Chris Scott Wilson Writer
boats led by HMS Porcupine to support Murray’s advance on Montreal where matters were coming to head. By September Governor Vaudreuil realised any further resistance would only serve to comp-letely destroy the city as they faced overwhelming odds, but Lévis was furious as he knew before Montcalm fell at Quebec he had been instructed to fight to the last by France’s minister for war. Lévis was even more furious when the British commander -in-chief Amherst refused to grant them honours of war. This entailed allowing a surrendering garrison to leave their post with drums beating and colours flying, and other small considerations to allow the vanquished to retain some dignity in defeat. Lévis’s anger was such he ordered the colours burned so they could not be surrendered to the enemy, and he also refused to meet Amherst after Montreal capitulated on 8th September.
Lord Colville utilised some of captain Robert Swanton’s returning squadron to convey French prisoners to England while other vessels were detached to carry over 4,000 more to La Rochelle in France. Time was short as winter’s gnarling hands were already creeping toward Canada. The admiral only had a month to ensure he had done all he could for the Quebec garrison, supplying them with wood and coal and other supplies before his fleet sailed on 11th October for the 15 day voyage to winter at Halifax.
With the threat from the French-Canadian colonies eradicated, Lord Colville was able to remain in Halifax from whence he continued to direct operations. From the moment wooden sailing vessels are built, they require ongoing maintenance and refitting so it seemed prudent to improve Halifax's dockyard facilities where the fleet was at anchor. HMS Northumberland was careened there. Without the facilities of a dry dock, a vessel can be lightened of ordnance and supplies etc., then ropes are attached to the masts to haul her over onto her side which allows work to be done on the hull below the waterline. This is then reversed to work on the other side of the hull. James Cook, if not actually giving the orders during careening, would have been present and it was a procedure he would have to duplicate later in his career many miles from any port where he could dry dock one of his ships.
If the winter cold was not bad enough, Colville suffered with “sore throats, swelled legs, innumerable pains all over me, sciatica, scurvy, rheumatism”, but it appears none of these distracted him from attention
...more Captain Cook, Man of the Sea
British uniform c.1760