Blupete's Nova Scotia History Page

Book #1: The Lion & The Lily.TOC
Part 7, "The Second Siege of Louisbourg: 1758."
Synopses, Chapters 1 to 11

(Now Available As A Book)

1 An Introductory Review and The Beginnings of the Seven Years War. (10k)
§ "The Seven Years War was a war, which, for the English, had 'disastrous beginnings.' At its opening, in 1756, England was unprepared ... in America the English were bested by the genius and activity of Moncalm, emphasized, as it was, with the defeat of Braddock in 1755."
2 Louisbourg (1749-1757). (16k)
§ "Drucour, this proud French military man, use to the trappings of his high position in society, must have been distraught upon seeing Louisbourg; not but bleak northern bogs to one side and foggy seas to the other. That winter Smallpox was in amongst the population; and, a great number, as was the case for the winter before -- men, women and children -- were to die of this scourge of the age. The returning spring was to bring its usual effects, a greening countryside and every bush ready to burst. Ships from Europe would soon arrive with eagerly awaited supplies, and, just as eagerly awaited for, news from home. Indeed, a large French fleet had left Brest on May 3rd, 1755."
3. The Gathering at Halifax (1757). (21k)
§ "Loudoun had a pretty impressive force. There were upwards to 9,400 soldiers organized in 'six battalions.' They floated up the coast from New York in over 100 vessels, including: 87 transports, 2 hospital ships, a horseship, 12 victualers, and 3 packets. Not long after, Vice-admiral Holburne, after an eight week transoceanic voyage which had originated in Cork, Ireland, arrived with an additional 5,200 regulars aboard 45 transports, escorted by 15 men-of war. These forces were joined at Halifax in the summer of 1757: taking Louisbourg was their objective."
4. Action at Sea, Off of Louisbourg (1755-1757). (15k)
§ "Vice-admiral Holburne, in 1757, had 20 English war ships and while he had been sent in order to support the siege operations on land, on August 16th, he knew that the attack on Louisbourg was not to happen. It was early yet. So he determined to go on a little reconnoitering cruise which he did proceeding north, up the coast. Thus, by September of 1757, we would have seen English Men-o-war dancing off the mouth of Louisbourg daring the French fleet to come out and do battle."
5. The Storm (September, 1757). (18k)
§ "That morning the sun likely came up in its usual way off the coast of Nova Scotia, in a brilliant fashion with beautiful hues of red and yellow being softly reflected amongst the gathering clouds. By that evening, the sky had a dark foreboding look to it: the air was still and the British fleet hung limply on the shiny surface of the sea, it was still and the seabirds were heading inland to find temporary roosts. The seasoned sailors of these waters knew what was about to unfold."
6. The Setting & The Start. (27k)
§ "By May 17th, the British forces were assembled at Halifax. Rear-admiral Hardy, who continued to go back and forth, covering the approaches to Louisbourg, by a despatch delivered by Rous, was to advise Admiral Boscawen that French men-of-war had managed to get into Louisbourg's Harbour and that the French troops were busy throwing up entrenchments on the shores of Garbarus Bay. Nevertheless, on May the 29th, 1758, an amphibious British attack force was to get underway at Halifax; it was large, consisting of a fleet of '180 sail' and 27,000 men."
7. Louisbourg: Its Position and Strength. (14k)
§ "What was necessary was to get within hammering range of Louisbourg; the conditio sine qua non, however, was to gain access to Louisbourg Harbour, or, at least to have control of its shores. ... At Gabarus Bay, as both sides knew equally well, there were but three potential landing places: Fresh Water Cove, Flat Point and White Point. The French had no choice but to spread their limited forces."
8. The Landing. (36k)
§ "It was early morning, 4 am, when the British took to their small landing boats and went in on June the 8th. By 6 a.m., it was all over. Not only in the sense that the British had achieved the impossible by getting ashore; but in the sense that with the landing of the British forces (13,000, in all) the fate of Louisbourg with its 6,000 defenders was sealed. By eight o'clock, on that memorable morning, the fleeing French were safely within their fortress. For the British: 'The assault landing had been a clean-cut success.'"
9. The Bombardment. (35k)
§ "The French which now crowded the dock looked on in amazement as three of their great ships of war were ablaze. All was mayhem and everything in ruins; the population confused and disordered; the soldiers exhausted and their ramparts falling apart; and then came the final blow ..."
10. The Surrender. (31k)
§ "Only at great expense to England was it possible to put a British force under the combined commands of Boscawen and Amherst: over 13,000 soldiers and as many again who acted as crews to upwards of 180 warships and transports. It had been hoped by Pitt that this tremendous invasion force could have done double duty in 1758: first Louisbourg and then Quebec. With the capitulation of Louisbourg on July 26th, the immediate question before the British commanders was whether they should push on to Quebec?"
11. The End of French America. (21k)
Pitt's resolution was that all the works and defences of Louisbourg's harbour, "be most effectually and most entirely demolished." It was intended that the materials be so "thoroughly destroyed, as that no use may, hereafter, be ever made of the same."

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