Battle of Quebec
The Battle of Quebec or the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, took place over the summer of 1759. It was a significant battle in the French and Indian War. The battle was fought on land originally owned by a farmer named Abraham Martin, hence the Plains of Abraham. The battle was the culmination of a three-month siege by the British and the battle lasted about 15 minutes.
On the night of 12 September numerous British ships moved downstream. A camp of approximately 100 militia had been stationed to watch the narrow road at L'Anse-au-Foulon which followed a stream bank, the Coulée Saint-Denis. Sentries did detect boats moving along the river that morning. The boats, however, had drifted slightly off course: instead of landing at the base of the road, many soldiers found themselves at the base of a slope. A group of 24 volunteers led by Colonel William Howe with fixed bayonets were sent to clear the picket along the road and climb the slope, a manoeuvre that allowed them to come up behind the militia camp and capture it quickly. By the time the sun rose over the Plains of Abraham, Wolfe's army had a solid foothold at the top of the cliffs.
The battle, which began on 13 September, was fought between the British Army and Navy, and the French Army, on a plateau just outside the walls of Quebec City. The battle involved fewer than 10,000 troops between both sides, but proved to be a deciding moment in the conflict between France and Britain over the fate of New France.
The culmination of a three-month siege by the British, the battle lasted about 15 minutes. British troops commanded by General James Wolfe successfully resisted the column advance of French troops and Canadian militia under General Louis-Joseph, Marquis de Montcalm. As the French approached, the British lines held their fire. Wolfe had devised a firing method for stopping French column advances in 1755 that called for the centre to hold fire while waiting for the advancing force to approach within 30 yards (27 m), then opening fire at close range.
The French held their fire and both armies waited for two or three minutes. The French finally fired two disorganized volleys.
Wolfe had ordered his soldiers to load their muskets with two balls each in preparation for the engagement. After the first volley, the British lines marched forward a few paces towards the shocked French force and fired a second general volley that shattered the attackers and sent them into retreat.
Wolfe was struck with two shots, one low in the stomach and the second, a mortal wound in the chest. With Wolfe dead and several other key officers injured, British troops fell into a disorganised pursuit of the retreating French troops. The 78th Fraser Highlanders were ordered by Brigadier-General James Murray to pursue the French with their swords, but were met near the city by a heavy fire from a floating battery covering the bridge over the St. Charles River as well as militia that remained in the trees. The 78th took the highest number of casualties of all British units in the battle.
The French commander Montcalm died the next morning after receiving a shrapnel wound just below his ribs. In the wake of the battle, the French evacuated the city; their remaining military force in Canada and the rest of North America came under increasing pressure from British forces.