« PrejšnjaNaprej »
giate buildings, now turned into barracks. Their halfIndian equipments, and fringed and ruffled hunting garbs, provoked the merriment of some troops from Marblehead, chiefly fishermen and sailors, who thought nothing equal to the round jacket and trowsers. A bantering ensued between them. There was snow upon the ground, and snow-balls began to fly when jokes were wanting. The parties waxed warm with the contest. They closed, and came to blows; both sides were reinforced, and in a little while at least a thousand were at fisticuffs, and there was a tumult in the camp worthy of the days of Homer. "At this juncture," writes our informant, "Washington made his appearance, whether by accident or design, I never knew. I saw none of his aides with him; his black servant just behind him mounted. He threw the bridle of his own horse into his servant's hands, sprang from his seat, rushed into the thickest of the mêlée, seized two tall brawny riflemen by the throat, keeping them at arm's-length, talking to and shaking them."
As they were from his own province, he may have felt peculiarly responsible for their good conduct; they were engaged, too, in one of those sectional brawls which were his especial abhorrence; his reprimand must, therefore, have been a vehement one. He was commanding in his serenest moments, but irresistible in his bursts of indignation. On the present occasion, we are told, his appearance and strong-handed rebuke put an instant end
STOPPING A CAMP BRAWL.
to the tumult. The combatants dispersed in all directions, and in less than three minutes none remained on the ground but the two he had collared.
The veteran who records this exercise of military authority, seems at a loss which most to admire, the simplicity of the process or the vigor with which it was administered. "Here," writes he, "bloodshed, imprisonments, trials by court-martial, revengeful feelings between the different corps of the army, were happily prevented by the physical and mental energies of a single person, and the only damage resulting from the fierce encounter was a few torn hunting frocks and round jackets.”*
* From memoranda written at an advanced age, by the late Hon. Israel Trask; who, when but ten years old, was in the camp at Cambridge with his father, who was a lieutenant.
AFFAIRS IN CANADA.-ARNOLD AT POINT LEVI.-QUEBEC REINFORCED.-CROS ING OF THE ST. LAWRENCE.-LANDING IN WOLFE'S COVE.-ARNOLD ON TH HEIGHTS OF ABRAHAM.-CAUTIOUS COUNSEL.-QUEBEC AROUSED.-THE IN. VADERS BAFFLED.-WITHDRAW TO POINT AUX TREMBLES.-BOOMING CANNON.-CARLETON AT QUEBEC.-LETTER OF WASHINGTON TO ARNOLD.
E again turn from the siege of Boston, to the invasion of Canada, which at that time shared the anxious thoughts of Washington. His last accounts of the movements of Arnold, left him at Point Levi, opposite to Quebec. Something brilliant from that daring officer was anticipated. It was his intention to cross the river immediately. Had he done so, he might have carried the town by a coup de main; for terror as well as disaffection prevailed among the inhabitants. At Point Levi, however, he was brought to a stand; not a boat was to be found there. Letters which he had despatched some days previously, by two Indians, to Generals Schuyler and Montgomery, had been carried by his faithless messengers, to Caramhe, the lieutenant-governor, who, thus apprised of the impending danger, had caused all the boats of Point Levi to be either removed or destroyed.
CROSSING THE ST. LAWRENCE.
Arnold was not a man to be disheartened by difficulties. With great exertions he procured about forty birch canoes from the Canadians and Indians, with forty of the latter to navigate them; but stormy winds arose, and for some days the river was too boisterous for such frail craft. In the meantime the garrison at Quebec was gaining strength. Recruits arrived from Nova Scotia. The veteran Maclean, too, who had been driven from the mouth of the Sorel by the detachment under Brown and Livingston, arrived down the river with his corps of Royal Highland Emigrants, and threw himself into the place. The Lizard frigate, the Hornet sloop-of-war, and two armed schooners were stationed in the river, and guard-boats patrolled at night. The prospect of a successful attack upon the place was growing desperate.
On the 13th of November, Arnold received intelligence that Montgomery had captured St. John's. He was instantly roused to emulation. His men, too, were inspirited by the news. The wind had abated; he determined to cross the river that very night. At a late hour in the evening he embarked with the first division, principally riflemen. The river was wide; the current rapid; the birch canoes, easy to be upset, required skillful management. By four o'clock in the morning, a large part of his force had crossed without being perceived, and landed about a mile and a half above Cape Diamond, at Wolfe's Cove, so called from being the landing-place of that gallant commander.
Just then a guard-boat, belonging to the Lizard, came slowly along shore and discovered them. They hailed it, and ordered it to land. Not complying it was fired into, and three men were killed. The boat instantly pulled for the frigate, giving vociferous alarm.
Without waiting the arrival of the residue of his men, for whom the canoes had been despatched, Arnold led those who had landed to the foot of the cragged defile, once scaled by the intrepid Wolfe, and scrambled up it in all haste. By daylight he had planted his daring flag on the far-famed Heights of Abraham.
Here the main difficulty stared him in the face. strong line of walls and bastions traversed the promontory from one of its precipitous sides to the other; inclosing the upper and lower towns. and lower towns. On the right, the
great bastion of Cape Diamond crowned the rocky height of that name. On the left was the bastion of La Potasse, close by the gate of St. John's opening upon the barracks; the gate where Wolfe's antagonist, the gallant Montcalm, received his death wound.
A council of war was now held. Arnold, who had some knowledge of the place, was for dashing forward at once and storming the gate of St. John's. Had they done so, they might have been successful. The gate was open and unguarded. Through some blunder and delay, a message from the commander of the Lizard to the lieutenant-governor had not yet been delivered, and no alarm had reached the fortress.