Tuesday, 31 July 2012

St. Croix, Hants County

N 44° 57.713 W 064°01.967
20T E 41 8547 N 497235

RIVER: St. Croix River
CLASS: cascade/dam
SIZE: 15'
RATING: average (***)

TRAIL: roadside

NS Atlas Page: 57/Z1
NS topo map: 021A16 (Windsor)

DIRECTIONS: from Windsor, take Exit 4 from HWY101, westward towards Windsor/Newport Station. Follow this road 1.5km to the bridge across the St. Croix River. Park just beyond the bridge, near the Acadian Heritage sign.

Trail Description: walk back onto the sidewalk on the bridge for the best view of the falls.

These falls are just below the lower dam of the St. Croix Rvier hydroelectric system. The main dam, an imposing sixty foot concrete structure is upstream and can be reached and viewed by travelling to the end of Salmon Hole Road, which is just a little west of this location. There are camping areas at the base of the dam and good fishing for small-mouth bass there. The hydroelectric plant here, at the bridge, dates back to 1934.

Also noteworthy is that this is the site of the Battle of St. Croix in 1750. The precedent to this battle lay in the Seige of Grand-Pre when Mi'kmaq and Acadian militia attacked and blockaded Fort Vieux Logis, at present day Hortonville, Kings County for a week during November 1749, as well as an incident which occured on September 30, 1749, when approximately forty Mi'kmaq attacked six men who were cutting trees at a saw mill near Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Four of these men were killed, another was taken prisoner and the sixth lumberjack escaped. Two of the deceased men were scalped and the heads of the other two were cut off. In response to this raid, Governor Edward Cornwallis offered a bounty on the head of every Mi'kmaq, setting the reward at the same rate that the Mi'kmaq received from the French for British scalps.

photo by Melanie Haverstock (2015)

The Battle at St. Croix came about as New England Rangers under the command of Captain John Gorham were en route to Grand Pre and Pisiquid (present day Windsor) to arrest the Acadians who had supported the siege, and seize their property. Arriving at about noon on March 20, 1 750 at the site of the Acadian village of Five Houses, which had been established alongside the St. Croix River, Gorham found the settlement deserted.

photo by Melanie Haverstock (2014)

Upon spotting a group of Mi’kmaq hiding in the bushes on the opposite shore of the river, the Rangers opened fire on them. The skirmish quickly deteriorated into a siege, and Gorham and his Rangers were forced to take refuge in a sawmill and two of the houses in the village. During the fighting, which spread to the area still known as "Battle Hill", the Rangers suffered three wounded, which included Gorham himself, who sustained a bullet in his thigh. As the fighting intensified, Gorham sent a runner back to Fort Sackville (present day Bedford) for reinforcements. Responding to the call for assistance on March 22, Governor Cornwallis sent Captain Clapham’s and Captain St. Loe’s Regiments, along with two field guns, to assist Gorham at Pisiquid. The additional troops and artillery turned the tide for Gorham, and forced the Mi’kmaq
to withdraw.