« FöregåendeFortsätt »
querable spirit, and within four days had planted a battery of six guns on Green Hill, which was about a mile from the King's Bastion of Louisbourg. In another week they had dragged four twenty-twopound cannon and ten coehorns — gravely called “cowhorns” by the bucolic Pomeroy — six or seven hundred yards farther, and planted them within easy range of the citadel. Two of the cannon burst, and were replaced by four more and a large mortar, which burst in its turn, and Shirley was begged to send another. Meanwhile a battery, chiefly of coehorns, had been planted on a hillock four hundred and forty yards from the West Gate, where it greatly annoyed the French; and on the next night an advanced battery was placed just opposite the same gate, and scarcely two hundred and fifty yards from it. This West Gate, the principal gate of Louisbourg, opened upon the tract of high, firm ground that lay on the left of the besiegers, between the marsh and the harbor, an arm of which here extended westward beyond the town, into what was called the Barachois, a salt pond formed by a projecting spit of sand. On the side of the Barachois farthest from the town was a hillock on which stood the house of an habitant named Martissan. Here, on the twentieth of May, a fifth battery was planted, consisting of two of the French forty-two-pounders taken in the Grand Battery, to which three others were afterwards added. Each of these heavy pieces was dragged to its destination by a team of three hundred men over rough
and rocky ground swept by the French artillery. This fifth battery, called the Northwest, or Titcomb's, proved most destructive to the fortress.
All these operations were accomplished with the utmost ardor and energy, but with a scorn of rule and precedent that astonished and bewildered the French. The raw New England men went their own way, laughed at trenches and zigzags, and persisted in trusting their lives to the night and the fog. Several writers say that the English engineer Bastide tried to teach them discretion; but this could hardly be, for Bastide, whose station was Annapolis, did not reach Louisbourg till the fifth of June, when the batteries were finished, and the siege was nearly ended. A recent French writer makes the curious assertion that it was one of the ministers, or army chaplains, who took upon him the vain task of instruction in the art of war on this occasion.
This ignorant and self-satisfied recklessness might have cost the besiegers dear if the French, instead of being perplexed and startled at the novelty of their proceedings, had taken advantage of it; but Duchambon and some of his officers, remembering the mutiny of the past winter, feared to make sorties, lest the soldiers might desert or take part with the enemy. The danger of this appears to have been small. Warren speaks with wonder in his letters of the rarity of desertions, of which there appear to have been but three during the siege, – one being that of a half-idiot, from whom no information could be got. A bolder commander would not have stood idle while his own cannon were planted by the enemy to batter down his walls; and whatever the risks of a sortie, the risks of not making one were greater. “Both troops and militia eagerly demanded it, and I believe it would have succeeded," writes the intendant, Bigot. The attempt was actually made more than once in a half-hearted way, — notably on the eighth of May, when the French attacked the most advanced battery, and were repulsed, with little loss on either side.
1 Journal of the Siege, appended to Shirley's report to Newcastle ; Duchambon au Ministre, 2 Septembre, 1745; Lettre d'un Habitant; Pomeroy, etc.
* Ferland, Cours d'Histoire du Canada, ii. 477. “L'ennemi ne nous attaquoit point dans les formes, et ne pratiquoit point aucun retranchement pour se couvrir.” – Habitant de Louisbourg.
The Habitant de Louisbourg says: “The enemy did not attack us with any regularity, and made no intrenchments to cover themselves.” This last is not exact. Not being wholly demented, they made
intrenchments, such as they were, - at least, at the · advanced battery;2 as they would otherwise have been swept out of existence, being under the concentred fire of several French batteries, two of which were within the range of a musket-shot.
The scarcity of good gunners was one of the chief difficulties of the besiegers. As privateering, and piracy also, against Frenchmen and Spaniards was a
1 Bigot au Ministre, 1 Août, 1745. 3 Diary of Joseph Sherburn, Captain at the Advanced Battery.