Montcalm and Wolfe eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 771 pages of information about Montcalm and Wolfe.

For authorities of the foregoing chapter, see Appendix I.

Chapter 28

1759

Fall of Quebec

“Never was rout more complete than that of our army,” says a French official.[783] It was the more so because Montcalm held no troops in reserve, but launched his whole force at once against the English.  Nevertheless there was some resistance to the pursuit.  It came chiefly from the Canadians, many of whom had not advanced with the regulars to the attack.  Those on the right wing, instead of doing so, threw themselves into an extensive tract of bushes that lay in front of the English left; and from this cover they opened a fire, too distant for much effect, till the victors advanced in their turn, when the shot of the hidden marksmen told severely upon them.  Two battalions, therefore, deployed before the bushes, fired volleys into them, and drove their occupants out.

[Footnote 783:  Daine au Ministre, 9 Oct. 1759.]

Again, those of the Canadians who, before the main battle began, attacked the English left from the brink of the plateau towards the St. Charles, withdrew when the rout took place, and ran along the edge of the declivity till, at the part of it called Cote Ste.-Genevieve, they came to a place where it was overgrown with thickets.  Into these they threw themselves; and were no sooner under cover than they faced about to fire upon the Highlanders, who presently came up.  As many of these mountaineers, according to their old custom, threw down their muskets when they charged, and had no weapons but their broadswords, they tried in vain to dislodge the marksmen, and suffered greatly in the attempt.  Other troops came to their aid, cleared the thickets, after stout resistance, and drove their occupants across the meadow to the bridge of boats.  The conduct of the Canadians at the Cote Ste.-Genevieve went far to atone for the short-comings of some of them on the battle-field.

A part of the fugitives escaped into the town by the gates of St. Louis and St. John, while the greater number fled along the front of the ramparts, rushed down the declivity to the suburb of St. Roch, and ran over the meadows to the bridge, protected by the cannon of the town and the two armed hulks in the river.  The rout had but just begun when Vaudreuil crossed the bridge from the camp of Beauport.  It was four hours since he first heard the alarm, and his quarters were not much more than two miles from the battle-field.  He does not explain why he did not come sooner; it is certain that his coming was well timed to throw the blame on Montcalm in case of defeat, or to claim some of the honor for himself in case of victory.  “Monsieur the Marquis of Montcalm,” he says, “unfortunately made his attack before I had joined him."[784] His joining him could have done no good; for though he had at last brought with him the rest of the militia

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