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cember, at Point aux Trembles, made a junction with Arnold. The famine-proof veterans, now but six hundred and seventy five in number, were paraded in front of the Catholic chapel, to hear their praises from the lips of the modest hero, who, in animating words, did justice to the courage with which they had braved the wilderness, and to their superior style of discipline. From the public stores which he had taken, they received clothing suited to the terrible climate; and about noon on the fifth, the little army, composed of less than a thousand American troops, and a volunteer regiment of about two hundred Canadians, appeared before Quebec, in midwinter, to take the strongest fortified city in America, defended by more than two hundred cannon of heavy metal, and a garrison of twice the number of the besiegers. Quick of perception, of a hopeful temperament, and impatient of delay, Montgomery saw at a glance his difficulties, and yet thought there was a fair prospect of success.
eved for the loss of life that might ensue, but his decision was prompt and unchanging. The works of the lower town were the weakest; these he thought it possible to carry, and then the favor of the inhabitants in the upper town, their concern for their property, the unwarlike character of the garrison, the small military ability of Carleton, offered chances of victory. The first act of Montgomery was a demand for the surrender of the city; but his flag of truce was not admitted. On the sixth he addressed an extravagant and menacing letter to Carleton, which was sent by a woman of the country, and of which a copy was afterwards shot into the town upon an arrow; but Carleton would hold no communication with him, and every effort at correspondence with the citizens failed. Four or five mortars were placed in St. Roc's, but the small shells which they threw did no essential injury to the garrison. Meantime a battery was begun on the heights of Abraham, about seven hundred yards
e mortars were placed in St. Roc's, but the small shells which they threw did no essential injury to the garrison. Meantime a battery was begun on the heights of Abraham, about seven hundred yards southwest of St. John's gate. The ground was frozen and covered with deep snow, so that earth was not to be had; the gabions and the interstices of the fascines were therefore filled with snow; and on this water was poured in large quantities, which froze instantly in the intense cold. On the fifteenth, the day after the work was finished, a flag of truce was Chap. LIV.} 1775. Dec. again sent towards the wall with letters for the governor; but he refused to receive them or hold any kind of parley with rebels. Montgomery knew that Carleton was sincere, and if necessary would sooner be buried under heaps of ruins than come to terms. The battery, consisting of but six twelve-pounders and two howitzers, had been thrown up only to lull the enemy into security at other points; it was too l
s pierced through and through, and its guns destroyed by the heavy artillery of the fortress. Some lives were lost, but the invaders suffered more from pleurisy and other diseases of the lungs; and the smallpox began its ravages. A faint glimmer of hope still lingered, that the repeated defiance would induce Carleton to come out; but he could not be provoked into making an attempt to drive off the besiegers. To the storming we must come at last, said Montgomery. On the evening of the sixteenth, a council was held by all the commissioned officers of Arnold's detachment, and a large majority voted for making an assault as soon as the men could be provided with bayonets, hatchets, and hand grenades. In case of success, said Montgomery, the effects of those who have been most active against the united colonies must fall to the soldiery. Days of preparation ensued, during which he revolved his desperate situation. His rapid conquests had filled the voice of the world with his prai
Chap. LIV.} 1775. Nov. humane disposition, his caution, his pride, and his firmness were guarantees that Quebec would be pertinaciously defended. Besides, he had been Wolfe's quartermaster general, and had himself witnessed how much of the success of his chief had been due to the rashness of Montcalm in risking a battle outside of the walls. The rapid success of Montgomery had emboldened a party in Quebec to confess a willingness to receive him on terms of capitulation. But on the twenty second, Carleton ordered all persons who would not join in the defence of the town, to leave it within four days; and after their departure he found himself supported by more than three hundred regulars, three hundred and thirty Anglo-Canadian militia, five hundred and forty three French Canadians, four hundred and eighty five seamen and marines, beside a hundred and twenty artificers capable of bearing arms. Montgomery had conquered rather as the leader of a disorderly band of turbulent fre
etired life in which he alone found delight; but said he, should the scene change, I shall be always ready to contribute to the public safety. And his last message to his brother-in-law was: Adieu, my dear Robert; may your happy talents ever be directed to the good of mankind. As the time for the assault drew near, three captains in Arnold's battalion, whose term of service was soon to expire, created dissension and showed a mutinous disaffection to the service. In the evening of the twenty third, Montgomery repaired to their quarters, and in few words gave them leave to stand aside; he would compel none; he wanted with him no persons who went with reluctance. His words recalled the officers to their duty, but the incident hurried him into a resolution to attempt gaining Quebec before the first of January, when his legal authority to restrain the waywardness of the discontented would cease. At sundown of Christmas he reviewed Arnold's battalion at Morgan's quarters, and ad- Ch
as taken and winter was come, homesickness so prevailed among them that he was left with no more than eight hundred men to garrison his conquests, and to go down against Quebec. He was deserted even by most of the Green Mountain Boys, who at first were disposed to share his winter campaign. The continental congress, which was eager Chap. LIV.} 1775. Nov. for the occupation of Canada, took no seasonable care to supply the places of his men as their time of enlistment expired. On the twenty sixth, leaving St. John's under the command of Marinus Willett of New York, and entrusting the government of Montreal to Wooster of Connecticut, and in the spirit of a lawgiver who was to regenerate the province, making a declaration that on his return he would call a convention of the Canadian people, Montgomery embarked on board three armed schooners with artillery and provisions and three hundred troops; and on the third day of De- Dec. cember, at Point aux Trembles, made a junction with Ar
ght of the twenty sixth was clear, and so cold that no man could handle his arms or scale a wall. The evening of the twenty seventh was hazy, and the troops were put in motion; but as the sky soon cleared up, the general, who was tender of their lives, called them back, choosing to wait for the shelter of a favorable night, that is, for a night of clouds and darkness with a storm of wind and snow. For the next days the air was serene, and a mild westerly wind brightened the sky. On the thirtieth a snow storm from the northeast set in. But a few hours more of the old year remained, and with it the engagement of many of his troops would expire; Montgomery must act now, or resign the hope of crowning his career by the capture of Quebec. Orders were therefore given for the troops to be ready at two o'clock of the following morning; and that they might recognise one another, each soldier wore in his cap a piece of white paper, on which some of them wrote: liberty or death. It was M
s Pres-de-Ville. The body of Cheesman, whose career had been a brief but gallant one, had fallen over the rocks. In the pathway lay Macpherson, a youth, as spotless as the new- Chap. LIV.} 1775. Dec. fallen snow which was his winding sheet; full of genius for war, lovely in temper, honored by the affection and confidence of his chief; dear to the army, leaving not his like behind him. There, too, by his side, lay Richard Montgomery, on the spot where he fell. At his death he was in the first month of his fortieth year. He was tall and slender, well limbed, of a graceful address, and a strong and active frame. He could endure fatigue, and all changes and severities of climate. His judgment was cool, though he kindled in action, imparting confidence and sympathetic courage. Never himself negligent of duty, never avoiding danger, discriminating and energetic, he had the power of conducting freemen by their voluntary love and esteem. An experienced soldier, he was also well vers
January 1st (search for this): chapter 14
near, three captains in Arnold's battalion, whose term of service was soon to expire, created dissension and showed a mutinous disaffection to the service. In the evening of the twenty third, Montgomery repaired to their quarters, and in few words gave them leave to stand aside; he would compel none; he wanted with him no persons who went with reluctance. His words recalled the officers to their duty, but the incident hurried him into a resolution to attempt gaining Quebec before the first of January, when his legal authority to restrain the waywardness of the discontented would cease. At sundown of Christmas he reviewed Arnold's battalion at Morgan's quarters, and ad- Chap. LIV.} 1775 Dec. dressed them with spirit; after which a council of war agreed on a night attack on the lower town. For the following days the troops kept themselves in readiness at a moment's warning. In the interval the intention was revealed by a deserter to the garrison, so that every preparation was mad
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