Charlotte Taylor     Her Life and Times

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Louisbourg

From A Gentleman's Career At Sea - Review by David Twiston Davies of The Wooden World - An Anatomy of the Georgian Navy by N.A.M. Rodger

"… Nicholas Rodger believes that life in the wooden world of one of His Majesty's ships during the Seven Years' War, 1755 to 1763, had much to recommend it by the standards of the day.  For a youth from a labouring family, the pay and food were better than he could expect from labouring on the land … Seamen's skills and, particularly agility had to be learned young, so it was not unknown for boys to go to sea at 6.  A ship's company was, above all, an intimate unit in which a captain liked to draw his followers from his family's estates and set his nephews and the sons of friends on their careers … [Captain Cook was a farm labourer's son] … Unlike the army, the navy did not permit purchase of commissions, although financial inducements seem to have been occasionally made on foreign stations by expectant successors … The author is perhaps a little harsh in saying that, almost alone among the responsibilities of Georgian government, war at sea was considered too important to be left to the politicians.  Yet the workings of 'interest' - those political and family links that oiled the wheels of administration at every level - were always subject to professional considerations at the Admiralty.  As the largest industrial unit in the eighteenth-century world, it was not afraid to refuse anyone … the Admiralty appreciated the role of fresh vegetables in preventing scurvy, and even supplied fresh beef to the North American squadrons wintering at Halifax.  A rough-and -ready approach to discipline, enforced by kicks and cuffs, was acceptable, Rodger says, because there was no class tension in the middle of the century, ... Since discipline, as such, was unquestioned, much more seriously regarded were offences threatening the well-being of a ship's company as a whole, such as theft, murder and sodomy … Desertion, a court-martial offence, was usually treated with surprising leniency.  When Boscawen was about to launch the Louisbourg expedition in 1758, he threatened those overdue from leave in Halifax with fines, but nothing more."

From The History of Acadia by James Hannay

Excerpt from Pages 414 to 416

"… The capture of Louisbourg was the first object essayed by Pitt, and he selected men for that enterprise that he knew would not repeat the tactics of Loudon and Holborne.  The command of the land forces was given to General Jeffrey Amherst, a man of singular ability, bravery and discretion, whose fame has been somewhat eclipsed by that of the hero of Quebec, but whose services to his country cannot be too highly estimated.  Under him were three able Brigadiers, Wolfe, Lawrence and Whitmore, the land forces amounting to 12,000 men.  The fleet was under command of Admiral Boscawen, an officer of distinguished courage, and consisted of 23 ships-of-the-line and 18 frigates.  The fleet which, including transports, numbered 157 sail, left Halifax on 28 May, 1758 and a part of it arrived in Gabarus Bay, near Louisbourg, on 2nd June. The surf and fog made it impossible to effect a landing until 8th June.  The French, who had fortified the line of coast, made a stout resistance, but the heroism of Wolfe, and the courage of the soldiers whom he led, broke their line of defense and seized the key of the position, so that they were obliged to retreat.  A landing having been effected, the operations of the siege were carried on with great vigour.  The French abandoned the Royal battery at the head of the harbour and the Light House battery which lay opposite Louisbourg, and General Wolfe took possession of the latter battery on the 12th with 1200 men.  Then he mounted guns from which he destroyed the shipping in the harbour and silenced the Island battery.  Meanwhile, approaches were made and batteries erected against Louisbourg on the land side.  The city was surrounded by a girdle of fire and day by day the fortifications crumbled way.  Of the five war vessels in the harbour, three were destroyed by fire of the besiegers, and on the night of the 25th July a detachment from the fleet, under command of Captains Laforey and Balfour, entered harbour of Louisbourg, burnt one of the remaining war ships and towed out the other.  Next day articles of capitulation were signed and on 27th July Louisbourg was surrendered.  The capitulation included the whole Island of Cape Breton and the Island of St. John (P.E.I.).  The garrison consisting of 3,031 soldiers and 2,606 sailors, were sent to England as prisoners of war.  A detachment was sent to take possession of the Island of St. John, where the inhabitants to the number of 4,100 submitted and surrendered arms. Of the 2,400 inhabitants of Cape Breton, 1700 were sent to France at their own request.  The rest remained on the Island and submitted to English rule.  The Acadians soon felt the loss of their protector, Louisbourg.  A squadron was sent to Miramichi and to Gaspe to destroy the settlements they had made there, and returned after inflicting as much damage as possible upon them.  Colonel Monckton was sent with a detachment of the Colonial Highlanders and Colonel Howe's light infantry to the St. John River to drive the French from the fort at its mouth."

From Louisbourg - From Its Foundation to Its Fall 1713 - 1758 by J.S. McLennan

Excerpt from Page 261

List of English Fleet

Ships

Number Guns

Number Men

Commanders

Lieutenants

Namur

90

780

Admiral Boscawen Matthew Buckle

Philip Afflick

Royal William

84

765

Sir Charles Hardy Thos. Evans

Wm. Dumaresq

Devonshire

66

520

Wm. Gordon

Jno. Proctor

Gr. Frederick

64

480

Robt. Man

Jno. Gordon

Juno

32

220

Alex. Schomberg

Jos. Norwood

Kennington

20

160

Maxm. Jacobs

Lewis Gordon

Sloop Hunter

10.14

110

Jno. Laforey

Jno. Sharpe

Etcetera

From The Spell of Acadia by Frank Oliver Call

Excerpt from Page 239 and 240

"… It would take too long to give even a mere outline of Wolfe's part in the siege of Louisbourg, but in all accounts of it we see the effect of his energy, decision and bravery working upon the other more scientific and less impulsive generals.  He was a man of strong prejudices.  He considered the Indians to be 'the most contemptible Canaille on the earth … a dastardly set of bloody rascals'.  His opinion of Frenchmen was little better, and he does not even spare his own soldiers.  'Too much money and too much rum necessarily affect the discipline of an army.  I believe no nation ever paid so many bad soldiers at so high a price'."

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