Chris Scott Wilson Writer
the arrival of the main army aboard the transports. Much of his work was done in a small boat in darkness under the mouths of the French cannon and hopefully out of range of any Frenchman who was a dab hand with a squirrel gun. Death came so close at one point, Cook sprang from the bow of his boat as Indians allied to the French leapt into the stern. This may be the incident the sergeant-major of the 40th grenadiers wrote in his account of the campaign: “July the 5th, a Barge between the Island and the main Land, to sound the Depth of Water: The French fir’d four Cannon-Shot at her, and came down on a large Bar of Sand, from whence they fir'd small arms; also five Canoes came down the River, loaded with Indians, who took the Barge, made one Man prisoner, and wounded another belonging to the 22d Regiment.”
But Cook succeeded, giving Wolfe’s men safe passage up the river.
The French at Quebec were commanded by lieutenant-general the Marquis de Montcalm whose pleas to Paris for funds to improve Quebec’s defences had been refused. His one consolation was that his army numbered almost double that of Wolfe’s. The downside was most of them were untrained militia, and Montcalm always preferred to rely on his regular troops. While Quebec was in a naturally defensible position due to the terrain, one of the few methods of counter attack available to him was the use of fireships against the British fleet at anchor. This tactic utilises old vessels packed with explosives then either their sails are set to close with the enemy or they drift with the tide or current, having been set alight, to collide with the ships in their path, become entangled and blow up, setting fire to, or destroying the other vessel. In this case, the river current would drift them downstream. Montcalm attempted this on 28th June, but the
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Quebec in the 18th century