Saturday, August 29, 2009

Live-blogging the siege of Quebec+250 #58

Wednesday, August 29, 1759. Brigadiers Townshend, Monckton, and Murray reply to General Wolfe’s invitation to advise him. (At least, their memorandum is dated today; the historian Charles Stacey suspects revisions continued until tomorrow). They start by tearing the heart out of Wolfe’s plans to focus his attack on the Montmorency-Beauport shore.
The natural strength of the enemy’s situation between the River St. Charles and the Montmorency, now improved by all the art of their engineers, makes the defeat of their army if attacked there very doubtful.
They go on to point out that even if the British get ashore, Montcalm can fall back to the St. Charles (just east of the city, the western edge of the Beauport defences) and hold out there. Then comes what bloggers nowadays call the money quote:
We are therefore of opinion that the most probable method of striking an effectual blow is to bring the troops to the south shore and to direct the operations above the town. When we establish ourselves on the north shore, the French general must fight us on our own terms. We shall be betwixt him and his provisions and betixt him and their army opposing General Amherst.
The brigadiers conclude their bold and concise outline by declaring that, whatever he does, Wolfe will find them “most hearty and zealous in the execution of his orders.” No more, apparently, of Townshend’s snarky caricatures of his commanding officer.
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