44 THE SIEGE OF LOUISBOURG
General Pepperel, on the alert, saw the danger from his post on the deck of the Shirley, and the boats heading for land were sharply re-called. With keen eyes their movements were watched from shore, and when at length a large number of boats, filled with their cheering freight, began to make for another opening some miles up the bay, there ensued a desperate race between rowers and runners for the point of vantage. On shore the way was circuitous, and in some places well-nigh impassable. Over rock and boulder, through swamp and under-brush scrambled the Frenchmen, handling their loaded muskets as best they could, and some-times narrowly escaping an accidentally discharged bullet. But fate was against them ; and as, breathless and weary, they emerged from their last thicket, it was to find many of the enemy already on shore, and boat after boat discharging more with all possible speed. A brisk encounter, however, took place, in which the French had six men killed and a number taken prisoner, upon which further opposition was withdrawn and the defenders retreated.
Before nightfall two thousand troops were safely landed, and so much being secured many following days witnessed the debarkation of the