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Chris Scott Wilson                   Writer                                             

cook 77D battle scene

leading the attack , yet before he died on the battlefield managed to give a final order reminding his officers to cut off the French retreat. His opponent, the Marquis de Montcalm, his thigh shattered by shot, was carried to Quebec before he too succumbed to his wounds. Five days later on 18th September the city surrendered.

    The same day as the surrender, James Cooke was appointed master of Lord Colville's flagship HMS Northumberland, and went aboard five days later. His old ship HMS Pembroke was returning to England with most of the fleet under Admiral Saunders after they had finished unloading supplies, ordnance and ammunition to sustain the Quebec garrison. Lord Colville was left with a squadron of seven ships and the title of Commander-in-Chief, North America, ordered to winter in Halifax and return to Quebec as early as possible in the spring. Although Cook had been left in Nova Scotia, his work was to be recognised in London the following year. Admiral Saunders published a new detailed chart of the St Lawrence in April 1760, much of the information supplied by James Cook’s diligent hand.

    Northumberland reached Halifax by the end of October 1759 and when his other duties allowed, Cook began to survey Halifax harbour. But if the British thought the Quebec problem was solved, they were mistaken. Brigadier François-Gaston Lévis, (Duc de Lévis), Montcalm’s second-in-command, had carried sealed orders to take command of the French regulars if Montcalm was killed or incapacitated. He also had the authority to succeed Quebec’s governor, Rigaud Vaudreuil, as had Montcalm. Lévis had not been present at the battle on the Plains of Abraham. He had been detached with 800 men to thwart any possible attack on Montreal. When he heard of the defeat, he had managed to retrace his steps to Jacques-Cartier, some 35 miles upstream from Quebec, where Governor Vaudreuil had withdrawn his administration after the death of Montcalm. There Lévis learned Governor Vaudreuil had left instructions for King’s Lieutenant Ramezay (who had objected) to surrender the city if the situation  looked  impossible.  When Ramezay had observed


...more Captain Cook, Man of the Sea


Death of Montcalm

The Marquis de Montcalm on his death bed after his army was beaten on the Plains of Abraham

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