Lord Loudoun was recalled, and General Jeffery Amherst was appointed to succeed him as Commander-in-Chief. Pitt had decided to persevere with his project of expelling the French from America, and, while prosecuting the war vigorously in Europe, perfected plans for despatching reinforcements across the Atlantic. The various colonial governments were asked to raise as many troops as possible for service in the campaign of 1758, and the call was responded to at once by offers from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire to furnish at least 15,000 men. In the course of the winter, preparations were made for resuming operations, the objectives being Louisbourg in Cape Breton, Ticonderoga and Crown Point on Lake Champlain, and Fort Duquesne on the Ohio.
Amherst personally assumed command of the expedition against Louisbourg, the defences of which had been considerably improved since its restoration to France. When it was evident that the British contemplated another attack, the French despatched a fleet there, but it was intercepted by Holborne's squadron, and forced back to the protection of its home ports. Another French relief fleet was dispersed by Hawke at the island of Aix, and, for some time before Amherst's arrival, the fortress had been blockaded by a fleet under the command of Sir Charles Hardy. Admiral Boscawen's fleet, which convoyed Amherst's army to Louisbourg, consisted of twenty-three ships of the line and eighteen frigates. The army included 12,000 men of all ranks, Amherst having Whitmore, Lawrence, and Wolfe, as brigadier-generals, with Colonel Bastide as engineer-in-chief.
The garrison of Louisbourg consisted of four battalions of regular army troops, namely, the regiments of Artois, Bourgogne, Cambis, and les Volontaires Etrangers, two companies of regular artillery, twenty-two companies of Colony Troops, a body of militia, and a band of Indians, the whole force being about 5,000 men including 3,080 regulars. In the harbour were five ships of the line, and seven frigates, carrying 544 guns and about 3,000 seamen.