A Plan of the City and Harbour of Louisburg with the French Batteries...
An important map published in The Natural and Civil History of the French Dominions in North and South America. The map was originally published on October 9, 1758 and is a composite of two plans of the Fort of Louisbourg and one inset map of the Bay of Garbarus. The first plan describes the successful 45 day siege of Louisbourg by the British that ended on June 17, 1745. The siege was comprised of nine regiments raised and equipped from New England under the command of Sir William Pepperill and supported by a fleet headed by Commodore Warren. Louisbourg would eventually be returned to the French as part of the Treaty of Aix la Chapel in 1748. It has been argued that the siege of Louisbourg in 1745 “was one of the most important battles of King George’s War, the North American conflicts of the War of Austrian Succession between Britain, France, and Spain.”
The second plan of Louisbourg illustrates, within the context of the Seven Year’s War, the siege of 1758 with the locations of the British landings and their subsequent formations and encampment. The landing in Gabarus Bay show the three divisions led by Brigadier General Wolfe, Brigadier General Laurence and Brigadier General Whitmore. The plan also shows the different defensive batteries erected by the French at Black Cape, and the batteries located on an island Northeast of the French fort and in the Harbour of Louisbourg. In addition, the plan makes reference to the destroyed French settlements that occurred at the hands of the British forces on the 2nd of March 1758.
It is important to note that the fall of Louisbourg was instrumental in the eventual victory over French forces in North America and to the end of the Seven Year’s War. With the fall of Louisbourg, British forces could attempt to lay siege to Quebec and thus gain control of the entire interior of North America. As such, with it’s fall on July 26, 1758 Louisbourg, became the staging point for British forces under the command of General Wolfe to lay siege to Quebec which fell on September 13, 1759. This pivotal British victory would lead to the fall of France’s North American Empire and remove any European impediment emanating from the North to the Westward expansion for Britain’s North American colonies.
It is also important to note that it was during the siege of Louisbourg that James Cook had his first encounter with Samuel Holland, an assistant engineer responsible for surveying of the area that would become the theatre of war. This encounter would lead Cook on a path that saw him become one of the greatest explorers of the 18th Century and renown for his acumen as one of the great map makers of the age.
This is the second state of the map that was printed a year after the initial publication in 1757 with the centre being extensively re-drawn to show new information. Both states are rare and are a testament to the historical importance of the sieges of Louisbourg of 1745 and 1758 in the geopolitical evolution of North America.
(Sources: Kershaw 907, William L. Clements Library http://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/clementsmss/umich-wcl-M-4858lou?view=text )