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THE STRUGGLE FOR CANADA   69

reduced, and that the forces of the colonies should co-operate in the undertaking. In January, 1757, a conference of colonial governors, attended by the English Commander-in-Chief, Lord Loudoun, was held at Boston. The result was to defer the offensive operations against Canada, and to confine proceedings to the defence of the frontiers and the maintenance of the posts then held, it being agreed that in the meantime the Commander-in-Chief, with six regiments of regulars and some colonial troops, should take part in an attempt on Louisbourg.

In the spring of 1757, Lord Loudoun with an army of 5,000 men embarked at New York. Soon after the trans-ports reached Halifax it was learned that three French squadrons had arrived at Louisbourg, and the united French fleet being of superior strength to that convoying Loudoun's forces, the reduction of Louisbourg was not attempted. However, in the hope of drawing the French ships out into a general naval action, a British fleet under Admiral Holborne, consisting of sixteen ships of the line, proceeded to Louisbourg, where lay twenty-two French ships of the line and some frigates. But La Motte, the French admiral, decided to retain the advantage the shore batteries gave him and remain in the harbour, and the British fleet blockaded the place until dispersed by a September hurricane.

Montcalm meanwhile, taking advantage of the absence in Nova Scotia of most of the English regular troops, concentrated some 7,500 men near Fort William Henry and began its siege. This force included about 3,300 regulars, 2,900 French Canadians, and 1,800 or 1,900 Indians.

The force under Lieut.-Col. Monro, in command of the fort, consisted of about 3,000 men, chiefly provincials. Some 500 occupied the fort, and the rest were posted in an intrenched camp near by. A road led southward to Fort Edward, where General Webb was stationed with a considerable body of troops, but owing to the character of


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