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Page 32 - New Englanders Take Louisbourg, 1745

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1978/6/1 (1504 reads)
 

New EnglandersTake Louisbourg, 1745 CONTINUED FROM BACK COVER After their success at Canso, the French privateers turned to raiding New England's fishery and commerce (Arrow #2). Vessel captures began along the Nova Scotian coast and its offshore banks but eventual? ly extended down to the New England coast. The French privateers were principally fitted out by the officials at Louisbourg which gave them a greater degree of gov? ernment sponsorship than most privateers. French naval ships on their way to and from Louisbourg also attacked New England vessels. New England eventually sent out its own privateers and by August their weight of numbers had nullified the French naval threat. At this point, the story gets a little more complex. Inspired by their success at Canso, the French decided to attack the only other English settlement in Nova Sco? tia • Annapolis Royal. The first attack (represented by Arrow #3) was made by ap? proximately 300 Micmacs who were encour? aged by the French. Like Canso, Annapolis Royal suffered from an understrength, poorly equipped garrison but its earthen- work fortifications had been improved over the winter and spring and its garrison had been anticipating an attack since the end of May. The Micmacs only kept the fort un? der siege from 12 July to lo July. Without French military assistance, the Micmacs lacked the equipment and training to con? duct the necessary European-style siege a- gainst the fort. The timely arrival of a reinforcement from New England (Arrow #4) caused the Micmacs to withdraw to Minas where they subsequently disbanded. This initial New England reinforcement was fol? lowed by another (Arrow #5) later in the summer. The next attack on Annapolis Royal was headed by Francois DuVivier. Coming by way of Isle St. Jean (Prince Edward Island) and Bale Verte, he arrived at Annapolis Royal on 8 September with a mixed force of 50 French soldiers, 70 Malecites and 160 Micmacs. DuVivier had expected two French warships to be there to assist him but in their absence he launched several haras? sing night attacks. Eventually, DuVivier got the English commander, Paul Mascarene, to agree to a truce and to surrender later when the French warships arrived. Irked by their continued delay, DuVivier abandoned the truce and resumed fighting prior to 23 September. Finally, two vessels arrived in Annapolis Basin on 26 September, but, to Duvivier's annoyance, they turned out to be a third New England reinforcement (Ar? row #7). DuVivier stubbornly continued the siege but on 2 October, a higher ranking French officer, Michel DeGannes, arrived and ordered a retreat first to Minas and eventually back to Louisbourg. It was not until 25 October that two French privat? eers rather than the anticipated warships arrived off Annapolis (Arrow #8). These vessels returned to Louisbourg when they did not find a French besieging force. In spite of the early French successes, New England was not in an unfavourable position by the end of 17'4. While Canso had fallen, the more important Annapolis Royal had held out and Louisbourg's priva? teering threat had been largely nullified. New England, however, still thought of Louisbourg as a serious military threat. After all, Annapolis Royal had just es? caped capture; a more determined (and bet? ter coordinated) French effort in 17'5 might just prove successful. If that hap? pened, New England's northern frontier would be open to Indian raiding parties from Acadia, as had happened in previous
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