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THE STRUGGLE FOR CANADA   59

support of the proposal. The other English colonies were invited to join, but only Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island agreed to help. A fleet was pre-pared and seven weeks after Massachusetts came to a decision, her contingent of 3,250 men sailed for Canso, where they were joined by 516 from Connecticut and 304 from New Hampshire, making a total of some 4,000 men, entirely untrained and very poorly equipped, all under the command of a New England merchant, William Pepperrell, a colonel of militia, but with little experience in the management of troops.

When the Massachusett's contingent left Boston, the troop-ships were convoyed by an insignificant naval force of three colonial frigates and a few smaller vessels hastily equipped in Massachusetts. It was realized that this convoy was altogether too feeble, but it was hoped that before a French fleet could arrive, the expedition would be joined by the British fleet then in the West Indies under Commodore Peter Warren. Although this assistance had been hoped for, rather than expected, Warren and his fleet actually joined the expedition at Canso, and took it in safety to Louisbourg.

And indeed the New Englanders met with uniformly good luck. The commandant of Louisbourg, Chambon, was a weakling. Du Vivier, one of the most efficient officers of the garrison, was absent, having gone to France to solicit aid. The place was short of munitions, and the troops, 2,000 in all, influenced by the Swiss companies of the garrison, were in a state of mutiny, and it was feared that there would be wholesale desertions on the approach of the enemy. When Pepperrell's expedition left its base, it was wholly unprepared with siege guns, but the New Englanders, before leaving Boston, had planned the capture of some of the enemy's heavy guns and the use of them against the defences. With singular assurance they actually had cast, and took with them from New England, a supply of large cannon balls for the guns they expected to capture. And this astonishing scheme


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