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The English and French Regiments at Louisbourg: 1758.

In 1758, as part of a larger project known in history as the Seven Years War, the English determined to launch an attack against Louisbourg. Fifteen thousand army men, ten thousand of which were regulars, were to be employed in the expedition against Louisbourg; they were under the command of
Jeffrey Amherst. It was to be a complex military operation carried out in days when instant communication and easy transportation did not exist. The theatre of war where the troops had to be landed was a place that was remote and for many of the men that came together there at Louisbourg: a half a world away. In the mid-18th century all things had to be moved physically by slow transport. In this regard a very large English fleet of sailing vessels were drawn together at Halifax, just a two day sail south of Louisbourg. One hundred and twenty transports and other auxiliary vessels were employed, together with 23 men-of-war and 16 smaller vessels, carrying crews of about 14,000 men. On June the 8th, 1758, the British had affected a landing on the shores just below Louisbourg and the Siege of Louisbourg of 1758 had gotten underway.

A regiment is, as we may see from the OED, a "considerable body of troops, more or less permanently organized under the command of a superior officer, and forming a definite unit of an army or military force." At Louisbourg, in 1758, there was to be thirteen English regiments and five French regiments, which, we list below. As for the English, in all, at Louisbourg, there were four colonels, 11 lt-colonels, 10 majors, 97 captains, 216 lieutenants, 106 ensigns, 6 chaplains, 13 adjutants, 14 quarter-masters, 14 surgeons, 23 surgeons-mates, 476 sergeants, 258 drummers, and 11,021 rank and file.1

  • GO TO >>> A Listing Of The British Regiments
  • GO TO >>> A Listing Of The French Regiments

    1st St. Clair's or Royals 954
    Royal Scots (Lothian Regt.)
    15th Amherst's 859 Came into Halifax on April 15th having apparently having left England on January 29th.
    East Yorkshire Regt.
    17th Forbes' 741 Had been with Loudoun at Halifax in 1757 and had wintered over at New York. The 17th arrived at Halifax on May 16th.
    Leicestershire Regt.
    22nd Whitmores' 1007 Had been with Loudoun at Halifax in 1757 and had wintered over at New York. The 22nd arrived, too, at Halifax on May 16th.
    Cheshire Regt.
    28th Bragg's 708 Bragg's arrived late and was therefore not formed up for the landing. It was determined to hold them in reserve. They did, however, as Hitsman and Bond were to observe, perform, during the landing, a valuable service, viz., "to sail to the east for Lorembec under convoy, deliberately showing itself as it passed the town in an attempt to confuse the French as to where the forth coming assault actually might be."3
    1st Batt. Glouscester Regt.
    35th Otway's 627 Had been with Loudoun at Halifax in 1757 and had wintered over at Philadelphia. Arrived at Halifax on May 12th. It was lieutenants Hopkins and Brown and Ensign Grant of the 35th which gained the first footing on the beach which encouraged the rest to come in.
    Royal Sussex Regt. (1st Batt.)
    40th Hopson's 631 The "Fighting Fortieth" is a regiment that was first raised in Nova Scotia and is the subject of a separate page. It was one of three regiments that had wintered over in Nova Scotia.
    Prince of Wales Volunteers
    (South Lancashire Regt.)
    45th Warburton's 956 Wintered at Halifax
    1st Batt. Sherwood Foresters
    (Derbyshire Regt.)
    47th Lascelle's 949 Had wintered at Halifax. Originally, I note, that the Lascelle's had arrived at Halifax from Ireland during 1750. They had come in "five large ships in all much crowded with women and children."4 They had been employed, I think, during the next eight years at: Halifax, Annapolis Royal (Fort Anne), Windsor (Fort Edward) and at the isthmus (Fort Cumberland).
    Loyal North Lancashire Regt. (Wolfe's Own)
    48th Webb's 1029 Had been with Loudoun at Halifax in 1757 and had wintered over at Philadelphia. Arrived back at Halifax on May 12th.
    1st Batt. Northamptonshire Regt.
    58th Anstruther's 685 Having left England on January 29th, the 58th came into Halifax on May 17th; they arrived being "sickly."
    2nd Batt. Northamptonshire Regt.
    60th The 60th Regiment of Foot (The Royal Americans) 1903 The 60th while intended to be split between Monckton and Lawrence, it would appear, with Monckton having been left behind at Halifax, that the regiment came under the command of Lawrence. The "Royals" came up from New York and arrived at Halifax on May 16th.
    For the reader's edification we have scanned in a picture of a a member of the 60th.
    Kings Royal Rifle Corps
    78th Fraser's 1199 This is the famed Regiment of Foot, Fraser's Highlanders. See a member of the 78th.
    The Seaforth Highlanders
    No.1 Acting as a separate regiment, there was the The Royal Train of Artillery. It amounted to 324 men consisting of Officers, drummers, bombardiers, gunners and matrosses.
    No.2 There was formed at Louisbourg, from the various regiments, and which acted as a separate unit, I believe under Wolfe, The Louisbourg Grenadiers.
    No.3 At Louisbourg there was to be a separate body of Rangers (of about a thousand). They were formed from detachments of the several corps, and, 500 hundred were sent up from New England. The Rangers were to be under the command of, I think George Scott.5
    No.4 There was also a separate Corp of Engineers headed up by John Henry Bastide, an old officer who had seen action at Louisbourg in 1745. There was eleven engineers and as many "miners." There was also a company of 90 carpenters who came under Bastide.

    Artois 520 This regiment, the Artois, were likely landed at Louisbourg by de la Motte in June of 1755. The Artois were there at the beaches to meet the English on their landing.6
    Bourgogne 520 This regiment, the Bourgogne, were also likely landed at Louisbourg by de la Motte in June of 1755.
    Cambis 680 Anticipating an attack, the Cambis Regiment was sent directly over to Louisbourg from France in 1758. They had been transported under the escort of a French squadron headed up by Chaffault de Besné. They were off Louisbourg by the end of May, however, Besné, in order to avoid Hardy's much larger fleet, which by this time was patrolling along the coast, sailed north over the tip of the Cape Breton to Port Dauphin (Ste Ann's). The regiment was then transported by smaller vessels to Spanish Bay (present day Sydney) and then marched overland to Louisbourg, arriving there just a day or so before the English made their landing at Garabus Bay on June 8th.
    "The members of the second battalion destined for Louisbourg included a colonel, a battalion commander, an adjutant, two ensigns, 17 captains (including the captain of the grenadiers), 17 lieutenants, a sub-lieutenant of grenadiers, and 685 soldiers, including 34 sergeants, 51 corporals, 51 lance corporals and 17 drummers. The soldiers and non-commissioned officers were divided into 16 companies of musketmen of 40 men each, and one company of grenadiers with 45 men."7
    For the reader's edification we have scanned in a picture of a French Soldier, which while one of the Reine, is one that would look much like one of the Cambis.
    Volontaires Etrangers 680 These Swiss mercenaries arrived from France during the early spring of 1758.8
    General Notes: In addition to the above listed and identified regiments there was an additional 1,000 soldiers fighting for the French at Louisbourg in 1758; they were simply labeled Compagnies Détachées. Also there was a separate corp of 120 French gunners.9




    [1] These numbers were set forth by Gordon in his journal, as is a rather full accounting of all the men and supplies used in the Louisbourg campaign of 1758. (NSHS, vol. 10)

    [2] A regiment had always taken its name after the commanding officer at its head, until, in 1751, when the British officially designated its regiments by numbers; thus, that which had been known as Cornwallis's, late Phillipp's, became the Fortieth Regiment of Foot, viz., "The Fighting Fortieth." (See NSHS#21 p. 132.)

    [3] "The Assault Landing, 1758," by J. MacKay Hitsman and C. C. J. Bond, published in The Canadian Historical Review, Vol. XXXV, no. 4, Dec., 1954, p. 327.

    [4] Bell's, Foreign Protestants, p. 166.

    [5] See Eye witness' account, the "Cunningham Letter," as set forth by McLennan (Louisbourg) at p. 239.

    [6] "There were 1000 men of the Regiment d'Artois entrenched there, with one 24-pounder, four 6-pounders and six swivels." (Hitsman and Bond, "A Foredoomed Fortress," published in Canadian Army Journal, April, 1956, p. 85.) That there was a thousand French regulars mounting the shore defences (indeed, most all of the French soldiers were in the field at the time the British were coming in) is certainly so; but it is likely there was only 500 of the Artois, and that would account for most all of them at Louisbourg. (The count of 520 is given by McLennan, op. cit., p. 263.)

    [7] "The Expedition of the Second Battalion of the Cambis Regiment to Louisbourg, 1758"; by Michel Wyczynski; NSHR, vol. 10 (1990), No. 2, p. 98.

    [8] "A Foredoomed Fortress," Hitsman and Bond, op. cit., p. 85.

    [9] In A History of the Island of Cape Breton (1869), the author, Richard Brown, at page 304, estimates that 3,400 soldiers constituted the garrison at Louisbourg when the British came ashore in June of 1758. In addition, there was 700 "burgher militia," a band of Indians and the crews of the French fleet which had managed to get into the harbour. The men of the ships, which were all pressed into service during the siege, would have amounted to 3,500, or so.


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    Peter Landry
    2012 (2020)