Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Live-blogging the siege of Quebec+250 #62

Sunday, September 2, 1759. James Wolfe has accepted his brigadiers’ plan for an attack upriver from Quebec. To that end, he is shifting thousands of men, many ships, and tons of weapons and supplies to new positions. He is committed. But he remains sick and discouraged and unable to believe that the new plan offers much hope of success. Today, he sends a lengthy history of his siege directly to the prime minister, William Pitt. He begins:
I wish I could, upon this occasion, have the honour of transmitting to you a more favourable account of the progress of his majesty’s arms, but the obstacles we have met with in the operations of the campaign are much greater than we had reason to expect or could foresee.
Wolfe lays out for the prime minister the frustrations of the campaign, the failure of his efforts at Montmorency, and his decision to “lay waste the country … partly in return for many insults offered to us by the Canadians.” Near the end, he summarizes the brigadiers’ new strategy. “I have acquiesced in their proposal, and we are preparing to put it into execution,” he writes, but he promises nothing from it. He concludes:
In this situation there is such a choice of difficulties that I own myself at a loss how to determine…. However you may be assured that the small part of the campaign which remains shall be employed (as far as I am able) for the honour of his majesty and the interest of the nation.
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