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Researching the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
  Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada




JULY, 1971

(Fortress of Louisbourg
Report H A 13)


1758 - 1768

A view of the town after the English took over (Fig.15 [1758-12d: Presently Unavailable]) shows what remained of the barracks, The governor's wing and part of the officers' quarters were intact, but for the rest only the triangular masonry partition remained. A report on the building in August, 1758, stated:

The roofs and floors of this building are burnt there remains only the Pavilion... and even this has been much battered during the siege.(1)

However, repairs were made to the building and it was exempted from the 1760 demolitions which saw the razing of all the fortifications. In 1766 a drawing recorded what had become of the barracks.(Fig.16 [: 1766-1: Presently Unavailable]). Over the ruins of the old north half, a one storey wooden barracks was constructed, but was only half as wide as the original barracks had been. The clock tower, chapel, and most of the officers' quarters were still in ruins but the governor's wing was listed as repairable for use as an officer's barracks.

There was no recorded end to the occupation of the barracks. Like most of the other buildings in Louisbourg it gradually disintegrated and was pillaged for building materials after the British abandoned the site in 1768. In 1897 a visitor was told by an occupant whose house reputedly sat on the site of the governor's house, that in his father's time there remained vaulted cellars, a well and a spiral staircase - all of which had been knocked down by the father.(3) Bishop Plessis from Quebec, who visited the remains in 1815 had commented:

What a heap of stones! ...nothing was entire, nothing that could be recognized with certainty.(4)

Stories and legends grew concerning the fortifications, and in some of the accounts the barracks was referred to as a cathedral.(5) But until recent times most saw Louisbourg as a visitor did in 1859:

no signs of life visible within these once warlike parapets except the peaceful sheep grazing upon the very brow of the citadel.(6)


1. Colonial Office 5, vol. 53, f.152, 13 August 1758.

2. Supplementary Report on the Chateau, 1964 by Jonn Fortier, unpublished in Louisbourg Archives.

3. "Souvenirs du Cape Breton", Fauche de Saint Maurice, Revue des deux Frances, Vol. 1 (October,1897) 14-20.

4. Post-Occupational History of the Old French Town of Louisbourg, 1965, Wayne Foster, unpublished in Louisbourg Archives, p.77.

5. Ibid, p.97.

6. Ibid, p.99.

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