Naval battle off St. John (1691)

Not to be confused with Naval battle off St. John (1696)

Naval battle off St. John
Part of the King William's War

John Nelson
Date22 September 1691
Result French victory
 England  France
Commanders and leaders
Edward Tyng
John Alden
Joseph Robineau de Villebon
ketch frigate
Casualties and losses
4 prisoners none

The Naval battle off St. John took place on 22 September 1691 between France and England toward the beginning of King William's War in the Bay of Fundy off present-day Saint John, New Brunswick. The English ship sailed with the new British Governor of Acadia Edward Tyng while the French ship sailed with the French Governor of Acadia Joseph Robineau de Villebon.


Philips had conquered Port Royal in 1690. He sent Tyng in a ketch under the command of John Nelson to be the new British Governor of Acadia. Tyng was in a ketch of Andrew Belcher’s. On 2 September, the new Governor was attacked by Villebon who was in the French frigate Soleil d’Afrique (32 guns), commanded by Simon-Pierre Denys de Bonaventure. The English quickly capitulated. English captive John Alden was sent to Boston to arrange a prisoner exchange.


Alden was sent to Boston to get 60 French soldiers captured by Phips in the Battle of Port Royal (1690). Alden’s son and Colonel Tyng were held as hostages, and Nelson was sent to Quebec.[1]

While in prison, Nelson sent intelligence to Boston about French plans for attacks against the Massachusetts colonies. For this act, Nelson was punished by being transported across the Atlantic Ocean to the Bastille prison in France. In 1702, after ten years of imprisonment, he was released and returned home to Nelson's Island (Long Island) as a local hero.[2]

Alden returned to Villebon at the Saint John in May 1692, bringing with him only six French soldiers. As a result, Alden’s son and Colonel Tyng were subsequently sent to France.[1] Tyng died in captivity at La Rochelle.

See also


  1. Fergusson, Charles Bruce (1979) [1969]. "Alden, John". In Hayne, David (ed.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. II (1701–1740) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  2. "The Islands of Boston Harbor", in "Some Events of Boston and Its Neighbors", Chapter 4, printed for the State Street Trust Company, Boston, Massachusetts, 1917.


  • France and England in North America: A series of historical narratives, Part 5 By Francis Parkman, Chapter 18. p. 388
  • Murdoch, Beamish (1865). A History of Nova-Scotia, Or Acadie. Vol. I. Halifax: J. Barnes.
  • Hannay, James. The history of Acadia, from its first discovery to its surrender to England
  • John Clarence Webster. Acadia at the End of the Seventeenth Century. Saint John, NB, The New Brunswick Museum, 1979.

Primary Sources

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