Thursday, July 30, 2009

Live-blogging the siege of Quebec+250 #28

Monday, July 30, 1759. From all the activity among the British troops, Captain Knox sees that something is afoot. "It is said," he writes, "that all the transports' boats are to be manned, in order to make a feint, and thereby divide the enemy's attention, while the army are to endeavour to penetrate into the French camp, between Beauport and the Fall."

But he also writes, "Sultry weather for several days past, wind variable and scant." During the day, the scant winds become a dead calm. The ships cannot move. Wolfe’s attack on the Montmorency redoubt, planned for low tide today, must be postponed.

Despite the postponement, Wolfe steels himself to resist the pressure of his officers, who want the whole plan of attack reconsidered. "Dislike of the general officers and others to this business," he writes, "but nothing better proposed by them.” The attack will proceed tomorrow.

Across the lines, Intendant Bigot, senior administrative officer of New France, asks the royal storekeepers for a statement of the gunpowder that remains, noting that the troops have been complaining about the lack of fire from Quebec’s batteries. The troops “have that in common with many people,” writes the diarist called the supply clerk. “But me, I’ll leave that up to the commanders, feeling that they must know – or at least should know – the right measures to take.”

He continues, “This morning we sent out a detachment of two hundred men to escort the supplies that we have sent to Batiscan for. I greatly fear that we will run short, although we have cut back, supplying only a pound of bread a day."

"At five p.m.," he also notes, "two soldiers of the colonial troops were hanged for having stolen brandy from Sieur Soupirant’s cellar yesterday.”

The sea officer Foligné, commanding a gun battery in the town, writes of a morale-building tour of the defences:
M. le Marquis de Montcalm, accompanied by M. de Bougainville and several officers of the various battalions, came into the city and toured the ramparts. There was vigorous firing throughout their visit. After having seen everything and given their orders, they left the city to go to the hospital. They wanted to visit all the rooms to visit the wounded, to whom they distributed wine before returning to their encampments.
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