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observes, “a smart ship.” She carried despatches to the governor of Louisbourg, and being unable to deliver them, sailed back for France to report what she had seen.
On Monday, the twenty-second, a clear, cold, windy day, a large ship, under British colors, sailed into the harbor, and proved to be the frigate “Eltham,” escort to the annual mast fleet from New England. On orders from Commander Warren she had left her charge in waiting, and sailed for Canseau to join the expedition, bringing the unexpected and welcome news that Warren himself would soon follow. On the next day, to the delight of all, he appeared in the ship “Superbe,” of sixty guns, accompanied by the “Launceston ” and the “Mermaid,” of forty guns each. Here was force enough to oppose any ships likely to come to the aid of Louisbourg; and Warren, after communicating with Pepperrell, sailed to blockade the port, along with the provincial cruisers, which, by order of Shirley, were placed under his command.
The transports lay at Canseau nearly three weeks, waiting for the ice to break up. The time was passed in drilling the raw soldiers and forming them into divisions of four and six hundred each, according to the directions of Shirley. At length, on Friday, the twenty-seventh, they heard that Gabarus Bay was free from ice, and on the morning of the twentyninth, with the first fair wind, they sailed out of Canseau harbor, expecting to reach Louisbourg at nine in the evening, as prescribed in the governor's receipt for taking Louisbourg “while the enemy were asleep." But a lull in the wind defeated this plan; and after sailing all day, they found themselves becalmed towards night. It was not till the next morning that they could see the town, — no very imposing spectacle, for the buildings, with a few exceptions, were small, and the massive ramparts that belted them round rose to no conspicuous height.
Louisbourg stood on a tongue of land which lay between its harbor and the sea, and the end of which was prolonged eastward by reefs and shoals that partly barred the entrance to the port, leaving a navigable passage not half a mile wide. This passage was commanded by a powerful battery called the “Island Battery,” being upon a small rocky island at the west side of the channel, and was also secured by another detached work called the “Grand,” or “Royal Battery,” which stood on the shore of the harbor, opposite the entrance, and more than a mile from the town. Thus a hostile squadron trying to force its way in would receive a flank fire from the one battery, and a front fire from the other. The strongest line of defence of the fortress was drawn across the base of the tongue of land from the harbor on one side to the sea on the other, — a distance of about twelve hundred yards. The ditch was eighty feet wide and from thirty to thirty-six feet deep; and the rampart, of earth faced with masonry, was about i The words quoted are used by General Wolcott in his journal.
M stand Ballery French
torom or Ron/ Ballery trench
0. Burying bround
P hings Bastion or Clariri.
R ast Gute
s South Gute
sixty feet thick. The glacis sloped down to a vast marsh, which formed one of the best defences of the place. The fortress, without counting its outworks, had embrasures for one hundred and forty-eight cannon; but the number in position was much less, and is variously stated. Pomeroy says that at the end of the siege a little above ninety were found, with“ a great number of swivels;” others say seventy, six." In the Grand and Island batteries there were sixty heavy pieces more. Against this formidable armament the assailants had brought thirty-four cannon and mortars, of much inferior weight, to be used in bombarding the fortress, should they chance to fail of carrying it by surprise, “while the enemy were asleep.”2 Apparently they distrusted the efficacy of their siege-train, though it was far stronger than Shirley had at first thought sufficient; for they brought with them good store of balls of forty-two pounds, to be used in French cannon of that calibre which they expected to capture, their own largest pieces being but twenty-two-pounders.
According to the Habitant de Louisbourg, the garrison consisted of five hundred and sixty regular troops, of whom several companies were Swiss, besides some thirteen or fourteen hundred militia, inhabitants partly of the town, and partly of neigh
1 Brown, Cape Breton, 183. Parsons, Life of Pepperrell, 103. An anonymous letter, dated Louisbourg, 4 July, 1745, says that eighty. five cannon and six mortars have been found in the town.
* Memoirs of the Principal Transactions of the Last War, 40.