Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Live-blogging the siege of Quebec+250 #27

Sunday July 29, 1759: Wolfe grows ever more avid for a general engagement in which he is sure his fresh and well-trained troops can defeat Montcalm’s battered forces. Today he writes to General Monckton: “I take it to be better that the Marquis should attack a firm corps of ours with superiority of numbers than that we should attack his whole army entrenched.”

Wolfe has been looking at a redoubt the French have built on the Beauport shore close to where the Montmorency river reaches the St. Lawrence. He conceives a plan: send in his troops at low tide to seize and reinforce the redoubt, then wait for Montcalm’s forces to flood down to attack it, bringing on the general engagement. “If the Marquis gives Burton and I only two hours, we shall knock his battalions about most furiously.”

Wolfe begins distributing orders to the troops at Point Levy, on the Ile d’Orleans, and at Montmorency, and to the navy: prepare to hit the beach, attack the redoubt, hold it against a French counter-attack, then flood over the French entrenchments. Tomorrow is the day.

Inside the town, the supply clerk laments the damage already done:
The enemy fired cannon and mortars at us tonight just like last night, though more with cannon balls than mortar shells. Three quarters of the buildings are damaged or destroyed.
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