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Whitehall Decr. 29, 1758.
I am now to inform You in Confidence, that His Majesty has thought proper to direct a considerable Number of His Land Forces to be employed, as early in the year as possible, on an Expedition up the River St. Lawrence for the Attack of Quebec; and in order effectually to prevent, and cut off from Quebec, all Succours of Troops and Provisions, from Europe, by the River St. Lawrence, & at the same time to facilitate, by all means, the Success of so very important, & decisive an Operation ; I am to signify to you the King's Pleasure, that you do forthwith use the utmost Diligence in repairing, and refitting, all the Ships, under your command, so as that the Same may be, in every respect, ready for actual Service, as early in the year as possible; And as soon as ever the Navigation of the Gulph and River St. Lawrence shall be practicable, It is His Majesty's Pleasure, that you do repair with the Squadron, under your Command, to the River St. Lawrence, and that yo do establish Your Cruize, as high up the said River as the Isle de Bic, where You are to Station your Ships in such a manner as may most effectually prevent any Succours whatever passing up that River to Quebec; And you are to remain in the Station abovementioned, till you shall receive further orders from Admiral Saunders, who is appointed Commander in Chief of the King's Ships in North America, and who will soon proceed to those Parts, to take upon Him the said Command.—I am further to acquaint you, that, It being the King's pleasure, that some of the Ships of Admiral Saunder's, Squadron (already forward in their preparations) which shall be the earliest ready, should very shortly sail for North America, You may expect the Arrival of not les than Four Ships of the Line at Halifax, by the Month of Aprll.
Attl to Amherst.
Whitehall Febry. Ioth. 1759.
Major General Amherst.
That you may be fully informed of all the Operations, directed to be carried on, the ensuing Campaign, in No. America, I have His Majesty's Commands to send you inclosed a Copy of the Secret Instructions the King has been pleased to give to Brigadier General Wolfe; by the Fourth Article of which You will observe, that he is ordered to concert, as far as may be, with you any ulterior operations, which shall be judged expedient to be undertaken, higher up the River St. Lawrence, in consequence of the Reduction of Quebec; And it is the King's Pleasure that You do accordingly as far as may be, act in Concert with Brigadier Wolfe, with regard to any such Operations as above.
It is also His Majesty's further Pleasure, that you should correspond with Brigadier Wolfe, and given him, in due Time, such Directions as shall be necessary for the Disposition of the Troops, and putting himself under Your Command, when the several Services up the River St. Lawrence are over, agreeably to the orders contained in the 5th. Article of his Instructions.
It being of the utmost Importance, in case Brigr. Geml. Wolfe shall succeed in the Expedition under his Command, that a sufficient and ample Supply of Provisions be timely provided for the Troops, that shall be judged necessary to be left, during the Winter, at Quebec, as well as in the other Posts which may happen to be found expedient to maintain ; I am to signify the King's Pleasure to you, that you be particularly attentive to collect, and send, in due time to Quebec, and any other Places, that you shall judge necessary, such a Quantity of Provisions, of all Speices, as shall be fully sufficient for the subsistance of the Troops that shall be to remain in those Posts, together with every other Supply, Succour & Assistance that may be necessary, so as that they may not, on any Account, suffer any Want, during the Time that the Season of the Year shall render the Communication with the above Places impracticable; And tho' very large Quantities of Provisions are ordered to be sent from hence to Louisburg, you will not, on that account, lessen your Diligence & Attention to a Service of this very great Consequence, and thereby run the least Hazard of a Disappointment, in case, the Provisions, from England, should not arrive in due time in North America.
Saunders to (? Admiralty)
On the 1st, ulto. I wrote to you in some hurry by an officer of Artillery going to England from Halifax, and omitted to acquaint you therein, that besides his Majesty's Ships mention'd in my said Letter, I found riding here, the Richmond and Lowestoffe, the former of which had arrived from Plymouth the 14th. and the latter from Virginia the 20th. of April last; The Lowestoffe had been 24 hours on Shore 4 Leags. S. W. from Bermudas, but making little or no Water. She went on to Halifax, where she has been hove down, and the Damage she received found to be very inconsiderable.
Rear Admiral Durell sailed from Halifax the 5th. ulto. being detained till that time, by contrary Winds: On the 12th. all the Ships that went in with me being refitted, I unmoored, and, on the 13, sailed from Halifax with his Majesty's Ships named in the Margin, leaving the Lowestoffe & Hunter Sloop to convoy, to Louisburg, any Transports that might arrive, and the three Fire Ships & Europa armed Vessel to take in Troops, in case such Transports as did arrive in Time, were not sufficient to contain them : In my passage out of the harbor I was joined by the Somerset (Rear Admiral Holmes) and the Terrible, both which Ships proceeded into the Harbor, with Orders to refit, and join me at Louisburg, with all possible Dispatch; The Rear Admiral shifted his Flag on board the Dublin and proceeded with me to Louisburg, where we anchored the 15th. ulto.
During my stay at Halifax One Company of Rangers embark'd in two Schooners, and are sent to re-inforce the Troops with Adml. Durell under Convoy of Capt. Douglas, of the Alcide, who with the Sterling Castle parted Company with me the 14th. in Order to join him in the River St. Lawrence : As Mr. Durell had no small vessel with him, and none being arrived from the Continent, I thought it absolutely necessary to take into the Service an Armed Schooner at Halifax, which seemed very proper for the purpose, and I have sent her to him also under the Alcide's Convoy; & I have also found it needfull to take up a small Sloop at Louisburg, where, on my arrival, I found his Majs. Ship Northumberland (who came in the Day before I did) and the Bedford, and Prince Frederick, the two latter, in a very bad Condition, both as to Men and Stores, but they sailed with me from Louisburg the fourth instant, in Company with his Majesty's Ships named in the Margin and I 19 Sail in Convoy, vizt.
A'eptune Transports . . . 34
Medway Of the Remainder of the English Transports
I have yet heard nothing of the Zephyr Sloop, (stationed at North Carolina) nor of the Eurus, that went to Greeenock for Highlanders for Virginia, nor of the Scorpion Sloop, since she parted company in my passage out, with the Wine Vessels for Teneriffe; Neither have the Terrible or Somerset yet joined me from Halifax, but I have expected them Daily for some time past; And by the Information of an English Transport, that sailed from Lisbon with the Trident, and arrived at Louisburg some Days since, I am in hopes, that Ship also, will join me very soon, I have left Orders at Louisburg for them all to follow me up the River with the utmost Dispatch.—
On the 17th. Ulto. the first of the Troops and Provincials arrived at Louisburg from New York, under convoy of the Lizard & Trent; Those from Boston, the Bay of Fundy, and Halifax, were off the Harbor a few Days after them; but by the vast Quantity of Ice surrounding the harbor, with constant thick Fogs, they were prevented getting in (the greatest part of them) for ten Days at least; on the 27th. the Harbor was so intirely filled up with Ice, that for several Days, it was not practicable for Boats to pass : This Severity of the Winter, has greatly retarded our Sailing from Louisburg, and has by much, exceeded any that can be remembered by the Oldest Inhabitants of this part of the World.
I have stationed the Lizard at the Entrance of the River St. Lawrence, between the N. W. end of the Isle of Anticosti, and the Southern Shore, and shall, as soon as I am able, station another Frigate between Anticosti, and the Northern Shore; I likewise sent the Nightingale to cruize between Cape North & Cape Ray, and the Bird Islands; She returned, very leaky, as I was getting under Sail, having met with great Quantities of Ice, but spoke with nothing in her Cruize; I have left her at Louisburg, with orders to be ready to Sail at a Moments Warning, & I intend to Order her to England with these Dispatches, which I shall send in to her by an Armed Vessel.
Governor Pownall has supplied the Fleet with 240 men from Boston, which has been of great Service to the Ships, that were weakly handed, but, by his Contract with them, they must all be left behind in America—
There are still at Louisburg, a Number of French prisoners & Inhabitants, that have been maintained at great Expence, and taken up much Room in the Hospitals, that has been wanted for our own People; I have