Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment
|28th, 49th, 61st, 62nd,
66th and 99th Regiments of Foot
June – 27th July 1758
Awarded Battle Honour
||Now 1st Bn R.G.B.W.
|62nd ( Wiltshire) Regiment
2n Bn 1948
Bn D.E.R.R. 1959
||Now 1st Bn
commemorates the siege and capture of the fortress of Louisburg (Cape
Breton’s Island, North America) from the France in July 1758. The Army,
which was under the command of General the Lord Amherst, numbered 12.000
of all ranks broken down into three Brigades with the Gloucester’s under
Brigadier Lawrence in the 3rd Brigade.
grenadiers and light companies of the various Regiments were, as was
customary in those days, organized into separate Battalions.. The Force
which was conveyed by twenty three ships of the line, under Admiral
Boscawen, on which the 62nd (Wiltshire) Regiment were serving
as marines, arrived in Jabarus Bay, a little to the westward of the
fortress, on June 8th, 1758. The country was well known by
commodore Sir R. Warren, with some colonial troops he had wrested it from
the French in 1745.. A reconnaissance revealed three possible landing
places, and, to make assurance trebly sure, Amhurst determined to threaten
all three, whilst the true attack should be made by Wolfe’s brigade,
with the grenadier and light companies at freshwater cove, about three
miles from the city.
landing was stubbornly contested by the French but, thanks to the
gallantry of Major Scott, at the head of the light Infantry Battalion,
Wolfe was enabled to effect his object with a loss of about 100 killed and
wounded. Lawrence’s Brigade was immediately thrown ashore, and by
nightfall Amhurst had pitched his camp to the westward, and just out of
the range of the guns of the fortress. The task of disembarking the siege
material was exceedingly arduous, and Amhurst, owing to the nature of the
ground, was compelled to restrict the siege operations to the western face
of the fortress, Wolfe however was detached to move round the city and
seize some works on the northern side of the harbour. This he effected
with but slight loss, and was enabled by a daring coup de main to
occupy a commanding position some 300 yards distant from the northernmost
bastion. Thanks to the powerful and cordial co-operation of the fleet,
Amhurst carried on the bombardment with ceaseless vigour. By the end of
July the walls were so battered that they could barely withstand the shock
of their own guns, and on the 27th of that month the French
General surrendered unconditionally, with 5,600.
Map of Louisburg 1758
REGIMENT' The 28th of Foot
orders were issued to the troops engaged in this operation.
first body that’s ordered to land at Gabarus bay must take nothing in
the boats but their arms and ammunition, with bread and cheese in their
pockets for two days. No women are permitted to land until the army are
all on shore, and their tents, blankets, provisions and necessaries are
fast as the men get out of the boats they must form and march directly
forward to clear the beach and charge whatever is before them. They are
not to pursue far, but will be ordered to take post so as effectually to
secure the landing of the rest of the army.
spite of the very good organization, the operation nearly failed. The
French had posts all along the cliffs, and the small boats were subjected
to a tremendous fire as they approached. Rough surf and hidden rocks added
to the difficulties. Wolfe was in command of the assault, and just as he
was about to call the operation off three boats found a small stretch of
beach where they could land their men. Immediately Wolfe made the sailors
row his boat to that point, and he leapt ashore, cane in hand, and
organized the concentration of the flotilla there. The red coats waded
ashore, the 28th, which was in the assault brigade, among them,
and soon they formed up and drove the French back to the shelter of the
walls, and the guns of Louisburg.
siege of Louisburg lasted six weeks, six weeks of hard work. They landed
stores and supplies, and dug trenches, under fire from the guns of the
fortress, and with frequent attacks from Indian Guerrillas.
62nd (Wiltshire) REGIMENT
May 27th 1758, the French outposts overlooking Gabarus bay, on
cape Breton island, stood to arms as they beheld a formidable spectacle.
Thirty nine British War ships sailed into the bay and anchored, followed
over several days by a great assembly of transports crammed with 11.000
troops. By June 2nd, the concentration of the invading force
under the command of admiral Boscawen, and with 400 men of the 62nd
on board five of his men-o-war, was complete. The siege of Louisburg, the
‘Gibraltar of Canada’ was about to be mounted.
After an opposed landing (Described
above) Major General Amhurst ordered Wolfe to take 1,200 men and artillery
to the abandoned French battery position at lighthouse point, on the far
side of the harbour mouth, to engage the enemy coastal battery on Goat
Island, which commanded the harbour entrance, and also the five enemy
warships lying at anchor. Soon, the island battery was silenced and the
ships driven to the close protection of the fortress.
French reacted vigorously to this prizing-open of the harbour entrance.
One foggy night soon afterwards, they sank six block ships in the channel
and began a series of attack’s on the lighthouse point gun positions.
The 62nd and other marines, with heavy guns from the fleet, had
now relieved Wolfe and his force, to allow their return to the main siege
lines, and the men of the 62nd, dug in to give infantry
protection to the guns, saw brisk action in repelling the desperate French
of Louisburg 1758, in the foreground is Lighthouse Point, where
Pepperells men erected their gun battery that silenced the island
battery behind it. The harbour is on the right, and Gabarus bay is
in the background.
July 21st, the naval battery at light point point, still
defended by the 62nd detachments, scored an excellent hit on
one of the French ships of the line, the
Entreprenant, blazing furiously, it drifted to
collide with and set alight two other ships.. Some nights later 600
British seamen and Marines including the men of the 62nd ,not
at lighthouse point, notably from HMS Burford and Bedford,
rowed stealthily into Louisburg harbour and captured the two remaining
warships. One went aground and had to be burned, the other was towed away.
have British troops had to fight under more trying circumstances than
those produced by the difficulties of the landing, the raging surf and the
rough and marshy ground round Louisburg. Seldom, too has there been a
better illustration of such perfect co-operation between the two services.
This is commemorated on one side of the Louisburg medal by a soldier and a
sailor holding North America with the words Pariter in Bella. This
co-operation could not however, be better illustrated than the part played
by The Wiltshire’s between the two services.
British took nearly 6,000 prisoners, 240 cannon and 7,500 stands of arms
with much ammunition. Eleven stands of colours were also taken, and
afterwards deposited in St Paul Cathedral. Among the French garrison in
Louisburg was the 62nd regiment of cambise. Some 50 years later
the opposing 62nd Regiments met again, when the British 62nd
defended the castle of Scylla in calabria against the French. The British
losses at Louisburg were comparatively light, and the marines had few
62nd had won their first Battle honour, but it was not awarded
till 152 years later. On many occasions over the intervening years the
Regiment requested it, always to be told by the War office that there was
no record of the 62nd or any part of it having been present.
Nor there was in the military archives, the four companies of the 62nd
being on the strength of the navy, as the admiralty records plainly showed
when they were last inspected.
UNITS AWARDED THE
BATTLE HONOUR 'LOUISBURG'
of Canada, by Mary Beacock Fryer
honours of the British Army By C.B. Norman
Story of the Wiltshire Regiment by Col
Wiltshire Regiment by Tom Gibson
of Honour by David Scott Daniell
Journal, The Wiltshire Regiment