Pritchard describes the domestic and international political circumstances in France that gave rise to the expedition, outlining strategy and politics in the context of colonial defence and continental ambition. He reconstructs the events that contributed to the failure of the expedition - human and institutional weakness, weather, spoiled provisions, disease, and the death of the commanding admiral. Anatomy of a Naval Disaster exposes the ambitions and frailties of men, the arbitrariness of success, and the limits of power in the eighteenth century.
James Pritchard is a member of the Department of History at Queen's University.
Policy and ambition; background to a naval expedition; plans, preparations and conflict; delays and departures; the enterprise of a passage; tragedy at Chibouctou; the lost shepherds; La Jonquiere takes command; the final agony.