Friday, August 28, 2009

Live-blogging the siege of Quebec+250 #57

Tuesday August 28, 1759 The diarist Foligné wraps up yesterday's developments:
With the winds out of the north-east, the enemy took advantage of the foggy night to send four vessels upriver under cover of darkness. In spite of the lively fire from our ramparts, they successfully joined their other ships at Pointe aux Trembles. This convinced our commanders to send orders to the frigates not to come down but to remain in the Richelieu harbour and to send the crews back to town. The crews greatly regretted losing an opportunity to distinguish themselves.
The French vessels’ planned attack on the British naval force upriver from Quebec could probably not have dislodged the British ships from their position. But the British success in reinforcing their naval strength in the upper river -- was the transit of the additional ships under the guns made easier by the French gunners removed to man the ships? -- put an end to all such hopes. The British now definitely command the upper river. They have the shipping they need to move large numbers of troops rapidly up and down this shore.

Also today, General Wolfe's three brigadiers meet aboard the flagship Stirling Castle with Admiral Saunders. Wolfe, still recovering from his fever, has sent them a memorandum outline his plans and formally asking their advice. The record suggests that Wolfe had not consulted with his subordinates on strategy and tactics throughout the siege before now, but now he throws himself open to them.
"That the public service may not suffer by the general's indisposition, he begs the brigadiers will be so good as to meet and consult together for the public utility and advantage and to consider of the best method of attacking the enemy."
Wolfe presents three battle plans for the brigadiers' consideration. All three focus on the Beauport-Montmorency front, where he had attacked on July 31. The brigadiers' response will turn the siege inside out.

(Image: Brigadier Townshend's portrait of Wolfe; we will get to his less respectful caricatures another day. h/t Neil Ross)
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