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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



By John Humphreys 

October 15, 1964

(Fortress of Louisbourg Report Number H F 5)



Many documents exist giving detailed accounts of repair work done and minor alterations made at the Royal Battery. A list of fine most important of these follows, with synopses of their contents; they are all reproduced in full in typescript copy form in the Research Notes Appendix to this Report.

This "etat" lists the window and door fixtures, lock work, keys, and minor furnishings needed for the repair of the barracks and latrines of the Royal Battery. A list at the conclusion of the report gives the precise numbers of each type of fixture required, but the report itself is of little use, since the dimensions and characteristics of the various, locks, hinges, window-frames, etc., are not given. However, the list has some interest in that it refers to the uses to which individual rooms in the battery were put, thus providing information concerning the occupation and use of the battery. Also, by listing pairs of the "creneaux" (loopholes into the ditch) according to their location in particular rooms, it may help to determine the frequency of their distribution along the rear wall of the barracks.

A list of maintenance costs at the Royal Battery for the above mentioned years, including not only fixtures needed in replacement, but also the charges for cleaning windows, and for providing cleaning utensils. Again, this list is of little use since it gives no dimensions of the materials required - these include window-panes, hinges, oven doors, bricks for a stove in the commandant's room; locks, and roofing slates for the repairs to the battery's barracks roof carried out during 1735.

A useful document since it lists the various chambers of the battery successively, with the repairs needed in each. Starting with the officers' latrines at the left flank, it proceeds through the left flank tower, the artillery magazine, the attic of the storehouse, the chapel, the commander's quarters, the rooms-above the latter, the commander's kitchen, another room leading off this kitchen, a second officer's room with its attic, a third officer's room with its attic, a fourth officer's room, the officers' guard-room, the prison, and the "barriers" of the entry gate. Thence the list proceeds along the right wing of the barracks, beginning with the soldiers'-guard-room, and continuing through the six soldiers' rooms (with the attic above the third) to the bakery, the right flank, latrines, and the right flank tower. Materials for repairs and replacement requested for these locations include a wide variety of objects, mainly window and door fixtures, locks, hinges, ladders, bolts, trapdoors, ovens, clamps, tables, benches; beds, etc. The only objects for which dimensions are given are the hinges, which are variously specified as 1 1/2 or 2 pied long. A final item calls for a general repairing of the slate roofing of the barracks.

A brief account of the costs of installing small "riveures" in the food stores, officers' and soldiers' rooms; no dimensions or specifications for materials are given, with the exception of 1/2 barrel of lime and 1/2 barrel of sand. Labour costs make up the remaining two items on the list.

This highly detailed document is referred to frequently in Section II of this Report. It gives dimensions and costs of materials needed for the construction of the éperon, the "straightening" and modification of the left flank, and the interior and exterior revetting of the battery with boards. The éperon is discussed in detail in Section II G of this Report, the left-flank modification in Sections I and II A, and the revetting in Section II C. The document referred to here contains estimates, with linear, square, and cubic dimensions, for the following materials: earth, rock, masonry, masonry "en mortier de terre", pinewood lumber, revetting timber of pinewood and native wood, large ironwork, lead "en plaque", and turf. The dimensions given for the masonry work and the revetting are particularly detailed, and have been used in Section II J of this Report to help determine the 1744 height of the seawall face. In addition to details of material for the construction of the modified left flank, the éperon, and the revetting, the document lists several minor repairs at the battery, specifically new beams for the communication-bridges from the battery to the flanks, several new platforms, spouts, "heurtoirs", doors for the latrines, and for communication to the flanks, turf for topping the merlons, and three wooden guérites.

This is apparently Bastide's initial report to Pepperrell on the possible cost of repairing the Royal Battery. It is vague in the extreme and gives no dimensions whatsoever, stating merely that repairs are needed to the masonry of the walls, embrazures, and "breaches" to the roof, doors, and windows, in addition to "Pallisading and making good the Defences, cleaning the Ditch, etc..."

This document refers very briefly to the two English innovations at the Royal Battery - a palisade built in front of the seawall of the battery and a square fort on the hill in the battery's rear. No details are given.

The weekly lists for the above mentioned dates, entitled respectively "No.4 First Original", No.8 First Original", "No.10 First Original", and "No. 12 First Original", are entered on separate sheets in the Research Notes Appendix to this Report, but are treated as a single unit here for convenience, since they all represent work done at the Royal Battery during the summer of 1747. The lists consist solely of the names of artificers, the number of days they were employed, and the amount of their remuneration, with occasionally a brief resumé of the work performed. From these resumés it appears that between July and October 1747 the following repairs were carried out at the Royal Battery: completing the ironwork on new carriages, constructing grates in the officers' quarters, "Pointing" the east front of the barracks, whitewashing the rooms, mending the hearths and fireplaces, repairing the West tower magazine, and fitting soldiers' rooms for officers. 

No date is given for this document but its index card bears the notation "Placentia Campaign 1747". Although no map accompanies the description, the document is filed with Louisbourg papers. Certain features of the repairs - for instance, a surrounding palisade, work done to support earth being washed away at the point of the "Flagg Bastion", and repairs to the soldiers' barracks, chapel, and officers' apartments - suggest that the Royal Battery at Louisbourg might be the location under discussion. However, other references in the document - such as those to the 'Lt. Governor's House", and to her magazines lying close to the ramparts, argue against such an assumption, and the document as a whole is therefore of dubious value.

This document refers to exterior and interior damage done to the battery by shot, neglect, weather, and theft, but gives no details or dimensions. The following parts of the battery's structure are in need of repairs the turf coverings of the merlons; shot damage to the towers; the tower staircases, which have been removed; the barracks floor, which are rotten; and the replacement of stolen lockwork at the barracks. In addition, the report states that during the period of British occupation the furnace was demolished to make two soldier's rooms, the barracks were partially roofed with boards; the platform of the two-faces deteriorated seriously, along with its interior wall, and the counterscarp, banquette and parapet fell into a semi-ruinous condition.

This document includes estimations in square and cubic units, along with prices, of the masonry, brickwork, roughcasting, freestone, pinewood, planks, platform, slate, roof-boards, turf, door-fixtures, lockwork, and glass needed for the repair of the Royal Battery, Among the parts of the battery's structure in need of repair and reconstruction are: parts of the left wing tower masonry, the furnace, the counterscarp, the interior wall of the large platform, the crenellated wall in the place d'armes, (which had been entirely demolished by the English), hearths, the roughcastings of both towers, floors, the two main platforms, the slate roofing of the barracks, the wooden roofing of the towers, the turfing, and various doors, shutters, frames, and locks.

This account of minor repairs to the Royal Battery gives dimensions in square and cubic units and the cost in livres. It is mainly concerned with a renovation of the furnace area, which the English converted into two soldier's rooms (See this subsection, 24 July 1749), the refurbishing of the furnace and its chimney, and general repairs to the bakery. In addition, minor repairs to the chapel, the magazine, the commander's quarters and other rooms are mentioned, along with the re-installation of window glass, the cleaning of chimneys, and the fitting of minor furnishings.

This account contains a list of various repairs done at the Royal Battery, with costs and linear, square, and cubic dimensions of materials used. The repairs include the filling of the cellars, repairs to doors, window frames, and other woodwork in the barracks, repairs said  furnishings for the bakery, the cleaning of windows, and the building and installation of several items of interior furniture. It also mentions lockwork and hinges installed on the doors of the barracks, the latrines, the bakery, and several cupboards in the barracks.

This document includes:

Dimensions are given in "toises courantes" of palisades, which are reduced to a specific number of palisades at the end of the document by estimating at the rate of 9 palisades per toise.

Among papers taken from the cabinet of Boucher was a plan and elevation of a guérite "de la batterie Royalle", and a plan and cross-section of a guérite "executée à la batterie Royalle..." No farther details of any sort are given in this document. The question of the existence of guérites at the Royal Battery is discussed at length in Section II M of this Report.