Fort Dauphin (3)

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Fort Dauphin (3) (1715 to 1758) - A French military colonial fort located at present-day Englishtown, Victoria County, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Cairn with plaque. (Click to Enlarge).
Cairn plaque. (Click to Enlarge).
Fort Dauphin Cape Breton (inset) from "A new and accurate map of the English empire in North America, 1755"


The plaque reads: Presented by the Fortress of Louisbourg to the Englishtown Historical Society in July 1996. This gun commemorates Fort Sainte Anne (2) 1629, the first permanent settlement and Jesuit Mission on Cape Breton Island, also Fort Dauphin 1713, a secondary strong place on the Island which was captured in 1745 and abandoned in 1758 after the final capitulation of Louisbourg.
After Queen Anne's War, French officer Jean-Baptiste Hertel de Rouville and others established Fort Dauphin in 1713 as the capital of Ile Royale, prior to the establishment of Louisbourg. Fort Dauphin was built adjacent to the former Fort Sainte Anne (2) (later rebuilt as Simon Denys Fort). (Hertel led the Raid on Deerfield and military operations against the English in Newfoundland. He played a role in the early settlement of both present-day Englishtown (1719-1722) and St. Peter's (1713-1718). He died at Fort Dauphin.)

From an address by Rev. Fr. R. P. Pacifique at St. Anne's, C. B., August 25th, 19-30, on the occasion of the unveiling of a Cairn with Tablet under the auspices of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board:

After the Treaty of Utrecht the necessity of a strong naval station in Cape Breton was evident, but much consideration was given to the choice of a site, and there was much hesitation between St. Anne's and Havre a l'Anglais, on the south shore. Denys de la Ronde sent a report to the Minister of Marine strongly recommending the former, which he called the most beautiful harbor in the world, far better than Havre a l'Anglais, recommended by others. Havre a l'Anglais (later renamed Louisbourg), however, was chosen by the local authorities and the choice was approved by the King (Louis XIV) on January 26th, 1714, and the troops were sent there.

As the extensive cod fishery was the principal economic activity of the new colony, and Louisbourg, being both closer to the fishing banks, and possessing a harbour that remained open and ice free year round, was the better base for the fishing industry, so the capital of Ile Royale was relocated there.

From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online:
HERTEL DE ROUVILLE, JEAN-BAPTISTE, ensign, lieutenant, captain on Île Royale (Cape Breton Island), commandant of Port-Dauphin (Englishtown, N.S.), knight of the order of Saint-Louis; b. 26 Oct. 1668 at Trois-Rivières, third son of François Hertel and Marguerite de Thavenet; buried 30 June 1722 on Île Royale. On 24 Feb. 1713 the minister of Marine instructed M. de Vaudreuil to select “40 or 50 of the best workers” in New France and to send them to Cape Breton Island to work on the fortifications there; in this activity they were to be under the command of the Sieur Hertel de Rouville. The latter went there with his family, which he housed at Port-Toulouse (St Peters). He signed with the other officers the act authorizing the taking over of the island. The following year Governor Pastour de Costebelle sent him, with Captain Louis Denys* de La Ronde and the engineer Jean-Baptiste de Couagne, to explore the island’s north shore. In 1715, on the strength of the report he had submitted, Rouville received orders to take his men to Port-Dauphin to build a fortress there, containing a warehouse, a forge, a bakery, barracks, and a hospital. The work was pushed ahead briskly and completed before winter; this won Rouville the esteem of the island’s governor, who called him a “phoenix of toil.” The establishments on Cape Breton Island were designed primarily for defence, and Hertel de Rouville was a man who preferred taking the offensive. The authorities realized this, and on 14 Oct. 1716 Vaudreuil asked the council of Marine to send him back to New France, “Because he does not know anybody better fitted to be sent among these Indian nations . . . both because of the ascendancy that he has over these nations and furthermore because he is capable of opposing all the ventures that the English might undertake in this part of the continent.” The council yielded to the governor’s request, and Rouville was informed of it on 7 July 1717. But the order was countermanded, for an English attack from the direction of Acadia was anticipated, and Rouville’s presence was thought to be likely to give the enemy pause. In 1719 he went to France to raise a contingent to reinforce the Port-Dauphin garrison. He was still commandant of this fort when he died prematurely, at the age of 54. He was buried on 30 June 1722, about a month after his father.
Fort Dauphin was occupied from 1713 to 1758. Its importance declined after 1719, but continued to have a regular religious service held by the Recollets from Louisbourg. Records also show a Captain Dangeac was sent there in 1744 with provisions for one year.

As commodore of the fleet, Edward Tyng led 13 armed vessels and about 90 transports in the successful Siege of Louisbourg (1745). He participated in the Capture of the Vigilant and the destruction of Port Dauphin (Englishtown) in June 1745, burning 40 houses and an equal number of vessels.

Port Dauphin is now Englishtown on Cape Breton island, Victoria Province, Nova Scotia. This map also has an inset view of "Fort Dauphin". The fort is "planned for defense of the harbor entry of Port Dauphin"
Click to enlarge - CAUTION LARGE FILE - SLOW TO LOAD - This map, dated 1746, has an inset view of "Fort Dauphin" along the left edge.

Current Status

A Canadian National Historic Site. No visible remains of any fort structures. An existing roadside carin with a plaque which reads:

Settled, 1629, by Captain Charles Daniel, and site of an early Jesuit mission. Selected in 1713, as a naval base and one of the principal places in Isle Royale, named Port Dauphin and strongly fortified. Its importance declined with the choice, 1719 of Louisbourg as the capital.
Plaque date: 1950

Location: 170m south of Englishtown Ferry Highway 312, Englishtown, Nova Scotia.

Maps & Images

Lat: 46.288731 Long: -60.539483

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