A Blupete Biography Page

Joseph Duvivier, Du Pont.

Joseph Du Pont Duvivier was, on his mother's side, the great grandson of Charles la Tour, an illustrious figure in the earlier days of the French rule in Nova Scotia.1 Joseph was born into the army at Port Royal. His father, François Du Pont Duvivier (1676-1714), was a military officer. (François had two brothers who also played a role in the history of French Acadia, de Renon and Duchambon; all three married at Port Royal before its conquest and had families. (In the 1758, one-tenth of the Louisbourg regular officer corps present during the siege, including five company captains, were Du Ponts.) As a three year old, Joseph Duvivier (Du Pont) would have been found hunkering down with the rest of his family (his mother and his four siblings) as the invading guns of the British reigned supreme in 1710. With the fall of Port Royal to Nicholson, the French officers and their families were shipped to France. Joseph, at the age of seven, was presumably aboard the Semslack with the rest of his family as it glided, during the summer of 1714, into Louisbourg harbour to found the place for the French -- his father, François, was the captain of the Semslack. Unfortunately, the Du Pont family was soon to become fatherless; François, at the age 38, died in one of the lonely little shore shacks of which Louisbourg consisted in 1714. To assist the widow, both Joseph an his brother Michael, in 1717, were appointed as officer cadets in the Louisbourg garrison.

Through the 1720s and the 1730s, Duvivier was to witness the growth and erection of Fortress Louisbourg. Little is known of Duvivier's early career. He apparently, however, enjoyed the favour of successive governors, for, as of 1744, he held a captain's commission.

Duvivier was but 33 years of age, when, in 1740, the new governor (commander), the one legged Prevost, a 55 year old sea commander, arrived at Louisbourg. Within the next four years Duvivier gains the confidence of Prevost, such that Duvivier was put in command of the first formal military venture since the founding of Louisbourg, in 1713. The taking of Canso in 1744 is part of our larger story, and so, too is the unsuccessful attack on Annapolis Royal made in the same year; in both of these military events, Duvivier was to play a major role.

The short account of Duvivier's life in the DCB discloses that Duvivier, upon his return to Louisbourg, after his raid on Annapolis Royal, was sent, in the fall of 1744, to France, there to report on the happenings in Acadia. He was honoured with an award (the Order of Saint-Louis) in the spring of 1745 and was about to return to Louisbourg with reinforcing troops when word was received of Louisbourg's fall to the British colonials. After the return of Isle Royale to the French in 1749, Duvivier came back to Louisbourg. From 1749 and on, I know little of Duvivier; and, in particular, I am unable to say whether Duvivier was at Louisbourg when Amherst took the place for the final time, in 1758, or not.2


[1] Macdonald, The Last Siege of Louisbourg at p. 4.

[2] Duvivier apparently was appointed the commander at Ile. St. Jean in 1750. Further, McLennan, in his Louisbourg, sets out a very short note on Duvivier's military advancement, beginning with his appointment as to Garde de la marine in 1718 and Enseigne ô l'Isle Royale in 1719, and so on. (Appendix I, p. 332).


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Peter Landry
2012 (2020)