Fortress of Louisburg

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June 3rd 2016
Published: October 1st 2017
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Geo: 46.0999, -60.7526

Mostly sunny but windy and cold!

I started the day with work, but we were ready to go by 10am. We drove directly to Louisbourg to visit the Fortress. The Time Travel tour (where three guides in period costume talk about their "lives" – although they do time travel and discuss things from the modern day as well) was just departing, and I'm glad we took it. Three characters relate what their lives are like in 1744: a solider, a kitchen servant, and another household servant. (Note that the town and the fort were active 1713 to 1758 but reduced to almost nothing after the second siege by the British.)

The tour starts with a soldier, a common soldier, who talks about the harsh realities of working at the Fortress, between the severe cold and corrupt commanders. For us, he talked about the use of the wooden horse for punishment (much like riding the rail, also used in the colonies). He described how it was almost impossible to save money for a return to France, so most people who came here were stuck here. He also does a demonstration of a musket, firing it for us. Everything I see that, I am amazed at how much smoke a single musket fire produces … hard to imagine a battlefield full of fire.

Then we were escorted to the house of the captain, who was very smart and decided to keep the house small and so easy to heat. The kitchen servant described how she was a local girl and came to the house as a day worker, helping take care of the family.

We were then escorted to another house, home to lead Royal Engineer. He had his house provided by the government, so it was much larger, and he brought his servants from France. We were told about chocolate and given a taste of hot chocolate, as we were honored guests.

At the end of the tour, Paul and I walked around and visited all of the open houses of the town as well as the Bastion. We had a long conversation with one of the guards about the chapel (the town refused to have a Church, interestingly enough, so religiously-minded types had to go to the Bastion chapel for mass) and the grounds. Most of the houses were closed, but a few had museum-like exhibits in them, about things like the school for girls, the construction of houses, and general information about both the town and the fortifications. We also had a small bowl of soup in the snack shop, which was small and dark like a tavern of the day. But the electronic coffee dispenser was not very period.

The day was beautifully clear, but, with the wind, it was so cold! We were there about two and a half hours. On our way back, we opted to drive the Marconi trail. It grew overcast during the drive. We stopped at the (closed) Marconi heritage site, and found the plaque there very confusing. We drove back to the cottage, where we had a small piece of pizza to tide us over. I worked for about an hour or hour and a half. Got the 115 emails at least sorted out…

For dinner, we went into Baddeck and had pasta with local wine (which was not too bad, or we were really tired). Then back to the cottage for hot tub and sleep.


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