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42 THE SIEGE OF LOUISBOURG

men to and from England, with news that Commander Warren, with the SuJerbe, Mermaid, and Launceston, newly arrived from the West Indies, was following. The joy with which this information was received can scarcely be imagined, owing to the recent official refusal ; and shortly after their arrival at Canso, the four men-of-war, with their provincial sup-porters, flags flying and billowing canvas, a gallant spectacle, left to blockade Louisbourg and harass all vessels under French colours that they might encounter.

The exceptionally cold weather continued, but fortunately for the forces, the densely wooded shores of Cape Breton provided plentiful fuel, and the men were kept busy chopping down trees and sawing the logs into six-foot lengths, with which to keep up their enormous camp fires. It was near the end of April before the ice broke up at Louisbourg, and the impatient contingent lost no time in setting off for their destination.

Few, if any, of the besiegers had more than a vague idea of the iron-bound coast, whose general craggy outline forbade landing. Even the fishermen plying their trade had given the neighbourhood a wide berth for some time


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