Chris Scott Wilson Writer
...more Captain Cook, Man of the Sea
troop transports. It was not uncommon for naval cannon to be manhandled ashore and manned by sailors, either for their own purposes or to assist the army, so taking into consideration the number of sailors spread across some 150 ships, the headcount is increased considerably.
When Wolfe arrived at Nova Scotia in vice-admiral Saunders’ flagship HMS Neptune after leaving Portsmouth in mid-February, ice blocked Louisbourg’s harbour mouth so instead they set a new course for Halifax where they made a rendezvous with the ships who had wintered there. It was obvious with such a concentration of troops, supplies, ordnance, ammunition and baggage that being able to move them all reasonably quickly was essential, which meant by water, making the St Lawrence river the key to the whole campaign. As a sailing master’s prime responsibility was navigation which not only meant arriving at a planned destination in good time and as economically as possible, but reaching it safely without risking lives or the vessel on any unnecessary hazard, then James Cook knew accurate charts of the river were imperative to aid the fleet’s approach.
He was not alone in his worries. The French had done as all defending nations do; they provided misinformation to confuse prospective invaders. From Gaspé Bay which Cook had already
MAP OF THE GULF Of ST. LAWRENCE
Halifax, the British fleet's winter quarters.