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Title: A Dialogue in Hades
Author: Johnstone, James Johnstone, chevalier de, 1719-1800, Johnstone, chevalier de
Language: English
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A Parallel of Military Errors, of Which the French
and English Armies Were Guilty, During the
Campaign of 1759, in Canada.


Published under the Auspices of the
Literary and Historical Society of Quebec


Printed at the "Morning Chronicle" Office.

[The original of this manuscript is deposited in the French war
archives, in Paris; a copy was, with the permission of the French
Government, taken in 1855, and deposited in the Library of the
Legislative Assembly of Canada. The Literary and Historical Society
of Quebec, through the kindness of Mr. Todd, the Librarian, was
permitted to have communication thereof. This document is supposed to
have been written about the year 1765, that is five years after the
return to France from Canada of the writer, the Chevalier Johnstone,
a Scottish Jacobite, who had fled to France after the defeat at
Culloden, and obtained from the French monarch, with several other
Scotchmen, commissions in the French armies. In 1748, says _Francisque
Michel_,[A] "he sailed from Rochefort as an Ensign with troops going
to Cape Breton; he continued to serve in America until he returned to
France, in December, 1760, having acted during the campaign of 1759, in
Canada, as aide-de-camp to Chevalier de Levis. On Levis being ordered
to Montreal, Johnstone was detached and retained by General Montcalm
on his staff, on account of his thorough knowledge of the environs
of Quebec, and particularly of Beauport, where the principal works
of defence stood, and where the whole army, some 11,000 men, were
entrenched, leaving in Quebec merely a garrison of 1500. The journal
is written in English, and is not remarkable for orthography or purity
of diction; either Johnstone had forgotten or had never thoroughly
known the language. The style is prolix, sententious, abounding in
quotations from old writers. This document had first attracted the
attention of one of the late historians of Canada, the Abbé Ferland,
who attached much importance to it, as calculated to supply matters of
detail and incidents unrecorded elsewhere. Colonel Margry, in charge of
the French records, had permitted the venerable writer, then on a visit
to Paris, to make extracts from it; some of which extracts, the abbé
published at the time of the laying of the St. Foy Monument, in 1862.
The Chevalier Johnstone differs _in toto_ from the opinions expressed
by several French officers of regulars, respecting the conduct of the
Canadian Militia, in 1759, ascribing to their valour, on the 13th
September, the salvation of a large portion of the French army. He has
chosen the singular, though not unprecedented mode of the Dialogue,
to recapitulate the events of a campaign in which he played a not
inconsiderable part."--J. M. LEMOINE.]

  [Published under the auspices of the Literary and Historical Society
                              of Quebec.]

                          A DIALOGUE IN HADES.


THE MARQUIS DE MONTCALM:--Having ardently desired a conversation with
you, sir, upon the operations of a campaign which proved to both of us
so fatal, I have sought you continually amongst the shades ever since I
descended here, where I soon followed you.

GENERAL WOLFE:--I can assure you, sir, I was equally impatient to meet
with you. Some of my countrymen, arrived here since the battle of the
13th September, informed me that there was only an interval of a few
hours in our sharing the same hard fate. They gave me some accounts
of that event which joined Canada to the British dominions; but as
they had a very imperfect knowledge of the circumstances, and entirely
ignorant of your plan of operations, I have little information from
them, and I am heartily glad that chance at last has procured me the
pleasure of seeing you.

MONTCALM:--Will you permit me, sir, before our conversation becomes
serious, to offer some reflections upon the difference in our destiny.
Your nation rendered you the greatest honours; your body was conveyed
to London, and buried there magnificently in Westminster Abbey,
amongst your kings. Generous Britons erected to your memory a superb
monument over your grave, at public expense; and your name, most
dear to your countrymen, is ever in their mouths, accompanied with
praise and regret. But in my country what a strange indifference?
What sensation did my death make upon my compatriots? My conduct
denounced and censured without measure, is the continual subject of
conversation for gossiping fools and knaves, who form the majority in
all communities, and prevail against the infinitely small number to be
found of honest, judicious, impartial men, capable of reflection. The
Canadians and savages who knew the uprightness of my soul, ever devoted
to the interests of my beloved king and country, they alone rendered
me justice, with a few sincere friends, who, not daring to oppose
themselves openly to the torrent of my enemies, bewailed in secret my
unhappy fate, and shed on my tomb their friendly tears.

WOLFE:--In this blessed abode, inaccessible to prejudice, I vow to you,
sir, I envy your condition, notwithstanding the horrible injustice
and ingratitude of your countrymen. What can give more pleasure and
self-satisfaction than the esteem and approbation of honest men? You
were severely regretted and lamented by all those who were capable of
discerning and appreciating your superior merit, talents, and eminent
qualities. Disinterested persons of probity must respect your virtue.
All officers versed in the art of war will justify your military
tactics, and your operations can be blamed only by the ignorant. Were
my army consulted, they would be as many witnesses in your favour. Your
humanity towards prisoners won you the heart of all my soldiers. They
saw with gratitude and veneration your continual care and vigilance to
snatch them from out of the hands of the Indians, when those barbarians
were ready to cut their throats, and prepared to make of human flesh
their horrible banquets; refusing me even tears at my death, they
weeped and bewailed your hard fate; I see in my mausoleum the proof
only of human weakness! What does that block of marble avail to me in
my present state? The monument remains, but the conqueror has perished.
The affection, approbation and regret of the worthiest part of mankind
is greatly preferable and much above the vain honours conferred by a
blind people, who judge according to the event, and are incapable to
analyse the operations. I was unknown to them before the expedition
which I commanded in Canada; and if fortune, to whom I entirely owe my
success, had less favoured me, perhaps, like Byng, I would have been
the victim of a furious and unruly populace. The multitude has and can
have success only for the rule of their judgment.

MONTCALM:--I am much obliged to you, sir, for your favourable opinion
of me. Let us leave weak mortals to crawl from error to error, and
deify to-day what they will condemn to-morrow. It is at present, when
the darkness is dispelled from before our eyes, that we can contemplate
at leisure the passions of men, who move as the waves of the sea, push
on each other and often break upon the rocks; and in our present state,
when all prejudices are at an end, let us examine impartially the
operations of 1759, which was the epocha of the loss to France of her
northern colonies in America.

WOLFE:--Most willingly, sir, and to show my frankness, I own to you
I was greatly surprised on arriving with the English fleet at Quebec
without meeting with any opposition by the French in the river St.

MONTCALM:--You had reason to be so. It was not my fault that you did
not meet with many obstacles in your way. I proposed to have a redoubt
and battery erected upon Cape Tourmente, which is a rock above fifty
feet high, facing the Traverse at the east[B] end of the Island of
Orleans, where all the vessels cross from the north to the south side
of the St. Lawrence river. They are obliged to approach very near the
Cape before they enter into the Traverse, and its height above the
men-of-war would have secured it against the effect of the artillery.
Besides, this rock, almost perpendicular, commanding all round it,
the fort would have been impregnable, and not susceptible of being
besieged. Thus the first of your ships which approached to pass the
Traverse would have been raked by the plunging fire of the battery from
stern to bowsprit, and must have been sunk. I had likewise the project
of placing a battery and a redoubt upon the upper point of the bay
which is opposite to the west end of _Isle aux Coudres_. The current
between this island and the main land being incredibly rapid at low
water, all the vessels coming up the river must have cast anchor there
to wait until the next tide; and my artillery upon the point of that
bay would have battered your ships at anchor from fore to aft; have
put in a most terrible confusion your ships, who could not have taken
up their anchors without being instantly dashed to pieces against the
rocks by the violence of the current, forced, as they would have been
by it, to have their bowsprits always pointed to the battery, without
being able to fire at it. Your fleet would have had no knowledge of the
battery until they were at anchor, so you may easily judge how it would
have distressed them. I proposed this, but I did not command in chief;
it was the Marquis de Vaudreuil, Governor General of Canada, who should
have ordered it to be put into execution.

WOLFE:--If they had executed your project, it would have puzzled us,
and retarded for some time our operations.

MONTCALM:--That was all I could wish for, as I was always sensible of
the great advantage, in certain situations, of gaining time from the
enemy, especially in such a climate as Canada, where the summer is
so short that it is impossible to keep the field longer than from the
month of May till the beginning of October, and your fleet arrived at
_Isle aux Coudres_ at the end of June.

WOLFE:--There is no doubt that you are in the right. Our fleet arrived
in the river St. Lawrence six weeks too late, which is commonly the
fate of all great naval expeditions. Fleets are seldom ready to sail at
the time appointed; and this often renders fruitless the best concocted
enterprise by sea, from the uncertainty of the arrival of the army at
its destination. The smallest delay is often dangerous, as it gives
the enemy the time to prepare themselves for defence, without hurry or

MONTCALM:--I will not conceal from you, sir, that I always looked
upon the distribution you made of your army upon your landing near
Quebec, as diametrically opposed to the established principles in
castrametation. It is a known axiom in the art of war, that an
army ought to be encamped in such a manner as to have a free and
easy communication with all its parts; that they may unite quickly
without any obstruction, and be able to defend and sustain each other
reciprocally over the whole extent of the camp, in case any part of it
is attacked. You divided your army in three different camps; one of
them upon the Pointe Levis, another upon the Island of Orleans, and
the third at the Sault de Montmorency. The two branches of the St.
Lawrence river, which forms the Island of Orleans, each of them about
half a mile broad, separated your three camps, without a possibility
of establishing a communication between them; and your camp upon the
Pointe Levis was at a distance of six miles from your camp at the Sault
de Montmorency. Your position was such that had we fallen with our army
on any of your three camps, we would have cut them to pieces, before
those of your other two camps could have come to their assistance. The
knowledge for choosing an advantageous ground for encamping an army,
always appears to me to be one of the most essential talents requisite
in a general. How could you remain quietly in such a dangerous position
during two months, without trembling.

WOLFE:--What hindered you then, sir, from executing that which appeared
to you so easy?

MONTCALM:--We attempted it, but with very bad success. Seven days
after your landing at the Pointe Levis, Mr. Dumas, Major of the Colony
troops, was sent to attack your camp at the Pointe Levis, with a body
of fifteen hundred men, who, in the night, crossed the river St.
Lawrence at Quebec, without being discovered by your advanced guards.
But they were no sooner landed and marching, than, struck with a panic,
the utmost disorder suddenly ensued; their heads turned, and, losing
their senses entirely, they fired at each other, believing themselves
attacked by your army. In short, they immediately fled back to their
boats with the greatest precipitation and confusion. Discouraged by
this bad beginning, M. de Vaudreuil would never listen to any proposals
of further attempts upon your camps; and it was decided to keep
ourselves for the future upon the defensive.

WOLFE:--It appears to me, however, that you were not encamped in a
proper manner to be upon the defensive. Your army did not amount to ten
thousand men, and your camp extended seven or eight miles.

MONTCALM:--I agree with you, and am sensible that the longer the line,
the weaker it is in its several parts. I am convinced that it is
impossible to prevent a line from being forced; and I believed likewise
that, landing on a coast where there are several leagues of it to be
defended, equally susceptible of descent, is the same case as lines.
He who attacks has all his force concentrated at a single point, which
he may choose as he pleases; anywhere in the extent of his lines; on
the contrary, he who is attacked in his entrenchments has his force
divided over the whole extent of his lines, and does not know on what
part of them the enemy has the intention to make his real attack, so
that he must be everywhere equally strong and guarded over all the
ground occupied by his army. Thus the head of a column of a great depth
of ranks must infallibly pierce through lines who have only at most two
or three men deep; and by feint attacks all over the front of a line,
you cannot weaken one part of it by drawing troops from it to fortify
another part of it, unless the point of the enemy's principal attack
is manifestly known. It is certainly the same with regard to landings,
where all the extent of the sea coast may be threatened at the same
time, although it is a common opinion that a coast may be defended, and
that an enemy may be repulsed in his attempt to make a descent by open

I know not a better method to oppose a descent than to have bodies of
troops in battle, ready to rush upon the enemy, with their bayonets
upon their muskets, attacking the moment the enemy land, whilst they
are yet few and in confusion from the disorder which must necessarily
happen at their coming out of their boats, and before they can present
a considerable front in battle.

My project of defence was to encamp on rising ground at Quebec, called
by the French, _Les Hauteurs d'Abraham_, and make Quebec serve as the
centre and pivot to all my operations, since it was evident that the
fate of Canada depended entirely on its being preserved to us or taken
by you, which decided whether that colony should remain to its ancient
possessors or become your prize.

With this in view, I intrenched the borders of the St. Charles river,
and remained encamped at Quebec until, receiving tidings of your fleet
having arrived in the St. Lawrence river, M. de Levis, an officer of
great merit and distinction, proposed to change the position of our
camp, by carrying our left wing to the Sault de Montmorency, and our
right to the St. Charles river: this, as you say, made it six miles
long on the north side of Quebec, and gave us greater appearance of
being on the offensive than on the defensive.

He pretended that the presenting a great front to the enemy would
give us a bold look, and inspire respect. As there can be no positive
certainty in any military operation, from unforeseen accidents which
often overturn the best combined project, I readily sacrificed to him
my opinion, without insisting upon it. In this new position M. de
Vaudreuil commanded the right of our camp, near Quebec; M. de Levis
the left, at the Sault de Montmorency; and I commanded the centre, at

WOLFE:--Had you continued on the heights of Abraham you would have
saved Quebec, but you would have abandoned to me all the country where
I might have destroyed, burnt and ruined all the settlements at some
leagues round it.

MONTCALM:--That may be, but Canada would not have been taken, and
certainly you durst not penetrate far into the country, leaving Quebec
behind you. Had you attacked me, I would have had the advantage of the
rising ground, which I would have fortified with intrenchments, and
with a chain of redoubts from Quebec to Cap Rouge, where these heights
terminate in a deep ravine, with a small river at the bottom of it,
overhung with rocks, at three leagues from Quebec. This advantageous
position, not to be successfully attacked by any number of men, would
have been my advanced post.

My right would have been applied to Quebec, and sustained by it. I
never could guess, sir, your idea in reducing that town to ashes as
you did, by throwing upon it continually, from your batteries on the
opposite side of the river, that immense number of carcases and shells.

It seems to me that when an army besieges a town, it is with the
intention, on its surrendering, to keep possession of it, and have
houses in it to lodge the troops, instead of heaps of ruins. This
conduct was still more essentially necessary from the season being
advanced, and from the impossibility of carrying-on any kind of
house building during the winter. Moreover, the utter destruction of
that town reduced to ashes could not hasten its being taken a moment
sooner. You could do no harm to our batteries, which were much higher
than yours; it is not by destroying houses that towns are taken. You
always battered houses, without reflecting that it is only by ruining
the fortifications--the defences--and by a breach in the walls, that
success may be hoped for in sieges; and it is certain that you lavished
a prodigious quantity of warlike stores very uselessly.

What advantages could you expect by ruining and distressing the
inhabitants of Quebec, whose houses you burnt?

It was destroying alone for the pleasure of doing injury, without any
advantage accruing to you from it.

WOLFE:--My inaction during the whole summer should have made you
perceive what little hopes I had of succeeding in my expedition; should
it turn out fruitless after the sum it had cost England, the news of
Quebec being reduced to ashes might blind the extravagant English
populace, and blunt their fanatical fury.

MONTCALM:--The day that you landed at the Sault de Montmorency, where
you encamped immediately with a body of four thousand men, in all
appearance you did not know that the river Montmorency was fordable in
the wood about a mile to the north of your camp, where fifty men in
front might pass the ford with water only up to their knees. Had you
passed it immediately, you might have fallen upon the left of our army,
cut them to pieces, and pursued them two miles, as far as the ravine
of Beauport, before they could assemble a sufficient number of men to
be able to resist you. You might have even encamped upon the north
side of that ravine, which, having it before you, would have been a
very advantageous post, and brought you several miles nearer to Quebec.
In this case it is highly probable that we would have been obliged to
abandon to you all the ground between the St. Charles river and the

To return to my first project of encamping upon the heights of Abraham,
our left was in the greatest security, not knowing that there was a
ford in that river until some hours after your landing at the Sault.

WOLFE:--Is it then surprising that I should be ignorant of that ford,
since you did not know it yourself? besides, it is only the inhabitants
in the neighbourhood of rivers, swamps and lakes, who can give positive
and sure information about them. And supposing I had found some of your
Canadians at their houses there, they are so inviolably attached to
their religion, king and country, that they would sooner have led me
into a snare than instruct me in anything that could be prejudicial to
their army.

Those whom a general sends to examine the _locale_ of a country must do
it very superficially upon their own observations, without consulting
or interrogating the peasants in the neighbourhood.

MONTCALM:--Whilst your soldiers were employed in making their camp, and
pitching their tents, M. de Levis and his aide-de-camp Johnstone, were
looking at you from the opposite side of the Sault. His aide-de-camp
having asked him if he was positively certain that there was no ford
in the Montmorency river, M. de Levis answering that there was not,
and that he had been himself to examine it to its source, at a lake in
the woods, about ten or twelve miles from the Sault. An inhabitant who
overheard this conversation, told the aide-de-camp: "The General is
mistaken; there is a ford which the inhabitants thereabouts pass every
day in carrying their corn to a mill;" and he added that he had crossed
it lately, with water not above his knees.

The aide-de-camp related to M. de Levis immediately his conversation
with the Canadian, who would not believe there was a ford, and,
examining him roughly, the Canadian was seized with awe, and respect
for the General; his tongue faltered in his mouth, and he durst
not boldly assert the truth. The aide-de-camp, in a whisper to the
Canadian, ordered him to find out a person who had crossed the ford
lately, and bring him immediately to M. de Levis' lodgings. The Canadian
came to him in a moment, with a man who had crossed it the night
before, with a sack of wheat upon his back, where he had found only
eight inches deep of water.

The aide-de-camp being thus assured of the fact, ordered, in M. de
Levis' name, a detachment to be sent instantly, with the necessary tools
to intrench itself.

WOLFE:--Had I been so lucky as you, sir, to discover that ford, there
is no doubt I would not have let slip so favourable an opportunity
of distinguishing myself, and would have fallen like lightning upon
that part of your camp. There can be nothing more dangerous than the
neighbourhood of rivers and swamps, that have not been sounded and
examined with the greatest care and attention. Negligence, ignorance
and headstrong obstinacy are equally fatal in military affairs; and
the misfortune of a Lieutenant-General, in Scotland, against the
Highlanders at the battle of Prestonpans, made so deep an impression
upon me that I am always on my guard when near such places.

MONTCALM:--How can you, sir, justify your imprudence in running
headlong into the woods opposite to our intrenchments, with two
thousand men, who naturally ought to have been cut to pieces, and
neither you nor any man of your detachment escape? Nine hundred
Indians had invested you all round at a pistol shot from you, and had
already cut off your retreat, without your perceiving it. So soon as
the Indians had surrounded you in the wood, they sent their officer
Langlade to acquaint M. de Levis that they had got you in their net,
but that your detachment, appearing to be about two thousand men,
greatly superior to them in number, they begged earnestly of M. de
Levis to order M. de Repentigny to pass the ford with eleven hundred
men, which he commanded in these intrenchments, and join them; that
they would be answerable upon their heads if a single man of your
detachment should get back to your camp; and they did not think
themselves strong enough to strike upon you without this reinforcement
of Canadians. There were a great many officers at M. de Levis' lodgings
when Langlade came to him on behalf of the Indians, and this General
having consulted them, after giving his own opinion on the affair:
"that it was dangerous to attack an army in the wood, as they could not
know the number of men there; that it might be all the English army,
which consequently might bring on a general engagement without being
prepared for it; and that if he happened to be repulsed, he would be
blamed for engaging in an affair, without holding previously an order
from his superiors, M. de Vaudreuil and M. de Montcalm." The officers
respected too much the General not to be of his way of thinking, and
it must ever be so from flattery. His aide-de-camp alone maintained
a different opinion, out of a real friendship for M. de Levis. He
told them that there was not the smallest probability it could be all
the English army, since the Indians, who never fail to magnify the
number, computed them at only two thousand men. That even supposing it
to be the whole English army, it would be the most lucky thing that
could happen to us to have a general engagement in the woods, where
a Canadian is worth three disciplined soldiers, as a soldier in a
plain is worth three Canadians; and that nothing was more essential
than to select the propitious moment and the way of fighting for
those who composed the two-thirds of the army, which was the case with
the Canadians. On the contrary, the English army was almost entirely
composed of regulars with very few militia.

That M. de Levis could not do better than in ordering M. de Repentigny
to cross the river immediately with his detachment _en échelon_, and
join the Indians, without losing moments very precious; that at the
same time he should send instantly to inform me of his adventure, in
order to make all the army advance towards the ford, each regiment
taking the place of the other marched off; so that the Regiment Royal
Roussillon, the nearest to the ford, should go off directly to take the
post that Repentigny would quit in crossing the river, and observing
the same for the rest of the army; that by this means the engaging a
general affair was much to be wished for, supposing all the English
army to be in the woods opposite the ford; in short, that if there
was a possibility of our being defeated and repulsed in the woods,
which could scarce happen, according to all human probability, we had
our retreat assured in the depth of these woods, well known to the
Canadians, where the English troops could not pursue them, so that in
no shape could M. de Levis run the least risk.

His aide-de-camp added, that when fortune offers her favours, "they
ought to be snatched with avidity." These reasons made no impressions
on M. de Levis, and Langlade was sent back to the Indians with a
negative reply.

There was two miles from M. de Levis' quarters to the place where the
Indians were in ambush. Langlade came back with new entreaties and
earnest solicitations to induce M. de Levis to make Repentigny cross
the ford with his detachment, but the General could not be prevailed
upon to give a positive order to Repentigny to join the Indians.

He wrote a letter to Repentigny by Langlade, wherein he told him
"having the greatest confidence in his prudence and good conduct, he
might pass the river with his detachment, if he saw a certainty of
success." His aide-de-camp told him, whilst he was sealing the letter,
that Repentigny had too much judgment and good sense to take upon
himself an affair of that importance; and his opinion of Repentigny was
immediately justified by his answer; he asked M. de Levis to give him
a clear and positive order. After thus loitering about an hour and a
half, M. de Levis resolved at last to go himself to the ford, and give
there his orders verbally; but he had scarce got half way to it when
he heard a brisk fire. The Indians, losing all patience, after having
remained so long hid at a pistol shot from you, like setter dogs upon
wild fowl, at last gave you a volley, killed about a hundred and fifty
of your soldiers, and then retired without losing a man. It is evident
that had Repentigny passed the river with his detachment of eleven
hundred Canadians, you must have been cut to pieces, and that affair
would have terminated your expedition. Your army could have no more
hopes of succeeding after such a loss; their spirits would have been
damped, and Canada would have been secure from any further invasion
from Great Britain.

Fortune was always as favourable to you, as she constantly frowned
upon us. M. de Levis is not to be blamed; an officer who serves under
the orders of others can only be reproached when he does not execute
punctually the orders he receives from his superiors; and he has always
reason to be cautious and diffident in such cases where his honour
and reputation may be engaged, as none can be positively certain of
the issue of any military enterprise, and if success does not crown
the venture, of which you have voluntarily burthened yourself, though
undertaken from the best of motives and apparently for the good of the
service, thousands of mouths will open to spit venom against you.

But of all others, the ignorant amongst the military, and the knaves,
to screen themselves, will surely be violent: this is so much the more
astonishing, in the profession of arms, where sentiments of honour and
honesty ought to be the foundation.

WOLFE:--My intention in approaching so near your post at the ford was
to examine it carefully, as I then had formed the design to attack it,
little imagining that such a considerable detachment as I had with
me would have been exposed to be set on by your Indians. Accustomed
to European warfare, I could never have thought that a body of men
should have been so long, so close to me without discovering them. Your
intrenchments there appeared to be very trifling, but the sight of
earth thrown up is respectable, and not to be despised.

MONTCALM:--Your attack of the 31st of July, at the only place of our
camp which was inaccessible, appeared to me unaccountable. From Quebec
to Beauport, which was about four miles, it is a marshy ground, very
little higher than the surface of the St. Lawrence at full tide.
The heights begin at the ravine at Beauport, and rise gradually all
along the border of the river, until at Johnstone's redoubt and
battery--where you made your descent and attack--they become a steep
high hill, which ends in a deep precipice at the Sault de Montmorency.
Opposite to Johnstone's redoubt it is so steep that your soldiers could
scarce be able to climb it, even without the encumbrance of their arms.

Besides this natural fortification, we had a continued intrenchment
all along the edge of the hill, from Beauport to the Sault, so traced
and conducted by M. Johnstone that it was everywhere flanked, and the
sloping of it served as a glacis; thus the fire from the front and
flanks would have destroyed the three-fourths of your army before they
could reach the top of the hill.

But supposing that some of your troops had reached the top of the hill,
up to our trenches, after surmounting these difficulties, my grenadiers
were drawn up in battle behind them, ready to charge upon them, with
their bayonets upon their muskets, the instant any of your soldiers
should appear at the trenches.

The swampy, sinking ground, from the redoubt to the foot of the hill,
was not one of the smallest difficulties you had in your way to come at

It is true the Scotch Highlanders, who were your forlorn hope, had got
over it and had reached the foot of the hill, though certainly very few
returned; but these turfy swamps, when a certain number of men have
passed them, become at last impassible, and your soldiers must have
sunk down in it above the head, multitudes of them perishing there in
the most useless and disagreeable manner. Thus, sir, I hope you see
clearly the folly and rashness of that attack, and that your army must
have been totally destroyed, without hope, had not heaven wrought a
miracle in your favor, after a long cessation of them, which alone
could save you.

You were no sooner hotly engaged in the attack, without a possibility
of withdrawing yourself out of the scrape, when from a clear sunshine
there fell in that most critical juncture, of a sudden, the most
violent even, down pour of rain from a cloud, which, as the cloud that
saved Eneas from the fury of Diomed, placed you immediately out of our
sight, so that in an instant we could not see half way down the hill.
You profited, as a wise man, of this event to make good your retreat.
When the shower was over and we could see you, we found, to our sorrow,
that you had escaped us, and that you were then out of the reach of
our fire, marching, in a well-formed column, back to your camp at the
Sault, well satisfied to have got out of that adventure with the loss
only of between five and six hundred men.

It was a long time before I could be persuaded that you were in
earnest. I had always expected your descent and attack would have been
betwixt the St. Charles river and the ravine of Beauport. All that
tract of ground, about four miles extent, was everywhere favourable to
you, if you had made your real descent in the middle of it, opposite to
M. Vaudreuil's lodging, with feint attacks at Johnstone's redoubt, and
at the Canardière near the river St. Charles, forcing our intrenchments
there, which could not resist an instant a well-formed column. The head
of it, composed of the Scotch Highlanders, might have easily penetrated
into the plain, separating our army into two parts by the centre,
having lodged yourself in the south side of the ravine of Beauport,
and have taken the hornwork upon the St. Charles river, sword in hand,
without much difficulty or loss of men. In short, all this might have
been effected in an hour's time, without meeting with any considerable
resistance from our army, thus divided and opened by the centre; and a
complete victory, which would have crushed us to pieces without hope,
would have crowned you with justly merited laurels.

WOLFE:--I own to you, sir, I was greatly deceived with regard to the
height and steepness of the hill, which did not appear considerable,
even with a telescope, from the river St. Lawrence; it was only when
I got to the redoubt that I saw it such as it really is. I began at
seven in the morning to fire at your camp from my battery at the Sault
(of forty cannons) mostly four-and-twenty pounders. The _Centurion_, a
man-of-war of sixty guns, did the same, as also the _Two Cats_, which
had on board all the tools necessary for the workmen. They gave you
continually their broadsides, firing upon your camp, as I did from my
battery, like platoons of infantry.

I dare say you never saw artillery better served and kept up until six
in the evening when I began my landing at low water. I imagined that
this terrible cannonade all that day, without a moment's intermission,
would have intimidated your Canadians and make them quit the trenches;
my battery at the Sault being thirty or forty feet higher than your
camp, we saw them down at the shore. Certainly you must have lost a
great number of men.

MONTCALM:--That brave militia deserves justly the greatest praise. Not
a man of them stirred from his post, and they showed as much ardour,
courage and resolution as my regular troops. I had no more than fifty
men killed and wounded by your furious cannonade, which proves how
little cannons are hurtful in comparison to the dread and respect
they inspire. Permit me, sir, to tell you that your countrymen, the
English, appear to me, from their conduct in Canada, to be as rash,
inconsiderate and hot-headed as the French, who have ever enjoyed
that character, notwithstanding your countrymen's reputation for
coolness and phlegmatic bravery, since I have seen several examples
of their attacking us before they had examined the _locale_, or known
our position; and if the two nations are compared impartially, I am
persuaded that you will do us the justice to own that in our operations
in Canada we have shown much more circumspection and coolness than your
English generals. Your attack of the 31st July, without having procured
beforehand an exact knowledge of the hill and of the places adjacent,
is not the first example of great temerity and impatience on their part.

The proximity of your camp to this hill might have furnished you the
means to have a thorough knowledge of our position, by sending proper
persons to cross over the ford of the river Montmorency where it falls
into the river St. Lawrence, and where it is fordable at low water.

They might, in a dark night and bad weather, have not only examined the
steepness of the height, but have even gone over all our camp without
being discovered; I always imagined you did so until the day of your
attack, which soon convinced me of the contrary. Your brother in arms,
Abercrombie, your predecessor in the command of the army, committed
the same fault at Ticonderoga as you did the 31st of July; but it cost
him much dearer, the clouds which saved you not having come to his

I set out from Montreal on the 5th of May, 1758, to go to Ticonderoga,
with all my regular troops--the regiments of La Sarre, La Reine, Royal
Rousillon, Berne, Guienne, Languedoc, Berry of two battalions, and the
independent companies of the marine detached in Canada; the regiments
from France not being recruited, the whole amounted to only about four
thousand men.

I had no positive information that the English army had formed the
design to come by the lake St. Sacrament in order to attack Ticonderoga
(Carillon), and from thence to go to Montreal--but I suspected it, from
the proximity of this ford to your settlement upon lake St. Sacrament;
nor did I cease beseeching continually M. Vaudreuil, who was then at
Quebec, to send me with all possible diligence the Canadian militia,
which was the principal force for the defence of the colony.

M. Vaudreuil, who has neither common sense, nor judgment, could not
find out that my military conjectures were grounded; and instead
of sending me the Canadians, he gave them permission to remain
at Montreal, sixty leagues from Ticonderoga, to attend to their
agricultural pursuits.

I dare not allege that he was informed, by the Indians of the Iroquois
nation, that the object of the English was to invade Canada; that their
army was on their way to lake St. Sacrament; that it was with the view
of sacrificing me, and making me the victim of a cabal, who led him and
governed him blindly, that he kept from me the Canadians.

The 7th of July my conjectures were verified by the arrival of the
English army at the Chûte, where lake St. Sacrament terminates, about
four miles from Ticonderoga, consisting of six thousand three hundred
men, commanded by General Abercrombie, who had succeeded to General
Braddock, killed the year before at the river Ohio.

The return of a detachment which I had placed at the Chûte, as an
advanced post, who had lost an hundred and fifty men, killed by the
English on their arrival there, was a sad confirmation of the bad
news. It is scarce possible to imagine a more dangerous and critical
situation than mine--without the aid of Canadians, whose way of
fighting was so essential to me in the woods--more useful in those
countries than regular troops. Fort Carillon, or Ticonderoga, was a
square, regularly fortified, each face of it about seventy fathoms in

It had four bastions--the walls of masonry, doubled with a rampart,
as likewise a ditch, covered way, and glacis. M. de Bourlamarque, an
officer of great merit and intelligence, had added a half moon to it.

To retire with my four thousand troops would have been abandoning the
colony to General Abercrombie, as the fort could not hold out long
against so considerable an army; and being on that side the key of
Canada, with the possession of it in the hands of the English, they
might go directly to Montreal, and be there in fifteen days, without
finding on their way the least obstruction; on the other hand, the
match was very unequal in opposing four thousand men to thirteen
thousand. There was, however, no room for hesitating, in the choice,
and I was soon resolved to save the colony by a bold and desperate
stroke or die, gloriously, sword in hand. I made everybody work hard
all the night between the 7th and 8th July, cutting down trees to make
an intrenchment (CCCC), which, when finished, was very weak, trifling,
and could scarce serve as a breast-work to cover the troops.

The engineers, having cut off the branches, laid the trees upon a line
on the heights, three or four of them placed horizontally one upon the
other, which scarce made it above three feet high--so low that your
soldiers might easily have jumped over it;--they made a line of the
branches, at two paces distance, on the outside of the trenches (HH).
It is certain that if the engineers had only thrown the trees with
their heads outwards, and their branches sharpened in pricking points
at their ends, it would have made a much stronger intrenchment, more
difficult to be forced, and built much sooner.[C] I had not the time
to continue the trenches down to the hollow (DD), at the foot of the
height, and I placed there two companies of grenadiers.

The hollow upon the right of the height, where the intrenchment was
the worst of all my lines, was the post of the companies of marines
(C); the regiments lined the rest of the trenches. Next day, the 8th
of July, the English army appeared on the borders of the woods, about
three hundred fathoms from the front of our intrenchment on the height,
and instantly advanced to the attack, formed in three columns (EE),
without halting a moment to examine the _locale_. Two of the columns
attacked the height with the utmost impetuosity, but being very soon
entangled among the branches, on the outside of the trenches, and
impeded by them, they lost there a great many men; some few got through
and, jumping into our trenches, were killed by our soldiers with their

The American riflemen were posted on two heights (GG), which commanded
our trenches, from whence they saw sideways in some parts of them, and
in others the rear of the soldiers (K).

The regiment of Berry was, above all others, worried and tormented
by their fire--one of these heights being scarce above eighty paces
from the intrenchments. The third column attacked the hollow upon our
right; but receiving a brisk fire at its front from the colony troops,
and at the same time upon its right flank from the regiments on the
height, the column soon wavered, wheeled to the right, and, presenting
its front to the height, got out of the reach of the fire from the
right of the colony troops; upon which M. Raymond, who commanded them,
went out of the trenches with the right wing of these troops, and
attacked the left flank of the column, whilst its head and right flank
were fired at from the height and from the left of the colony troops in
the trenches.

The column, distressed by this firing, yet, nevertheless, keeping firm
at the foot of the height, put in disorder the regiment of Berry, who
abandoned that part of the intrenchment (II) above it.

The moment I perceived the disorder, I ran there, encouraged the
soldiers of the regiment, made them return to their post, and supported
them by the grenadiers, whom I had kept in order of battle, at a small
distance from the trenches, as a reserve, to be employed wherever the
line might be forced by your troops, to charge upon them headlong,
their bayonets upon their muskets, without firing: having neglected
nothing that the short time allowed me to do, in order to make a
vigorous defence--without aught to reproach myself with--had I been
overpowered by your army; and having always preserved coolness and
presence of mind so as to be able to remedy immediately any disorders
during this long and well disputed attack.

General Abercrombie was at last obliged to retire, after having
continued for some hours, with the greatest obstinacy, his attempt to
force our intrenchments,--with the loss of two thousand men.[D]

I acquitted myself of my duty: this always affords a sweet satisfaction
in all the events of life; and, even to the vanquished and
unfortunate, it must yield great comfort and consolation. I had only
twelve hours to prepare to defend myself with five thousand men against
thirteen thousand.

How can General Abercrombie's rash and blind conduct be accounted for,
for attacking us without examining or knowing our position? It is

During twelve hours that he remained at the Chûte after landing there,
he had time to send and examine the ground round the fort Ticonderoga;
and they might have had a perfect knowledge of our position from a
hill, covered with big trees, on the opposite side of the river of
the Chûte (P);[E] this hill was much higher than any part of our
intrenchments, and not a musket shot from them; he might have gone
there himself with safety, having that river between us.

Had he halted only a short time after his arrival on the borders
of the wood, about six hundred paces from our trenches, he might,
even from thence, have examined the _locale_ at his leisure. But,
seized with impatience, he hurried to the attack without stopping
there a moment--and it is not when an action is engaged that one can
then examine the enemy's position; or, if he had advanced upon us
the moment of his landing at the Chûte, the 7th instant, instead of
loitering there twelve hours, he would not have found even those shabby
intrenchments; and having so few (regular) troops, irrespective of the
Canadians, I would have been obliged, on his appearing, to abandon to
him all that part of the country, and retire to Montreal, leaving only
a garrison at Fort Carillon. It was certainly through his ignorance
of the _locale_ that I repulsed him, instead of being myself cut to
pieces; nor had I any means of retreat, and my troops must have been
all killed or taken prisoners, if his third column had marched along
the borders of the wood upon their left; this would have put them out
of the reach of the fire from the height, they could fall upon the
right flank of the trenches of the colony troops, who could not have
resisted a moment the impulse of the column; instead of wheeling and
changing its plan of attack by presenting its head to the height, had
he always advanced forward to attack the centre of the intrenchments
of the marine, he would have easily pierced through it; then, wheeling
to the right, go up the height, which is there of an easy ascent, and
fire upon the rear of the troops, who opposed your other two columns,
they must have been put to flight, the trenches abandoned, and, even
upon the sight of your third column coming up the height, I must, of
necessity, have instantly retreated to the fort the best way I could;
there to embark my army in my boats and carry it down Lake Champlain,
without being able to make a resistance at Fort Frederic, as it is
commanded by hills behind it, about the distance of two hundred paces
from its walls, which makes it a very advantageous post. What would
have been still worse for me, if my trenches had been forced, there
is a space of five leagues between Fort Frederic and Ticonderoga, by
the river St. Frederic, which, about half way, is scarce above fifty
or sixty fathoms broad, and is a most advantageous post, where not a
boat would pass by, and must cut off entirely the communication with
Lake Champlain, as it is an equal distance from the Chûte or from

General Abercrombie might have sent a body of troops to establish there
a post, in which case we must have laid down our arms and surrendered
ourselves prisoners to him, for want of subsistence, and from the
impossibility of retreating by land.

General Abercrombie might have likewise penetrated easily at the
hollow, which I had not the time to intrench, where I had placed
two companies of volunteers; and this would have had equally fatal
consequences for me, as the third column might have been on the other
side of the height, the ascent there not being steep or of difficult

But his attacks were always obstinately directed at the most difficult
places of the height, as if there had been a cloud before his eyes to
hinder him from seeing to his right and left what was visible to the
most ignorant officer.

WOLFE:--That was a most glorious day for you, sir,--worthy of the
ambition of a great man. Our columns were only at ten steps distance
from your intrenchments, and all our army saw you perfectly well,
constantly at work encouraging and exciting the ardour of your
soldiers, hurrying over your lines perpetually some paces from your
trenches; exposing your person too rashly compared to the custom of
our army, your eye glancing over the whole, with the attitude of a
lion. General Abercrombie perceived, clearly, the disorder upon your
right when the regiment of Berry was about to retire, and redoubled his
efforts to profit by it. But you were everywhere, travelling from place
to place with the swiftness of the eagle; never at a loss; reforming
the smallest disorder so soon as it was visible, and preventing it from
spreading, as it generally does, like a flash of lightning. This affair
won you so great a reputation in England for capacity and talent, that
I own to you, sir, the idea of having an antagonist of your knowledge
and merit, made me during the campaign always irresolute, vacillating
in my opinions and undecided in my projects. I cannot condemn my
predecessors who had the command of the English armies in Canada.
The way of fighting of the Canadians and Indians in the woods is so
different from that practised in Europe, that I readily believe the
most able General, with an army of the best disciplined troops, in
following exactly the rules of the art of war,--whose principles are
sure, fixed and demonstrable in European warfare,--may be easily cut
to pieces in those vast forests by a very few Indians. There was an
outcry in England against General Braddock, for allowing his army of
four thousand men to be cut to pieces at the river Ohio,[F] in the year
1755, by six hundred and fifty Canadians and Indians only, much more
than they blame General Abercrombie.

The reason of it is clear. Abercrombie lived to return to England:
the living always find means to justify themselves. But Braddock was
killed: the dead are always in the wrong, and never find disinterested
advocates to plead their cause. Braddock's order of march--criticised
by your French Generals--may, at first sight, appear singular; and may
pretend that he must of necessity have been beat, in consequence of the
bad disposition of it. But analize it, and you will find nothing else
than the common rule practised through all Europe in passing through
a wood: an army formed in three columns--the artillery, baggage,
waggons and cavalry being the column of the centre, between the other
two columns of infantry; half of the Grenadiers at their head to
support the Pioneers employed in opening a road through the wood for
the passage of the carts and artillery, and the rest in the rear, to
close of march. Braddock was invested on all sides by the Canadians,
and dispersed in the wood, each of them behind a tree, marking out his
victim; so that every musket-shot brought down a soldier, and at every
discharge they flew from tree to tree. What can regular troops do in
such a case? Close their ranks and files each moment, as did Braddock,
direct a continual fire at the woods, without perceiving a man, and be
cut to pieces without seeing an enemy. There is no other method for
troops to defend themselves against the Indians than what I practised,
with success, when I was surprised by them at the ford of the River
Montmorency: the soldiers, with fixed bayonets, dispersed themselves,
rushed on in disorder towards the places where they perceived the smoke
of the Indians' discharge; and by these means my detachment in the woods
chased away your nine hundred Indians, who in a moment disappeared
entirely, and suffered me to retire at my leisure to my camp.

MONTCALM:--I verily believe, sir, that your idea is just. The Indians
told me, on their return, that it was now no more possible to fight you
as formerly, since the English had learned their (the Indians') way
of fighting. There cannot be a greater advantage for a General than
the entire knowledge of the country--the seat of war: without this,
he must always grope in the dark--be foiled in his operations--rest
often inactive, uncertain in his projects; and be only inactive and
on the defensive, as you were all the summer as much as me. You were
absolutely master of the River St. Lawrence by your men-of-war, who
had ascended it, passing by Quebec with incredible boldness, and
scorning the most murderous fire from the batteries of the town so
near them. You had an infinite number of boats at your disposal,
with all the sailors of your fleet for rowers. What, then, could
hinder you from sending a body of twelve or fifteen hundred men in
different detachments, with engineers and able officers, in order to
be continually landing, to get a thorough knowledge of the country,
draw plans of all the advantageous positions which abound there;
and this detachment, if well led, might have gone even to Montreal
without finding any opposition in their course. Their descriptions
and plans of the country would have enlightened you, and furnished
the means of destroying and crushing our army without fighting:
this is the touchstone to prove superior talents and capacity in a
General. The gaining of a battle is very often the effect of mere
chance. But reducing an enemy without fighting must be the result of
well-combined operations,--is the essence of military science, and
was always the most radient and distinctive _trait_ in the conduct
and character of the great men whom history has handed down to us.
Grounded upon the instructions received from the engineers and officers
of their detachments, you might have verified their observations by
your prisoners, who say always more than they intend, when examined
with kindness, coolness, and with a seeming indifference. The only
achievement which you performed during two months that you lay
constantly loitering in your camps, looking at us, was your attack
of the 31st of July; and your expedition to Deschambault, where you
sent a body of two thousand men, fourteen leagues up the river from
Quebec, to burn and pillage a poor, miserable peasant's house, in which
was the baggage of some French regiments! But the detachment had no
intention of examining the _locale_ of the country. Had they gone to
Jacques Cartier, only three leagues from Deschambault, they would have
discovered there a post strong by nature, which certainly cannot be
inferior to the Thermopylæ so celebrated by the Greeks, and capable of
being defended--you being the masters of the River St. Lawrence--by as
few men as Leonidas had with him against the most numerous army. But
your detachment at Deschambault, upon the appearance of my cavalry,
composed merely of two hundred undisciplined Canadians on horseback,
commanded by the Chevalier de LaRochebeaucourt, ran to their boats and
embarked with great disorder and confusion, as if our army had been at
their heels, without having remained there above two hours. Jacques
Cartier--which takes its name from he who first discovered the River
St. Lawrence, and who, having lost his ship, passed there the winter
amongst the Indians--in an immense ravine, with a rapid, shaggy river
full of large rocks, that runs between the two heights, whose tops are
about two hundred fathoms distant from each other; their sides are
as glacis, with a view from their tops to the bottom--four or five
hundred feet deep--which strikes the eyes with horror on looking down
that vast precipice. Its side, facing the River St. Lawrence, is a
steep perpendicular rock; and the ground to the north is impracticable
from the lakes, swamps, and sinking turf, where at each step a person
must plunge over the head and perish. It must be impossible to turn
round it and leave it behind, since the Canadians and the Indians
never discovered a passage through the woods. Thus the only means
of approaching this fort must have been by landing at Deschambault.
From thence to Jacques Cartier, it is an easy and gradually rising
ascent. Had you seized this extraordinary fort, you would have cut off
my communication with Montreal, from whence I drew daily my supplies
for the army: in this event, I had no other alternative than allowing
my army to perish of famine, or surrender the colony. But as we had
been sent from Europe, not to destroy the inhabitants, but, on the
contrary, to save and defend them, I must have immediately concluded by
capitulating for Canada upon the best terms I could obtain from you. I
hope I have demonstrated clearly to you that, had you been acquainted
with the _locale_, you could have made the glorious conquest of Canada
without shedding a drop of blood.

WOLFE:--You argue, sir, at your ease! How was it possible to examine
and know the _locale_ of that country, your bloodhounds--the Indians
and Canadians--being constantly at our heels: one cannot send out
scouts in Canada, as is done in Europe.

MONTCALM:--Why not? Men cannot be in two places at the same time; and
you managed to find everywhere Indians and Canadians in your way! There
are many kinds of irregular troops in Europe as bad to deal with as
the Indians in woods and in wooded countries. But your army was always
so struck with terror and dread, that, constantly blinded with fear,
the shadow of an Indian set them a trembling. Nevertheless, the New
England independent companies, formed by Roger, who afterwards beat the
Indians with equal numbers in their own way of fighting behind trees,
should have removed the formidable impression they have always made
upon the English. Self-preservation is natural to all mankind, and the
hour of death must strike with horror the bravest man. But fear is
pardonable amongst soldiers only when there exists a real cause for
fear; and is not to be tolerated when groundless: this is so much the
case of your soldiers with regard to the Indians, that, demoralized
by fear, they suffer themselves to be butchered by a vastly inferior
number of Indians, without ever thinking of defending themselves, even
when they know they will have no quarter. In any danger, soldiers ought
to be accustomed to look coolly death in the face,--they, whose duty is
to die when the Sovereign demands it: such is the contract they sign
with the latter on their entering into his service.

These sentiments may be often the means of one's preserving life
instead of losing it. Nothing is more incomprehensible to me, in all
your conduct in Canada, than your landing at _Anse des Mères_ on the
13th September (the fatal day which deprived us both of our existence,
but freed us from mortal folly), at the foot of a steep hill, where
a few men at the top of it, with sticks and stones only, must have
easily beaten you back on your attempt to climb it, and where we had
three posts of one hundred men each: one of them commanded by Douglas,
captain in the regiment of Languedoc; another by Rimini, captain in the
regiment La Sarre; and the third by De Vergor, captain in the Colony
troops, at whose post[G] you made your descent. These three hundred
men, had they done their duty, should have been more than sufficient to
have repulsed you ignominiously at this steep hill; and you never would
have got to the top had you met with the smallest resistance. I own
that your daring surpasses my conception.

WOLFE:--I do not pretend to justify my project by its success, but
by my combinations, which answered exactly as I had foreseen, and
which demonstrate my scheme to have been well concerted. In giving
you this account of it, I am persuaded that you will not blame me
for undertaking an attempt so absurd in appearance, and yet most
reasonable when examined impartially. In all expeditions composed
of sea and land forces, it seldom fails that disputes, animosities,
jealousies and quarrels arise between the different commanders equal
in authority; and it is a miracle if you see the Admiral and the
General unanimously of the same opinion with regard to operations. The
sea and the land service are sciences whose principles are entirely
different; as certainly there can be no analogy between the working of
a ship and the drill of a regiment. Nevertheless, the Admiral meddles
continually with the land operations, and the General will have the
fleets do things that are impossible--both of them equally ignorant
of each other's service; from whence results a clashing discord in
their operations, when sent out with equal power. If each of them
would confine himself to that part of the art of war which he has
studied, and have only in his soul the good and welfare of his King and
Country, these mixed expeditions of land and sea would succeed much
better than they generally do. The naval officers tormented me a great
deal, and were still more troublesome as the season advanced. They
held a council of war on board the flagship on the 10th September,
when it was determined to set sail immediately for Europe, seeing the
imminent dangers to which His Majesty's fleet would be exposed in
those tempestuous seas by remaining any longer before Quebec; and, in
consequence of this decision, orders were given to some men-of-war to
take up their anchors and fall down the river, while orders were issued
at the same time to begin the general preparations for the immediate
departure of all the fleet. The 12th, there came two deserters to me
from one of your three posts you just now mentioned, who belonged to
the French regiments, and were well informed. Upon examining them,
I discovered that your posts were guarded very negligently; that de
Bougainville, who was at Cap Rouge, proposed to send down, the night
following, some boats loaded with provisions, and that your three posts
had their orders to let these boats pass unmolested. The idea instantly
occurred to me to profit by this discovery; and I ran to the Admiral,
communicated to him what I had learned from the French deserters,
begged him most earnestly to suffer me to make a last attempt before
the embarkation of my army. I promised him that if there were twenty
muskets fired from your posts, I would then desist immediately without
further thought than to embark speedily in order to return to England.
The council consented to my demand, and I began my landing at eleven at
night. When my boats approached the two posts of Douglas and Rimini,
upon their sentinels calling "_Qui vive!_" my soldiers answered them
in French, "_Bateaux des vivres_," upon which they suffered them to go
on without stopping them, as they might have done, in order to receive
the password. Not finding a sentry at your third post, commanded by
De Vergor, I landed there with diligence, and all my army was ashore
before this post perceived our men, without firing but one musket,
which wounded De Vergor in the heel, who was immediately taken
prisoner without finding any man of his detachment with him.[H] I began
my operation by landing there a Sergeant with ten Grenadiers, ordering
him to advance always straight before him briskly, with long steps,
and not to halt unless he was discovered by the enemy. A Lieutenant,
with a detachment of Grenadiers, followed him, having the same orders,
to halt instantly if they fired at him. The silence continuing, I then
landed all my Grenadiers, who followed the Sergeant and the Lieutenant;
and by degrees all my army landed without the least noise, disorder or
confusion. The silence soon convinced me that they were not discovered;
dissipated my fears, and assured me of the success of my enterprise.
The head of the column, which was the guide to the rest of the army,
got up the hill with difficulty, the others following them at their
heels. If your guards had been vigilant and done their duty, all I
risked was the Sergeant and Lieutenant, with a few Grenadiers. I would
have stopped at the first discharge, as it would have been madness and
unpardonable to attack by main force a hill so inaccessible that, even
without an enemy at the top to repel them, my men had much difficulty
to climb it. Moreover, I was assured by your deserters you had no
troops on the heights of Abraham. You see now, sir, that it was not
a heedless, ill-concerted project,--but a sure operation, without
risking much. An invariable principle with me has ever been to make
an attack where it appears the most difficult; and it generally meets
with success, as the point is commonly ill-guarded, frequently entirely
neglected, and scarcely comprehended in the plan of defence. I am not
alone of this opinion. Cardinal Ximenes says, that "Ferdinand, King of
Arragon, fitted out two armies against the Moors, under the conduct
of Count D'Aguilar, and ordered them to enter into the mountains of
Grenada at the same time, by the places the most difficult," and
consequently the least guarded. He gained a most complete victory over
the Moors. The most difficult gorges of mountains, when not guarded
where only a single man can pass, a hundred thousand may do the
same. It is then an easy operation, by forming your men in battle as
soon as they get through the passage, and provided that they are not
immediately discovered by the enemy. When once you have a front capable
to oppose and stand firm, it increases every instant, as you may be
convinced that the soldiers go through the dangerous passage with great
quickness. Besides, the enemy is always disconcerted by a surprise;
demoralized by an unforeseen incident, he becomes timid and alarmed,
and may be looked upon as already vanquished before the action begins.
The landing at Cap Breton was executed according to my system. The
enemy does not expect you at a place of difficult access; it is where
he does not expect me that I would make my principal attack. Commonly,
men suffer most where they are most seen.[I] But if they are entirely
neglected--as it happened at Louisbourg--it is a fault of the General,
who should be answerable for it. But the General having placed upon
them a sufficient number of troops in proportion to their difficulties,
can he be blamed if the officers of these posts do not do their duty?

MONTCALM:--Can there be any divine or human law to punish a man for
the faults of others? Should they not answer personally? It has
often happened that the safety of a whole army has depended upon a
subaltern's guard! You see that the deserters caused you to make a
last attempt--prevented your embarking your army for England--your
giving up your enterprise--and, in short, ended in adding Canada to the
British dominions; and perhaps a vigilant officer at that post (Wolfe's
Cove) might have hindered the soldiers from deserting, which would at
once have removed a first cause which produced so many extraordinary
effects. Your system may be good, if executed with great prudence and
precaution. But should the enemy be informed of your design, which he
may be by a deserter acquainted with your great preparations, as you
were with the negligence of our posts, it is an excellent opportunity
to have your army cut to pieces and catch a tartar; as it must have
been your case at the Sault de Montmorency (on the 31st July), had it
not been for that sudden shower of rain, which came to your rescue in
the critical moment, when your destruction was otherwise inevitable.
At least, sir, confess the injustice of mankind. They reproach me with
being the cause of your success! They accuse me of having sacrificed
the welfare of my army through jealousy and ill-feeling! My king and
country--for whom I would have shed, with pleasure, every drop of my
blood--and those who view my case the most favourably, look on me as
a giddy, ignorant officer! All these scandalous, atrocious lies and
calumnies were spread everywhere by a set[J] of men who, from their
immoderate thirst of riches, would, to serve their interest, have
betrayed their king and country. Those vile, mercenary souls knew that
I detested them as much as I constantly cherished honest men, whose
noble sentiments endeared them to me. My death was happy for them. Had
I lived to return to Europe, I would have had no difficulty to justify
all my conduct, and crush these wretches like vermin. Covetousness and
avarice carried them to Canada; they left their honour and honesty
in France on embarking, easily forgetting what it is to be just and
patriotic. I would have soon confounded them. Truth supports oppressed
innocence, and, sooner or later, dispels the clouds which too often
overshadow it. I shall give you a faithful and exact account of my
conduct with regard to the operations of the 13th September, following
scrupulously truth, which has always been the rule of my actions and
is held in great veneration by me; and I hope to demonstrate to you
that if the end of that campaign covered you with glory, Fortune
was the chief agent, who reunited in your power a great number of
circumstances, the absence of any one of which sufficed to render your
expedition fruitless.

Some days after the action of the 31st of July, M. de Levis was sent
by M. Vaudreuil to command at Montreal, upon a false report that a
body of English was coming to attack Canada by Lake Champlain--a story
trumped up by my enemies to deprive me of M. de Levis, in whom I had
the greatest confidence, on account of his talents: I cannot say he
made me a just acknowledgment of my sentiments towards him. I went
to his lodgings a few hours before his departure, which was kept a
secret from the army; and as I was little acquainted with his plan of
defence for the left of our camp, at the Sault de Montmorency, I begged
of him, as a favour, to leave me his aide-de-camp, M. Johnstone, who
had a perfect knowledge of the _locale_ of that part of the country.
Your boats having caused us an alarm in the night between the 10th
and 11th of September, by their appearance opposite to the ravine of
Beauport, I remained at M. Vaudreuil's until one in the morning, when
I left him in order that I might return to my lodging--having with
me M. Montreuil, Major-General of the army, and M. Johnstone. On my
sending away M. de Vaudreuil, after giving him my orders, I related
immediately to M. Johnstone all the measures I had concerted with M.
de Vaudreuil, in case you (Gen. Wolfe) made a descent at daybreak. He
answered me, that your army being now assembled at Point Levi, and part
of it gone above Quebec, on the south side of the River St. Lawrence,
it appeared very doubtful where you might attempt a descent--whether
above the town, or below it towards the _Canardière_; he added, that
he believed a body of troops might be advantageously placed upon the
heights of Abraham, where they could with certainty confront you
whenever you landed. I approved greatly of his idea. I called back
Montreuil--who was as yet not far from us--and I ordered him to send
the Regiment of Guienne--which was encamped near the hornwork at the
River St. Charles--to pass the night upon the heights of Abraham.
Next morning--the 11th--I wrote to Montreuil, ordering him to make
this regiment encamp upon the heights of Abraham, and remain there
until further orders. Thus, in consequence of my repeated orders, I
had all the reason possible to believe that this regiment constitued
a permanent post there; so that the declaration of the deserters from
the three posts, who could not know this, might have led you into a
dangerous snare, worse than that of the 31st July. Why this regiment
continued the 12th in this camp at the hornwork, in spite of my express
orders to encamp upon the heights, I know not; and can only attribute
Montreuil's disobedience of my orders to the weakness of his judgment
and understanding. It is nevertheless evident that, if you had found
the Regiment of Guienne upon the top of the hill--where it ought to
have been, had my orders been obeyed--you would have been repulsed
shamefully with a much greater loss than you met with on the 31st
July at the Sault; the height where you made your descent, the 13th
of September, being infinitely steeper than that there which obliged
you to make a speedy retreat, favoured by the _providential shower_.
Or, perhaps you would have embarked immediately your army, without
any further attempt, to return to England, after a most ruinous and
fruitless expedition--the campaign ending with an incredible expense to
your nation--fruitless; and, by this means, the colony of Canada would
have been for ever delivered from such formidable armies.

As soon as your army was reunited in a single camp at Pointe Levi,
after having been so long separated, upon you sending a body of troops
up the River St. Lawrence, I detached M. de Bougainville, with fifteen
hundred of my best troops--composed of all my Grenadiers, of the
Volunteers from the French Regiments, of my best Canadians and Indians;
and I likewise gave him some small guns. I ordered him strictly to
follow all your movements, by ascending the river when you went up, and
descending as you did the same: in short, to be an army of observation,
with only the river between you--never to lose sight of you--ever
ready to oppose your passage up the river, and to fall on you with the
swiftness of the eagle the moment you attempted to land on our side of
it. He sent to inform me, the 13th of September, that all your army
had descended to your camp at Pointe Levi. But he remained loitering
with his detachment at Cap Rouge--three leagues from Quebec! Why did
he not follow you to the heights of Abraham, according to his orders?
Why did he not send me back my Grenadiers and Volunteers--the very
flower of their Regiments? informing me, as also the posts of Douglas
and Rimini, that he would send down that night. I cannot conceive the
reasons for such conduct: it is beyond all conception! He was informed,
between seven and eight in the morning, by the fugitives from the
three posts, that your army was landed and drawn up in battle upon the
heights of Abraham; upon which he left Cap Rouge with his detachment,
no doubt with the intention to join me. But, instead of taking the
road to Lorette, or to the General Hospital along the borders of the
River St. Charles, which led both of them to our camp, he followed the
heights of Abraham, where he was evidently certain by his information
to find there your army to intercept him; and it could never be his
design to fight you with fifteen hundred men! He found a house on his
way, with three or four hundred of your troops barricading it, and
was very desirous to take them prisoners. M. le Noir, Captain in the
Regiment La Sarre--having more bravery than prudence and knowledge of
the art of war--attacked the house with the most astonishing boldness,
and had more than half of his company of Volunteers killed: he received
himself two wounds--one of them by a ball through the body, and the
other in his hand. De Bougainville, intent on taking the house, waited
there the arrival of the cannon, to force it; but when the cannon
arrived, it unluckily happened that the balls had been forgotten at
Cap Rouge, which obliged him to return there, abandoning the house
without a moment's reflection. How much more important it would have
been to direct his march towards the General Hospital, in order to join
my army! Thus were precious moments wasted ridiculously in the most
trifling manner. De Bougainville--who has a great deal of wit, good
sense, many good qualities--was protected by a very great person at
Court; he is personally brave, has but little knowledge in the military
science, having never studied it.

The night between the 12th and 13th of September, when you made your
descent, M. Poularies, Commander of the Regiment Royal Roussillon,
who encamped behind my lodgings at Beauport, came to me, at midnight,
to inform me that they saw boats opposite to his regiment. Upon which
I immediately ordered all the army to line the trenches; and I sent
Marcel--who served me as Secretary and aid-de-camp--to pass the night
at M. de Vaudreuil's, giving him one of my Cavaliers of Ordnance,
ordering Marcel, if there was anything extraordinary in that quarter,
to inform me of it speedily by the Cavalier. I was out and walked with
Poularies and Johnstone, between my house and the ravine of Beauport,
until one in the morning, when I sent Poularies to his regiment, and
I continued there with Johnstone. All night my mind was in the most
violent agitation, which I believe proceeded from my uneasiness for
the boats and provisions that de Bougainville had acquainted me, would
be sent down the river that night; and I repeated often to Johnstone,
that I trembled lest they should be taken, "that loss would ruin us
without resource, having provisions only for two days' subsistence to
our army." It appears to me that my extraordinary sufferings that night
were a presage of my cruel fate some hours afterwards. At daybreak they
fired some cannon from our battery at Samos, near Sillery. I then had
no more doubts of our boats being taken by you. Alas! I would never
have imagined that my provisions were in safety at Cap Rouge with de
Bougainville, and that you were upon the heights of Abraham since
midnight, without my being informed of an event of so great importance,
and which was known through all the right of our camp.

The day clearing up, having news from Marcel at M. de Vaudreuil's, who
had always my Cavalier of Ordnance with him, and perceiving no changes
in your camp at Point Levis, my mind was more composed on reflecting
that, if anything extraordinary had happened, I would certainly have
been informed of it. I then sent Johnstone to order all the army to
their tents, having passed the night in the trenches, and retired to my
lodgings after drinking some dishes of tea with Johnstone. I desired
him to order the servants to saddle the horses, in order to go to M.
de Vaudreuil's and be informed of the cause of the firing from our
battery at Samos. Not a soul having come to me from the right of our
camp since midnight when I sent there Marcel, I set out with Johnstone
between six and seven in the morning. Heavens, what was my surprise!
when opposite to M. de Vaudreuil's lodgings, the first news of what
had passed during the night was the sight of your army upon the heights
of Abraham, firing at the Canadians scattered amongst the bushes. I
met at the same time M. de Vaudreuil coming out of his lodgings, and
having spoke to him an instant, I turned away to Johnstone, and told
him: "the affair is serious! run with the greatest speed to Beauport;
order Poularies to remain there at the Ravine with two hundred men, and
to send me all the rest of the left to the heights of Abraham with the
utmost diligence."

Johnstone having delivered my orders to Poularies, he quitted him
an instant to give some instructions to my servants at my lodgings;
returning to rejoin me, he found Poularies in the Ravine with M. de
Sennezergue, Brigadier-General and Lieutenant-Colonel of the Regiment
of La Sarre, and de Lotbinière, Captain of the Colony troops and
aide-de-camp to M. de Vaudreuil. Poularies stopped Johnstone to make
him repeat to them my orders, which he did; and at the same time
advised Poularies, as a friend, to disobey them, by coming himself
to the heights of Abraham with every man of the left, since it was
evident that the English army--already landed near Quebec--could
never think of making a second descent at Beauport; and that it was
manifest there would be in a few hours an engagement upon the heights
which would immediately decide the fate of the Colony. Poularies then
showed Johnstone a written order--signed "Montreuil"--which Lotbinière
had brought to him from M. de Vaudreuil, "That not a man of the left
should stir from the camp!" Johnstone declared to them, upon his
honour, that it was word for word my orders and my intentions; and he
entreated Poularies, in the most pressing manner, to have no regard
for that order signed "Montreuil," as the want of two thousand men,
which formed the left of our camp, must be of the greatest consequence
in the battle. M. de Sennezergue--an officer of the greatest worth
and honour, who fell a few hours afterwards--told Johnstone: "That
he (Johnstone) should take it upon him to make all the left march of
immediately." Johnstone answered: "That, being only the bearer of
my orders, he could take nothing upon him. But if he was in M. de
Sennezergue's place, Brigadier-General, and, by M. de Levis' absence,
the next in command of the army, he would not hesitate a moment to make
the left march, without any regard whatsoever to any order that might
be hurtful to the King's service, in that critical juncture." Johnstone
left them irresolute and doubtful how to act, clapped spurs to his
horse, and rejoined me immediately upon the heights.

I don't know, any more than a thousand others, the particulars relative
to the action of the 13th of September. I am ignorant of who it was
that made our army take their abominable and senseless position,
by thrusting it betwixt your army and Quebec, where there were no
provisions, and the best of our troops absent with de Bougainville; it
certainly must have been dictated by an ignorant and stupid blockhead!
I certainly had no hand in it: the piquets and part of the troops were
already marched up the heights before I came to the Canardière, or ever
knew that you were landed; and all the right of our army was marching
after them when I arrived at their encampment. The only proper course
to be taken in our position, and which would have been apparent to any
man of common sense who had the least knowledge of the art of war,
was to quit our camp coolly--calmly--without disorder or confusion,
and march to Lorette; from thence cross over to St. Foix--which is two
leagues from Quebec and a league from Cap Rouge--and when joined there
by M. de Bougainville's detachment, to advance then and attack you as
soon as possible. By these means you would have found yourself between
two fires, by a sally from the town the moment that I attacked you on
the other side. I was no sooner upon the heights than I perceived our
horrible position,--pressed against the town-walls, without provisions
for four-and-twenty hours, and a moral impossibility for us to retire,
being drawn up in battle at the distance of a musket-shot from your
army. Had I made an attempt to go down the heights, in order to repass
the River St. Charles and return to my camp, I would have exposed my
left flank to you, and my rear would have been cut to pieces without
being able to protect and support it. Had I entered into the town, in
an instant you would have invested us in it, without provisions, by
carrying down your left wing to the River St. Charles--an easy movement
of a few minutes. I saw no remedy other for us than to worry your
army by a cannonade, having the advantage over you of a rising ground
suitable for batteries of cannon, hoping, by thus harassing you, that
you might retire in the night, as certainly you could never be so rash
as to think of attacking us under the guns of the town; at least I
would have made my retreat, taking advantage of the darkness of the
night, to get myself out of the scrape where the ignorance of others
had thrown me. I sent several persons with orders to M. de Ramsay,
King's Lieutenant (Deputy Governor), who was in command at Quebec,
to send me, with all possible haste, the five-and-twenty brass field
pieces that were in position on the palace battery, near our army; and
precisely at the same instant when Johnstone came to me on the heights,
with the news of the order which prevented the left of our army to join
me, a sergeant arrived from M. de Ramsay--the fourth person I had sent
to him with my orders--with a categorical answer from him: "That he
had already sent me three pieces of artillery; and that he could not
send me any more, having his town to defend!" What could be de Ramsay's
reasons for such a monstrous conduct, or who it was who inspired him
with such a daring disobedience, I know not?

1. "His town"--as he called it--was defended by our army which covered
it, being drawn up in battle about two hundred fathoms from it; and its
safety depended entirely upon the event of a battle.

2. There were in Quebec about two hundred pieces of cannon, most of
them twenty-four and thirty-six pounders.

3. Small field-pieces, two or three pounders--such as the palace
battery--could they be of the least service for the defence of a town?

4. A commander of Quebec, as King's Lieutenant or sub-Lieutenant, such
as de Ramsay was--not Governor,--or even M. de Vaudreuil himself,
Governor General of Canada, at that moment in the town,--could they
have any authority to refuse me all the assistance I could desire from
Quebec, by my particular commission of Commander-in-Chief of the troops
in Canada, when my army was at the gates of the town, and your army
deployed ready to fight? A thousand other queries suggest themselves;
but of what avail?

I assembled immediately a council of war, composed of all the
commanding officers of the several regiments, to hear their opinion
as to what was to be done in our critical situation. Some of them
maintained you were busy throwing up breastworks. Others, that you
appeared bent on descending in the valley, in order to seize the bridge
of boats on the St. Charles river with the hornwork, with the object
of cutting off our communication with the left wing of our army, which
remained at Beauport pursuant to the order signed by Montreuil. In
effect, a movement your army made in that moment towards the windmill
and Borgia's house, upon the edge of the height, seemed to favour this
conjecture. But an instant afterwards, the Canadians having set fire
to that house and chased you from it, you retook your former position.
Others alleged, that the more we delayed attacking you, the more your
army would be strong--imagining that your troops had not yet all
landed. In short, there was not a single member of the war council who
was not of opinion to charge upon you immediately. Can it be credited
that these officers--to the dishonour of mankind--who were the most
violent to attack you, denied it afterwards, and became the most ardent
censors of my conduct in not deferring the battle! What could I do in
my desperate situation? Even a Marshal Turenne would have been much
puzzled to get out of such a dilemma, in which they had entangled me
either through design or ignorance. I listened with attention to their
opinion, without opening my lips, and at last answered them:--"It
appears to me, gentlemen, that you are unanimous for giving battle; and
that the only question now is, how to charge the enemy?" Montreuil said
it would be better to attack in columns. I answered him: "That we would
be beat before our columns could be formed so near to the enemy; and,
besides, that our columns must be very weak, not having Grenadiers to
place at their heads." I added, that "since it is decided to attack, it
must be in Front Baudière(?)" I sent all the officers to their posts,
and ordered the drummers to beat the charge.

Our onset was neither brisk nor long. We went on in confusion--were
repulsed in an instant; and it could not naturally be otherwise from
the absence of our Volunteers and Grenadiers, and de Bougainville at
Cap Rouge with the best of our Canadians; the Montreal regiments with
Poularies at Beauport, a league and a half from the battle-field. The
example of the bravest soldiers in a regiment--the Grenadiers and
Volunteers--suffices to infuse courage in the most timid, who can
follow the road shown to them, but cannot lead the way. The brave
Canadian Militia saw us with heavy hearts, grief and despair, from the
other side of the St. Charles river, cut to pieces upon the heights,
stopped, as they were, in the hornwork, and prevented by superior
orders from rushing to our assistance. About two hundred brave and
resolute Canadians rallied in the hollow at the bakehouse, and
returned upon the heights. They fell instantly upon your left wing
with incredible rage; stopped your army for some minutes from pursuing
our soldiers in their flight, by attracting your attention to them;
resisted, undaunted, the shock of your left; and, when repulsed, they
disputed the ground inch by inch from the top to the bottom of the
height, pursued by your troops down to the valley at the bakehouse,
opposite to the hornwork. These unfortunate heroes--who were most of
them cut to pieces--saved your army the loss of a great many men, by
not being hotly pursued; and if your left, who followed these two
hundred Canadians down to the plain, had crossed it from the bakehouse
to the River St. Charles, only three or four hundred paces, they would
have cut off the retreat of our army, invested the three-fourths of
them in Quebec, without provisions, and M. de Vaudreuil, next day,
must have surrendered the town and asked to capitulate for the colony.
But your conduct cannot be blamed, as it is always wise and prudent in
giving--as Pyrrhus advises--a golden bridge to one's enemy in flight.

You see, sir, by this true and faithful account of the battle of
the 13th September, and of what preceded it, how many different and
unforeseen events, fortune was obliged to unite in your favour to
render you successful in your expedition against Canada; the failure
of any one of which would have sufficed to frustrate your enterprise.
It would appear that heaven had decreed that France should lose this
colony. Let us now conclude, sir, that I have as little deserved
the blame, scorn, contempt and injustice which my country heaped on
my memory, as you do the excessive honours they lavished on your's
in England; and that the ablest General in Europe, placed in my
circumstances, could not have acted otherwise than I did. Moreover,
I was under M. de Vaudreuil--the weakest man alive, although a most
obstinate automaton--and could not freely follow my ideas as if I had
been Commander-in-Chief. In my country the law is equal: we neither
punish, nor recompense.

The Marquis of Montcalm, endeavouring to rally the troops in their
disorderly flight, was wounded in the lower part of the belly.[K] He
was conveyed immediately to Quebec, and lodged in the house of M.
Arnoux, the King's surgeon, who was absent with M. de Bourlamarque:
his brother--the younger Arnoux--having viewed the wound, declared
it mortal. This truly great and worthy man heard Arnoux[L] pronounce
his sentence of death with a firm and undaunted soul: his mind calm
and serene; his countenance soft and pleasing; and with a look of
indifference whether he lived or died. He begged of Arnoux to be so
kind and outspoken as to tell him how many hours he thought he might
yet live? Arnoux answered him, that he might hold out until three in
the morning. He spent that short period of life in conversing with a
few officers upon indifferent subjects with great coolness and presence
of mind, and ended his days about the hour Arnoux had foretold him.
His last words were:--"I die[M] content, since I leave the affairs of
the King, my dear master, in good hands: I always had a high opinion
of the talents of M. de Levis." I will not undertake the panegyric
of this great man: a true patriot and lover of his king and country,
possessing many rare and good qualities. Had he by chance been born in
England, his memory would have been celebrated, and transmitted with
honour to posterity. Illustrious by his virtue and genius, he deserves
to live in history; he was an unfortunate victim to the insatiable
avarice of some men, and a prey to the immoderate ambition of others.
His ashes, mingled with those of Indians, repose neglected far from his
native country, without a magnificent tomb or altars; General Wolfe
has statues in England in commemoration of the many faults he committed
during his expedition in Canada. "How many obscure dead," says a
modern author, "have received the greatest honours by titles yet more
vain? O injustice of mankind! The mausolea adorn the temples to repeat
continually false praise; and history, which ought to be the sacred
asylum of truth, shows that statues and panegyrics are almost always
the monuments of prejudice, and that flattery seeks to immortalise
unjust reputations."

When I was informed of M. de Montcalm's misfortune, I sent him
immediately his servant Joseph, begging him to acquaint me if I could
be of any service to him, and in that case I would be with him at
Quebec immediately. Joseph came back in a moment to the hornwork, and
grieved me to the inmost of my soul by M. de Montcalm's answer: "that
it was needless to come to him, as he had only a few hours to live,
and he advised me to keep with Poularies until the arrival of M. de
Levis at the army." Thus perished a great man, generally unknown and
unregretted by his countrymen--a man who would have become the idol and
ornament of any other country in Europe.

The French army in flight, scattered and entirely dispersed, rushed
towards the town. Few of them entered Quebec; they went down the
heights of Abraham, opposite to the Intendant's Palace (past St.
John's gate) directing their course to the hornwork, and following the
borders of the River St. Charles. Seeing the impossibility of rallying
our troops, I determined myself to go down the hill at the windmill,
near the bakehouse,[P] and from thence across over the meadows to the
hornwork, resolved not to approach Quebec, from my apprehension of
being shut up there with a part of our army, which might have been the
case if the victors had drawn all the advantage they could have reaped
from our defeat. It is true the death of the general-in-chief--an event
which never fails to create the greatest disorder and confusion in an
army--may plead as an excuse for the English neglecting so easy an
operation as to take all our army prisoners.

But, instead of following immediately my ideas, I was carried off
by the flow of the fugitives, without being able to stop them or
myself until I got to a hollow swampy ground, where some gunners were
endeavouring to save a field-piece which stuck there, and I stayed an
instant with them to encourage them to draw it to the town. Returning
back upon the rising ground, I was astonished to find myself in the
centre of the English army, who had advanced whilst I was in the
hollow with the gunners, and taking me for a general, on account of
my fine black horse, they treated me as such by saluting me with a
thousand musket shots from half of the front of their army, which had
formed a crescent. I was, nevertheless, bent on reaching the windmill,
and I escaped their terrible fire without any other harm than four
balls through my clothes, which shattered them; a ball lodged in the
pommel of my saddle, and four balls in my horse's body, who lived,
notwithstanding his wounds, until he had carried me to the hornwork.

It is impossible to imagine the disorder and confusion that I found
in the hornwork.[Q] The dread and consternation was general. M. de
Vaudreuil listened to everybody, and was always of the advice of he
who spoke last. No order was given with reflection and with coolness,
none knowing what to order or what to do. When the English had repulsed
the two hundred Canadians that had gone up the height at the same time
that I came down from it, pursuing them down to the bakehouse, our
men lost their heads entirely; they became demoralized, imagining that
the English troops, then at the bakehouse, would in an instant cross
the plain and fly over the St. Charles river into the hornwork as with
wings. It is certain that when fear once seizes hold of men it not only
deprives them totally of their judgment and reflection, but also of
the use of their eyes and their ears, and they become a thousand times
worse than the brute creation, guided by instinct only, or by that
small portion of reason which the author of nature has assigned it,
since it preserves the use of it on all occasions. How much inferior
to them do the greater portion of mankind appear, with their boasted
reason, when reduced to madness and automata, on occasions when they
require the more the use of their reason.

The hornwork had the River St. Charles before it, about seventy paces
broad, which served it better than an artificial ditch; its front,
facing the river and the heights, was composed of strong, thick, and
high palisades, planted perpendicularly, with gunholes pierced for
several pieces of large cannon in it; the river is deep and only
fordable at low water, at a musket shot before the fort. This made it
more difficult to be forced on that side than on its other side of
earthworks facing Beauport, which had a more formidable appearance;
and the hornwork certainly on that side was not in the least danger
of being taken by the English, by an assault from the other side of
the river. On the appearance of the English troops on the plain of the
bakehouse, Montguet and La Motte, two old captains in the Regiment of
Bearn, cried out with vehemence to M. de Vaudreuil, "that the hornwork
would be taken in an instant, by an assault, sword in hand; that we
would be all cut to pieces without quarter, and that nothing else would
save us but an immediate and general capitulation of Canada, giving it
up to the English."

Montreuil told them that "a fortification such as the hornwork was not
to be taken so easily." In short, there arose a general cry in the
hornwork to cut the bridge of boats.[R] It is worthy of remark, that
not a fourth of our army had yet arrived at it, and the remainder, by
cutting the bridge, would have been left on the other side of the river
as victims to the victors. The regiment 'Royal Roussillon' was at that
moment at the distance of a musket shot from the hornwork, approaching
to pass the bridge. As I had already been in such adventures, I did
not lose my presence of mind, and having still a shadow remaining
of that regard, which the army accorded me on account of the esteem
and confidence which M. de Levis and M. de Montcalm had always shown
me publicly, I called to M. Hugon, who commanded, for a pass in the
hornwork, and begged of him to accompany me to the bridge. We ran
there, and without asking who had given the order to cut it, we chased
away the soldiers with their uplifted axes ready to execute that
extravagant and wicked operation.

M. de Vaudreuil was closeted in a house in the inside of the hornwork
with the Intendant and with some other persons. I suspected they were
busy drafting the articles for a general capitulation, and I entered
the house, where I had only time to see the Intendant with a pen in
his hand writing upon a sheet of paper, when M. de Vaudreuil told me
I had no business there. Having answered him that what he said was
true, I retired immediately, in wrath, to see them intent on giving
up so scandalously a dependency for the preservation of which so much
blood and treasure had been expended. On leaving the house, I met
M. Dalquier, an old, brave, downright honest man, commander of the
regiment of Bearn, with the true character of a good officer--the marks
of Mars all over his body. I told him it was being debated within
the house, to give up Canada to the English by a capitulation, and
I hurried him in to stand up for the King's cause, and advocate the
welfare of his country. I then quitted the hornwork to join Poularies
at the Ravine[S] of Beauport; but having met him about three or four
hundred paces from the hornwork, on his way to it, I told him what was
being discussed there. He answered me, that sooner than consent to a
capitulation, he would shed the last drop of his blood. He told me to
look on his table and house as my own, advised me to go there directly
to repose myself, and clapping spurs to his horse, he flew like
lightning to the hornwork.

As Poularies was an officer of great bravery, full of honour and
of rare merit, I was then certain that he and Dalquier would break
up the measures of designing men. Many motives induced me to act
strenuously for the good of the service; amongst others, my gratitude
for the Sovereign who had given me bread; also, my affection and
inviolable friendship for M. de Levis in his absence, who was now
Commander-in-Chief of the French armies in Canada by the death of M. de
Montcalm. I continued sorrowfully jogging on to Beauport, with a very
heavy heart for the loss of my dear friend, M. de Montcalm, sinking
with weariness and lost in reflection upon the changes which Providence
had brought about in the space of three or four hours.

Poularies came back to his lodgings at Beauport about two in the
afternoon, and he brought me the agreeable news of having converted
the project of a capitulation into a retreat to Jacques-Cartier,
there to wait the arrival of M. de Levis; and they despatched a
courier immediately to Montreal to inform him of our misfortune at
Quebec, which, to all appearance, would not have happened to us if M.
de Vaudreuil had not sent him away, through some political reason,
to command there, without troops except those who were with M. de
Bourlamarque at L'Isle aux Noix--an officer of great knowledge. The
departure of the army was agreed upon to be at night, and all the
regiments were ordered to their respective encampments until further
orders. The decision for a retreat was to be kept a great secret, and
not even communicated to the officers. I passed the afternoon with
Poularies, hoping each moment to receive from Montreuil--Major-General
of the army--the order of the retreat for the regiment Royal
Roussillon; but having no word of it at eight o'clock in the evening,
and it being a dark night, Poularies sent his Adjutant to M. de
Vaudreuil to receive his orders for the left. Poularies instantly
returned to inform him that the right of our army was gone away with
M. de Vaudreuil without his having given any orders concerning the
retreat, and that they followed the highway to the hornwork. Castaigné,
his Adjutant, could give no further account of this famous retreat,
only that all the troops on our right were marched off. It can be
easily imagined how much we were confounded by this ignorant and stupid
conduct, which can scarce appear credible to the most ignorant military

Poularies sent immediately to inform the post next to his regiment of
the retreat, with orders to acquaint all the left of it, from post to
post, between Beauport and the Sault de Montmorency.

I then set out with him and his regiment, following those before us
as the other posts to our left followed us, without any other guides,
orders or instructions with regard to the roads we should take, or
where we should go to; this was left to chance, or at least was a
secret which M. de Vaudreuil kept to himself _in petto_. It was a
march entirely in the Indian manner; not a retreat, but a horrid,
abominable flight, a thousand times worse than that in the morning
upon the heights of Abraham, with such disorder and confusion that,
had the English known it, three hundred men sent after us would have
been sufficient to destroy and cut all our army to pieces. Except the
regiment Royal Roussillon, which Poularies, always a rigid and severe
disciplinarian, kept together in order, there were not to be seen
thirty soldiers together of any other regiment. They were all mixed,
scattered, dispersed, and running as hard as they could, as if the
English army was at their heels. There never was a more favourable
position to make a beautiful, well-combined retreat, in bright day,
and in sight of the English Army looking at us, without having the
smallest reason to fear anything within their power to oppose it, as I
had obtained a perfect knowledge of the _locale_ from Beauport to the
Sault de Montmorency during some months that I was there constantly
with M. de Levis and M. de Montcalm. I thought myself in a position
to foretell to Poularies the probable order of retreat, and the route
which would be assigned to each regiment for their march to the Lorette
village. I was greatly deceived, and indeed could never have foreseen
the route which our entire army followed to reach Lorette, and which
prolonged our march prodigiously for the centre of our army, and still
more for our left at the Sault de Montmorency. There is a highway in a
straight line from the Sault de Montmorency to Lorette, which makes a
side of a triangle formed by another highway from the Sault to Quebec,
and by another road from Lorette to the hornwork, which formed the
base. In the highway from the Sault to the hornwork there are eight
or nine cross roads of communication from it to the road from the
Sault to Lorette, which are shorter as they approach to the point of
the angle at the Sault. Thus it was natural to believe that our army,
being encamped all along the road from the Sault to the hornwork, each
regiment would have taken one of these cross roads, the nearest to
his encampment, in order to take the straight road from the Sault to
Lorette, instead of coming to the hornwork to take there the road from
Quebec to Lorette, by which the left had double the distance to march,
besides being more liable by approaching the hornwork so near to the
English, to make them discover the retreat.

The army, by this operation, would have arrived all at the same time
in the road from the Sault to Lorette by the difference in the length
of these cross roads, and would have naturally formed a column all
along that road; and as it was not a forced retreat, they had the time
from twelve at noon until eight at night to send off all the baggage
by cross roads to Lorette, without the English perceiving it; but
supposing them even fully aware of our design, which might have been
executed in open day, they no way could disturb our operations without
attacking the hornwork, and attempting the passage of the river St.
Charles--a very difficult and dangerous affair--where they might be
easily repulsed, exposing themselves in a moment to lose the fruits
of their victory, without enjoying it; and consequently they would
have been insane had they ventured on such a rash enterprise. Instead
of these wise measures, which common sense alone might have dictated,
tents, artillery, the military stores, baggage, and all other effects,
were left as a present to the English; the officers saved only a few
shirts, or what they could carry in their pockets: the rest was lost.
In fact, it would appear, by this strange conduct, that a class of
men there, from interested views, were furiously bent on giving up
the colony to the English, so soon as they could have a plausible
pretext to colour their designs,--by lopping off gradually all the
means possible to defend it any longer. M. de Vaudreuil had still
other kind offices in reserve for the English. He wrote to de Ramsay,
King's Lieutenant and Commander in Quebec,[T] as soon as the retreat
was decided:--"That he might propose a capitulation for the town
eight-and-forty hours after the departure of our army from our camp at
Beauport, upon the best conditions he could obtain from the English."
We ran along in flight all night; and at daybreak M. de Bougainville,
with his detachment, joined us near Cap Rouge. In the evening, our army
arrived at Pointe-aux-Trembles--five leagues from Quebec--where it
passed the night, and next day came to Jacques-Cartier. The English had
so little suspicion of our retreat, seeing our tents standing without
any change at our camp, that Belcour--an officer of La Rochebaucourt's
cavalry--having returned to it with a detachment, two days after our
flight, he found everything the same as when we left it. He went into
the hornwork with his detachment, and fired the guns (pointed) at the
heights of Abraham towards the English camp, which greatly alarmed them.


[The remainder of the manuscript alludes more particularly to the
campaign conducted by Chevalier de Levis, which ended, in 1760, by the
capitulation of Montreal.]


  _Extract of the Register of Marriages, Baptisms and Deaths of the
      French Cathedral at Quebec, for 1759_:--

  "L'an mil sept cens cinquante-neuf, le quatorzième du mois de
  Septembre, a été inhumé dans l'Eglise des Religieuses Ursulines
  de Québec, haut et puissant Seigneur Louis Joseph Marquis de
  Montcalm, Lieutenant Général des armées du Roy, Commandeur de
  l'ordre Royal et militaire de St. Louis, Commandant en chef des
  troupes de terre en l'Amérique Septentrionale, décédé le même
  jour de ses blessures au combat de la veille, muni des sacrements
  qu'il a reçus avec beaucoup de piété et de Religion. Etoient
  présents à son inhumation MM. Resche, Cugnet et Collet, chanoines
  de la Cathédrale, M. de Ramezay, Commandant de la Place, et tout
  le corps des officiers.

        "RESCHE, Ptre. Chan.
        "COLLET, Chne."


[A] Les Ecossais en France, Vol. II., P. 449.

[B] Formerly, inward bound ships, instead of taking the south channel
lower down than Goose Island, struck over from Cape Tourmente, and took
the south channel between Madame Island and Pointe Argentenay.

[C] General Abercrombie's army consisted of 6,000 regular troops and
7,000 provincials, according to the English; but the French gave them
out to be 6,300 troops, and 13,000 provincials--in all 19,300 men.

[D] The French say the English lost between four and five thousand men.

[E] Unfortunately, the plans here alluded to do not accompany the

[F] This contest is generally denominated the Battle of the
Monongahela. Capt. Daniel Liénard de Beaujeu commanded the Canadians,
and achieved a most brilliant victory over General Braddock and George
Washington; the English losing their provisions, baggage, fifteen
cannon, many small arms, the military chest, Braddock's papers.
Washington, after the battle, wrote: "We have been beaten, shamefully
beaten, by a handful of French."--(J. M. L.)

[G] De Vergor's post apparently stood about a 100 yards to the east of
the spot on which Wolfe's Field-cottage has since been built. The ruins
still exist.--(J. M. L.)

[H] De Vergor's guard was composed chiefly of Militiamen from
Lorette, who on that day had obtained leave to go and work on
their farms, provided they also worked on a farm Captain De Vergor
owned.--"_Mémoires sur les Affaires de la Colonie de 1749-60._" Some
historians have intimated that De Vergor--a _protége_ of Bigot's--was a
traitor to his King.--(J. M. L.)

[I] I incline more to General Wolfe's opinion than what Voltaire
reports in the war of 1781, to have been the King of Prussia's
maxim:--"That we ought always to do what the enemy is afraid of." Where
the enemy is afraid of anything in particular, he has there his largest
force, and is there more on his guard than anywhere else.--(MANUSCRIPT

[J] Bigot's coterie.--(J. M. L.)

[K] It was reported in Canada, that the ball which killed that great,
good and honest man, was not fired by an English musket. But I never
credited this.

[L] Arnoux gave me this account of his last moments.--MANUSCRIPT NOTES.

[M] The place where Montcalm died appears yet shrouded in doubt. It
is stated, in Knox's Journal, that, on being wounded, Montcalm was
conveyed to the General Hospital, towards which the French squadrons
in retreat had to pass to regain, over the bridge of boats, their camp
at Beauport. The General Hospital was also the head-quarters of the
wounded--both English and French. It has been supposed that Arnoux's
house, where Montcalm was conveyed, stood in St. Louis street. No where
does it appear that Montcalm was conveyed to his own residence on the
ramparts (on which now stands the residence of R. H. Wurtele, Esquire).
As the city surrendered five days after the great battle, it was likely
to be bombarded--and, moreover, one-third of the houses in it had been
burnt and destroyed--we do not see why the wounded General should have
been conveyed from the battle-field to the Château St. Louis--certainly
an exposed situation in the event of a new bombardment; and, moreover,
the city itself, after and during the battle, was considered so
insecure that the French army, instead of retreating to it for shelter,
hurried past the General Hospital, over the bridge, to their camp at
Beauport. There is a passage in Lieutenant-Colonel Beatson's Notes
on the Plains of Abraham, which we give:--"The valiant Frenchman
(Montcalm), regardless of pain, relaxed not his efforts to rally his
broken battalions in their hurried retreat towards the city until he
was shot through the loins, when within a few hundred yards of St.
Louis Gate.[N] And so invincible was his fortitude that not even the
severity of this mortal stroke could abate his gallant spirit or alter
his intrepid bearing. Supported by two grenadiers--one at each side of
his horse--he re-entered the city; and in reply to some women who, on
seeing blood flow from his wounds as he rode down St. Louis street, on
his way to the Château, exclaimed: _Oh, mon Dieu! mon Dieu! le Marquis
est tuê!!!_ he courteously assured them that he was not seriously hurt,
and begged of them not to distress themselves on his account.--_Ce
n'est rien! ce n'est rien! Ne vous affligez pas pour moi, mes bonnes

[N] M. GARNEAU, in his _Histoire du Canada_, says:--"The two
Brigadier-Generals, M. de Semezergues and the Baron de St. Ours, fell
mortally wounded; and MONTCALM (who had already received two wounds),
while exerting himself to the utmost to rally his troops and preserve
order in the retreat, was also mortally wounded in the loins by a
musket-ball. He was at that moment between _Les Buttes-a-Neveu_ and St.
Louis Gate." From the city, on the one side, and from the battle-field,
on the other, the ground rises until the two slopes meet and form
a ridge; the summit of which was formerly occupied by a windmill
belonging to a man named _Neveu_ or _Nepveu_. About midway between this
ridge and St. Louis Gate, and to the southward of the St. Louis Road,
are some slight eminences, still known by the older French residents as
_Les Buttes-a-Nepveu_ or _Neveu's hillocks_, and about three-quarters
of a mile distant from the spot where the British line charged.--R. S.

[O] For these particulars I am indebted to my friend Mr. G. B.
Faribault--a gentleman well known in Canada for his researches into
the history of the Colony; whose information on this subject was
derived from his much respected fellow-citizen the Hon. John Malcolm
Frazer--grandson of one of WOLFE'S officers, and now (1854) one of the
oldest inhabitants of Quebec; where, in his childhood and youth, he
had the facts, as above narrated, often described to him by an elderly
woman who, when about eighteen years of age, was an eye-witness of the
scene.--R. S. BEATSON.

[P] This bakehouse appears to have been some where at the foot of
Abraham's hill.

[Q] The excavations of these French works are very visible to this
day behind Mr. G. H. Parke's residence, Ringfield, Charlesbourg road.
The hornwork appears to have covered about twelve acres of ground,
surrounded by a ditch.

[R] It crossed the St. Charles a little higher up than the Marine
Hospital, at the foot of Crown street.--(J. M. L.)

[S] A small bridge supported on masonry has since been built at this
spot, exactly across the main road at Brown's mills.--(J. M. L.)

[T] The deliberations of the council of war, called at M. Daine's,
Mayor of Quebec, on the 15th September, 1759, published in de Ramsay's
Memoires, in 1861, by the Literary and Historical Society, have done an
effective, though a tardy, justice to de Ramsay's memory.--(J. M. L.)

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber's note:

Simple typographical errors were corrected.

Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant
preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

Text contains apparent parenthesized references to a map, but this book
contained no maps, diagrams, or illustrations.

Page 3: "heartily" was misprinted as "heartly".

Page 3: "buried there magnificently" was misprinted as "their".

Page 8: "without trembling." should be punctuated with a question mark.

Page 28: "analize" was printed that way.

Page 30: "radient" was printed that way.

Page 30: "LaRochebeaucourt" is printed as "La Rochebaucourt" on page 59.

Page 50: Footnote M has two footnotes of its own (N and O). In this
eBook, they've been resequenced as normal footnotes.

Page 59: "La Rochebaucourt" is printed as "La Rochebeaucourt" on page

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