Wednesday, July 26, 2017

On this date in 1758 the French fortress of Louisbourg falls after a lengthy British siege .

This event ended the French colonial era in Atlantic Canada and led directly to the loss of Quebec in 1759 and the remainder of French North America the following year.

The siege had began on June 8th with a blockade of the harbor and after eleven days the British artillery batteries were landed and in position. Orders were given to open fire on the fort and French ships in the harbor. The British battery's consisted of seventy cannons and mortars of all sizes. Within hours, the guns had destroyed walls and damaged several buildings.
On the 21st a mortar round struck a 74 gun French ship of the line, L'Entreprenant, and set it ablaze. A stiff breeze fanned the fire, and shortly after the L'Entreprenant caught fire, two other French ships had caught fire. L'Entreprenant exploded later in the day, depriving the French of the largest ship in the Louisbourg fleet. On the evening of the 23rd a British "hot shot" set the King's Bastion on fire. The King's Bastion was the fortress headquarters and the largest building in North America in 1758. Its destruction eroded confidence and reduced morale in the French troops and their hopes to lift the British siege.
On the 25 Admiral Boscawen sent a cutting-out party to destroy the French ships in the harbor. With the help of a thick fog as cover, the British raiders eliminated the last two French ships of the line, capturing the Bienfaisant and burning the Prudent, thus clearing the way for the Royal Navy to enter the harbor. On the 26th the French surrendered.

Louisbourg today

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