Quebec, 1759: The Siege and the Battle

By C. P. Stacey | Go to book overview

VI
THE BRITISH CHANGE DIRECTION

By the 25th of August, we have seen, Wolfe was beginning to recover from his bout of fever. The immediate consequence was an active discussion of plans in the British camp, and from this in turn came a fundamental change in the British strategy.

It was now two months since the first landing on the Isle of Orleans. During this time Wolfe had never consulted his brigadiers about the operations; so Townshend told his wife, 1 and there is no reason to disbelieve him. But he consulted them now, because he was ill and the summer would soon be gone. The famous memorandum which the General addressed to Monckton, Townshend and Murray bears no date; but it was probably written on 27 August. Captain Bell's journal by this stage is getting very slight and uninformative; but at the end of his entry for 27 August and before the next one, which was made on the 31st, he entered the words, "Consultation of the Brigadiers". We know that the actual discussions between the brigadiers began on the 28th.

The memorandum begging the brigadiers "to meet, & consult together for the publick utility & advantage, & to consider of the best method of attacking the Enemy" is printed in the back of this book, for it is a document worth examining.

It begins with a fundamental point, and one which indicates that Wolfe had been interrogating deserters to some purpose. (There was a constant two-way flow of deserters between the opposing camps. Most of them were foreigners. Thus Wolfe writes to Monckton early in August about information obtained from an Italian, while on the French side the great source of

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Quebec, 1759: The Siege and the Battle
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Maps vi
  • Introduction - Two Hundred Years of History vii
  • I - Dramatis Personae 1
  • II - The Fortress 27
  • III - May and June: Contact 40
  • IV - July: Montmorency 60
  • V - August: "Skirmishing, Cruelty and Devastation" 81
  • VI - The British Change Direction 95
  • VII - The 13th of September: Approach 120
  • VIII - The 13th of September: Battle 138
  • IX - The Fall of Canada 156
  • Postscript - Generalship at Quebec, 1759 167
  • Appendix - Wolfe's Correspondence with the Brigadiers, August 1759 179
  • Abbreviations and Select Bibliography 192
  • References 195
  • Index 208
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