17 June

Sir William Pepperell at Louisburg, 1745

Louisburg Falls to Pepperell and Warren

Louisburg had always been a threat to the New England colonies. After Governor Shirley of Massachusetts received information that it was not as strong as was supposed (see March 24) , he decided to take action.

Shirley managed to raise a force of 3,000 men in New England. They were mere amateurs, farmers who walked to Boston in their working clothes, carrying their own muskets. William Pepperell, a militia colonel from Maine, was placed in command. His only experience had been fighting the French and Indians along the border. Nevertheless, it was an enthusiastic force that sailed from Nantucket on March 24, 1745; destination Canso. Its motto had been supplied by a famous preacher, George Whitefield: "No despair while Christ leads."

At Canso, New Englanders were joined by a British naval squadron from the West Indies under Commodore Warren. This was a stroke of good fortune, because there were powerful French warships at Louisburg and they could have blown Pepperell's small ships out of the water.

A landing was made west of Louisburg on April 30. The troops had to wade through icy water and then drag their cannon into position through a jungle of boulders and marshland. They kept up a bombardment of Louisburg until June 17. During the six weeks of siege there were a number of hard-fought engagements. The knockout punch came on the night of June 16, a combined operation by Pepperell's and Warren's forces. Louisburg surrendered on June 17, 1745.

The British then played another crafty trick. They kept the French flags flying over the fortress for several weeks. During this time they captured twenty French ships that sailed into the harbor unsuspectingly. The value of their cargoes ran into millions of dollars. Under British navy regulations, half of this went to die Crown, while the other half was divided among the officers and men of the fleet. Every sailor received about 25 guineas, which was the equivalent of approximately $125 today! The poor New England soldiers were not entitled to any of this booty. There would have been a mutiny if they had not been promised a raise in pay and land in Cape Breton.


17 June

-1616    The Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland, was sold to Sir William Vaughan who founded a Welsh colony at Trepassey Harbour.

-1673    Joliet and Marquette discovered the Mississippi River.

-1753    Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, was settled by Germans from Halifax.

-1869    Anthony Musgrave, former Governor of Newfoundland, was appointed Governor of British Columbia.

-1919    Winnipeg strike leaders were arrested.

-1958    The second Narrows Bridge collapsed while being built at Vancouver.

-1962    Six buildings were gutted by fire during a riot at the St. Vincent de Paul penitentiary.