Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Louisbourg Siege Collection, 1745-1746

Finding aid created by
Philip Heslip, April 2010

Summary Information
Title: Louisbourg Siege collection
Creator: Sabin, J. F. (Joseph F.), 1846-1926
Inclusive dates: 1745-1746
Extent: 1 volume
The Louisbourg Siege collection documents the New Hampshire contingent of the Louisbourg expedition led by Sir William Pepperrell and Sir Peter Warren in 1745 and 1746. The collection includes eyewitness accounts of the siege, a contemporaneous copy of the articles of capitulation, and maps of the city and fort at Louisbourg.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

[1932]. M-4858.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the "We the People" project.


This collection was previously in George H. Moore's personal library, and was sold in 1893 by Bangs & Co. Auctioneers: Catalog Part II, number 1721.

Preferred Citation:

Louisbourg Siege Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


This collection is a volume of bound manuscripts that are ordered roughly in chronological order.


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.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Louisbourg Siege collection (25 items) consists of 19 letters, 2 receipts for goods, 1 memorandum, 1 excerpt from a journal, 2 printed maps, and one engraving. These items all concern the British siege and occupation of Louisbourg from 1745 to 1746. The writers were all part of the New Hampshire contingent of the Louisbourg expedition led by Sir William Pepperrell and Sir Peter Warren. Of note are a series of nine letters, written by Captain Thomas Westbrooke Waldron (d. 1785), to his father, Richard Waldron, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. These letters form a running narrative of the siege and include a contemporaneous copy of the articles of capitulation. The collection contains two replies from Richard Waldron. Fellow New Hampshire officers and soldiers wrote the remaining letters, including officer Nathaniel Weare, Colonel Samuel Moore, who commanded the New Hampshire troops during the siege, and Colonel William Vaughan.

The maps depict the Harbor of Louisbourg and a plan for the city and fortifications there. The engraving is "A View of the Taking of Louisbourg in North America, by Admiral Boscawen and General Amherst," 1758, printed in London. This represents the second siege of Louisbourg.

Joseph Sabin compiled the collection into a single volume. The final seven pages contain notes on the collection, written by Victor H. Paltsits (1867-1952), the State Archivist of New York and the Chief of the American History Division and Keeper of Manuscripts at the New York Public Library.

Subject Terms

    • Austrian Succession, War of, 1740-1748.
    • Cape Breton Island (N.S.)
    • Gabarus Bay (N.S.)
    • Great Britain--Colonies--America.
    • Louisbourg (N.S.)--History--Siege, 1745-1746.
    • Military chaplains.
    • New Hampshire. Militia.
    • Nova Scotia--History--1713-1763.
    • Portsmouth (N.H.)
    • Soldiers--New Hampshire.
    • United States--History--King George's War, 1744-1748.
    Subjects - Visual Materials:
    • Gabarus Bay (N.S.)
    • Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site (N.S.)--Maps--Early works to 1800.
    • Moore, Samuel, fl. 1745.
    • Paltsits, Victor Hugo, 1867-1952.
    • Sanborn, Ebenezer, 1712-1794.
    • Vaughan, William, 1703-1746.
    • Waldron, Richard, 1694-1753.
    • Waldron, Thomas Westbrook, 1721-1785.
    • Weare, Meshech, 1713-1786.
    • Weare, Nathaniel, fl 1745.
    • Williams, Edward, fl. 1745.
    • Williams, Stephen, 1693-1782.
    Genre Terms:
    • Accounts.
    • Engravings (prints)
    • Letters (correspondence)
    • Maps.
    • Memorandums.
    • Prints (visual works)
    • Treaties.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    Louisbourg Siege collection [series]
    A Plan of the City and Fortifications of Louisbourg; A Plan of the City and Harbor of Louisbourg; and a map of Gabarus Bay,  April 30, 1745
    Page   1  
     1758. Printed illustration: "A View of the taking of Louisbourg in the North America by Admiral Boscawen & General Amherst."
    Page   2  
     1758 May. Map: A Plan of the City & Fortification of Louisbourg, from The London Magazine.
    Page   3  
     1745 September 18. Reverend Stephen Williams letter to the widow of an army physician; Louisbourg.
    Pages   4-5  
     1745 October 21. Captain Edward Williams letter to Meshech Weare; Louisbourg.
    Page   6  
     1745 July 13. Receipt, soap for Edward Williams' troops with 18 signatures or marks.
    Page   7  
     1745 July 12. Receipt, account for tobacco for Edward Williams' troops with 15 signatures or marks.
    Page   8  
     1745 October 10. Ebenezer Sanborn letter to Meshech Weare; Louisbourg.
    Page   9  
     1745 October 14. Nathaniel Weare letter to Meshech Weare; Louisbourg. With,  1745 September 30. Ebenezer Sanborn to Meshech Weare.
    Pages   10-11  
     1745 June 6. Captain Thomas Westbrook Waldron (T. W. Waldron) letter to his father Richard Waldron; Louisbourg.
    Page   12  
      1745 July 8 [and 9]. T. W. Waldron letter to Richard Waldron; Louisbourg.
    Page   13  
     1745 September. T. W. Waldron letter to Richard Waldron; Louisbourg.
    Page   14  
     1745 March 23-April 6 (Julian calendar date 1744). T. W. Waldron letter to Richard Waldron; Louisbourg.
    Page   15  
     1745 March 23-April 6(Julian calendar date 1744). Richard Waldron's summary of T. W. Waldron's previous letter.
    Page   16  
     1745 July 9. T. W. Waldron letter to Richard Waldron; Louisbourg.
    Pages   17-18  
     1745 June 21. Richard Waldron letter to T. W. Waldron; Portsmouth.
    Page   19  
     1745 June 21. Richard Waldron letter to T. W. Waldron; Portsmouth.
    Page   20  
     1745 June 3. T. W. Waldron letter to Richard Waldron; Louisbourg.
    Page   21  
     1745 May 24. Richard Waldron letter to T. W. Waldron; Portsmouth.
    Page   22  
     1745 December 5. Nathaniel Weare letter to Meshech Weare; Louisbourg.
    Page   23  
     1745 July 26. T. W. Waldron letter to Richard Waldron; Louisbourg.
    Page   24  
     Undated. Memorandum: a true copy with commentary written by Thomas W. Waldron
    Page   25  
     1746 February 21 and March 7 (Julian calendar date 1745). Colonel Samuel Moore to Meshech Weare; Louisbourg.
    Page   26  
     1745 June 19. Colonel William Vaughan letter to Richard Waldron; Louisbourg.
    Page   27  
     1745 June 16. Document copy: Articles of Capitulation of Louisbourg, with a letter of British demands, copied by T. W. Waldron,  1745 May 7.
    Pages   28-34  
    Notes: Comments on the collection by Victor H. Paltsits
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Related Materials

    Examples of other Clements Library collections, which contain materials related to the 1745 Louisbourg Siege:

    • The George Clinton papers contain a letter from Commanders Warren and Pepperrell to Clinton, January 25, 1746.
    • The James Douglas papers include a logbook for the H.M.S. Vigilant , which patrolled the Northern Atlantic between 1745 and 1747.
    • The Peter Warren papers contain a series of warrants relating to the siege.

    Below is a selection of maps and printed items related to the Siege of Louisbourg. For more books, maps, and other items held at the Clements Library, use the search term "Louisbourg (N.S.) History Siege 1745" in the University of Michigan online catalog.