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Wolfe and Montcalm
Chapter IX The Victory of Ste. Foy - Surrender of Canada to England - Conclusion


THE hard winter of 1759-60 passed without further incident than the increase of public misery and a few skirmishes. April brought with it the grateful sun of spring time, the alternation of warm rains, and biting frosts, and finally the disappearance from sight of the snow, with the crash of the breaking ice, and the unbridling of the waters. This was the opportunity for which Lévis and Vaudreuil had been waiting, for they had decided to strike a blow at Quebec. "The melting of the ice," wrote Malartic, "does not correspond to the eagerness of our troops to start." Lévis had everything in readiness, so that each battalion, with its quota of Canadians, should be ready to march the moment the signal was given. Each habitant was to have on hand eight days' provisions for himself and the soldiers he boarded. The general's first act when he called the army together was to acknowledge his gratefulness towards the Canadians, who had been like fathers to the soldiers all winter, giving them lodging, warmth, and clothing, and who were just dividing with them their last morsel of bread. "We should," said Lévis, "in this daring undertaking, show our gratitude to the colony which has maintained us since our arrival. The Canadians have received the soldiers as if they were their own children, and we cannot too highly praise their friendship and devotion."

These proceedings had gained for Lévis the hearts of the entire population, and here, and nowhere else, is to be sought the explanation of the prodigy of the campaign—the brilliant victory of April 28th. He believed that he could rely sufficiently upon the devotion of the soldiers and militiamen to hide from them none of the sufferings they would have to undergo. "I beg you," he wrote to the officers, "to warn them to expect a hard campaign. I cannot foresee any certainty of a good supply of any food but bread, and when we arrive before the walls of Quebec we shall only have such horse meat or beef as we can happen upon."

It is only necessary to read the replies of Lévis to the demands of the army to realize the unbelievable scarcity of stores that stared him in the face. The militiamen with no uniforms but their habitant clothing, were armed only with their hunting guns, without bayonets, replacing the latter by knives, their handles so shaped as to fit the ends of the firearms. The supply of projectiles was no more satisfactory, for after collecting all that could be had in the various posts only three hundred and twelve cannon balls and two hundred thousand pounds of powder were available. Such were the means with which Ldvis undertook to defeat Murray's victorious army and retake Quebec. Ever since the end of the last campaign he had had the workmen of Montreal at work making tools, gun carriages, and even kitchen utensils, which the army sadly lacked. Some indispensable articles which could not be otherwise obtained were stolen from Quebec, from under the very noses of the English. Levis was the soul of all this organization, and found reason for self-satisfaction in the entire and active cooperation of Vaudreuil. The governor had even succeeded in maintaining spies within Quebec, and these kept him informed concerning all that went on in the town and the state of the garrison. Thus he knew that scurvy had made great havoc, especially among the soldiers, and six or seven hundred bodies had been buried in snow banks, until such time as the ground would thaw sufficiently to allow them to be interred. Some seemingly improbable accounts even said that over half the garrison was on the sick list, and there were not over two thousand serviceable men left. The truth was that Murray could still lead into the field four thousand eight hundred men, who, more fortunate than the habitants in the country parts, had had an abundance of food, even if it was not over fresh. Among the sick, too, were many who were only slightly affected.

At Sorel the valiant Captain Vauquelin, who was in charge of the two frigates, Atalante and Pomone, completed the loading of the stores, and was ready to sail at a moment's notice.

Each time that the general left the governor's chateau in which the council sat, he lingered upon the terrace overlooking the river to examine the effect of the water upon the ice, the departure of which he would have liked to hasten. The enormous white cuirass, up-borne by the giant river's swollen breast, opened to form great crevices which were soon transformed into troubled lakes in which innumerable icebergs dashed against one another like crumbling walls. Finally, on April 15th, the river before Montreal was open to navigation. The same day two transports, a vessel transformed into a store-ship, the Marie, and a schooner, which were to be conveyed by the frigates, were launched, loaded with the equipment and part of the ammunition. A small cavalry corps, which left in two divisions, the fourteenth and fifteenth, was already en route for Jacques Cartier. It was composed of only two hundred men, mounted upon the best horses that could be gathered together round Montreal. On the seventeenth all the battalion leaders had in their hands the general's marching orders, directing them to embark on the morning of Sunday, April 20th, with their troops, upon the vessels lying at the shore opposite their respective cantonments.

The little fleet grew as it approached Lake St. Peter. At Lachenaie it effected a junction with the fleet bearing the La Sarre battalion, and at Verchéres it was joined by the barges conveying the Guyenne corps. Berry's two battalions, which were camped lower down formed the advance guard. A number of birch-bark canoes, bearing two hundred and seventy-eight Indians, glided about among the heavier vessels with their usual swiftness. The two frigates, the transports and a few other small vessels followed at a slight distance. The total strength of the army, including the Indians and the cavalry, who had gone down by land, was six thousand nine hundred and ten men, divided into five brigades and eleven battalions, half regulars and half militiamen, most of the latter being incorporated into the regiments.

Ldvis hoped to recruit some of the habitants round Quebec after having invested the place, but, as he observed, they could only serve as pioneers, having been disarmed by the English. He was authorized by Vaudreuil to force them to enlist " under penalty of death," if they were not moved to do so by considerations of patriotism and religion. The general stole a moment in which to write to Bougainville, who had just replaced Lusignan at Ile-aux-Noix. "The army started to-day," he said. "M. de Bourlamaque is leaving at the present instant, and I start to-morrow. Prayers have been offered up for us. God grant that they may find acceptance. The bishop has issued a splendid mandement" Mgr. de Pontbriand and his clergy, had, as a matter of fact, urged his people forward to the expedition as to a crusade, and the pulpits re-echoed with prayers and exhortations. The bishop of Quebec, who had only two months more to live, arose from his bed to make a supreme appeal to his flock, and it was hearkened to. The river, which was at high water mark, rapidly carried down the vessels loaded to the water's edge with their cargoes of men armed and accoutred in every conceivable fashion. Soldiers half clad in peasant dress, jostled against grenadiers with regulation uniform and broad waist belts ; and the gold-laced officers, elegant even with their faded plumes, transformed grey habitant homespun into caps of imitation fur.

The great level plains around Montreal hot yet quite free from their mantle of snow, still bore their drear wintry appearance, and great fields of ice, which broke loose from both shores, covered the river with white islets, some of them grounded and others borne along by the current. As the vessels passed their respective parishes the militiamen signalled, and sometimes spoke a few words to their-families, who ran to the water's edge to distinguish their loved ones and bid them farewell.

A strong north-east wind, accompanied by rain, which raged all day during the twenty-third, arrested the army's progress. The Chevalier de Lévis issued orders that Pointe-aux-Trembles was only to be reached the following day, and this was done at sunset, when the men had much difficulty in dragging their boats ashore, owing to the floating ice. The frigates, the transports, and the canoes, in which de Lévis travelled arrived a few hours before them.

Here the general landed three field-guns, which were to follow by land, and encamped his men about the church. The hard, rough journey neared its close. For fifty leagues the army had been exposed to the damp cold, characteristic of the season, which was found more piercing than ever on the river. Shivering night and day in their boats the men had only cold water wherewith to slake their thirst, and a meagre ration of salt meat to satisfy their hunger, but they bore without a murmur the privations which private and officer shared alike.

The early morning sun of April 25th found the army assembled upon the church grounds. The enemy was known to be near; in fact, it was supposed that he was at Cap Rouge, where he could oppose the crossing of the river. Already threats of burning the houses of all the people of St. Augustin had been made. The troops were served with provisions for one day, and Canadian and Indian scouts led the way. On Saturday, the twenty-sixth, at 8 a.m., notwithstanding the north-east wind, all the vessels were again despatched on the way to St. Augustin, where they moored before noon. The season here was more backward than at Montreal; the ice-bridge at Quebec had only left three days before, and great walls of ice still fringed the shores. For this reason it was necessary to drag the vessels high up on the beach, so that they should not be carried off with the débris of ice at flood tide. The men could be carried no nearer to Quebec by water, because of the precipitous character of the cliffs lower down the stream, and the facility with which they might have been occupied by the enemy to prevent a landing. Two men were left in charge of each boat. The approach to Quebec was, therefore, necessarily by land, and by a route eighteen miles long over almost impassable roads. The same obstacles which had the year before prevented Wolfe's designs at Cap Rouge now faced the French, and for' this reason Lévis, certain that the mouth of the river was guarded, decided to attempt a crossing two miles further up. The army was then provided with three days' provisions, and a supply of cartridges, and, while this was being done, an advance guard, consisting of the grenadiers, the Indians, and a detachment of artillery, under Bourlamaque, was ordered to repair the bridges which had been destroyed by the English. The task could not have been entrusted to better hands. By two o'clock in the afternoon two bridges for foot passengers had been constructed, and Lévis at once pushed forward with his army. The north-east wind had, since the morning, developed into a tempest, followed by an ice-cold rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning, but the soldiers, wet to the skin, faced both wind and storm, ankle deep in a thick mud which was mixed with snow. The officers, who were also on foot, like mere privates, set a worthy example of courage and good humour.

Lévis, who had just learned that the British had abandoned their positions at Lorette, and fallen back upon Ste. Foy, ordered Bourlamaque to cross. the river and seize these positions as well as the houses commanding the road and crossing. "We succeeded," says Lévis, "in sending over before nightfall a brigade which occupied the grenadiers' positions, and M. de Bourlamaque was ordered to advance as far as he possibly could without, however, compromising himself, until he heard that the army was under way." He consequently crossed the Suete marsh, in which the enemy might have advantageously opposed him, and took up his position in some houses less than a mile from the heights of Ste. Foy, upon which the enemy was stationed. The Chevalier de Lévis advanced the brigades as they crossed to support him, and went over himself for the night, instructing de Lapause to inform him as soon as the entire army had crossed the marsh.

" It was a frightful night," writes Levis, " terribly cold and stormy, and the army, which only finished crossing at a very late hour in the night, suffered enormously. The bridges were broken, and the men had to wade through the water. In the darkness the workmen could hardly repair them, and had it not been for the lightning we should have had to stop." In another place he says, "the troops were in a pitiable condition." The tempest in question was one of the worst the country had known for many years, and the houses creaked until it almost seemed as though they would be blown down. Then the wind went down, and gave place to even more intense cold and a rain mingled with snow.

General Murray was better informed of the movements of the French army than Lévis imagined. The rumours of an attack on Quebec had gained strength as the winter advanced, and gave place to certainty on the approach of spring. About the middle of April three French deserters from the regulars, and later on a sergeant of grenadiers assured him that the entire strength of the colony was to be below the walls of Quebec in a short time. On the twenty-first, at 10 a.m., the general posted a proclamation ordering all civilians to leave the city within three days. "It is impossible," says Knox, "to help sympathizing with these unfortunates in their distress. The men prudently restrained their sentiments on this occasion, but the women were not so discreet; they charged us with a breach of the capitulation; said that they had often heard que les A nglais sont des gens sansfoif (that the British are a faithless people) and that we had now convinced them of the propriety of that character."

General Murray was unaware of the presence of the French army at Cap Rouge, when a fortuitous circumstance warned him of the imminent danger. On Sunday, the twenty-seventh, at 2 a.m., a sentinel on the sloop of war Race Horse, then moored in Cul-de-Sac Cove, thought he could hear through the fog which overhung the St. Lawrence wails resembling the cries of a man in distress, apparently drowning. At this time the rising tide was driving up a number of floating pieces of ice, which could be heard grinding against one another in the darkness. Hearing the cries repeated the sentinel no longer had any doubt that some human being was in distress and in need of succour, and he informed the commandant of the fact. Captain Macartney sent his boat and some sailors to enquire into the matter, and, following in the direction of the cries, they presently found a man, almost frozen, upon a floe. He was taken on board the vessel, and after some trouble consciousness and speech were restored. The revelations which he thereupon made were so important that it was thought wise to inform the general at once, although it was 3 a.m. The dying man was borne in a ship's hammock to headquarters, where Murray, who had been immediately awakened, listened to his story. He was a sergeant of artillery in the army which Lévis was leading against Quebec. The floating battery upon which he had been stationed with six men had been overturned during the tempest by a berg upon which he had managed to scramble while his companions were drowned. Night had surprised him before he could summon assistance, and the ebb tide had carried him to the Island of Orleans, while the flood brought him back along the wharves of the Lower Town. He had time to tell before dying that Lévis had with him some twelve thousand or fifteen thousand men.

Murray at once called the garrison to arms, and left at daybreak with the grenadiers, five regiments, and ten pieces of artillery to reconnoitre the enemy's position, dispute his advance, and, if necessary, retire his own advance posts. He stationed his troops in the row of houses which lined the road on both sides of Ste. Foy church, and opened a cannon fire upon the French outpost which could be seen in the edge of the forest. Lévis, who, at the moment, was with Bourlamaque conducting a reconnaissance on the Lorette road, recognized the advantageous nature of Murray's position. The village of Ste. Foy is situated upon a slight hill, which rises as it approaches Quebec, where it is called the Cote Ste. Genevieve, and to the westward it descends by a more gentle slope to the Cap Rouge River. Opposite Ste. Foy this hill becomes an inclined plane, below which is a swamp called the Suete. This marsh was covered by a thick layer of rain-soaked snow, and such was the road which the army had to follow. Lévis knew that Murray had fortified himself with his cannon in the church and the neighbouring houses which flanked his position. To dislodge him he would have to bring up artillery by impassable roads, and then traverse marshy woods, and form up under an artillery and musketry fire. The army was moreover worn out by thirty hours' fatigue, apart from the frightful weather; and an icy rain still fell. The French general consequently decided to wait until nightfall before advancing, and to attempt to turn the enemy's position by the right. He had just halted his columns, which were pouring out of Lorette village when he saw the Ste. Foy church in flames, and the roof fall in. The British were retiring and blowing up their store of ammunition. The order to advance was at once given, and at 6 a.m. Levis was master of Ste. Foy village. "This march," says Malartic, "was hard and painful. All the officers made it on foot, and, like the privates, suffered from rain and snow, besides the inconvenience of marching in snow up to their knees."

The cavalry and grenadiers pursued the British to within a mile and a half of the town, where they had a fortified post in a house and another in a windmill, belonging to one Dumont, which was situated on the north side of the Ste. Foy road, on a slight eminence overlooking the Cote Ste. Genevieve. On the site of this mill stands to-day a column surmounted by a statue of Bellona, erected to commemorate the heroic fight which was waged there the following morning. The army fortified itself in the houses and barns along the Ste. Foy road, and in the neighbourhood of Sillery.

While the British soldiers, after their return to the city, comforted themselves with the good rum distributed to them, and enjoyed the heat of fires built of the wood taken from the houses of St. Roch their general was considering, in a council of war, the course to pursue on the morrow. If he remained strictly upon the defensive he could either shut himself up within the walls of Quebec or fortify himself behind the Buttes-k-Neveu. The fortifications were still poor, but stronger than when the British conquered the place, for they had made important additions to them. He finally decided to entrench himself without the walls, notwithstanding the difficulties presented by the ground which the frost was only beginning to leave. In the council he did not even suggest taking the offensive, although in his heart he was inclined to do so. He was impetuous, like most of the officers of the time, brave even to rashness, and extremely ambitious, and the extraordinary glory bestowed upon General Wolfe caused dreams of similar fame to enter Murray's mind.

During the preceding autumn Bernier, the commissary of war, who had many dealings with him, admirably gauged his character. "The man is young," he said to Bougainville, "fiery, proud of his strength, decided in his ideas, and, having reached a position which he had no reason for previously expecting, is eager to distinguish himself. Of a naturally good character, he is nevertheless to be feared when opposed, and being easily inflamed is then ready to do almost anything. You know that too great an opinion of one's strength often leaves one little opportunity for reflection and consideration, and frequently gives reason for subsequent regret." This estimate explains Murray's conduct. With an army composed altogether of regular troops, and the splendid train of artillery at his command he considered himself certain of defeating the remains of a beaten army led by Levis, while he held the collection of militia which swelled its ranks in utter contempt.

The night had been calm and clear, and at daylight Lévis mounted his horse and proceeded to inspect the Plains of Abraham in order to choose a favourable location on which to receive the enemy if he appeared. Murray's tactics on the preceding evening led him to believe that the British would remain strictly upon the defensive, and he had told the transports to land at the Foulon the provisions which he intended to distribute at once to the army. When he emerged from the woods of Sillery surrounded by his staff and an escort, the sun's rays fell upon a plain which seemed a veritable desert. Traces of snow and pools of frozen water here and there marked the undulations of the ground. The budless, frost-covered branches sparkled like crystals in the early sunlight. The blades of grass beginning to shoot on the eastern slope of the cliff heralded the return of spring. Over two miles below, Cape Diamond raised its crest towards the east. Here and there a few British detachments were visible upon the horizon. One of them was abandonmg a redoubt overlooking the Foulon, and this Lévis caused some of his dismounted attendants to occupy, himself proceeding further so as more closely to observe the enemy's movements.

Murray had come out of the town with his entire army, preceded by twenty-two pieces of artillery, two of which were howitzers. Besides his arms each man bore either a pick or a spade as if the general intended only to entrench himself outside the walls. Was this done for the purpose of concealing his real intention, and conveying the idea that he had only decided to attack at the moment when the action began ? It is hard to believe otherwise when we consider the precipitation, of his assault. When the Buttes-a-Neveu were reached he drew up his regiments in order of battle, with a frontage of two deep, and marched towards the heights upon which Wolfe had, the previous autumn, awaited Montcalm's army. It was at this moment that Lévis saw the enemy come out of the ravine covering the entire plain from the crest of the cliff to the Ste. Foy road. As the British advanced they extended their lines so as to cover as much space as possible on the tableland. The moment Lévis saw that he had to deal with the entire British army he withdrew his men from the redoubt, and gave Major-General Montreuil orders to push his troops to the front. At the same time he ordered Bourlamaque to post five companies of grenadiers in Dumont's house and mill, which the British had evacuated during the night, 256

and to station the other five on a slight eminence commanding the right. His two wings being thus strengthened he posted de Lapause at the entrance to the Ste. Foy road, along which the army was advancing, to point out to each commanding officer the place his battalions were to occupy. The two brigades on the right, the Royal-Roussillon and Guyenne were already in position, and Berry was debouching from the road when the British soldiers, whom Murray had ordered to throw down their tools, appeared on the elevation below which the French troops were defiling. In front of Dumont's mill the brave d'Aiguebelle, with his grenadiers, opposed Dalling's light infantry, while the grenadiers on the right held back the volunteers and Hazen's rangers.

Murray, with his staff, advanced a few paces in front of his lines. He saw before him a scene which might easily inflame even a less fiery soul than his. The ground which he occupied was as favourable as that whence Wolfe, in the previous September had overwhelmed Montcalm's army. Moreover, he had behind him formidable artillery and an army with victory still fresh in its mind. On his left he was master of the redoubt which the French had just abandoned. On his right the light infantry was within a few paces of Dumont's mill. Behind the mill wound, like a natural defence, the ravine through which ran a stream, swollen by the melting snow, and falling like a cascade by the C6te Ste. Genevidve. On the edge of the Sillery forest were the Berry and marine brigades, advancing in all haste to take up their post in the centre, while the Béarn battalion came out of the Ste. Foy road. Only Levis' right was drawn up in battle formation.

It did not seem as though there could be a more favourable moment for crushing the units of the French army in detail, and Murray at once ordered the attack. At a distance of one hundred paces the artillery opened a fire of grape, which took terrible effect, especially upon the two last brigades, which were on the march. Lévis saw the danger, and at once resolved upon the dangerous expedient of retiring'his army to the edge of the woods. He personally directed the movement, which, he says, "was carried out with the greatest bravery and activity under a heavy artillery and musketry fire." Murray was deceived. He took the retreat for the commencement of a flight, and ordered his troops to charge, at the same time inclining to the right so as to seize Dumont's mill and house, which commanded the Ste. Foy road. Several guns already swept this road, across which the La Sarre brigade began to deploy, forming the French left. A furious struggle was being waged about the mill between the grenadiers and the light infantry, behind whom the whole English right was advancing, including Webb's and Amherst's regiments, and part of the Royal Americans under Colonel Burton. The grenadiers, crushed by superior numbers, abandoned the mill, and fell back upon La Sarre. At this moment Ldvis passed along the front of his line holding his hat on the end of his sword. It was the prearranged signal for a general attack. The La Sarre brigade, which old Colonel Dalquier, its commander, had caused to retire in order to take up its position in line with the others, came back with the grenadiers and retook the mill, as well as two hillocks overlooking the road. During this attack the light infantry was so demoralized that it retired to the rear guard and never returned to the attack. On the right the five companies of grenadiers, supported by the Canadian sharpshooters, cleared the redoubt of the rangers and volunteers, and advanced on a second redoubt surmounting a knoll a few paces further on. The two brigades on the right, with three guns, stubbornly opposed the redoubtable Highlanders and the Bragg and Lascelles regiments which formed the British left.

The French general gave his two wings his principal attention, for the centre, composed of the marine and Berry brigades, with the main body of the Canadians, seemed unshakable. Each battalion was preceded and flanked by a host of Canadian sharpshooters under Repentigny, and these thinned the British ranks with frightful rapidity. Always admirable shots, they availed themselves of all the shelter the ground afforded, and brought down a man every time they fired, with as much precision as though they were 011 their hunting-grounds. They would he down to avoid a discharge of grape, or a volley of musketry, and then fire again. For over two hours the main body of the enemy, the flower of the British army, endeavoured to crush these poorly-armed militiamen from its own more advantageous position, but each time had to fall back and reform under the protection of its artillery.

Bourlamaque imparted to the left, which he commanded, the spirit of his own unconquerable tenacity. While the fight was at its hottest, he, for a moment, crossed over to the right to receive his general's orders. As he was returning his horse was shot under him, and a ball cut away a part of his leg. He was conveyed to the residence of M. de la Gongendiere, which was close at hand.

Just at this time a party of Highlanders, sent to replace the light infantry, and d'Aiguebelle's grenadiers were having a hand-to-hand fight. "They were worthy opponents," says Chevalier Johnstone. "The grenadiers, bayonets in hand, drove the Highlanders out through the windows, and the latter, re-entering by the door with their dirks, forced the former in turn to take the same means of egress. The building was taken and retaken several times, and the fight would have lasted while there was a Highlander and a grenadier left, if the two generals had not recalled their men, and as if by common consent, left the place, for the time being, neutral ground. The grenadiers were reduced to not more than fourteen men to the company, while the Highlanders were proportionately decimated. Lévis hastened to reassure the La Sarre brigade by his presence, and then crossed his lines, going from right to left between the two armies, and ordering each of his brigades to charge as he passed it." The grenadiers he instructed to take the last redoubt. The charge was irresistible, and the rangers and volunteers retiring in confusion exposed the left flank of Bragg's regiment, which began to waver.

The La Sarre brigade after having crossed the brook advanced, without firing, upon the English left. It was a bare thirty paces from it when the men sank to their knees in a deep drift of snow, which checked their advance. Moreover, the ground across which they were charging sloped gradually towards the Cote Ste. Genevieve, exposing them to a murderous fire of grape from the British guns. The brigade was suffering so severely, and was in such grave danger that Lévis sent Lapause, and afterwards another officer, to order it to make a half turn to the right and establish itself in some houses situated a little to the rear. Although the order was conveyed by so intelligent a man as Lapause it was misunderstood, and the day was thereby almost lost. Malartic, not daring to disobey, said nothing, but advanced fifteen paces in front of the brigade in order to show that it must advance. A minute later Dalquier, bleeding from a wound in his side, joined him, and said, "Major, I will take it upon myself to disregard the general's orders. Let us take advantage of the soldiers' zeal. We will not fire but fall upon them with the bayonet, and so shall conquer." Then turning to the men he said, "Men, when we are within twenty paces of the enemy is not the time to retire. We will give them the bayonet, for that is our best course." The centre seeing the left advance did the same, and the grenadiers once more seized the mill and the hillocks from which they were not again dislodged. Lévis arrived at this moment, and said to Dalquier, "You have done the king the greatest possible service in not making a half-right turn. Hold your position for five minutes, and I will guarantee a victory." The general then disappeared behind the clumps of trees scattered about the plain and regained the right. The moment for the decisive blow was at hand. Lévis intended to execute a flank movement with the Royal-Koussillon and Queen's brigades, and force the British towards the Cote Ste. Genevieve, thus cutting off their retreat to Quebec. A badly-executed order, however, brought the Queen's brigade behind the left wing. Lévis thereupon undertook the carrying out of the movement with the Royal-Roussillon brigade alone, and gave orders to this effect to Poulariez, who, taking advantage of a dip in the ground, made his way along the edge of the cliff. A panic spread amongst the British when they saw the French bayonets glittering upon the ridge between them and the river. Murray, in desperation, threw his reserve upon both wings at once, but it was too late. "The enemy," says Johnstone, "fled so precipitately, and in such confusion that the officers could not rally a single man."

"If the Queen's brigade," said Lévis, "had been at its post, we would have enveloped the enemy's left, and evidently could have cut off their retreat, which would have been decisive. They retired so precipitately though, and were so near to the town that our worn-out troops could not overtake them. However, they abandoned all their artillery, ammunition, tools, dead and wounded."

The Canadians proved themselves to be as firm as the regular troops in the open. While the latter formed up on the edge of the forest they formed an impenetrable cordon round them, and the British so feared their accurate aim that they did not dare to approach the woods. "The Canadians of the four brigades," says Malartic, "who occupied the intervals or preceded the brigades, kept up a sustained and effective fire, doing much harm to the British."

Captain de Laas, of the Queen's brigade, who commanded a detachment of Canadians on the extreme right, did not receive orders to turn the British left wing with the Royal-Roussillon brigade. He, however, joined in the movement with an intelligence equalled only by his bravery, and Levis mentions his charge as one of the most brilliant of the entire day.

"The enemy," says the chevalier "numbered about four thousand men, and we about five thousand, of whom two thousand four hundred were militiamen. Of this total, however, about one thousand four hundred men, such as the cavalry and the Queen's brigade, were never in action. We had been obliged to leave some detachments behind, and the Indians retired, and would fight no longer."

About the end of the action Malartic was wounded by a piece of grape, which spent its force upon his breast. "The blow," he says, "knocked me down and shook me up considerably. I came to in the arms of a sergeant and a private, who wished to raise me, but I begged them to let me die in peace. As they lifted me, notwithstanding my protests, I felt something cold slide down my chest, and then, opening my vest, which had been pierced, I found my left breast swollen until it was as large as my fist and very black." Malartic was taken to the general hospital, with the wounded of both armies.

The English placed their loss in the engagement at over one thousand men killed, wounded, and missing. On the other hand the French lost two hundred and sixty-eight killed, including two officers, and seven hundred and sixty-three wounded. Of this number the Canadians had two hundred and three killed and wounded. Among the Canadians killed was the gallant Colonel Rheaume, commander of the Montreal battalion, and some of their best officers, including Captains St. Martin and Corbiére. The Indians, who, as we have already seen, basely kept at a distance during the fighting, did not pursue the fleeing Britishers, but spread over the plain, while the victors followed up the vanquished, and scalped indiscriminately the French and British who lay upon the field of battle.

The scene of the conflict presented a horrible sight, being covered with pools of blood, which the frozen ground could not absorb, while the snow which lay in the depressions of the field was turned to red. Around Dumont's mill and house the mounds of bodies completely covered the soil. Immediately after the battle General Levis sent an officer and some men to take possession of the general hospital, which lay at the bottom of the St. Charles valley. It is not difficult to imagine the anxiety with which its occupants had watched the varying fortunes of the day.

"Every cannon and musket-shot rang in our ears," says one of the nuns, "and you may imagine our position. The interests of the nation were at stake as were also those of our relatives who were participating in the fight, and so our sufferings defied description.

"It would require a more eloquent pen than mine to depict the horrors we were called upon to witness and to listen to during the arrival of the wounded who came in for twenty-four consecutive hours. The cries of the dying and the grief of their friends were indeed heart-rending, and one needed an almost superhuman strength to sustain the ordeal.

"Although we prepared five hundred cots, which were supplied from the king's stores, as many more were needed. Our stables and barns were crowded with the unfortunates. Out of sixty-two officers in the infirmary thirty-three died, and the place was strewn with amputated arms and legs. The misery was heightened by a scarcity of linen, and we were obliged to sacrifice even our own clothing. We could not on this occasion, as on that of the first battle, hope for aid from the hospital nuns of the city, for the British had taken possession of their hospital, as well as of the Ursuline convent, for the accommodation of their wounded, who were even more numerous than our own. In fact, we also received about twenty of their officers whom they could not carry away and with the care of whom we were also burdened."

The news of this victory rapidly flew from parish to parish, and was everywhere welcomed with outbursts of joy. For the moment it was thought that the colony was saved, for the majority of the Canadians still lived in hopes that France had not forsaken them, and that, as in the preceding year, the help which they had asked for would arrive before the British fleet, and afford Ldvis the assistance he required for retaking Quebec, thus deciding the campaign once for all.

"Please accept my congratulations upon your splendid victory, my dear general," wrote Bougainville. "I am the more delighted with it because it affords an instance of cleverly-executed movements in the field, incredible diligence on the march, and noteworthy intrepidity. You will be our father since you have restored our honour, and even should you not retake the town your glory will be none the less. I am grieved, indeed, that I was not privileged to be with you, but a man of war has no choice but to obey. Naturally our losses were heavy, but they could not be otherwise. Here every one is frantic with joy, and we await with impatience the news of your next movements. You have no time to lose.

"There is nothing new here. We are working while you are winning victories."

Vaudreuil had already written to the chevalier as follows:—"Your military experience and good judgment were sufficient to decide the battle in your favour. It will long be a memorable day, and to you all the glory of the achievement belongs. I can hardly express the keenness of the joy it gives me.

"I regret exceedingly the brave officers and men of both the regulars and Canadians who have fallen. They could not, however, be otherwise than valiant when fighting under the eyes of a general whom they love so much, and whose bravery all admire."

The appearance of the British fleet in the harbour of Quebec, however, nullified the victory at Ste. Foy. Lévis, being obliged to raise the siege which he had commenced, was compelled to fall back upon Montreal, where he was soon surrounded by the overwhelming force which had invaded the country from three sides at once, and the capitulation signed by Vaudreuil on the following September 8th ended the French regime in Canada.

It would be superfluous to draw here a picture of Lévis, for he stands out all through the pages of this volume. In it we have heard him speak and seen him play his part. His incontestable superiority over all who surrounded him has asserted itself, and Montcalm did not hesitate to acknowledge it. The marquis, in all his correspondence, shows to what an extent he consulted the chevalier, and modified his plans in accordance with the latter's suggestions. He was, in short, the only man to whom the colony's imperious military commander bowed, feeling himself obliged to defer to his cool and lofty reasoning, his self-control, the wisdom of his advice, and the prudence of his conduct. Montcalm and Lévis had, in common, great military qualities, unflinching bravery, and a consummate knowledge and experience of the art of war, but the latter had the better judgment, more broad-mindedness, greater coolness, and even superior intrepidity in action. It was Wolfe's good fortune not to meet Lévis on the Plains of Abraham, otherwise, while the engagement at Montmorency was only a temporary check to his plans, that of September 13th might have meant to him only disaster and ruin.

The Treaty of Paris, signed on February 10th, 1763, put an end to the Seven Years' War. To all outward appearances it had in no way changed the physiognomy of Europe; in reality it marked a revolution in the history of mankind. France, being confined to the Old World, fell back upon her internal affairs, and gave herself up entirely to the new ideas which she was beginning to entertain, and which were destined to burst so soon upon the world like a thunderclap. The startling revenge which she took upon England twenty years after the Treaty of Paris was the prelude to the enormous commotion which, like an abyss, now marks the past from the present. The Treaty of Versailles, concluded in 1783, assured the independence of the English colonies, which had become the United States of America, and through it England no longer retained in America anything but a portion of New France, and the handful of people whom she had conquered, and who were just beginning to recover from the ruin that surrounded them. Immediately after the fall of Quebec, Franklin, the most eminent statesman in the English colonies, laughed at those who prophesied that the conquest of Canada would result in their early independence. " I venture to say," he wrote, " that union between them for such a purpose is not only improbable but impossible." The Treaty of Versailles proved conclusively that he was wrong. General Murray showed more perspicacity, for in a conversation with Malartic in 1760 he asked the latter:—

"Do you think we will give hack Canada to you?"

"I am not familiar enough with politics to see things so far ahead," was the reply.

"If we are wise," said Murray, "we will not keep it. New England must have something to rub up against, and our best way of supplying it is by not retaining this country."

If Malartic, when he was thus questioned by Murray, could have seen into the future he would have answered: "The Cabinet at London will show less foresight than you; it will not leave the English colonies the opposition necessary to restrain their exuberance, and they will soon break their oath of allegiance. As an independent nation the United States will startle the world by their rapid growth. In a century they will have a population of over fifty million people. You ask me how they are to accomplish this prodigy ? They will receive from all quarters of the earth such a horde of immigrants that only an invasion of barbarians can rival it, and its results can easily be foreseen. And this peaceful invasion will be more fraught with dire results to the early settlers of the United States than was the violent conquest of Canada to the French-Canadians. At the end of the nineteenth century the descendants of the Pilgrim Fathers, your most intelligent and hard-working colonists, will have almost entirely disappeared from New England. They will be replaced by others from foreign countries, who will give to the continent such a strange new aspect that if the elders of the time of Cotton Mather were to return they would find nothing remaining of their old-time manners, habits, and religion.

"With the Canadians it will be very different. Deserted and left by France in an almost inconceivable state of ruin, they will survive. Without the aid of outside immigration, they will, by their natural increase alone, grow so rapidly that, at the end of the next century, they will form a homogeneous people numbering over two million souls, united as one man and still so French that one of their own poets will be able to say in all truth:


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