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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




January, 1968

Report H B 11

Presently, the illustrations are not included here.
For these, please consult the original report in the archives of the Fortress of Louisbourg




The features listed below were added to the Quay during the 1745 siege. A few should perhaps be considered for reconstruction.

By May 30 [French calendar] [9] 36 swivel guns [10] had been mounted on top of the parapet. Their location is not indicated but common sense dictates that they would have been placed on the curtain wall. on the right face and on the left face (if the right flank of the Eperon was without canon). At the flanks and near the flanks there would have been no need for them.

On may 30 (French calendar) 3 gun embrasures were completed on the right face near the Pièce de la Grave. [9a] They were probably made of earth, facines and sections of cable [9] and armed with 36 pounders.

On June 11 (French calendar) a boom made of masts chained together had been placed from the Eperon to the Pièce de la Grave. [9, 9a]

The following is a description of the Quay in 1745, based chiefly on primary sources. Wherever "as-found" and/ or archaeological data is available on a given feature, the reader is referred to this information. The primary sources are presented here, but scaling and structural analysis are left to those concerned directly with design.


1. The Quay wall: completed from the Pièce de la Grave to the Eperon, fitted with mooring rings and covered with a wood revetment.

2. Sluice: sluice mechanism and passageway to the Grand Etang completed.

3. Parapet: completed from the Pièce de la Grave to the Eperon, covered with wood revetment. outside, inside, and on top.

4. Terreplein: completed but work still needed to be done on the drainage slopes.

5. Banquette.. Completed.

6. Cales: slips completed for all, entrance barrieres of each in place, and Frédéric Gate completed.

7. Wharves:

- Frédéric wharf completed

- Etang wharf hastily completed and used

- Intendance, Halle, and Dauphin wharves - partially built

8. Gun Embrasures:

 -3 on right flank with gun platforms

- 3 on left flank probably with make-shift gun platforms

- canons probably mounted only during the siege

1. The fence at the bottom of the banquette
2. The stairs to the banquette [6]

1. The chemin couvert and the bridge on the sluice passageway:

In Verrier's Toisé of 1744 [3], there is ample evidence that a chemin couvert (a long traverse parallel to the right face wall [Plate 111] was built in 1744, extending from the Pièce de la Grave up to and perhaps beyond the Cale de 1'Etang. There is also a strong possibility that a bridge was built across the sluice passage to the Grand Etang, on the landward side of the chemin couvert. It is to be noted that these features would be purposeless without a constructed Pièce de la Grave. If they are to be incorporated in the reconstruction of the Quay, more research will have to be done, both historically and archaeologically.

2. Guerites:

Three maps made prior to the 1745 siege [742-1, 744-5, 745-11], each of which is accurate in most respects, reveal the presence of 2 guerites on the Quay - one at each salient angle. Since guerites are not present in post-1745 plans, and since documents in the form of letters and yearly reports cannot be found to confirm the existence of these guerites. the logical conclusion, then, is that they were never built. However, a number of points must be considered before such a conclusion can be reached:

(a) The embrasures on the flanks were also not mentioned in written documents until late in 1744, and then they were mentioned accidentally only in reference to another feature [3].

(b) The reason the embrasures were not mentioned is most probably (see gun embrasures) because the material used in their construction was the same as that used for the construction of the Quay, rubble stone and wood revetment. Hence,, their construction did not modify the cost of building the Quay, and there was no need to mention the embrasures. Could this not be the case with the guerite?

(c) The absence of guerites on post-1745 plans can easily be explained by the fact that the flanks were repeatedly battered down during, the siege the guarites if they existed would have met the same fate.


- See the archaeological report for structural details and materials used.

- Dimensions of sluice passage [16]:

Height 3P 6p

Width 2P 8p

- Passageway and sluice mechanism:

See Plates III, IV, VII

Remarks: The sluice passageway was rebuilt in 1752 [18 juin, 1752, C11B, v. 32, ff. 254-60v  Boucher]. As found data should therefore be analysed with great care, it is probable, however, that the original design was followed in the reconstruction.

- See the As-found plans

[C] Parapet:

- Width:


- Height:

6P 2p (including planking) from the top of Quay wall.

4P 2p (including planking from the top of the banquette.

Remarks: There was a difficulty in establishing the height of the parapet due to a contradiction between Verrier's proposed height of 6 pieds and Franquet's measurement of the same parapet as 4 pieds [13]. As can be seen on plan 571-14 [plate VI]. Franquet measured the height of the parapet from the top of the banquette; in so doing, he in Quay wall began immediately below the top of the banquette.

- The parapet was planked throughout its length from the Pièce de la Grave to the Eperon, inside, outside, and on top [2, 10].

- For details, see Plates I, II. and VIII.

- The planks were 2 inches thick [1a], 7 and pine  [26 octobre, 1741, C11B v. 23 ff. 191-200v, Verrier].

- The terreplein was finished in 1744, but work still had to be done on the drainage slopes [4,6].

Construction details:

- See Plate IIA and As-founds

- Length:

- 11 toises 1 pied in 1751 [14]

- 7 toises 1 pied in 1745 [see remarks]

- The earth used came from no particular locality. It cannot be determined from historical evidence whether there existed a special layer on top of the terreplein. As-found data may be available on this matter. If not, reference should be made to the terreplein to be built on the King's Bastion.

Remarks: In 1748. French officials noted that the Quay had been enlarged by nearly 3 toises during the New England occupation. [11] This may mean the terreplein. As-found data should therefore be interpreted with this possibility in mind.

- See As-founds and Plates II, VI

- Franquet established the width at the top of the banquette as 18 pieds [14]

- Masonry detail:

See archaeological report

- Width:

As-found and Plate I

- Gates:

Installed prior to 1745

For details see Plates I, IX

- Frédéric gate:

built prior to 1745

For details see Plate I

- Junction of cales and wharves:

See Plates I, II, IV, VIa

- Frédéric:

built prior to 1745 [1]

Length - 10T 2 p [14] [Plate VIa]

Width - As-found and Plate I

- Intendance:

built prior to 1745

Length - 40P [11a, 13]

Width - see Plate VIa

- Etang:

used in 1745, but imperfect

Length - 10T 3P 4p [plate VI a]

Width - see Plate VIa

- Dauphin and Halle: partially built

Remarks: In 1742, two wharves were built. One was the Frederick wharf. [14] The other was most probably the Etang wharf since its length was nearly the same as the Frederick wharf and since it had been built in a hurry [14],  presumably to facilitate transportation of construction material to the site of the Quay.

- Width of wharves according to Plate VIa [751-1]

Frederick:  3T  1P 2P

Estang: 2T 3P 0P

Dauphine: 2T 4P 2P

Intendance: 2T 4P 6P

Rodrigue Lavoie, for his part,, points out in his report that the second completed wharf must have been the Intendant's Wharf, presumably because of document 11A which mentions the existence of a "slip" at cale de l'Intendant in 1745. However, since the "slip" measured only 40 pieds (that is 20 pieds less than the Frederick wharf), we can assume that its platform had not yet reached the outer limit of the pilings which had been sunk in prior to 1745, and that the wharf was not yet completed. This would explain why the New Englanders selected to modif the Intendant's wharf rather than the  Frederick or Etang wharves which, being completed, were lined with pilings at their front end (see construction detail-remark) and thus were more difficult to extend. Another reason for rejecting these two wharves, of course, may have been that decay had set in, since they had been built in 1742, particularly in the case of the Etang wharf which had been built hastily.

The Frederick and the Etang wharves, then, were fully completed in 1743. Of the three others still to be perfected, " a perfectionner" [6]:

- The Intendant wharf had its pilings in place and its platform completed up to 40 pieds.

- The Dauphin wharf was probably in a similar condition.

- The Halle wharf was also in a similar condition. Franquet noted in 1751 [14] that the sea had filled this wharf with earth and gravel, while another French official in 1748 [11] believed that the filling, was done by the New-Englanders. Whatever the case, it seems probable that the filling process took place after 1745.

- Plates I, II, III, VIa

- Materials used:

Piling as in As-founds

Cross beams - oak 1p by 1P [1a]

Planks - pine, 3 pouces thick [14,15]


Though Plates I and II show the wharves as having planked sides, Plates III and IV and document [11] indicate that the wharves were made of a "ramp" flanked only by visible pilings.

Document [11] is a report made in 1748 by a French official who was so struck by the particular design of the modified Intendant and Dauphin wharves whose flanks were now planked, and by the earth-filled Halle wharf that he could not find words more suitable to describe these wharves than: "mole ou avancée en bois qui sont sur pilotis". The planked sides were obviously something new, not present on the Frederick wharf; otherwise he would not have noted any difference.

With the rejection of the proposed redant in front of the rue Toulouse - an Eperon-like structure which would have furnished lateral artillery fire along the length of the curtain wall - two flanks were added to the proposed Quay. Though no explanation was given for the addition, it is obvious that the need for lateral fire was the reason.

On both these flanks, 3 gun embrasures were built [3,5, 8] as early as 1743, most probably, when the parapet was built.

Construction details:

- Design:

As can be seen on Plates III and IV the design of the embrasures followed a symmetrical and formal pattern. Their dimensions and exact location can only be determined by scaling the above plans

- Material:

The material used must have been rubble, since the use of cut stone had been forbidden. Wood revetments must have also been used since Franquet, when he recommended that the gun embrasures on the flanks be restored, suggested that the cheeks be planked; presumably he could still see traces of the first revetment. [13]

It is reported in the Toisé of October 30, 1744 [3] that 3 small platforms had been built on the right flank; these had been mounted on a new layer of earth. [5]

Concerning the left flank, there is nothing to be learned from the Toisé. Franquet did state, however, that gun platforms had been built for the batteries covering the harbour and for the embrasures of the flanks. Since canon were mounted on that flank [Plate V], we must assume that gun platforms were indeed built there, but most probably they were made just prior to the siege and in a makeshift fashion.

Structural details of the right flank gun platforms:

- The 1744 Toisé gives the following information:

- Each platform was made of 3 cross beams, 12 pieds in length. covered with birch planks, 10 pieds in length. Assuming that the beams were perpendicular to the parapet as in Plate X. and assuming that their design was similar to the platform shown on that plate, each gun platform would have formed a rectangle 12 pieds by 10 pieds.

- Width of the planks cannot be determined except by scaling of Plate X. -

- Thickness of these planks could have been 2 pouces like those used on the revetment of the Quay.

- The slope of the platform was probably similar to that shown on Plate VIA.

Six canon were mounted on the flanks according to Plate VI and Verrier  fils' brief account [8].

The time at which these were placed must have been during the siege, since no mention of them can be found in documents written prior to the siege. [see Artillery Report], and since Maurepas had recommended that cannon be shuffled about in the fortress according to the location of the enemy's batteries.

The calibre of these cannon cannot be determined by documentary evidence. It is obvious, however, that they had to be of small calibre. such as the 8 pounders mounted on the Eperon in 1743.


The Quay, as it stood in 1745, had many defects. Wharves were of insufficient length and as a result were useless at low tide. The re-entrant angles at the flanks accumulated gravel and debris. Finally, the wood used for the revetment of the Quay and in the construction of the wharves was subjected to constant deterioration and quick decay. Consideration should therefore be given to these factors when undertaking the reconstruction.


1. A.C. C11B, Volume 24, October 20, 1742, ff. 58-60 [f. 58v]

1a. A.C. C11B, Volume 21, 1739, ff. 275-281 [ff. 275-277v]

2. A.C. C11B, Volume 25, December 3, 1743, f. 221

3. DFC, No d'ordre 201, October 30, 1744

4. A.C. C11B, Volume 26, February 8, 1744, ff. 200-202 [f. 200]

5. DFC, No d'ordre 209, November 18, 1744

6. DFC, No d'ordre 209, November 18, 1744

7. N.S./A 27/ 1745, pp. 263-270 (John Eliot) [p. 266]

8. 745-11

9. DFC, No d'ordre 216, 1745 (Gerard La Croix) [ff. 5v, 7, 15v. 18]

9a. F3, Volume 50-1, September 2, 1745, ff. 272-298, Journal of the Siege (Duchambon) [ff. 286, 290-291]

10. De Forest, Louisbourg Journals, First Journal, 1745, pp. 1-54 [pp. 48-49]

11. Archives de la Marine, B4, Volume 62,  October 30, 1748 (Beauharnois) [ff. 88-91v] [Pagination d'Ottawa: 149-154]

11a. N.S./A.34/July 1749, p. 161 (Hopson & Bastide)

12. A.C. C11B, Volume 28, December 31, 1749, ff. 330-351v [f. 330]

13. Guerre, Génie, Article 14-1, pièce 34, November 20, 1751; A.C. C11B, Volume 31, November 20, 1751, ff. 177-180

14. C.T.G., Article 14/1 (Places Etrangères: Louisbourg et Isle Royalle), No. 41, December 14, 1751; A.C. C11B, Volume 31, December 14, 1751, ff. 152-154v

15. A.C. C11B, Volume 32, November 8, 1752, ff. 265-268 [f. 266-266v] [Date Correct?]

16. A.C. C11B, Volume 33, October 9, 1753, ff. 221-234v