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GENERAL WOLFE AT QUEBEC.
and erect a new fort at Crown Point, though | troops, a furious storm caused great damage to neither was in present danger of being attacked, the transports, and sank some of the small nor would be of use if Canada were conquered. craft. While it was still raging, a number of Amherst, however, was one of those cautious fire-ships, sent to destroy the fleet, came driving men, who, in seeking to be sure, are apt to be down. They were boarded intrepidly by the fatally slow. His delay enabled the enemy to British seamen, and towed out of the way of rally their forces at Isle Aux Noix, and call in doing harm. After much resistance, Wolfe esCanadian reinforcements, while it deprived tablished batteries at the west point of the Isle Wolfe of that co-operation which, it will be of Orleans, and at Point Levi, on the right (or shown, was most essential to the general suc- south) bank of the St. Lawrence, within cannon cess of the campaign. range of the city. Colonel Guy Carleton commanded at the former battery; Brigadier Monckton at the latter. From Point Levi bombshells and red-hot shot were discharged; many houses were set on fire in the upper town, the lower town was reduced to rubbish; the main fort, however, remained unharmed.
Wolfe, with his eight thousand men, ascended the St. Lawrence in the fleet, in the month of June. With him came Brigadiers Monckton, Townshend, and Murray, youthful and brave like himself, and like himself, already schooled in arms. Monckton, it will be recollected, had signalized himself, when a colonel, in the expedition in 1755, in which the French were driven from Nova Scotia. The grenadiers of the army were commanded by Colonel Guy Carleton, and part of the light infantry by Lieutenant-Colonel William Howe, both destined to celebrity in after years in the annals of the American Revolution. Colonel Howe was brother of the gallant Lord Howe, whose fall in the preceding year was so generally lamented. Among the officers of the fleet was Jervis, the future admiral, and ultimately Earl St. Vincent; and the master of one of the ships was James Cook, afterwards renowned as a discov
Anxious for a decisive action, Wolfe, on the 9th of July, crossed over in boats from the Isle of Orleans, to the north bank of the St. Lawrence, and encamped below the Montmorency. It was an ill-judged position, for there was still that tumultuous stream, with its rocky banks, between him and the camp of Montcalm; bat the ground he had chosen was higher than that occupied by the latter, and the Montmorency had a ford below the falls, passable at low tide. Another ford was discovered, three miles within land, but the banks were steep, and shagged with forest. At both fords the vigilant Montcalm had thrown up breast works, and posted troops.
On the 18th of July, Wolfe made a reconnoitring expedition up the river, with two
About the end of June, the troops debarked on the large, populous, and well-cultivated Isle of Orleans, a little below Quebec, and encamp-armed sloops, and two transports with troops. ed in its fertile fields. Quebec, the citadel of Canada, was strong by nature. It was built round the point of a rocky promontory, and flanked by precipices. The crystal current of the St. Lawrence swept by it on the right, and the river St. Charles flowed along on the left, before mingling with that mighty stream. The place was tolerably fortified, but art had not yet rendered it, as at the present day, impregnable.
He passed Quebec unharmed, and carefully noted the shores above it. Rugged cliffs rose almost from the water's edge. Above them, hẹ was told, was an extent of level ground, called the Plains of Abraham, by which the upper town might be approached on its weakest side; but how was that plain to be attained, when the cliffs, for the most part, were inaccessible, and every practicable place fortified ?
He returned to Montmorency disappointed, Montcalm commanded the post. His troops and resolved to attack Montcalm in his camp, were more numerous than the assailants; but however difficult to be approached, and howthe greater part were Canadians, many of them ever strongly posted. Townshend and Murray inhabitants of Quebec; and he had a host of with their brigades, were to cross the Montmosavages. His forces were drawn out along the rency at low tide, below the falls, and storm northern shore below the city, from the river the redoubt thrown up in front of the ford. St. Charles to the Falls of Montmorency, and Monckton, at the same time, was to cross, with their position was secured by deep intrench- part of his brigade, in boats from Point Levi. ments. The ship Centurion, stationed in the channel, The night after the debarkation of Wolfe's was to check the fire of a battery which com
WOLFE BEFORE THE BATTLE.
manded the ford; a train of artillery, planted | news of the capture of Fort Niagara, Ticonde
on an eminence, was to enfilade the enemy's intrenchments; and two armed, flat-bottomed boats, were to be run on shore near the redoubt, and favor the crossing of the troops.
roga, and Crown Point, and that Amherst was preparing to attack the Isle Aux Noix.
Wolfe, of a delicate constitution and sensitive nature, had been deeply mortified by the severe check sustained at the Falls of Montmorency, fancying himself disgraced; and these successes of his fellow-commanders in other parts increased his self-upbraiding. The difficulties multiplying around him, and the delay of General Amherst in hastening to his aid, preyed incessantly on his spirits; he was dejected even to despondency, and declared he would never return without success, to be exposed, like other unfortunate commanders, to the sneers and reproaches of the populace. The agitation of his mind, and his acute sensibility, brought on a fever, which for some time incapacitated him from taking the field.
As usual, in complicated orders, part were misunderstood, or neglected, and confusion was the consequence. Many of the boats from Point Levi ran aground on a shallow in the river, where they were exposed to a severe fire of shot and shells. Wolfe, who was on the shore, directing every thing, endeavored to stop his impatient troops until the boats could be got afloat, and the men landed. Thirteen companies of grenadiers, and two hundred provincials, were the first to land. Without waiting for Brigadier Monckton and his regiments; without waiting for the co-operation of the troops under Townshend; without waiting even to be drawn up in form, the grenadiers rushed In the midst of his illness he called a council impetuously towards the enemy's intrench- of war, in which the whole plan of operations ments. A sheeted fire mowed them down, and was altered. It was determined to convey drove them to take shelter behind the redoubt, troops above the town, and endeavor to make near the ford, which the enemy had abandoned, a diversion in that direction, or draw Montcalm Here they remained, unable to form under the into the open field. Before carrying this plan galling fire to which they were exposed, when-into effect, Wolfe again reconnoitred the town ever they ventured from their covert. Monck-in company with Admiral Saunders, but nothing ton's brigade at length was landed, drawn up better suggested itself. in order, and advanced to their relief, driving back the enemy. Thus protected, the grenadiers retreated as precipitately as they had advanced, leaving many of their comrades wounded on the field, who were massacred and scalped in their sight, by the savages. The delay thus caused was fatal to the enterprise. The day was advanced; the weather became stormy; the tide began to make; at a later hour, retreat, in case of a second repulse, would be impossible. Wolfe, therefore, gave up the attack, and withdrew across the river, having lost upwards of four hundred men, through this headlong impetuosity of the grenadiers. The two vessels which had been run aground, were set on fire, lest they should fall into the hands of the enemy.*
The brief Canadian summer was over; they were in the month of September. The camp at Montmorency was broken up. The troops were transported to Point Levi, leaving a sufficient number to man the batteries on the Isle of Orleans. On the fifth and sixth of September the embarkation took place above Point Levi, in transports which had been sent up for the purpose. Montcalm detached De Bougainville, with fifteen hundred men, to keep along the north shore above the town, watch the movements of the squadron, and prevent a landing. To deceive him, Admiral Holmes moved with the ships of war three leagues beyond the place where the landing was to be attempted. He was to drop down, however, in the night, and protect the landing. Cook, the future discoverer, also, was employed with others to sound the river, and place buoys opposite the camp of Montcalm, as if an attack were
Brigadier Murray was now detached, with twelve hundred men, in transports, to ascend above the town, and co-operate with Rear-Admiral Holmes, in destroying the enemy's ship-meditated in that quarter. ping, and making descents upon the north shore. Wolfe was still suffering under the effects of The shipping were safe from attack; some his late fever. "My constitution," writes he stores and ammunition were destroyed; some to a friend, "is entirely ruined, without the prisoners taken, and Murray returned with the consolation of having done any considerable service to the state, and without any prospect of it." Still he was unremitting in his exer
* Wolfe's letter to Pitt, September 2d, 1759.
THE BATTLE ON THE PLAINS OF ABRAHAM.
tions, seeking to wipe out the fancied disgrace | the roots and branches, and putting to flight a incurred at the Falls of Montmorency. It was sergeant's guard posted at the summit. Wolfe in this mood he is said to have composed and drew up the men in order as they mounted; sung at his evening mess that little campaigning and by the break of day found himself in possong still linked with his name: session of the fateful Plains of Abraham.
Why, soldiers, why,
Should we be melancholy, boys
Whose business 'tis to die!
Montcalm was thunderstruck when word was brought to him in his camp that the English were on the heights, threatening the weakest part of the town. Abandoning his intrench
Even when embarked in his midnight enter-ments, he hastened across the river St. Charles prise, the presentiment of death seems to have and ascended the heights, which slope up cast its shadow over him. A midshipman who gradually from its banks. His force was equal was present,* used to relate, that as Wolfe sat in number to that of the English, but a great among his officers, and the boats floated down part was made up of colony troops and savages. silently with the current, he recited, in low and When he saw the formidable host of regulars touching tones, Gray's Elegy in a country he had to contend with, he sent off swift meschurchyard, then just published. One stanza sengers to summon De Bougainville with his may especially have accorded with his melan- detachment to his aid; and De Vaudreuil to reinforce him with fifteen hundred men from choly mood. the camp. In the mean time he prepared to flank the left of the English line and force them to the opposite precipices. Wolfe saw his aim, and sent Brigadier Townshend to counteract him with a regiment, which was formed en potence, and supported by two battalions, presenting on the left a double front.
"Tho boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth o'er gave, Await alike the inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave."
“Now, gentlemen," said he, when he had finished, "I would rather be the author of that poem than take Quebec."
The descent was made in flat-bottomed boats, past midnight, on the 13th of September. They dropped down silently with the swift current. Qui va la?" (who goes there?) cried a sentinel from the shore. "La France," replied a captain in the first boat, who understood the French language. "A quel regiment? was the demand. "De la Reine" (the queen's), replied the captain, knowing that regiment was in De Bougainville's detachment. Fortunately, a convoy of provisions was expected down from De Bougainville's, which the sentinel supposed this to be. Passe,” cried he, and the boats glided on without further challenge. The landing took place in a cove near Cape Diamond,
which still bears Wolfe's name. He had mark
ed it in reconnoitring, and saw that a cragged path straggled up from it to the Heights of Abraham, which might be climbed, though with difficulty, and that it appeared to be slightly guarded at top. Wolfe was among the first that landed and ascended up the steep and narrow path, where not more than two could go abreast, and which had been broken up by cross ditches. Colonel Howe, at the same time, with the light infantry and Highlanders, scrambled up the woody precipices, helping themselves by
Afterwards Professor John Robison, of Edinburgh.
The French, in their haste, thinking they were to repel a mere scouting party, had brought but three light field-pieces with them; the English had but a single gun, which the sailors had dragged up the heights. With these they cannonaded each other for a time, Montcalm still waiting for the aid he had summoned. At length, about nine o'clock, losing all patience, he led on his disciplined troops to a close conflict with small arms, the Indians to support them by a galling fire from thickets and cornfields. The French advanced gallantly, but irregularly, firing rapidly, but with little effect. The English reserved their fire until their assailants were within forty yards, and then de
livered it in deadly volleys. They suffered, however, from the lurking savages, who singled out the officers. Wolfe, who was in front of
the line, a conspicuous mark, was wounded by
a ball in the wrist. He bound his handker
chief round the wound, and led on the grenadiers, with fixed bayonets, to charge the foe, in the breast. He felt the wound to be mortal, who began to waver. Another ball struck him and feared his fall might dishearten the troops. Leaning on a lieutenant for support: "Let not my brave fellows see me drop," said he faintly. He was borne off to the rear; water was brought to quench his thirst, and he was asked
DEATH OF WOLFE AND MONTCALM-CAPITULATION OF QUEBEC.
Er. 27.] if he would have a surgeon. "It is needless," who commanded the garrison, he consigned the he replied; "it is all over with me." He de- defence of the city. "To your keeping," said sired those about him to lay him down. The he, "I commend the honor of France. I'll lieutenant seated himself on the ground, and neither give orders, nor interfere any further. supported him in his arms. They run! they I have business to attend to of greater moment run! see how they run!" cried one of the than your ruined garrison, and this wretched attendants. "Who run ?" demanded Wolfe, country. My time is short,-I shall pass this earnestly, like one aroused from sleep. "The night with God, and prepare myself for death. enemy, sir; they give way everywhere." | I wish you all comfort; and to be happily exThe spirit of the expiring hero flashed up. tricated from your present perplexities." He “Go, one of you, my lads, to Colonel Burton; then called for his chaplain, who, with the tell him to march Webb's regiment with all bishop of the colony, remained with him through speed down to Charles' River, to cut off the the night. He expired early in the morning, retreat by the bridge." Then turning on his dying like a brave soldier and a devout Cathoside; " 'Now, God be praised, I will die in lic. Never did two worthier foes mingle their peace!" said he, and expired,*-soothed in his life-blood on the battle-field than Wolfe and last moments by the idea that victory would Montcalm.* obliterate the imagined disgrace at Montmorency.
Brigadier Murray had indeed broken the centre of the enemy, and the Highlanders were making deadly havoc with their claymores, driving the French into the town or down to their works on the river St. Charles. Monckton, the first brigadier, was disabled by a wound in the lungs, and the command devolved on Townshend, who hastened to re-form the troops of the centre, disordered in pursuing the enemy. By this time De Bougainville appeared at a distance in the rear, advancing with two thousand fresh troops, but he arrived too late to retrieve the day. The gallant Montcalm had received his death-wound near St. John's Gate, while endeavoring to rally his flying troops, and had been borne into the town.
Preparations were now made by the army and the fleet to make an attack on both upper and lower town; but the spirit of the garrison was broken, and the inhabitants were clamorous for the safety of their wives and children. On the 17th of September, Quebec capitulated, and was taken possession of by the British, who hastened to put it in a complete posture of defence. A garrison of six thousand effective men was placed in it, under the command of Brigadier-General Murray, and victualled from the fleet. General Townshend embarked with Admiral Saunders, and returned to England; and the wounded General Monckton was conveyed to New York, of which he afterwards became governor.
Had Amherst followed up his success at Ticonderoga the preceding summer, the year's campaign would have ended, as had been pro
Townshend advanced with a force to receive De Bougainville; but the latter avoided a com-jected, in the subjugation of Canada. bat, and retired into woods and swamps, where it was not thought prudent to follow him. The English had obtained a complete victory; slain about five hundred of the enemy; taken above a thousand prisoners, and among them several officers; and had a strong position on the Plains of Abraham, which they hastened to fortify with redoubts, and artillery drawn up the heights. The brave Montcalm wrote a letter to Gen-vegetables and of fresh provisions. Many had eral Townshend, recommending the prisoners to British humanity. When told by his surgeon that he could not survive above a few hours; "So much the better," replied he; "I shall not live to see the surrender of Quebec." To De Ramsey, the French king's lieutenant
cautious delay gave De Levi, the successor of Montcalm, time to rally, concentrate the scattered French forces, and struggle for the salvation of the province.
In the following spring, as soon as the river St. Lawrence opened, he approached Quebec, and landed at Point au Tremble, about twelve miles off. The garrison had suffered dreadfully during the winter from excessive cold, want of
* Hist, Jour, of Capt. John Knox, vol. 1., p. 79.
died of scurvy, and many more were ill. Murray, sanguine and injudicious, on hearing that De Levi was advancing with ten thousand men, and five hundred Indians, sallied out with his diminished forces of not more than three thousand. English soldiers, he boasted, were ha
* Knox; Hist. Jour., vol. 1., p. 77.
EXPEDITION AGAINST MONTREAL-SURRENDER OF CANADA.
bituated to victory; he had a fine train of ar- | troops in a great number of small vessels, and tillery, and stood a better chance in the field than cooped up in a wretched fortification. If defeated, he would defend the place to the last extremity, and then retreat to the Isle of Orleans, and wait for reinforcements. More brave than discreet, he attacked the vanguard of the enemy; the battle which took place was fierce and sanguinary. Murray's troops had caught his own headlong valor, and fought until near a third of their number were slain. They were at length driven back into the town, leaving their boasted train of artillery on the field.
De Levi opened trenches before the town the very evening of the battle. Three French ships, which had descended the river, furnished him with cannon, mortars, and ammunition. By the 11th of May, he had one bomb battery, and three batteries of cannon. Murray, equally alert within the walls, strengthened his defences, and kept up a vigorous fire. His garrison was now reduced to two hundred and twenty effective men, and he himself, with all his vaunting spirit, was driven almost to despair, when a British fleet arrived in the river. The whole scene was now reversed. One of the French frigates was driven on the rocks above Cape Diamond; another ran on shore, and was burnt; the rest of their vessels were either taken or destroyed. The besieging army retreated in the night, leaving provisions, implements, and artillery behind them; and so rapid was their flight, that Murray, who sallied forth on the following day, could not overtake them.
A last stand for the preservation of the colony was now made by the French at Montreal, where De Vaudreuil fixed his head-quarters, fortified himself, and called in all possible aid, Canadian and Indian.
The cautious, but tardy Amherst, was now in the field to carry out the plan in which he had fallen short in the previous year. He sent orders to General Murray to advance by water against Montreal, with all the force that could be spared from Quebec; he detached a body of troops under Colonel Haviland from Crown Point, to cross Lake Champlain, take possession of the Isle Aux Noix, and push on to the St. Lawrence, while he took the roundabout way with his main army by the Mohawk and Oneida rivers to Lake Ontario; thence to de
scend the St. Lawrence to Montreal.
ascended the river in characteristic style, publishing manifestoes in the Canadian villages, disarming the inhabitants, and exacting the oath of neutrality. He looked forward to new laurels at Montreal, but the slow and sure Amherst had anticipated him. That worthy general, after delaying on Lake Ontario to send out cruisers, and stopping to repair petty forts on the upper part of the St. Lawrence, which had been deserted by their garrisons, or surrendered without firing a gun, arrived on the 6th of September at the island of Montreal, routed some light skirmishing parties, and presented himself before the town. Vaudreuil found himself threatened by an army of nearly ten thousand men, and a host of Indians; for Amherst had called in the aid of Sir William Johnson and his Mohawk braves. To withstand a siege in an almost open town against such superior force, was out of the question; especially as Murray from Quebec, and Haviland from Crown Point, were at hand with additional troops. A capitulation accordingly took place on the 8th of September, including the surrender not merely of Montreal, but of all Canada.
Thus ended the contest between France and England for dominion in America, in which, as has been said, the first gun was fired in Washington's encounter with De Jumonville. A French statesman and diplomatist consoled himself by the persuasion that it would be a fatal triumph to England. It would remove the only check by which her colonies were kept in "They will no longer need her protection," said he; "she will call on them to contribute toward supporting the burdens they have helped to bring on her, and they will answer by striking of all dependence."
Murray, according to orders, embarked his tinople.