THE SIEGE OF LOUISBOURG 41
was at once retaken, and a scouting vessel sent along the coast to gain information.
Like all novices, the troops had beguiled them-selves with the thought that conditions would meet them more than halfway, and that the project would be a comparatively easy one. They were therefore taken aback to learn that the harbour of Louisbourg, which they had planned to enter on the night of arrival, was still fast bound in ice. Patience perforce became the virtue of the moment. The time, however, was not lost. The raw recruits, even then inclined to assert their American independence, had enough good sense to learn some-thing of drill and other necessary matters in the interval, and a blockhouse was built and mounted with small guns for the security of the returning fishermen. A short time after-wards, as a first success, some of the cruisers prowling about in the vicinity of the fortress, captured several boats carrying supplies to the garrison, and these, no doubt, proved very acceptable to the four thousand hungry men of the expedition.
Matters were further enlivened by the arrival of the Elthan2, a well-known British ship used to convoy the yearly colonial fleet of merchant-