Welcome to the seventh week of Bidwell Lore! Last week we saw part of two of the series about Adonijah Bidwell and his experience at the Siege of Louisbourg. Today is the third and final part of this story, the fall of Louisbourg.
Before moving onto the story, we wanted to say a heartfelt thank you for all of the support we continue to receive. We are so glad you are tuning in and enjoying this new content! Please also consider supporting the Museum with a donation or by purchasing a membership. Thank you!!
This section of the series was put together with the help of Rob Hoogs, President of the Bidwell House Museum Board of Trustees, and Rick Wilcox, Bidwell House Museum Board Member and Bidwell descendant. Thank you both!
Over the last two weeks, we have explored the Siege of Louisbourg through historical text and the journal that Adonijah Bidwell kept as the ship’s chaplain. To read the last two stories, from May 19th and May 26th, head to our main Blog page. We left off on Sunday, June 16, 1745, with a line in Adonijah’s journal about a Flag of Truce. To add some additional historical context to the journal entries:
Next the Americans occupied Lighthouse Point from which they could bombard the Island Battery, a second powerful French outpost. With its fall the fate of Louisbourg was sealed, and in late June, 1745, the French garrison surrendered.The exultation of the proud colonists was … dashed by the terms of the  peace conference which ended the [Seven Year War] in Europe [and the French-and-Indian War in the North American Colonies]. The English, more interested in India than Nova Scotia, blithely traded Louisbourg back to the French for possession of Madras. The Americans were outraged that their blood and toil had been spent in vain. The incident was subsequently compounded by other provocations which eventually led to the Declaration of Independence a generation later.
Source: The Morgans, by Dr. Warren Kump, http://www.lanbob.com/lanbob/H-Bobbitt/H-1926WK-MOR.htm
After 47 days of siege, the French surrendered on June 28, 1745. As can see from the journal entries, there was still considerable activity in the area for weeks afterward including much celebratory cannon fire. His duties as chaplain kept Adonijah busy on the voyage home when many of the men on the ship died of sickness, something he almost succumbed to himself. It would be many months before Reverend Bidwell returned to Hartford in early 1746, after what was arguably the biggest adventure of his life.
Next week we will switch gears a bit and talk about King Philip’s War, courtesy of guest columnist Bernie Drew.
EXPEDITION TO CAPE BRETON.
Journal of the Rev. Adonijah Bidwell, Chaplain of the Fleet.
Transcribed from the original and communicated by Mr. E. M. Bidwell,
of Providence, R. I.
June 17. The Island Battery surrendered early in ye morning. The Commodore goes on shore there. The guns were fired once or twice round on ye Island Battery. P.M. The whole Fleet sailed into Lewisburg harbor. The Light House & other Facine Batteries & ye Grand Battery salute ye Commodore as he sailed in. The Commodore when anchored fired 17 Guns—The French Flags in ye city are struck and ye French march out about 4 of ye clock & then ye English army march in, drums beating, Colours flying, & ye marines too at ye same time land.
18. We took a ship off Lewisburg harbour. She had 29 men & 12 Guns from Bourdonex bound for Canada coming into Lewisburg for a Pilot.
26. A skooner arrives hear from Annapolis & Captn Rouse comes into ye harbour.
28. We sailed from Lewisburg.
29. Spoke with Captn Douchu & he had met with about 1200 French & Indians as they supposed who were designed for Lewisburg.
Sunday, 30. About two anchored at Canso.
July 1. About 7 A M sailed from Canso.
3. About 11 Anchored in Lewisburg harbour just afterwards came in a Sloop, then a skooner from Boston. P.M. came in Captn Tompson, he fired 7 guns passing ye Fort, ye Commodore returned 3, then came in a Man of War with 20 Guns, he fired 13 guns passing ye Island Battery ye Commo-
dore returnd 9 guns. The Lark also sail’d for Newfoundland this day about 3 P.M. & ye Launceton for France with transports.
4. Robbins, Cerl & Mumford sail for France with Transports.
5. This day came in a skooner form Boston with Soldiers, who left Boston 11 days before. The Elthain & another ship sail for Boston, we with two other sloops for Canso. Captn Sanders also for Boston.
6. Arrived at Canso.
Sunday, 7. This day came Captn Fones & Donihu’s sloop from ye gut of Canso with ye sad news yt Donihu & 11 more men were killed by ye Indians 8 days before. P.M. I preached on shore in ye fort at Canso from Luke 2. 10.
8. Died on Board defence James Camil & buried on Canso Island ye day following. P.M. came James Jordon in a skooner from Rhode Island.
11. Sailed to St Peters.
13. Spoke with Captn Hammon bound to Louisb.
15 (Monday). Anchored at Canso.
16. Came her Captn Daniel from Lewisburg this day in a sloop with Colonel Baum, Colonel ——– Major Pomroy, with other passengers bound home from ye expedition & some French were on board likewise. At night another sloop bound home came here & both sailed early next morning.
17. Some sail pass by from West to East.
18. Two Sail from ye West pass by. Upwards of 30 men belonging to ye defence are sick. About 11 at night Samuel Shirley died & was buried ye next day A.M.
20. About sunrising we weighed anchor, a little before sunsetting we Anchored in Louisberg harbour. Captn Fitch & Chapman ariv’d here ye 17th day.
21. A.M. Heard ye Rev Mr Williams preach from John 20, 31 Docte. The great intention of ye Gospel is to bring men to believe in X & so to Salvation. P.M. Heard ye Commodores chaplain from Ps 116. 12. A.M.
One Downing dies & is buried P.M.
23. A Ship being seen off from ye harbour ye Princess Mary, ye Canterbury, & ye Defence sail out early in ye morning after her. Ye Princess Mary being ahead meets ye Ship A.M. fired at ye Ship & made her strike In a few minutes without receiving one shot. Twas a French Ship of 400 tun from Bengale in 4 months & from France in 18 months. They knew not yt it was War. She had 60 men on board & sd to be worth Two hundred thousand pounds sterling mounting 30 or 36 guns.
24. We go into ye harbour of Louisburg. The East Indian prize fired 15 guns. Ye Sunderland return’d 15.
25. The prize fired 15 or 16 guns. The Town fired in salute 15 more. Captn Burton arrived here from R. Island in a skooner. A French ship With Passengers sailed for France.
27. Sail’d from Louisburg.
Sunday, 28. About noon anchor’d at Canso where 3 of our men had died since we left ye place ye last time. Viz Saml Carter and Jonn Gibbons who died 22d. Day & Daniel Ponley who died 24th day.
29. About noon Thomas Stanton died and was buried ye same day on burying island.
August 1. A.M. David Kuntly died on Canso Island & was bur’d on burying Island. Captn Talcott sail’d from Canso for N. London with 43 sick men belonging to ye sloop Defence.
2. About Sundown one man in Canso accidentally shot another named Pollard thro’ his body, with which he died about 10.
3. Thunder & Lightning.
Sunday, 5. About 6 in ye morning we sailed for Louisburg.
6. P.M. Anchored in Louisburg harbour when we were informed ytabout 4 days before 2 ships, a South sea man & an East Indian ship were taken & brought into Louisburg.
10. Captn Aaron Bull in a Sloop ariv’d.
Sunday, 11. A.M. I heard M————– from Luke 8. 18.—P.M, Mr Ely Williams from Deut 32. 29. Doct—10 earnestly desires TA welfare. 20 truest wisdom is to consider & improve ye advantages of ye present life in Order to a better. 1 what is meant by later end & consider to what are ye advantages of ye present 0 in order to another in general. 1 ye time of life. 2 all ye dispens of div–prov–& ye means. 1 ye 0 what we are to — 4 prove ye point.
12, 13, 14, 15, 16. About Sunsetting came in ye Superb with Governor
17. A.M. The Governor goes on shore. Hector fires 17 Guns. Canterbury 17 Guns. The City 19 Guns.
18, Sunday. A.M. Dy’d Ranfford Avery. P.M. Dyed William Bramble.
19. About 12 of the clock dyed Lieut Jonah Gross in Louisburg.
20. P.M. Lieut Gross was buried fired 14 Guns as he was carried to grave.
21. About 6 at night ye Grand Battery fired 19 Guns in salutation of Governor Sherley. About 8, 19 more.
22. About 1 in ye morning dyed Amos Palmer, about 4 P.M. Govr Sherley went to ye Island Battery, 19 guns were fired upon his entering ye Fort A[nd?] 17 when he went off.
23. About 1 in ye morning died Will Smith. P.M. The Sunderland fired 15 guns.
24. About sundown died Lieut Timothy Root in Louisburg.
25. Sunday, A.M. Heard a sermon from these words, A Froward [sic] heart is an abomination to the Lord. P.M. The Revd Mr Williams from Ps 8, 4.
26. Captn Fletcher came in & fir’d 11 guns, the Canterbury retd 17 more.
27. The Hector Man of War goes out & fir’d 9 guns. The Canterbury Ret’d 7 more.
30. About sunrising died Oliver Clap.
31. This day sailed ye Massachusetts for Boston & Lais in a Sloop for Connecticut with Colon Burr & 60 or 70 Connecticut men.
September 3. Richardson brings in a Ship yt he retook.
4. This day in ye morning died Jess Edgecome.
7. About 2 in ye morning died Archibald Campbel.
8. I preached at ye Grand Battery A.M. 1 Tim 1, 15. P.M. Matth 16, 26.
9. Captn Fones arriv’d from Newfoundland & Captn Miles from Connect, who informed us yt 8 out of the sick men belonging to ye Defence Sloop yt went from Canso with Captn Talcott dyed on their passage home.
11. About 10 at night Wil Chester died.
12. A little after Sun up died David Williams of Westherfield.[sic]
13. I went to ye Island Battery — very hot for ye season. The Governour & Commodore with other Gentlemen & Ladies go on board & go to ye Island Battery — 4 times 17 guns are fired.
15. Sunday, P.M. I heard ye Rev Mr Williams preach from Numbers
14. 17. Doct. there is an infinite sufficiency in ye pardoning grace of God.
17. Lieut Tory died.
19. Cap’t Aaron Bull sail’d for Connecticut.
20. 17 Guns were fir’d on board a ship.
22. Sunday. Captn Sanford sail’d in a ship for New York.
23. Monday. Came in a Brig from New York Captn Bingham in a sloop from N. London.
24. Came in ye harbour Captn Rouse in a snow from England with ye News yt General Pepperel was Knighted & also Commodore Warren was Knighted & made Governeur of Louisburg &* Rere Admiral of the Blue. In Passing ye Island Battery he fired 15 guns, ye Superb 13. About 3 P.M. Admiral Warren hoised his flag on board ye superb & then all the Ships fired & ye Grand Battery.
29. Sunday. We sailed for New England. I preached on board from Col 3, 4 & was seized with sickness the same. Day.
October 6. We ariv’d at Boston as I was afterwards inform’d but knew nothing of it myself, being bereaved of my senses thro the violence of my distemper.
8. On Tuesday ye 8 day I was carried to Docr Rands where I was Eleven weeks & 4 days to ye 28 of December then I set out from Boston For Hartford & got home to Hartford the eleventh day of January.
Transcribed from the NEHGS copy by Robert Hoogs, May 9, 2020