It Was Bitterly Cold … With a Hot Reception

02 Jun
General Jeffery Amherst promoted Montgomery to...

General Jeffery Amherst promoted Montgomery to Lieutenant after the Siege of Louisbourg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before Wolfe could attack Quebec it was necessary to eliminate the powerful French fortress at Louisburg, Cape Breton.  There were 200 cannons, 17 heavy mortars mounted along the fortifications, 3,000 regular troops in the garrison, plus 1,000 militia and about 500 Indians.  Powerful units of the French fleet were in the harbour.

Britain was well ready for the campaign.  The land forces, numbering 12,000 were commanded by General Jeffery Amherst.  His brigadiers included Whitmore, Lawrence and Wolfe.  Admiral Edward Boscawen commanded the fleet of 39 ships and 12,000 sailors.  He and Amherst were friends and worked well together.

Louisburg was commanded by the Chevalier de Drucour, a resolute soldier.  His wife was a fighter too, and insisted on being with the guns.  When the invasion fleet appeared on June 1-2, Drucour placed 2,000 troops along four miles of the coast where landings would have to be made.

The actual invasion was delayed until June 8, 1758 because of rough weather.  Brigadier Wolfe was in command of the landing force.  At two in the morning, they set out for the shore in small boats.  It was bitterly cold, but the defenders provided a hot reception, waiting until the landing craft were close to the shore before opening fire.  It was so intense that Wolfe had to order his boats to get out of range.

He then saw that one group had made a landing east of the beach and its men were getting some protection behind the rocks.  He ordered the boats to head in that direction.  As soon as the water was shallow enough, he jumped into the surf and led his men to the land, waving them on with his stick.

The siege and the battle on shore lasted until July 27.  While some of Boscawen’s ships were sunk trying to enter the harbour, French ships within the harbour were sunk by gunfire.  The battle raged continuously until the British troops broke through and forced Drucour to surrender.

Although Amherst was in command of the attacking force, he always gave Wolfe the credit for the victory.  It was his dash and determination that saw it through.

Want to learn more about the battle of Louisburg? A few places I recommend is British and Marianpolis College. Cape Breton University has an interesting timeline of the Louisburg Fort, as a Research Aids.


Posted by on June 2, 2013 in On This Day


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22 responses to “It Was Bitterly Cold … With a Hot Reception

  1. Leslie Welsh Robinson

    June 3, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    I visited Louisburg; it’s a beautiful place.

    • tkmorin

      June 3, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      Oh how I wish I could visit there … I’m guessing from your comment that you enjoyed the visit. I like hearing that! 🙂

      • Leslie Welsh Robinson

        June 3, 2013 at 12:23 pm

        Definitely! Aside from the beautiful setting, the history is so interesting. We had a guided tour through the site. It was a long time ago — I’d love to go back to that part of the world. It’s so much older (in terms of European history) than British Columbia, where I live.

        • tkmorin

          June 3, 2013 at 12:26 pm

          Wow, that sounds great. If I ever can visit the site, I will definitely do that!! 🙂

  2. historicalwritings

    June 3, 2013 at 6:29 am

    Thoroughly interesting piece of history.

    • tkmorin

      June 3, 2013 at 11:56 am

      Thank you, I appreciate the kind words!! 🙂

  3. L. Marie

    June 2, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Great story. But you know what intrigues me most? “His wife was a fighter too, and insisted on being with the guns.” What a great slice of the story!

    • tkmorin

      June 2, 2013 at 8:46 pm

      Yeah, I didn’t want to leave that out! It’s nice when I can add stuff Ike that! You’ll enjoy some of my future posts, too! 😉

  4. Maurice A. Barry

    June 2, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Jeffrey Amherst’s brother Lt. Gen. William Amherst served at St. John’s. Four years after the events you described he led the battle that effectively won back our city from the French.The fort that ‘guards’ the narrows to the harbour to this day bears his name. Apparently a high achieving family :>)

    • tkmorin

      June 2, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      … and “good people” too! Nice information there, thank you, Maurice! 🙂

  5. createdbyrcw

    June 2, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Louisburg is an amazing facility that I remember visiting as a young man with my grandparents, and whenever I visit Quebec City, I make a pilgrimage to the diorama display of the capture of Quebec and the battle between Wolfe and Montcalm.
    I am not a “war” person by nature, but there was something viscerally human about this period of Western history that I find both sad and stimulating.

    • tkmorin

      June 2, 2013 at 11:10 am

      Very well said! I totally agree! 🙂

  6. seeker

    June 2, 2013 at 9:37 am

    I like the title of your post Tk. Served Hot reception of Oatmeal… All oats no meal. I guess French toast was not in the menu since they took over. I like the one and only female in this story. Have a grand Tk. 😛

    • tkmorin

      June 2, 2013 at 11:12 am

      Hahaha … I suspect a few would enjoy the fact that a woman fought for freedom! 🙂

      • seeker

        June 2, 2013 at 11:14 am

        I wonder if she was toasting the Brits. 😆

        • tkmorin

          June 2, 2013 at 11:15 am

          Most probably. 😆

          • seeker

            June 2, 2013 at 11:23 am

            he he he…

          • dcmontreal

            June 2, 2013 at 12:17 pm

            Just wanted to make sure you got the pics I sent to you via Twitter today

          • tkmorin

            June 2, 2013 at 3:21 pm

            Oh, I haven’t checked twitter today … Will do that now …! 🙂


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