The Life of General The Hon. James Murray
Chapter VI. Quebec, 1759


We are only concerned with the steps taken to carry out the eastern or Quebec section of the general scheme for the conquest of Canada. Pitt had discussed the details with Wolfe during his stay in England in the winter of 1758-59, and had agreed, as we have seen, to place a force of 12,000 men at his disposal. In the actual result no more than three-fourths of that number were obtained, and there is no doubt that operations were severely handicapped by the smallness of the force, not so much because the French garrison, on paper, at all events, considerably outnumbered this army, but because the necessities of the Quebec campaign required the holding of several points at distances widely separated, and not in easy communication. This fact must be remembered when criticising Wolfe's failure to achieve an early or a decisive success.

The actual causes of this serious diminution of the force intended for the Quebec campaign are not easy to determine. The wastage in the battalions since the Louisburg campaign had been considerable, and, in those which ultimately proceeded to Quebec, amounted to 1550 men; there were besides 275 other men absent from various causes. Against this some 500 men had been recruited, presumably in North America, making the total shortage in Wolfe's battalions alone over 1300 men. Apparently this had been overlooked by Pitt. Moreover, on arrival at Louisburg, Wolfe had written to the Governor, General Whitmore, explaining that reinforcements expected from the West Indies had not come in, and, though not mentioned in the official instructions, he understood that several companies of light infantry were to be added to his force from that under Whitmore. Whitmore was, however, little inclined to assist the rather too forward young general; he had probably heard, for there are always kind friends to convey such tit-bits, that Wolfe had stigmatised him as "a poor sleepy old man," and his reply to Wolfe's application was curt. His orders, he said, were from Major-General Amherst, or the Commander-in-Chief in America, and none had been received as to further loan of troops.

It is certainly remarkable that while some 15,000 men had been told off for the reduction of Louisburg, no more than 12,000 were considered to be sufficient for the much larger operation against Quebec, and even this number was not available.

The command of the force was given to James Wolfe, who for this purpose had the local rank in America of major-general (dated January 12, 1759). He was, however, clearly subordinate to Amherst as Commander-in-Chief in America. The three brigadiers were Robert Monckton, colonel of the 2nd Battalion Royal Americans; George Townshend, colonel of the 6th Foot; and James Murray, not yet appointed as substantive colonel, though he held the rank "in America"—"all men of great spirit," wrote Wolfe. Monckton was the senior, and had several years of active service in Nova Scotia, where he had derived useful experience in Indian warfare, which should have been a benefit to the major-general commanding. In point of age he was youngest of the three brigadiers, and only six months older than Wolfe himself—and. like him, his promotion had been phenomenally rapid. George Townshend was two years older, and, through his family, possessed much influence. Grandson of a great Whig minister and brother of a then rising politician, who afterwards became famous, nephew of the Duke of Newcastle, and intimate with William Pitt, and himself a politician who was not unknown, he was perhaps inclined to assume an air of superiority which at the period was less remarkable and less repugnant to good taste than we should consider it now.

Some time about 1755 Townshend had incurred the resentment of the Duke of Cumberland, and in 1757 he resigned his commission, but so favoured a personage had little difficulty in obtaining further employment as soon as Cumberland had withdrawn from his post as Commander-in-Chief, and in May, 1758, Pitt offered him a commission as colonel, which Townshend accepted. In December came his appointment as brigadier under Wolfe.

Campaigning in America was not fashionable, and it was not quite what Townshend was hoping for, nor, indeed, is it likely that he appreciated his appointment under Wolfe. It is said that his quarrel with the Duke had been due to his singular capacity for caricaturing—a faculty which has got many people into trouble—and it is not surprising that Wolfe's odd appearance and mannerisms attracted Townshend's peculiar form of humour. There was certainly a state of tension between the two which came to the surface more than once during the campaign ; but apart from this, Townshend was certainly a brave and capable commander, and a more tactful chief would probably have found him an important asset, both on account of his abilities and his influence at home. Tact was not, unfortunately, one of Wolfe's many good qualities.

Except Monckton, none of the superior officers had any experience of American warfare, and that term included a vast range of conditions which required a long apprenticeship and an adaptability, which the rigid formations and formula: derived from experience in the continental wars gave little hope of attaining. The Louisburg operations and the subsequent foray in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in the previous year added little to Wolfe's knowledge. Murray, it is true, had had the West Indian experience of 1740-42, which, at least, covered much that was useful in conducting operations from a sea base. For the rest their knowledge was almost entirely based on Dettingen, Fontenoy, Lauffeldt, and a series of sieges, advances, and retreats, executed according to an etiquette more complicated and not less exact than that which the age prescribed for social observances.

Nor in the composition of Wolfe's army do we find any leaders of note among the colonial troops, on whose advice Wolfe might have relied if he had been so minded; but in any case, it is to be feared that "advice" was the last thing the young commander wanted. Besides, Wolfe despised the colonial troops, both in his own camp and that of the enemy—"the worst soldiers in the Universe," is his pithy description ; and, no doubt, to a commander accustomed to issue precise orders on questions relating to movements, clothing, and discipline they appeared such.

The enemy, on the other hand, possessed among the superior officers men who had been brought up from their youth with the colonial militia, and who thoroughly understood their peculiarities and their value. Montcalm, it is true, as a king's officer, pursang, held much the same views as Wolfe, but Vaudreuil, who possessed most of the faults a commander could have, was at least in touch with the Canadian and Indian auxiliaries, and there were other capable men with similar qualifications, as De Ramezay, Contrecoeur, Repentigny.

Of the remainder of the staff of Wolfe's army two names stand out prominently. Carleton, with the appointment of Deputy Quartermaster-General, with the rank of "Colonel in America," and Barre, the "Deputy-Adjutant."

The former had long been a close friend of Wolfe. Barret on the other hand, had been previously unknown to Wolfe, but his strong personality and faithfulness evidently rendered him a trusted subordinate at a time when strained relations with his other officers made things difficult for a man of Wolfe's temperament.

There is one other name, seldom referred to in works on the subject, which deserves a more ample consideration— that of Colonel Williamson, who commanded the artillery. This arm of the service had not long been included as part of the regular army, and Williamson, by scientific study of the possibility of his weapons, had done much to increase its efficiency. At Quebec the great value of Williamson's branch of the service was fully demonstrated. Apart from the bombardment of the town itself, and the almost complete destruction of the public buildings, a matter on the utility of which different opinions may easily be held, there was the decisive result that under the cover of the guns the mastery of the river, above and below the town, was secured. The fleet alone could not have accomplished this, for their guns could not be trained on the heights, and to Williamson's heavy artillery belongs a share of the success which, I think, has met with scant recognition.

The assembly of the Quebec army at Louisburg in the spring of 1759 took place during the latter end of May.

Ten battalions only were detailed by Amherst for the service. A battalion of Grenadiers was formed, consisting of 313 men under Lieut.-Col. Alexander Murray J of the 45th Foot. These were drawn from the three battalions remaining at Louisburg (22nd, 40th, 45th), and there were also six companies of Rangers, recruited in New England, each of 80 to 100 men, commanded by Major Scott of the 40th Foot. A corps of light infantry was formed from the battalions of the army, under command of Major Dalling of the 28th Regiment.

The embarkation return signed by Wolfe on board the Neptune on June 5 shows the strength of the force as under:

The nett result was that Wolfe's force started woefully short of its proper complement, and except for a small force of about 100 men, nothing was added to his effective strength during the campaign.

Admiral Ilolmes, with a small squadron and a convoy of 59 transport and ordnance ships, sailed from St. Helen's on February 14, a part of the convoy being for New York. Saunders, with the rest of the squadron, followed, Wolfe, Townshend, and Carleton being with him. The winter had been unusually severe, and Louisburg harbour was icebound, a rare occurrence. Saunders was therefore obliged to carry on to Halifax, arriving on April 30, where he found Admiral Durrel with fourteen sail ready to start for the St. Lawrence. Durrel's squadron had wintered at Halifax. It formed the fleet of observation, and its object was to prevent any enemy ships from ascending that river. Whether on this occasion he considered it necessary to await the arrival of his chief is not clear, but it is certain that the delay in appearing at his post had serious consequences, and Wolfe expressed himself freely on the dilatorinces of the admiral, though I cannot find that the naval Commander-in-Chief expressed the same views.* Durrel's squadron left Halifax on May 2, with transports carrying 650 of the troops under Carleton, which were to form an advanced guard (of these 400 were required for supplementing the crews), and arrived in the river on the 14th, to find that a French fleet of eighteen transports, commanded by Jacques Kanon, convoyed by three frigates, had stolen a march on them, and had arrived at Quebec four days previously, carrying some 340 recruits and 1500 sailors, as well as a much-needed supply of stores, though much less than had been asked for, and also de Bougainville, returning from his almost fruitless embassy to try and induce the French Government to send reinforcements to the colony. No better evidence of the demoralised state of the French Government can be given than the letter written by Belleisle, then Minister of War, to Montcalm in reference to this embassy of Bougainville's :

"Besides increasing the dearth of provisions, it is to be feared that reinforcements, if despatched, would fall into the hands of the English. The king is unable to send succours proportioned to the force the English ean place in the field to oppose you. You must confine yourself to the defensive, and concentrate all your force within as narrow limits as possible.

Every difficulty seems to have been put in the way of the expedition—it was even refused to provide the recruits with arms! Durrel only succeeded in capturing three or four of the laggards of the convoy, and through want of enterprise he lost the great opportunity of striking a blow which would have crippled the enemy to such an extent that it is doubtful if Quebec could have been held at all. Bougainville acknowledged afterwards that the colony was literally starving when this convoy arrived.

"The severity of the winter has greatly retarded our sailing from Louisburg, and has by much exceeded any that can be remembered by the oldest inhabitant in this part of the world. ... I am now off the Island of Scatari, and standing for the Gulf of St. Lawrence with the wind at west, the whole number of transports not having been able to get out to me till this morning."

Thus wrote Saunders to the minister on June 6, and Wolfe, notwithstanding his natural impatience to be gone, wrote on the same date that the fogs and climate were so unfavourable to military operations that if we had been collected a week sooner I doubt if it would have been possible to sail before we did." Yet the French convoy had managed to reach the St. Lawrence nearly a month previously !

These orders exhibit clearly the want of appreciation of the conditions in Canada. The narrowest possible limits of defence was the line of the St. Lawrence from Montreal to Quebec, 180 miles apart, with several intermediate vulnerable points.

The progress of this great armada, consisting of more than 200 vessels, great and small, up the river, took some thirteen days from the entry into the estuary in sight of the island of Anticosti—the distance traversed was about 380 miles. The wind was often contrary, and one can imagine the difficulties in tacking and reaching of a crowd of vessels in a waterway subject to strong tidal currents, and growing constantly narrower as the fleet ascended higher towards its goal. Often the ships were obliged to anchor and wait for the flood tide before progress could be made. Townshend, in his diary, gives some insight into the navigation dangers which must have occurred not once but many times:

"Five of the men-of-war upon a tack were nearly running on board each other; the current being very strong, few would answer their helm at first. The Royal William of 90 tons, and the Or ford a 70-gun ship, nearly ran down our ship, the Diana frigate. In this critical situation the breeze sprang up, and seconding the ability of the respective commanders of those ships saved us from that shock which a few moments before seemed inevitable."

It is, perhaps, not difficult to visualise the scene as the great fleet made its slow irresistible passage. The trim war ships, the rows of open gun-ports, from each of which peeped the muzzles of the 32 or 18-pounder guns, the high poops of the larger ships and the great stern galleries, carrying the usual three lanterns, the two outermost supported by massive figures gaily decorated, the forest of tall spars and the maze of rigging, which added so much to the fascination of the old wooden walls of England. At dawn two hundred capstans clanked, and ten thousand feet raised a mighty tramp as the great hemp cables groaned through the hawse-holes, and the fife and drum on the warships, and the fiddles of the transports, lent rhythm to the deep-throated chorus of the sailors singing the popular sea tunes of the day:

"Then why should we quarrel for riches
Or any such glittering toys?
A light heart and a thin pair of breeches
Goes thro' the world, bravo boys."

The boatswains' whistles sounded up and down the river, blocks creaked as willing crews and equally willing soldiers hoisted the fore and aft sails to aid the ships in their constant tasking, the water crowded with boats taking soundings, marking channels or shoals, occasionally making a raid on shore.

The convoy was in three divisions, each with its accompaniment of ships of the line, and each ship carrying a distinguishing flag. Thus the first division, Monekton's, led by the Lowestoft, was marked by a white flag, and the several regiments had their respective variations, the transports of the 43rd a white flag with one red ball, the 78th white with two blue balls. The second division, led by the Diana, was red with similar variations, while Murray's troops in the third division, led by the Trent, carried blue, plain for the 35th regiment, with one white ball for the 48th, and three for the 3rd battalion Royal Americans (60th). The Grenadiers, the light infantry, the Rangers, the artillery, all had their distinguishing flags; and besides this gay equipment, let us picture a constant succession of signal flags, displayed and answered. The white, blue, or red ensigns, which in those days distinguished the rank of the admiral commanding, and the Union flags, which then only contained the Crosses of St. Andrew and St. George, fluttering on the quaintly massive bowsprits with their strange rigging of sprit topmast and sprit yards, a style even then going out of fashion, and indicative that the fleet now moving on the St. Lawrence was not of the most modern build.

The transports were, no doubt, a motley crowd of all sizes and rigs. Most of them had crossed the Atlantic, and bore marks of the rough handling they had had in the stormy passage of February, March, April; many others were New York or Boston built, distinguishable by their lower free-board ; but if they lacked something of the gallant appearance of the war-ships, the crowd of red-coated soldiers, who lined their bulwarks, and discussed the novelties of the stirring scene before them, gave them a distinct value of their own in the animated picture. It was these transports which in ordinary times carried on the commerce of England, and their crews formed the most skilful sailors in the world. The French had hoped much from the difficulties of navigating a large fleet in the hazardous waters of the great river, and their amazement was great to sec the vessels, large and small, guided in safety through the most difficult channels with apparent ease ; and that, too, without the usual pilot marks, which they had been careful to remove. What quaint old salts were the masters of these battered craft; accustomed to daily and hourly danger, ready to tackle a privateer and lay her "aboard luff for luff," as the phrase went, if there was a chance of success, or to out-sail her by sheer seamanship, if the worst came to the worst; nothing was possible of wind or weather that could daunt them, so long as they had a good offing and no land under the lee.

What were the reflections of Wolfe and his generals as they passed onwards to the scene of their great endeavour? People were great diarists in those days, but, unfortunately, little has remained to give us the thoughts of Wolfe or of Murray or Monckton. Townshend's diary is preserved by his descendants, and is partly quoted by Col. C. V. Townshend in his work. It is to be hoped that some day more may be given to the public. He found leisure to jot down many interesting details, and noted the wild uncultivated character of the shores, "save where a few straggly French settlements appear." Murray, who kept a careful diary of the operations in the following year, probably kept one at this time, and if he did, we may be sure it recorded an intelligent appreciation of the possibilities of developing to advantage the new country into which they were penetrating, which not one of them doubted would fall before their attack. It was a peculiarity of Murray's character that, intensely military though he was, and capable and ready to discuss the chances of the campaign, and the measures required to meet the ever-changing conditions, he never for a moment lost sight of the practical problems of deriving the utmost benefit from the results of the military action.

At Tadoussac the fleet had anchored for a brief period to collect stragglers and make arrangements for the progress up the rapidly narrowing estuary, and here, no doubt, Murray and his comrades recalled the story of Champlain's first coming a century and a half before ; of Kirk and his fleet of raiders, which made here their first rendezvous ; of the terrible sufferings of the fur traders, who essayed to pass the winter here, and of whom few survived to tell the tale. Could Murray have foreseen the future he would have known that within half a year his own experiences would resemble theirs. Beyond Tadoussac some twenty miles brought them to the first of the islands in the narrow river, and following the northern bank no instinct can have told Murray that the little river, known to the French as Noire, would form the eastern boundary of the seigneury to be called after him, Mount Murray, or that eighteen miles higher up the two bold headlands, the easternmost of which forms Cap a l'Aigle, and the western, l'ointe au Be, enclosed the beautiful bay that was to be known as Murray Bay. Even then the French settlers had discovered the beauties of a place which in these later years forms a fashionable summer resort, and a village nestled on the shore of the bay, sheltered from the north by the rising hills. Fire and sword were soon to leave little of this peaceful hamlet, but a little later here arose the comfortable manor house around which is woven Professor Wrong's fascinating story, A Canadian Manor and its Seigneurs. Besides Murray, there were two others to whom the gift of second sight would have disclosed a close connection with the St. Lawrence shore about Murray Bay. On one of the vessels, distinguished by the white flag with two blue bolls, indicating Fraser's Highlanders,3 were two young officers, John Nairne and Malcolm Eraser, who were destined to spend their lives here, as owners respectively of the two seigneuries of Murray Bay and Mount Murray, both of them scions of old Scots families, and both poor. It is not. unlikely in their case that dreams of settling in the new land may have occurred to them.

It is perhaps uncertain if either of these two officers was personally known to Murray at the time, though Nairne had served in the Scots Brigade in Holland, as he had done himself, but at a later date ; he was soon, however, to know them well, nor only from their gallant bearing, but from the personal recommendation of his brother George, dated October 23, 1759, "I have no occasion to apologise for recommending the bearer, honest John Nairne's son, our relation. They are folks we greatly respect." I cannot ascertain in what way the families were "related," probably by intermarriage; but the circumstance accounts for the interest which Murray showed in his protege, and the pecuniary assistance he gave him not only to purchase a company in the 78th, but also in aiding his settlement in the Murray Bay seigncury, which the grateful recipients acknowledged by begging to be allowed "to give the lands to be granted such name as will perpetuate their sense of his great kindness to them."

Beyond Murray Bay the fleet came to lie aux Coudres on June 23, and found here Admiral Durrel's squadron. Wolfe had already received the news of the admiral's failure to intercept the French fleet of supply transports, and his chagrin was but natural. The remarks in Wolfe's Journal and that of his aide-de-camp, Captain Bell, show pretty clearly what was in the minds of the writers. " The succours from France anchored at Bic, the 9th of May." "There had been no ice in the river these two months." All in general are agreed that they (the French) must have starved if the succours from France had not arrived." Probably Wolfe did not exaggerate the importance of the " succours," and it is beyond doubt that they afforded much-needed assistance and had an important bearing on the campaign, not only that of 1759, but also of 1760, for quite apart from the men and supplies, it gave the French an important addition of ships for transport purposes, without which their attack on Quebec, in the spring of 1760, would hardly have been possible.

By June 25 the fleet had arrived at the Traverse, a narrow difficult passage between the island of Orleans and the frowning headland of Cap Tourmente, "a remarkably high, black-looking promontory," says Knox. Here the channel turned and twisted in a most puzzling fashion, yet to the great astonishment of the Freneh the whole fleet passed it with apparent ease. It was here on the slopes of Cap Tourmente, commanding the navigable channel which ran close in shore, that Montcalm had urged the erection of batteries to oppose the English fleet; but in the confusion of divided counsels, which he refers to with great bitterness in his Journal, nothing was done, and beyond the natural difficulties of the navigation the fleet suffered no hindrance.

The voyagers were now almost within sight of their goal. From the 24th to 26th (June, 175!)) a crowd of vessels continually arrived in the south channel beyond the island of Orleans. Here they were "entertained with a most agreeable prospect of a delightful country on every side—windmills, water-mills, churches, chapels, and compaet farm-houses, all built with stone, and covered, some with wood and others with straw."

Quebec itself was not yet in view, but the opening of the "bason" could just be seen, and a glimpse is to be had of the Falls of Montmorency, which many of the voyagers were soon to have a disastrous acquaintance with.

On June 26, Wolfe, from his headquarters on the Richmond frigate, issued his orders for landing on the Isle of Orleans. The honour of the first landing belongs to Lieutenant Meech of the Rangers, who landed at night on the 26th with forty Rangers, and had some little skirmishing but no real opposition. He maintained his position all night, and in the morning the army commenced the disembarkation. No opposition * was encountered, the inhabitants had abandoned their houses. Even the parish priest of St. Lawrence had thought it wiser to leave the ground clear for these invaders, whose character he had been taught to estimate as of the lowest order. Yet he must have had some doubts on the subject, for before leaving he affixed to the doors of the church a letter, " To the worthy officers of the British Army," praying for their protection of his church and its sacred furniture. He added a little touch, that shows him something of a humourist; had the landing occurred a little earlier, he said, the worthy officers might have enjoyed the benefit of the vegetables his garden produced, but these "are now gone to seed."

According to Montcalm, a detachment of 500 Canadians, under M. de Courtemanche, had proceeded to Orleans to oppose a landing. On June 28, he says, " Le singulierest que notre gros d£tachement a l'lle d'Orleans a vu sans s'y opposer les Anglais y d^barquer en ddsordre." It seems certain, at least, that if Courtemanche had been alert he could have captured Meecli's weak detachment, and certainly harassed the landing next day. light infantry, and, accompanied by Major McKellar, the chief engineer, proceeded to the west end of the island, whence an uninterrupted view across the bason of Quebec was obtainable. What Wolfe saw on that June day, while it cannot but have quickened his ambition to be master of Quebec, must also have given him a warning that the task before him was one of extraordinary difficulty. In front of him the four miles' expanse of the "bason," the steep, almost precipitous coast-line culminating at Cape Diamond, on which was built the citadel; the walls and batteries of the town crowning the heights and sloping gently towards the estuary of the St. Charles River, on the hither side of which, along the less elevated but still formidable shoreline, as far as the opening of the Montmorency River, it was easy to see the French lines and the encampments which continued almost without intermission for some six miles. It was not difficult to judge that a numerous force was assembled, and that almost the whole strength of France had been concentrated here to dispute his passage.

On the left hand the prospect was scarcely less magnificent, nor was it more inviting so far as attack was concerned. Immediately across the southern channel rose the steep shore of Beaumont, rising gradually to the Point of Levis, and extending beyond in heights scarcely less forbidding than that of the citadel itself. The narrow channel between the citadel and the heights of Levis could not be fully seen, as the coast-line bends at that part of the Levis position, known as Pointe des Peres; but here the river narrows to about a thousand yards, fully commanded by the batteries oL' the town, and adding seriously to the problem of getting ships or even boats up the river.

It will be convenient here to recall the plan of campaign which Wolfe had formed before leaving Louisburg. it is contained in a letter written to his uncle, under date May 19, 1759:

"To invest the place and cut off all communication with the colony, it will be necessary to encamp with our right on the river St. Lawrence and our left to the river St. Charles. From the St. Charles to Beauport the communication must be kept open by strong entrenched posts and redoubts."

Obviously Wolfe pictured himself surrounding the city and enclosing the garrison within the walls. The question of the French field army, which would presumably remain within the "colony," appears hardly to have entered his calculations. The lines he prepared to hold from the St. Lawrence to the St. Charles on the shortest measurement would be not less than 2200 yards, while the line of posts and redoubts would be at least 2000 yards more. For such a scheme his force of 8000 men would be quite insufficient, even without allowing an independent reserve to repel the attack of a relieving force, which certainly should be reckoned on. The letter continues :

"It is the business of the naval force to be masters of the river both above and below the town. ... I reckon we shall have a smart action at the passage of the St. Charles, unless we can steal a detachment up the river St. Lawrence and land there three, four, or five miles or more above the town, and get time to entrench so strongly that they won't care to attack."

The passage which I have put in italics is important; but the main idea, clearly, was to land if possible at Beauport, pass the St. Charles, invest the town, and besiege it in due form; yet the alternative of going up the river to a distance above the town was certainly then in Wolfe's mind. At the time he wrote this letter he knew the force which would be at his disposal, and this alone should have given him cause to modify his views; but when he surveyed the scene from the west point of Orleans, two things at plan similar in many respects, viz. " The best place for landing troops seems to be below the Charles River on the north shore, where there is a plain three miles in length, and by what Colonel Schuyler tells me, the Charles River is everywhere fordable and good passing when the tide is out. The town to the land side is weak, and the approaches are cover'd by hills, which are near the town and high least should have been obvious—that the French army was a much larger one than would in all probability suffer itself to be shut up in the city, and that a landing at Beau port, in face of such a force, was impracticable. Yet throughout all the subsequent proceedings this idea never wholly left Wolfe's mind.

As an initial conception, before ever seeing the ground or being in a position to judge, by observation, the defences, or the degree of concentration of the enemy, the letter shows a bold and vigorous idea; but when actual facts presented themselves, it seems apparent that the whole plan should have been immediately and radically modified, the more so that Wolfe himself referred to the necessity of cutting off communication with the colony (by which he meant the upper river and Montreal), and of landing at some distance above the town.

A commander of genius could hardly fail to have grasped the fact that command of the waterway placed most of the trump cards in his hand. The French concentration below Quebec was in itself in his favour, and it was in his power to dictate the place of attack anywhere within twenty or thirty miles above the town. The instant the English naval force passed Cape Diamond, Montcalm, with the true instincts of a soldier, recorded in his diary: "Si l'ennemi prend la parte de remonter la fleuve et peut descendre dans un point quclconque, il intercepte toute communica Lions avee nos vivres et nos munitions de guerre."

I would, however, make it clear that the first steps taken by Wolfe in the attack were unquestionably most proper, and, indeed, might lead to the supposition that he did modify his initial plans as a result of his reconnaissance on June 27; unfortunately he did not steadfastly maintain the line of strategy which was apparently laid down in the beginning.

Much has been said regarding the failure of Amherst to attract to himself the larger part of the French force. But it does not appear that this is justifiable. Wolfe knew that for the western armies to make themselves felt at

Montreal would take time, though he certainly put the total of the enemy forces that would oppose him at too low a figure. lie estimated the enemy's force as six battalions of regulars, some companies of marine troops, with four or five thousand Canadians, and some Indians. In all he reckoned about, the same number as he had himself, that is, some 8500 men. From all the sources of information, and they are none of them very reliable, I think the total French force assembled at Quebec was approximately 12,000 men, composed as under:

Even if we discount this formidable total on account of the indifferent quality of a large part of the force, and on account of the internal conditions already described, it is still apparent how serious a problem presented itself to the British commander, and how little likely direct frontal attack, on a naturally difficult position held by a numerically superior force, was to succeed.

On June 29 Wolfe records in his Journal: "The Admiral expressed his desire that we should get possession of Point Levy, and sent Captain Wheelock to signify it to me." No doubt the admiral found the narrow waters south of the island a very uncomfortable anchorage, and a sudden hurricane on the 27th, to say nothing of an unsuccessful attempt to destroy the fleet by sending down fireships quickened his desire to get out into the open waters of the bason. It is, however, pretty certain that occupation of Point Levis jumped with Wolfe's own ideas, and orders to carry out this first important step in the campaign were given at once. Monckton's brigade was detailed for the duty, and one battalion and some light infantry crossed that night and took possession of the church and village of Beaumont with slight opposition, the remaining battalions crossed the next day (June 30). On this day the light infantry, having had a successful skirmish with some French marine troops, went forward to survey the country. "There was no regular road up the hill, only a serpentine path with trees and undergrowth on every side of us;" by ten o'clock the whole brigade moved up the hill and marched to Point Levis, where they found an enemy force in possession of the church and houses of St. Joseph near the Point. Knox estimates their number at 1000, including 600 colony troops. The resistance was not formidable, and this commanding position was soon in Monckton's possession.

The occupation of the Levis heights was a move of the greatest importance, and it is astonishing that the French permitted it with hardly any show of resistance. I think Knox is certainly inaccurate in saying that 600 colony troops were present. In Montcalm's Journal a certain M. de Lery (an officer of marine troops) is mentioned as being there with some Indians, and it is stated that Montcalm had endeavoured without effect to persuade Vaudreuil to send a large detachment to hold the position. It was undoubtedly, for Monckton, a very fortunate error of judgment on Vaudreuil's part. Possession of Point Levis gave Wolfe the first step towards mastery of the river, both above and below the town.

The next important step taken is also recorded in Wolfe's diary, under the date July 8:

"Consultation with the admiral about landing, our notions agreeing to get ashore, if possible above the town, we determined to attempt it—troops and ships prepared accordingly. The admiral of opinion that none of the ships would be of use in an attempt on the Beauport side. Resolution to begin with a warm bombardment from Point aux Peres.'"

This entry certainly involves that modification of Wolfe's first conception as contained in his letter to his uncle, which I have already alluded to—the abandonment of direct attack on the Beauport front and commencement of activity above the town. Unfortunately two things speedily became manifest. The first, that Wolfe could not bring himself really to give up the Beauport scheme, and the second, that landing above the town meant, in his mind, a landing close to the town—in fact, to accomplish the original plea of investing the town, by landing immediately above it instead of below.

The measures taken after consulting with the admiral were, however, in accordance with the agreement arrived at. Townshend's brigade was ordered to land on the north shore below Montmorency, in order " to draw the enemy's attention that way and favour the projected attempt (above the town)."

llad Wolfe's force been adequate this move would have been sound strategy. A force, even a small one, entrenehed on the French left, would undoubtedly pin a large body to their lines, and the position on the left bank of the Montmorency lliver was not easily attacked, and had open communication by water in rear. At this place, after a steep rise from the water, the land rose gradually in an open grass-covered slope. The falls of the Montmorency River on the left—on the right some distance away a considerable hill, which commanded to a great extent the camping ground. In front thick wood bordering the side of the Montmorency River. In the circumstances in which he was actually placed, to detach so large a proportion of his troops to a position far removed from the main theatre, where they were unable to do more than demonstrate, certainly cannot be commended. The brigade was useless for1 attack, for it was separated from the French by the deep chasm of the Montmorency, nor was it strong enough to venture higher up the river where the crossing was possible, nor numerically sufficient to be a serious menace to the French.

At the same time General Murray received instructions to "reconnoitre la Chaudiere, St. Michel, and Anse des Meres." I quote from an entry in Wolfe's Journal, dated July 4, but there is little doubt that Murray proceeded on this duty on the 2nd or possibly 3rd, under the escort of a body of Rangers commanded by Major Scott. The duty was obviously in furtherance of the plan of campaign of attacking the enemy above Quebec. For the proper understanding of much that followed later a careful consideration of this order is necessary, the more so that it has been neglected by writers on the subject. The last of the places mentioned is almost certainly a mistake for Anse Derners. To instruct Murray to make a reconnaissance to the Chaudiere River, some eight or nine miles above the camp at Levis, and at the same time to include Anse des Meres, is obviously unlikely, for this lay almost opposite the position at Pointe aux Peres (on the north side of the river), which Wolfe had selected on July 2 as a site for the batteries to bombard Quebec, and whatever could be learnt by viewing the Anse des Meres from the south shore was already known to him.

On the other hand, Anse Demers is a little cove some two miles or so beyond the Chaudi&re River and almost directly opposite Cap Rouge, and its inclusion in Murray's orders would be quite probable. This place is the same as that which Murray refers to later as "Gentleman's Bay " (see p. 124), and here again we have a curious misrendering of the name. On the great map of the St. Lawrenee, now in the British Museum, executed under Murray's orders, the place is carefully drawn in and named " Alice de Messieurs." The use of "de" seems to indicate that "Messieurs" was not the original name.

I visited this little bay in September, 1915, in company of Dr. Doughty and Colonel Wood, and we found by inquiring from a local inhabitant, that though the bay itself appeared not to have any special name, the laud surrounding it was known by the name of an early proprietor as Demers, and I do not doubt that both Wolfe's and Murray's rendering was due to a misconception of the real name.

But a further curious point arises. Whence came the knowledge of this little-known cove, which induced Wolfe within a few days of his arrival to seek further information? The answer to this question seems to point clearly to Major Stobo, who had made his remarkable escape from Quebec after five years' captivity, during the early part of which he had a great deal of liberty and opportunity to make himself acquainted with the country about Quebec. Stobo left Louisburg on June 11 on board the Seahorse frigate, and arrived off the island of Bic in the St. Lawrence on June 22, whence he proceeded in haste to join Wolfe, and would have reached headquarters by June 27 or 28. He was, therefore, in plenty of time to give Wolfe any information of which he was possessed. " C'est lui, dit on, conduit tout," wrote Montcalm in his Journal, "et il est en etat de rendre bon eompte de la situation de notre eolonie a tous egards."

He was the bearer of a letter from Lord Rollo, then at Louisburg, addressed to Colonel Alexander Murray (which, strangely enough, is now among the papers left by General Murray). The letter says:

"The bearer, Captain Stobo. will, I hope, bring you agreeable accounts of the condition of the place and disposition of the French troops, and is able to point out the avenues of the place, which will greatly forward your approaches...."

In that strange document, The Memoirs of Major Robert Stobo, by an unknown author, it is stated, "He pointed out the place to land, where afterwards they did, and were successful. . . ." It appears then circumstantially probable that Stobo, in close touch with Wolfe during the first days of considering the plan of campaign, was the source whence the general drew his information, and it appears also that from him two distinct plans were derived. The one, an embarkation at Anse Demers and a landing on the north shore somewhere in the neighbourhood of Cap Rouge or even higher up the river; the other, a landing at St. Michel. As to the first, the Anse was peculiarly suited for the purpose, for a ridge of high ground screened the foreshore of the cove from any view of the enemy, and a large number of men could be assembled there in secrecy. It was this notion that attracted General Murray, as we shall see. As to St. Michel, this place remained for the rest of the campaign a lure to General Wolfe ; but, unfortunately, he did not steadfastly maintain his first intention.

This long digression must be completed by a word regarding St. Miehel. The village of Sillery stood then, as it stands to-day, just above the promontory correctly called Pointe a Puiseaux, but more generally known to Wolfe's army as Sillery Point. The fief of St. Michel, which included the Point, was as far back as 1687 in possession of a M. de Puiscaux ; a chapel dedicated to St. Michel had been built on the foreshore above the Point, but a house occupied afterwards by Madame de Puiseaux had been built on the foreshore just below the Point, and the little bay before this house had been named Anse St. Michel; it was to this place General Wolfe referred in his instructions to Murray. It should be mentioned that all these little bays, created by the irregularities of the river bank, were rather nebulous in their confines, and this may be the explanation why the memoirs of Major Stobo refer to the actual landing by Wolfe as having taken place at the spot indicated by him, though, in fact, Wolfe's cove, properly called Anse au Foulon, is some 1200 yards lower down the river than Anse St. Michel. General Murray also, as we shall see, combined the two places as one. For the rest, the Anse St. Michel, like the Anse au Foulon, was approached by a path leading from the main road on the plateau, and was thus a place whieh offered certain facilities to a landing force. It was, however, more under the protection of Sillery Point when the French had a post and a battery.

[The story of St. Michel is full of interest from an historical point of view. A delightful volume, Une 1'arowse Historique de la Nouvelle France, has been published by the Abbe H. A. Scott, Cure of S. 1'oy (Quebec, 1902). It was from here that (1(512) Paul de Chomedy started for Montreal to found the religious community of yille Marie. When it was attempted to dissuade him from his project, he returned the noble answer, " Je ne suis pas venue, pour d61iberer, mais Men pour executer, et tous les arbres de Pile de Montreal serroient-ils changes en autant d'Iroquois, il est de mon devoir et de mon honneur d'aller y 6tablir une eolonie." The names of several of the brave Jesuit martyrs are connected with this chapel of St. Michel, and here too many thrilling incidents occurred in those early days when the marauding Indians took frequent toll of the lives of the priests who ventured with admirable courage among them.]

To return to General Murray. It does not appear that General Wolfe pinned much faith on the Anse Demers project, at all events he did not persist in the matter of the reconnaissance there, when, as happened, Major Scott's force, which was a small one, returned without reaching the limit prescribed. Apparently it got no further than somewhere near the Etchemin River, and Murray was only able to examine St. Michel, and his report on this is entered in Wolfe's Journal under date July 4: "Brigadier Murray's report—he is satisfied of the practicability of the attempt at St. Michel's." Whether Murray returned on July 4 or sent this report by hand, returning with Major Scott on July 7, is not clear; but by the latter date Wolfe's intention had undergone a complete change, the up-river scheme was dead for the moment, and Murray received orders to join Townshend at Montmorency with two battalions of his brigade. Townshend's force had been further augmented by a large body of light infantry and Grenadiers; and what was originally to have been a mere demonstration was now converted into a concentration of more than half the total available force. This fatal error appears to have occasioned remonstrance on the part of the brigadiers, and there was much friction. Admiral Holmes, writing later (September 18), described the situation :

"It (the attack on St. Michel) had been proposed to him (Wolfe) a month before, when the first ships passed the town, and when it (St. Michel) was entirely defenceless and unguarded; but Montmorency was then his favourite scheme, and he rejected it."

Townshend's brigade, with the greater part of the Grenadiers of the army and the light infantry, took possession of the position east of the falls on the night of the 8th-9th without opposition, and on the 10th (July) Murray followed with two additional battalions, so that on this date the army was divided into three divisions— at Montmorency, at Levis, and on Orleans—and there was, in fact, no force left available for executing a movement above the town, certainly not a movement of any importance.

It is not easy to enter into the state of Wolfe's mind at this period. He records, in his diary on July 7, a dispute with an "inferior officer," probably Townshend, and the latter's diary tells us of considerable friction at Montmorency. He was not getting on very well with the admiral either, and seemed to criticise the action or want of action of the fleet. He thought that passage above the town might have been taken sooner. Yet, if this delay was the cause of his new decision, he had opportunity to revert to the scheme concerted with Admiral Saunders, for on the night of July 18 the admiral was able to make the projected ascent of the river. The Sutherland (Captain Rous, 50 guns), the Squirrel (sloop, 20 guns, Captain Hamilton), three transports, and two provision vessels, passed the narrows without damage accompanied by a number of flat-bottom boats. The frigate Diana (30 guns, Captain Schomberg), however, ran aground. It is surprising that the French frigates did not seize the opportunity of attacking this weak force. It is said that there was intention of doing so, but that the crews having been removed from the vessels the idea was given up. An opportunity lost! With this small squadron was Colonel Carleton with three companies of Grenadiers and the 3rd battalion of the 60th— in all about 600 men, which was all the force that could be spared.

On the 19th and 20th important progress was made, and the post, known afterwards as Goreham's, was established in " a large house," which was on an eminence near the embouchure of the Etchemin River. This place, immediately opposite Sillery Point (Pointe a Puiseaux), became one of much importance later, as the connecting station on the south shore between the fleet above Quebec and the headquarters below. Taking advantage of the escort which this movement furnished, Wolfe "reconnoitred the country immediately above Quebec," and he adds, dated July 19, " And found if we had ventured the stroke that was first intended we should probably 8 have succeeded."

This entry in Wolfe's Journal certainly seems to imply that while he was fully prepared for the "venture," which refers to the "stroke" at St. Michels, there were causes beyond his control which prevented it. Blame is apparently imputed to the navy, in that the passage of the ships ad not yet taken place. But a reference to his consultation with Admiral Saunders shows that the commencement of the bombardment was one preliminary, and this did not open until the 12th, and a favourable condition of wind and tide was necessary, which did not occur until the 16th, when Wolfe has an entry : " Conference with the admiral concerning projected descent— a squadron of men-of-war were to have gone by the town and post themselves above. The wind fair, tide favourable, but yet Captain Rous did not go there." This comment is not justifiable, for the log of the Squirrel contains the entry for this date: "9.30 hove short and hoisted the topsails ready to run above the town ; also falling little wind the Sutherland's boat came on board with orders to lay fast." The 17th night was also without breeze. On the 18th the passage was made.

Had Wolfe been whole-hearted in the affair the morning of the 19th would have found him at St. Michel, or better still, if Carleton's raid on Pointe-aux-Trembles on the night of the 21st had been a serious and supported landing, a different story would be told. Montcalm's fears would have been realised, his forces cut off from their supplies, and in all probability a decisive victory for the English army would have ensued. But Wolfe's heart and energies were then centred at Montmorency.

However, the best reply to this entry in Wolfe's Journal is to quote his own opinion, written to Pitt on September 2:

"This (i.e. the passage of the ships) inabled me to reconnoitre the country above, where I found the same attention on the enemy's side, and great difficulties on ours, arising from the nature of the ground, and the obstacles to our communication with the fleet. But what I feared most was, that, if we should land between the town and the River Cap Rouge, the body first landed could not be reinforced before they were attacked by the enemy's whole army (my italics). Notwithstanding these difficulties, I thought once of attempting it at St. Michaels about three miles above the town ; but perceiving that the enemy, jealous of the design, were preparing against it, and had actually brought artillery and a mortar, which being so near Quebec they could increase as they please, to play upon the shipping; and as it must have been many hours before we could attack them, even supposing a favourable night for the boats to pass the town unhurt, it seemed so hazardous that I thought it best to desist,"

It does not appear to have occurred to Wolfe that had he got athwart the enemy's communications there would have been no question of his attacking them. The French could not have existed a week without having to attack him.

On the 20th (July) the Sutherland dropped up the river with the tide, accompanied by the troops, and anchored at 3 p.m. about twelve miles above the town, that is to say, they passed beyond Cap Rouge and were somewhere off the parish of S. Augustin. At midnight on the 20th-21st Carleton's troops dropped further up the river in boats, and made a raid on Pointe-aux-Trembles ; but there was no military value in the affair, and as Carleton was back at the Sutherland by 4 a.m. (21st), it is not likely that he had much opportunity of examining the shore as he passed. It is clear that nothing more than a raid was intended, for there were no supporting troops. Yet Carleton had no difficulty in landing, and here was the opportunity referred to above.

The completion of this expedition seems to have banished for the moment any further intentions on the part of the General to attack above the town, whether at St. Michel or elsewhere, and he now devoted all his energy to the Montmorency venture. On the 20th (July) at one o'clock in the morning Murray proceeded to make a reconnaissance up the Montmorency River, the General accompanied him, but a flank march of this nature in difficult country, especially at night, was a dangerous operation and nearly ended in disaster. The object was to find a ford which was reported to exist some eight or nine miles up the river; but it is hardly possible to suppose that a watchful enemy, with free movement on the opposite bank, could allow themselves to be surprised. In the result Murray's force was heavily attacked, and the 35th (Otway's) regiment was put in some confusion and lost a number of men and officers. Murray evidently behaved with great gallantry, rallied the men, and making a desperate counter attack, drove the Canadians and Indians into the river, and succeeded in bringing the detachment back to the camp.

There had been a consultation of the leaders on board the admiral's ship on July 23, but beyond the fact that the method of attacking the French army was debated, nothing is known of the proceedings. It is clear that there was want of unanimity. Wolfe's diary is sufficient to show this, and from general evidence it is probable that at the consultation he proposed his two alternatives—to cross the Montmorency some miles up and fall on the French left wing, or to make a frontal attack of the Beauport position. It is certain that the brigadiers did not approve of either. Murray's reconnaissance of the 26th was the result of the first-named proposition. Wolfe's disastrous attack on July 31 was the outcome of the second.

It is unnecessary here to detail the latter event. Unquestionably Wolfe's plans were carefully thought out, and he did everything that was possible to make his movement a success; but looking at the matter from the standpoint that we can now assume, having the evidence of the French preparedness before us, it is impossible to think, even if some of the ill-luck which delayed his time table had not occurred, that the attack, made by a numerically inferior force on a difficult position in broad daylight, could have succeeded. A more cogent argument is, that had it succeeded it would certainly have resulted in driving the French army intact or nearly so behind the St. Charles River and towards their supplies, and as a decisive military operation it could hardly have been successful, whatever degree of good luck had attended it. Murray's brigade was very slightly engaged in the affair.


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