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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

Life in the Barracks


As with the construction, the history of the furnishing and occupation of the barracks is one of struggle, alteration and delay. Unfortunately the sources for this aspect of the building's existence are neither as extensive nor as organized as the construction accounts. Inventories of the barracks were made, but none have yet been found except for one inventory for the governor's wing. Details of daily life in the building are not readily available, and only an incomplete picture has so far emerged.

A serious impediment to a more complete analysis of daily routine is an almost total absence of informal journals or even private letters for this period. The information presented here is taken from official correspondence, plans of the barracks, and selected judicial records.

The 1731 barracks plan (Fig. 12) was the first to give the scheme of room distribution for the barracks. The governor's wing (no. 1 on the plan) was for the use of the government and included the governor's quarters, rooms for the superior council and basement rooms for the use of the governor. The adjoining rooms (no. 2) were officers' quarters, some of which were partitioned so that ideally, officers could be individually housed. The room (no. 3) which led into the chapel was reserved as a sacristy and chaplain's residence. The chapel (no. 4) completed this half of the barracks. The main entrance was next, with a drawbridge ever the ditch; the long room above this central passageway was an armoury. The room on the ground floor to the right of the entrance was a guardroom (no. 5). The remainder of the rooms were for the soldiers (no. 6) including those in the north wing which had originally been designated as the ordonnateur's residence. The barracks were serviced by latrines in the right face casemates (no. 9).

Accommodations were a permanent problem in Louisbourg. While awaiting the decision on where the Ile Royale fortifications were to be constructed, and then for the decision on what form the fortifications were to take, temporary lodgings were constructed for the governor, officers and soldiers. This complex, which in the end consisted of a series of long buildings forming a quadrangle, did not long survive except for the government building which appears on the 1725 plan (Fig. 9, the building near M).

By 1719, the year before barracks construction began, the garrison at Louisbourg was composed of seven companies, each with 45 men and 3 officers, though, with absenteeism, the actual total was 19 officers and 297 men.1 Garrison officials seemed to be constantly changing quarters2 and, because of lack of housing, some of the officers and their families were sent to the outposts of Port Toulouse and Port Dauphin for the winter. In 1720, at the engineer's request, they remained there since the barracks were not yet able to accommodate them.3

North Half of Barracks

North Wing (pavillion droit)

It was originally intended that the ordonnateur occupy the north wing of the barracks, but for years he managed to evade this design until it was officially agreed that the wing be used for other purposes. Before construction of the barracks the ordonnateur, de Mézy, had built a house on the north shore of the harbour (the better to survey fishing during the season, he claimed). From the beginning, even before the faults of the barracks were evident, he made it clear that he was not going to live in the barracks, calling it a stable.4 In a report of 1720 he stated that he hoped the governor would be able to move into the governor's wing the following year, and the king's lieutenant and the major into the north wing, pointedly excusing himself from occupying that area. He suggested that the governor's present residence would suit him and his offices nicely.

The ministry did not approve these suggestions and said that any final decisions would await de Verville's report.5 In the spring of 1722, the answer came that changes in the original plans were not to be tolerated, and de Mézy would therefore have to live in the barracks.6 The ordonnateur, however, had no intention of moving. In his official correspondence he reported that he was willing to move, but there were numerous objections — the wing was not ready; even when completed it should be used for soldiers since there was not enough room for all of them in the barracks; moreover, it was not natural for an ordonnateur to be shut up in a citadel.7 Saint-Ovide was not pleased that his colleague could evade his assigned housing and reported that de Mézy had told him he had no intention of ever moving into the barracks. Saint-Ovide felt it was quite natural for the ordonnateur to live there: "Je ne puis m empecher monseigneur de vous Representés que Cest Eloignement [of the ordonnateur from the centre of things] Prolonge et Derrange entirement Les affaires du Roy, Et Celle du Commerce."8

The ministry was in a difficult position; whatever the decision, it would offend someone. There were so many other dissatisfactions and quarrels at Louisbourg at this time that the ministry may have felt this point was not worth pressing. In 1724 it was finally decided that de Mézy not live in the north wing but that it remain empty, and be considered the ordonnateur's residence, presumably so the next occupant of that position would be able to move in and avoid the same situation.9 Up to this time four rooms of this wing were in use, two by the major, one for a temporary guard room and the fourth as a temporary armoury.10

De Mézy, not surprisingly, was very pleased with the decision. It would not have been possible, he wrote, to conduct his affairs while shut up in the barracks away from his offices and the people with whom he had to have daily contact. He added that he and de Verville had made a study which showed that there would be room for only six companies and their officers in the barracks even if the governor and the adjutant shared the governor's wing and the major and garçons majors the north wing.11

In 1726 four rooms of the north wing were still occupied as they had been two years before. A year later Verrier finished three other fireplaces in the wing and reported that a company could be lodged there.12 However, Saint-Ovide had not given up the idea of having de Mézy with him in the barracks. With the raising of his own wing in 1731 he reported that when the other wing was completed, de Mézy could very conveniently move in with all his offices.13

De Mézy, however, had a project of his own. He had since moved from his home in the north of the harbour to a rather elegant new one on the quay. At this time he went to France and endeavoured to sell this home to the government for use as the official residence for the ordonnateur. To do this he had to answer points which Saint-Ovide had raised. His main argument was that buying this house would be cheaper for the government (only 20,000 livres) than alterations to the north wing. He claimed that the changes in the governor's wing had cost double what a house cost. He also returned to his old argument about needing to be near the affairs of the town: "il n'est guere Naturel denfermer dans un reduit LeComre ordonnateur.14 It is not known if there was any reaction to his referring to the citadel as a mere "redoubt," a word which, in French, can also mean "hovel."

His arguments won out, and Verrier was ordered to suspend any repairs in progress and submit an estimate of the cost of altering the north wing.15 In his reply the engineer said that to make the wing suitable, all of it would have to be torn down since the present room divisions did not allow the best use to be made of the wing. His advice was to slate the roof at its present level so it could be used as a barracks, and to have the government purchase de Mézy"s house on the quay.16 In 1733 Maurepas gave his approval, and ordered the three top officials of the colony to report on how that wing could best be used.17 A contract for the sale of the de Mézy house was sent to Paris,18 and it was agreed that since there was not enough room for officers in the barracks, the north wing would be used as additional officers' quarters. The idea of housing the king's lieutenant in the north wing had been considered, but the changes required for this would also have been extensive and the soldiers who were then in the wing would have had no place to go. Apparently, the major had moved out of his two rooms and it was thought that by changing a few partitions, four subalterns could share those rooms with the soldiers remaining in the rest of the wing.19 The following year a fuller examination resulted in the report that by changing a stair and a fireplace and by adding a small cabinet with a bed for each officer, the lodgings would be quite suitable.20 Approval for this was finally given in the spring of 1735.21 Since there was no rush for lodgings for subalterns at that time (making one suspect that the reported shortage of lodgings for officers was exaggerated) and since slate was in short supply, no work was done that year.22 The wing was finally ready in 173623 and the four subalterns moved into two unspecified rooms, with soldiers occupying the remainder of the wing. As far as is known, these men were the occupants of the north wing until the first siege.

Soldiers' Barracks

The soldiers' barracks rooms were a priority item in the early years of construction at Louisbourg, but they were not completed until the end of the 1720s. The basic design for this part of the building incorporated three blocks of rooms with entrances from the courtyard to corridors which ran perpendicular to the length of the building. Two corridors gave access to four downstairs rooms and, up the stairway, to four upstairs rooms while a third gave access to two downstairs and two upstairs rooms adjacent to the guardrooms. The guardrooms by the central passage were cut off from the barracks rooms, and entry was from the passage (Figs. 11 and 12).

There was evidently no communication between the blocks of rooms, so one had to go outside to reach another set of rooms. Access to the attics and basements was by ladder through trapdoors, except for the bakery which was serviced by a stairway.

The extensive repairs in 1736 give some indication of room layout in the soldiers' barracks since the rooms were listed in sequence. This numbering began in the north wing and dealt with each block of eight rooms. However, each time this was done the order was slightly different, so in 1738 numbers were painted on the doors to give some consistency to the records;24 unfortunately no documents reveal just how this numbering was done. From the repair records it is known that three rooms had trapdoors leading to the basement, and three had similar doors to the attics, but since only those items are mentioned which required repair it is quite likely that there were other such doors.25

By the end of 1722 ten soldiers' rooms were ready, but two of these were used as an armoury and guardroom. Five French companies and one Swiss company were lodged in the other eight rooms.26 There were seven companies in Louisbourg at this time in addition to a detachment of miners,27 so the remainder of the troops must have been housed in the old barracks, which were reported to be in a poor state.28

When 60 new men arrived the following year no new rooms were available. They had to live in the attics of the finished rooms, which were not made for such a load and were not equipped with fireplaces.29 The same situation arose in 1724 when 50 Swiss soldiers arrived. These men were placed in barracks rooms which did not as yet have fireplaces. (There is no indication of where they spent the winters, since the barracks would have been unbearable without warmth.)30 The situation was hardly better in 1725; many rooms still did not have fireplaces, the upstairs rooms were accessible only by ladders rather than stairways, and the minor room finishings were only just begun.31 In 1726 it was reported that 21 soldiers' rooms, both large and small, were ready though there were still no permanent stairways.32 The finishings of these rooms were still not done in 1727 and a request was made for stairs, plastering, whitewash, chairs, beds and shutters.33 By the end of 1728 four rooms were still without beds.34 Presumably these were completed shortly thereafter and the basic furnishings of the soldiers' barracks were at last in place, eight years after the beginning of construction.

The number of soldiers in a room varied according to circumstances. In 1722, while construction was still going on, six companies were living in eight rooms. At this time there were 45 soldiers plus two sergeants per company, giving approximately 35 men per room, certainly less than ideal for a room normally expected to hold 16 men.35 By 1726 it was reported that 21 rooms housed 300 men, or about 15 per room.36 In 1753 an accounting in the building listed 26 large and 10 small rooms for soldiers (by this time the officers' rooms had been turned over to the soldiers). Thus 536 men could be lodged, with 16 men in the larger rooms and 12 in the rooms which were reduced in size by the stairways.37 This was the situation in the barracks during normal occupancy.

A hospital was originally planned for the barracks, and two rooms and a kitchen were to be utilized for this purpose. One of the rooms was for the sick and the other was for the Brother of Charity and his surgical chest.38 However, there was not enough room in the building and two rooms could not be spared. A temporary hospital was erected until the permanent one was ready, and the surgeon major was ordered to place an apprentice in the barracks to shave the troops and give first aid to accident victims;39 the following year Saint-Ovide proudly reported that he had received no complaints from the officers on the subject of the barber-surgeon.40

In the original plan the ovens in two of the basement rooms of the soldiers' quarters were for the garrison bakery in which four bakers worked.41 The floors were cobbled,42 and tables, trestles and shelves were added.43 There were constant complaints about the dampness and the fact that a foot and a half of water stood in the bakery for half the year.44 As early as 1727 plans were begun for a new bakery in the town.45 The ditch in front of the barracks was deepened to relieve the water problem, but the location had other inconveniences and was a temptation for the soldiers: "les boulangers ny ont pas leur hauteur travailent corbés avec bien de la peine, elle n'est point Eclairée et a toutes les incomod[ités] imaginables pour le transport de la farine et du bois et la frequent[ation] continuelle des soldats qui y boire jouent, et fument."46 Maurepas tried to put off the establishment of the bakery but the officials at Louisbourg were determined to have it and produced new complaints. In 1729 Sabatier, the controlleur, said there was danger of fire in the bakery and that it should only be used in case of siege.47 The new bakery was finally finished in 1732;48 after this the basement rooms of the barracks appear not to have been used and there were requests for them to be filled to eliminate the dampness which was rotting the floors.49

Equally unused were the attics of the barracks. Though it had been hoped that they could be used for storage and had even been pressed into service as emergency barracks it was discovered that the walls and joists could not permanently support any real burden.50 De Mézy claimed that it never was intended to use them and that if stores were placed there the garrison would be in danger of being crushed.51

Soldiers' Furnishings

Furnishings for soldiers' rooms were subject to few regulations. The Code des Armées Navales had nothing to say on the matter and the Code Militaire, quoting an ordinance of 1716, specified only that the rooms contain as many beds as possible with a table, two benches and a fireplace.52 There are no plans showing room furnishings for the barracks, but there are some for other buildings in Ile Royale. A small barracks for the outpost of Port Toulouse showed five soldiers' beds lining two walls of the rooms with a fireplace in the third wall and a door in the fourth.53 The centre of the rooms was left bare, presumably for a table and benches. Such furnishings are described in an account of the barracks of the Island Battery at Louisbourg; three tables were 6 pieds long and 2 pieds wide, and six benches were 6 pieds long. There was also a folding table 4 pieds long and 2-1/2 pieds wide.54 In a corner of two of the rooms in Port Toulouse there were small cubicles or cabinets, presumably for sergeants. A proposed new barracks for Louisbourg, drawn up in 1739, included a small sergeants' room with two beds, while the large rooms had seven beds lining two of the walls. A plan of the Royal Battery barracks shows bunk-beds, the only plan to do so. Finally, a plan of a redoubt in 1752 showed a room for sergeants separate from that of the soldiers.55

It is evident that the furnishings in soldiers' rooms were evolving and that later barracks included items not thought of when the King's Bastion barracks was constructed in the 1720s. Those constructed by the English during their occupation had shelves,56 but the 1736 contract in Louisbourg only mentioned shelves in connection with officers' rooms.57 Eventually French barracks did adopt more elaborations for soldiers' rooms as represented by the plans for a barracks in Mont Dauphin in 1789. In that example, each room contained 15 beds which projected out into the room. In the centre was a stove, on one side of which were two tables and benches, and on the other side one table, a bench and a gun rack for 30 guns, one per man. Shelves suspended from the ceiling and fixed to the walls provided space for equipment and food. There were also small rooms built in for sergeants who had their own tables and benches. It is interesting to note that this barracks also provided rooms for married soldiers and a boutique or small store, as well as the usual armouries, guardrooms and storerooms.58 The barracks of the King's Bastion was far from incorporating all these developments, and did not even originally include sergeants' cabinets though their later addition to the rooms is found in repair documents which distinguish between soldiers' and sergeants' rooms.59 Since each company occupied roughly three large rooms and each had two sergeants, probably every third room in the barracks had a small cabinet for a sergeant.

The beds used by soldiers were double bunk-beds. A common practice was to assign three men to each bed, with two sleeping in it at one time and the third on guard. This was prescribed for the barracks in Louisbourg in 1718 but seems never to have been in effect,60 and later sources mention only two soldiers to a bed. Bunk-beds seem not to have been the usual barracks accommodation, but the evidence for their use in Louisbourg is conclusive. In 1726 Saint-Ovide and de Mézy had written that 300 men could be lodged in the barracks "in two beds one over the other."61 Another reference stated that each bed slept two and that they were placed one over the other,62 while testimony in a trial confirmed that two men did indeed share a bed; a soldier assured the court that he did not leave his bed during the night and that his comrade with whom he slept could testify to that. In another trial it was revealed that a board beside the bed served as a small storage space for goods and was held in place by a cord and a bracket.63 In the barracks, then, there were four double bunk-beds in each large room and three in each small one, allowing adequate room in the middle for eating and other activities.

For their beds the soldiers were provided with straw ticks, usually made by town widows, or by the Sisters of the Congregation.64 In the beginning it had been a question of whether to provide proper mattresses or make do with straw ticks, but the argument was put forth that the mattresses would rot in the damp climate whereas ticks could easily be changed; besides, mattresses were very expensive.65 Ticking was ordered from France and turned over to the women for sewing.66 The blankets provided were woollen and decorated with a centred, embroidered fleur-de-lis. Blankets and sheets were contracted out for cleaning and mending.67 On one occasion an enterprising sergeant had this concession for both the hospital and barracks; he was later found to be stealing utensils, locks and other objects.68

The policy on room furnishings was not consistent. One reference from 1751 indicated that as long as the soldiers were earning extra money as labourers,69 they would have to provide their own blankets and pots. As with most other things the supplying of these items tended to be erratic. Evidence of other furnishings in the soldiers' rooms emerges from the documents. Seven oak tables and a dozen benches were specified in one work account.70 Another mentioned iron scrapers for cleaning the floor and wooden shovels for carrying out refuse.71 In the late 1730s it was proposed that sinks be installed in the soldiers' rooms for washing utensils and to promote better hygiene, but there is no indication that this was ever carried out.72

Soldiers' Daily Life

It is important to state again that barracks in the 18th century were a relatively new concept and that procedures and traditions which are taken for granted now were then in the process of evolution. Much of what went on in the barracks was a direct carry-over from the days when soldiers lived singly in billets, and common features of today's military life such as messing and mess rooms were unknown. Another concept foreign to today's highly programmed military life was the fact that the soldier, during most times, had the choice of whether he would join the local labour market or not. He also had the right to bargain with his employer for his wages even on government jobs, and to decide whether pay was to be per unit of time or by work done. Only during emergencies were soldiers compelled to work and the wages fixed at a given level. That is not to say that the soldiers had the right to strike or thought of bargaining as it is known now, but the soldiers did get a better pay scale than the contractor had originally proposed and they did leave work if they felt like it without fearing consequences. There was even a threat of work stoppage if pay was not forthcoming.73

The basic pay for a day's work was 20 sols (one livre) but in 1754, for example, salaries were reported in the 20-30 sols range with the soldiers wanting 30-50 sols and the engineer suggesting a compromise of 25-35 sols.74 For military duty the ordinary soldier received 6 sols per day, but deductions for rations and equipment reduced this to only one sol leaving a monthly net salary of 1-1/2 livres, or the amount that could be earned in a day and a half of work. (For a list of 18th-century salaries, see Appendix A.) Regulations for the colonies also tried to protect the soldiers as valets or in other capacities, and by also forbidding any deductions from the soldiers' salary.75

Most of the soldiers were unskilled and did labouring jobs such as hauling, loading, digging and gathering wood. Others, more skilled, were employed as masons, carpenters, bakers, tapestry workers, kiln workers, gardeners, tutors in reading and writing, and tailoring. Some of the jobs were permanent but other soldiers seemed to have picked up odd jobs where available and when they felt like it, such as the soldier who sold 100 faggots to the contractor for 16 livres, and later helped unload a lime kiln.76 Of the 16 livres this soldier earned, 6 were spent on drink with two companions, 2 on tobacco, then several quarts of liquor were purchased and shared with some soldiers, and 15 sols spent on transportation. At the end of the day only 2 livres remained.

In Louisbourg it is known that reveille was at 4:00 a.m.77 The Code Militaire specified that in the winter this was changed to 6:00 a.m., and Louisbourg probably followed this practice. Evening retreat would have been at 8:00 p.m. in the summer and 9:00 p.m. in winter.78 For soldiers in construction the working day began at 5:00 a.m. and lasted until 7:00 p.m. with three breaks, one hour at 8:00 a.m., one and one-half hours at 11:30 a.m., and one half-hour at 4:00 p.m. This rigid schedule, 11 working hours in a 14-hour day, was created by the engineer Franquet, recognizing that it would not always be kept without constant supervision.79 The other extreme was demonstrated by the case of two soldiers hired by Governor Saint-Ovide to tend his garden. >At the time of this incident the governor was away, and a young cadet officer had been delegated to oversee the work but did not arrive until afternoon. The gardeners began their day working but left at 8:00 a.m. to join three friends in drinking a pint of liquour. They returned to work for a while, then left again for wine at another tavern until noon. After returning to work they decided to buy another bottle. There was some difficulty when the tavern-keeper's wife refused the first soldier because he was too drunk, but the second did obtain the bottle. After finishing it both fell asleep beside the garden well. One of the soldiers, in a stupor, fell into the well and drowned. This was the situation by the time the young cadet reached the garden at 3:00 p.m.80

Sunday and various religious and royal holidays were free from work and were also the only days on which regular military reviews were held.81 In the Code des Armées Navales of 1689, exercises were also held on Thursdays,82 but this does not appear to have been the case in Louisbourg. The rest of Sunday would have been devoted to religion and recreation, such as it was in Louisbourg.83

The meagre salary soldiers received certainly encouraged them to work to supplement it, but military functions had to be performed and special arrangements were made. The most regular routine was the 24-hour guard duty. In some instances workers were exempt from it,84 and in other cases could pay someone else to take their duty.85 In the first case deductions were made from the worker's salary and distributed to those on guard. In 1750 this was calculated at 1 sol per livre of salary or 5 livres per month.86 For those who wanted to specialise in the military in Louisbourg, the only outlet for such ambition was training as a cannoneer, a full time occupation which was rewarded with a salary of over 10 livres per month after deductions.87 There was also the possibility of pensions at half pay for some soldiers as reflected in documents which requested them from the ministry; in one instance for a soldier who had gone deaf, and in the second for an 18-year veteran who could no longer perform his duties.88 Re-enlistment after the six-year engagement was encouraged with a 10-livre bonus for soldiers and 30 livres for sergeants. It was also possible to obtain a discharge to settle on a farm with three years' supplies, but it was reported that this was not successful since most settlers wasted away the three years and then found some pretext to return to France.89 It is interesting to note as well that in the concessions listed in the town for 1734, three sergeants and three retired sergeants had property, with two of them owning two lots.90

If the soldier was not working or on duty, he would very likely spend part of his time supplementing his daily ration. In 1718 the daily ration for soldier and sergeant was given as a livre and a half of bread, 4 onces of raw pork or half a livre of beef, and 4 onces of vegetables. In addition the troops received a quarter livre of butter and 5 livres of molasses each month.91 This ration, which was more than soldiers in Canada received, had first been alloted to troops in Placentia because of the harsh conditions, and was carried over to Ile Royale, with a warning that it would not last. By 1734 the ration was listed in different terms; 456-1/4 livres of flour per year (1-1/4 livres per day), four onces of vegetables and the same of salt pork, with a livre of butter per month.92 Beans were the most common vegetable to be given to the soldiers and were sometimes two seasons old when consumed. Flour often went bad and was mixed with new supplies to try to preserve it.93 Distribution of the rations was made every four days for bread and every 15 days for meat, vegetables, butter and molasses.94 Shortages were not uncommon; in 1742 the bread ration had to be cut to 1 livre, and before the second siege in order to economize on wheat and vegetables, rice was added to the flour for bread and was distributed instead of vegetables.95

Soldiers were expected to augment their food allotment by hunting and fishing, and they were given an allowance of powder for this purpose.96 Soldiers went fishing for cod, shooting seals on the ice, and gathering strawberries, herbs for soup, and spruce boughs which, when combined with molasses, made spruce beer.97 One soldier who went hunting at Spanish Bay with his dog killed 13 partridges.98

A 1750 mémoire by the engineer Franquet gave an excellent account of what food it was possible to obtain on the island. As well as the strawberries mentioned above, there were raspberries, blueberries, and small redberries called meadow apples (probably Vaccinium) which were said to be edible only as a preserve. All vegetables were available, Franquet said, except artichokes and asparagus, though the late season meant that everything was eaten later than in France. Game was plentiful and included bears, of which only the fat was considered edible, moose and caribou, whose meat was said to make a soup as good as beef. These animals were hunted in winter and only by the Indians, though they would have occasionally found their way into the colony. Smaller game included passenger pigeons, hunted in July, and a species of wader, perhaps snipe, as well as the plentiful rabbit. Often eaten, he reported, were ducks, Canada geese, and aquatic birds which in the season of 1750 were said to smell of oil because they had been eating seaweed. In addition, there were salmon, trout, seals, walrus, whales and, of course, cod.99

Soldiers prepared the food themselves in their rooms according to a cooking roster,100 and were provided merely with one large pot for every seven or eight men with that number of spoons attached.101 There are specific references to soldiers eating a game stew and a mackerel stew.102 The soldiers had few other utensils, and in 1738 it was proposed that a mess tin and a canteen be provided for each seven men as was the practice on ships, as well as two water buckets and frying pans for each room. The diet and cooking situation were described:

Le Soldat est obligé de manger Sa Soupe dans Sa Marmite, de tirer Sa bierre dans quelques mauvaises Gamelles quils peuvent attraper dont Ils en perdent la plus grange partie, Ce qui fait qu'ils en manquent la plus part dutems, et qu'ils sont obligés de boire del'Eau qui n'est point bonne à Louisbourg, ce qui leur cause de fréquentes maladies;... Comme la Nouriture la plus ordinaire du Soldat a l'isle Royale est le Poisson, Il Seroit très necessaire que Monseigneur eût la bonté d'ordonner qu'il fut fourny deux Poeles par Chambrée pour faire bouillir et frire leurs Poissons; Ils sont aujourdhuy obliger de se servir de leurs marmites aprés qu'ils ont manées leur Soupe pour faire cuire leur poisson, Se trouvant pressés Ils Sont obligés de le manger sourvent a moitie Cuit, ce qui leur donne des flux de sang, Ce que nous avoins vêu par Experience.103

There is no indication that the situation in the barracks improved before the first siege. Two hundred leather buckets for fire protection were ordered in 1741, but there was no provision made for frying pans or more mess tins and canteens.

The other dietary staple, bread, was obtained from the bakery, and spruce beer, also a regular part of the daily meal, seems to have been prepared by the soldiers themselves since no wages were paid to brewers. A brewery was an integral part of a barracks, and expeditions were made to collect spruce boughs.104 It was remarked after the return of Louisbourg to the French that there was no brewery in the town for soldiers' use. One was soon constructed in the new barracks of the Queen's Bastion.

The location of the brewery before the first siege is not certain. In 1736 there was mention of an old copper boiler for beer which came from a coach house, and it is very likely that the governor's coach house, located in the terreplein of the bastion was used as a brewery during this period.105 It is not known when the house was built, but it first appears on the plans in 1733. Excavations of this building revealed a puzzling number of walls and a fireplace base, suggesting that the structure was indeed used for more than a coach-house.106 By 1744 the building was definitely used as a coach-house by the new commandant who had arrived in the fall of 1740; in 1741 two huge red copper boilers were ordered for the brewery of the barracks, and this may have marked the removal of the brewery to new quarters at the insistance of the governor.107

A part of the soldier's time would have been spent on personal care. Each soldier was provided with a needle and thread for mending his clothing and with soap for washing, though those who could afford it sent out their clothing to be washed. In the beginning soldiers had to provide their own firewood, and it is not surprising to learn that in winter some died and many froze their hands and feet. In 1726 it was agreed that wood be provided at the king's expense.108

The King's Bastion barracks also contained a canteen whose location is not known. It was first requested in 1723 by the Swiss soldiers, but Governor Saint-Ovide refused because the Swiss soldiers were mixed with the French and he feared this would cause a continuous uproar. Also, since the barracks were not yet enclosed, there was no way to keep in the soldiers day or night.109 The governor was commended for his decision and was told that it was the king's intention that there not be any canteen.110 However, three years later Saint-Ovide himself made the request for a canteen. Apparently it was the custom in all citadels to have a canteen which was run by the major, and this officer had asked the governor to request permission to set one up. It was approved in 1727,111 and probably stocked wine, spirits and tobacco. By 1739 each company had a canteen run by its officers, a situation thought to be less harmful than the dozens of cabarets in town.112 After the first siege the barracks canteen was the subject of much controversy for, according to a new ruling, the proceeds from the canteen were to be shared with the governor, king's lieutenant and adjutant.

Soldiers were given a clothing allotment each year consisting of pants, two shirts, two ties, a hat, a pair of socks, and two pairs of shoes, and a jacket or vest on alternate years.113 It had been suggested that one pair of socks per year was not enough, but no change appears to have been made.114 According to the Code Militaire, uniforms were not to be worn when soldiers were out working, a practice that seems to have applied to Marine soldiers in Louisbourg.115

There were, as well, large quantities of items ordered every year and supplied to the troops. In one year, 1721, when the shipment did not arrive, regimental captains had to supply the goods on the promise of repayment by France the following year. In an other instance, just before the second siege, it was revealed that French merchants were not sending goods to Louisbourg for fear of losing them, that there was such a shortage of shoes that Indian footwear might have to be used.116

Each soldier received 2 boxwood combs, 2 livres of soap, about 2 onces of thread, and three needles per year. Candles were ordered from France until the late 1720s, after which they were supplanted by local supplies.117 After the first siege the allotments seem to have increased somewhat.

An idea of the kind of belongings owned by a soldier is given in an inventory of a soldier who was to be executed for theft. The value of the goods was placed at 30 livres, 5 sols and comprised a trunk with a key, four shirts, three of which were fine though half used, a large piece of fine cloth, two old pairs of socks, two muslin collars, an old pair of pants, a pair of used sheets and a filthy old shirt.118 Another soldier, found dead while out hunting, owned snowshoes, an axe and a compass.119

In the first French occupation soldiers were not generally allowed to marry, and only 13 marriages are recorded in the 17 years from 1722 to 1739.120 However, there was a relaxation of this policy during the second occupation, and in 1748 permission for marriage was granted to any soldiers who by their industry and conduct showed that they would make a useful contribution to the life of the community, especially as farmers.121 However, by 1750 Governor Desherbiers felt that married soldiers were harmful to discipline.122 In the following year some soldiers were allowed to marry,123 but with a clause forbidding husband and wife to leave the colony, and in 1756 the governor reported he was allowing fewer and fewer marriages.124

Discipline among the troops was administered according to an ordinance of 1727 (Appendix D) which provided severe penalties for all manner of crimes. In 1755 with the arrival of the army troops, a copy of this ordinance was ordered placed in every soldier's room and guardhouse: "les Soldats ne scauroient etre trop instruits Sur ces objets of il est necessaire plus que jamais de les leurs faire connoitre."125

It is quite clear that the quality of the soldier's life was affected by his enterprise and ambition, though there is no denying that his life could be unremittingly miserable.

Soldiers' Mutiny

Little in the documents reflects the general condition of the soldiers' life in the barracks, and military records such as courts martial have not come to light. Although specific items about military life did emerge in official correspondence, there was only one period in Louisbourg history when the overall plight of the soldier was given any discussion. This period began in 1739 and culminated in the mutiny of 27 December 1744.

Before his departure from France to take up his post as governor of the colony, de Forant was assured by Maurepas that the soldiers in Louisbourg were well housed. He cautioned the new governor against being taken in by complaints which, he claimed, would probably be the result of drunkenness and excesses.126 According to Maurepas, discipline was needed. This somewhat defensive letter suggests that Maurepas was expecting problems in the colony and had already received complaints about military conditions. It is likely, as well, that de Forant had a reputation for softness which necessitated the warning.

On arrival at Louisbourg de Forant, according to a report by the new ordonnateur, asked if there were any complaints against the officers. The answer, not surprisingly, was negative.127 De Forant, however, was not at all impressed by the quality of the troops or the conditions in which they lived. He asserted that he had never seen such poor soldiers and out of the whole garrison (then numbering over 600) he would not keep 100.128 A few months later he complained that proper furnishings were lacking, especially with regard to sheets and mattresses for the soldiers who needed more supplies:

Le pays est assés rude pour l'exiger et il n'est pas possible que les habits avec les quels il faut quils couchent l'hyver puissent Se conserver propres; on ne Scauroit d'ailleurs changer qu'une fois l'année l'herbe Sur laquelle ils couchent ce qui cause tant d'insecte dans leurs chambres que la plus part couche l'été par preference Sur le rempart.129

Maurepas expressed surprise that the soldiers were as bad as de Forant reported and cautioned him against sending back any except those who were invalids.130 He did recognize the complaint about bedding and approved new mattresses and sheets for the soldiers to "les mettre alabry des inconv[eniences]."131 Conditions did not improve. De Forant's replacement in 1740, Duquesnel, after his first tour of the fortifications wrote that he had seen much drunkenness132 and later proposed that the new barracks be constructed because the citadel barracks were slowly rotting away. The building was infected with vermin because there were too many men in one room without enough sheets and mattresses. At the very least, he later said, new floors should be put in the soldiers' barracks.133

The new barracks was never approved and the difficult conditions in which the soldiers lived continued, compounded by the Swiss and by the ration problem. The former seems to have been the result of a clash between the Swiss commander and Duquesnel, who claimed the Swiss were acting as an independent unit.134 The commander was eventually recalled but the bad feelings remained, aggravated by poor rations. In 1739 Bigot, the new ordonnateur, reported that he had mixed bad flour with newer supplies to make biscuits for the soldiers,135 and in 1742 had insisted that Duquesnel force the soldiers to accept a reduction of half a livre of bread ration per day, adding to his report that the soldiers had not had any peas or beans for three weeks.136

In December, 1744, the garrison revolted to reinforce their demands for better rations. Duquesnel's death two months earlier was probably a contributing factor since the office of military commander, which carried a great deal of moral authority, was vacant with only the king's lieutenant as acting commander. (On another occasion Governor Saint-Ovide had been obliged to postpone a trip to France because it was feared there would be a revolt if he were not present in Louisbourg to exert his authority.)

On the evening of 26 December, 1744, three disgruntled and inebriated Swiss soldiers decided it was time to improve their lot. Seeking to gain support from their comrades they took up a candle and went to the rooms of some of the French companies. In one room they found everyone asleep, but in another there were two or three men still up around the fire.137 Just what they agreed to do in the ensuing discussion was never made clear, but the Swiss decided to remain up all night and lay on their beds with their clothes on. In the early morning, while it was still dark, they forced their drummer to sound reveille and all the Swiss assembled in the yard while a sergeant went to fetch the only officer in the barracks, a Swiss lieutenant. The officer arrived and was assured that no violence was contemplated. The grievances about the poor quality of rations and supplies were aired; the lieutenant promised that they would be dealt with and persuaded the soldiers to return to the barracks. However, some of the Swiss were not satisfied with this assurance and, according to the acting governor and the ordonnateur, reproached the French soldiers for not having joined them in their demonstration. Soon afterward, the whole garrison reassembled in the yard and a group of 36 soldiers with bayonets at the ready marched through town sounding the general alarm.

The officers, all of whom apparently resided in the town, rushed to the barracks but were not immediately allowed in. Some were forced at bayonet point to lie down on their stomachs. Eventually they were able to talk their way into the courtyard and listened to the soldiers' demands which, in this account, were: that firewood which had been withheld as punishment for a case of theft be returned, and that the wood rations be increased by half a cord per company; that the rations promised to those on a recent military expedition be turned over; that proper uniforms be provided for the recruits of 1741, and that the practice of issuing rotten vegetables be stopped.138 The officials at Louisbourg promised to fulfill the demands, and an uneasy truce between the troops and officers settled in for the winter. Gradually, in the minds of the officers, there grew the suspicion that the troops had intended to turn the town over to the English with whom they felt there was a secret correspondence, though no real evidence was ever presented for this.139

When the troops returned to France after their defeat by the New Englanders, those who were considered ringleaders were put on trial. The sergeant who was on guard at the barracks guardhouse was sentenced to the guillotine, and another sergeant and a corporal to hang. Others were given lesser penalties.140 During the trial a Swiss sergeant implied that the French officers were responsible for the conditions in which the soldiers found themselves. Asked if he were aware of the consequences of the mutiny he replied,

qu'il Sçavoit Bien qu'il alloit perdre La Vie Et qu'il n'ignoroit pas S'etre mis dans le Cas Selon nos ordonnances militaires, mais que Son Exemple devoit apprendre aux Offrs commandt pour le Roy de tenir La main a ce que le Soldat ne fut point vexé Et que Luy fut distribué Bons conformemt a L'intention de Sa Majesté Les Vivres payés Sur Leur Solde.141

Guardrooms and Guard Duties

To the north of the central passage were two rooms designated as guardrooms for the barracks. The larger one was for the soldiers and the smaller for officers. Early plans (Fig. 9b; Fig. 11) show a masonry wall dividing the rooms in a ratio of about 2:1. The separation wall which ran along the centre of the barracks was replaced in the soldiers' room by an arch; however, in the 1731 plan (Fig. 12) this wall had disappeared and the room thus extended the full width of the building.

The work accounts gave some details for the rooms. The original separation wall was only eight pouces thick and the officer's room was provided with a fireplace while the soldiers' had first an iron, then a brick stove. Cobbles were placed on the floor of the soldiers' room. A bed of two-pouce pine planks was constructed in each room, the one in the soldiers' was the full length of the room.142 A trapdoor led to the drawbridge mechanism.

Some time between 1729 and 1731, the two rooms were converted to one room for soldiers, evidently because of overcrowding. The officers moved to a new guardroom immediately above the old one, and the stairway to it was fully enclosed so people using the staircase would not have to enter the soldiers' room. The former officers' room was cobbled to give it the same flooring as the rest of the room.143 It is not known how many soldiers occupied a guardroom at that time, but a document some five years later indicated that ordinarily there were 25 to 30 men on guard,144 certainly too many for the small room in which they had been stationed before.

By 1740 it was felt that the guardroom arrangements were no longer suitable, and a separate guardhouse was constructed outside the barracks just beyond the drawbridge (Fig. 14). This left a large room in the barracks to be filled, and it was proposed that at least part be turned into a prison. The existing prisons in the casemates were reported to be inadequate and prisoners were suffering because of the constant dampness in these areas.145 The partition was restored, and the original soldiers' room became the new prison; six sets of leg and hand irons with padlocks were ordered for the new prison.146 The smaller room was to be a room for cannoneers, and the one above it, formerly the officers' guardroom, was to be a new school for cannoneers;147 but apparently only the prison was built. In 1741 new Swiss and French soldiers added to the numbers in the garrison; rooms had to be provided and former officers' guardrooms were made over for this purpose.148

The school for cannoneers proposed for the old guardroom first appeared somewhere in the barracks in 1738,149 though the official company of cannoneers was not incorporated until 1743150 A wooden cannon was provided for the school, to be used for the instruction of those officers and soldiers who were part of the unofficial company of cannoneers, and firing practice was held on Sundays.151 After the first siege the school was again set up in the barracks, accompanied by a school of mathematics for officers.152

There is only one surviving guard list from the Louisbourg period. It is from 1741 just before the change to new quarters was made and indicates that there were 30 soldiers in the barracks guardhouse in addition to a sergeant, two corporals, and a drummer. Sentries from the guardhouse were placed at the governor's door, in the guérite of the King's Bastion, at the door of the prisons, and in front of the guardhouse itself. The prisons at that time were probably still in the casemates.153

It is difficult to determine what rules governed the operation of the guardhouse. From the Code Militaire it appears that in a typical situation one-third of the garrison was on guard at any one time. The guard formed at 3:00 p.m. in winter and at 4:00 p.m. in summer. Sentries at the various posts were relieved every two hours, or every hour when it was cold. Officers were to remain in the guardhouse and sleep without undressing. They could leave at noon and at 6:00 p.m. for an hour to eat if they arranged to be relieved by those officers who were on duty the following day.

The town major was in charge of the daily guard list and conveyed this to the commander. At the change of sentries the corporal conducted them to the officer for inspection.154 Louisbourg documents show some divergence from these regulations. During the mutiny there was no mention of an officer in the guardhouse, nor was any notice taken of this fact by officials who reviewed the case. The 1741 guard list confirms that the guard was for a 24-hour period, but adds that the same guard was posted every three days. It is also clear that it was possible to perform someone else's guard; one soldier paid for a pair of trousers by taking over four turns on guard in addition to giving over his beer ration.155 Workers could pay others to do their guard, or deductions could be made from those working to be given to those permanently on guard.

No one document specifies the furnishings for guardrooms, and information on this topic comes chiefly from the yearly requisitions. One of the principal functions of the guard was the security of the garrison at night, and a large variety of lamps, lanterns and candle holders was used. Because of the necessity of changing the sentries at fixed times, 30-minute hour-glasses were used. Special caps for sentinels were supplied, presumably to distinguish them from soldiers not on duty at that time. As with the barracks rooms leather fire buckets were provided.156 There were armoires on which pertinent documents were posted, and boxes were supplied for the various posts in which tokens were placed to keep track of the rounds. Straw chairs were ordered in one list but it is not known in which of the guardrooms they were placed. A green rug was ordered in 1752 for the officers' room.157 The soldiers' rooms had stoves which were dismantled in summer.158

In 1755 regulations were issued governing the honours to be paid officials passing in front of the guardhouses. For the governor, commissaire général, or fleet commander, the soldiers would assemble in two lines with their arms and a drummer, while for the commissaire ordinaire, king's lieutenant, brigadier, director of fortifications or a ship's captain the soldiers simply lined up.159 It is not known whether this was a new practice or the modification of existing procedure.

Another practice hinted at in the documents comes from the number of tools such as axes and saws provided specifically for the guardhouses during the 1740s.160 It may have been that those soldiers not on sentinel duty were obliged to cut firewood and even building lumber, or else the tools were supplied for those who wanted to earn extra pay for such work. Firewood was distributed from the beginning of October to the end of May; the soldiers at each guard post were given 30 cords and the officers 6 cords.161


Over the central passage of the barracks was a long narrow room which, because it seemed to be ideal for the storage of weapons, became the armoury. One of its disadvantages was dampness, and eventually it was fully panelled to counter this problem. When the armoury was completed it held 1,000 guns, but this was soon found to be inadequate and in 1733 an armoury, capable of housing 3,000 guns, was constructed in the town over the new bakery.162 No mention is made of the old armoury after that date, and it may be that the room was turned into soldiers' accommodation since it is not mentioned otherwise in the accounting of the building in 1763.163

South Half of Barracks


A large double door from the central passage opened into the garrison chapel which, following the practice of the day, lacked pews. Though the carpentry required for the altar was not completed until after 1726, services were conducted at the time, and the furnishings for the chapel had been in the storehouse since 1724 (Appendix B).164

The barracks chapel was originally intended only for the garrison. The civilian population attended services in the chapel of the Recollet priests while waiting for the construction of a parish church. It soon became evident that money for a parish church would not be forthcoming and the priests decided to force the issue. They had given over their own chapel, they said, "que par pure bonté"165 but they refused to do so any longer, thus compelling the Louisbourg officials to make alternative arrangements. The only other available chapel was that in the barracks, which became the new parish church. The chapel retained its name, Saint-Louis, while the parish was named after Our Lady of the Angels.166

The date of this transfer was probably 1735; in that year the parish register stopped using the term " L'eglise parroissiale & Conventuelle" in favour of "L'eglise parroissiale."167 There was considerable overcrowding in the chapel under this arrangement, especially when there were sailors in port,168 but it served as the parish church for the rest of the French occupation in Louisbourg. As it was one of the centres of town life, public notices were posted there.169 Maintenance of the chapel was the responsibility of the priests, who made so many requests for furnishings that in 1732 de Mézy felt it would be best to give them an annual allowance;170 in 1745 this amounted to 400 livres.

The only indication of the number of masses said in Louisbourg is from a document in the 1750s which reveals that there were four per day. One of the masses was said in the chapel at the hospital, another at the Royal Battery, and two others in the barracks chapel, one for the government and garrison and the other for the townspeople,171 though there appears to have been only one mass in the barracks during the first occupation. Mass was said fairly late in the morning, for one was reported in progress at 10:30 a.m. in 1737, and in 1754 the verger first visited the chapel at 8:30 a.m. so the first mass would have been at 9:00 a.m. at the earliest.172 A 1735 ordinance defined the seating arrangements in the chapel, stipulating that the governor would have a seat to the right of the altar and the ordonnateur to the left and on the same line. The king's lieutenant was to have a seat on the same side as the governor but out of the sanctuary, while members of the council would be on the other side. The celebrant received the communion bread first, then the ecclesiastical assistants, then other clergy, altar-boys, the governor, the ordonnateur, the king's lieutenant, council members, church wardens, and finally the rest of the congregation.173

An interesting feature in the chapel was the discovery during archaeological excavations of five bodies buried beneath the floor. They were the bodies of the governor de Forant, the commandant Duquesnel, and two military leaders, Captain Michel de Gannes, captain of a Louisbourg company, and the Duc d'Anville, leader of an expedition to recapture Louisbourg in 1746. D'Anville died on the expedition and had been buried outside Halifax; in 1749 the body was reburied beneath the altar of the chapel. There was also found the body of a small child whose identity thus far remains unknown. The archaeological report precludes the possibility of the child having been buried after the French left in 1758. There was no evidence of a coffin, however, and unlike the other bodies which were placed with the head pointing away from the altar, this body was placed roughly parallel to the altar.174 This was undoubtedly an irregular burial whose secret was lost with the fall of the city.

The chapel was the scene of two dramatic incidents which had their resolution in the courts. The first occurred in February 1737. At about 10:30 a.m. while the priest was saying mass, a young couple approached the front of the church and knelt holding hands on the first step of the sanctuary in front of the altar rail. Then they rose and said something to each other. The priest, surprised by this unorthodox behaviour, seized the chalice and hurried out of the chapel into the sacristy. The couple was arrested and accused of having caused a scandal in church.

As the story unfolded it appeared that the young man, Jean Le Large, had promised to marry the girl three or four years previously but his mother had refused her consent. His personal appeals to the parish priest were ignored so he decided to take matters into his own hands by following the letter of the law. In the marriage ceremony, technically, the couple marry each other; this has to be done in the presence of a priest and witnesses, so the couple went to the front of the church, exchanged their vows while the priest was still there, and had the congregation as witnesses. The court took a dim view of this irregular procedure; the young man was sentenced to the guardroom as a prisoner for a month and the girl was sent to the convent. The story had a happy ending, however, for on 8 July with the dispensation of the bishop, the couple returned to the chapel and were legitimately married.175

The second incident, much more bizarre, took place in 1754. At 8:30 a.m. the verger entered the chapel to find the altar in disorder. The altar cloth was bloodstained and dirty with foot marks, and there were onion peels and bread scattered about. Blood was smeared on the tabernacle and on the frame of the picture on the wall above the altar. A crucifix was broken and a small niche containing statues was damaged. The small drawers of the altar had been rifled and various ornaments displaced. Two candles and a small purificator were missing.

The culprit was found to be an unemployed schoolteacher who had come to the colony looking for work but had had to take up fishing and woodcutting, for which he was not suited, As a last resort he decided to become a soldier. On the night in question he admitted going up to the barracks to get back an arithmetic book he had loaned to a soldier. He admitted he was quite drunk at the time, and, the door of the hallway to the soldier's room being closed, he walked about in the courtyard until he noticed the chapel door open. Inside there was a partition with a locked door which separated this entrance from the body of the church, so he climbed up to the balcony and jumped down. He said he only wanted to get nearer the altar to pray, and after a while it occured to him that the two bouquets of flowers on the altar were not placed as they were in France, between the candle sticks, but rather to one side. The teacher took it upon himself to correct this divergence from orthodoxy and found himself climbing on the altar, in the process of which he cut himself on the face. While taking out his handkerchief to wipe the blood some bread and onions fell out. He then claimed to have dropped the handkerchief and, while retrieving it, inadvertently picked up the purificator while his bloodied hand left the stains on the tabernacle and picture frame. Having decided that this was enough he took two small candles to light his way out through the town, and, placing a board against the partition, climbed back to the gallery and then out into the courtyard. He stopped at the guardhouse to get a light and then left. It was observed that the tabernacle had not been forced and the accused, Le Bon, was vigorous in denying that he had tried to open it.

In all, this was a very strange case and despite more than 200 pages of testimony it appears that the full story was never revealed. The death penalty was sought, but in the end Le Bon was ordered to march barefoot with only a shirt to the chapel door and ask forgiveness of God and king, while carrying a sign which read, front and back, "Profaner of Sacred Places." He was then fined the sum of 3 livres and banished perpetually from the colony.176

Chaplain's Room

The door to one side of the altar led to the sacristy and chaplain's room. Both the 1729 and 1731 plans of the barracks showed the same arrangement for this room. Near the door was a large armoire which served as a sacristy housing sacred objects. Beyond this was the main part of the room with a fireplace, the chaplain's sitting room. To the side was a small cabinet which would have served as a bedroom. There was an exit to the courtyard via the corridor in the officers' quarters. After the first siege the sacristy was in a room by itself, the chaplain was given the room next to it, and the verger also had a room.177

The principal occupant of the chaplain's room during the French period was Father Isidore Caulet, who was first mentioned in Louisbourg in 1725 when he was thirty-four. He served with the troops for 30 years, including the four-year stay in Rochefort during the English occupation; he died in Louisbourg in 1754.178 He occasionally took over as Superior of the Recollets when the incumbent was away,179 but seems not to have had the ability to head the parish, though he had an excellent reputation as a priest.

Two assessments of Father Caulet have survived. In 1752 Governor de Raymond described the religious in Ile Royale. There were only two Recollets in Louisbourg at the time — the superior, whom he termed incompetent, and Father Isidore whom he said was "remply de zélle, ben prêtre, bien charitable et a de bonnes moeurs, C'est un homme a conserver."180 While confirming Father Isidore's goodness he added: "[he is] sans capacité, et d'ailleurs un peu sourd, mais aimê et estimé par sa conduite, ce qui qu'on lui on a confié les fonctions curiales... quoy que sans talent."181 Sixty-three when he died, Father Caulet had given most of his adult life in the service of God in the colony and undoubtedly merited the honorific, the Venerable Father Isidore Caulet.

Officers' Quarters

The officers' quarters, located in the south half between the governor's wing and the chapel, were originally designed to house 18 officers in the 11 rooms by dividing each of the larger rooms into two smaller ones (Fig. 11). With four officers for each company — a captain, a lieutenant, and two ensigns — as well as other officers such as the king's lieutenant and major for a total of up to 30 during the first French occupation, it is not surprising to learn that housing for officers was a problem.

As early as 1723 de Mézy reported that a Swiss officer was being lodged with a citizen in the town because there was no room in the barracks.182 Before the barracks was constructed many officers had lived in residences worked on by the contractor Isabeau at government expense, and presumably still used these houses for their quarters.183 In 1724 de Mézy complained about the cost and waste of putting officers in soldiers' rooms as had been done that year.184 He felt that six companies could be housed in the barracks provided the adjutant lived with the governor and the king's lieutenant and the other majors resided in the north wing. For a time the adjutant did share the governor's wing. The officers may have resided two to a room, but in 1725 Verrier envisioned each officer having his own room.185 The following year 18 officers' rooms were reported ready,186 but this did not accommodate all the officers, for first the major and then four subalterns moved to the north wing. In 1729 an entire house in the town was made over for the use of six officers,187 and in 1736 the king's lieutenant, the major, an artillery officer, two cannoneers, the port captain and three other officers were lodging in the town at government expense.

Officers who had families and owned homes also lived in town; the 1734 census recorded that all the captains plus the king's lieutenant, the major, two other lieutenants and an ensign were town inhabitants. All had children and one or two servants.188 This preference for town living was also shown by the army officers who came to Louisbourg in 1755. The ordonnateur reported the complete aversion these officers had to living in official quarters and recommended they be forced to do so.189 It will be recalled that during the mutiny there was mention of only one officer in the barracks at that time, and that all the other officers rushed there from the town. By this time as well, the governor had taken over two of the officers' rooms for a kitchen, and it may be that only the lesser officers remained in these quarters.

Little furniture was provided for the officers' rooms. The work accounts report only that frames were built for the rooms and Commandant Desherbiers confirmed this in 1750,

quicy Le roy ne fournit que Le bois D'une couchette Et une table, qu'il faut que Les officiers Se fournissent de Lits, chaises, poeles, ou garnitures des Cheminee, draps Et de tout ce qu'il faut pour Leurs petits meubles, ce qui Leur occasionne une depense au Des sus de Leurs moyens, La plus part couchent Sur une couverte Sans matelats n'y draps.190

There was a complaint that officers were transporting furniture from one room to another, and it was recommended that officers be forbidden to have the same kind of furniture as that which the king provided.191 The house which was made over for six officers was fitted with beds and shelves.192

The style in which an officer lived depended a great deal on his personal fortune, and one guide to the various standards of living is a census of 1749-50 which includes a list of servants. All the officers with families had servants, and the 12 captains had at least one, though only two had three or more. Of eight lieutenants, five had servants, and six of 27 ensigns had them.193 Those officers who relied only on their salaries had a difficult time outfitting themselves. The request for more supplies for officers was repeated in 1753 with the proposal that the King's Bastion barracks be turned over to the officers. Furnishings for the rooms would have been two mattresses and blankets, a box-mattress, bolster, rug and a bed surround in double serge, curtains and fixtures, candlestick, table, coat hanger, and an armoire.194 This proposal was not implemented. In 1755 army troops made their first appearance at Louisbourg. Their officers were obviously accustomed to a higher standard of accommodation than the Marine officers and imported an impressive list of supplies including beds, tables, armoires (three and four shelves plus drawers), chairs, coat hangers and kitchen implements.195 Relief was finally provided by a supplement to the Marine officers' salaries, and for a number of years 6,000 extra livres were sent to Louisbourg to be distributed among the various ranks.196

Messing arrangements for officers were a private affair, though cadet officers received a ration which was reported not to have been adequate,187 and in some areas, as in the Royal Battery, stables were provided for the beasts and fowl of the officers. Presumably officers also made such arrangements as did the lieutenant, chevalier de Johnstone, who spoke of having his own garden.198 In the King's Bastion barracks there was no room provided for cooking the officers' meals (texts from the 1720s show small rooms being set aside with each officer's room).199 In the proposed new barracks, which were never approved, such rooms were to be provided.200 A military manual of 1725 indicated that in certain cases the commander was responsible for providing meals to subordinate officers, and this occurred in Louisbourg.201 In the 1750s, kitchen and dining furnishings were provided by the government for some of the officers, and Governor de Raymond reported that he helped some officers set themselves up so they could save a third of what it would cost to go to an inn.202 Whatever the arrangements were, they were not ideal. Franquet, the chief engineer, reported on conditions in 1750: "La vie Est icy fort dure, on n'y mange En viande de boucherie que celle, que L'on apporte de La Nouvelle Angleterre, et Lors que La navigation Est interrompue, L'on Est reduit a La viande Salée."203

References to the duties the officers performed are infrequent, but seem to have been flexible enough to allow them to engage in commerce. The main difficulty, aside from their meager salaries, appears to have been gambling which was prohibited on a number of occasions; in one case an officer was said to have lost 20,000 livres.204

16 View of the governor's yard (basse-cour) and garden. (Archives du Comité Tehnique du Génie, Paris.)

Governor' Wing

The governor's wing of the barracks was the official residence of the garrison commander in Louisbourg. It housed, at various times, three governors and one commandant, though two other commanders chose not to live there. The wing comprised four large attic rooms, four rooms on each of the two floors, and two usable cellar rooms. Though these quarters were for the commanders' use technically, two of the rooms had to be given over to the superior council, while another room upstairs was referred to as a "government hall" and doubled as a dining room. The governor used part of the courtyard for his animals, and shared a garden in the town with the ordonnateur. Their upkeep was in the hands of the governor, but the initial work of building the stables and preparing the garden was done at government expense.205

Block 35 was given over to this garden. Originally only a small corner of it had been conceded to the ordonnateur as his garden in 1723, while the governor had a similar plot in Block 16.206 However, by 1730 the whole of Block 35 was under cultivation and in 1732 Le Normant, the acting ordonnateur reported that Saint Ovide was going to take it all over. Le Normant suggested that it was too large for the governor alone and that the two of them share it,207 a proposal which was adopted resulting in the block becoming the King's Garden.208 Various buildings appear in the plans of the garden; three on the east side during Saint-Ovide's occupancy were replaced by a single building in the northwest corner later. This building was referred to in 1741 as a "small house" costing just over 600 livres; the next year four benches costing 16 livres were made for the garden.

A well or pool in the centre of the garden first appeared on the plans in 1732 and was shown clearly on the 1752 plan (Fig. 16). measured 15 pieds inside, accounting for the ease with which a drunken soldier was able to roll over the edge and fall in. The plans show a variety of patterns in the layout of the garden. In the 1730s the block was shown divided into many plots. But in the 1740s eight divisions predominate, with four most often shown during the English occupation and afterward.209

Little is known of what was grown in the garden. The only indication comes from the Duquesnel inventory which recorded the food on hand at the time of his death. However, it is not possible to distinguish between what might have been imported and what was grown since most of the vegetables were salted to preserve them for the winter. Possible products from the King's Garden were green beans, herbs, onions, peas and rhubarb.210

Although the commander in Louisbourg earned considerably more than other officials, the salary was felt to be inadequate by most of those in the position. Commandant Duquesnel requested and was given a 5,000-livre advance in order to prepare himself for his appointment, and he reported that in all he spent 8,000 livres before leaving France. While in Louisbourg he was given a 3,300-livre gratuity.211 Another commandant, Desherbiers, requested 14,000 livres in advance to maintain his "dignity" in his new position. He then asked the government to write off this advance, which it did on condition that he agree to remain in Louisbourg an extra year.212 Governor de Raymond wanted a 20,000-livre gratuity to offset his expenses in Louisbourg, and was reported owing over 24,500 livres when he left. His salary was not enough, he said, and he sought recompense for lavish dinners he gave in honour of the royal family as well as for expenses incurred in expeditions to outlying ports.213 The last French governor, Drucour, was given a 10,000-livre advance and a 4,000-livre gratuity.214

In order to supplement their salaries some of the officials engaged in commercial ventures. Saint-Ovide, as has already been mentioned, had an interest with the fortress contractor, and was also conceded a plot of land to the north of the harbour. After he left Louisbourg he rented the land to his successor, de Forant, and eventually sold it to Governor de Raymond.215 Although Saint-Ovide sold his fishing interest when the government prohibted such involvements for officers, he continued his commercial ventures by merely registering them in his secretary's name.216

Domestic arrangements for the governors varied according to their means. When Saint-Ovide first arrived in Louisbourg he was still a king's lieutenant and had only a valet and cook.217 The eventual size of his household is not known, but by 1729 he owned a young negro slave of 10 or 11 years.218 For most of the time he lived alone in the barracks, his wife having returned to France. Duquesnel, whose wife also remained in France, had a staff of at least five servants: a chief steward, cook, lackey, kitchen boy and one other male servant. Desherbiers, the first commander after the return of Louisbourg to the French, came out with a steward, valet, cook, two other servants and a housekeeper with her son,219 all of whom belonged to one family, while his successor, de Raymond, had only two servants plus a secretary.220 Governor Drucour brought his wife and eight domestics in 1754.221 Only during the administration of Drucour was there a woman in charge of the residence. Of course the office involved a considerable amount of entertaining, for the commander was responsible for feeding certain officers as well as visiting dignitaries. There seems to have been no formal rules as to the governor's duties in this regard, but there is evidence that virtually all the commanders kept some sort of open table.

The Governor's Wing During Saint-Ovide's Occupancy

Governor Monbeton de Broullian dit Saint-Ovide was the first resident of the governor's wing. The exact contents and layout of the wing during his occupancy are not known, but from the work accounts some of the rooms can be labelled and their furnishings identified. At first, Saint-Ovide shared his quarters with Major de Pensens who, on one occasion supplied four servants from France for use in the lodgings.222

From the 1727 work account, it is clear that a number of built-in furnishings were supplied for some rooms. The kitchen was provided with a sink and drain, a potager (warming oven), a dresser for dishes made of 2-pouce-thick pine planks, and a ceiling of boards nailed to the joists of the floor above to prevent odours from penetrating to the upper floor. To these kitchen furnishings an armoire was added in 1732.223 In the 1730s a second kitchen was equipped and the first kitchen became the "old" kitchen.224 The original kitchen had been in the northeast room of the wing, and part of that room was also given over to small cubicles used as servants' quarters (Fig. 11). With the raising of the roof of the governor's wing and the establishment of new rooms for servants in the attics, the kitchen was enlarged by the removal of all but one of the small cubicles (Fig. 12). The small room which remained was probably that of the chief steward, who was responsible for the general supervision of the household. The attic rooms, as we have seen, were not a success and de Forant, by removing the stacks of the chimneys, made the rooms unusable. However, it is unlikely that they had been in use during much of Saint Ovide's time; because of the dampness of the attic rooms the servants had to move back to their original quarters in the kitchen. The expanded kitchen could not easily be reduced so the adjoining room was probably expropriated for kitchen use, becoming the "new" kitchen. The officers who had lived there were sent to other quarters, probably in the town. The original move to the attics was made in 1731 and the first reference to the second kitchen was in 1736, so the move back to the original kitchen and establishment of the second would have been sometime between these dates.

A second room, identified as a dining room, had a three-part buffet which was 7 pieds by 7 pieds, made of ordinary 2-pouce-thick pine planks with a more elaborate facing. Six dining tables, large and small, were listed for government use.225

Two other rooms which can be identified during this period were the rooms for the superior council. The governor, according to the regulations, was to host the meetings of the council. Before 1739 the meetings were held in various houses in the town.

In 1727 there was a complaint that litigants before the council had to wait outside until their turn arose and there were no suitable furnishings or rooms for the council.226 Two years later the situation had not improved although two ground floor rooms had been set aside for the council.

mais comme cet endroit n'est ny meublé ny chauffé, l'humidité le rend Extremement froid et par consequent impraticable le printemps et lautomne qui Sont ordinairement les Saisons des procez ... et Si l'Endroit en question continue a porter obstacle on pourroit Se Servir pour cet Effet d'une chambre en haut qu'occupoit cy devant Mr. de Pensens a portée de la Salle a manger du gouvernement ou Se tiendroient Les Cliens pendant les Sceances avec un des. huissiers pour empecher que personne ne S'Ecarta de Son devoir.

Proposed furnishings for the chambers included a tapestry, a crucifix, a full-length portrait of the king, a painting of "Justice," a rug with fleurs-de-lis for the table, which would have been large enough for 10 to 12 people, and a small cabinet for the council papers, to which the clerk would have the key.227 In 1732 a table was made for the council chamber; an iron stove was put in the following year and repaired with a brick base in 1735.228 Presumably a temporary table had been used up to that point, and the stove was designed to aid the fireplace in combatting the dampness. Governor de Forant, who died in 1740, requested in his will that a number of his paintings be turned over to the government; whether some of these found their way to the council chamber is uncertain, but included in the collection was a full-length painting of the king, one of the items wanted when the furnishings were discussed in 1729. In 1737 a 250-livre pendulum clock was purchased for the council and 14 velvet pile chairs were added in 1744.229

Until 1739 the council met in the home of some of the councillors or in the home of the ordonnateur, especially when the governor was away.230 Certainly meeting in the town would have been more convenient for the majority of the council members. After 1739 the meetings appear to have been regularly held in the barracks, though during the second French occupation, while the governor lived in the town for a time, the council was held in the ordonnateur's house until ordered to be in the governor's house.231

In 1736 an office was mentioned in the governor's wing.232 This was a serving room which contained dishes and equipment for keeping food warm. Food was brought here from the kitchen, then transferred to the dining room on the appropriate plate when the diners were ready for it. In 1733 there were stoves in both the hall or dining room and the office.233 Another room in the wing was a cabinet near the balcony containing an armoire 6 pieds by 6 pieds. A bookshelf 11 pieds by 7 pieds 9 pouces and a 7-pied by 4-pied armoire were in an unidentified room. Both had the finely finished fronts similar to that of the buffet in the dining room. There was at least one other armoire somewhere in the wing.234

During this period the English began to carry on a considerable trade with Louisbourg. In 1732, for example, 36 bureaus, 36 chairs, 9 tables and 1 armchair were among the effects unloaded. Some of these items turned up in the barracks and will be mentioned in a later section.235 It seems likely that the dining room was also the room referred to as the government hall used for official functions. The deliberations of the military councils and courts martial by a body called the Conseil de Guerre were held in the governor's quarters, probably in this room.236 Certainly the room was well used in its function as a dining room, for the governors were required to provide meals for officers and other officials, and several complained about the expense involved. Costebelle, the first governor of the colony, said that during the evacuation from Placentia he had had to keep an open table for the honour of the nation.237 Saint-Ovide in 1717 complained of having had to keep an almost continuous table for from 20 to 24 people.238 De Raymond also pleaded for financial assistance, saying that among his expenses was "a tenir une table reguliere, à donner àmanger à tous les differents etats et à tous les Etrangers d'une Certaine façon rt Soulager les officiers qui Sont dans le besoin."239 His successor, Governor Drucour, claimed to have fed a large number of officers. As his wife reported, "les officiers ne trouvoient a manger que chez le Chev. de Drucour qui avoit Soin qu'on En peu trouver a toutes Sortes d'heures."240

There is little information on the dinners themselves. On one occasion, for the birth of the heir to the throne in 1730, the king's lieutenant and acting governor, François Le Coutre de Bourville, gave a dinner and ball for 80 which must have been held in the dining room or "government" hall of the governor's wing; it is difficult to think of any other place which could have accommodated these numbers. The majors and officers of the fortress then gave a dinner for a similar number, presumably in the same room. The ordonnateur had to give his party on successive nights because he could only accommodate 25 at one time in his home. It is interesting to note that the king's lieutenant asked to be compensated for the expense of the dinner he had to give.241 The governor, whose salary was five times that of his second-in-command, normally would have been expected to give these dinners.

The one account of an official celebration given by a governor dates from the period when the governor was living in the engineer's house. It was to celebrate the birth of the Duc de Bourgogne, and de Raymond, who seems to have been the most status-conscious of the Louisbourg governors, marked the event with considerable ceremony which was probably the high point of Louisbourg society during the French period:

M. le Comte de Raymond donna a diner à l'Etat Major, aux Ingenieurs, aux officers d'artillerie et autres principaux officiers, au Conseil superieur, au Baillage à l'amirauté et aux Dames de la Ville. Il y eut deux tables de 50. Couverts services a quatre services avec autant de somptuosité que de delicatesse. L'on y bût en abondance des vins de toutes especes et des plus delicats à la Santé du Roy, de la Reine, de M. le Dauphin, de Madame la Dauphine, de M. le Duc de Bourgogne et de Mesdames de france, alternativement aubruit de la grosse artillerie. La Symphonie augmentait le plaisir de cette fête.

Sur les six heures du soir au sortir de Table l'on Se rendis à la Chapelle du Roy pour entendre le salut, La Benediction donnée le, Te Deum, fut chanté au bruit de toute l'artillerie de la Place of des vaisseaux. L'on Se rendit ensuite processionnellement sur les planades de la porte de Maurepas, M. le Gouverneur y alluma un f[eu] de Joye qu'il y avoit fait preparer. Les troupes de la Garnison rangées sur les remparts et dans le Chemin Couvert firent trois decharges de Mousqueterie avec le plus grand ordre, Toute l'artillerie fit également trois decharges, apr[ès] Cette Ceremonnie, M. le Gouverneur fit distribue[r] plusieurs Bariques de Son vin aux troupes of au Public en differentes Places; Les Vives le Roy fur[ent] si souvent repetès qu'on ne peut pas douter qu[e] le Coeur des habitants, des troupes et des Colons que cette fête avout attirés nesoit veritablement françois. Il avoit donné desi bons ordres par Tout en établissant des patrouilles continuelle d'officiers et des détachements, qu'il ne s'est Commis aucun desordre.

Sur les Neuf heures du soir, M. le Gouverneur et toute sa compagnie furent voir Tirer unfeu d'artifice et grand nombre de fusées qu'il avoit fait preparer et qui fut très bien executé. de retour chez luy le Bal commença et dura Jusqu'au Jour; Il y fut servy Toutes sortes de rafraichissements et en abondance... Toutes les personnes distinguées dans la colonie n'ayant pût être invitées à cette fête par le peut détendue de la Maison du Gouvernement, M. le Comte de Raymond, donna le lendemain un grand diné au Clergé et le Dimanche suivant a plusieurs Dames, officiers et autres personnes qui n'avoient point assisté à la premiere fête.242

From the one journal of the French period which gives any detail on daily life, that of the engineer Poilly beginning in January, 1758, two of the nine balls mentioned were given by Governor Drucour. This was during the Carnaval, the period between the Epiphany and Lent, and the balls were usually accompanied by an ambigu, a rather elaborate buffet often served after midnight.243

The Governor's Wing During de Forant's Occupancy

The new governor appointed in 1739, Isaac-Louis de Forant, entered the service in 1703, and as a ship's captain had many times visited Louisbourg and Quebec.244 One of his first actions on arrival in September was to offer to give up his wing to any new soldiers who arrived, thus sparing the expense of a new barracks. He said he would move into the engineer's house since the latter was going to spend the winter in France. He also used the argument that de Mézy had used in his successful bid to avoid living in the building — "je serois plus a portée pour Ce qui concerne la ville et le port et mieux par raport a moy que renfermé dans les casernes"245 — though in truth there could hardly be a better place for the military commander of a garrison than in the barracks.

While waiting for an answer to his request, de Forant set about changing the governor's wing to suit his needs. Rain and dampness were still a problem in the wing, and de Forant's solution was to remove the extra chimneys which served the attic fireplaces, thus rendering this area permanently uninhabitable and suitable only as storage rooms. He also requested changes in the lower rooms.246 Doors, panels and partitions in unspecified locations were affected, but his death from pneumonia after a 13-day illness put an end to the alterations.

According to Bigot, who wrote a long eulogy, de Forant was well liked in the colony and possessed those qualities which are necessary for a good governor.

il a eté generalement regreté Surtout de moy, monseigneur, qui conoissoit mieux que personne toutes Ses bonnes qualiées la colonie a infiniment perdu, il conoissoit toutes les different caracteres de la garnison quoiqu'il n'en fit rien paroitre, il auroit ramené par douceur et par des sentiments d'honneur qu'il vouloit insp[i]rer ceux qui Sécartaient de la droiture, il étoit desinteressé et uniquement ocupé du bien du Service, ... vous ne pourrées point trouver, monseigneur, un gouverneur plus propre que luy pour cette Colonie qui étoit Sans dessus dessous par les cabales et les partis qui faisoient repandre Sur eux toutes les graces.247

Bigot did not think it suitable to bury the governor in the parish cemetery, even though de Forant had mentioned this in his will. Instead de Forant was buried in the chapel in a lead coffin. The pathologist who examined his remains after recent excavations in the chapel found he had arthritis of the right hip and knee.248

De Forant's will was made on his death bed, and, as was the custom, he made his profession of faith and set aside 300 livres for prayers for the repose of his soul after his death. He also made a bequest to the Sisters of the Congregation so eight places in their school could be made available to eight officers' daughters who were in need.249 The governor of the colony was to make the selection, with the restriction that only those daughters of officers from long ennobled families (d'epée) were eligible. If there were not enough qualified candidates, the money could not be used for daughters of the lesser nobility (de plume), but was to be applied to repairs to the convent.250 Various paintings and tapestries were left to the government. The remainder of the effects was left to de Forant's sister with the exception of an 11-volume quasi-religious dictionary by Moreri which was left to Bigot, the executor of the estate. Bigot was also instructed to settle the accounts of the servants, taking into consideration their needs and the quality of their service. De Forant's sister protested the bequest to the school, but eventually agreed to a fund of 32,000 livres, the income from which was 1,600 livres.251

A fragment has survived of the inventory of de Forant's effects which was taken after his death. Three rooms were mentioned, but it is not possible to say where these rooms were in the governor's wing. According to the inventory, the entrance room contained three large tapestries, two of which represented Cleopatra, 16 black leather chairs with gold nails, a pendulum clock, two paintings, one representing the tower of Cordouan and the other a carp, and a small table and jar. Since there seems to have been little personal furniture in the room this must have been the government hall which doubled as a dining room and thus contained government furnishings.

The next room was obviously a sitting room with six chairs and fire screens, a sofa, four armchairs and a commode. There were six paintings with gold frames: a full length portrait of Louis XV, plus paintings of Louis XIV, the late Dauphin, the battle of Leintz, and two marine scenes. Three white Indian-cotton curtains, six grey damask tapestries with a large red border, two chandeliers and six carafes completed the inventory of this room.

The third room mentioned in the document was de Forant's bedroom with an elaborate bed, six chairs and six yellow damask armchairs, two mirrors, two family portraits, two quadrille tables, a seven-piece tapestry, a commode, and a painting of Mary Magdelaine.252 The impression of the furnishings in these rooms is one of luxury. The considerable number of tapestries would have been effective against dampness in the wing. From the wording of the will it seems that the paintings and tapestries in the second room were those given over to government and probably found their way to the council chamber and the government hall.

The Governor's Wing During Duquesnel's Occupancy

Jean-Baptiste-Louis Le Prévost Duquesnel was de Forant's replacement, arriving on 2 November 1740. He was a veteran of 45 years in the Marine but his appointment to Louisbourg was only as a commandant, a position with all the rights of governor but without the title.253 In 1704 at the Battle of Malaga in southern Spain he lost his left leg and three toes of his right foot. Since 1708 he had commanded seven different small ships and had, like de Forant, been to Canada and the West Indies, but he had only one command as a ship's captain. His wife was from Martinique but did not accompany her husband to Louisbourg, preferring to remain in France with her children (two girls and a boy).254

If we are to believe the author of the anonymous Lettre d'un Habitant, Duquesnel was subject to many excesses,255 but this author was seeking to assign the blame for the fall of Louisbourg and likely overstated his case. Certainly the amount of wine and spirits which Duquesnel had in his cellar plus the number of games he possessed, show that he did lean toward drinking and gambling, but he also had to provide for the needs of his officers. The same report said he was at odds with all the officers and had a volatile temper, the latter partly accounted for by his poor physical condition. The pathological examination of his skeleton, uncovered in excavations in 1964, showed that he was suffering from widespread arthritis, that his teeth were greatly worn down with caries, that he had a dental abscess which had drained into the nasal cavity, and that his one remaining foot was distorted from infection.256

Duquesnel himself had felt that he was suited for his new post. He assured the king, "vous auriez peu trouver quelqu' autre qui eut Remply Cette place avec plus de Zele plus d application et plus de dignité que moy."257 He spent 8,000 livres preparing to live in Louisbourg in a "proper fashion."258 As with all the officials who were sent to Louisbourg, the commander was awarded a certain amount of free cargo space on the king's ships. The practice seems to have been to take 30 tonneaux in the early years, but was reduced to 10 in the 1740s, though such limits were difficult to enforce. From the amount of goods which Duquesnel left behind it seems he had used as much space as he could for his supplies. Servants of the governor were allowed free passage, and in 1741 his wife sent him two servants and in 1743 a cook.259

Alterations and additions to his residence were requested by Duquesnel and reported by Verrier: a stable for wintering animals, a pigeon roost, panelling in a cabinet and another room, and an oven in the kitchen.260 Maurepas was not pleased with the cost of the repairs from that year (Bigot also made substantial changes to his house) and was annoyed that the changes were made without his permission. In a letter the following spring he forbade any more changes, except for simple maintenance, without prior approval.261 In these repairs the second kitchen was again mentioned (presumably it was still in use), and the old kitchen was mentioned in association with the council chamber.

On 9 October 1744, Duquesnel died "without having regained consciousness." He was given only a token eulogy in letters to Maurepas, a sharp contrast to that given to de Forant. Duchambon, who became acting commander, had Duquesnel's effects inventoried and sold to pay off his debts; the remainder would be sent to his widow "Supposé quil y en ayt âpres Ces detes payées"262 for Duquesnel had many debts.

The inventory following death was a vital part of the legal procedures of the day. Immediately upon notification of the death of an official, usually the attorney general went to the deceased's lodging, frequently with the deceased in the bed in which he died, to seal off all the rooms which would not be absolutely necessary and to make a quick inventory of those rooms which had to remain open. When it was convenient the officials returned to make a complete list of the possessions of the estate, often including a description of the items. Personal papers were also inventoried. The items were then sold at public auction and the money used to pay debts, with the remainder sent to the heirs. In making the lists of furnishings and applying the wax and paper which constituted the seals, the function of the rooms was often given. Thus it is possible to reconstruct to a substantial degree the interior of the governor's wing of the barracks as it was when Duquesnel lived there, and from the list of household accounts it is possible to examine some of the mechanics of 18th-century housekeeping.

Figures 17 and 18 give the conjectural distribution of the wing as revealed in the application of seals and the inventory. The entrance from the courtyard of the bastion was into the vestibule, which contained a large staircase and a passage to the kitchen area. On the other side of the staircase was a small cubicle for a servant, possibly the lackey, part of whose duties would be to answer the door.

17 Conjectural layout of the ground floor of the governor's wing.

18 Conjectural layout of the first floor of the governor's wing.

By the time Duquesnel occupied these quarters the "new" kitchen had been incorporated into the wing and most of the cooking was done there. It contained one servant's room, probably that of the kitchen boy. The "old" kitchen housed two other servants including the chief steward. The remaining portion of the room was given over to the garde-manger devoted to food storage and washing. A staircase down from this room would have given access to the cellar.

The large staircase led up to a passage which went by the office (serving room) into the dining-reception room. The office also housed a linen closet which doubled as a cook's room, and a staircase up to the attic. Next to the dining room was the bedroom which contained the private cabinet, a door out to the balcony, and exits to the stairway, the adjoining dressing room and wardrobe room. The latter also served as a toilet. The council chamber and antechamber on the ground floor would have formed a separate unit with their own entrance from the courtyard.

Inasmuch as the inventory was taken in October, it reflects the effects of the occupants at their fullest stock in readiness for the isolation of winter. The complete inventory in its original form is given in Appendix C. What follows is a room-by-room summary of the contents with comments on room function.

Attics: The attic rooms were essentially storage areas which served briefly as servants' quarters. During Duquesnel's time three of the four rooms were used mostly for the storage of food and clothing. One of the objects was a sedan chair in which Duquesnel would have been carried to ease the difficulties caused by his wooden leg. However, its location in the attic and its designation as "old" indicates it may not have been in use at the time of the inventory. The other items in the rooms were:

5-1 /2large barrels of wheat
7large barrels plus 4 quarts of oats
3large barrels of corn
14quarts of flour
1quart of bran
2quarts of peas
26ropes of onions

Metal Goods

andirons, shovels, tongs, large copper boiler
4irons for ironing
36livres of "old" pewter
2earthen copper pots (terre brune)

Clothing and Linen
46night caps
142serviettes, 21 of which were fancy
14tablecloths, 5 of which were fancy and 4 for the kitchen
18sheets, 13 fancy and 5 big
6morning coats, 3 flannelette and 3 thin cotton


a harness

Small hamper full of white table glasses
2faience chamber pots

old bed with its attachments

Bedroom: The main bedroom contained an impressive duchess bed. This style of bed had a canopy projecting from supports at the head, as opposed to vaulted beds which had supports at the four corners for the canopy. A curtain at the edge of the canopy could be pulled around to completely enclose the bed. This particular bed had two woolen mattresses and a straw mattress along with a feather bolster. Two white woolen blankets and a figured bedspread covered it. The canopy was made of white taffeta quilting and the fringe was in fire-red serge with a white ribbon ornamentation. The bed-curtains, tailor's wrapper, the bed-valance and fringe were in the same serge. Finally there was a quilt in white taffeta. The whole ensemble sold at auction for 380 livres. The rest of the room contained:

sofa covered in velvet pile
8English wood chairs with red leather seats

mirror with a gold-painted wooden frame which sold for 137 livres

four-drawer bureau
7window curtains of printed cloth
2andirons for a fireplace

three-drawer commode

Dressing Room: This room was rather puzzling in its contents, and because it adjoins the bedroom and contained the governor's personal clothing, it has been called the dressing room. It also housed a small vaulted single bed valued at 273 livres. There were three mattresses and woolen blankets as well as feather bedding and a pillow. This may well have served as a guest room. The rest of the room contained an odd assortment and seems to have been a storage room for items which the governor could have had brought into the bedroom or the hall for use. Some of the clothing and other items were probably found in the bedroom but were moved to this room during the sealing of doors on the day of the death, since the bedroom remained open and was not sealed.

Of particular interest are the sweets and games, as well as items of clothing, one a suit and jacket of fire-red cloth laced in gold and lined in white plush, valued at 333 livres; the second a grey frock coat with a black velvet collar or cape valued at 101 livres. Other items:

4straw arm chairs, green serge arm chair, 4 English leather chairs
4game sets:

a chess board and men, backgammon board (tric-trac) and pieces, green quadrille table and 2 boxes used in the game, green piquet table and bag of ivory tokens with a small wicker basket

2livres of ginseng

Almost 30 livres of chocolate, 10 of it from Manilla
4-1/4livres of prepared chocolate, and 15 from the "isles" not yet prepared
7different boxes of tea
3"quarter-pounds" of rhubarb

18"common" silk handkerchiefs
11pairs of knitted yarn light shoes
3pairs of cotton stockings
8-1/2ells of cloth, 2-1/2 from Rouen and 6 of striped muslin
2jackets, one in lemon lined in silk and laced in silver; one (old) in poppy-coloured smooth velveteen lined in white plush and laced in gold
3pairs of pants; one in cinnamon cloth, 2 velvet

jerkin and trousers of drugget and of brown silk with gold buttons lined in lemon taffeta

old jerkin of brown cloth with gold buttons lined in red silk dressing gown in striped cotton lined in cotton cloth box with three wigs

Also in the room were a pair of bellows, an English bureau with Duquesnel's personal papers, a watch in a silver case valued at 96 livres, and an old spyglass with a missing lens as well as the usual curtains, two green serge rugs (probably for the gaming tables), a firescreen and a mirror with a gold painted wooden frame, which sold for 132 livres.

Cabinet: The governor's tiny private cabinet contained only two pieces of furniture and was obviously the room where his valuables were kept. The contents of this room alone were valued at more than 4,400 livres. There was a desk, though no mention of a chair, and a red calf-skin trunk. There were 2,777 livres, 4 sols and 6 deniers in cash, most of it in ecus which were coins in denominations of 6 and 3 livres. There were also 3 Mexican dollars as well as some English and Spanish money. Other valuables in the room were:

cane with a golden handle in the shape of an apple valued at 83 livres

silver seal with the Duquesnel arms and its case 24 silver spoons and forks with arms worth 940 livres
6silver stew spoons
2average sized silver plates
2silver salt-boxes
2cases each with 6 silver coffee spoons
2snuff-boxes, one varnished cardboard, the other plain shell

small purse containing a pair of gold shoe buckles with an iron frame, a pair of gold cufflinks, a silver collar button

Wardrobe: Among the personal rooms in the governor's wing was the wardrobe which contained two large armoires, one with toiletries, medicines and spirits, the other with clothing. There was also a toilet with three pots, and over 100 livres of "table candles."


porcelain shaving basin
10bottles of Hendaye brandy

small pot with 3 onces of rhubarb extract (commonly used as a laxative) box with 4 flasks of Gerrus elixir (a concoction made of aloe, myrrh, saffron, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg mixed with spirits of wine and water which when distilled and mixed with maidenhair [fern] syrup and orange blossom water and allowed to stand, produced the elixir which could be poured off)263
12bottles of liqueur from the "Isles"
2bottles and a smaller one of syrup
2small bottles of caster oil, one of which had been opened


pair of woollen gaiters
3pairs of silk stockings, 2 new and 1 old valued at 42 livres
5pairs of sheets, 4 "fine" and 1 "common"
7new nightshirts
50trimmed shirts
3jackets for use at the basin
1morning jacket for the same purpose
3flannelette morning jackets
15ells of cloth painted (or printed), in two pieces
27cap linings
6caps, two of which were embroidered
10pairs of light shoes of knitted yarn
11pairs of stockings
15muslin collars
3hats, one beaver embroidered in gold, one plain beaver, one embroidered in gold valued at 48, 25 and 24-1/2 livres respectively
1box with 4 pairs of shoes

Dn top of one of the armoires was a cross-cut saw and a table candle.

Office (Serving Room): The office was the room from which the dining room was served. The food prepared in the kitchen was brought here and other food, such as salads and coffee, were prepared here with smaller articles being fried in one of the four frying pans. All of the food was then arranged on plates and taken into the adjoining room when called for. The number of dishes indicates a potential for serving a considerable gathering. There were 144 plates of faience, 132 of blue porcelain, and 64 platters of various sorts. Downstairs there were 132 blue porcelain dishes and 72 gold porcelain dishes. The latter obviously was the "good" set, valued at almost twice the blue set, whereas the faience plates were the "common set," worth only half the blue porcelain.

This room contained 28 chairs, and stored here was some food, mostly imperishables, half of which was stored in an armoire. There is no mention of tables in the room or fireplace equipment. These items were probably provided as part of the initial furnishings of the wing and would not have been counted as personal property. Among the items of interest are two gelatine moulds in which fruit syrups were poured and then placed in a bucket of ice; the syrup was stirred from time to time until it was set and then, according to one manual, served in goblets. The variety and quantity of articles in the room is impressive:

24chairs, 6 English red leather, 6 English black leather, 8 rush armchairs and 4 common straw chairs
2tea tables
31cups and saucers
4sugar bowls
4tea pots, one with a saucer
21bowls, 6 small, 4 large and 9 salad
65platters of various sorts, one with a saucer
2mustard dishes
12earthen dishes
5buckets of faience and glass
23salt pots
16tin moulds, 2 for gelatine, 2 for cheese, 12 for biscuits
5pairs of candle holders
2extinguishers for candles
1cistern and spoon
6cooking pots, all sizes
11casseroles, 9 with handles
1braising pan and cover
1cake tin (for special cakes called poupelins)
5pie plates, one not usable
2dripping pans
1fish kettle
3skimming ladles, 2 for preserves
1spoon for pots
4copper sheets
4frying pans one of which was iron, the other, copper (both listed as "old")
4iron tripods
1iron grill
3trimmed crystals (glasses with a plate)

a balance with 33 livres of lead and 3 weights 1 waffle iron
36glasses, 22 large and 14 small
6table carafes
12dirty table knives with wooden handles
1butter dish and cover

27sugar loaves
4-1/2livres of pepper
1packet of truffles — 1 livre
1/2livre of mousserons, (small edible mushrooms)

dried oranges


dry preserves

In the armoire in the office were:

53livres of coffee in a bag
20livres of almonds shelled in a bag and 8 in a paper bag
6livres of rice in a box
19pots of current jelly preserve

A "big heap" of sugar from the "Isles"
14livres of dry preserves from the "Isles" in a small case

Cook's Room and Linen Armoire: In the vicinity of the office was a room with an armoire for linen and a bed for the cook. Again there was an impressive quantity of items, especially serviettes, of which there were 84 fancy ones, 468 plain and 72 used; and tablecloths, 6 fancy, 49 plain, 13 for kitchen use and 60 used. In addition it will be recalled that in the attics there were 121 plain and 21 fancy serviettes and 14 tablecloths. Other items in the room were

10pairs of sheets, 3 for servants' beds, 7 almost new
1small sack full of down weighing 3 livres
8dozen kitchen aprons
1bed covering for tombeau in cinnamon-coloured serge
3small curtains of printed calico
1sawyers' trestle (baudet) covered in cloth with 3 small mattresses, 2 ticks, 2 bolsters, 3 white woollen covers, a dog's hair blanket
3common straw chairs

Kitchen: The kitchen, where cooking was done, contained some items also found in the office. It housed the coal used in many of the fireplaces at this time and also bedding used by a servant, probably the kitchen boy. In none of the servants' rooms are beds themselves mentioned; it is probable that these were built in and were part of the government furnishings of the wing. No food was inventoried in the room. Inventoried items included:

28large barrels of coal
1water jug
1old silk sifter
1old coffee pot
1old big kettle
2mortars of lignum vitae and pestles, one of which was small
1grill of iron
1iron frying pan
1cooking pot
1iron shovel

tongs and pincers
1spoon for pots and another for skimming
1skimming ladle
2butcher knives pepper mill
2pastry cutters
34pastry moulds
1wooden chair with straw seat

Chief Steward's Room: The inventory of the chief ward's room recorded the following possessions:

woolen mattress


white woolen blanket

In the preliminary inventory two other servants' rooms were mentioned with similar bedding, but for some reason they were not present in this inventory.

Garde-Manger (Pantry): The garde-manger contained perishables such as lard, butter and vegetables as well as dishes. Here were stored the glasses, 66 crystal, and 192 plain, various sizes of candles and corks. Other items included:

2quarts of lard
3small barrels and 3 firkins (tinette) of butter
1small barrel and 2 small firkins of lard
1small barrel of salted beans
1small barrel of salted herbs
1small barrel of salted mushrooms
228glass bottles
12glass pints

jar for water
1butcher's chopper
2candlesticks — one small
18dozen plates (216)
2butter dishes with tops and plates
2tea services with 12 cups each and each a sugar bowl, tea pot and bowl
2mustard pots
25quarts of oats
1quartet almonds in shells
1quart of bran
1small sack of lintels
25livres of candles in a case
433larger candles
30livres of soap in 8 cakes

Basement: The two basement rooms were additional storage areas, mainly for a considerable amount of wine and spirits. The wine, from France, Spain, Italy, Cyprus and South Africa, totalled 783 bottles, 25 large barrels, 3 small barrels and 2 fourths valued in the auction at over 4,600 livres or more than half the commandant's basic salary. Cognac, brandy, gin and other liquors from France totalled 5 bottles, 6 pots and 4 ancres. In liqueurs there were the flavours of strawberry, orange and an unidentified one from Barbados totalling 42 bottles. Syrups were also present, one labelled capillaire, made from a maidenhair fern and renowned for its relief of chest illnesses and often mixed in tea, and another labelled orgeat (barley syrup). Finally there were 81 bottles of English beer. In foods there were:

oils of different sorts, all labelled "fine" contained in 78 bottles, 23 flagons and one small barrel
2quarters of salted beef
3small barrels of lemons
1large water jar
2small flagons of pickled lemons (preserved)
16flagons (bottles) of anchovies
11flagons of capers
1Gruyere cheese and a piece of Parmesan

The Yard During Duquesnel's Occupancy

In the courtyard was the coach house sheltering a four-wheeled coach with harness. In the yard itself there was a considerable menagerie.

66chicks and chickens
2Canada geese
1dapple-grey horse

In the attic of the stables were 60 quintals of hay and 25 cords of wood as well as a cask of rice, 100 bottles of English beer and a wicker basket holding 100 empty bottles. The pigeon roost had 12 pairs of pigeons. Finally, Duquesnel owned a boat which was kept at a dock near the stores building.

The total figures for items in the inventory are quite impressive. There were 45 chairs of various kinds, 48 sheets, 125 shirts, 132 aprons, 144 tablecloths, 160 handkerchiefs, 294 glasses, and 560 plates. The wine, in all, amounted to more than 5,000 bottles. In December a number of items arrived from Quebec for Duquesnel and were sold at a small auction in the square on the quay. Among the articles were butter, sheets, apples and a trap with harness, the last item valued at 80 livres.

The next step in the liquidation of the estate was the sale at public auction, which, including the December sale, realized the sum of 22,610 livres, 4 sols. However, Duquesnel's debts were equally impressive and, conveniently, give some insight into the running of the household. Among the papers were two account books, one for servants' wages and a second for daily receipts and expenditures. With these the officials were able to verify the claims presented against the estate. Duquesnel owed money to five servants. A sixth servant is mentioned but was not owed anything at the time of the commander's death; whether he had just been paid or was no longer working for the governor cannot be determined. He was recently a member of the household because he had had a servant's costume made and his son was being taught to read at the commander's expense. Lamothe, the chief servant for the household, was the valet or chief steward. He handled most of the household transactions, signing for goods received and doing a large part of the ordering. He even paid those accounts which demanded cash, and paid the wages of the kitchen boy. His own pay was 300 livres per year plus an allowance of three pints of wine per day. It appears to have been Duquesnel's habit to withhold the wine and give money instead. In all Lamothe was owed for arrears in salary of 3 years, 7 months and his own out-of-pocket expenses and wine allowance, a total of 1,243 livres, 9 sols and 6 deniers, an enormous sum for a servant to be owed in those times. He also received 40 livres for guarding the seals in the period between the two inventories.

The cook, Duval, who had been sent out from France the previous year, was the highest paid servant at 400 livres per year. He had also received his wine allowance for the last year in money. Having been only paid 96 livres since his arrival, he was owed 454 livres. Two other servants, Dambrun (also called Saint-Jean) and Saillant, each received 120 livres per year. The latter also had received his wine allowance for the last year in money and this, plus salary arrears for 3 years, 2 months, meant he was owed 538 livres. The former servant had no wine allowance listed in money so presumably he received the wine itself. He was owed the relatively modest sum of 170 livres. The kitchen boy, Pierre Dorin, from the claim put in by Lamothe, had received 30 livres in the first year, 40 in the second and 50 in the third.

Money was not the only recompense the servants received. Duquesnel provided them with a bed, mattress and sheets. Their washing was done by a laundress at his expense, and their clothes were made by his tailor. Presumably their food came from his table. Moreover these servants did not have to care for everything in the house. Laundry, gardening, breadmaking and considerable maintenance were all done outside the household. Duquesnel even hired a soldier to teach the son of one of the servants, Sugère, to read at a cost of 3 livres per month for 6 months. In all, these servants seem to have been better off than the average soldiers and the lower public officials.

About 35 bills for various services and purchases were presented for payment to the estate, and they reveal much about Duquesnel's daily household. The washerwoman's bill, for example, discloses that she lived outside the town. Another bill indicates that a man was paid to haul clothes out to her and back. The washerwoman was owed 278 livres, 68 of which she had received in flour at 18 livres per hundredweight. In the settlement of the estate she took another 11 livres worth of soap and the rest in cash. In a year her washing for the commandant had included 90 livres worth of servants' clothing, over 2,000 serviettes, 232 table cloths and sheets, and nearly 300 shirts. Duquesnel's bread was baked by a widow who lived in the town.

A number of his possessions are accounted for by the purchases recorded from captured English ships whose goods were sold by the admiralty. He still owed for wine from the Canary Islands and Florence; olive oil, silk handkerchiefs, anchovies, raisins, beer, lard, butter, and 11 pairs of women's gloves. Other bills were for the services of a gardener, ironmonger-blacksmith, carpenter, tailor and tinker. Among the carpenter's work was the making of a new wooden leg for Duquesnel, and the repair of the foot of an old one. Other purchases, which had been used up by the time the inventory was made and consequently were not mentioned, included a large quantity of tongue, veal, horseshoes, shallots, tobacco, cod and liver.

The funeral service was a considerable expense. One hundred candles were lit and a mausoleum was provided as well as the usual hangings totalling 300 livres. Fifty masses at 1 livre each were also prescribed, while the grave-diggers cost another 14 livres. Then there were extensive legal fees for the sealing, inventories and auction sale. These in addition to the taxes and other expenses came to 1,278 livres. Finally the treasurer of the Marine claimed 2,256 livres as the overpayment of Duquesnel's yearly salary which had, apparently, already been paid to him.

Final settlement of the estate took years and when, in 1745, Duquesnel's widow sought an advance from the estate, which was still in Louisbourg, she was refused because the town had fallen and it was not certain that any of the estate would survive.264 The sale of goods had brought 22,610 livres, and there were other benefits from Duquesnel's commercial ventures such as a 10 per cent share in the brigantine Tempête which brought a profit of 808 livres. Other unspecified assets inflated the total, so despite debts of almost 14,000 livres, by January of 1746 there remained a balance of 13,957 livres, a sum quite out of keeping with Duchambon's comment that there might not be enough left from the estate to send to his wife. This sum was not the final figure in the estate, and as late as 1757, Madame Duquesnel was represented in a lawsuit in Louisbourg by her son concerning some of her husband's business interests on which she was making a claim.265 In 1745 she had received a pension of 1,500 livres for herself and her two daughters.

Finally, among the papers found in the wing were two family documents, one of which gave nobility to the house of Duquesnel and a second which, in 1667, made Robert le Provost a noble écuyer (noble squire).

After Duquesnel's death, Duchambon, the king's lieutenant, acted as commander. A new governor, Antoine Le Moyne de Châteauguay, brother of Iberville, was appointed, but Louisbourg fell before he could take office. He died in 1747 without having had a chance to assume his command.266

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