Copyright
Robert Tomes.

Battles of America by sea and land. With biographies of naval and military commanders (Volume 01) online

. (page 4 of 126)
Online LibraryRobert TomesBattles of America by sea and land. With biographies of naval and military commanders (Volume 01) → online text (page 4 of 126)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


had succeeded in doing much damage
to the town, and had beaten back the
French on every sortie from their walls,
he was, after the defeat of the previous
night, evidently somewhat disheartened.



24



BATTLES OF AMERICA.



[PART i



"It is now," says Pepperell
himself, "the twenty-ninth day
since the army invested Louisburg and
drove in the inhabitants. Five fascine
batteries have been erected, with hard
service to the men, who have drawn the
cannon and mounted them ; the enemy
has been distressed, some breaches have
been made in their walls," and it is not
doubted but that " we shall soon reduce
the circular battery. Five unsuccessful
attempts have been made upon the island
battery, in the last of which one hundred
and eighty-nine men and many boats
were lost. Scouts have been sent out,
and have succeeded in destroying the
enemy s settlements and in preventing
surprise. Fatigue, however, has brought
on disease, and left not more than two
thousand one hundred men fit for duty,
six hundred of whom are gone in pursuit
of two large bodies of French and In
dians eastward and westward of the pro
vincial camp."

This was the not very encouraging
state of things, when Pepperell resolved
upon a more vigorous push. He was
anxious now for a consultation with War
ren, but was prevented for several days
by the fog from going on board the com
modore s ship. He finally, however, suc
ceeded in reaching him, and proposed a
joint attack on the town. Warren, how
ever, was not now disposed to concur in
this proposition, although it had origi
nally been made by him. He thought
it better not to send his ships into the
harbor until further execution had been
done against the enemy s batteries.

Pepperell, in the meantime, continued



June 4i



to do his best in pushing on the siege.
He, however, was in great straits for want
of ammunition and effective men. In his
despatch to Governor Shirley, he says:
"Powder and balls are nearly used up,
oil account of which many of our guns
are silent. We have one thousand five
hundred sick, and a reinforcement there
fore of three thousand men is absolutely
necessary." The French, on the other
hand, seemed to be in excellent condition,
and by no means discouraged as to their
ability to hold out against the besiegers.

A French soldier deserts, and,
reaching the provincial camp,
reports that there are within the garri
son three thousand six hundred that bear
arms, seven or eight hundred of w T hom.
are soldiers ; that they have provisions
to last till October, and considerable am
munition ; that the enemy judged vari
ously the provincial forces from one thou
sand to four thousand live hundred men ;
that they have burst one of their mortars
and several cannon; that they are pre
pared to receive an attack every night
in all parts of the town ; and that if their
expected ships are taken they will have
to surrender, but they do not expect the
British ships will venture into the har
bor.

Commodore Warren, learning from this
deserter, who was sent to him by Pepper
ell, how well the French kept up their
spirits, resolved upon a plan to try and
dash them somewhat. The inhabitants
of Louisburg had not yet heard of the
capture of the Vigilante, although she
had been in the hands of the English for
nearly three weeks. Warren thought if



COLONIAL.]



A KUSE.



25



this intelligence could be conveyed to
the French commander, it would natu
rally have the effect of lowering his hopes
of a continued successful resistance. The
commodore, accordingly, pretending that
he had heard of the cruel treatment of
some of the provincials held by the ene
my s garrison as prisoners, suggested to
the former commander of the Vigilante,
who was now a captive of the English,
to write to Duchambon, the governor of
Louisburg, and interpose in their behalf.
The Frenchman readily complied, and
prepared this letter :

"ON BOARD THE VlGILANTE, WHERE I AM A PRIS
ONER, BEFORE LOUISBURG, June 8, 1745.

" Herewith I send you, sir, the copy
of a letter written me by Mr. Warren,
commander of a squadron, who informs
me that the French have treated some
English prisoners with cruelty and inhu
manity. I can scarcely believe it, since
it is the intention of the king our master
that they should be well treated on ev
ery occasion. You are to know that on
the 20th of May I was taken by the
squadron, as I was about to enter your
harbor; and it is fitting you should be
informed that the gentlemen, the captains
and officers, treat us not as prisoners, but
as their good friends, and take a very
particular care that my officers and equi
page should want nothing. To me it
seems just you should treat them in the
same manner, and see that those be pun
ished who act otherwise, and offer any
insult to those whom you may make
prisoners.

" Yours, &c.

U DE LA MAISON FORTE."



To carry out his ruse more effectually,
Warren selected one of his officers, who
understood the French language, Captain
Macdonald, and intrusted the letter to
him to deliver. This officer was accord
ingly sent to Louisburg under a flag of
truce, and was duly received by the gov
ernor, who was greatly startled by the
letter, which gave him the first intelli
gence of the capture of the Vigilante.
Captain Macdonald, who communicated
with the French officers only through an
interpreter, was supposed to be ignorant
of their language ; and accordingly they
freely expressed their thoughts and opin
ions in their native tongue, without the
least fear of berno- understood. The Eno;-

o o

lish officer was thus enabled to bring
back to Warren a faithful account of the
fright occasioned by this untoward news
of the capture of that large man-of-war,
the Vigilante, the safe arrival of which
they had been expecting, with supplies
of men, provisions, and ammunition.

The French were further disheartened
by learning of a large accession to the
British squadron, and disappointed at the
delay of their own expected fleet. Pep-
perell, too, had been reinforced, by a
timely arrival of recruits and ammuni
tion, not only from the neighboring Britr
ish settlements of Canseau and Annapo
lis, but from Massachusetts ; and was thus
enabled to keep up, by a more effectual
fire from his batteries, the lively appre
hensions of the French, first aroused by
a knowledge of the fate of the Vigilante,

By a council-of-war held in the
squadron, it was determined that
it was not practicable or advisable to at-



Juiie 8.



26



BATTLES OF AMERICA.



[PART i.



tack the town of Louisburg, without the
island battery should be first taken. It
was therefore proposed that, if proper
pilots could be found, the ships should
be anchored within half a cable s length
of the island, and General Pepperell hav
ing supplied the commodore with live
hundred provincials, that these, together
with the sailors and marines of the squad
ron, should land under cover of the ships,
and attack the island fortress.

Pepperell, on being consulted, did not
altogether approve of this plan, being
especially opposed to the attack on the
island by embarking the troops in the
whale-boats, which a few musketrballs
might sink. He therefore urged again
his former proposition of a general attack
upon the town. As for the island bai>
tery, the squadron, he suggested, might
bombard it from the outside, and be safe
to retreat. Pepperell sent accordingly
three pilots from his own transports, to
take charge of the ships and bring them
to a safe anchorage as near as possible to
the point of attack.

While this plan of Pepperell is being
considered, the provincials set to work,
with renewed energy, in their bombard
ment of Louisburg, and threw into the
citadel a continued shower of red-hot
balls. The French, too, were not back
ward, and returned the fire with great
spirit. They succeeded in planting six
cannon, during the night, to protect the
west gate, which w r as the chief object of
attack ; but the provincials had the good
fortune to silence them early the next
morning.

Warren finally consented to bring in



his ships, in accordance with Pepperell s
plan ; and it was agreed that, as soon as
the wind w r as fair for the squadron to
sail into the harbor, the attack upon Lou
isburg should be made. The commodore
was to hoist a Dutch flag under his pen
nant at the maintop-gallant masthead, as
the signal of his having weighed anchor ;
and Pepperell was to answer, when he
should be ready, with " three smokes."
" When I hoist a Dutch flag," says Warren
in his communication, " you should march
toward the town, drums beating and col
ors flying ; w T hen I hoist the red flag on
the flagstaff, you may then be assured I
shall be in and begin the attack in about
half an hour."

Pepperell was as eager as the commo
dore, and was making ready with all pos
sible despatch. He ordered all the trans
ports out to join the squadron, the boats
to be fitted with oars and ladders, and
sent to Warren a supply of cohorns and
shells, and what oakum and moss could
be collected. He got ready three more
forty- twos to play upon the circular bat
tery, and prevent it from annoying the
ships. He was keeping up a constant
fire from his lighthouse battery upon the
island fortress, and had succeeded in al
most silencing it. His other batteries,
too, were kept busy; and Louisburg was
evidently suffering more than ever it had
done during the whole six w r eeks of the
siege.

Everything w r as now in readi-

f 1 lee 1 rn Jlllie !4

ness lor the genera I " push. 1 he
provincial vessels had sailed out of the
bay to join the squadron ; the brushwood
had been gathered and placed on the



COLOlSriAL.J



SURRENDER OF LOUISBURG.



27



June 15.



summit of Green hill, preparatory to the
raising the signal of "three smokes ;" and
all was now eager expectation of the com
ing event.

Warren hoisted his Dutch flag;
Pepperell answered with his
"three smokes" from Green hill; War
ren replied with his red flag ; and soon
the fleet sailed in before the wind, and
anchored in a line near the town. The
commodore pulled off at once for the
shore, and, meeting the general, they
were received by the troops on parade.
Both Pepperell and Warren, having ad
dressed them in a few stirring words, pre
pared to assume their several positions,
and fulfil the duties of the day. Before
they had parted, however, it being late
in the afternoon, a flag of truce was seen
advancing from the west gate of the gar
rison. The bombardment ceased at once,
and the captain of the foremost of the
provincial batteries approaching half way,
met the French officer who bore the flag,
and received from him a proposal for the
suspension of hostilities, in order to give
the garrison an opportunity for the con
sideration of terms of capitulation. Pep
perell and Warren sent back their answer
as follows, having written it in the camp
as late as half-past eight at night:

"June loth.

" GOVERNOR DUCHAMBON :

"We have yours of this date, propo
sing a suspension of hostilities for such
a time as shall be necessary for you to
determine upon the conditions of deliver
ing up the garrison of Louisburg, which
arrived at a happy juncture to prevent
the effusion of Christian blood, as we



were together, and had just determined
upon a general attack. We shall com
ply with your desire until eight o clock
to-morrow morning ; and if in the mean
time you surrender yourselves prisoners-
of-war, you may depend upon humane
and generous treatment.

" We are your humble servants,
"PETER WARREN,
" WILLIAM PEPPERELL"

Next morning, Duchambon sent back
his terms for the surrender of Louisburg,
but they were rejected by Warren and
Pepperell, who insisted upon conditions
less favorable to the enemy. These were
accordingly accepted by the French, who,
however, demanded that their troops
might be allowed to march out of the
garrison with their muskets and bayo
nets, and colors flying. This privilege
was freely granted by Pepperell and War
ren, who thought it not worth while to
"stickle at trifles." Terms of capitula
tion having been agreed upon, hostages
delivered, and all preliminaries arranged,
the two commanders prepared to take
possession. There now sprang up a feel
ing of rivalry between Pepperell and War
ren, as to who should enter Louisburg
first and receive the keys of the fortress.
Both seemed anxious for awhile to frus
trate the other ; and each wrote to Du
chambon, demanding that the town should
be given up to him. Pepperell, to whom
probably precedence belonged, wrote tc
the French governor that he would send
Colonel Bradstreet with a detachment at
four o clock in the afternoon, to

r t! ^ Juue 17t

take possession ol the town and



28



BATTLES OF AMERICA.



[PART I.



June 16*



forts, to whom he desired that the keys
be delivered.

Warren, having stolen a march upon
his rival, had previously written to Du-
chambon, demanding that the
keys of the town be delivered
to such officers and troops as he should
appoint. The French governor seemed
inclined rather to yield to the commo
dore, who probably passed with him as
the superior officer. Duchambon accord
ingly showed Pepperell s letter to War
ren, who was so angered by its purport,
that he wrote reproachfully to the pro
vincial general, telling him he was sorry
to find by his " letter a kind of jealousy
which I thought you would never con
ceive of me, after my letter to you of
last night. And give me leave to tell
you I don t want at this time to acquire
reputation, as I flatter myself mine has
been pretty well established long before."

After this little spirt of rivalry between
the two commanders, the affair was final
ly adjusted by Warren conceding to Pep-
perell what fairly belonged to him as
commander-in-chief of the expedition
the right of receiving the keys. The
French fortress was now delivered
up ; and, as the troops entered, they
were so struck with the strength of the
fortifications, that they considered their
own success as a marvel of God s good
ness. " God," wrote an eye-witness, " has
gone out of the way of his common prov
idence, in a remarkable and almost mirac
ulous manner, to incline the hearts of
the French to give up and deliver this
strong city into our hands."

Strong as it was, however, Pepperell



1745,



had succeeded with his batteries in shat
tering its strength very effectually. In
his despatch to Shirley he said : " I be
lieve such ruins were never seen before,
which, however, is not to be wondered at,
as we gave the town about nine thousand
cannon-balls and six hundred bombs be
fore they surrendered, which sorely dis
tressed them, especially the day before
they sent out a flag of truce, when our
incessant fire on the town prevented their
showing their heads or stirring from their
covert ways; and from lighthouse bat
tery we played upon the island battery
with our cannon and large mortar, so
that some of them ran into the sea for
shelter."

On entering Louisburg, it was found
to contain two thousand inhabitants, in
addition to about four thousand troops,
of whom about six hundred and fifty only
were regulars. All these, by the terms of
the surrender, were to be sent to France,
and pledged not to bear arms against
Great Britain or its colonies for the pe
riod of twelve months. A large quantity
of provisions, sufficient to have lasted the
garrison for half a year, and immense sup
plies of ammunition and military stores,
were taken possession of by the captors.

The occasion of the capture was cele
brated by a public dinner, given by Pep
perell to his officers, of which a clerical
anecdote is recorded as the most memora
ble incident. The general had been ac
companied by a number of the New-Eng
land clergy, among whom was his wife s
brother, one Parson Moody. This divine
being the eldest, was entitled to the hon
or of saying "grace before meat." As



COLONIAL.]



EXULTATION OF VICTORY.



29



he, however, was apt to be very long-
winded on such occasions, the company
were in a state of nervous anxiety, lest
he should inflict upon them his usual pro
lixity. Moody, however, only gave vent
to the following brief invocation, much
to the relief of the anxious and hungry
guests : " Good Lord ! w r e have so many
things to thank thee for, that time will
be infinitely too short to do it ; we must
therefore leave it for the work of eterni
ty. Bless our food and fellowship upon
this joyful occasion, for the sake of Christ
our Lord. Amen." :|:

Pepperell and Warren became the joint
governors of Louisburg on taking posses
sion of the city in the name of his majes
ty George II. ; but they continued to fly
the French flag from the fortress, with
the view of deceiving the French vessels
expected to arrive. By this deception,
they succeeded in ensnaring a large num
ber of prizes, amounting in all to no less
than a million of dollars. There w r ere
two East-Indiamen supposed to be worth
one hundred and seventy-five thousand
pounds sterling, and a South-sea ship of
the enormous value of eight hundred thou
sand pounds. This prize-money, however,
much to the dissatisfaction of the provin
cials, fell exclusively to the naval forces.

When they heard in New-England of
the success of the expedition, there was
great joy throughout the colony. Bos
ton was illuminated as it had never been
before. " There was not a house in town,

* " The Life of Sir William Pcppcrcll, Bnrt., by Usher
Parsons. Boston: Little, Brown, & Company, 1855." A
work of careful research, to which the author of the " Battles
of America" has been indebted for much valuable informa
tion.



in no by-lane or alley, but joy might be
seen through its windows." The bells
rang, the cannons roared, and the people
shouted the whole day, while bonfires
burnt and houses blazed with light all
the night. A day was set apart through
out the province to return thanks " to
God for his appearance on our behalf."

Nor did the news of the victory excite
less joy in Old England. " We are ma
king bonfires for Cape Breton," wrote
Horace Walpole. George II, who was
on a visit to his Hanoverian possessions
when he received the intelligence of the
capture of Louisburg, was aroused to an
unusual pitch of enthusiastic delight. He
made Warren an admiral at once, and
governor of Louisburg; and issued his
letters-patent, dating them from Hano
ver, by which he conferred a baronetcy
upon Pepperell. Sir William was the
first and only native New-England colo
nist ever raised to that dignity.

In London the news created great ex
citement ; the tower and park guns were
fired, and the city illuminated. On the
return of George II. to his British domin
ions, he was met by congratulations and
addresses of the towns and public bodies,
upon the happy event. The ministry
of the duke of Newcastle had involved
Great Britain in a war with France, which
had hitherto only resulted in disgrace to
the former and glory to the latter. The
English had now the conquest of Louis
burg, " the Dunkirk of America," as a set-
off to the French triumph at Fontenoy.

The Americans became exalted at once
in the estimate of their British fellow-
subjects, as they alone had succeeded in



30



BATTLES OF AMERICA.



[PART i



vindicating the fame of their country by
a great victory over its enemies. The
reduction of Cape Breton, said a contem
porary writer, " by the people of New
England, was an acquisition so unexpect
ed and fortunate, that America became
on that remarkable event a more general
topic of conversation. Of such conse
quence to the French was the possession
of that important key to their American
settlements, that its restitution was in
reality the purchase of the last general
peace of Europe."

The effect upon the future destinies of
America was no less than upon the actu



al position of affairs in Europe. At the
siege of Louisburg, the American colo
nists learned their first lesson in regular
warfare, and acquired that self-confidence
which did not hesitate, in behalf of their
own great cause of independence, to try
the chances of battle with European
troops. At Louisburg, too, were schooled
those famous officers, Wooster, Whitin^,

/ O

Gridley, and others, who became as heroic
Revolutionary leaders in the battle for
" life, liberty, and happiness," as they had
been faithful soldiers in the service of
their king, whom they only loved the less
because they loved their country more.



CHAPTER IV.

The New-Englandera eager for Conquest. Proposal to invade the Canadas. The French burning with Revenge. An
Avenging Fleet. Its Fate. A Second French Fleet. Met and conquered by the British. Peace. The Concession
of Louislmrg to the French. New-Englanders dissatisfied. France again lusting for Dominion. Desires to unite the
St. Lawrence and the Mississippi. Who shall be supreme, France or England? Might not Right. Marquis Du
Quesne, Governor of Canada. His Activity. Forts built. Ohio Company alarmed. Appeal to Governor Dinwid-
die, of Virginia. A Commissioner sent to expostulate with the French. Failure of the Mission. George Washing
ton appointed. A Bootless Errand. The Ohio Company constructs a Fort. Dinwiddie sends a. Force to protect it.
Washington declines the Honor of the Chief Command, but accepts the Second Rank. His March to the Ohio.
The French Invasion. Washington and his Difficulties. Spirited Conduct. The American Fort on the Ohio at
tacked and the Virginians routed. The Garrison arrive in Washington s Camp at Will s Creek. Their Story and
Adventures. Monsieur Contreco3ur. A Wily Old Indian. Washington perplexed. A Council-of-War. March to
Redstone Creek. Road-Making. Little Meadows. Excessive Labors. The Indians propose the River Route. The
River found impracticable. Road-Making resumed. Rumors of the French. Arrival of the Enemy. Washington
goes in Pursuit. Finds the French, attacks and beats them. The Death of Jumonville. A Spy or an Embassador 7
Washington slandered by the French.



1745,



THE New-Englanders were so ela
ted by their success at Louisburg,
that their minds were stirred with a de
sire for further conquests. They were
now prepared to carry the war into Can
ada ; and a plan for a campaign was act
ually devised, by Shirley, the governor
of Massachusetts, and the two heroes of
Louisburg, Pepperell and Warren, within



the walls of that citadel. The British
minister, the duke of Newcastle, seemed
to favor greatly the American design ;
and, having conferred colonelcies upon
Shirley and Pepperell, ordered them to
recruit their regiments to the number of
a thousand each, preparatory to the in
vasion of the French possessions in Can
ada.



COLONIAL.]



DESTRUCTION OF THE FRENCH FLEET.



,31



The French, on the other hand, hav
ing heard with great vexation of the loss
of their famous citadel, determined to
take revenge. They accordingly fitted
out a large fleet, at an immense expense,
in the port of Brest, and, placing it under
the command of the duke d Anville,
despatched it to America, with the
view of reconquering Cape Breton, and
striking a severe blow upon the coasts of
the British provinces in America. Great
preparations were made in New England
to defend it against this formidable ene
my. Forts were erected along the coast,
the militia of the various provinces gath
ered to protect the exposed points, and
sentinels were placed on the hilltops to
watch for the first signs of the coming of
the French ships. Sir William Pepperell,
the hero of Louisburg, had now returned
to Maine, and assumed his old command
of its militia. He was full of martial
spirit on the occasion, and had his com
panies mustered by their captains, their
accoutrements put in order, and every
possible arrangement made for the ap
proaching emergency.

D Anville and his fleet did not arrive,
however. They had put to sea in great
force, with no less than eleven ships-of-
the-line, thirty small vessels-of-war, and
various transports containing three thou
sand regular troops. Nova Scotia, then
as now in possession of the English, w r as
to be the first point of attack. Calcula
ting upon the sympathy and active aid
of the French residents of this the for
mer Acadie,they anticipated an easy con
quest. Once in possession of this penin
sula, they proposed to retake Louisburg,



and thence invade the New-England
coasts. The design was extensive, and
the preparations had been on a scale of
grandeur in accordance. But man pro
poses and God disposes.



Online LibraryRobert TomesBattles of America by sea and land. With biographies of naval and military commanders (Volume 01) → online text (page 4 of 126)