August 14th, 1929

August 14, 1929

Fort Louisbourg A Famous Historic Site

Department of the Interior Acquire Land Around Ruins For Preservation Work.

The site of Fort Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island, the scene of some of the most stirring events in the early history of Canada, is to be marked and preserved as a national monument because of its outstanding historic importance, according to plans formulated by the Department of the Interior. Approximately 328 acres of land surrounding and including the remains of the famous French fortifications have been acquired by the Department through its National Parks Branch and the work of preserving the few remaining traces of the old fort and of marking other points of historic interest in the vicinity is being proceeded with. A monument in the form of a tall granite pillar surmounted by a cannon ball was erected by the Society of Colonial Wars of America in honour of those who fell at Louisbourg in the two famous sieges of that fortress. This monument was later transferred to the Department of the Interior. Two fieldstone monuments, each bearing a bronze tablet, mark the sites of the King’s Bastion and the Dauphin’s Bastion, while tablets affixed to the lighthouse on the other side of the harbour commemorate the heroic deeds of the British and French batteries during the engagements of 1745 and 1758.

The events which occurred at Louisbourg almost rival in historic interest and importance those immediately preceding the capture of Quebec. At Louisbourg the French had built a massive fortress after the system of Vauban and according to Parkman costing not less than 30,000,000 livres. By fortifying Ile Royale (Cape Breton) they intended to guard the entrance to the St. Lawrence and conserve their possessions in the New World.

In the year 1717 the building of the fort was commenced from the plans of Sieur Verville, the engineer sent out from France for the purpose, and the work was not finished till 1740. Five years later, in 1745, the citadel was besieged by the New England forces, led by Colonel Pepperell with Commander Warren of the King’s navy in charge of the naval forces. They were opposed by the French Governor DuChambon and Captains "Corsair" Morpain and deThierry. The siege ended after a struggle which lasted forty-seven days in the capitulation of the French defenders, who had been much weakened by semi-starvation, mutiny, and lack of ammunition. To the disappointment of the New Englanders the fruits of victory were abandoned by the British authorities at the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 1748, and Cape Breton with its magnificent fortress was handed back to the French.

In the second and more famous battle of Louisbourg in 1758 the land forces were under the command of the British General Amherst and the sea forces under Admiral Boscawen while Governor Drucour was in charge of the fort and Captain Des Gouttes of the French naval forces. The siege commenced on June 7 and ended with the capitulation of the French on July 26, a period of forty-nine days, during which occurred many stirring episodes. Two years later the noble citadel was completely destroyed by the British and levelled to the ground, with the exception of a group of casemates. The last blast was fired on October 17, 1760. The siege of Louisbourg was followed by the capture of Quebec and the final withdrawal of the French armies from the continent of America.