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Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada
THE CONSTRUCTION AND OCCUPATION OF THE BARRACKS OF THE KING'S BASTION
(Fortress of Louisbourg
Report H A 13)
CHRONOLOGY OF CONSTRUCTION
1750 - 1758
In August, 1750, Coeuret was awarded a formal contract for work on the buildings and fortifications of Louisbourg.(1) In December Boucher submitted a 13-page account of work done on the barracks and bastion during that year.
Many of the works, which Boucher had estimated months before, were included. Twenty-two days had been spent cleaning up the rubbish on the terreplein and along the barracks, and two basement rooms in the soldiers barracks were filled in. Many of the temporary beds in the casemates were dismantled and the wood used to repair floors or to shore up the basement and council chamber of the governor's wing. There were the usual repairs of doors, partitions, fireplaces, staircases, locks and bolts, hinges and pintles. Some old cut stones were re-cut, and those which were in too poor a condition were replaced. Two iron stoves were made for the governor's wing. Amazingly, only 21 window panes were required to be replaced in the entire building. Eight twenty-foot ladders were placed on the roof and three other ladders of 21 feet were also built. The door of the vestibule of the governor's wing had a lock with 5 keys and there was a spring bell, probably at the main door of the residence. Some alterations were made to the chapel, and the door to the gallery was fitted with a lock with 40 keys for the officers.(2) A new bell was set up on a frame across from the guard house, with the soldiers ringing the hours; some were over-zealous in their assignment and cracked the bell, which had to be sent to France to be recast.(3)
In 1751 Boucher reported the old complaint of lack of workmen, saying he was not able to complete repairs to the barracks. There remained 10 attic floors to remake, but the present ones, he felt, could serve until they were replaced. The governor's wing required considerable attention:
the governor's wing was in such a bad state that I began by working at all the outside on the ditch side from the foundation to the first plinthe comprising the ground floor and the height of the cellars; the part above up to the cornice was also greatly damaged... Five wooden floors of the wing, four on the ground floor and the one of the big hall upstairs, were replaced. In the chapel the sanctuary floor was also redone and the eight big windows were totally repaired.(4)
However, when the new governor, De Raymond, arrived he was not impressed with his lodging:
It would be impossible for me to live there. It is a regular icehouse and there is not a single convenience which could serve the conditions of my house.(5)
As his predecessor had done, he went to live in the Engineer's house in Block 1 and during all this period the engineer was forced to live elsewhere at a cost to the treasury of 400 livres. In 1753 Franquet, the new engineer, recommended that the governor move back into his wing in the barracks - ostensibly to save money, though doubtless Franquet was looking forward to occupying the engineer's quarters himself.(6) It was not until June of 1755 that Franquet was able to say that all the barracks were ready, arid the new governor, Chevalier Drucour, did take up residence in the south wing when he arrived in 1754.(7) Little else is reported about the barracks before the second siege, except that in 1753 the roof was still covered in shingles and probably retained that covering.(8)
On July 22, 1758, at the height of the second siege the governor, Drucour, reported:
the fire which hit the Barracks of the King's Bastion occupied us so much from nine in the morning till night time that we could only imperfectly attend to the rest of the guns. This fire was caused by an enemy bomb which fell on the soldier's barracks near the arch of the clock tower of the chapel; the soldiers busied themselves in evacuating and the fire did not appear until it was quite inflamed so that the right and left were attacked right up to the battery of` the right flank which we managed to save with care and manpower, and to the governor's wing. (9)
1. Minister to De Raymond and Prévost, 13 April 1753, AN. Col., B. vol. 97, f. 294(2). Franquet and Prévost to Minister, 2 October 1753, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 33, f. 43.
2. Etat des réparations , 31 December 1750, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 29, ff. 276-82.
3. Prévost to Minister, 13 December 1752, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 33, f. 242.
4. Boucher to Minister, 20 November 1751, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 31, ff. 118-19.
5. De Raymond to Minister, 18 June 1752, SHA' Al, vol.3393, f.45.
6. Franquet, Etat General des Pavillions, 9 October 1753, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 33, f. 228v.
7. Franquet to Minister, 8 June 1755, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 35, f. 271v.
8. Etat des personnel, 9 October 1753, AN. Col., C11B, vol. 33, f. 225.
9. Drucour to Minister, 22 July 1758, AN. Col., C11B, vol 38, f. 86.