conditions. The New Englanders were taken completely by surprise during the night of Feb. 10 and both sides lost approximately 120 men.

“It’s been underappreciated,” said Fowler. “The repercussions are  far-reaching because the military outcome was limited because the British retained the land,” said Fowler, adding it ultimately was one of the factors that led to the deportation of the Acadians.

Another intriguing aspect of the battle, said Fowler, is that there’s an air of mystery to it.

“There is still a quest to locate lost graves and human remains.”

Elinor Maher, program chairwoman at the historeum, said a presentation like this one is important.

“Many people in Colchester County are not aware of this” battle and its connection to the area, Maher said. “History starts right here. When we learned in school we learned about battles in Eurpose but this was an attack right here in Nova Scotia soil.”

Everyone is welcome to attend the presentation. Admission for non-members is $2. For more information, call the historeum at 895-6284.

Organizations: Truro museum, Truro Daily News

Geographic location: TRURO, Colchester County, Grand-Pré Nova Scotia Grand Pre New England Young Street Boston New York Rome Belmont Shubenacadie River Stewiacke

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