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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

Voyage to Canada - 1755


3 May - The following ships left from Brest, France:

Ship Captain Guns Regiment Companies Men Officers
(Fleet under M. de Macnemara)

Heros..........deMont Louet..74
Fleur de Lis...Marmier.......30....Frigate

(Fleet under M. de la Motte)
Dauphin Royal..Montalet......22...Bourgogne......9.....360....21
Algonquin......Lanileon......22...La Reine.......9.....360....21
Lis............Lorgens.......22...La Reine.......4.....330....20
Appollon.....................22...6 Surgeons...Frigate
Aquilon......................22...6 Surgeons...Frigate

The weather was good. The fleet sailed at noon on the 3rd (Saturday), and headed south in two fleets. The first fleet was under the command of Monsieur the Count Dubois de la Motte, while the other was under the command of Monsieur de Macnemara. 

4th: the weather remained good, but the fleets were followed by an English Frigate. (Fleet travelled about 23 leagues SW)

5th: Reached Cape Finisterre. The wind calmed for about 24 hours, giving the English Frigate time enough to circle the fleets and inspect them. The French commanders did not find this troubling.

6th: Wind returned. Still travelling South West (made about 12 leagues).

7th: The English Frigate, still tailing the fleets, is chased off by Monsieur Macnemara in the Formidable. Still travelling southwest. Made about 26 leauges)

8th: Between noon and 3:00, the two fleets seperated. That of Monsieur Macnemara remained behind to return to France, being only an escort. That of M. de la Motte continued on towards Canada. (made another 55 leagues, now travelling W 1/4 SW)

9th: Turned West: 27 1/3 leagues.

10th (Saturday): A Calm came. Travelled SW 1/4 S 16 2/3 leagues.

11th: The Esperance was carried Leeward, even though the wind was light, and one of her "cross-trees" were broken. The fleet waited while this was fixed. Made 38 1/3 leagues westward.

12th: W 1/4 S : 27 2/3 leagues
13th: West : 27 2/3 leagues
14th: W 1/4 SW: 18 2/3 leagues
15th: North : 6 leagues
16th: W 1/4 NW: 21 3/4 leagues
17th: West : 51 leagues
18th: W 1/4 NW: 14 leagues
19th: W 1/4 NW: 28 2/3 leagues
20th: W 1/4 NW: 24 2/3 leagues
21st: W 1/4 NW: 27 2/3 leagues
22nd: W 1/4 NW: 30 1/2 leagues
23rd: West : 31 1/3 leagues
24th: W 1/4 NW: 43 1/4 leagues

25th: SW : 13 leagues - On the 25th, Monsieur de la Motte signalled the fleet to come to a stop. Having reached the Great Bank, it was now time to open the orders from the King to see what the various ships destinations were. Representatives from each ship came aboard the Entreprenant where the orders were held. While the soldiers and sailors looked out over the water, and saw many icebergs and birds through the fog, delaMotte read the orders which stated that 6 ships: The Bizarre, the Esperance, the Dauphin Royal, the Defenseur, the Acquillon and the Commette would hence be under the command of M. de Salvert and continue with the battalions of Artois and Bourgogne to Louisbourg, in Acadia. The rest of the fleet would continue to Quebec. A strong wind came upon the ships during the meeting, and several men were almost lost in trying to return to their own ships.

26th: East : 5 leagues

27th: With the Great Bank now being crossed, the soldiers did some Cod fishing, and held "The Ceremony of Baptism". A ceremony, much like that held by our present sailors at the crossing of the Equator. Made 28 2/3 leagues W 1/4 SW. An iceberg could be seen in the distance.

28th: N 1/4 E : 1 1/3 leagues. Now surrounded by icebergs, and the resulting fog, the ships needed to proceed with caution.

29th: W 1/4 SW: 9 leagues. More Cod fishing.

30th: W 1/4 SW: 23 1/2 leagues.

31st: By this day the Fog was so dense that the fleet had seperated entirely. The Entrepenant had remained behind to stay with the Bizarre, the Deffenseur and the Actif. The Leopard, the Appolon, and the Illustre eventually met up as well.

1 June (Sunday): The fleet struggled SW. On this day, the Appollon became seperated from her small group. The Fog continues.

2nd: The fleet travels WNW about 20 leagues.

3rd: NW 1/4 W: 14 leagues. Now realizing that the fleet might never be totally re-joined, the individual captains open their packets written for just such a case. In these packets they find commands to travel to Cape Rosiers where two frigates, the Fidelle and the Diane awaited the fleet. These two frigates carried pilotes who were well used to navigating the channel of the St. Lawrence.

4th: At daybreak, DelaMotte, aboard the Entreprenant, saw 10 ships in the channel. Figuring that this was the rest of the seperated fleet, he began to steer towards them. After getting closer, however, he realised that it was, in fact, an English contingent. Luckily, the Fog returned and the ship was able to escape capture. Unluckily, however, the remaining ships became seperated one more time in the fog. The wind was light on this day. Meanwhile, those aboard the Illustre continued fishing for Cod, as the wind was still in a non-cooperative mood.

Three more of the French ships came upon the English detachement that day. Out of the fog, the Alcide, the Lys and the Actif came upon the 10 enemy ships. Worried, but overly so (as the two countries were, after all still at peace), the commander of the Alcide, Monsieur de Hocquart, drew broadsides with the lead ship of the English fleet, the Dunkirk who was commanded by Captain Howe. Hocquart called out to Howe, asking if he had word whether the peace still held. Howe replied "La paix, La Paix" (Peace). A brief discussion then followed, when suddenly the cannon of the Dunkirk fired into the broadsides of the Alcide. The other two ships, the Lys and the Actif, seeing this occur, immediately tried to disapear into the fog. The Actif, thankfully was able to do so (It was on this ship that one Simon Roux dit Sanschagrin, from Mirecourt France - and ancestor to Larry Roux of Syracuse, New York - stood in worry). The Lys, however could not escape, and was captured.

5th: The rest of the fleet continued on towards the Cape de Rosiers where they were to meet the waiting Frigates with navigators. They made way NW for about 9 leagues. Monsieur de la Pause (of the Guyenne Regiment aboard the Illustre) reported that on this day they sighted land in the morning, as well as several sails. One small ship came broadsides to the Illustre. In this boat was Guy Venois from Martinique, and Guy Aloit. Their boat was full of cod.

6th: SE 9 leagues. Unbeknownst to most of the fleet what happened to the Alcide and Lys, the soldiers continued in fishing and admiring the beautiful scenery opening up about them. The Illustre had reached the banks of St. Pierre.

7th: West: 2 1/3 leagues.
8th: WNW: 18 1/3 leagues.
9th: WNW: 25 leagues. At this time, the fleet had travelled a total of 799 1/6 leagues in a month and 6 days.

10th: The fleet now entered the Gulf, and in the morning came upon the Island of St. Paul.

11th: Reached the "Ile aux Oiseaux" (Isle of Birds - now Isle of Os?)

12th: Reached the Cape de Rosiers where the fleet was to meet the navigators. Here more of the ships assembled, the Algonquin, the Leopard and the Sirene. As the expected Frigates were not here, the fleet decided to move along and hoped to meet their escorts further up river. Of course, they did some more Cod fishing.

13th: Due to contrary winds, the fleet did not advance.
14th: The flotilla entered into the Bay de Gaspe now.
15th: Left the Bay, into the river itself, at Cape Amene.
16th: The wind, still light, brought the ships only 5 leagues to Mount Louis.
17th: Continued, still with little wind.
18th: The Leopard and the Illustre arrive at the Isle of Bic. Now the only missing ships are that of the Lys, the Alcide and the Actif. It was here that the rest of the fleet learned that the English had 14 ships patrolling the entrance to the Baye, as most of the ships did not encounter them due to the fog.

19th: The Wind finally picks back up, and the fleet passes the Ilse of Lievres at 4:00 pm. They then pass the Isle of Pelerins, and arrive at the Isle aux Coudes at 6:00pm.

20th: The fleet remains at anchor for the entire day.

21st: Set out at 4:00 am, but were forced to remain at the Isle aux Coudes.

22nd: Finally under way again, the fleet continues to within 1 league of Quebec where they anchor for the night.

23rd: The Fleet arrives at Quebec and debark at Noon. The soldiers are assigned to lodge with the inhabitents there.

24th: No word on the three missing ships.

25th: Worry erupts on the fate of the three ships, as they still have not arrived.

26th: The Actif finally arrived at Quebec, making complete the fleet that had made it safely to Canada.

[SOURCE: The above was compiled from the journals of the Monsieur de Vaudreuil (New York Colonial Document, v10), and Jean Guillaume Charles de Plantevit de Margon, Chevalier de la Pause (Rapport de la Province de Quebec, 1931- 1932)
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