Documents relating to Ferryland: 1597 to 1726
10 November, 1696 to 19 November,
1696; [Abbi] Jean Baudoin
Original is an unidentified alternate version of France, Archives des Colonies, AC Clld, vol. 3, f. 170. The latter is on microfilm at National Archives of Canada. Published in Alan F. Williams, Father Baudoin's War: D'Iberville's Campaigns in Acadia and Newfoundland 1696, 1697, edited by Alan G. Macpherson (St. John's: Memorial University of Newfoundland, ©1987) 50, 173-191. Translated by P.E. Pope.
[Please note: Aside from standing on its own as a primary historical document, this letter is also intended to aid users entering through hyperlinks from specific articles within the Colony of Avalon web site. For such users, please either hit the "Back" button found at the top of the Internet browser OR follow the sidebar link to return to the previous article.]
Subjects: France, war, planters, boats, census, livestock.
On All Souls Day [November 1, 1696], we clambered about a league into the woods. The next day, we trooped through a moist country, covered with moss, in which one could sink up to the middle of one's leg, often slipping on the ice, the weather being already very cold, especiallly in the mornings. We have walked nine days, sometimes in woods so thick that you could hardly get through, sometimes in a mossy country by rivers and lakes, often enough up to your belt in water.
The 10th [November] we arrive at Ferryland, where M. d'Iberville arrives first, with ten men that he takes with him.
The way here could easily be done in five days in good weather. It would almost have been just as short to go to St. John's right away.
We were beginning to lack victuals after two days. We found a dozen horses quite hit the spot, which did us for victuals until we had the PROFOND, which M. d'Iberville was having sent.
The same day, in the evening, a shallop [boat] came from Renews, where the PROFOND is anchored, which the Sieur de Brouillan was sending to accompany the scouts which he was sending to St. John's.
The 11th [November], the Sieur de Rancogne, officer of the Placentia garrison, arrived at Ferryland by land from St. John's, with three men, quite wet and half dead of hunger and cold. If they hadn't found us they would never have seen the next day, not being able to make a fire. He was returning to St. John's, which he had located with seven men. In his march, he took an Englishman who, by escaping, warned the enemy, leading to him in the night and killed or took four of his men. Hence these men are not suitable for these sorts of expeditions, hence I would have poor hopes of ours, which will have to be even longer.
The 12th. M. d'Iberville goes by shallop to Renews to find Sieur de Brouillan, who wants the PROFOND to come to St. John's. M. d'Iberville buys a bark to bring us some victuals, in case we do not find any with the enemy. M. d'Iberville proposes strongly to send some of his Canadians to St. John's, not counting on Sieur Rancogne's scouts, who have done nothing but give reason to the enemy to be on their guard, knowing our designs by one of his men who was taken. M. de Brouillan wants nothing to do with it. God be praised, we all drink from the same glass. These two messieurs have made up their minds to go by shallop [boat] as far as Bay Bulls.
M. de Plenne, whom the Sieur d'Iberville was sending for at Renews to go with twelve men to Cape Broyle, took two men who had been discovered returning with twelve prisoners in a shallop [boat], with quantities of victuals. These people inform us that there are 110 men from here at Bay Bulls, who have begun to rebuild, and that they have not lost but their house[s], which they will rebuild in the spring and be in a position to make their fish. Thus this great army of Malouins serves little purpose, if we don't take the enemy by the woods, which removes them absolutely and don't know where to flee [sic].
The 16th [November] The Sieur d'Iberville returns to Ferryland to rejoin us.
The 17th [November] He sends the prisoners with provisions for a passage to Europe in a shallop to the PROFOND. Unfortunately, an Englishwoman threw herself into the sea and drowned.
The 19th [November] M. de Brouillan arrives at Ferryland at four in the evening with one hundred French who, by the look of them, seem to me to be hardly fit for the war which we are going to make this winter. He tells us that the PROFOND was not coming to St. John's and that it was leaving for France tomorrow morning, and that it seemed to be delayed two leagues off Ferryland, whereupon M. d'Iberville sent her his letters and mine, which weren't long, there not being much time to do them.
[Baudoin's census of the Southern Shore. Williams argues that this is based on a British census.]
Those which the Sieur de Brouillan took with the Malouins.