Quebec, Battle of

(Sept. 13, 1759) Decisive battle of the French and Indian War.

In June 1759, James Wolfe led a British force of 250 ships with 8,500 soldiers to take up positions in the St. Lawrence River around Quebec. French forces under the marquis de Montcalm withstood a two-month siege of the city. In September the British secretly landed 4,000 men near the city and forced a confrontation with French troops on the Plains of Abraham. The defending French were routed in the battle, in which both Wolfe and Montcalm were mortally wounded.

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      (December 31, 1775), in the American Revolution, unsuccessful American attack on the British stronghold. In the winter of 1775–76, American Revolutionary leaders detached some of their forces from the Siege of Boston (Boston, Siege of) to mount an expedition through Maine with the aim of capturing Quebec. On December 31, 1775, under General Richard Montgomery and Colonel Benedict Arnold (Arnold, Benedict), an inadequate force of roughly 1,675 Americans assaulted the fortified city, only to meet with complete defeat. Montgomery was killed, and large numbers of colonials were captured. Demonstrations against Canada were soon discontinued, and Arnold withdrew the remnant of his army in May 1776.

North America [1759]
      (Sept. 13, 1759), in the French and Indian War, decisive defeat of the French under the Marquis de Montcalm by a British force led by Maj. Gen. James Wolfe (Wolfe, James).

      After the fall of Louisbourg, Cape Breton Isl., in 1758, Quebec became the main military target of the British offensive. The following June, young Wolfe led a British force of 250 ships carrying 8,500 regulars to take up strategic positions in the St. Lawrence River. Protected by high jagged cliffs, Quebec resisted a two-month siege by land and water. Finding a narrow, hidden path, Wolfe secretly disembarked more than 4,000 men the evening of September 12, forcing a confrontation on the Plains of Abraham. The next day the French defenders were routed in this battle, in which both commanders were lost. This battle led to the fall of Montreal the next year and the final British victory.

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Universalium. 2010.

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