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Home > History > Battle of Louisbourg

Battle of Louisbourg

This page describes the Siege of Louisbourg in the French and Indian War.

Siege at Louisbourg

Battles of the French and Indian War - Louisbourg

The Battle of Louisbourg, in present day Nova Scotia, was one of the most important British victories in the French and Indian War. It marked a change of strategy in how the British fought the war. After several setbacks in the Ohio River Valley, British Prime Minister William Pitt decided that the best strategy for winning the war would be to attack New France in Canada.

A Crucial Spot

In 1758, Parliament planned an attack on the Fortress of Louisbourg, which stood in the way of a large-scale British attack on the rest of Quebec using the St. Lawrence River.

An Epic Siege Forming

On May 29, 1758, nearly 14,000 men on 150 transport ships and 40 war ships anchored in Gabarus Bay, just three miles from Louisbourg. They were under the command of Jeffrey Amherst. The French defense consisted of about 7,000 soldiers manning the cove and in war ships on the harbor.

The Siege

The British siege lasted over a month and a half. For several weeks, they made hardly any progress in taking the fortress. Eventually, however, their soldiers managed to secure the shore, and the constant pounding from British cannons and guns penetrated the walls of the great fortress, setting large sections of it ablaze. One-by-one, the French warships in the harbor were also destroyed. Finally, on July 26, 1758, French forces surrendered the fortress, which was promptly destroyed by the British. The British now had control of the vital St. Lawrence River.

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