Battle of the Plains of Abraham
It was the night of September 12th, when the English decided to launch the final assault. Boat after boat drew up near the bank of the south shore of St. Lawrence. Very quietly the soldiers climbed on board and, and their boats made their way upstream in the shadow.
A small English vessel, the Sutherland, was anchored in the river, a single light at her masthead. At two o’clock in the morning a second light appeared. This was the agreed signal. In silence and in darkness, with muffled oars, the boats crossed the river and drifted down the stream with the current near the north shore. As the first boat reached Sillery Point just above the cove where the landing was to be made, a French sentry shouted a challenge. The answer came back from a boat in his own language, as a British officer heading the assault was chosen just for a case like this. The sentry thus allowed the boats to pass, thinking they were bringing food from Montreal. As the English neared the beach in the cove, James Wolfe jumped out of the first boat, sword in hand. He was followed by the company of Highlanders, who had to climb directly up the cliff. In a few moments, the men were lost in the darkness as they pulled themselves up by gripping trees and clambering over rocks. The soldiers below waited breathlessly until a shout from above told them that the French post had been captured. The soldiers might now proceed to climb by less steep path. So the ascent was made. By six o’clock in the morning Wolfe had over for thousand men on the open heights west of Quebec City. This site was known as Plains of Abraham. When Joseph de Montcalm, commander of the French, first heard that the English were on the Plains, he could hardly believe the news. As he caught sight of the English redcoats, he knew the situation was very serious. Montcalm rushed tall the men he could from the Beauport shore up the long and steep hill to the Abraham’s Plains. The General Montcalm drew up his men in a line some distance in front of the English and then decided to fight before the enemy could make further preparations. Thus he didn’t wait for possible help from General Bougainville, who had a rather large force at Cap Rouge, about seven miles beyond the Plains of Abraham. The battle was over in half an hour! The French advanced. As they approached only forty yards apart, the English fired two terrible volleys. The French line quivered, than broke, and the battle became a rout as the Highlanders dashed forward, waving their swords and striking at the fleeing foe. Both James Wolfe Joseph de Montcalm were killed in this short battle. As Wolfe, mortally wounded, lay gasping out his life, he heard the shout: - They run! – Who runs? he asked. – The French, sir, they give way everywhere, - was the reply. God be thanked, murmured Wolfe, - I die in peace. Montcalm was carried to the house of Dr. Arnoux. – How long may I live, he asked – Not till morning, sir, came the reply. – So much the better, said Montcalm, - for I shall not see the surrender of Quebec. See also: