Search just our sites by using our customised site search engine


Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Wolfe and Montcalm
Chapter VI Wolfe


FEBRUARY 16th, 1759, which was characterized by one of those heavy fogs so prevalent in London at that time of year, found General Wolfe at the residence of William Pitt, who had confided to his direction the expedition about to set out to besiege Quebec. It was the eve of his departure, and Pitt had summoned him to dinner, together with but one other guest—Lord Temple. Towards the end of the evening the future conqueror of Quebec, doubtless carried away by his own thoughts, the great interests at stake, and the presence of the two great statesmen, gave vent to his natural impetuosity, and though he seems to have been very abstemious in his libations during the repast, indulged in some singular bravado. He rose, drew his sword, struck the table with the butt, and as he walked about the room he brandished the weapon, proclaiming aloud the deeds it would accomplish. The two ministers were dumbfounded by an outbreak so unlooked for in a man of common sense. When Wolfe had left, and the sound of his carriage wheels had died away in the distance, Pitt's high opinion of the youthful general seemed to be for the moment disturbed, and lifting his hands and eyes to the sky he cried to Lord Temple: "Great God, to think that I have committed the fate of my country and my ministry into such hands !"

Lord Mahon, who reports the incident in his History of England, states that he learnt of it from his relative, Lord Grenville, a mild and kindly man, to whom Lord Temple himself related it. This outbreak, adds the historian, confirms the testimony of Wolfe himself, who acknowledged that he did not appear to advantage in the matters of every-day life. At times his very excessive timidity caused him to fall into the other extreme, and so, concludes Mahon, we must excuse a momentary outburst which may so well go hand in hand with the truest ability and merit.

It may have been some rumour of this incident which caused the Duke of Newcastle to say in the presence of George III that Pitt's new general was a mad fool. "If he is mad," answered the aged king, "I hope that he will bite some of my generals."

James Wolfe was born on January 2nd, 1727, at Westerham, Kent, of a family which originally came from Limerick. From infancy he manifested so decided a taste for military life that when thirteen years of age he embarked with his father, Lieutenant-Colonel Wolfe, on the expedition which was decimated before Carthagena. However, before the fleet sailed, an illness, due to his delicate constitution, obliged him to return to his mother. Such a feeble 66 state of health one might have expected would give him a tendency towards a life of peace, but his young ambition had been fired by the tales of his father, who had gained his rank in the armies of Marlborough and Prince Eugene, and his dreams were merely those of military glory. At sixteen years of age he took part in his first campaign in Flanders. He was then a tall but thin young man, apparently weak for the trials of war. Moreover, he was decidedly ugly, with red hair and a receding forehead and chin, which made his profile seem to be an obtuse angle, with the point at the end of his nose. His pale, transparent skin was easily flushed, and became fiery red when engaged in conversation or in action. Nothing about him bespoke the soldier save a firm-set mouth and eyes of azure blue, which flashed and gleamed. With it all, though, he had about his-person and his manner a sympathetic quality which attracted people to him.

In his last portraits he is represented as wearing a square-cut, scarlet coat, after the English style, while the rolled-back collar shows the lacework of his shirt. His knotted hair falls down between his shoulders, and he wears a three-cornered, gold-laced hat. On his feet are gaiters, and a sword is in his belt, while on his arm he bears a band of crepe, for at the time he was in mourning for his father. He is also similarly represented in the wooden statue, made shortly after his death, which stood for many years at the corner of Palace Hill and John Street, in Quebec, but which has now found a resting-place in the rooms of the Literary and Historical Society of that city.

With his talents, and his devotion to his chosen career Wolfe's promotion could not be other than rapid. He took part in the victory of Dettingen, where he distinguished himself by his bravery and coolness, and was next day made adjutant and then lieutenant, being raised to the rank of captain in the ensuing campaign.

From the continent he crossed to Scotland, and was present at the battle of Culloden. Some historians represent him as there appearing in a most magnanimous role to the disparagement of his general. The Duke of Cumberland, they relate, while crossing the field of battle with him noticed a Highlander who, notwithstanding the severe nature of his wounds, raised himself upon his elbow and met the duke's gaze with a smile of defiance. "Kill that insolent good-for-nothing who dares to look at us with scorn," the latter is reported to have said to Wolfe, who answered:—

"Your Highness has my commission; it is in your hands, but I can never consent to become an executioner." At twenty-three years of age he was a lieutenant-colonel, and the study of Latin, French, and mathematics occupied all his leisure. About this time, too, he had a love trouble which he tried to drown in a round of dissipation, but debauchery was foreign to his nature, and he soon forswore it

Stationed at Inverness, then a centre of disaffection, amidst a recently conquered population which was still restless beneath the yoke, and struggling against the most wretched ill-health he succeeded in forgetting his discouragement and winning the good-will of every one, even of the Highlanders. He had an inexhaustible supply of humour and good spirits, and with them he was accustomed to say a man can overcome all obstacles. However, he found the five years spent amongst the Scottish mountains long, for he feared that he would grow rusty in the intellectual void surrounding him.

The winter of 1753 found him in Paris in the midst of a world, the refinement of which could not but attract him. He fairly revelled in it, frequented the court, and was presented to the king, paying homage to the Crown, whose choicest jewel was so soon to fall by his sword. Madame de Pompadour from the height of her gilded shame deigned to smile upon him. "I was fortunate enough," he writes, "to be placed near her for some time. She is extremely pretty, and I should judge from her conversation that she possesses much wit and intelligence."

Wolfe, for the moment, became a courtier. Between his courses in equitation and French he took dancing lessons, and was just flattering himself that he had fairly well mastered the intricacies of the minuet, according to his professor, when a peremptory order, which he had barely time to curse, called him back to England. He thus lost the opportunity of seeing the various armies of Europe, as he had intended, before his return, but he made up for the loss by study.

At the beginning of the Seven Years' War his lucky star led him before Rochefort, where his brilliancy dazzled the chiefs of the expedition, and thus his military fortunes began.

The command which the prime minister, Pitt, confided to him, in connection with the Louisbourg expedition, was little to his taste. He even dreaded the task, anticipating from it more difficulty than glory, as well as an outcome fatal to himself. Moreover, being a wretched sailor, his always uncertain health almost completely collapsed at sea. Premature infirmities bade fair to cut short his earthly existence, and he would have liked to enjoy for at least a few years the joys of home which he had never known, and of family life, towards which he had strong inclinations. He was fond of children, and had fallen in love with Miss Lowther, daughter of an ex-governor of the Barbadoes. The height of his ambition was to live by her and watch their children grow up in a snug little cottage in some such retired and peaceful country seat as his native Westerham, but when he abandoned the soil of Europe he felt that he had bidden farewell to all these cherished dreams.

"Being of the profession of arms," he wrote from Blackheath while preparing to sail, "I would ask all occasions to serve, and therefore have thrown myself in the way of the American war; though I know that the very passage threatens my life, and that my constitution must be utterly ruined and undone, and this from no motive either of avarice or ambition." Writing to his mother he says: "All I hope is that I may be ready at all times to meet that fate which no one can avoid, and to die with grace and honour when my hour has come, whether it be soon or late."

Captain Knox, who saw Wolfe for the first time at Halifax, detected in the youthful brigadier an Achilles. Impetuous and irascible, his weak constitution often allowed him to be carried away by outbursts of passion. His temperament was Celtic rather than Saxon. He was liberal in his ideas, more devoted to his country than to his ambition, and a model of filial piety. Friendships, which he readily formed, he well knew how to retain. He was ever a slave to duty, a stern disciplinarian, and a soldier before all else, and consequently beloved both by officers and by rank and file. Such, in outline, was Wolfe's character.

Not long after the capture of Louisbourg in 1758, at which he distinguished himself, Wolfe went to Bath, there to restore his very uncertain health. "I have got in the square," he wrote to his father, "to be more at leisure, more in the air, and nearer the country. The women are not remarkable, nor the men neither; however, a man must be very hard to please if he does not find some that will suit him." He, however, speedily acquired a liking for his residence at Bath, and there seems to have renewed his intimacy with Miss Catherine Lowther, to whom he offered his hand, and was accepted. She gave him her portrait, which he took with him to America, carrying it on his person until the eve of his death.

But the hours which he devoted to sentiment did not in any way interfere with the young officer's attention to military matters. A few days before the incident mentioned he wrote to his friend, Lieutenant-Colonel Rickson, a letter which showed his real feelings concerning the late expedition.

"I do not reckon," he said, "that we have been fortunate this year in America. Our force was so superior to the enemy's that we might hope for greater success. It seems to me to have been no very difficult matter to have obliged the Marquis de Montcalm to have laid down his arms, and, consequently, to have given up all Canada. . . . Amongst ourselves, be it said, that our attempt to land where we did was rash and injudicious, our success unexpected (by me) and undeserved. There was no prodigious exertion of courage in the affair; an officer and thirty men would have made it impossible to get ashore where we did. Our proceedings in other respects were as slow and tedious as this, undertaking was ill-advised and desperate ; but this for your private information only. We lost 72 time at the siege, still more after the siege, and blundered from the beginning to the end of the campaign. ... I have this day signified to Mr. Pitt that he may dispose of my slight carcass as he pleases, and that I am ready for any undertaking within the reach and compass of my skill and cunning. I am in a very bad condition both with the gravel and rheumatism, but 1 had much rather die than decline any kind of service that offers. If I followed my own taste it would lead me into Germany. . . . However, it is not our part to choose, but to obey."

What would Wolfe have thought if, while blaming the fortunate error committed at Louisbourg, he had been told that he himself would only take Quebec by similar means ? The House of Commons passed votes of thanks to Admiral Boscawen and General Amherst, but did not mention Wolfe because he was only second in command. However, Pitt soon afterwards, as has been related, confided to him the expedition which he was preparing against Quebec, and raised him to the rank of brigadier.

Wolfe's last few days in England were passed in preparations for his departure and in filial duties. His father, a war-worn septuagenarian, and his mother, whose health had always been uncertain, caused him much anxiety, and he, in turn, caused them equal uneasiness. Each felt how small were the chances of their being reunited, and this feeling gave to their adieux the sadness almost of a deathbed farewell. "All that I ask," he said, "is that I may be ready at all times to meet with a steady eye the fate which no man can avoid, and to die with good grace and honour when my hour has come." His prayer was answered beyond his wildest expectations.

Wolfe was to have under him three brigadiers— Monckton, Townshend and Murray, all older than himself, though still in the prime of life. Pitt had allowed him to choose all his own officers, except Townshend, who, by scheming, was appointed, whether Wolfe would or not. He was a haughty, pretentious, jeering nobleman, who passed most of his time in caricaturing his superiors. He was brave and talented, and possessed other good qualities, but was always ranged on the side of the malcontents. Walpole, in his memoirs on the reign of George III, claims that he did all in his power to overthrow Wolfe's plans. Monckton and Murray were very different characters. Monckton, who was broad-minded, straightforward and modest, was recognized as a perfect gentleman, but unfortunately played a sad part in the expulsion of the Acadians in 1755. James Murray gained Wolfe's admiration and friendship by his valour and activity at the siege of Louisbourg. He became the second English governor of Canada, and his highest praises are sung by the French-Canadians, by whom his name has always been held dear notwithstanding the difficulties of the time during which he governed them. Another of Wolfe's friends—his chief-of-staff— Lieutenant-Colonel Carleton—was destined in after years to have his name written in golden letters on the annals of this country. Guy Carleton, afterwards Lord Dorchester, so gained the love of the French-Canadians and governed them with such wisdom and prudence that at four different times England named him governor of Canada.

During the evening of February 17th, 1759, the admiral's ship, Neptune, which left Spithead that day after the English fleet, sailed along the coast of England, and on the bridge stood Wolfe, endeavouring to forget the seasickness, which had already begun to haunt him, by watching the lanterns on the distant ships light up as they appeared on the horizon. This vast force of twenty-two line-of-battle ships, five frigates, and nineteen other vessels, was under the command of an invalid officer, thirty-two years old, whose genius Pitt alone had discerned.

The fleet's destination was Louisbourg, but on its arrival off Cape Breton the roadstead was found to be shut in by great ice-fields, which obliged Admiral Saunders to seek a temporary refuge at Halifax. Two other fleets had left England a few days previously. One, that of Admiral Holmes, was en route for New York, whence it was to convey reinforcements to Louisbourg. The other, Admiral Durell's, was to cruise off the entrance of the St. Lawrence, in order to cut off any aid which might be sent out from France. Admiral Saunders's fleet only succeeded in making Louisbourg harbour in the middle of May. Wolfe had scarcely landed when he learned of his father's death.

"I am exceedingly sorry," he wrote to his uncle, "it so fell out that I had it not in my power to assist him in his illness, and to relieve my mother in her distress; and the more as her relations are not affectionate, and you are too far off to give her help."

Further on in the letter, where Wolfe outlined his plan of attack on Quebec, there is evidence that he did not foresee the resistance that he was to meet, although a few days before he had written to Pitt that " in Canada every man is a soldier."

"We are ordered," he writes, "to attack Quebec —a very nice operation. The army consists of nine thousand men; in England it is called twelve thousand. We have ten battalions, three companies of grenadiers, some marines (if the admiral can spare them), and six new-raised companies of North American Rangers—not complete, and the worst soldiers in the universe. The regular troops of Canada consist of eight battalions of old Foot—about four hundred a battalion—and forty companies of marines (or colony troops), forty men a company. They can gather together eight thousand or ten thousand Canadians, and perhaps one thousand Indians. As they are attacked by the side of Montreal by an enemy of twelve thousand fighting men they must necessarily divide their forces, but, as the loss of the capital implies the loss of the colony, their chief attention will naturally be there, and, therefore, I reckon we may find at Quebec six battalions, some companies of marines, four or five thousand Canadians, and some Indians ; altogether, not much inferior to their enemy.

"The town of Quebec is poorly fortified, but the ground round about it is rocky. To invest the place, and cut off all communication with the colony, it will be necessary to encamp with our right to the river St. Lawrence, and our left to the river St. Charles. From the river St. Charles to Beauport the communication must be kept open by strong entrenched posts and redoubts. The enemy can pass that river at low water; and it will be proper to establish ourselves with small entrenched posts from Pointe Lévis to La Chaudiére. It is the business of our naval force to be masters of the river, both above and below the town. If I find that the enemy is strong, audacious, and well commanded, I shall proceed with the utmost caution and circumspection, giving Amherst time to use his superiority. If they are timid, weak, and ignorant, we shall push them with more vivacity, that we may be able before the summer is gone to assist the commander-in-chief. I reckon we shall have a smart action at the passage of the river St. Charles unless we can steal a detachment up the river St. Lawrence, and land them three, four, five miles, or more, above the town, and get time to entrench so strongly that they won't care to attack."

Continuous fogs detained the fleet at Louisbourg, but finally, on June 6th, the last of the transports weighed anchor. As they filed out of the harbour the troops drawn up on the decks caused the cliffs to echo again with their cheers, while the officers, no less enthusiastic, exchanged healths, and toasted in advance, "British colours on every French fort, port, and garrison in America."

On the eleventh, from the cliffs of Gasp£, the French sentinels made out the fleet by the spread of canvas which appeared upon the horizon, and before nightfall the host of ships, with their wings extended like those of descending vultures, had doubled Cap des Hosiers.

The advance guard, composed of ten of Admiral Durell's vessels, had just dropped anchor in La Prairie Baie, between Ile-aux-Coudres and Les Eboulements. Durell had captured only three war vessels and a few cargoes of provisions.

On board was a French pilot, belonging to an old and honourable Canadian family, whose name is now branded as that of a traitor. Jean Denis de Vitrd was captured at sea, and, if his testimony is to be believed, was obliged, under pain of death, to guide the fleet. Moreover, he was not the only one who found himself under this dire necessity, for the admiral, when he entered the harbour, hoisted the French flag, and showed the signal used in calling for pilots. The latter at once launched their skiffs, and only realized their mistakes when, upon boarding the ships, they were made prisoners. According to a legend, which had no origin save in the imagination of the English, a missionary, who was near one of the look-out stations, was transported with joy when he imagined that it was the French fleet that approached, but fell dead on the spot from disappointment when he recognized the English flag at the masthead.

At seven o'clock, on May 22nd, Montcalm went to his place of lodging on Rampart Street, worn out with a march of nearly two hundred miles made at one stretch, and angry at Vaudreuil, who had detained him at Montreal, sorely against his will, until the arrival of the last despatches from the court. He at once had a conference with the intendant, the result of which was that he found absolutely nothing in readiness.

Ever since the autumn of 1757 Montcalm had, in anticipation of a siege, been inspecting the surroundings of Quebec, on both sides of the river, as far down as Cap Tourmente, for the city's fortifications afforded practically no protection. '' Its situation," he said, "should have inspired any engineer other than M. de Lery with the means of making an exceedingly strong place of it; but it seems that he has, although spending immense sums of money, devoted himself to destroying the advantages with which nature had, with such prodigality, supplied it."

The ramparts overlooking the plain were formed "only of a very weak wall," without either parapets or a single cannon which could command the plain. There had not even been any attempt at protecting it by outworks. Montcalm's plan then was to prevent the enemy from landing on the only spot which seemed to him to be accessible, viz., the Beauport shore.

Here the northern bank of the river stretches in a gentle slope, intersected on the right by the river St. Charles, and on the left by the Montmorency River and Falls. Upon this incline he resolved to form an entrenched camp, and mass his troops.

Vaudreuil had written to the minister in about the same sense on the preceding April 1st:—"I will dispose my troops according to the number I have of militia, regulars, Indians and seamen, either opposing the enemy's landing on the Island of Orleans, or, if I am reduced to so doing, awaiting them from the Montmorency River to Quebec, and from Quebec to the Carrouge River.

"Whatever the English may attempt I flatter myself that the worth of my troops, the colonists' personal interests, their attachment to the king, the number of Indians we will have, all these forces combined will render the conquest of the colony exceedingly difficult, if not impossible."

On May 8th, of the same year, Vaudreuil added: —"However sad and critical our position may be I have no less confidence in my ability to face the enemy on all sides, in so far as our means permit. The zeal with which I am animated in the king's service will enable me to overcome the greatest obstacles. I am taking the best possible measures for the enemy's reception, at whatsoever point he may choose to attack us.

"Permit me, my lord, to beg you to assure His Majesty that, no matter to what hard extremity I may be driven, my zeal will be as ardent as it is indefatigable, and that I will do all in my power to prevent any progress on the part of the enemy, or at least to make it extremely dearly bought."

If Vaudreuil did not show in the face of the enemy the resolution which animated him in his council chamber, he at least expressed that of the entire colony. The day after his arrival Montcalm called together, at the intendant's palace, all the captains of the frigates and warships, with the officers of the port. At their head was Captain Vauquelin, the hero of Louisbourg, who was as able in the council room as he was intrepid in combat. There, also, was the old captain known to everyone as bonhomme Pellegrin—a trifle deaf but still active and possessed of consummate experience, who had piloted the squadron which brought out Montcalm and his troops. It was to this old and experienced sailor that the officers confided the messages for their families at home, and through him they received their replies.

In response to the first demand made by the general the council unanimously decided to place three hundred sailors at the disposal of the engineers, to work on the defences along the St. Charles River. Captain Duclos undertook the construction of a floating battery, and vessels which were each to carry one gun. This little fleet was to be manned by one thousand four hundred sailors.

It was proposed to close the straightest channel, the Traverse, between the Island of Orleans and He Madame, by sinking ten of the largest ships, and to build batteries in this neighbourhood, one at Cap Tourmente and the other at Cap Brulé, but neither project was carried out because Captain Pelletier, being sent a few days later to take soundings in the Traverse, found it much wider than reported.

The same day Montcalm wrote to the Chevalier de Lévis:—"We have just learned from the captains of two merchant-men that they saw at Saint Barnab£ six or seven vessels, probably the advance guard of the English fleet. However, no signals were made, and we have no formal notice, which prevents me from moving my battalions because we must be saving in our food supply. However, have them in readiness, for in less than twenty-four hours you may have another courier instructing you to put them on the move. M. Rigaud will kindly put in readiness, the Canadians whom M. de Vaudreuil intends for the defence of this point. I am sending marching orders for Languedoc's battalion.

I expect that INI. de Vaudreuil has already left. If you will kindly communicate to him the contents of this letter."

Vaudreuil was already on the march, and de Lévis was very shortly to follow him. That very midnight the entire right bank of the St. Lawrence was illuminated from cape to cape as far as Quebec, which replied by the signals previously agreed upon. A courier sent from Baie St. Paul at the same time told of the arrival of the English vanguard at the anchorage of Ile-aux-Coudres.

Then the last doubts vanished. Previous to that time the optimists, such as are always to be found, had flattered themselves that the English fleet could not overcome the difficulties presented by the navigation of the river. Within their own memories Admiral Walker's squadron had been lost upon the rocks of Sept lies. All the women, their souls all devotion, besieged the churches, the religious orders were continually engaged in prayer, and pilgrimages and processions went to Notre Dame des Victoires, and all to obtain this special favour. But finally came such evidence as no one could longer doubt.

Feverish agitation and activity took possession of the city and the country, whence the people flocked, all armed, towards the capital. A final note from Montcalm found Ldvis on his way to Quebec: —"I have still less time, my dear chevalier," he wrote, "for writing since the arrival of the Marquis de Vaudreuil, for I have to allow him to play the role of general. I act as secretary and major for him, and greatly long to have you with us and to greet you."

It was the first time that Vaudreuil had taken his place in the army beside Montcalm, whose position became all the more irritating by reason of his recent promotion to the rank of lieutenant-general. The governor had no such high rank, and yet Montcalm had to hand over the generalship to him. This division of the generalship was, as has been seen, an inherent vice of the colonial system, which was repeated in the civil relations of the governor and the intendant. It had contributed to many conflicts, and threatened fatal results. In the final crisis the court could see no way out of the difficulty. Montcalm had strong claims by reason of his victories, and Vaudreuil had equal ones owing to his influence with the colonists. To replace the former would mean, in all probability, the loss of the colony, while the recall of the second might entail the disaffection of the Canadians, whom- the king felt ashamed to abandon after having required so much at their hands. By giving Montcalm the full management of the military operations, and Vaudreuil the right to be consulted, he thought that he had found a way of conciliating both, but he really had only brought the discord to a culminating point.

As the troops arrived they were camped behind the General Hospital, on the right bank of the St. Charles River, where they were employed on the completion of this line of defence which was to serve as a means of retreat for the army should it be forced from the Beauport defences. Colonel de Bougainville went forward with the companies of grenadiers placed under his orders, and placed them en Echelon along the left bank of the St. Charles, as far as the Beauport brook, to work at the entrenching of the camp. The workers were daily increased by the arrival of the members of the militia, who turned out in greater numbers than any one had dared to hope. Among them were even old men of eighty, and children of twelve and thirteen, who did not wish to claim the exemption to which they were entitled by their age.

Montcalm felt a keen sense of relief when he pressed the hand of his dear friend de Lévis— such was his confidence in his military ability, and his presence rendered that of Vaudreuil much less exasperating.

Moreover de L^vis was always on good terms with the governor, and with much tact and prudence lessened the friction between the two enemies. From the time that he arrived, he and Montcalm were almost always out together. Mounted, and followed by Pontleroy and some other engineering officers, they traversed the entire shore to the Falls of Montmorency, and fixed the locations for the redoubts and batteries.

M. Jacquot de Fiedmont undertook the fortification of the approaches to the bridges over the St. Charles, and another engineer, M. de Caire, a recent arrival from France, looked after the works along this river. Two other bridges were built at its mouth and fortified, while on two sunken ships at this spot were built two batteries of ten guns each. Finally the mouth of the river was closed by a stout boom. The intendant's palace was surrounded by a double row of palisades, and the wharf opposite it was armed with several field-guns. Around the base of the cliff were four great batteries, looked after by the Chevalier de Bernetz, named second in command of the town. Some of these batteries overlooked the roadstead and others the stream of the river. All buildings which might be in danger of fire were razed, and the openings of the houses below the cliff were closed, while all streets leading to the Upper Town except Palace Hill were barricaded. Starting from this latter point the summit of the cliff, whose fortifications were not complete, was crowned by embattled palisades two or three feet thick, running from below the gate to the Lower Town, and the various batteries were repaired or furnished with new guns. Two barbette batteries defended the approach to the Lower Town, and the bishop abandoned his palace that it might be used for a redoubt.

During this time the lines of the entrenched camp on the Beauport side rose as though by magic. "Never," says Captain de Foligné, "did works go up more rapidly, so that our generals soon had the satisfaction of seeing themselves in a position to receive the enemy."

Captain Duclos received the command of the floating battery, "Le Diable," which he had designed. It was hexagonal in shape, and drew only three or four feet of water, although it mounted twelve heavy calibre cannon. Eight fireships, and one hundred and twenty rafts, laden with combustibles, were also to be let loose upon the enemy's fleet as soon as it appeared within the harbour. The ships laden with provisions were ordered to Three Rivers, whence the army was to draw its provisions, and the two frigates moored at L'Anse des Meres, half a league above Quebec, were to prevent all attacks upon them. M. de la Rochebeaucour also formed a cavalry corps of two hundred men to go to the assistance of the points which were most pressed. Montcalm, who, notwithstanding his numberless other occupations, found time either to write or dictate his journal, included in it such biting reflections as this:—" Vehicles are lacking for work upon the fortifications, but not for carrying materials for making a casemate for Madame de Pean. No matter how tragic the end of all this may and probably will be, one cannot help laughing."

Concerning Vaudreuil's first visit to the entrenched camp he ironically remarks:—"The Marquis de Vaudreuil, governor-general, and therefore general of the army, has made his first visit of inspection; youth has to inform itself. As he had never seen either a camp or military works it was all as new as amusing to him. He asked some singular questions, such as might be put by a blind man who had just received his sight."

A new source of discord had sprung up since the sharp reprimand addressed to the intendant by Minister Berryer. Bigot felt that he had been betrayed by Bougainville, and let the latter's friends as well as himself feel the weight of his wrath. The council was the principal scene of these animosities, and such violent altercations broke out that it was frequently found necessary to adjourn the meeting. Montcalm complains of it to L£vis in these words : —" I was in the town yesterday, and beheld the council in an indecent tumult. On the part of the navy there is a general outcry against Le Mercier, and great impatience for his batteries, to which the whole army is subordinated."

The intendant and the commissary of stores, Cadet, took up their headquarters at Beauport, whence they provisioned the army. The people were then reduced to two ounces of bread a day, and many of them did not even get that, while whole families died of want. High society, however, did not live any the less luxuriously on this account, and Cadet had grain thrown to thousands of fowls destined for his own table and those of his friends.

Admiral Durell found Ile-aux-Coudres deserted, for by Vaudreuil's orders the people had abandoned it when the English sails appeared, and had retired to the woods of Baie St. Paul. He consequently established a camp on its cultivated heights, and landed there some of his troops, to rest them after the fatigues of the voyage across. They soon fancied ' themselves secure, and the officers amused themselves by hunting, and riding about on the horses left on the island. Three Canadian officers, MM. de la Naudiere, Des Rivi&res and de Niverville had, however, gone down from Quebec to Baie St. Paul with one hundred and fifty militiamen, one hundred Abenakis, and a few pieces of artillery to prevent a landing there, and, aided by the people of the place, they built trenches and mounted batteries at the mouth of the Gouffre River. Thence parties of militiamen and Indians guided by the islanders frequently crossed over under cover of night to harass the invaders and take a few prisoners. On the north side of the island is a rugged promontory called Cap a la Branche, at the base of which passes a straight road bathed by the waters of the river. A few islanders commanded by one of themselves, Francois Savard, a man as active as he was brave and intelligent, ambushed themselves by this road behind a curtain of great cedars, and waited until they beheld the approach of two officers, one of whom bore on his saddle a young lad. As they passed the ambuscade a volley brought down both horses, and all three were made prisoners before they knew what had taken place. Great was the surprise of Savard and his -associates when they learnt that one of the officers was the grandson of Admiral Durell. Captain Des Rivieres, who was with the captors, accompanied him to Quebec, where de Vaudreuil treated him with the utmost consideration until he was later on exchanged with other prisoners.

An inspection of the Island of Orleans made by de Bougainville and Pontleroy having shown the impossibility of defending it successfully, the inhabitants were ordered to evacuate it also, and M. de Courtemanche, with five hundred Canadians and a party of Indians went down to prepare an ambuscade and attempt to capture a few prisoners. Frequent north-east winds' had favoured the progress of the English fleet, and on June 23rd it anchored below the lofty mountains of Baie St. Paul. Admiral Saunders then began the sounding of the dangerous Traverse channel, reported to be unnavigable by big warships, whence the French had removed the buoys, besides destroying the landmarks on the shores.

"At three o'clock in the afternoon of the 25th," adds Knox, "a French pilot was put on board of each transport, and the man who fell to the Goodwills lot gasconaded at a most extravagant rate, and gave us to understand it was much against his inclination that he had become an English pilot. The poor fellow assumed great latitude in his conversation; said he made no doubt that some of the fleet would return to England ; but they should have a dismal tale to carry with them; for Canada would be the grave of the whole army, and he expected, in a short time, to see the walls of Quebec ornamented with English scalps. Had it not been in obedience to the admiral, who gave orders that he should not be ill-used, he would certainly have been thrown overboard." The Traverse was navigated without accident.

"At the Island of Orleans," continues Knox, "we are presented with a view of a clear, open country, with villages and churches innumerable, which last, as also their houses, being all white-limed on the outsides, gives them a neat, elegant appearance from our ships."

As Captain Knox advanced his admiration became more lively, and when, on June 26th, the Goodwill cast anchor before the parish of St. Laurent he wrote in his note-book:—

"Here we are entertained with a most agreeable prospect of a delightful country on every side; windmills, water-mills, churches, chapels, and compact farm-houses, all built with stone, and covered, some with wood and others with straw. The lands appear to be everywhere well cultivated, and, with the help of my glass, I can discern that they are sowed with flax, wheat, barley, pease, etc., and the grounds are enclosed with wooden pales. The weather to-day is agreeably warm ; a light fog sometimes hangs over the Highlands, but in the river we have a fine clear air. Where we now ride the tide does not run above six knots an hour, and we have good anchorage; the rest of our fleet are working up, and, by the situation of affairs, I am inclined to think we are happily arrived at the place, that, to all appearance, will be the theatre of our future operations. In the curve of the river, while we were under sail, we had a transient view of a stupendous natural curiosity, called the water-fall of Montmorency, of which I hope, before the close of the campaign, to be able to give a satisfactory relation."

The ambuscade of M. de Courtemanche at the lower end of the Island of Orleans did not have the success expected, for notwithstanding his warnings the Indians showed themselves too soon, and consequently only one barge, with a few prisoners, was taken.

At sunset on the twenty-sixth Lieutenant Meech, with forty Rangers, made the first reconnaissance of the island. Believing it deserted he imprudently entered a woods where he fell upon a party of Canadians, engaged, as he believed, in making a cache. They were, however, in reality de Courtemanche's rear guard, left to keep a lookout, and they almost surrounded the landing party. Meech had barely time to throw himself with his party into a house, and barricade it, without daring to stop and pick up one of his men, who was struck down by a ball. The army landed without opposition, and the first camp was pitched on a plateau a little below the St. Laurent church. Knox, with some brother officers, profited by their first leisure moment to visit the church. "A neat building," he says, "with a steeple and spire." The ornaments had all been carried away, except some paintings of no value. The cur£ of the parish, before leaving, had affixed to the door a letter addressed to "The worthy officers of the British army." He begged them, in the name of humanity and their well-known generosity, to protect his church as well as the presbytery and its outbuildings, if not out of consideration for him at least for the love of God, and out of compassion for the unfortunate homeless parishioners. "I would have been glad," he added, "had you arrived sooner so that you might have tasted the vegetables, such as asparagus, radishes, etc., which my garden produces, but which have now run to seed." The curé closed his letter with what Knox calls the " frothy compliments peculiar to the French."

The next day was as clear as the preceding one, and at sunrise Wolfe took with him his chief engineer, Mackellar, and with an escort of light troops went up the river as far as the upper end of the Island of Orleans, where he landed. His first impression of the scene before him we have not in writing, but it is not hard to guess what it was. He had before him one of the finest views and one of the best chosen strategical positions in all North America; on his right the river and falls of Montmorency forming a natural line of defence; on his left the rugged heights of Lévis; in front of him, three miles distant, projecting like the prow of an immense ship, was the promontory of Quebec, commanding either shore. He could distinguish perfectly the lines of the entrenched camp running in zig-zags with its batteries and redans, from the top of Montmorency down to the St. Charles ; and behind this first line, all, along the hillside, stood the double row of pretty white-washed houses bordering the roadway. He did not know yet that the group of tents on his extreme right was the camp of his cleverest opponent, the Chevalier de Levis, with the best regular troops, and those famous woodsmen from Montreal whom the soldiers feared almost as much as they did the Indians; that in the centre of this slope the seigniorial manor of de Salaberry, surrounded by a multitude of tents, was the headquarters of Montcalm, and that further on near La Canardi&re was de Bougainville's quarters, which Vaudreuil was soon to occupy. All along this slope he saw the white lines of the French regulars, and those of the colonial troops, who were taking up their respective positions. At the entrance to the St. Charles River he beheld the confused lines of the fortified bridges, and in the distance down the valley the steeple of the General Hospital was barely visible. With the aid of the plan of Quebec unrolled before him he could locate the principal city buildings, whose spires and roofings crowned the ramparts—the seminary and Hotel-Dieu at the edge of the cliff; the cathedral, the Jesuits' college, and the Ursuline and Récollet monasteries, standing in the centre in the form of an irregular quadrilateral; and on the left could be seen the profile of the Chateau St. Louis crowning the precipice. The two great groves of trees arising from among the roofs indicated the ^ gardens of the seminary and the college.

Along the palisaded crests of the mountain were ranged the batteries of the Chateau St. Louis, the seminary and the hospital; and below, extending their mouths to the water's edge, were the St. Charles, Dauphine, Royal, and Construction batteries. But what he could not see from where he stood, as Cape Diamond hid them from his sight, were the two chains of sharp cut rock, between which, for many leagues, the river wends its way. But without seeing them he knew by the most positive reports that on the north shore as far as Cap Rouge, three leagues higher up, the cliff was practically insurmountable, that at the few points where it was accessible it could be defended with ease by a small force, and that beyond that the Cap Rouge River, with its lofty banks, formed no less difficult an obstacle than did the Montmorency. This locality then would not enter into his plan of attack save' as a last resort to which he would only turn when all other means had been vainly exhausted.

In his letter to his uncle, written from Louisbourg, he had worked on two hypotheses. Either he would find his enemy audacious or he would find him timid. As a matter of fact he found him to be neither; the French general was evidently determined, but he was also as prudent as he was firm, and trusted nothing to chance. He awaited him behind his ramparts, and would dispute the ground foot by foot; in a word, he would stretch out the length of the siege as far as possible, and wait until the invader had either exhausted his forces or been driven away by winter's approach. Wolfe had imagined that he would be able to land without much resistance on the Beauport shore, which he then hoped to hold by a system of fortifications such as he had employed at Louisbourg. He had supposed that the only serious opposition he would have to meet would be in the passage over the St. Charles, but here at one stroke he saw his base of operations thrown back to more than two leagues from the city, and below the Montmorency River, the difficulties of which he saw at a glance.

When he had carefully examined the formidable positions occupied by his enemy, and had recognized all the obstacles which nature had accumulated against him, and those which skilful generals had added and would still add to them, a feeling of defiance took possession of him. He understood at last that at a distance he had not fully taken into account the difficulties which he had to face.

If at least the twelve thousand men who were advancing against Carillon had been commanded by as enterprising a general as himself he could have hoped to make a timely junction with them. This would have been his best chance of success, but he knew Amherst's character only too well. He had suffered too much from his slowness, before and after the siege of Louisbourg, even to hope that he would move at more than a snail's pace, and he foresaw that the campaign would be over before that general had come down the Richelieu. This was the more apparent because the policy of prudence and temporizing adopted by Montcalm showed in advance the course which Bourlamaque would pursue. This first inspection then served to disillusion him and overturn his plans, and, as if nature wished to reflect the clouds which hung in his thoughts, the sky, which was so fair at sunrise, became darkened. A storm formed above Cape Diamond, spread over both banks of the river and burst in the afternoon with a torrent of rain, heavy thunder, and a wind which made the vessels of the fleet drag their anchors, many of the transports, boats, and barges being thrown upon the shore and smashed to atoms. Happily for the British enemy this tempest vanished as quickly as it had appeared, and gave place to a calm clear night.

The same quiet reigned the following night, when the lookouts on the various English ships reported to their commanders that they saw several black bodies gliding down the river, and increasing in size as they approached with the current. Seven fireships had, in short, been launched under the direction of a young ship's officer named de Louche —a boastful, inexperienced youth, who had forced the acceptance of his services against the wishes of the engineers. Montcalm with some of his principal officers stationed himself near the Beauport church to watch the effect.

He had little confidence in the scheme, and said in his journal:—"Our dear fireships! The epithet is indeed appropriate, for they cost us from fifteen to eighteen thousand francs. . . It is to be hoped that they will have a better effect on the English fleet than the tempest had."

De Louche was seized with terror, amounting to a panic, before he had reached the middle of the roadstead, and caused the torch to be applied to the fireships almost at once. Only one was coolly managed and burnt to some purpose. The brave officer who had charge of it, M. Dubois de la Milletiere, could not escape from amidst the blazing boats which surrounded him, and perished with all of his men. Some of the fireships went ashore at the Island of Orleans ; the others were stopped by the English sailors, who caught them with their grappling irons, and towed them to the beach, where they burnt themselves out, casting a lurid glare over the entrenched camp, the anchorage, and even as far as the cape at Quebec.

Captain Knox, who saw these infernal machines approach from his ship, says that nothing could be more extraordinary than their terrible, and at the * same time, magnificent appearance. Cannon loaded with grape shot, which together with a great quantity of grenades and other projectiles had been placed on board, exploded with such rage that the sentinels placed at the end of the island were terror-stricken, and fell back upon their camp spreading the alarm. The light regiments were advanced, and the regiments of the line stood to arms and were ordered to load.

"The night," Knox continues, "was serene and calm, there was no light but what the stars produced, and this was eclipsed by the blaze of the floating fires, issuing from all parts, and running almost as quick as thought up the masts and rigging ; add to this the solemnity of the sable night, still more obscured by the profuse clouds of smoke, with the firing of the cannon, the bursting of the grenades, and the crackling of the other combustibles; all which reverberating through the air, and the adjacent woods, together with the sonorous shouts and frequent repetitions of A IPs well, from our gallant seamen on the water, afforded a scene, I think, infinitely superior to any adequate description."

Among the French there was as much indignation as disappointment. "De Louche," Montcalm observes, "complains that the intendant and Le Mercier forced them to leave before they were quite ready.....One of the captains said:—

"Gentlemen, we have acted like cowards. There is still one fireship left. Let us wipe out our shame by either success or death.' One only accepted the proposition ; the others were silent."

Wolfe, seeing that he had to abandon all idea of an attack via Beauport, turned his attention towards the south bank of the river whence he could at least approach Quebec. With regard to the force with which Montcalm could oppose him there, he knew absolutely nothing, but it did not seem to him that it could be large, for he had not noticed either fortifications, or works of any kind on this side, nor was there any evidence of the presence of troops.

There may still be seen to-day opposite St. Laurent, the little church of Beaumont, preserved just as it was at the time of the siege of Quebec. At five p.m. on June 29th the light infantry, the rangers, one regiment of the line, and a body of Highlanders had been ferried over from the Island of Orleans to the south shore, and had taken possession of the church and village of Beaumont without the slightest resistance. The tide being too low the remainder of the brigade detailed to carry out this operation under Monckton's orders could not cross, and spent the night upon the beach shivering with cold, for the heat of the day had been succeeded by so sharp a north wind that there was frost in many places.

At seven o'clock in the morning, while the light troops were engaged in a skirmish with a party of Canadians, whom they drove back to the shelter of the woods, Monckton landed with his troops, and mounted the straight path, bordered with brushwood, which led to the church, where his first care was to affix to the door a proclamation drawn up by General Wolfe. It was a very able appeal addressed to the Canadians. After having mentioned the irresistible forces which he had led into the very heart of their country, to which were to be added those advancing by way of Lake Champlain, he told them that England had no quarrel with any one but France ; that she was not making war upon the industrious people of Canada, nor upon their religion and defenceless women and children; that the habitants might remain upon their lands and re-occupy their houses without fear; that in return for this inestimable benefit he hoped that the people would not mix themselves up in a conflict which was merely one between the two Crowns, failing which they would see their harvests and their houses destroyed and their churches profaned by the enraged soldiery; and that the only avenue whence help could come to them was closed by a formidable fleet, so that when winter came they would be exposed to all the horrors of famine. He concluded by saying that France, powerless to assist Canada, had deserted her cause, and that the troops which she sent out were maintained only by laying upon the colonists all the burden of an unbridled and lawless oppression.

What Wolfe said was only too true, but nevertheless not a Canadian spoke of surrender. They no longer considered their sacrifices in their obstinate attachment to the mother country which had long since lost all compassion for them.

In spite of Wolfe's declaration that he wished to conduct the war in civilized fashion his rangers sometimes got out of hand, exasperated by the atrocities of the Indians and of the coureurs de bois in Indian garb. This practice was mitigated, if not checked, by an order from Wolfe forbidding "The inhuman practice of scalping, except when the enemy are Indians, or Canadians dressed like Indians." Vaudreuil in his despatches to Versailles during 1756 had made frequent mention of scalping as a recognized and even necessary custom.

The party of Canadians who remained on the watch in the edge of the woods came down to the church as soon as the English had gone, tore down the proclamation, and sent it by one of their men to the Marquis de Vaudreuil.

About noon the attention of the French officers stationed at the Beauport camp was drawn to a movement upon the heights of L£vis. A long column, in the middle of which the scarlet-clad regulars were readily distinguished, came along the Beaumont road and marched towards the Ldvis church, while the little puffs of white smoke along the green hillsides showed that it was being harassed by Canadian sharpshooters. They were a party of sixty woodsmen who, after having dodged the steps of the column for two hours, had taken up a position at the foot of the wooded rock which overlooks the St. Joseph de Lévis Church. De Vaudreuil, being informed that seven or eight hundred Englishmen had landed, had consulted Montcalm and sent to the little party's assistance under Dufils Charest, three hundred Canadians and sailors, with about forty Abenakis and Ottawa Indians. This small band fought from three to six o'clock in the afternoon, with a valour that called forth the admiration of both the English and the townsmen, who had crowded to the ramparts to see the engagement.

The church and presbytery which served as redoubts were taken and retaken several times, and at the end of the fight Monckton ordered the Highlanders to enter the woods on the hillside while the light infantry made a detour, and he himself in person attacked the church and presbytery.

"Our people," says Captain de Folignd, who had witnessed the fight, "had the upper hand, and obliged the enemy to leave the field to them, when the Indians took about a dozen scalps, having already made one prisoner."

M. Dufils Charest, not wishing to lose the fruits of this victory, called together the Indians, who were always ready to go off after an initial success, and asked them to remain with him and his band. He proposed to send five or six of them to the governor with the prisoner, to ask for a reinforcement of one thousand men, with whom he could force the English to re-embark, and the Indians, having none of their men either killed or wounded, consented. Unfortunately for the French however, the prisoner, when brought to Quebec, declared that the Beauport side was to be attacked during the night, and it was therefore judged unwise to send away any of the garrison, says Montcalm. This gave the English time to learn something about the place and to fortify themselves in such a fashion that they could notvbe dislodged.

The Marquis de Montcalm, who had in the morning gone to the city to advise the governor to adopt the course already pursued at Pointe Lévis announced on his return that the camp was to be attacked between ten o'clock and midnight. M. Duclos moored his floating battery "Le Diable" broadside on at the mouth of the Beauport River, and word was sent to de Ldvis to fall back a little towards the centre. "The Canadians," says one writer, "manned the trenches opposite their camp and extended to the right, our troops took the centre, and the remainder of the Canadians supported them on the left in Beauport ravine, while the mounted troops remained in the yard at La Canardiere, to be in readiness in case of need. The Marquis de Montcalm, with de Bougainville, and his aides-de-camp, including M. de Caire, the engineer, went over the entire line. I spent the night at the battery at La Canardiere with Le Mercier. The troops in vain awaited the coming of the English, and at daybreak they were called in." At this moment there was an alarm in the Canadian camp, and firing became general along the line as it was believed that the camp was attacked. This fusilade over, the troops returned to their tents, and all was quiet, while our authority continues: "I got to bed at seven o'clock with a fever which prevented me from tracing out the St. Louis battery as I had promised the Chevalier de Lévis that I would." Montcalm himself took only a very few hours' rest, for he feared an immediate attack, and was not yet satisfied with his preparations. He found that his little army was very much scattered over the two long leagues covered by his line of defence, for only after some hesitation had he given way to the urgent request of de Ldvis, and prolonged the entrenchments beyond the Beauport River, and right up to the Montmorency Falls. The right wing, formed of the Quebec and Three Rivers militia, under de St. Ours and de Bonne, extended from the St. Charles to La Canardiére; the centre composed of the battalions from La Sarre, Languedoc, Béarn, Guyenne, and Royal-Roussillon, under Brigadier Senezergues, stretched from La Canardi&re to the Beauportchurch; and on the left the Montreal militia under Prud-homme and Herbin stretched to the Montmorency River.

After a fresh inspection the general began to fear that an attack on his centre might force it, and cut off his line of retreat. From the Royal- Roussillon camp he wrote the same evening to de Ldvis:— "Since leaving you, my dear Chevalier, I have been racing hither and thither on horseback, and am beginning to become alarmed at our position, I beg you to think it over without an obstinate predilection for your first opinion." He then went on to discuss the chances of an attack upon the centre or one of the wings as follows:—"How do you expect us to guard the great space between the Royal-Roussillon and La Sarre regiments? The Languedoc and Béarn regiments are too far apart; if possible let us bring them closer together, even if they have to camp in the wheat, and place them by half battalions if necessary. I would like to strengthen my line from La Canardi&re to Beauport, and would hope with two thousand Montrealers to hold the left, which I would not reinforce. I am writing from Poulariez' quarters without, however, mentioning the matter to any one else, so that you may have time to sleep over it as you well suggest."

Montcalm then gave as follows the exact number of the troops at his command:—"Five battalions, two thousand nine hundred; Three Rivers, one thousand one hundred; Montreal, three thousand eight hundred; Quebec (at the outside), three thousand ; a total of ten thousand eight hundred men." And he continues: "And with this force we have a winding line of four or five leagues to guard; think over this picture this evening.....

"I am sure that to-morrow when you take up your pen even you will be alarmed at the extent to be guarded. We have indeed little cloth from which to cut our coat. I write to you frankly, but will willingly defer to your advice. Let us, however, try to be of only one mind, my dear Chevalier, for friendship and a common interest should lead us to do so."

Montcalm at this time had no idea that his enemy was quite as fearful of attacking his position as he himself was of having it attacked. Wolfe, however, had more soldiers and seamen to lead against the French general than the latter had at his disposal, including both his regulars and militia. The former had nine thousand regular troops, while the latter had only two thousand nine hundred, odds of three to one. Against seven thousand nine hundred militia the English general had an even greater number of sailors armed with every weapon, while many of the Canadians had only hunting-guns without bayonets. Only five hundred or six hundred Indians in all had mustered at Quebec.

While Monckton was fortifying himself at Lévis, four skiffs containing cannon left the Beauport shore, and came to within half range of the shore as if to land their men. Captains Cannon and Le Sage, who were in command, hid the guns by grouping men around them, and waited until the English troops were drawn up on the shore to receive them when they opened on them with grape shot, and in less than half an hour killed one hundred men. They would have committed further slaughter had not an English frigate approached, whereupon they retired under the guns of the town without losing a single man.

A small party of Micmac Indians, whom de Boishdbert had sent to harass the troops was skirmishing with the light infantry when they fell into an ambuscade and lost nine men, whose scalps were taken by the. rangers, who had borrowed their barbarous custom. This was the most repellent feature of all the border wars of the period, and the Canadian woodsmen have been charged with scalping as freely as the rangers. Wolfe soon revolted at the sight of the rangers returning from their expeditions with the bloody scalps hanging from their belts, and forbade the inhuman practice as already stated except when they met Indians or Canadians dressed as Indians. This order, however, did not wholly deter them, and they continued to scalp indiscriminately.

In the morning Wolfe ordered Carleton to establish a fortified camp at the west end of the Island of Orleans, and himself, with a new body of troops, landed en route for Pointe Lévis, advancing until opposite the town. Captain Knox, who was present, was no less struck by the appearance of Cape Diamond than was his general. "We had," he says, "a most agreeable view of the city of Quebec. The river here is only a mile wide, and washes the foot of the promontory which from no other side appears so formidable."

Wolfe saw before him the chateau of the governers of New France, with which were linked so many of the important events in the history of America. Thence went forth the impulse which sent La Salle to the mouth of the Mississippi, d'lberville to Hudson Bay, and La Verendrye to the Rocky Mountains. There Frontenac gave to the envoy of Admiral Phipps his famous answer: "Go, tell your master that I will answer him by the mouths of my cannon."

To his right the English general looked down upon the Beauport camp, where he saw the entire French force engaged on the completion of entrenchments that were infinitely more formidable than the breastwork of fallen trees, from behind which Montcalm, with a handful of men, had at Carillon repulsed Abercromby's army the previous year. From the colours of their uniforms he judged that about one-fifth of the soldiers belonged to the regular army. All the openings of the houses at Beauport were barricaded and loopholed for musketry, forming an uninterrupted line along the road, and the curtain of trees which fringed the Montmorency, and which he could now easily distinguish, seemed to make the passage of this river more impracticable than ever, so that after this examination he hesitated even more than before about attacking Beauport. But how was he to divert attention from this inactivity ? For this he saw no other alternative than the bombardment of the town. It would be as useless a means of attacking the place as it was barbaric, and could serve no other purpose than to enrage the population, but it would at least satisfy' his men by giving them something to do, and would at least convey the impression that he was making some progress. He, therefore, at once fixed the location of the batteries, and had fascines cut, gabions made, parapets raised, and the cannon trailed. The French, who followed these operations from the ramparts, endeavoured to hinder them, but their cannon, which were of too small a calibre to reach the works, did the enemy no harm.

Montcalm, still anxious about his position, whose centre he found too weak, drafted three hundred Canadians into the regiments of the line, which already included many of them, and transformed the Guyenne battalion into a reserve corps, which was to be in readiness to work either to right or left, as the occasion demanded, between the Beauport brook and the St. Charles River. The army passed the nights in the trenches, and the marquis was astonished at the activity of the Chevalier de L£vis, who, being robust and younger than himself, stood the fatigue and night-watches without seeming to notice them.

"You are fortunate," he wrote, "in being indefatigable. That is always for the best. . . . Before you retire I should be glad to learn what your news is. What you do, my dear Chevalier, is always well done. If your vigilance alone could save the country all would be well, but more than this is necessary."

The English fleet which on its arrival stretched in two long lines between the Island of Orleans and the south shore came closer each day, and was now anchored at the entrance to the harbour. Captain Knox, who always had a keen sense of the picturesque side of things, was lost in admiration of it, and declared that it presented a magnificent appearance upon the river. The impression it produced upon the Canadians was very different. To them it had the appearance of a dark cloud foreboding a tempest, for from these floating caverns poured forth hordes of strangers and engines of war which would spread death and destruction amongst them. General' Wolfe's apparent indecision kept the French generals in a constant state of uncertainty, which, for the moment, was their principal source of embarrassment.

Soon many vessels, surrounded by barges, anchored broadside on near the Falls by daylight, and bombarded the camp of the Chevalier de Lévis, but the floating battery anchored at the shore, reinforced by the gunboats, replied with such vigour that they promptly moved to a distance. At sunset the barges laden with troops went down the river by the Island of Orleans, and it was generally believed that a sham attack was being made on that side in order to permit a surprise on the right wing of the camp. During the night, however, about three thousand of the brigades of Townshend and Murray crossed the Island of Orleans, and took possession of the left bank of the Montmorency, where they began to erect fortifications. From this position, overlooking the right bank, they could trouble the camp of the Chevalier de Lévis, but Montcalm, contrary to the advice of Vaudreuil, did not deem it wise to send a large detachment to dislodge them. On July 7th he had sent M. de Lapause to inspect the fords, and especially the winter one, and erect demi-bastions at them. These were guarded by the brave Captain de Repentigny with his eleven hundred chosen Canadians.

Four hundred Indians, mostly Ottawas, commanded by M. de Langlade, with a few Canadians, crossed these fords, and, clubs in hand, threw themselves on a detachment of four hundred men who were protecting the men working at the English camp. The howls of the band so terrified the soldiers that they fell back in disorder upon the main body, having lost eighty or one hundred men killed and wounded. Being in turn repulsed by superior numbers the Indians lost about fifteen warriors, and thereupon immediately killed five prisoners who were in their hands. They returned exhausted with thirty-six scalps. This action, which occurred on July 9th, must not be confused with a similar engagement of July 26th, in which Wolfe's reconnaissance in force npon the Falls of Montmorency narrowly escaped disaster at the hands of Langlade and his Indians.

The Quebec batteries had so little effect upon the works at Pointe Lévis that Montcalm, who was beginning to fear a powder famine, ordered the firing to cease. Thereupon the townspeople, whose alarm was great at the prospect of seeing their city bombarded and reduced to ashes, murmured loudly against the generals who were doing nothing to dislodge the enemy, and several of the principal men held a meeting and decided to send a deputation to the Beauport camp. M. Daine, the lieutenant of police, on behalf of the people, and M. Tachd, on behalf of the merchants, were sent, and asked that the citizens be allowed to cross the river and destroy the Ldvis batteries—an operation which Montcalm had just recommended.

The expedition was composed of a collection of burghers of every age and condition, without either discipline or knowledge of military affairs. Its ranks even included seminary pupils, who formed a picket of thirty men, and were nick-named "Royal-Syntax" by the wags. In a word it embraced every element whose presence was likely to contribute to a disaster, and to their number were added one hundred volunteers from the La Sarre and Languedoc battalions and a few Indians. The expedition, numbering one thousand five hundred in all, left on the evening of July 12th under M. Dumas, one of the best colonial officers, to whom fell the dangerous honour of the command, and marched up to Sillery, where a fleet of boats, which was in readiness, conveyed them over to the east side of the Etchemin River. .Leaving fifty men to guard the boats Dumas started his men on the march in two columns, the night being of an inky darkness. Halting at the house of one Bourassa, a short distance from the English camp, he sent forward some Indian and Canadian scouts, who found the country deserted. Then the detachment again moved forward, but the guides having lost their bearings a halt was made to discover their whereabouts.. Just at this time, as good luck would have it, some eighty residents of Pointe L£vis arrived, and gave M. Dumas the required information. The advance guard was again about to proceed, when it was seen in the darkness by the other column, which was advancing along a fence and took it for the enemy. A panic at once ensued, and all broke the ranks and fled. At this critical moment a volley from the party of students routed both parties, and against the disorder which ensued the efforts of M. Dumas and his officers were unavailing, the whole crowd rushing in headlong flight for the boats. Two more volleys, fired during the descent of the cliff, killed two men and wounded three, and when M. Dumas arrived at the shore two-thirds of the party were already in the boats, and ready to push off. It required all his powers of persuasion to induce them 114 to disembark and recover some semblance of order, and then he roundly scored them, but thought it unwise to retrace their steps, as the firing might have aroused the English. Moreover day was at hand, and about eight o'clock the expedition returned to the town covered with shame and confusion. This exploit was nick-named "The school-children's feat."

The incident was the signal for a general exodus from the town. Most of the families fled to the country, while the others were huddled along the ramparts to the westward or among the suburbs, out of the range of bombs and bullets. The streets became blocked with vehicles laden with furniture, etc., of which the houses were being emptied, and Palace Gate was soon unable to give passage to all the traffic so that the St. John and St. Louis Gates had to be opened. In the Lower Town, and the more exposed parts of the Upper Town only the garrison and the men occupied in conveying the water supply were left. The Ursulines and the hospital nuns left their convents under the charge of a few sisters, and took refuge in the General Hospital. The powder was withdrawn from the magazines, and stored at Ste. Foy.

A few balls and bombs had already been thrown into the town, and at a signal from the admiral's ship, given at nine p.m., the mortars and cannon from the Pointe Lévis batteries began to fire together. The bombs were all directed at the Upper Town, especially at those spots where the biggest buildings stood, and where the roofs were most closely clustered together. Considerable damage was done during the first night, over three hundred bombs and fireballs being thrown within twenty-four hours. The murderous hail of fire and metal only ceased when the unfortunate city was no longer anything but a mass of ashes and ruins. The cathedral, a great part of the Upper Town, and all the Lower Town fell a prey to the flames, it being possible to count the houses which escaped undamaged. Several persons were killed, and the citizens, most of whom were ruined by this bombardment, which was as cruel as it was useless, watched with despair the clouds of fire and smoke which rose above the ramparts.

The next day Montcalm wrote in his journal the following:—"M. de Pontleroy, keenly alive to the needs of the unfortunates, opened all the posterns for the women and children, and his great regret, like mine, was our inability to supply so many poor wretches with bread.

"Qucequce ipse miserrima vidi Et quorum pars magna fui!"

The left wing of the French army was in a most disquieting position from the moment the English became solidly entrenched on the opposite side of the Montmorency. The two camps were only separated by the narrow channel of the river, which, after having formed the rapids of the Natural Steps, throws itself over a precipice over two hundred and fifty feet high., whence, with painful slowness, it pours towards the St. Lawrence, its waters apparently stunned by the immensity of their fall. The two rocks divided by its snow-white sheet, from the foot of which rises a constant cloud of mist displaying in its centre a multi-coloured rainbow, recede from each other till they form a large basin which runs to the edge of the beach, and is fordable for many hours at low tide. The rival armies situated within hailing distance of one another were sheltered by great demi-bastions, whence the opposing sharpshooters exchanged shots across the river, and every day some were killed or wounded. Montcalm felt himself called upon to calm the enthusiasm of his men, and in writing to de Lévis said:— "We must try to make our Indians, soldiers, and Canadians do less firing. While we may kill some of the enemy we have to mourn many of our own men." Several batteries erected at intervals on both shores hurled bombs, balls, and grenades at one another.

Captain Knox who, after his first glimpse of the Falls had promised himself the pleasure of a closer inspection, and of writing a description of them, found himself near them one bright clear day when he could see them in all their beauty. If the brave Scot had had combined with his lively imagination the classical turn of mind of Montcalm or de Bougainville he would have compared it to the snow-white mantle of a Naiad. He could not resist the temptation to take in the vision of all its beauty, and as he imprudently exposed himself while doing so, the nearby sentinel uttered a warning for him to get under cover if he did not wish to die. He had just at that moment seen a sharpshooter glide along among the brushwood and young sapins upon the other bank, and draw a bead upon the unconscious officer. Already the weapon had once missed fire. Knox had hardly got down from his perilous position when a ball which whizzed over his head came near putting an end to his interesting journal.

Night and day the untiring and watchful de Lévis, with a foot as sure as that of any coureur de bois, went over the line which stretched from his camp to that of de Repentigny, between which he had opened an avenue of communication through the depth of the forest. As it had already become too dangerous a position to be entrusted to the guardianship of any one body of troops the army was divided into detachments of one thousand four hundred men, who relieved one another every twenty-four hours.

The La Sarre, Béarn, and Guyenne battalions had been moved towards the left in order to be the more readily available should the English attempt to cross the river, while the Languedoc battalion and the Quebec and Three Rivers militia formed the right wing. From time to time a white flag waving over the epaulement stopped the cannon and musketry fire, and an armistice ensued, during which the bearers of the flags of truce exchanged handshakings, courtesies, or prisoners.

One of the envoys remarked to General Wolfe:—"We don't doubt that you will destroy the town,' but we are determined that you shall never set foot within its walls," to which the latter replied:—"I will be master of Quebec if I have to remain here until the end of November."

Another French officer told Knox that de L£vis had urged Montcalm to dislodge Wolfe from his position at the Falls, but Montcalm had answered, "If we drive him from there he will give us more trouble elsewhere; while they remain there they can do no harm. Let them continue to amuse themselves."

The state of forced inactivity in which the French army had been kept since the opening of the campaign, the shortness of provisions, the urgency of getting in the hay, which was already over ripe, and above all the custom of the militiamen to make what they called a coup, and return to their firesides, began to occasion desertions, which the commanders endeavoured to arrest by the sternest measures. On the other hand hardly a day passed without the arrival of some English deserters, from whom useful information was frequently obtained.

As time passed Wolfe's hesitancy became more evident, and the French were astonished at seeing him pass his days in indecision. The regulars became as impatient as the militia, and Montcalm was as much so as any one, all his good sense, and the advice of the other commanders being required to keep him on the defensive.

"Generally speaking," he said, "we are all eager for the end of all this. . . The enemy harasses with cannon and mortars all points which can be reached. . . . Such behaviour on the part of an enemy whom we have been taught to regard as extremely .expeditious in his movements makes us suspect that the intention is to wear us out in every way. I at present fear that he simply intends to weary us and make us leave our position. We are this evening to send out a large body of Indians, and I believe that we cannot give too many of all ranks—Indians, militiamen, and regulars—a taste of fighting. It is the only way in which to keep them exercised, and prevent the disorders which usually result from idleness. We will gain in still another way by tiring the enemy and increasing his fear of the Indians. For," he adds to de Lévis, "they are devilishly afraid of the Indians. . . . M. de Lusignan relieves me in the camp this evening, and I go to spend my week in the town."

On the way he noted the measures which Wolfe was taking to organize his sailors into a regular army. "Fifteen hundred sailors," he wrote, "land every day at Pointe Lévis, where they are trained in military movements and shooting exercises. They return on board in the evenings."

The stifling heat of the month of July brought with it frequent abrupt changes of temperature. Thunder and lightning storms appeared on the horizon overcasting the sun, and blotting out the promontory of Quebec, the Island of Orleans, and both banks of the river. Then began a singular concert between the heavens and the earth. The roars of the cannon of Pointe Lévis, Quebec, and the two banks of the Montmorency replied to the rollings of the thunder, which swept across the basin of the river with flashing lightning cutting through the sombre darkness, and then down came the floods, silencing the guns and driving the men to their floating tents. Gradually the storm died away in the distance, and then the peace of nature replaced the tumult of war, while under summer's clear blue sky the mountains stood out with such distinctness that they seemed but half as distant as before. The basin of Quebec became, in fact, a vast amphitheatre of war, its circling seats the hillsides from which the multitudes anxiously watched the various combats waged, now on water between the gunboats and the English fleet, then upon land between the opposing shores.

Night only served to change the aspect of the spectacle. The fleet, which with the transports had come nearer and nearer, lighted up the roadstead with its countless lanterns, the bombs in the darkness described great arcs of fire, and the flames which continued to devour Quebec made Cape Diamond resemble a volcano in eruption.

The almost deserted town had become the resort of a band of thieves, who gave themselves up to every kind of disorder. Hardly had a bomb smashed in a door or window when the house was pillaged and destroyed, until finally the crime was made a capital offence, while, more for effect than for use, two gallows were erected near the ramparts. Patrols were also organized to guard the various districts. The news from Carillon did not cause much anxiety, for Amherst displayed the same slowness that drove Wolfe to despair at Louisbourg. That from Niagara was, however, more alarming. Pouchot had believed himself to be in little danger, and was imprudent enough to divide his force, sending part of it to Belle Riviere. "As I foresaw," Montcalm wrote to de Lévis, "notwithstanding Pouchot's Canadian reasoning, the enemy beyond a doubt landed three thousand men on the sixth. He has sent messengers to recall his army from Fort Duquesne, but you will see, Jean, whether it comes or not. It would have been more simple to have kept it. I can see that Canada is now attacked at six points— Montmorency Falls, Pointe Lévis, Carillon, the head of the rapids, Niagara and Fort Machault. We will have to offer a nice ex-voto if we save any part of the country this campaign."

A few famished families from time to time came down to the British camp for nourishment. Others, surprised in the woods and taken prisoners, were set at liberty with presents and copies of Wolfe's proclamation. These invitations to surrender, however, produced no more effect than the first, for if the people groaned under the French yoke, they feared still more the oppression of the English.

On the night of July 18th the sentinels on watch on the ramparts of Quebec saw upon the river the approach of some light shadows, which they took for British vessels. As a matter of fact what they saw was the Sutherland, a fifty gun ship, a frigate, and five other sailing vessels passing up the stream. A fresh north-east breeze had covered the sky with clouds, and the night was so dark that the ships could hardly be seen, but all the batteries on the Lower Town and ramparts opened fire. However, before they could do any harm the vessels, favoured by the rising tide and the wind, had passed the town.

The following morning the English stationed at Pointe Levis could see two bodies swinging on a double gibbet opposite the chateau terrace. They were those of two sailors of the "floating patrol," condemned for mutiny and lack of watchfulness. The punishment was summary, but the damage had been done. Up to that time the French had hoped to be able to prevent the passage of any vessel which might make the attempt.

The siege then took on a new phase. For the first time Montcalm found himself constrained to divide his forces, since his line of communication for foodstuffs and warlike stores was threatened, and his army might be taken in the rear. "We shall be placed in too light a position," he said, " and unable to maintain our ground if ever the enemy obtains a footing on the heights governing the city's land approaches."

This last move was a fresh piece of temporizing on the part of Wolfe which called out from Montcalm the remark:—"All this becomes daily more obscure." The English army already in possession of three points from which it was extremely hard to dislodge it—Montmorency, the Island of Orleans, and Pointe Lévis—now occupied a fourth, and Wolfe's actions could only be explained on the ground of his thorough conviction that the French had made up their minds to remain on the defensive. To this they were driven by the colony's desperate situation.

The British vessels anchored at L'Anse des Meres burned a fireship, and attempted to destroy some fire-rafts which had just been built, but were repulsed. Dumas had reached the spot with six hundred cavalry, some cannon, and a body of Indians. A further body of troops joined them the following morning, when news was received to the effect that a number of barges had been taken up by the Lévis road and launched at Chaudiére. Colonel Carleton boarded them with six hundred men, and went up the river to a distance of seven leagues above Quebec. His guide was Robert Stobo, a former hostage, who, five years before, had been given up to de Villiers by Washington at the taking of Fort Necessity. Being taken first to Fort Duquesne and then to Quebec, he had remained there a long time, taking advantage of his too great freedom to study the city and its surroundings. In company with another officer named Stevens, of the rangers, he had the previous year escaped by a piece of daring, and had gone down to Halifax, becoming of much importance by reason of the accurate information in his possession. Carleton landed on the left bank of the river not far from the village of Pointe-aux-Trembles, where it was expected, from the statements of some prisoners, to find some of the army's leading stores and important documents. He entered the village at daybreak, repulsing forty Indians, who killed and wounded some of his men, and was not molested for the remainder of the day. However, he found nothing that he sought. When he re-embarked he took with him a number of prisoners, mostly old men, women, and children, among them many Quebec ladies who had taken refuge there. A party of Dumas' troops arrived only in time to exchange shots with the rear guard, wounding a few men, and then the Indians, more to be feared than even the enemy, returned to the village and pillaged the abandoned houses. Wolfe, who had gone on board the vessels anchored at L'Anse des Meres, greeted the prisoners with perfect courtesy, even inviting the ladies to supper, and rallied them gently on the circumspection of the French generals, to whom, he said, he had offered many favourable opportunities for attacking him. He was much surprised, he said, that they had not availed themselves of these openings. The next day he hoisted a flag of truce and offered an armistice, on condition that the barges containing his wounded, whom he wished to send to the hospitals at the Island of Orleans, should be allowed to pass. The English officers, says an historian of the period, even carried their gallantry so far as to inscribe their names in their fair prisoners' note-books, and then the ladies were landed at L'Anse des M&res, as surprised as pleased at their enforced jaunt. At the time they little suspected that some years later they would be paying their court at the Chateau St. Louis to the leader of the expedition, then become Lord Dorchester, governor-general of Canada.

Montcalm passed whole nights "on the ramparts of Quebec, watching to see that no more vessels got above the city, and from amongst his best officers he chose guards whom he could implicitly trust, when he could not be present himself. Many frigates came to within cannon shot under a favouring north-east wind, but were always so warmly greeted that they speedily retired. With regard to his left wing Montcalm felt no anxiety, for his alter ego, de Lévis, was always on the move, and took so little rest that the marquis was somewhat worried. He even sent word to M. de Sene-zergues to use all diligence, and not trouble the chevalier except concerning the most important matters.

De Vaudreuil, notwithstanding his sixty years, was hardly less active than de L£vis. "We were up until daybreak," he wrote, "and so was the Languedoc battalion and the reserve battalion which we have formed to go to the assistance of any part which may be attacked. We are strongly of the opinion that the attack will be made in the direction of Sillery, for there is every indication that the enemy will try to land there. However, M. Dumas writes to me that he passed a peaceful night. I did not sleep at all during the night, and it is evident that I will not be able to do so during the day."

Wolfe at this time was preparing for an attack on the Montmorency River, and was displaying much activity in that direction. He tried several times to bridge it, covering his operations by a heavy artillery fire. After a skirmish the marquis wrote to his friend:-^"The English showed little vigour, for there was no one left in the camp but twenty Canadians, who did well." A few hours later he wrote:—"I am convinced that they will not attack the left, and am beginning to believe that they will not attack us anywhere, but will attempt to cut off our food supply and lay the country waste." The same evening Montcalm learned that a detachment was moving towards the fords. "Have posts there," he ordered, "to give this little body a sound drubbing, for it would embarrass us to no inconsiderable degree should it be bold enough to attack our rear, notwithstanding the risk it would run."

This little force, of which a glimpse was caught at nightfall, was a column of two thousand men led in person by General Wolfe who came to examine the ford, which was held by only one thousand one hundred Canadians, and to attempt to force a passage. At its approach eight or nine hundred Indians, under the intrepid de Langlade, hastened to the scene, and, unperceived, threw themselves down on their stomachs on the right-hand side of the Montmorency within pistol-shot of the British force, which had halted, and was preparing to bivouac for the night. The silence of the forest, broken only by the gurgling of the rapids and the night breeze in the tree tops, led the English to believe that there was no enemy in the neighbourhood. Chevalier Johnstone, who relates this incident, expresses his astonishment at so many Indians lying for so long in such close proximity to the enemy without in any way betraying their presence. It was one of the marvels of Indian strategy. M/de Langlade seeing the ambuscade so well prepared signed to the surrounding chiefs to await him, and furtively glided to the rear, crossed the river, and hastened to the camp of the Chevalier de Ldvis for a strong reinforcement. He asserted that if he were backed up he would entirely surround the enemy, very few of whom would ever return to their camp, but, tempting as the opportunity was, de Lévis could not order a movement which might bring on a general engagement without consulting his commander-in-chief, and the headquarters were too far away to have an answer in time. All that the chevalier could do was to despatch a detachment to the river, writing at the same time to de Repentigny that he confided the supreme command to him, and left the rest to his skill and experience. Repentigny, who was as brave as de L^vis and no less prudent, found himself in a similar difficulty. The Indians in the meantime had been awaiting Langlade's return for five hours, lying on the ground, tomahawks in hand, and only moving their lynx-like eyes. At the first sign of dawn, seeing no assistance approaching, their ardour burst all bonds. A savage whoop from eight hundred Indian throats rent the air, and made the British soldiers spring to arms, but the men of the woods were already upon them with their tomahawks, and they fell back in disorder. Wolfe and his officers averted a panic, but the column had to beat a precipitate retreat. De Repentigny could not send his entire force across the ford, but despatched a strong detachment to the Indians' assistance. Wolfe, being thrown back upon his camp, every regiment of which was now under arms, sent forward the entire force with a cannon to meet the Indians, who returned in triumph to the winter ford, having killed and wounded about one hundred and fifty of the British, with scarcely any loss to themselves. When the firing was heard the whole French camp stood to arms, and de Levis sent the Royal-Roussillon battalion to Repentigny's assistance. For some time it was thought in the city that a general engagement was in progress.

This diversion seemed to afford a favourable opportunity for casting loose the fire-rafts, which had this time been confided to the care of a man of experience and coolness, M. de Courval, an officer of the Canadian militia. The flotilla was formed of about seventy vessels—boats, skiffs and barges— filled with inflammable material, such as bombs, hand-grenades, small bombs, and old cannon loaded with grape, and the whole was linked together by chains, extending across the river for a distance of not less than one hundred fathoms. The boats were admirably handled, and were brought within half a musket range of the brigade forming the advance guard of the British ships before being set on fire. The flames rapidly leaped from vessel to vessel, but as the floating fire moved very slowly down the river, and the night was not very dark, the ships were able to slip their cables or raise their anchors before it reached them. The moment the watch discovered the fire-rafts the sailors leaped into their barges, caught them with their grappling irons, and towed them ashore, where they burnt themselves out. The English thus got off with a scare, but it was so bad a one that Wolfe sent word that if another attempt of the kind were made the French prisoners would be its first victims, for they would be placed upon two transports and abandoned in them once their own compatriots had set them on fire. A month had now passed since the British general first appeared before Quebec, and yet he seemed no further advanced than on the day he arrived. The town, it is true, had been reduced to ashes, but it was none the less beyond his grasp. Moreover, his prospects of effecting a junction with the tardy Amherst, who was being held in check by the prudent and methodical de Bourlamaque, were decidedly faint, and his hopes of wearying the Canadians and promoting disaffection amongst them had fallen to the ground, so that he no longer saw any chance of coping with them other than by employing against them the same extreme measures which he had used against Quebec.

Thus the unfortunate Canadians in the neighbourhood of the town found themselves in a frightful dilemma. If they remained faithful to France their houses would be burnt, their fields laid waste, the little they had would be destroyed, and they themselves would be trafficked in as if they were merely furs, while if they made peace with the British the Indians would be at once let loose upon them. Already the habitants of the Beauport shore were in dread of the invading scourge, for on this very day Montcalm wrote to de Lévis:—"I am afraid that the people of L'Ange-Gardien and Beauport may make peace with the British, to avoid which we need a strong detachment of Indians and loyal Canadians to bring them to their senses. And in case the Indians and Canadians are not sufficient we will, if necessary, send about a hundred grenadiers and volunteers with officers to back them up."

Wolfe was quite as sensible as any of his officers to the misfortunes of which he was a witness and of which he was the principal author, but he thought that therein lay his best means of disarming the population, weakening the enemy, and perhaps even obliging him to leave his trenches. This was his principal object, for he felt sure of victory in case he could bring on a general engagement, since he had three times as many regulars as the enemy, and hardly took into any consideration the Canadian militia, whom he thoroughly despised.

Since he had succeeded in getting above Quebec he had carefully examined the entire length of the cliff as far up as Cap Rouge. Everywhere it seemed inaccessible, being almost perpendicular, and bathed at its foot by the waters of the river. Then, as now, a fringe of spruce, pines, beeches, oaks, balsams, etc., crowned its summit, and the rare spots where the cliff was depressed, or cut through to allow some torrent to pour over its brink, were occupied by bodies of the enemy. One of these openings, a little less than a mile below Sillery, was situated in the cove with which his name is now inseparably linked, and upon it in particular his glasses dwelt long and carefully, but it, like the others, seemed to be too well guarded to offer any hope of a successful attack. What Montcalm most feared, as we have seen, was that Wolfe would strongly establish himself on some accessible point on the north shore under the cover of his vessels, and it is hard to understand why he did not do so, since, in that case, he could have cut off the French from their supplies, and forced them to meet him in the open. A victory would, in a few days, have given him possession of Quebec without another blow, for hunger would have forced it to capitulate, and its capture would lead to the fall of the entire colony. Whatever the explanation may be, he returned to the Falls more firmly convinced than ever of the difficulty of the undertaking. The Beauport shore still seemed to him to be the most vulnerable point, and, after a long examination, he came to the conclusion that he might entice Montcalm out of his trenches by attacking the redoubts which he had built on the beach.

Coming from Montmorency towards Quebec the cliffs incline is gradual, and it divides into many slopes of easy access. Near the Beauport River a ravine is formed, and the slope from Maizerets becomes a mere incline running down to the level of the tide. Along the beach is a great estuary about one mile" wide. On the beach, about a quarter of a mile from the Falls, was Johnstone's redoubt, which had been noted by Wolfe, and a more important one, a little to the east, guarded the ford. The trenches along the top of the cliff were supplied with redans whose fire crossed. Behind this ran several lines of defences, erected to protect the troops from the English batteries on the left side of the Falls, which overlooked the right side and enfiladed the trenches. The entire artillery of this wing consisted of twenty pieces, covering the Montmorency River on the one side and the St. Lawrence on the other.

Wolfe's plan was to divide the French forces by threatening the camp at three points at once. One feint would be made on the right and another on the extreme left, the first at La Canardi&re and the second at the winter ford, while the real attack was to be made upon de Levis' camp. The main part of the regular army was to be in two divisions, the right, under Townshend, descending the cliff at L'Ange-Gardien, and crossing the ford below the Falls, while the left under Monckton would land in barges below the cataract. There they were to join forces, attack the two redoubts, and assault the trenches. Every boat in the fleet was to be used in landing the soldiers and sailors, the latter being each armed with a musket, cartridge box, pistol and cutlass.

The English general commenced to prepare for the assault about July 28th, and endeavoured to distract the enemy's attention from it by bombarding the city night and day with increased violence. Each day, too, he advanced to the fords strong bodies of men, who often met in hand-to-hand fights with Repentigny's Canadians and Indians. One of these attacks seemed so strong that there was a general alarm, and the whole French camp stood to arms. Wolfe repeatedly visited the fords in person, but everywhere he found the French alert and vigilant, and by this time he knew the redoubtable enemy who guarded the left, and appreciated his skill. More than that he even knew him by sight, for on July 19th, while both were visiting their outposts at the same hour, the Chevalier de Lévis suddenly came face to face with him, only the width of the narrow rapids of the Montmorency separating them, and thus the two were able to take each other's measure.

On the morning fixed for the attack Anstruther's regiment, the light infantry and the rangers, were ordered to advance towards the fords, concealing their march for the most part through the trees, and stringing out their line so as to appear more numerous. When they arrived at the fords they were to retire from the enemy's sight by going deeper into the woods, and then to return by a forced march to act as Townshend's rear-guard. On the morning of July 31st a strong south-west wind sprang up on the St. Lawrence and facilitated the movements of the British ships, many of which were beginning to set their sails. It was, in short, just such a morning as Wolfe desired for the purpose he had in view. In the camp of de Lévis the soldiers were already pouring out of their tents, and many of the officers stood about the house used as headquarters. The chevalier himself was afoot, and was giving orders for the despatching of reinforcements to Repentigny, who had just sent word that large bodies of troops had appeared near the winter ford. The B£arn battalion and one of the Canadian brigades were on guard in the trenches to the left, while three hundred labourers were profiting by the silence of the British guns, which had not thrown a shell all night, to continue work on the fortifications. While M. de Malartic was visiting the works he noticed a dozen British officers closely examining the position, and about eleven o'clock two transports of twenty guns each took up their positions opposite Johnstone's redoubt, anchoring at about musket range. Not much later, a sixty-four gun vessel of the line, commanded by Admiral Saunders, anchored broadside on to the eastern redoubt. She was the famous Centurion, a vessel then as well known in the navy as the Victory was to become in after years, when she bore Nelson at Trafalgar. These three vessels, whose fire crossed, Opened a brisk cannonade on the redoubts, batteries and trenches, which were also taken on the flank by the forty big guns mounted on the left side of the Montmorency. As we have already seen, the French had only twenty small calibre cannon to oppose to these one hundred and forty-four pieces, and the entire French left wing, which had begun to move as soon as the vessels were seen to approach, came down the slope and manned the trenches.

A flotilla of barges bearing two entire regiments, the grenadiers of five other regiments and a detachment of the Royal Americans, under Brigadier Monckton, soon left Pointe Lévis and moved towards the Island of Orleans, where another flotilla, bearing the marines from the fleet, joined it, and these were reinforced by a third from the island camp. These three or four hundred boats lay motionless in mid-stream in three fines, awaiting further orders, thus keeping the French uncertain as to the point to be attacked ; and during this pause Wolfe carefully watched the effect of his artillery fire. He hoped that the hail of balls and bombs which he poured upon the trenches to the left would stagger the regulars, and drive out the Canadians ; but the latter rivalled their companions in steadiness. Montcalm watched all the proceedings from headquarters, with Vaudreuil holding himself in readiness to rush with the battalions which he had with him to the spot where the enemy landed. De L£vis, in the meantime, had entered the trenches, and was posting the men and encouraging them by his presence. "Notwithstanding," says Malartic, "all that we could say to him regarding his safety, which was so essential to us, and exposed as he was to a hail of bombs and balls, he gave his orders with admirable coolness and self-possession."

The barges finally gave way, and moved towards the river St. Charles as if to land there, but then changed their course and executed several movements, threatening in succession the centre, the right and the left. The blazing sun and stifling heat and the clouds rising on the horizon already gave promise of one of those violent electrical storms that so clear the air, and in the meantime the tide, which was falling rapidly, left the two transports resting on the bottom, and promised soon to leave the ford below the Falls passable. At half-past one Captain Duprat, commanding the volunteers at the winter ford, came to warn de Lévis that a column of apparently two thousand men was advancing to attack Repentigny, whereupon he sent five hundred Canadians, well accustomed to fighting in the woods, with the Indians, to Repentigny's assistance. At the same time he ordered Duprat to follow the enemy's column with his volunteers, and to give him timely advice of its movements. He then instructed the Royal-Roussillon battalion to take up its position on the right of the Canadians, who were between the two redoubts with the Béarn battalion upon the extreme left escarpment. Just then Montcalm came up with the Guyenne battalion, and was everywhere received with cries of "Vive notre general!" (Long live our general.)

He at once joined de Lévis, who told him of the appearance of the English column at the Falls, and of the orders which he had given as to holding it in check. He also asked for some reinforcements, which he placed in his rear on the Beauport road, so that he could send them either to Repentigny's assistance or to the trenches.

"We agreed," wrote de Lévis, "to act as occasion required, and that if the left was attacked he would send the centre to support it, while I was to do the same if the right was assailed. After we had arrived at this understanding the Marquis de Montcalm left me, saying that he was going to the Marquis de Vaudreuil to inform him of the situation."

A short time afterwards, upon receiving word from Duprat to the effect that the column was retiring, de Lévis sent his aide-de-camp, Johnstone, to recall the reinforcements sent to the assistance of Repentigny. The barges, which up to this time had moved up and down the estuary, threatening alternately the centre and right, at this moment again took to the Island of Orleans channel and anchored behind the two grounded transports.

It was then five p.m.; the tide was running down, and the lower ford was passable. Heavy clouds laden with lightning and thunder blotted out the sun, and great drops of rain began to fall. The army, which had been drawn up in order of battle on the cliff at L'Ange-Gardien had just come, down, and formed up in column on the shore, preparatory to crossing the ford. In the meantime the fire from the British batteries and vessels, which was ably directed, never slackened, but it had little effect upon either the works or the troops of the defending force. The Indians, who, with the Canadian detachment, had just returned, were deployed as sharpshooters between Johnstone's redoubt and the trenches, and the chevalier sent word to Montcalm of the British army's movement, and brought down his reserves from the Beauport road. At six o'clock the barges approached, having had some trouble in getting past a chain of rocks at the water level.

As the troops disembarked Monckton drew them up under cover of the transports, the grenadiers being in front, followed by the Royal Americans. At the same time Townshend's force began to cross the ford, and the cannonade became fiercer than ever. Lévis, being warned that Johnstone's redoubt had run out of cannon balls, commanded de la Perriére to evacuate it, after having lightly spiked the guns. Monckton's troops advanced " in fine form," says Levis. The grenadiers, eager to distinguish themselves, took the lead and charged the redoubt, and when they reached it, did not even stop there, soon finding themselves on a spongy land which checked their advance to some extent. Then the Canadians, whose number included the best shots among the coureurs de bois opened a murderous fire which mowed down the leading ranks. The grenadiers hesitated a moment, then again hurled themselves forward, and began to climb the hill, which was much steeper than Wolfe supposed. The leaders were barely half-way up when they were swept down by a storm of bullets, and fell upon those in the succeeding ranks, throwing them back in their fall. While this desperate struggle was in progress Townshend, whose men had just crossed the ford, attacked, with his army corps, the other redoubt, which was commanded by the brave Captain Mazerac. At this moment the clouds, which had .enveloped the basin in almost total obscurity, burst above the combatants with a crash of thunder which drowned even the cannon's roar. The ascent of the hill became more and more difficult as the rain, which fell in torrents, soaked the ground and made it muddy and slippery. The decimated storming party recoiled in disorder, trampling under foot the bodies of their fallen comrades in arms, and reformed behind the redoubt for a fresh attack. Wolfe, however, who had watched the fight from a distance, appreciated its fruitlessness, and ordered the retreat to be sounded. The cannon and musketry fire had in the meantime slackened, to some extent, on both sides, for the powder had been dampened by the rain.

Wild shouts and hurrahs rang out along the ramparts as the French saw their assailants return to the beach, carrying with them their dead, and Montcalm, who, at this moment, reached the left wing, was received with acclamations of "Vive notre general/"

The Indians at once started out to take prisoners and scalps, and then there was enacted an incident which led to some correspondence between the generals of the two armies. Captain Ochterlony, who was fatally wounded, in attempting to escape from the clutches of the redskins, completely exhausted his fast ebbing strength, and one of the wretches was already brandishing his scalping knife over him when he was noticed by a private of the Guyenne battalion. The latter at once seized the Indian in his arms and at the imminent risk of his own life held him until some French officers, who came to his assistance, bore off the wounded Britisher to the general hospital.

The rain all this time fell so thickly that it was impossible to see for any distance, but the storm was of short duration, and when the sky cleared the French could see the last of Monckton's forces leaving the shore in the direction of Pointe Lévis, while Townshend's army was mounting the cliff at L'Ange-Gardien. The heat of the battle raged round Johnstone's redoubt, where the English suffered their greatest loss. Townshend's division, which only came into the action slowly, advanced with still greater lack of haste, and hesitated about attacking the redoubt. Admiral Saunders, fearing lest the French should gain possession of the two transports ordered them to be abandoned and burnt.

The official report of the British shows a loss of four hundred and forty-three men killed and wounded, among the number being Colonel Burton, of the 48th, eight captains, twenty-one lieutenants, and three ensigns. The Chevalier de Lévis placed the figures much higher, and it is well known that the fear of public opinion in England led the generals to conceal their losses, and exaggerate those of their enemies. The French had only seventy men killed and wounded.

De Levis at once wrote to the minister of war as follows:—"I cannot too highly praise the troops and the Canadians, whose courage cannot be shaken, and who have all through displayed the greatest of good-will."

Montcalm, on reaching his headquarters, wrote the following note to his friend:—"At nightfall every one will be under arms and at his' post. I notice a movement in the squadron opposite, but the demonstration they made in full daylight leads me to believe that it will be a false attack. You have good judgment. If you are not too much occupied I wish, my dear chevalier, that you would come and support us."

An hour later de Ldvis had reassured his general, who replied to him:—"I doubt the probability of an attack this evening, my dear chevalier. . . . You are doing for the best, and nothing can be better. I want to allow you some sleep, for you must require it, but will go to see you about eleven o'clock." Levis had been in the saddle for ten consecutive hours.

Vaudreuil rivalled Montcalm in his attentions to the chevalier, to whom he wrote:—"This happy event is a result of your conjectures, which have always appealed to me. Accept, I pray you, my congratulations upon your foresight, and, believe me, I offer them most cordially. I shall be much pleased to see you and to hear from you a detailed account of the engagement. It is indeed an auspicious event for us, and I am beginning to entertain great hopes concerning the campaign. . . I did not fail to notice the mettle and intrepidity of the movements you commanded, and am aware that you personally superintended everything and were everywhere almost at once. Every one was anxious owing to the danger to which you exposed yourself. It was my own only source of uneasiness, owing to my regard for you, and I beg of you in the future to avoid, as far as possible, such evident dangers. Be careful of yourself, I pray you, for we need you."

It seemed almost as though Vaudreuil had a presentiment of the event which was so soon to place Lévis at the head of the army. By what master-stroke of cleverness and prudence had the chevalier succeeded in attracting to himself equal esteem and friendship on the part of the two enemies? He had become the man of the moment, the man of counsel, the point of contact and centre of union for them both. What tact he had been called upon to exercise so as to offend neither the one nor the other, and especially to avoid wounding the extreme susceptibilities of Montcalm ! This was all the more difficult since Vaudreuil was constantly in touch with Lévis, whom he continually consulted, preferring his advice to that of Montcalm, finally coming to be upon terms of the greatest intimacy with him. Montcalm revenged himself for these delicate attentions by showering even greater ones upon his friend.

Captain Ochterlony was surrounded by the nuns of the general hospital with such delicate attentions that he was moved to tears. He wrote informing General Wolfe of the facts, and the latter was not slow to show his gratitude, informing the nuns that if he gained possession of their monastery they could rely upon his protection. In his message to Vaudreuil was an enclosure of twenty pounds sterling, which he requested him to hand to the soldier of Guyenne, who had protected the captain. Vaudreuil returned the money, replying with politeness and pride that the soldier had only done his duty and obeyed orders.

The victory at Montmorency raised the vwrale of the army, and reanimated the warlike spirit of the populace, notwithstanding the ruins confronting it. Wolfe, as a matter of fact, revenged himself for his defeat by pouring projectiles upon what remained of Quebec, and ordering the burning of the property in the country parts. It is calculated that from July 13th until August 5th not less than nine thousand bombs and ten thousand cannon balls were rained upon the city. This destruction had no other purpose than to satisfy public opinion in England, which would demand from him a severe account of the enormous expense of the expedition if he returned to London without having accomplished anything. As it was, if he did not capture Quebec he could at least say that he had left behind him nothing but a heap of ruins.

At this moment events of the greatest importance were occurring upon the frontiers, and when word of them reached the French camp on the evening of August 9th confidence gave way to consternation, and every one feared an early invasion of the colony.

Bourlamaque had evacuated Carillon and Fort St. Frdédric, blowing them up, and had retreated towards Ile-aux-Noix, the last feeble rampart on the Lake Champlain frontier. The three thousand men under him would soon be driven backward if Amherst's twelve thousand men were vigorously handled. The news from Niagara was still more disconcerting. The little army gathered by Des Ligneris and Aubry to go to Pouchot's assistance had fallen into an ambush, and was either dispersed or annihilated. Niagara had capitulated ; its garrison was imprisoned, and the Chevalier de La Corne wrote saying that if Johnson's victorious army were directed against him he could no longer hold the head of the rapids. The success of one of the English armies upon either frontier would decide the campaign.

At nine o'clock in the evening the French generals met in council of war in the seigniorial manor of de Salaberry, which had been transformed, as we have seen, into headquarters. Montcalm and Vaudreuil, on this occasion of one mind, agreed that there was only one man who could face the situation, viz., the Chevalier de Lévis. He left the same evening in a post-chaise with M. de Lapause, and eight hundred men, drawn from the army, were to follow him in less than twenty-four hours. Full, power was granted him to do whatever he deemed necessary in the way of organizing a defensive campaign, and he was to visit both frontiers, take command of the one in the greatest danger, and dispute every foot of the enemy's advance.

Levis carried away with him the good fortune, or rather the" wisdom, of the army. The two irreconcilable enemies, left alone in the presence of one another, lacked the counter balance necessary to keep them cool and their judgment sound in the hours of the greatest danger, and thus the closing days of the siege were marked by a series of disasters and blunders which brought about the final catastrophe.


Return to our Book Index Page

This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus