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arrows into the town, having letters attached to them, addressed to the inhabitants, representing Carleton's refusal to treat, and advising them to rise in a body, and compel him. It was all in vain; whatever might have been the disposition of the inhabitants, they were completely under the control of the military.
On the evening of the fifth day, Montgomery paid a visit to the ice battery. The heavy artillery from the wall had repaid its ineffectual fire with ample usury. The brittle ramparts had been shivered like glass; several of the guns had been rendered useless. Just as they arrived at the battery, a shot from the fortress dismounted one of the guns, and disabled many of the men. A second shot immediately following, was almost as destructive. "This is warm work, sir," said Montgomery to Captain Lamb. "It is indeed, and certainly no place for you, sir." "Why so, Captain?" "Because there are enough of us here to be killed, without the loss of you, which would be irreparable."
The general saw the insufficiency of the battery, and, on retiring, gave Captain Lamb permission to leave it whenever he thought proper. The veteran waited until after dark, when, securing all the guns, he abandoned the ruined redoubt. The general in this visit was attended by Aaron Burr, whom he had appointed his aide-decamp. Lamb wondered that he should encumber himself with such a boy. The perfect coolness and self-possession with which the youth mingled In this dangerous scene, and the fire which
sparkled in his eye, soon convinced Lamb, according to his own account, that "the young volunteer was no ordinary man.'
Nearly three weeks had been consumed in these futile operations. The army, ill-clothed and ill-provided, was becoming impatient of the rigors of a Canadian winter; the term for which part of the troops had enlisted would expire with the year, and they already talked of returning home. Montgomery was sadly conscious of the insufficiency of his means; still he could not endure the thoughts of retiring from before the place without striking a blow. He knew that
much was expected from him, in consequence of his late achievements, and that the eyes of the public were fixed upon this Canadian enterprise He determined, therefore, to attempt to carry the place by escalade. One third of his men were to
set fire to the houses and stockades of the suburb of St. Roque, and force the barriers of the lower town; while the main body should scale the bastion of Cape Diamond.
It was a hazardous, almost a desperate project, yet it has met with the approbation of military men. He calculated upon the devotion and daring spirit of his men; upon the discontent which prevailed among the Canadians, and upon the incompetency of the garrison for the defense of such extensive works.
In regard to the devotion of his men, he was threatened with disappointment. When the plan of assault was submitted to a council of war, three
1 Life of John Lamb, p. 125.
PREPARATIONS FOR ASSAULT.
of the captains in Arnold's division, the terms of whose companies were near expiring, declined to serve, unless they and their men could be transferred to another command. This almost mutinous movement, it is supposed, was fomented by Arnold's old adversary, Major Brown, and it was with infinite difficulty Montgomery succeeded in overcoming it.
The ladders were now provided for the escalade, and Mongotmery waited with impatience for a favorable night to put it into execution. Smallpox and desertion had reduced his little army to seven hundred and fifty men. From certain movements of the enemy, it was surmised that the deserters had revealed his plan. He changed, therefore, the arrangement. Colonel Livingston was to make a false attack on the gate of St. John's and set fire to it; Major Brown, with another detachment, was to menace the bastion of Cape Diamond. Arnold, with three hundred and fifty of the hardy fellows who had followed him through the wilderness, strengthened by Captain Lamb and forty of his company, was to assault the suburbs and batteries of St. Roque; while Montgomery, with the residue of his forces, was to pass below the bastion at Cape Diamond, defile along the river, carry the defenses at Drummond's Wharf, and thus enter the lower town on one side, while Arnold forced his way into it on the other. These movements were all to be made at the same time, on the discharge of signal rockets, thus distracting the enemy, and calling their at tention to four several points.
On the 31st of December, at two o'clock in the morning, the troops repaired to their several destinations, under cover of a violent snow-storm. By some accident or mistake, such as is apt to occur in complicated plans of attack, the signal rockets were let off before the lower divisions had time to get to their fighting ground. They were descried by one of Maclean's Highland officers, who gave the alarm. Livingston, also, failed to make the false attack on the gate of St. John's, which was to have caused a diversion favorable to Arnold's attack on the suburb below.
The feint by Major Brown, on the bastion of Cape Diamond, was successful, and concealed the March of General Montgomery. That gallant commander descended from the heights to Wolfe's Cove, and led his division along the shore of the St. Lawrence, round the beetling promontory of Cape Diamond. The narrow approach to the lower town in that direction was traversed by a picket or stockade, defended by Canadian militia; beyond which was a second defense, a kind of block-house, forming a battery of small pieces, manned by Canadian militia, and a few seamen, and commanded by the captain of a transport. The aim of Montgomery was to come upon these barriers by surprise. The pass which they defended is formidable at all times, having a swift river on one side, and overhanging precipices on the other; but at this time was rendered peculiarly difficult by drifting snow, and by great masses of ice piled on each other at the foot of the cliffs.
MCNTGOMERY AT CAPE DIAMOND. 169
The troops made their way painfully, in extended and straggling files, along the narrow footway, and over the slippery piles of ice. Among the foremost, were some of the first New York regiment, led on by Captain Cheeseman. Montgomery, who was familiar with them, urged them "Forward, men of New York!" cried he. "You are not the men to flinch when your general leads you on!" In his eagerness, he threw himself far in the advance, with his pioneers and a few officers, and made a dash at the first barrier. The Canadians stationed there, taken by surprise, made a few random shots, then threw down their muskets and fled. Montgomery sprang forward, aided with his own hand to pluck down the pickets, which the pioneers were sawing, and having made a breach sufficiently wide to admit three or four men abreast, entered sword in hand, followed by his staff, Captain Cheeseman, and some of his men. The Canadians had fled from the picket to the battery or block-house, but seemed to have carried the panic with them, for the battery remained silent. Montgomery felt for a moment as if the surprise had been complete. He paused in the breach to rally on the troops, who were stumbling along the difficult pass. "Push on, my brave boys," cried he, "Quebec is ours!"
He again dashed forward, but, when within forty paces of the battery, a discharge of grape-shot from a single cannon, made deadly havoc. Montgomery, and McPherson, one of his aides, were killed on the spot. Captain Cheeseman, who was lead