Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Live-blogging the siege of Quebec +250 #13

Sunday, July 15. What if you gave a siege and nobody came? General Montcalm would not complain. His strategy throughout the Quebec campaign is to sit tight behind his lines, preserve his forces and supplies, and hope that the enemy never manages to launch an assault. By mid-July things are going about as well as can be expected from that front. Montcalm hopes things will long remain just as dull.

Wolfe needs some aggro. He has deadlines; he has to win or go home in humiliation, and winter comes early around here. He keeps looking for a crack in Quebec's defences: he looks upstream, beyond the city, but the navy has not yet dared move through the narrows between Quebec and Lévy. He looks to the downriver end of Montcalm's lines, at Montmorency Falls, but the Montmorency river and the cliffs along the north shore of the St. Lawrence powerfully shore up Montcalm's defences. He looks at a headlong boat assault right onto the docks of the city, but even if the boats reached the quays, a successful progress through the lower town and up the cliffs under plunging fire from the upper town seems impossible.

On July 15, Wolfe orders the grenadiers of his regiments to the Ile d'Orléans, "where a corps is to assemble for a particular purpose." He is thinking his best chance lies in attacking the dug-in defences at the end of the French lines around Montmorency. More on this plan as it develops.
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