« ForrigeFortsett »
By the Journal of my proceedings, which I have the honor to transmit to you, you will perceive the superiority we have maintained over the enemy during the winter, and that all Lower Canada, from the Pointe aux Trembles was reduced, and had taken the oath of fidelity to the King. You will no doubt be pleased to observe, that the enemy's attempts upon our posts, and ours upon theirs, all tended to the honor of His Majesty's arms, as they were always baffled.
“I wish I could say as much within the walls ; the excessive coldness of the climate, and constant living upon salt provisions, without any vegetables, introduced the scurvy among the troops, which getting the better of every precaution of the officer, and every remedy of the Surgeon, became as universal as it was inveterate, in so much, that before the end of April, 1000 were dead, and above 2000 of what remained, unfit for
“ In this situation I received certain intelligence, that the Chevalier de LEVI was assembling his army, which had been cantoned in the neighbourhood of MONTREAL ; that he had completed his eight battalions, and 40 companies of the Troupes de Colonie, from the choice of the Montrealists ; had formed these forty companies into four battalions; and was determined to besiege us the moment the River St. Lawrence was open, of which he was entirely master, by means of four King's frigates, and other craft, proper for this extraordinary river.
“ As I had the honor to acquaint you formerly that QUEBEC could be looked upon in no other light than that of a strong cantonment, and that any works I should add to it, would be in thai style, my plan of defence was, to take the earliest opportunity of entrenching myself upon the heights of Abraham, which entirely command the ramparts of the place at the distance of 800 yards, and might have been defended by our num
bers against a large army. But the Chevalier de Levi did not · give me time to take the advantage of this situation : The
23d, 24th, and 25th of April, I attempted to execute the projected lines, for which a provision of fascines, and of every necessary material had been made, but found it impracticable, as the earth was still covered with snow in many places, and every where impregnably bound up by frost.
“ The night of the 26th, I was informed that the enemy had landed, at Pointe aux Trembles, 10,000 men, and 500 barbarians. The post we had taken at the embouchure of the River Cap Rouge, (the most convenient place for disembarking their ar
tillery and stores, and of securing their retreat) obliged them to land where they did, 20 miles higher up.
“ The 27th, having broke down all the bridges over the Cap Rouge, and secured the landing places at Sillery, and the Foulon, I marched with the grenadiers, piquets, AMHERST'S regiment, and two field pieces, and took post so advantageously as to frustrate the scheme they had laid of cutting off our posts. They had begun to form from the defile they were obliged to pass, but thought proper to retreat on reconnoitring our position; and about four this afternoon, we marched back to town, having withdrawn all posts, with the loss of two men only, though they did every thing in their power to harass the rear.
“ The enemy was greatly superior in number, it is true ; but, when I considered, that our little army was in a habit of beating the enemy, and had a very fine train of field artillery ; that shutting ourselves up at once within our walls, was putting all upon the single chance, of holding out, for a considerable time, a wretched fortification ; a chance, which an action in the field could hardly alter, at the same time, that it gave an additional one, perhaps a better ; I resolved to give them battle ; and, if the event was not prosperous, to hold out to the last extremity; and then to retreat to the Isle of Orleans or Coudres, with what was left of the garrison, to wait for rein. forcements.
“ This night the necessary orders were given, and half an hour after six, next morning, we marched with all the force I could muster, viz: three thousand men, and formed the army on the heights in the following order : AMHERST's, ANSTRUTHERS's, 2 battalion of Royal Americans, and Webb’s, composed the right brigade, commanded by Colonel Burton. Kennedy's, Lascelles's, Highlanders, and Townshend's the left brigade, commanded by Colonel Fraser, Otway's, and the third battalion of Royal Americans, were the corps of reserve. Major Dalling's corps of light infantry covered the right flank, and Captain Hazen's company of Rangers, with 100 volunteers, under the command of Captain DONALD MACDONALD, a brave and experienced officer, covered the left. The battalions had each two field pieces.
“ While the line was forming, I reconnoitred the enemy, and perceived their van had taken possession of the rising grounds, three quarters of a mile in our front, but that their army was upon the march in one column, as far as I could see. I thought this the lucky moment, and moved with the utmost order to
attack them before they had formed. We soon beat them from the beights they had possessed, though they were well disputed ; and Major Dalling, who cannot be two much commended for his behaviour this day, and his services during the winter, forced their corps of grenadiers from a house and windmill they bad taken hold of to cover their left flank: Here he, and several of his officers, were wounded; his men, however, pursued the fugitives to the corps which were now formed to sustain them : They halted, and dispersed along the front of the right, which prevented that wing from taking advantage of the first impression they had made on the enemy's left. They had immediately orders given them to regain the flank, but, in attempting this, they were charged, thrown into disorder, retired to the rear, and from the number of officers killed and wounded, could never again be brought up, during the action. Otway's was instantly ordered to advance and sustain the right wing, which the enemy in vain made two attempts to penetrate. On these occasions, Captain Ince, with the grenadiers of Otway's were distinguished." While this passed there, the left was not idle ; they had dispossessed the enemy of two redoubts, and sustained with unparalalled firmness the bold united efforts of the enemy's regulars, Indians and Canadians, till at last fairly fought down, and reduced to a handful, though sustained by the 3d battalion of Royal Americans from the reserve, and Kennedy's from the certre, where we had nothing to fear, they were obliged to yield to superior numbers, and a fresh column of Roussillon, which penetrated them.
“ The disorder of the left was soon communicated to the right; but the whole retired in such a way, that the enemy
did not venture upon a brisk pursuit. We left most of our cannon, as the roughness of the ground, and the wreaths of snow, made it impossible to bring them off; what could not be brought off, were nailed up.
« Our killed and wounded amounted to one-third of those in the field ; that of the enemy, by their own confession, exceeds 2500 men, which may be readily conceived, as the action lasted an hour and three quarters.
“ Here I think it my duty to express my gratitude to the officers in general, and the satisfaction I bad in the bravery of all the troops.
“ On the night of the 28th, the enemy opened trenches against the town, and, at the same time, we set to work within, to fortify it, which we never had in our power to attempt sooner,
from the severity of this climate during the winter, and the absolute necessity of executing works of more immediate importance, last autumn, before the frost set in. I wanted the assistance of Major Mackellar, the chief engineer, dangerously wounded in the action ; bis zeal for, and knowledge in the service is well known ; but the alacrity of the garrison made u for every defect.
My journal of the siege, which accompanies this, sets forts, in full, what was done: and I fatter myself, the extraordinary performances of the handful of brave men I had left will please His Majesty as much as they surprised us who were eye-witnesses to them.
“ Great praise is due to Commodore Swanton, and the Captains Schomberg and Deane ; I have not words to express the readiness, vivacity, and valour they showed in attacking aod destroying the enemy's squadron. Captain Deane bas lost his ship, but it was in a good cause, and he has done bonor to bis country.
"The morning of the 17th of May, I intended a strong sally, to have penetrated into the enemy's camp, which, from the information of the prisoners I had taken, and the concurrent account of deserters, I conceived to be very practicable.
" For this purpose I had ordered the regiments of Amberst, Townshend, Lascelles, Anstruther and Highlanders, with the grenadiers and light infantry, under arms; but was informed by Lieutenant M‘Alpin, of my battalion (whom I sent out to amuse the enemy with small sallies) that their trenches were abandoned.
I instantly pushed out at the head of these corps, not doubt. ing but we must have overtaken and forced their rear, and had ample revenge for the 28th of April ; but I was disappointed, for they bad crossed the River Cap Rouge, before we could come up to them. However, we took several prisoners, and much baggage, which wouls otherwise have escaped They left their camp standing ; all their baggage, stores, magazines of provision and ammunition, 34 pieces of battering candon, four of which are brass 12 pounders, ten field pieces, six mor tars, four petards, a large quantity of scaling ladders, and entrenching tools beyond number, and have retired to their former asylum, Jacques Cartier. From the information of prisoners, deserters, and spies, provisions are very scarce ; ammunition does not abound; and the greatest part of the Ca. padians have deserted them. At present they do not exceed
The minute I am joined with that part of my garrison which was sent from hence last autumn, I shall endeavor to co-operate with Mr. Amherst, towards completing the reduction of this country; though, if rightly informed, he can hardly act by the lakes before the month of July, of which I am the more convinced, because from the intelligence forwarded to him last February, of the enemy's designs, by Lieutenant Montresor, he would certainly have been upon them before now, had it been at all practicable.
" Major Maitland, the bearer of these despatches, who has acted as Adjutant General this last winter, is well acquainted with all our transactions here : he has a thorough knowledge of the country, and can give you the best lights with regard to the measures farther to be taken, relative to His Majesty's views in Canada.
“I cannot finish this long letter, without observing how much I think myself obliged to the Lieutenant Governor, Colonel Burton; his activity and zeal were conspicuous during the whole course of this severe winter's campaign, and I flatter myself, Sir, you will be pleased to lay his services before His Majesty.
“p. 8.-Since I have wrote the above, a nation of Indians has sur rendered, and entered into an alliance with as.
I have the honor to be, with regard,
ADMIRALTY OFFICE.- Captain Schomberg arrived with despatches from Lord Colville, dated at Quebec, the 24th May, giving an account, that having on the 14th May received advice that the enemy had besieged Quebec, he got under sail with the utmost despatch, and anchored above Pointe Lévi the 15th, where he received a message from the General, earnestly recommending the speedy removal of the French naval force, consisting of two frigates, two armed ships, and many smaller vessels. In consequence of which, he ordered Captain Schomberg, and Captain Deane, to slip the cables and attack the enemy; but they were no sooner in motion, than the enemy fled in burry and disorder. The Pomona, one of the frigates, was driven on shore above Cape Diamond; the Atalanta, the other frigate, ran ashore, and was burnt at Pointe aux Tremble, about teu leagues from the town ; and most of the