Soldiers of the Atlantic Seaboard
The Occupation Of Louisbourg And French Attacks
Caption: Micmac warrior, around 1740
That same year, a fleet was organized in France under the command of the Duc d'Anville to recapture Louisbourg. On board were two battalions of the Ponthieu Regiment, two battalions of the royal militia, and one battalion of the Compagnies franches de la Marine, as well as some artillery. However, the expedition met with great misfortune. Storms separated the ships, and sickness broke out, decimating soldiers and sailors. The Duc d'Anville died of apoplexy and his successor attempted suicide. Those who survived took refuge at Chebucto Bay before sailing back to France, where they arrived in a pitiful state.
Other large expeditions set out from Canada. In 1746, Governor General Beauharnois sent a powerful force of 680 militiamen to Acadia, supported by a number of soldiers from the Compagnies franches de la Marine, to offset the negative effects of the capture of Louisbourg. They arrived in July near Beaubassin, north of the Bay of Fundy. They received the support of Abbé Le Loutre, a missionary to the Amerindians, and occupied the Isthmus of Chignecto.
The Americans were not at all pleased that the isthmus had fallen under French control, and they sent a Massachusetts regiment commanded by Colonel Noble to occupy Grand-Pré and the surrounding area. Commandant Ramezay ordered Captain Coulon de Villiers to dislodge them. De Villiers first mounted a raid on Cobequid (today Truro, Nova Scotia) in January 1747, and then he surrounded Grand-Pré with 300 men, including about 50 Amerindians. On the night of February 12, at around three o'clock in the morning, ten detachments slipped into Grand-Pré and simultaneously attacked the Americans, who were overcome after a few minutes of confused fighting in the darkness. Colonel Noble was killed, and the garrison surrendered. It was rendered the honours of war and sent to Annapolis, while Villiers and his men retired to the north.
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