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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)



In a letter to Verrier dated 25 April 1735, the Minister noted that the arch-supports were removed from the towers of the battery during the previous year, and observed that St.Ovide, Le Normant, and Verrier had proposed to roof the battery's towers, in order to protect them from snow and rain, which were wearing down the summits and platforms. In addition, he transmitted to Verrier the Ring's approval of this project,[1] and on 2 May 2035£ was allotted for its completion during 1735.[2] The roofing was begun during the summer of that year and completed before 28 October, when St. Ovide and Le Normant informed the Minister that it was finished.[3] Verrier wrote on the same day that a provisional toisé of the roofing was being sent to France.[4] On 24 January 1736 the Minister acknowledged receipt of this toisé,[5] and on 15 May he wrote to St. Ovide acknowledging the news that the roofing of the two towers of the battery had been completed during the previous year.[6] The only plan at Ottawa showing any evidence of roofing on the towers is reproduced in the Plans Index to this Report as Figure 9, dated 1740. It is notable that roofing of any sort on the towers is conspicuously absent in Plans 18 and 19, both dated 1751.

Concerning the material used for the roofing of the towers, indirect evidence seems to indicate that wood was used rather than slate. In the first place, the roofing depicted in Figure 99 dated 1740, has the configuration of a conical roof of planks, divided into six segments. Secondly, Verrier in 1736 proposed the covering of all the embrazures of the batteries in the port "de la même manière que font été les tours de la Batterie Royalle".[7] Verrier would hardly have suggested such a scheme had slate been used on the battery towers - the cost of covering all the embrazures at Louisbourg with slate would have been prohibitive. Thirdly, a 1749 list of repairs at the Royal Battery includes twelve square toise of "couverture en bardeau" for the Royal Battery towers.[8] Thus while no direct evidence that wood was used as a roofing for the towers exists, it does in fact seem highly likely from indirect evidence that that material was employed.



I. AC B V.63 ff.543v-547, Minister to Verrier, 25 April 1735.

2. AN Colonies F1A V.32 ff.47-48, unsigned, 2 May 1735.

3. AC C11B V.17 ff.17-20, St. Ovide and Le Normant to Minister, 28 October 1735.

4: AC C11B V.17 ff.252-260,.Verrier to Minister, 28 October 1735

5. AC B V.64 ff.464-464v, Minister to Verrier, 24 January 1736.

6. AC B V.64 ff.488v-490, Minister to St. Ovide and Le Normant, 15 May 1736.

7. AC C11B V.18 ff.11-15v, St. Ovide and Le Normant to Minister, 7 November 1736.

8. AC C11B V.28 ff.303-320, Boucher, 30 August 1749.