Louisbourg Siege collection  1745-1746
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The 1745 siege of Louisbourg 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. France had heavily fortified Louisbourg (Cape Breton Island, then called Île-Royale) in order to protect its North American land holdings from the British. The French also used Louisbourg as an outpost for its Northern Atlantic fishing fleets, which competed with New England fishermen. Using the European conflict as a justification for war, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut raised a small fleet and over 4,000 troops for an expedition on Louisbourg, led Sir William Pepperrell and Sir Peter Warren. They started the offensive in early March 1745, but cold weather and icy seas delayed the full scale siege until April. Though the French government did not send reinforcements to the fort, the defenders successfully warded off their British attackers until the French surrendered on June 17, 1745.

The British controlled Louisbourg until 1748, when the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle ended the war and returned the fort to the French, much to the dismay of the colonists. Ten-years later, however, during the French and Indian War, British colonists recaptured the fort.

Prominent military personnel represented in this collection include:

  • Samuel Moore, a colonel of the New Hampshire Militia.
  • Colonel William Vaughan (1703-1746), a chief organizer of the Louisbourg expedition and son of Lieutenant Governor Vaughan of New Hampshire province.
  • T.W. Waldren (1721-1785), a captain of the New Hampshire regiment at Louisbourg.
  • Richard Waldren (1694-1753), a member of the New Hampshire Council, Speaker of the Assembly, and Secretary of New Hampshire.
  • Meshech Weare (1713-1786), a town moderator, selectman, and representative of Hampton Falls in the Assembly and, in 1776, he became the president of the state until 1785.
  • Edward Williams, a captain of a New Hampshire regiment at Louisbourg.
  • Reverend Stephen Williams (1693-1782), the chaplain for the New Hampshire Militia.