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Sunday, 24 March 2013

King George's War 1744-48 Part 4: Siege of Louisbourg 1745

The Siege of Louisbourg in 1745 is one of the most remarkable incidents in military history. A colonial force, raised, equipped, transported and paid for by English colonists to besiege and capture a French fortress. Soldier of the régiment suisse de Karrer, around 1725
Soldier of the régiment suisse de Karrer, around 1725
The Swiss and Irish troops in French service generally wore red uniforms. When the régiment suisse de Karrer was raised for service in the French colonies by the Ministère de la Marine in 1719, it followed this tradition. This is the uniform worn by the unit when it was first posted to Louisbourg in 1722.
Drummer of the régiment suisse de Karrer, around 1745
As in all the Swiss regiments in the service of France, the drummers wore the colours of their colonel's livery (blue and yellow in this case). Swiss regimental drums were generally decorated with a flame design of the same colour as the regimental flag. The 1744 garrison mutiny at Louisbourg began when the drummers of the régiment suisse de Karrer began beating 'The Assembly' at dawn. Reconstruction by Francis Back.  Reconstruction by Michel Pétard.Drummer of the régiment suisse de Karrer, around 1745  (chgh.gc.ca) Soldier of the Compagnies franches de la Marine in New France, circa 1740
Soldier of the Compagnies franches de la Marine in New France, circa 1740
This man of the Compagnies franches de la Marine wears the grey-white coat of France with the blue facings of the Troupes de la Marine. He is armed with a musket, sword and bayonet. Note the anchor decorating his cartridge pouch. This was appropriate given that these troops belonged to the Ministère de la Marine, which was responsible for the navy as well as for France's colonies. This is how the men of the Compagnies franches would appear on parade or in garrison in one of the larger forts. Reconstruction by Michel Pétard.
New Englanders and Rangers assault the King's Bastion. Soldier of the Nova Scotia Rangers, around 1750
Soldier of the Nova Scotia Rangers, around 1750
The Nova Scotia Rangers were the very first British regular corps raised in North America. Also known as Goreham's Rangers, after their commanding officer, the men were mostly Amerindians and Métis. Reconstruction by Gerald A. Embleton. (cmhg.gc.ca)
 The New England Artillery failed to make much of a breech here. The French simply shot them down. British Marines, 1740s
British Marines, 1740s
British Marines, 1740s. Detachments from ten British marine regiments took part in the capture of Louisbourg in 1745. These elite troops wore mitres with rounded tops on their heads. (cmhg.gc.ca) New England troops land at Louisbourg, 1745
New England troops land at Louisbourg, 1745
Militia from New England, supported by the British Navy, land at Louisbourg in May 1745. After a short siege lasting 48 days, the French defenders surrendered the fortress. (National Archives of Canada)

New England militia charge the Dauphin Gate. At this gate, they didn't do much better. The New Englanders concentrated their guns on the wall to make a breech. However, upon assalting the forward trenches, they were likewise shot down in droves.

More New England Militia await to attack. These troops were then subjected to intense artillery fire from the Cannonier-Bombardier. The French then advanced from the King's Bastion and flanked the New England line. Louisbourg was safe for another day.

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