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ered, for the weather was unusually good; yet the number fit for service was absurdly small. Pepperrell begged for reinforcements, but got none till the siege was ended.
It was not his nature to rule with a stiff hand, — and this, perhaps, was fortunate. Order and discipline, the sinews of an army, were out of the question; and it remained to do as well as might be without them, keep men and officers in good-humor, and avoid all that could dash their ardor. For this, at least, the merchant-general was well fitted. His popularity had helped to raise the army, and perhaps it helped now to make it efficient. His position was no bed of roses. Worries, small and great, pursued him without end. He made friends of his officers, kept a bountiful table at his tent, and labored to soothe their disputes and jealousies, and satisfy their complaints. So generous were his contributions to the common cause that according to a British officer who speaks highly of his services, he gave to it, in one form or another, £10,000 out of his own pocket.'
His letter-books reveal a swarm of petty annoyances, which may have tried his strength and patience as much as more serious cares. The soldiers complained that they were left without clothing, shoes, or rum; and when he implored the Committee of War to send them, Osborne, the chairman, replied with explanations why it could not be done. Letters came from wives and fathers entreating that husbands and sons who had gone to the war should be sent back. At the end of the siege a captain "humble begs leave for to go home,” because he lives in a very dangerous country, and his wife and children are “in a declining way” without him. Then two entire companies raised on the frontier offered the same petition on similar grounds. Sometimes Pepperrell was beset with prayers for favors and promotion; sometimes with complaints from one corps or another that an undue share of work had been imposed on it. One Morris, of Cambridge, writes a moving petition that his slave “Cuffee,” who had joined the army, should be restored to him, his lawful master. One John Alford sends the general a number of copies of the Rev. Mr. Prentice's late sermon, for distribution, assuring him that “it will please your whole army of volunteers, as he has shown them the way to gain by their gallantry the hearts and affections of the Ladys.” The end of the siege brought countless letters of congratulation, which, whether lay or clerical, never failed to remind him, in set phrases, that he was but an instrument in the hands of Providence.
1 Letter from an Officer of Marines appended to A particular Account of the Taking of Cape Breton (London, 1745).
One of his most persistent correspondents was his son-in-law, Nathaniel Sparhawk, a thrifty merchant, with a constant eye to business, who generally began his long-winded epistles with a bulletin concerning the health of “ Mother Pepperrell,” and rarely ended them without charging his father-in-law with some commission, such as buying for him the cargo of a French prize, if he could get it cheap. Or thus: “If you would procure for me a hogshead of the best Clarett, and a hogshead of the best white wine, at a reasonable rate, it would be very grateful to me." After pestering him with a few other commissions, he tells him that “Andrew and Bettsy [children of Pepperrell] send their proper compliments," and signs himself, with the starched flourish of provincial breeding, “With all possible Respect, Honoured Sir, Your Obedient Son and Servant."1 Pepperrell was much annoyed by the conduct of the masters of the transports, of whom he wrote: “The unaccountable irregular behaviour of these fellows is the greatest fatigue I meet with;” but it may be doubted whether his son-in-law did not prove an equally efficient persecutor.
A RASH RESOLUTION. THE ISLAND BATTERY. - THE VOLUN
TEERS. — THE ATTACK. — THE REPULSE. — CAPTURE OF THE “VIGILANT.” – A SORTIE. — SKIRMISHES. — DESPONDENCY OF THE FRENCH. - ENGLISH CAMP THREATENED.-PEPPERRELL AND WARREN. - WARREN'S PLAN. — PREPARATION FOR A GenERAL ATTACK. — FLAG OF TRUCE. — CAPITULATION. — State OF THE FORTRESS. - PARSON MOODY. - SOLDIERS DISSATISFIED. - DISORDERS. — ARMY AND NAVY. - REJOICINGS. — ENGLAND REPAIS PROVINCIAL OUTLAY8.
FREQUENT councils of war were held in solemn form at headquarters. On the seventh of May a summons to surrender was sent to Duchambon, who replied that he would answer with his cannon. Two days after, we find in the record of the council the following startling entry: “Advised unanimously that the Town of Louisbourg be attacked by storm this Night.” Vaughan was a member of the board, and perhaps his impetuous rashness had turned the heads of his colleagues. To storm the fortress at that time would have been a desperate attempt for the best-trained and best-led troops. There was as yet no breach in the walls, nor the beginning of one; and the French were so confident in the strength of their fortifications that they boasted that women alono
could defend them. Nine in ten of the men had no bayonets," many had no shoes, and it is said that the scaling-ladders they had brought from Boston were ten feet too short.” Perhaps it was unfortunate for the French that the army was more prudent than its leaders; and another council being called on the same day, it was “Advised, That, inasmuch as there appears a great Dissatisfaction in many of the officers and Soldiers at the designed attack of the Town by Storm this Night, the said Attack be deferred for the present.”* Another plan was adopted, hardly less critical, though it found favor with the army. This was the assault of the Island Battery, which closed the entrance of the harbor to the British squadron, and kept it open to ships from France. Nobody knew precisely how to find the two landing-places of this formidable work, which were narrow gaps between rocks lashed with almost constant surf; but Vaughan would see no difficulties, and wrote to Pepperrell that if he would give him the command and leave him to manage the attack in his own way, he would engage to send the French flag to headquarters within forty-eight hours.” On the next day he seems to have thought the command assured to him, and writes from the Grand Battery that the carpenters
1 Shirley to Newcastle, 7 June, 1745.