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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)



The only cellars in the Royal Battery - apart from the "souterrains" beneath the two towers - were in the left wing, beneath the Chapel, the storehouse, and the officers' quarters. No trouble was experienced with these cellars until 1736, when Sabatier observed that they were so damp as to cause damage to their contents, and recommended that their floors be raised by using earth fil1.[1] No action appears to have been taken on this suggestion, however, for in December 1737 it was again suggested that the Minister should give orders to have the cellars of the battery filled, this time to the brim " ("combler") since water entered consistently, and ruined the cellar floors.[2] Still no action followed, and in October of the following year Bourville  and Le Normant reported in greater length on the problem.[3] They pointed out that there were no cellars under the soldiers' wing (i.e.= the right wing, and stated that Verrier wished to fill these under the left-wing to a depth of one and a half pied, thus making their floors higher than the ground-level of the ditch, and, presumably, preventing water from the ditch from seeping through the walls. They noted that this operation would render the cellars useful to the officers of the battery's garrison for the storage of provisions.

During 1739, 1740, and 1741, no work was undertaken on raising the floor level of the cellars, since more essential tasks occupied the labourers. [4] The same was true during 1742, butt in October of that year the Minister was assured that in 1743 the cellars would be filled to almost four pied.[5] No evidence exists to contradict the assumption that this work was accomplished on schedule. Although the cellars of the battery are mentioned by an English observer at the time of the 1745 siege, no details of their depth at that time is known.[6] In December 1750, however amongst a list of works performed at the Royal Battery by the entrepreneur Coeuret,[7] an item is included for the movement of earth, rubble, and sand for the filling of the cellars "des magasins" up to ground level, the amount of material required being 25-25 in cubic toise, pied, and pouce. This item presumably refers to the cellars beneath the provisions magazine at the extremity of the left wing of the barracks building. Whether the cellars under the chapel and the officers' quarters were similarly filled in is not stated. No further reference to the Royal Battery cellars is made in the sources consulted.



1. AC C11B V.18 ff.289-294, Sabatier, 6 November 1736.

2. AC C11B V.19 ff.241-242, Unsigned to Minister, December (?) 1737. .

3. AC C11B V.20 ff.62-72, Bourville and Le Normant to Minister, 24 October 1738.

4. AC C11B V.22 ff.60-65v, Bourville and Bigot to Minister, 25 October 1740 / AC C11B V. 23 ff.07-12v, Duquesnel and Bigot to Minister, 10 October 1741.

5. AC C11B V.24 ff.37-40v,Duquesnel and Bigot to Minister, 30 October 1742.

6. Louisbourg Journals 1745, Ed. L. E. de Forest, First Journal (Anonymous), p .18 .

7. AC C11B V.29 ff.276-299, Boucher, 31 December 1750.