Raid on Chester, Nova Scotia

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The Raid on Chester occurred during the American Revolution when the US privateer, Captain Noah Stoddard of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, and four other privateer vessels attacked the British settlement at Chester, Nova Scotia on 30 June 1782.[2][3][4] The town was defended by Captain Jonathan Prescott and Captain Jacob Millett.[5][6]

Historical context[edit]

During the American Revolution, Nova Scotia was invaded regularly by American Revolutionary forces by land and sea. Throughout the war, American privateers devastated the maritime economy by raiding many of the coastal communities. There were constant attacks by privateers,[7] which began seven years earlier with the Raid on St. John (1775) and included raids on all the major outposts in Nova Scotia.[8] The first raid on Chester happened in 1779 and the second happened three years later.

Raid on Chester[edit]

Chester Blockhouse (present-day Wisteria Cottage House), Chester, Nova Scotia

On June 30, the day before the raid on Lunenburg, Stoddard and two other privateers descended on Chester, Nova Scotia firing cannon from their vessels. Captain of the militia Jonathan Prescott fired cannon from the blockhouse (The Cannons Prescott used are now located on the grounds of the Chester Legion.[9]) Prescott's cannon fire struck one of the privateers. As a result, the privateers retreated behind Nass' Point. The crews went ashore and requested of Prescott to bury their dead. Prescott indicated that if they disarmed themselves, they would be assisted. Eventually, Prescott invited Stoddard and the two other captains to tea. Realizing the community was still vulnerable to attack, Prescott and his son lied to the privateers that Commander Creighton at Lunenburg had sent 100 soldiers to be billeted at Chester that evening. Upon the privateers retreating to their vessels, Captain Jacob Millett led women and children marching in red colours, pretended to be British soldiers from Lunenburg. The privateers left Chester to raid Lunenburg the following day.[10]


Chester Blockhouse Cannons, Chester Legion, Chester, Nova Scotia
Raid on Chester, Street Banner, Chester, Nova Scotia

The day after the raid on Chester, the American privateers redirected their attack on Lunenburg, presumably believing the Lunenburg militia had left the town to defend Chester.

Prescott was suspected of being an American Patriot sympathizer given that, after the initial hostile engagement, Prescott reportedly allowed Captain Noah Stoddard to bury his dead and then had tea with him the day before Stoddard orchestrated the Raid on Lunenburg (1782). People were also suspicious of Prescott's allegiance because a number of Dr. Prescott's family were Patriots in the American Revolution. His nephew Samuel road with Paul Revere. Samuel eventually was taken prisoner to Halifax where he is reported to have died during the war. Jonathan named one of his son's after his nephew Samuel and he is buried in Old Burying Ground (Halifax, Nova Scotia).[11] Jonathan's son Joseph joined the Continental Army, fought at Fort Ticonderoga and was a founding member of the Society of the Cincinnati.[12][13] Another of Dr. Prescott's sons John fought in the Battle of Lexington. His other son was Charles Ramage Prescott.

After the war, Prescott was given the blockhouse (present-day the Wisteria Cottage House) and used it as his home.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Capt. John Tibbets' (1748-1786)
  2. ^ Eastman, pp. 61–63
  3. ^ Captain Noah Stoddard, died in New Bedford, January 29, 1850, aged 95 ; a soldier of the Revolution.
  4. ^ p.7
  5. ^
  6. ^ Note: DesBrasey references Jacob, however, he would have only been age 3. The person in question is more likely this was Jacob's father George Millett.
  7. ^ Benjamin Franklin also engaged France in the war, which meant that many of the privateers were also from France.
  8. ^ Raids happened at Liverpool (October 1776, March 1777, September 1777, May 1778, September 1780) and on Annapolis Royal (1781) (Roger Marsters (2004). Bold Privateers: Terror, Plunder and Profit on Canada's Atlantic Coast", pp. 87–89 ISBN 0887806449)
  9. ^
  10. ^ The History of the County of Lunenburg, pp. 270-171
  11. ^ The Prescott memorial, or, A geneaolgoical memoir, p. 86
  12. ^ p.85
  13. ^
  14. ^ History of the County of Lunenburg, p.263


Primary documents

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]