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Michigan CHAPTER Nine

Final Success of the English

Montcalm's forces were greatly inferior in numbers and quality, but Quebec itself was an almost impregnable natural fortress. The citadel stands three hundred and forty-five feet above the level of the river, and except upon one side the rock upon which it stands rises as a sheer precipice. Westward of the citadel lie the Plains of Abraham, the side of which toward the river is also precipitous and almost unscalable. The English reached the city near the end of June, and at once made preparations for the siege. The French undertook to destroy the fleet by sending down with the tide a number of fireships. But these were prematurely fired and exploded and so failed to accomplish the expected result. Wolfe took possession of Point Levi, a high bluff on the opposite side of the river, on which he constructed batteries. From this elevated position red hot balls and shells were thrown into the city which set fire to many buildings. The lower portion of the town was wholly destroyed and the upper town badly damaged by the bombardment. The English fleet undertook a reconnaissance above the city and successfully passed the batteries without serious injury. Wolfe, on board, carefully studied the shores and noted possible openings for an assaulting party. It appeared that the defences had been carefully planned, every advantage being taken in the conformation of the country to place formidable works in all available spots. Montcalm sent a detachment across the river to attack the batteries at Point Levi which had done such destructive execution, but this movement had little effect.
Wolfe planned an assault upon the garrison from the heights of Montmorenci below the city. A place was found for fording the Montmorenci, a stream of considerable volume which flows through a narrow canon, and a movement was made, which, however, proved to be disastrous to the English.

Michigan


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