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are at work mending whale-boats and making paddles, asking at the same time for plenty of pistols and one hundred hand-grenades, with men who know how to use them. The weather proved bad, and the attempt was deferred. This happened several times, till Warren grew impatient, and offered to support the attack with two hundred sailors.
At length, on the twenty-third, the volunteers for the perilous enterprise mustered at the Grand Battery, whence the boats were to set out. Brigadier Waldo, who still commanded there, saw them with concern and anxiety, as they came dropping in, in small squads, without officers, noisy, disorderly, and, in some cases, more or less drunk. “I doubt,” he told the general, “whether straggling fellows, three, four, or seven out of a company, ought to go on such a service.” A bright moon and northern lights again put off the attack. The volunteers remained at the Grand Battery, waiting for better luck. “They seem to be impatient for action," writes Waldo. “If there were a more regular appearance, it would give me greater sattysfaction.”3 On the twenty-sixth their wish for action was fully gratified. The night was still and dark, and the boats put out from the battery towards twelve o'clock, with about three hundred men on board. These were to be joined by a hundred or a hundred and fifty more from Gorham's regiment, then stationed at Lighthouse Point. The commander was not Vaughan, but one Brooks, — the choice of the men themselves, as were also his subordinates.) They moved slowly, the boats being propelled, not by oars, but by paddles, which, if skilfully used, would make no noise. The wind presently rose; and when they found a landingplace, the surf was lashing the rocks with even more than usual fury. There was room for but three boats at once between the breakers on each hand. They pushed in, and the men scrambled ashore with what speed they might.
1 Vaughan to Pepperrell, 12 May, 1745. 8 Waldo to Pepperrell, 23 May, 1745. 3 Ibid., 26 May, 1745. 4 "There is scarce three hundred men on this atact [attack), so 1 The list of a company of forty-two "subscribers to go volun. tarily upon an attack against the Island Battery” is preserved. It includes a negro called "Ruben.” The captain, chosen by the men, was Daniel Bacon. The fact that neither this name nor that of Brooks, the chief commander, is to be found in the list of commis. sioned officers of Pepperrell's little army (see Parsons, Life of Pepperrell, Appendix) suggests the conclusion that the “subscribers” were permitted to choose officers from their own ranks. This list, however, is not quite complete.
The Island Battery was a strong work, walled in on all sides, garrisoned by a hundred and eighty men, and armed with thirty cannon, seven swivels, and two mortars. It was now a little after midnight. Captain d'Aillebout, the commandant, was on the watch, pacing the battery platform; but he seems to have seen nothing unusual till about a hundred and fifty men had got on shore, when they had there will be a sufficient number of Whail boats.” — Waldo to Pep perrell, 26 May, 104 p. m.
s Journal of the Siege, appended to Shirley's report.
the folly to announce their presence by three cheers. Then, in the words of General Wolcott, the battery “ blazed with cannon, swivels, and small-arms.” The crowd of boats, dimly visible through the darkness, as they lay just off the landing, waiting their turn to go in, were at once the target for volleys of grapeshot, langrage-shot, and musket-balls, of which the men on shore had also their share. These succeeded, however, in planting twelve scaling-ladders against the wall. It is said that some of them climbed into the place, and the improbable story is told that Brooks, their commander, was hauling down the French flag when a Swiss grenadier cut him down with a cutlass. Many of the boats were shattered or sunk, while those in the rear, seeing the state of things, appear to have sheered off. The affair was soon reduced to an exchange of shots between the garrison and the men who had landed, and who, standing on the open ground without the walls, were not wholly invisible, while the French, behind their ramparts, were completely hidden. “The fire of the English,” says Bigot, “was extremely obstinate, but without effect, as they could not see to take aim.” They kept it up till daybreak, or about two hours and a half; and then, seeing themselves at the mercy of the French, surrendered to the number of one hundred and nineteen, including the wounded, three or more of whom died almost immediately. By the most trustworthy accounts the English loss in killed, drowned, and captured was one hundred and eightynine; or, in the words of Pepperrell, “nearly half our party."1 Disorder, precipitation, and weak leadership ruined what hopes the attempt ever had.
1 Duchambon au Ministre, 2 Septembre, 1745. Bigot au Ministre, 1 Août, 1745.
2 The exploit of the boy William Tufts in climbing the French flagstaff and hanging his red coat at the top as a substitute for the British flag, has also been said to have taken place on this occasion. It was, as before mentioned, at the Grand Battery.
As this was the only French success during the siege, Duchambon makes the most of it. He reports that the battery was attacked by a thousand men, supported by eight hundred more, who were afraid to show themselves; and, farther, that there were thirty-five boats, all of which were destroyed or sunk, - though he afterwards says that two of them got away with thirty men, being all that were left of the thousand. Bigot, more moderate, puts the number of assailants at five hundred, of whom he says that all perished, except the one hundred and nineteen who were captured. 3
At daybreak Louisbourg rang with shouts of triumph. It was plain that a disorderly militia could not capture the Island Battery. Yet captured or silenced it must be; and orders were given to plant a battery against it at Lighthouse Point, on the eastern side of the harbor's mouth, at the distance of a short half-mile. The neighboring shore was rocky and almost inaccessible. Cannon and mortars were carried in boats to the nearest landing-place, hauled up a steep cliff, and dragged a mile and a quarter to the chosen spot, where they were planted under the orders of Colonel Gridley, who thirty years after directed the earthworks on Bunker Hill. The new battery soon opened fire with deadly effect.
1 Douglas makes it a little less. “We lost in this mad frolic sixty men killed and drowned, and one hundred and sixteen prisoners.” — Summary, i. 353.
3 “Toutes les barques furent brisées ou coulées à fond; le feu fut continuel depuis environ minuit jusqu'à trois heures du matin." - Duchambon au Ministre, 2 Septembre, 1745.
• Bigot au Ministre, 1 Août, 1745.
The French, much encouraged by their late success, were plunged again into despondency by a disaster which had happened a week before the affair of the Island Battery, but did not come to their knowledge till some time after. On the nineteenth of May a fierce cannonade was heard from the harbor, and a large French ship-of-war was seen hotly engaged with several vessels of the squadron. She was the “ Vigilant,” carrying 64 guns and 560 men, and commanded by the Marquis de la Maisonfort. She had come from France with munitions and stores, when on approaching Louisbourg she met one of the English cruisers, — some say the “Mermaid,” of 40 guns, and others the “Shirley,” of 20. Being no match for her, the British or provincial frigate kept up a running fight and led her towards the English fleet. The “Vigilant” soon found herself beset by several other vessels, and after a gallant resistance and the loss of eighty men, struck her colors. Nothing could be more timely for the New England army,