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76   HISTORY OF CANADA.

 

aggressive campaign. He had, however, made enemies, through whose intrigues he was now superseded ; first by Abercrombie, and, finally, by the Earl of Loudon, who was sent from England as commander-in-chief. Loudon did not arrive in America until July. The plan of campaign which Shirley had adopted was set aside, and nothing in the way of offensive war was done that year on the part of the British.

Oswego Captured.—Montcalm vigorously carried out his plans for the capture of Oswego. With a force of about three thousand men and abundant artillery he crossed the lake from Fort Frontenac, pitched his camp to the east of the river, and at once laid siege to the place. Fort Ontario, on the east bank, was abandoned, and the raw recruits who comprised the garrison gathered in Fort Pepperrell, on the west bank. There was a third fort on the same side, but it was so useless for defence that it was nicknamed Fort Rascal. By a flank movement Rigaud (a brother of de Vaudreuil) forded the river at a point up stream and opened a cross-fire upon Fort Pepperrell. The garrison held out bravely against the double fire until their commander, Mercer, was killed. Then they surrendered as prisoners of war, the French obtaining much booty. Montcalm made no attempt to hold Oswego ; after demolishing the forts he recrossed the lake. The fall of Oswego (August, 1756) gave the French the undisputed mastery of Lake Ontario and rendered secure their position at Niagara and their posts to the west.

Loudon Fails to Attack Louisbourg.—For the year 1757 the British planned an expedition against Louisbourg. Loudon gathered all his available forces together and set sail for Halifax, where he was to meet a British fleet sent out to aid in the capture of the Cape Breton stronghold. There was great delay in England, and July was well advanced before the fleet had gathered in Halifax harbor. Then, instead of proceeding at once to Louisbourg with the combined forces (amounting to over twelve thousand), Loudon sent a single ship to reconnoitre the fortress. Meanwhile the dilatory commander employed his men at Halifax in "cabbage planting and sham fights." Finally in August, learning that Louisbourg was in a strong condition for defence and guarded by a French fleet, Loudon weakly abandoned the enterprise and returned to New York.


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