THE SIEGE OF LOUISBOURG 53
was not to be. The resources of the island, on the occasion of a midnight assault from the Grand Battery, had been strained to their utmost, when, after a fierce hand-to-hand fight, it had repelled the New Englanders with many killed and drowned. Before the end of the siege, how-ever, the gallant little outwork was knocked to pieces by guns mounted on a height at the east side of the harbour. From this spot, it is worth noticing, General Wolfe effected a similar destruction some fourteen years later during the second siege, after which Louisbourg was blown up and dismantled.
All the persistency and determination of the colonists, however, would have been of little avail without the efficient aid of the wooden walls of Old England. By these the outward ring of defence was capably maintained beyond the harbour, and all French relief beaten off in a series of smart encounters that embody a story in themselves. The one possible attempt of the garrison to acquaint the mother country with the facts had resulted in capture, and France remained serenely unconscious of their desperate need of assistance until too late. The most formidable of these engagements took place towards the end of May, when the Vigilant,