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Canadian Historic Sites: Occasional Papers in Archaeology and History No. 18

The Construction and Occupation of the Barracks of the King's Bastion at Louisbourg

by Blaine Adams

Les batimens des arsenaux de marine "seront construits avec toute la solidité & les précautions necessaires. Les meilleurs materiaux seront employés à cette construction, L'architecture en doit être simple, & tirer sa magnificence & sa beauté de la disposition, de l'étendu & de la solidite, sans y employer d'autre ornemens." (Jean Baptiste Torchet de Boismêlé, Histoire générale de la Marine, contenant son origine chez tous les peuples du monde, ses progrès, son état actuel, & les expéditions Maritimes, anciennes & modernes [Paris: P. Prault, A. Boudet, 1757], Vol. 3, pp. 42-3.)


The first chapter of this study outlines chronologically the mechanics of construction of the barracks of the King's Bastion at Louisbourg. It is based primarily on plans, work accounts, repair bills and official correspondence. Some plans of the building have never been found, and indeed were missing in the 18th century; in 1752 some fortification and town plans were sought and it was reported that a search of the papers of the late engineer Etienne Verrier revealed nothing.1 The second half of this paper deals with the use of the building, including an analysis of its contents, and with the life of those who occupied the barracks. Unfortunately, the documentation for this section is not as extensive as that for construction; only one of the several inventories that were compiled exists today; few personal correspondence and journals have survived from this period, and there is a paucity of the kind of information required for any exhaustive analysis of day-to-day living.

Submitted for publication July 1971, by Blaine Adams, National Historic Parks and Sites Branch, Parks Canada.

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