The Battle of Winnepang was fought in the 18th century during the Dummer’s War. It was a naval engagement in which English colonists tried to rescue a number of colonists who had been taken hostage by the Mikmaq.
The battle was fought in July 1722. It took place near the Jeddore Harbour in Nova Scotia.
The Battle of Winnepang was fought between English colonists and Mikmaq warriors. The colonists numbered at around 30 and were armed with hand grenades and firearms. The Mikmaq numbered at around 39 warriors but were comparatively less well-armed.
The battle was fought at a time when Dummer’s War had just broken out. The war was fought between the Wabanaki Confederacy and British colonists. British colonists wanted to expand into the Nova Scotia region which had just become a part of the British colonial territories.
The Wabanaki, who had been living in the region for a long time, refused to accept this. The Wabanaki then launched a series of raids and attacks on the farms, settlements and fishing villages. The British colonial administration responded by declaring war on the Wabanaki.
Soon after hostilities began, the Wabanaki were able to gain many important victories. They laid siege to the British colonial capital at Nova Scotia, Annapolis Royal. They were also able to take hostage a number of British colonists by seizing several fishing vessels.
In all, the Mikmaq warriors were able to capture nearly 82 British colonists who were taken hostage. The British colonial administrator Governor Philips sent around 30 men under John Bradstreet and John Elliot to free the hostages and bring them back. It was during this rescue expedition that the Battle of Winnepang took place.
The Mikmaq warriors held the colonists hostage on board several vessels. They were stationed at Winnepang, after which the battle was named. The colonial soldiers arrived near the Mikmaq vessels in two sloops. As they grew near, they engaged the vessels in a naval battle.
Before soon, the Mikmaq warriors were overwhelmed and colonial soldiers boarded their vessels. In all, only about 15 hostages were found and freed by the soldiers. The surviving Mikmaq warriors abandoned their vessels and tried to swim ashore but many of them were killed before they could make it.
The battle was a decisive victory for the New England colonial forces. Of the 39 or so Mikmaq warriors that were engaged in the battle, only about 35 survived. Of the British forces which comprised of around 30 militiamen, five died during the course of the battle and another few were injured.
Following up on this victory, British militia officers continued to engage the Wabanaki forces across Nova Scotia. Most of these initial engagements were meant to secure the release of the captured New England colonists. In many cases, the colonists achieved success by paying a ransom or exchanging hostages.